Posts tagged ‘atheism’
In talking with my wife once about my reasons for de-conversion, I set forth some very simple logic about why BibleGod could not be real. I basically said, “If the God of the Bible or Christianity is real, then there are certain, distinct traits about him that we can be sure of. Those traits have obvious and necessary outcomes. We simply need to look for those necessary outcomes. If we don’t find them, we are forced to conclude that the being we are discussing does not exist.”
Knowing the logic of this was unassailable, she derailed it all by saying, “That’s Enlightenment thinking. It’s all human reason as the ultimate. There are more things in the universe than what human reason can deduce.”
Of course the discussion was over then. Once someone takes logic and brains out of the discussion, there are no guidelines to go by. One can make up any specious claims and back it with tradition, “alternate thinking”, appeals to authority, or voodoo.
Of course I knew this was wrong “thinking”, but I needed a bit of time to think it through. Aside from the obvious problem of divorcing the only thinking organ we have in favor of …….. whatever, the big problem with the “That’s Enlightenment (or Humanist) thinking” approach is that it’s bogus. It’s not Enlightenment thinking. It’s just thinking.
Straightforward logic isn’t something humanity only came upon after the Middle Ages. It’s been around since we first starting hunting and using tools. It doesn’t take a post-Enlightenment, college-educated, westerner to think that way. A caveman could do it…
Why is it that people who put on such a show of high moral character and fine virtues are usually the dirtiest fighters, the biggest bullies, and the first to whine and cry when something might possibly be a little less than fair? Hypocrisy. That’s why. And I hate it. To me it’s one of the REAL 7 Deadly Sins.
Hypocrisy: noun- a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
I watch several different sports. I have a passion for Formula One racing, MMA and boxing. I’ve noticed parallels between sports, religion and politics.
While I love these sports, I do watch them differently than my husband does. I get interested in different players or drivers or fighters while he is more interested in other things that are beyond my poor female brain (JK!). I’m explaining how I watch them because I think that’s how I’ve noticed this thing about hypocrisy.
Here’s an example from boxing awhile ago: Mayorga is a trash talking guy who has little skill. He goes in there wildly. Mosely is a fighter who has real skill. He doesn’t talk trash.
Now things happen in boxing. Each guy is there trying to knock the other guy out. Sometimes they knock heads together. Sometimes punches go where they aren’t supposed to, like the back of the head, or anywhere on the back side of the boxer.
I watched 12 rounds of boxing between these two. Mosely never once complained to the referee when Mayorga punched him in the back of the head (obviously on purpose. It’s called a Rabbit Punch by the way). But every time Mayorga’s wild style made one of Mosely’s punches go a bit astray, Mayorga would look to the ref and whine and cry about it. By the way, Mosely knocked out Mayorga in the last second of the final round. It was sweet…
I was a seminary-trained pastor who felt responsible for those I pastored. I was responsible for telling them the truth, and more- for pointing to the Truth, the Way and the Life. My problem was that I could not figure out what the truth (or Truth) was. At one point, I counted at least twelve possible biblical understandings of Jesus and the Christian gospel- all of which were supported by some verses and condemned by others. What was I supposed to teach? The more I studied, the less confidence I had that I could say anything certain about God’s works or will. Eventually, I had to admit to myself that I had no confidence I could say anything certain about God, including whether or not there was one. When I reached that point, I asked my bishop to release me from my ministry.
Back in April, Leopardus posted a video about critical thinking and open mindedness. The same people have now made a video called Putting Faith in its place. This video shows the reasoning that led me to deconversion better than I could. Enjoy.
Ray Comfort has been aptly dubbed “The Grandmaster of Christian Ignorance”. Here are a few choice samples of his utter idocy.
If you would like to see the expanded version, go to his blog, Atheist Central, and look on the right side of the page a little ways down.
• If God didn’t exist, the atheist wouldn’t have something to not believe in.
• An atheist is someone who believes that nothing made everything.
• An atheist is someone who pretends that there is no God.
• The human propensity to gullibility is evidenced by evolution’s many believers.
• It is impossible for a Christian to convert to atheism because a Christian is someone who knows God.
• We have men who call themselves scientists, when they should have instead got a job with Disney as “imagineers.”
• School children should have evolution explained to them, so that they can see how unscientific and crazy it is.
Much ink has been spilled in the skeptical community over the issue of labels. What should we call ourselves: atheists, or agnostics? Which term is more “justified”? Here, I toss my own hat into the ring on this question… and then I will argue that this issue is unimportant, distracting, and, potentially, divisive.
There is at least a small upside to this issue, which is why I’m including my own reasoning. The only potentially serious function it has, in my view, is that it provides a convenient arena in which to explore some epistemology. “Epistemology” is that branch of philosophy that deals with knowledge – how do we know what we know? Hashing out the atheist vs. agnostic question can be an entry way into how we approach questions of knowledge. We can sharpen our critical thinking skills and learn some philosophy to boot. To the degree that they serve that purpose, such debates can be informative, maybe even useful. There’s a serious downside, though, but I’ll save that for the end. So, for what intellectual exercise it’s worth, here’s my take on this question:
I start by defining terms: theism, of course, refers to belief in god(s). Atheism, then, obviously refers to a lack of belief in god(s). Agnosticism is the assertion that it is not possible to know the answer, and thus a refusal to opine (with any confidence) on the existence of god(s).
Now, some atheists define atheism broadly. They suggest it can mean one who asserts, “there is no god”, but also one who simply lacks (by choice or happenstance) any belief in god. This is a rather fine distinction, but real enough, I think. The former position is sometimes called “hard” atheism, the latter, “soft” atheism. However, since a “soft” atheist (a) does not assert “there is no god”, and also (b) does not assert “there is a god”, for my part I do not see any difference between this position, and agnosticism. So, for my usage of these terms below, I will restrict the word “atheism” to the “hard” variety: an atheist is one who asserts “there is no god.”…
Discussions between religious believers and nonbelievers frequently come to a point at which one participant asks the other(s), “What would it take to convince you that there is/is not a god?”
My current answer to that question is this:
All I’d need to believe in to believe in god would be a direct, unequivocal, simultaneous revelation of him/her/itself to all humankind.
Sacred writings are insufficient – we already have plenty of those; they are only persuasive to those who, for psychological, emotional and sociological reasons are predisposed to believe them. Moreover, many of them contradict each other and there are no standardized criteria by which humanity can separate the wheat from the chaff.
Personal testimonies are insufficient – we already have plenty of those; they are totally subjective events, which can be described to, but not experienced by, others. Therefore, differing interpretations of the events are not easily resolved.
Traditions and creeds are insufficient – we already have plenty of those; many of them continue to be useful at the current time, and others have been discarded for more effective or humane alternatives.
Miracles are insufficient – we already have plenty of purported miracles that have, eventually, been explained as natural phenomena. Even if one grants that some events have not been explained – yet – as natural phenomena, the odds are that natural explanations for these events will be discovered eventually. Moreover, even if an event could only be explained as miraculous, then that explanation would raise a plethora of questions about the being that performed the miraculous act: its identity; its character; its intentions toward humankind…