You are disgusting. I hope you never reproduce again. I feel bad for whatever child(ren) you have. I hope they don't become simple-minded like you.
If respecting the dignity of human life and fighting for the weak and oppressed is what you mean by simple-minded, then it’s too late. They are all part of the pro-life generation. A new age is dawning.
But perhaps the most powerful evidence for God is one the Bible uses most consistently. The Bible doesn't offer an argument for God, rather it points to God's involvement in the world. Most significantly, that would be how, in the person of Jesus Christ, the God who creates the world took on flesh and stepped into our world to rescue and save it. This is not a distant, remote, theoretical God, but a God who is very much alive. That's a quite different proposition—and if that God exists, that changes everything. C. S. Lewis put it this way: "I believe in Christianity in the same way that I believe that the sun has risen. Not because I see it, but that by it, I see everything else."
It’s pretty easy, based on this type of thinking, to draw the conclusion that Yahweh’s distinct lack of involvement in stopping the Philippines typhoon recently means he isn’t there at all. Lack of involvement in world wars, the spread of AIDS, the suffering of Elisabeth Fritzl…oh yea, if that god existed, we’d have known it.
Thanks for clearing that up. When I want light, I switch on the electric light bulbs in my home. Thank you, science.
Please keep apologetics off the atheism tag. You are entitled to believe whatever you want - and we are entitled to laugh at it if you post it on our tag. Have a happy holiday, and thanks in advance for not coming back.
Also, just want to point out that the quote-er’s entire argument is “the god of the bible totally exists because it says that he does stuff in the bible.” Nothing wrong with that logic at all…
And just when I thought I wouldn’t see any nonsense from them, bam! I see this crap. Thankfully I saw that it had too many notes—notes that it definitely didn’t acquire on it’s own. You know, being a stupid post and all. Great response!
Maybe, just maybe, if we taught men* not to rape, that would help take care of the rape exceptions (which I 100% agree with). Let's focus on that instead. Let's focus on teaching people to NOT ruin each other's lives. And then we can go from there.
But that’s what I’m doing - teaching people to NOT ruin each other’s lives. Don’t you think abortion ruins the life of a human being awaiting their birth? Let’s stop the killing and then we can go from there.
you seem like a reasonable guy, but reasonable and theist don't usually go together, i always wonder what people like you are thinking, care to shed some light?
Hahaha, I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking, but I’ll give it a shot…
Although I definitely understand how you have that impression of “theists,” because many of the most prominent representatives of theism tend to say things that make even Christians cringe sometimes (namely, almost everyone on the so-called “Christian-Right”). But I also don’t think that those people account for most of the criticism leveled at religious people, and Christians in particular. Or, rather, I don’t think the presumption of unreasonableness or irrationality in the prevailing culture is explained by the existence of weird and annoying people like the Phelps Family, Glenn Beck, Joel Osteen, etc.
Leaving aside some of the stupid things that religious people say far too often, or the seeming inconsistency of their political beliefs with the morality they profess, it seems like the biggest problem that the irreligious have with theists is that they view us as inherently unreasonable or irrational, and that’s because they have a false and uneducated view of “faith.” This view is represented in quotes like this one (quite an embarrassing statement, really), and in fact most of the things that the “Four Horsemen of Atheism” have ever said about faith. If only that quote were true, then atheists might actually win debates once in a while. To be fair though, Christians themselves tend to misunderstand faith as well, because I’ve known some who would characterize their own faith as “blind” even perhaps without understanding the implications. But “Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence”? Hmm, not quite.
It’s common for atheists to proudly proclaim that they don’t have faith, which is apparently the domain of irrational peabrains who believe in magical sky fairies. But the fact is that we all rely on authority and secondary evidence to support our beliefs. Human beings have no direct evidence of the existence of love, gravity, time, morality, or the Big Bang, and most of us have never seen any direct evidence of the existence of far away galaxies, or molecules, or the Mariana trench — yet, we’re all quite certain that those things exist. We rely on our intuitive knowledge and indirect evidence to support our belief in love and time, and we rely on authorities and other secondary sources to support our belief in the existence of molecules and evolution — scientists who know a lot about that shit tell us it’s true, so we have faith that what they’re saying is true.
Likewise, theists have good reasons to believe in the existence of God. First of all, we have plenty of logically valid (and sound) arguments for our beliefs (the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the fine tuning argument, the ontological argument, among others). You can reject the premises of such arguments, but you can’t say that people who believe in the existence of God based on their acceptance of those premises do so irrationally or without evidence. Secondly, Christians have good evidence for the historicity of Jesus Christ and the Bible, and on that basis we form our belief in the Christian God and the divinity of Christ. It isn’t merely “because the Bible says so,” but rather “because the Bible has said a bunch of true shit, and there’s like a shitload of evidence that Jesus really existed and was really crucified and was really resurrected.”
Therefore, there’s no connection between faith and irrationality, because you can’t have faith in something that you believe without reason — that’s called being crazy. So while theists might not always be reasonable about other areas in life (like their obsession with the Republican Party and fighting culture wars), they’re probably not unreasonable when it comes to their faith.
Now, if you want to know about whether I think I’m reasonable in light of all the other choices I’ve made in life (my decision to go law school, the time I choose to go to sleep every night, the fact that I have a thesis due in a week and haven’t started, my spending habits, etc.), then the answer is a resounding NO.
