To my Christian readers:
By far, the most common argument I see made against atheists is that while they have moral standards, they do not have a defense of morality and therefore are “borrowing” from a Theistic (e.g. Christian) worldview every time they make a moral statement. This is presented as evidence that atheists have an internal contradiction in their worldview whereby they are not allowed to make any moral statements because they cannot account for the origin – or source – of morality.
Before I begin a discussion on what I hold morality to be, I want to carefully outline a series of important concepts that have lead me to my current position. Before that, I want to outline my interpretation of the Christian argument for absolute morality that for many is a compelling reason to believe in an Absolute Moral Law Giver. The latter is just to demonstrate that I do understand the Christian position and am not trying intentionally to set up a straw man argument.
The Christian perspective is generally a top-down approach to morality, wherein God is the source of all morals. While there are many nuanced perspectives on this, most Christians argue that morality extends from God’s nature. God is good, therefore He cannot do anything wrong or He defines what is right and wrong. Common moral laws (or concepts) found among men are evidence that we share a common nature and this common nature is what separates us from other animals and is evidence that we were made in the image of God. In this way, morality is absolute because it “comes from” an Absolute Moral Lawgiver – so to speak. Hence, all we have to do is “look around us” and see that men follow common morals and this is evidence of God and the fact that we are made in His image…
Today I was thinking a little bit about the reasoning process I see quite a few Christians use. Quite frankly, every Christian I have ever known – including myself – used this reasoning. It goes like this:
So far, all my experience shows me that Christianity is true. Therefore, I should believe Christianity until it is proven false. But because it is wrong and / or uncomfortable for me to doubt, I should do everything in my power to first eliminate my doubts. Leaving the faith requires a serious increase in my doubt, therefore I will work to defend the faith and leave only if I cannot: I will start with the assumption I am correct and only leave if proven wrong.
The inevitable result of this thinking is this: the person works intentionally to invent an explanation of their faith that is unfalsifiable. Why? Because an unfalsifiable faith is the only faith that can never be doubted because no evidence can ever contradict it. Unfalsifiable propositions are the holy grail of any faith system, because it makes the object of their faith omnipotent.
I see this regularly. A believer, when pressed to provide a reasonable and demonstrable test for their faith will inevitably shy away from a… well… reasonable and demonstrable test. Instead, any test and all surrounding definitions of God must be calculated and invented so that their faith will not collapse even if the test fails. Ultimately, the believer is only seeking their own selfish comfort when – ironically – selfishness and personal comfort is the one thing Christianity so lavishly preaches against…
As I have left the faith this last year and half, I have watched old ideas shed themselves from my mind systematically. One of these ideas was the mentality that said I should always be paying attention to / worrying about what other people “think”.
The Protestant churches and schools I remember spent an inordinate amount of time with their finger to the wind of culture, constantly on high alert. Every slight change in culture or thinking outside the church should be brought to the attention of those in the church and critiqued for everyone’s “edification”. In particular, I remember spending a considerable amount of time discussing “post-modernism”, why it is bad, how it is bad, how we can counter it, and how we could witness to those confused post-modernists.
In many ways, I feel like some of the Christian commenters on this blog are doing this. They are here to “feel out” why people are leaving the faith, to get a sense of the changes in culture that are causing the church to lose members. I do not blame them for doing this. If one has the Absolute Truth of the Universe in their possession, it is only natural that they guard it – and themselves – from every “empty philosophy” the world offers.
But this post is not for them, it is for those who are leaving the faith and feel an overwhelming – and perhaps debilitating – responsibility to convert or immunize everyone around them from Christianity. In the time I have spent perusing blogs of ex-Christians, I have seen that there tends to be a period of militant anti-Christianity as people who are severely hurt by those beliefs try to protect everyone else from a similar fate. I went through this period myself…
Let me just tell you the truth. You can deny it, you can invent any naturalistic explanations you want, but this is the truth. If you reject this message, it proves that you are deluded and blinding yourself from the truth because you do not want to submit to the truth and instead are just enjoying the delusion of your religion.
The universe is governed by a collection of supernatural alien races. These races control worlds, ours included.
As experiments and mind control of their creatures, these aliens invent and toy with religious ideas upon their creatures. They make ’supernatural’ appearances (angels, ghosts, etc.) to scare the creatures into religious ways of thinking that help them organize and keep them from advancing too quickly. They have often been confused with the gods of old and the Nephilim and other experiments they have performed.
Islam, Christianity, Mormonism… all angelic appearances and prophecies, etc. are all mind control techniques by these aliens. Even Jesus was a product of one of their plans to control the human population…
When I was at Bible school beginning my study to be an apologist, I spent countless hours studying and rethinking my perspective on the Bible as God’s Word. What follows are some of the problems I ran into that I could not reconcile to a level of satisfaction in my mind:
1) Saying God’s Word is inerrant or infallible seems pointless because interpretation is subject to error. What is the point of a god who makes an inerrant or infallible book and then gives the Holy Spirit to help interpret it if believers themselves still do not know what most of it actually means or if people are always updating or changing their interpretation? The very fact that in two thousand years no one can still figure out how to inerrantly or infallibly interpret any portion of the Bible is excellent evidence that it would be pointless for God to make the work itself inerrant or infallible in any way. Although I can think of very good reasons men would invent the idea of infallibility or inerrancy…
2) God’s Word is insufficient because other tools must be used or invented to interpret it. Think commentaries, archaeology, Greek and Hebrew language studies, etc. If one cannot properly understand what God said unless they study these things, then God’s Word is insufficient. Enough said…
As a believer in Christianity, I reached a point where I ran into this dilemma:
Christians are supposed to follow the golden rule.
Christians ask those outside the faith to seriously question their own beliefs.
Therefore, if I was to be an honest Christian following the golden rule, I should analyze my own beliefs to the same degree which I require those outside the faith to do.
At this point, I began to study the atheist / skeptic perspective in depth and discovered I could no longer hold onto my faith because under scrutiny it was no better than any other religious worldview.
Now then, what I find so hard to understand is how Jesus advocated following the golden rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) yet I have met very few – if any – Christians who seriously follow this principle in their attempts to proselytize.
I guess my question is this: why is this so hard for Christians to seriously do? Most believers I have met tend to isolate their study to that material which either confirms what they believe and / or debunks every other worldview. Why do you guys think this is?