Have you watched the 3801 Lancaster documentary (Kermit Gosnell's case)? I watched it just now and I thought it was horrifying. I also watched Lia Mills' response to it and I thought she was completely right: If we teach society that it's okay to kill someone who hasn't been born, why would we find the murder of a newly born child who was worthless a few minutes ago so terribly horrifying? what is the huge difference between killing a newly born child and having a partial birth abortion?
Yes, I have watched the 3801 Lancaster documentary, and thanks to you I posted it here. And here is Lia Mills’ response.
You bring up a good point - there IS NO DIFFERENCE between killing a newborn and a partial birth abortion. NONE.
Fortunately, this form of infanticide has been banned in the United States. But believe it or not, most pro-choice advocates want it back.
To be clear, I do not endorse what ensues as an ethical theory. What this theory is meant to do is reduce Divine Command Theory to absurdity. In order to reduce a statement or argument to absurdity, one must show that an absurd result follows from its acceptance.
Before proceeding, however, another item requires explanation—namely the term utilitarian. Why have I chosen to borrow this term? To answer this, a familiarity with utilitarianism is necessary. Utilitarianism is a form of act consequentialism. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, act consequentialism “is the claim that an act is morally right if and only if that act maximizes the good, that is, if and only if the total amount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all is greater than this net amount for any incompatible act available to the agent on that occasion.”1 Since the definition implies a sort of quantification, it is apt to continue with that line of thinking. Prior to doing that, however, I need to borrow from Thomas Hobbes’ Voluntarism. Voluntarists maintain that obligation requires a voluntary subjection to law’s rule.2 What is of particular interest is what he had to say about the sovereign.
The Sovereign of a Common-wealth, be it an assembly, or one man, is not subject to the civil laws. For having power to make, and repeal laws, he may when he pleaseth, free himself from that subjection, by repealing those laws that trouble him, and making of new; and consequently he was free before. For he is free, that can be free when he will: Nor is it possible for any person to be bound to himself, because he that can bind, can release; and therefore he that is bound to himself only, is not bound.3
This argument says:
The sovereign makes the law.
So The sovereign can unmake the law.
So The sovereign is not bound by the law that he makes.
Hobbes claims that, when the citizen violates the law, he contradicts his own will: he, in the person of the sovereign, made the law, and therefore cannot without absurdity violate it. Yet it is precisely because the sovereign makes the law that he is not bound by it: according to Hobbes, it is conceptually impossible for him to violate it.
Korsgaard, Christine M., and Onora Neill.The Sources of Normativity, p. 169. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Print.
With this in mind, recall the quantification I alluded to. Utilitarianism states, to put it simply, that the good must be greater than the bad. If we accept, as Hobbes maintained, that we represent the sovereign via a voluntary subjection to the law, then we can decide, based on that, that we have the authority to legislate acts that meet the utilitarian requirement of good outweighing bad. That is to say, that if we render an act greater in good than in bad, then as sovereigns, we can legislate that act—even if the act is usually considered bad. Let us consider some scenarios before reducing Divine Command Theory to absurdity.
Remember that you are the sovereign. Thus, you make the law, unmake the law, and are not bound by the law. Under your law, children are never to be harmed. However, you find yourself in a situation which may require you to harm a child; and not simply harm the child, but kill the child. This child has contracted a contagious illness that is currently unknown to doctors. It becomes obvious to you that killing the child will save other people from contracting the illness. In this case, you find that the good outweighs the bad. Given this quantification, you then kill the child since you are not bound by the law. One may argue that quarantine is another route to take. However, when taking that into consideration, the sovereign thought of the dangers that would be present. Doctors would still have to monitor the child. They would still make attempts to understand the illness. Nurses would have to look after the child. The child’s family members would surely demand visits regardless of the risk of infection. All of this can lead to an epidemic and thus, is less preferable than simply killing the child. Let’s consider another case.
Again, you are the sovereign. Under your law, women are never to be raped. Unfortunately, you find that rampant infertility is threatening the propagation of your people. However, you know a woman who isn’t infertile. The issue is that she is unwilling to grant sexual consent because she doesn’t love any of the men among your people. All things considered, you decide that she must be raped so that she may possibly give birth to a child. Therefore, you unmake your law and command someone you trust to rape her. One may contend that the sovereign can simply influence her to love one of the men among the people. However, the sovereign has rendered this option inefficient; in other words, this route runs the risk of taking too long. The sovereign, therefore, chooses the more efficient option.
Given these two examples, one might conclude that it is absurd to accept the conclusions of Utilitarian Command Theory given the results that follow from it. It may be that the good is greater than the bad, but one may become unsettled by the fact that laws are being unmade or that we, as sovereigns, aren’t bound to our own legislation. This is precisely the issue with Divine Command Theory. It also suffers from another fatal issue.
Divine Command Theory, to put it simply, states that a “morally right action is the one that God commands or requires.”4 However, according to certain verses in the Bible (i.e. Numbers 31:7-19, Deuteronomy 2:33-35, Joshua 10:33, Judges 5:30, 1 Samuel 15:3, Hosea 13:16), what he required or commanded was simply bad. It follows, that as theological sovereign, he either unmade his law or wasn’t bound by it. Also, the fatal issue with Divine Command Theory is that, unlike Utilitarian Command Theory, the good doesn’t outweigh the bad. Therefore, if one is bothered by the edicts that follow from Utilitarian Command Theory, one must be bothered by the edicts that issue from Divine Command Theory. In other words, if an edict isn’t acceptable even when the good outweighs the bad, then an edict isn’t acceptable when the good doesn’t outweigh the bad. And in some of these cases, the bad outweighs the good; or, there’s no good to be had. Therefore, it is absurd to accept a conclusion that states that Yahweh can issue edicts though they contradict his legislation. The alternative is that if anyone accepts Divine Command Theory, regardless of the fact that in most cases the bad outweighed the good or there was no good to be had, one must accept Utilitarian Command Theory because it, at the very least, boasts the advantage of quantifying good versus bad and ascertaining, via the use of reason, that the good outweighs the bad. Though Utilitarian Command Theory is naturalistic rather than theistic, one must, with great alacrity, accept it given that one accepts Divine Command Theory. However, if one finds that the conclusions of Utilitarian Command Theory are absurd, it would be inconsistent to not say the same of Divine Command Theory.
Briefly, in anticipation of a possible contention, the belief that Yahweh is perfectly good doesn’t play a factor. A utilitarian idea can be invoked to quell this contention. That idea is that the Utilitarian Command Theorist can assert or even demonstrate that the good in human nature outweighs the bad in human nature. Thus, though a human isn’t perfectly good, she is sufficiently good to issue such commands. Thus, what proceeds from her nature is a morally right action. This is to say that perfect good isn’t required; sufficient good is required. I would argue that the Utilitarian Command Theorist is correct in that assessment; thus, the notion of sufficient good in human nature is enough to quell the contention.
Among my many forms of cobbled-together self-employment I provide specialized tutoring to graduate students in ancient history and philosophy around the world. Which is rewarding in lots of ways. One of which is when my student ends up correcting an error of mine. That’s when you know you are a successful teacher, and they are starting to surpass you in knowledge and acumen. I’ve actually been excited to report on this, and correct the record. Gratitude goes to Nick Clarke.
The short of it is that long ago in a comments thread on my blog many years ago I was incorrect in my analysis of Gettier Problems. I was on to the right solution, but I made the mistake of assuming an unsound conclusion could not be considered justified (and without realizing that’s what I was doing). Conclusions in Gettier Problems rely on false premises to reach true conclusions. I was right about that. But I wasn’t right about that being grounds to dismiss them.
“Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”—
“Let’s teach our children about the story of the universe and its incredible richness and beauty. It is so much more glorious and awesome and even comforting than anything offered by any scripture or God-concept that I know of.”—
I mean, how can you look up at the sky and just come to the absolute conclusion that everything is just “because”?
Like what was there before the Big Bang?
I lean more towards the possibility of a creator than none at all. But at the same time, I don’t think we could ever know. This. This is why atheism doesn’t make any sense to me. Science can answer questions, but with those answers come billions of more questions.
I’m only interested in your question, what was there before the Big Bang?
There’s no sense in repeating my recent overview, so I’ll simply reproduce it here:
There is something called pre-Big Bang physics. One possibility that has been around for some time is quantum fluctuations:
In the very weird world of quantum mechanics, which describes action on a subatomic scale, random fluctuations can produce matter and energy out of nothingness. And this can lead to very big things indeed, researchers say.
"Quantum mechanical fluctuations can produce the cosmos," said panelist Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the non-profit Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute. “If you would just, in this room, twist time and space the right way, you might create an entirely new universe. It’s not clear you could get into that universe, but you would create it.”
"So it could be that this universe is merely the science fair project of a kid in another universe," Shostak added. "I don’t know how that affects your theological leanings, but it is something to consider" (read more).
Then there’s this article that came out recently. It states the following:
But then he recalled a cosmological model called bubble nucleation, which he had worked on in the 1990s. In this picture, our universe arose from quantum fluctuations in a much bigger cosmos called a metaverse. The quantum effects caused a phase transition in the fabric of the metaverse, and our universe popped into being, like an air bubble forming in boiling water.
Another one that has been around for a bit is the multiverse theory—not to be confused with the metaverse aforementioned. Michio Kaku stated that our universe could have come from the fusion or fission of colliding universes (watch here). ”Oh, but that’s implausible!” It’s not. Tentative evidence has been gathered (i.e. dark flow; cold spot in the CMB). Most Christians hate the multiverse theory, but it is plausible.
From this summary, you can see that scientists have thought about your question. There are, as you have hopefully gathered, a few possibilities. The usual Christian contention is that there can’t be an infinite regress. Thus, the universe cannot be eternal; it must have had a beginning. The issue here is that Christians replace an eternal universe with an eternal god; in effect, what they’ve done is project an infinite regress into a being they believe exists. So they haven’t addressed the supposed problem of infinite regress; they’ve merely pushed it back to a hypothetical step, namely god. However, unlike the possibilities above, god, as a theory, wouldn’t work. I think you’ll benefit from this video as well (watch here). Carl Sagan stated that the notion of an eternal god violates Occam’s Razor. Why an eternal god when you can simply remove that extra step and posit an eternal universe (watch here)?
I mean, how can you look up at the sky and just come to the absolute conclusion that everything is just “because”?
Scientific explanations to the universe and the beginning of our species are not “just because”. The cosmological theory known as the Big Bang is a little more detailed than most people like to think.The rapid expansion of everything that is from an infinitesimal point of density and heat is not just some boring whatever compared to believing in a creator.
Like what was there before the Big Bang?
Doesn’t the same question go for believers of creation? What was there before God? If the world cannot be created by the Big Bang because something had to create the Big Bang (or rather, the singularity it comes from), then the world cannot be created by God because something had to create God. If you can give a reason why God did not have to be created, and is eternal, but you cannot imagine the same sort of fate for the singularity that produced the universe, that seems rather inconsistent, does it not?
I lean more towards the possibility of a creator than none at all. But at the same time, I don’t think we could ever know. This. This is why atheism doesn’t make any sense to me. Science can answer questions, but with those answers come billions of more questions.
I’d say that any good answer provides us with new questions to ask and to be answered by our successors, but maybe that’s just my bias. If there’s an answer out there that immediately gives you all there is to know, especially if this answer is based on the beliefs written by those who would not have even known whether or not the Sun revolves around the Earth or the Earth revolves around the Sun, personally I take caution. Whether we will “never know” or not, easy answers seem often to stem from wanting the power of control over humankind by some person or group.
One of the most frustrating things about internet atheists is the way they can switch so quickly and without intended irony from saying that all believers are naive simpletons to objecting to any reasonably sophisticated attempt to deal with fundamental issues, since “that’s just a retreat to philosophy” or “not what most Christians believe”, as if the existence of God were not a philosophical question and as if the right way to judge a position were by reference to its crudest adherents.
I’m pretty sure you’re referring to my last response. An atheist on or off the internet is still an atheist; “internet atheist” seems to be becoming as derogatory as “new atheist” in Christian circles. I made no switch. I simply addressed the quote in question, which wasn’t sophisticated at all. As a matter of fact, my main contention was philosophical—namely that Hart attempted to put his god in a category all his own. My contention is that your god isn’t in a category apart from other gods. Why? Because of what the Bible says; this effort to separate Yahweh from the Bible is confusing. It’s one thing to be a simpleton; it’s entirely another to act as if Yahweh isn’t the petty war god mentioned in the OT. I judge Christianity fairly based on its crudest adherents and on its most intelligent. However, I cannot grant what Hart attempted to do. Yahweh doesn’t pervade some higher plain of metaphysical reality; he’s just like any other god. And that is precisely the issue: we atheists recognize that; Christians refuse to. That’s why we see this sudden motion of Chopra-like woo woo coming from apologetics enthusiasts. String a bunch of philosophical sounding words together and mix it with Christian theology and there (!), god is suddenly salvaged. If you want to go as far as to separate the god of the Bible from the Bible, might as well believe in a god that’s not in the Bible. Some Christians simply don’t see this abstract theism or even deism as problematic.
“Why doesn’t the Bible say anything about electricity, about DNA, or about the actual age and size of the universe? What about a cure for cancer? Millions of people are dying horribly from cancer at this very moment, many of them children. When we fully understand the biology of cancer, this understanding will surely be reducible to a few pages of text. Why aren’t these pages, or anything remotely like them, found in the Bible? The Bible is a very big book. There was room for God to instruct us on how to keep slaves and sacrifice a wide variety of animals. Please appreciate how this looks to one who stands outside the Christian faith. It is genuinely amazing how ordinary a book can be and still be thought the product of omniscience.”—
I have no degree? What exactly made you assume that? The fact that I didn't boast about it on my blog? I do have a degree actually. Sorry to burst your bubble. It's just something I don't need to boast about like apologists do. Also, love the way you talk smack behind someone's back. I never denied my own arguments. You're a coward who can't hold his own, so quit yapping off to someone else with your first grade complaints. And you're what, 40 years old? Puerile Christians you and him.
As I said, egomaniac.
You personally told me you are ‘working on your first degree’ and you have all of these plans on getting more degrees. I remember this because I was thinking…’why is this guy telling me his 10 year plan like a school girl gushing over One Direction’??
Not smack talking, just discreetly giving a heads up, hence through mail…unlike yourself, who throws a long winded 800 word tantrum publicly over everything (without the use of paragraphs I might add)…if you’re going to go on and on, and least give the reader some paragraph breaks
I’ve got a ways to go to 40, but I hope to make it there…I guess you don’t plan on it?
Lastly, here it is in all it’s glory again. 3 to 4hrs of back and forth for this:
I held it off till the bottom, but just so we know, here is verbatim the comment that got it all started. Keep this in context:
All of this about his body hanging in the heat and being carted off by priests is nonsense. Since you seem to have written the story yourself, how did the priests know where to find him?
It’s actually hilariious…”Perhaps I wrote too fast.” lulz
brother, I've dealt with that guy before also. he is a long-winded megalomaniac, egomaniac. he won't stop, nor will he concede when he's obviously wrong or lying. I've still got 3 hrs worth of back and forth in my inbox of him conjuring up arguments, then denying his own arguments. throwing tantrums on his blog about me... he talks up his education, but he has no degree. just ignore him
“Most of us understand that “God” (or its equivalent) means the one God who is the source of all things, whereas “god” (or its equivalent) indicates one or another of a plurality of divine beings who inhabit the cosmos and reign over its various regions. This is not, however, merely a distinction in numbering, between monotheism and polytheism, as though the issue were merely that of determining how many “divine entities” one happens to think there are. It is a distinction, instead, between two entirely disparate conceptual orders… At a trivial level, one sees the confusion in some of the more shopworn witticism of popular atheism: “I believe neither in God nor in the fairies at the bottom of my garden,” for instance, or “All people are atheists in regard to Zeus, Wotan, and most other gods; I simply disbelieve in one god more.”…If one truly imagines these are all comparable kinds of intellectual conviction then one is clearly confused about what is at issue. Beliefs regarding fairies are beliefs about a certain kind of object that may or may not exist within the world, and such beliefs have much the same sort of intentional shape and rational content as beliefs regarding one’s neighbors over the hill or whether there are such things as black swans. Beliefs regarding God concern the source and ground and end of all reality, the unity and existence of every particular thing and the totality of all things, the ground of the possibility of anything at all. Fairies and gods, if they exist, occupy something of the same conceptual space as organic cells, photons, and the force of gravity, and so the sciences might perhaps have something to say about them, if a proper medium for investigating them could be found…God, by contrast, is the infinite actuality that makes it possible for either photons or (possibly) fairies to exist, and so can be “investigated” only, on the one hand, by acts of logical deduction and induction and conjecture or, on the other, by contemplative or sacramental or spiritual experiences. Belief or disbelief in fairies or gods could never be validated by philosophical arguments made from first principles…The question of God, by contrast, is one that can and must be pursued in terms of the absolute and the contingent, the necessary and the fortuitous, potency and act, possibility and impossibility, being and nonbeing, transcendence and immanence. Evidence for or against the existence of Thor or King Oberon would consist only in local facts…it would be entirely empirical, episodic, psychological, personal, and hence elusive. Evidence for or against the reality of God, if it is there, saturates every moment of the experience of existence, every employment of reason, every act of consciousness, every encounter with the world around us.”
— David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God
Long, but so important.
This is precisely the kind of theology Jerry Coyne makes fun of. What we have here is a question of categories. Hart is simply asserting that your god doesn’t belong in the same category as other gods, fairies and so on. Last I looked, Muslims were doing the same thing. Unfortunately, Yahweh and Allah are in the same category as other gods. I wouldn’t put them in the same sub-category as fairies. I would put them in the same general category because such beings would be metaphysical, but remain mythical or legendary. If fairies existed, they would be like the gods in that they would be, for the most part, invisible; they would choose to show themselves whenever they deemed fit. That’s precisely what the gods, according to myth, have done. Where they differ is that gods answer prayers, demand rituals, create and/or destroy, and so on; fairies, on the other hand, aren’t in the business of divine governance, maintenance and so on. That’s why fairies would be in a different sub-category—perhaps joined by genies, leprechauns, and things of that nature.
We can choose to talk about god in such an abstract manner. The reason, I think, apologists seek to push god toward philosophy is because philosophy is in the habit of leaving discussions open. I love philosophy, but that remains the biggest issue I have with it: it doesn’t close the book on certain issues. Fortunately, your god can be moved away from philosophy and toward empirical fields like science and history. Via these fields, evidence can be provided to support the conclusion that Yahweh doesn’t exist. Alternatively, using primarily history, evidence can be provided to show that Jesus doesn’t exist. Unless you’re a Unitarian, evidence against one part of the trinity disproves the trinity itself. Ultimately, this sort of theosophical rambling isn’t going to convince atheists. We don’t believe in hundreds of other gods; you have that in common with us. The truth is that atheists have gone one god further. To preserve your belief, you turn to this sort of rambling rather than acknowledging that your god belongs in the same category with other gods.
Let’s put things into perspective. Hart talks about this very abstract theistic entity and calls it the Christian god. The Christian god, however, is found in the Christian Bible. And that god is not transcendent. He’s petty, vindictive, malicious, jealous, blood thirsty, homophobic, masochistic, and so on. He authored and/or inspired an entire book centering on animal sacrifice. He authored and/or inspired countless myths of war and conquer; in these myths, he’s commanding genocide, rape, rapine, and sacrifice. It is clear that he sees the crimes of parents in their children; because of this he orders their deaths as well. But you know what I find most intriguing? These stories are no different from preexisting and contemporary myths. The OT doesn’t distinguish itself from the Vedas, the Babylonian epics, the Egyptian texts, and Zoroastrian texts. You can’t expect us to believe that your god is somehow different from other gods. He’s omniscient, but he has to forcefully assert his authority. He’s omnipotent, but he has to murder his human enemies. He’s omnibenevolent, but he imposes suffering and death on infants and children. He’s unchanging, but he created a loophole in his own system so that he may find means to be merciful towards us. Christianity, when scrutinized sans the ambiguity of theosophical ramblings, is incoherent and no pun intended, unbelievable. That your god doesn’t exist is something I’m quite certain about. That he’ll strike me with cancer doesn’t keep me up at night; that he’ll reject me before his angels isn’t the subject of my nightmares.
Since you are one of the arrogant types, I will of course be much less cordial with you.
This isn’t about arrogance. This is about treating you the same way you treat others. You’re rude to anyone who doesn’t agree with you. You’re quick to label people “bigot” or “arrogant” or “moron” or what have you; you base these judgments on very little. Given your discussions with atheists, including me, arrogance lands on your side of the fence. ”Atheist fail” and “try again” and all of that childish nonsense you resort to is meant to boast more confidence than you actually have. I’m just more educated than you are, so at times it will feel like I’m talking down to you; that isn’t by design nor due to arrogance. It’s simply the case because you’re talking about something you don’t know anything about, specifically ethics. It has been demonstrated twice. More on that below.
“We look at the ancient Greeks with their gods on a mountaintop throwing lightning bolts and say, “Those ancient Greeks. They were so silly. So primitive and naive. Not like our religions. We have burning bushes talking to people and guys walking on water. We’re… sophisticated.”—
Seriously? Yea Seriously.. One of the world’s leading authorities on genetics says the human race was born into existence after a chimpanzee mated with a pig. Dr. Eugene McCarthy’s stunning claims were made in an online article, although it was not clear when the startling findings was initially published. According to the University of Georgia scientist, while human beings share a number of characteristics with chimpanzees, there are others that don’t correspond with the primates. What Fools!
Man will believe anything to escape accountability Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I really do hope you’re not serious. If you are, you missed the fact that they’re promoting a book titled The Department, which is a satire of academic life. The pig-ape hybrid is one of its major characters. Come on! It’s on the sidebar in a link provided by the article.
Anyone who surfs the Christianity and Bible tags of tumblr will see scores of rude, ignorant and childish posts made by various atheists which ridicule the faith Christians hold in certain ideas such as the Virgin birth, the Resurrection, and creation. (I do not include the existence of God, because I know that for many of us, life experience has moved the existence of God from a matter of faith, to a matter of knowledge). At the heart of this is a scoffing of faith. these individuals imagine that they do not rely on faith, and thus imagine themselves to be intellectually superior. Being intellectually superior (in their minds) gives them the right to treat others poorly, as can be seen by what they post.
Just like I plan not to take a few comments from Christians on how we are all going to Hell to mean that all Christians are rude, it seems that the same should be applied to Atheism. There’s no point in assuming all atheists are “childish”, have superiority complexes, or treat others poorly. Additionally, the corner of the internet which is mostly home to teenagers (tumblr) is not the place to look for the highest of intellectual, calm debate. For that you might actually want to seek out secular humanists in the real world, or scholars who deal with secular philosophy. Again, I could say all religious individuals are extremely rude and childish and vitriolic, but 1) I’m not providing any proof of that here, which means my statement holds little weight and 2) Even if I were to show 5 vitriolic religious individuals, that itself does not prove every religious person acts in such a way. Nor does it prove that religion leads to this attitude.
Examining this rejection of faith, however, reveals a deep and dark abyss into which humankind, collectively and individually, should not want to venture. At the mouth of this pit lies the question of our very existence. “What is truth?” The Roman governor inquired of the Messiah.
There are many different beliefs about truth, and being secular does not reduce that down to one belief. Some atheists believe that truth is objective - that there are facts both about the natural world and sometimes even about morality. Some of these objectivists believe that these truths can be known by us, and some do not. There are atheist subjectivists, people who believe either that there are no facts about the natural world, or morality, or that there may be something absolute but we will never know it because we are beings of perception, the “truth” looks different to everyone. Among these kind are moral and cultural relativists who believe that morality is dependent either on the society one lives in, or one’s personal sentiments, and that it is not universal. Basically, you can believe that reality is objective and thus truth exists as an atheist, but it is not a requirement.
If I cannot take on faith that I exist in a real universe, with other people that also actually exist, then what do I have left? If I must reject all faith, then I cannot conclude that exist in an actual universe. I cannot prove, even to myself, that I am not dreaming all of this. I have no evidence, that I exist, or that anything exists, outside of my own mind.
Descartes’ Cogito, Ergo Sum (I think, therefore I am) still applies to atheists, even if Descartes is a theologian. Atheists perceive themselves to be thinking, so something about us must exist. Whether we are the only thing that exists (solipsism) does not, again, rest on whether we are religious. The Cogito provided by Descartes isn’t actually faith, it’s a rational a priori argument. Descartes doesn’t take it “on faith” that he exists in the universe, he has provided a rational argument to prove this. You don’t need faith to figure out that you exist.
As I am told by so many atheists, I must first have evidence before I believe. If I do not have evidence, I should treat the idea as not existing. If this is the case, then truly, nothing matters. What I do does not matter, as none of it is real. All is nihilism. Truly then, there are NO morals. All arguments for any form of morality fall away into this abyss with me, because there is only my mind.
There are two types of evidence: rational and empirical. Empirical evidence is something that can be shown, whereas rational arguments are something that must be thought, and to be true must be both valid and sound, consistent and convincing. Some people place less worth in rational arguments, but they are still a type of evidence.
As noted before, Descartes provides rational evidence for his existence. Other skeptic philosophers have provided convincing explanations for how we know that the universe exists external to us: those such as Kant and Hume, for example, would posit that since our experiences are consistent each day, that consistency is derived from the nature of objects that do not rely on our consciousness. Because reality does not resemble a dream, because laws of physics have and continue to apply without fail, we can suppose that what exists is firmly there, regardless of whether or not we “truly” perceive it or if we are merely behind a veil of perception, unable to grasp things-as-they-are.
But still, there are atheists who believe in solipsism (that they are all that exists) and this still does not mean that morality is arbitrary. Even if they are all that exists, they must still live out that existence dealing with perceiving other individuals (however false they may be) who can harm them (whether or not this harm is “real” it really hurts). A solipsist can still experience hunger and cold and pain, so they will want to treat others in a manner that does not warrant such pain. Solipsists are therefore instrumental moralists, i.e. they are good only for the purpose that it serves them well and makes their existence more pleasant.
TL;DR - Even if one believes nothing is real, there are still instrumental calls to morality. They do not delve into moral or emotional nihilism.
Yet, do atheists generally act as if this is the case?. Do not atheists often appeal to a universal, if not an absolute, set of morals.
As I have shown, some do, and some do not. Those who do usually appeal to the fact that the universe is constant, and in constant agreement with the laws of nature such as physics, so there is something universal to appeal to in terms of reality. As for morality, some atheists may appeal to the idea that logic is like a law of nature - unchanging, independent of the thinker. For we can no sooner say that All Cats are Dogs than we can claim 2+2=7. Since there are answers which are logically invalid or wrong, there are logical answers which are right. If systems of logic and mathematics have absolutes but are intangible, then according to this view so does morality. We can certainly develop particular aspects of morality, but that does not mean we are changing what is “true”.
But note, not all atheists are moral objectivists or objective moral relativists.
Additionally, the atheist espouses scientific study as the highest source of knowledge.
This is a common picture of the internet atheist, but it does not mean that all atheists believe this. In my studies, there are many students of continental philosophy who regard “science believers” as dogmatic (they call it scientism) and appeal to phenomenological explanations - how we feel and perceive the world to mean something altogether different. Belief that the scientific method is useful and accurate is not required for atheism, even if it is common.
However, science relies on the assumption that there is an actual universe within which we reside. Each individual engaging in the scientific method must first assume that something outside their own mind actually exists. This requires faith.
As I have shown above, it does not require faith, so I will not re-address this issue. However, not all scientists believe that science ‘touches on’ the real universe. Some scientists are instrumentalists - they believe that the usefulness of a scientific theory is key, and it’s ability to offer accurate predictions is what should matter to the scientist. Whether our theories are “true” or speak towards “reality” they either don’t care about or think that the question itself is ridiculous. Instrumental scientists do not rely on the assumption that there is an actual universe within which we reside, they merely produce theories which work for what we perceive. This is not a fringe believe in science: instrumentalism isn’t seen as “wacky” or heretical, it is a position taken up by theoretical and practical scientists alike.
Secondly, the scientific method requires that we have faith in our senses, believing that they will allow us to accurately observe, and accurately read the various instruments we have created to enhance our perception.
Going back to my point on Hume: he says that since our experiences are consistent, it is not unreasonable that we rely on them in the future. This is not faith, but probability: my senses have not lied to me in the past, therefore, it is probable that my senses will not lie to me in the future. By “lie” I merely mean we can use them to navigate our existence, whatever that existence may “really” be - we don’t go bumping into invisible trees or eat an apple and have it taste like spinach. Our experience is consistent, that is how we know to rely on observations and perception.
Lastly, to speak of any morality, we must have faith that certain things are right, and certain things are wrong. We must have faith that there is something that causes this truth to exist. Without it, we are all Pontius Pilate asking Christ, “What is truth?”
Once again, faith is not required to prove that certain things are right and wrong. We can appeal to rational and empirical proofs and convincing arguments in order to show that things are morally objectionable or morally favourable. You do not need faith to be moral, as has been proven by many moral atheists, skepticists, and non-believers. One strong argument for morality without faith comes from Simone de Beauvoir’s existentialism, which you could read in brief here. She explains why we choose morality in a world without God.
In the end, we can see in no uncertain terms that the loudest, the most condescending atheists rely on faith more than they would like it admit. As they like to tell us, Atheism is merely a lack of belief in deity. True, thus, it is not a lack of faith. That being the case, it is not a sign of intellectual superiority or greater rationality.
You have put very little consideration into what atheists actually believe, and the mere fact that we do not all believe the same things about reality, nor do we all share the same moral beliefs. You did not need to rant about how atheists are rude in order to say that they are not intellectually superior - I think the fact that you have offers evidence to the opposite. If you would not like atheists telling you that they have “greater rationality”, prove it to them by offering good rational arguments.
A bizarre slogan that is making the rounds in Christian apologetics is to claim that there is no outside corroboration for Pliny’s account of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius nor any mention in ancient literature of the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum until centuries later. Apologists make this claim to retort to the observation that many of the extraordinary events in the Gospels (e.g. the three hour darkness at Jesus’ crucifixion, Herod’s slaughter of the infants in Bethlehem, etc.) have no contemporary outside corroboration. I say that this slogan is “bizarre,” since (obviously) we have located the volcano, unearthed the cities, and proved that Pliny’s account is accurate. But I suppose what the apologists are attempting to do is to create a reductio ad absurdum of the historical criterion of outside corroboration by arguing that, despite Vesuvius being a massive event that killed thousands of people, only Pliny writes about it.
“The problem with agnosticism is that in the last 2,400 years of intellectual history, not a single argument for the existence of God has withstood scrutiny. Not one. Aquinas’s five proofs, fail. Pascal’s Wager, fail. Anselm’s ontological argument, fail. The fine-tuning argument, fail. The Kalam cosmological argument, fail. All refuted. All failures.”—
Excerpt From: Boghossian, Peter. “A Manual for Creating Atheists.” Pitchstone Publishing, 2013. iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright.
“I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious — except he purposely shut the eyes of his mind & keep them shut by force.”—Mark Twain, Mark Twain’s Notebooks and Journals, Notebook 27, August 1887-July 1888, edited by Frederick Anderson (1979)
Well, I thought I responded to this, but I don’t know how happened to my post.
First, I would like to make an addendum to my last response. You said:
Monotheistic Judaism, like Christianity and Islam after it, owes its existence to power and authority—namely that of King Josiah. If not for him, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Most of the OT was rewritten in the 7th century BCE—during King Josiah’s reign. He was an ardent monotheist. Yahwism was propelled by him. Similarly, Christianity owes its existence to Emperor Constantine
This assertion is simply false. King Solomon reigned several hundred years before King Josiah —from 960-920 BC. It was during his reign that the first temple was constructed. The first temple was based on the earlier Tent of Meeting, predating Judaism back even earlier.
Archaeology doesn’t support your assertion. Solomon didn’t build a temple. He was not the king the Bible speaks of and his kingdom wasn’t as grand as what the Bible depicts.
What about the apparent fine-tuning of the physical variables of the universe which makes possible the appearance of intelligent life? Isn’t that an argument for God’s existence?
Anything that was causally responsible for tuning those constants would have to be extraordinarily fine-tuned itself, so this just pushes the issue back one step, and we are left with the problems I mentioned. We may currently be unable to see any reason why those constants have the values they do, but our ignorance cannot give us any premise from which to derive massive cosmological conclusions.
I think the fact that we came along does not in the least shows that it was the purpose or design of some creator to produce us. That is giving us far more importance than our insignificance on the scale of nature suggests. Homo sapiens has existed for the blink of an eye as a small fraction of the biomass in one small planet on the edge of a galaxy with over 100 billion stars, itself one of some 500 billion other galaxies. It would be very wasteful if that were all just for us. All that wasted time and energy just to get to David Cameron, for instance.
Atheism, true existential atheism, burning with hatred of a seemingly unjust or unmerciful God is a spiritual state; it is a real attempt to grapple with the true God Whose ways are so inexplicable even to the most believing of men, and it has more than once been known to end in a blinding vision of Him Whom the real atheist truly seeks. It is Christ Who works in these souls. The Antichrist is not to be found in the deniers, but in the small affirmers, whose Christ is only on the lips. Nietzsche, in calling himself Antichrist, proved thereby his intense hunger for Christ.
— Father Seraphim Rose
This doesn’t make the slightest sense. In all honesty, it seems that Father Rose is attempting to distract from this. This isn’t “seemingly.” If Yahweh existed, all of these tales would be true. The Christ of the Gospels didn’t exist and he didn’t ascend to the right hand of the father. It follows that he isn’t working in anyone’s heart. By the way, I have a real problem with people who assume that this or that atheist is our spokesperson. The usual suspects are Dawkins and Nietzsche. Haven’t you heard? We’re freethinkers; we may at times influence one another, but we don’t speak for one another. I don’t care how influential the person is.
“As both Aristotle and Confucius realized, context matters a lot, which is why they both considered moral knowledge to be rooted in skills and dispositions, not a set of rules, or in Hauser’s terms, a “moral grammar.”
So the further caution is this: the existence of one’s own powerful intuition about what is disgusting or wrong is not evidence that the intuition has an innate basis. It is consistent with that possibility, but it is also consistent with the possibility that the intuition reflects a social practice picked up during childhood, and ingrained via the reward system.
Moreover, as Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn points out in contrast to Hauser, many moral dilemmas are addressed not automatically and instantly, but reflectively, with long, thoughtful deliberation. Sometimes they remain unsettled for extended periods of time. Jurists, and those in government, as well as ordinary people, may struggle long and hard over the right way to handle moral problems involving inheritance laws, charging interest on loans, taxation, organ donation, eminent domain, “mainstreaming” mentally handicapped children in school, euthanasia for the terminally ill, immigration policy, war, removing children from parents, and capital punishment. On these topics, instant intuitions may give answers that backfire, and fair-minded disagreement can persist for decades. Hauser’s claim that moral judgment does not involve conscious reasoning may apply in some situations such as seeing a child choking at dinner, but it clearly does not apply in multitudes of other situations, such as whether to go to war against a neighboring country.
Attuned to the realities besetting actual moral deliberation and negotiation, Blackburn challenge’s Hauser’s analogy between moral intuitions and linguistic intuitions: “So to sum up they [moral intuitions] are apparently not abundant, not instant, not inarticulate, not inflexible and not certain.”—Churchland, Patricia Smith. Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality, p. 110-111. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2011. Print.
If God wants something from me, he would tell me. He wouldn’t leave someone else to do this, as if an infinite being were short on time. And he would certainly not leave fallible, sinful humans to deliver an endless plethora of confused and contradictory messages. God would deliver the message himself, directly, to each and every one of us, and with such clarity as the most brilliant being in the universe could accomplish. We would all hear him out and shout “Eureka!” So obvious and well-demonstrated would his message be. It would be spoken to each of us in exactly those terms we would understand. And we would all agree on what that message was.
Richard Carrier Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith