I love my son more than anything in the entire world. Since the day he was born I have woken up every morning happy just to know he will be a part of my day. So now that he has told me he is an atheist I am doing everything I can to understand his views better and I have a question I thought you guys might answer for me. I should state for the record I am Catholic. I CHOOSE to believe in God. I know there is no proof and I know there is even reason to doubt but I CHOOSE to believe because I have had a very tough life and I have always relied on the idea of God to get me through. I take comfort in God. I also have always believed that when any religion starts spouting that they have the absolute answer, they have stepped over the line because I don’t think any of us do. I don’t worry that my son is going to go to hell. I am not that kind of believer. I think I am telling you all of this so you understand why this question is so important to me. What I want to know is why it is important to atheists that I don’t believe. If I take comfort in believing, why does it matter to you that I “see the light?” I am not upset with my son for not believing. I am however hurt by his acting as though I am a moron for believing. I am not blindly following some religion. I have spent 40+ years thinking through my beliefs and deciding what I believe in so why is it important to him that I not believe? Again, please don’t be mean. If you want to be mean to me do it another time when I am not trying so hard to understand. – brennanannie (http://www.reddit.com/user/brennanannie)
Hi, thanks for the question.
I can’t speak for anyone else, atheism’s not a club with rules. It doesn’t make a difference to me if you believe or not. If in your heart it provides you comfort, then there’s a benefit to you.
But you might take a look at things from our perspective. As atheists, we’re the most hated minority in the US. We mostly see the bad things that people do in the name of their religion, including removal of rights and supression of equality and liberty. “But I don’t do that,” I’m sure you’ll object.
The first problem is that religious moderates who stay quiet about the bad things grant the extremists implicit support and lend weight to their arguments. If every moderate Catholic abandoned the Church, the angry reactionary types would have no standing and wouldn’t be able to push their agenda.
The other part of the problem is that we don’t feel that we can have an honest conversation about real problems that we face as a society with theists. In the USA, we’ve got poor people starving and going bankrupt because they can’t get education, can’t get jobs, can’t get health insurance, and can’t pay healthcare. Yet the religious segment of the population (at least in the media) is clamoring to cut out birth control and ban abortion, two things that will DEFINITELY have a disproportionalte negative impact on the poor.
We see science, the only intellectual methodology that can actually provide us concrete , physical benefits, being decried and ridiculed as a “secular conspiracy against religion”. Evolution is passed off as some crackpot idea designed to turn people against god, when it’s the only theory that can actually make testable predictions. It’s the whole basis of modern biology for crying out loud, yet they’re passing laws to make teaching fairytales in science class legal.
Global warming, stem cell research, even vaccinations are all being ignored and mocked by religious people. If their beliefs had no effect on the rest of the world, then we wouldn’t care.
I understand that you consider religion a choice, and maybe for you it is. But for me, at least, atheism is not a choice. I didn’t choose not to believe the stories, I just don’t. I’ve never seen evidence supporting those stories, so I don’t see them as anything beyond mythology.
I feel that most religion, and ALL Abrahamic religion, is bad for people. It takes away human dignity, responsibility, and morality. I see it as a way to avoid making real decisions and taking real responsibility for one’s actions. I see it as deliberately closing one’s eyes against unpleasant reality in favor of comfortable fiction.
Any belief system that says people are inherently bad and flawed will only lead to trouble. It creates division where none exists. It separates us into “us, the saved”, and “them, the sinners”.
I don’t think that religion is necessary to lead a good life, and I think it’s antithetical to creating a rational, prosperous future for all people.
Also, don’t forget that people in general, religious or not, are often dicks on the Internet, and you should take any story you read here with a fairly large grain of salt. Reddit skews fairly young, demographically, and kids are usually idiots with gigantic egos. Take from that what you will.
If you find that your religion brings you comfort, then I wish you joy of it. I only hope that you understand a little better where we’re coming from. – BuccaneerRex (http://www.reddit.com/user/BuccaneerRex)
Your the one stressing. I’m happy with my faith. You on the other hand and many atheist love to tilt at windmills regarding God and people that have faith. It’s just funny to me and others that have faith to watch as you and other “freethinkers” wage a war against those of us that have a belief in God. If you really don’t care to believe in God then that’s fine with me. That’s your choice. I have atheist friends and I’m fine with , as you call it, your non faith or anti-thoughts on the subject of faith and God. I’m not angry but it seems that any mention of God angers you. Seek help for you anger issues. You want me to prove to you that God exist. Well my friend, the burden of that falls on you to prove he doesn’t exist. I’ve had a personal experience with God. Looks like you haven’t and never will because you chose to rebel against God. You are not a freethinker. Your close minded. Live your life and I’ll live mine.
I am the one stressing, you say. What statement of mine was that meant to counter? I never claimed you were unhappy with your faith; almost everyone who lives under a religious delusion makes such claims. I could easily assert that I am happy not having faith but that fact is not a valid reason to hold the position. People are “happy” to convince themselves of untrue things all the time. The claim that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the claim that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
You have a fundamental misunderstanding about the issue and your use of hyperbole in claiming that anyone is “waging war” against your imaginary friend is dishonest. Nobody is waging anything of the sort. Keep in mind that I am not the one preaching that should you continue diluting yourself you will be tortured forever after you die; nor am I discriminating against you for your religious beliefs; nor am I the one calling for your rights to be denied because you believe in mythical beings. I am simply asking a public question of your public claims. Where is your evidence, where is your reasoned argument? Our position is elegantly summed by the following.
“We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess, vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact. We know all about your moldy wonders and your stale miracles. We want this year’s fact. We ask only one. Give us one fact for charity. Your miracles are too ancient. The witnesses have been dead for nearly two thousand years.” R.G. Ingersoll
So you really don’t mind – it’s fine with you – that I do not believe in (g)ods; it’s my choice you say. Well thank you ever so much for the permission to do something that I had every right to do in the first place. What on earth would I do without your divine permission to dismiss your magical claims? Oh, I guess I would be writing this regardless. I do not require permission to debunk your credulous claims, to parody your magical book, and to explain how the preachment of your religion are evil and a direct threat to the survival of a free society.
I never claimed you were angry, let us get that straw man out of the way once and for all. We may also do away with the silliness of the idea that I am angry with YOUR god. It would be irrational to be angry with that which is unsubstantiated. The mention of (g)ods is not what angers me; if you insist upon calling it anger. What frustrates and therefore motivates me to donate my time is the knowledge that you and others have willingly surrendered the most precious thing you have as a human being, your reason. You have willingly given your mind over to wish-thinking, superstition, and claims that so long as you remain gullible, so long as you do not think for yourself and merely do as you’re told by all the self-appointed holy men, you will be rewarded with eternal bliss after you die; and that you do such a wasteful and disgusting thing based upon no evidence at all. Your parents and religious peers simply tell you to believe something and you go right along without so much as batting an eye.
I am not asking you to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt; but damn, you have given nothing even hinting that your claims are true. Your assertion that the burden of that falls on me is just factually incorrect. The philosophic burden of proof is the obligation of the party (you) asserting the claim (gods are real). If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic (me), the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed. Sadly, your religion has been based upon a fallacious appeal to ignorance since it was founded by Saul of Tarsus.
Your claim of having had a personal experience with God is a fallacious self-referential appeal to authority. I could claim to have personally ridden upon the winged horse Pegasus but just claiming it is not evidence. I have not, and have no reason to think that you have, spoken with any such being. I am not rebelling against YOUR god as YOUR god is unsubstantiated. I am rebelling against the mind forged tyranny to which you have willingly subjected yourself and would wish to impose upon me.
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas. I am in fact a free thinker, words have meaning, please learn them and stop attempting to arbitrarily define them yourself. I am not closed minded because by definition I form my views based upon logic and reason, which require one to study evidence. I have studied my former, and your current, religion and found its claims to have no basis in fact but rather hearsay and legends. If you wish to present something new then I am your witness and will examine it completely. You are dishonestly using the label “close minded” simply because I have not reached the same conclusion as you and refuse to just “take your word for it.”
The beginning of wisdom is to fear/revere the Lord.
I might understand how you could look down
on the earth and say there is no God, but how could you look up and say there is no God.
You may have wisdom of the world, but what will that get you.
You will still end up in a casket with your flesh turned back to dust.
God owns all souls.
You would do good to consider what He will do with yours.
In reality you do believe in God, it’s yourself.
You believe you were just lucky enough “Really? lucky enough” to just be here, for what?
To fill your stomach, dress your body with goodly raiment, drive fancy cars and do your own will?
I say you are the God. I say knock yourself out because it will end.
Apparently you’ve never lost someone you love, to believe their life had no purpose except for what I stated above is truly lacking wisdom and any concept of something higher than you.
I will pray for you because believe it or not, like or not, deal with or not you are a child of God.
May God give to you more time to realize that, before you go to your rightful place.
You might read Psalm 22.
Jesus words on the cross, written 1000 years before it came to pass.
CAN YOU DO THAT?
Quoting (Proverbs 17) & (EZK 18:4) is a fallacious argument from authority, also known as “appeal to authority” or, in Latin, argumentum ad verecundiam. Although certain classes of argument from authority do on occasion constitute strong inductive arguments, arguments from authority are commonly used in a fallacious manner. You are asserting that your holy text is divine without reason and until you can substantiate your holy book is any more authoritative that the myriad other supposed holy books written by man, your argument fails.
You asked “how could [I] look up and say there is no God.” I do not claim to know that there are no gods. I hold the position that there is no good evidence to think or assume that gods exist, the null hypothesis. Looking up at night and failing to understand what you see does not justify a supernatural explanation, that is an Argument from Ignorance; and just because you have no clue what you are looking at does not mean that someone else hasn’t already discovered the answer.
What does the “wisdom of the world” get me? Let us see if I can name a few things off the top of my head; electric power, nuclear power, solar power, a cure for polio, a cure for small pox, penicillin & numinous other vaccines, x-ray photography, the internal combustion engine, light speed communication, but that is just scratching the surface. Now what exactly has religion gotten us beyond empty promises of a magical theme park after death; all for the low-low price of the complete abnegation of reason and logic? Yes, we all end up in a casket but how selfish of you to think that all of man’s accomplishments are meaningless because those who discovered them later died. The men and women who discovered those things left a better world for the rest of humanity. They accomplished feats which no priest or holy book could manage during 10,000 years of religious incantation and prayer.
Your assertion that “God owns all souls” is fatuous on its face. You have yet to provide evidence of gods or souls. There is no evidence of a big brother in the sky. It is a horrible idea that there is somebody who owns us, who makes us, who supervises us, waking and sleeping, who knows our thoughts, who can convict us of thought crime, just for what we think, who can judge us while we sleep for things that might occur to us in our dreams, who can create us sick, as apparently we are, and then order us on pain of eternal torture to be well again. To wish this is to wish to live as an abject slave. It is a wonderful thing that we now have enough information, enough intelligence, and I hope, enough intellectual and moral courage to say that this ghastly proposition is founded on a lie and to celebrate that fact and I invite you to join me in doing so.
You next assert that I “do believe in God, it’s [me]” but fail to explain how you could know my thoughts. Coming from someone who actually knows, it is my mind after all, I can tell you unequivocally that I am not a god and I possess none of the attributes required to meet the definition. You are presenting a false dichotomy in that if one does not worship something outside themselves then they must worship themselves. You fail to realize a third position, the complete absence of worship. I do not worship myself nor do I wish to make myself a slave, especially towards your unfounded invisible and mute dictator.
You reference “luck” as if chance plays some role in our existence. The chance of you or I being here is %100. The event of our birth has already occurred. Your question is as meaningless, like asking, “What are the chances that Lou Gehrig would get Lou Gehrig’s disease?” You then ask why we humans are here, but that presupposed that there must be a reason. Your belief that you are so special and necessary to the workings of the cosmos is nothing short of hubris.
As a matter of fact, I have lost people I cared about, please stop being such a presumptuous pinhead. My lacking a credulous belief in the afterlife does not equate to their life lacking any meaning; they raised families, they loved, provided, protected, and taught. There life was in no way meaningless and they were all important to others who loved them. This is what I mean, religion has indoctrinated you to think life’s meaning comes from nothing but adulation for a mythical deity; how pathetic. You speak of possessing wisdom, but asserting invisible deities or “something higher” without evidence is the antithesis of wisdom. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.
If you are comforted by closing your eyes, talking to yourself, and surrendering your free mind to the dictates and claims of charlatan priests, that is your problem. I reject your still unfounded claim that I am a “child” of any deity. If you wish to surrender yourself to the master-slave mentality required by religion then that is your prerogative but I will have no part of your delusion. I am in no way the property, possession, or plaything of your imaginary being. I emaciated myself from the wish-thinking and credulous blind faith demanded of the magical claims in holy book. I do not recognize the self-proclaimed authority of mere humans, including you, who claim to know the desires of a deity whose existence they refuse to logically substantiate.
You wrote of my “rightful place” but why not just come out and say what you mean, Hell. I do not think you realize how wicked you sound when make such statements. You say, “Look, you have been made a perfectly fair offer, we know your thoughts and we can torture you for eternity if we want; for the crime of being born in sin. All you have to do is throw yourself on our mercy and it will be OK.” I always have the chance to sprawl, grovel, beg and plead, and I might get off; the essence of totalitarianism. You would have me believe that I am created incurably sick and then ordered on pain of death and eternal torture to be well. This is not morality; it is the most refined picture of cruelty and stupidity possible.
Maybe you should read Psalm 22 and not just take what your pastor tells you on faith.
The piercing of the hands and feet is referenced by Christians as being a prophecy about Jesus’ crucifixion, where his hands and feet were pierced by nails. However, contrasting the two verses in the JPS and KJV give radically different results – the former states that the Psalmist’s hands and feet are mauled by dogs or lions. The latter states that the assembly of the wicked has pierced the Psalmist’s hands and feet. This is a translation issue, specifically over the word ari, or lion.
In Hebrew, the verse reads karah ari yad regal. Literally, mauled lion hands feet. Or, the lion mauled my hands and feet. The KJV, and virtually all Christian translations, completely ignores the word ari. It’s easy to see why they do that – because it significantly alters the context of the verse. If we’re talking about lions mauling the Psalmist rather than the Psalmist being pierced by some unknown entity, then it’s clear it doesn’t refer to Jesus. Fabricating messianic prophecy via incorrect translation is a modus operandi of Christians today and has been throughout history.
On a final note, this Psalm, in the style of most Psalms, is metaphorical. We know David was never mauled by lions, just like Jesus was never mauled by lions. Christians may try to use that as an excuse for why it doesn’t refer to David. At the same time, they will selectively interpret verses as being literal that fit their agenda while interpreting verses that don’t as metaphorical. This is a fallacious double standard. If we interpret each verse as literal, there are quite a few that refute the belief that it is a prophecy about Jesus:
Psalms 22:13-14 “Many bulls surround me, mighty ones of Bashan encircle me. They open their mouths at me, like tearing, roaring lions.”(JPS)
Was Jesus surrounded by the strong cattle from Bashan? Did they attack Jesus? Interestingly we see another reference to lions as well, enforcing the metaphor throughout the Psalm.
Psalms 22:15 “My life ebbs away: all my bones are disjointed.”(JPS)
Were Jesus’ bones disjointed? This would actually contradict another common proof-text used by Christians, which claims a fulfilled prophecy on the belief that Jesus never had any broken bones.
Psalms 22:26 “Because of You I offer praise in the great congregation.”(JPS)
Jesus never did this. In fact, the Gospels portray Jesus as rejecting Temple life.
Psalms 22:31 “Offspring shall serve Him; the Lord’s fame shall be proclaimed to the generation to come.”
Jesus, according to Christian tradition, had no offspring.
One thing I can’t understand is atheists way of thinking. They say Christians are ignorant and believing in our sky wizard makes us idiots. Why is it so hard to believe that God created everything? It makes more sense to me than by just saying there was a big boom and everything just fell into place. Now, THAT does not make sense. Ok, now you can start with the name calling.
Let me do my best to help you understand the atheist way of thinking. First, if you would allow me to define a few terms so that we may have a common understanding. The term “ignorant” simply means a lack of knowledge, it is not synonymous with, nor does it infer that someone is, an “idiot”. An “idiot” is someone who is incapable of learning; an antiquated term which was originally used to describe someone with a mental disability.
Now, if I were to make a formal argument and you had no knowledge of the rules concerning logic then you would be rightly described as “ignorant”. Meaning you lack knowledge concerning those rules, not that you are incapable of acquiring the knowledge. It appears that many Christians stop listening when they are accused of being “ignorant” because they automatically take it as some kind of insult. Hell, I am ignorant of a great many things, it does not mean I am stupid nor does it mean you are.
Why is it so hard to believe that your God created everything? The simple answer that there is no evidence that your God created anything. You will likely disagree with that fact and there are so many fallacious arguments for a supernatural cause that I could spend all day listing and debunking them. If you happen to have a favorite argument then let me know and I will explain the fallacy, but I digress.
The other problem with asserting that “god created everything” is that “god” lacks explanatory value. That is to say, it only moves the problem of understanding the origin and operation of the cosmos from the natural to the supernatural. Religion attempts to answer a HOW question with a pointless WHO answer. If in answer to “How does water rain from the sky?” you stated “God”, the real question would remain unanswered. The question was “how does” and not “who makes.” If the eventual “how does” answer cannot exist without intent then we can start looking for the “who makes” answer. Does that make sense so far?
In over 300 years our scientific interrogation of nature has yet to present a “how does” question that requires a “who makes” answer. Everything we observer can be traced back to interactions which are governed by the four fundamental forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and weak force). There is no need for a “who makes” answer because the interactions governed by these forces never change, there is no decision to be made, there is no mind required. Physical bodies WILL ALWAYS attract with a force proportional to their mass. We call this the law of Gravity. The speed of light in a vacuum WILL ALWAYS be 299,792,458 meters per second.
Now you may wish to claim that these physical laws require a creator but that leads us back to the original problem. Asserting “God” just decided upon the physical laws of the cosmos does not explain anything; it only elevates a natural problem to a supernatural problem. Why did God pick THESE specific laws? We are ignorant of any alternate universes which possess different laws of physics so why even assume that they could BE any other way.
Again, the “God” answer explains nothing, is not required, and is unsupported by evidence. That is the reason why we lack belief in the notion that gods created the cosmos. As “God” has no explanatory value, to claim that “God makes more sense” is absurd. Your parody of the Lambda-Cold Dark Matter model as nothing but a “big boom” reveals your ignorance of the subject. Perhaps if you actually understood the evidence supporting the Big Bang Theory you would not be so quick to dismiss it and claim that it “does not make sense”.
This is the end of my reply and you will notice that I have not called you any names. Would consider changing your prejudicial view of us non-believers now?
the day you and your science are able to create one human cell is the day you will win this argument (about god).
what say ye?
glad to see you used a word like inspiration . i thought that word was only in the christians dictionary.
back to that one human cell business,get busy. you have the challenge and your work lies ahead.
make me an xesit by having your science do so
one egg + one sperm = you or I
isnt creation great? call your supporters. you need them. no paste and cut.
speak from your heart only
thirdum wordum 7-19-1918
Your comment breaks down to the following argument.
This is another classic argument from ignorance, a fallacy with which you appear to be very familiar. You likely find this kind of spurious argument very useful when convincing credulous people to accept your magical faith claims; I know I did when I was involved in apologetics. The difference between you and I is that I stopped espousing such arguments once the fallacy was revealed to me, you simply continue on dishonestly as if you are still ignorant of this fact. It is an argument from ignorance because you are claiming that the ONLY origin of a living cell is supernatural and you do so because you are ignorant of any other method with which a cell could originate.
Your argument falls under the larger category labeled the “God of the gaps”; a theological perspective in which gaps in our scientific knowledge are taken as evidence or proof of God’s existence. Such an argument is sometimes reduced to the following form:
One of the most glaring problems with your argument is that, even at face value, it can be used to justify belief in an infinite number of gods. If you were a Muslim you could claim Allah made living cells and so on and so forth. Your argument only gets you as far deism. You still have all your work ahead of you to show that this creator is not completely indifferent to humans.
With regard to your challenge, this might sound unusual coming from a non-believer but even if microbiologist did manage, with the aid of cutting edge nanotechnology, to create a cell, capable of all the feats required of a living organism, it would not disprove your notion of a creator. The enigmatic creator described by most theist as being space-less, timeless, and immaterial, is completely un-falsifiable. The creation of living cells in a laboratory would in no way falsify your assertion of a creator. You could always move the goal post and claim that we were simply created with the intelligence to copy your god’s original work. Theists have always moved the goal post when advances in knowledge have displaced their magical answers and there is no reason to suspect you will not continue that tradition when your specific challenge has been met.
Your demand that science make you an atheist is laughable. Science is derived from the application of logic to objective facts found in the natural world. Religion rejects facts and reasoning in favor of faith. As facts and reason are necessary components in the application of science, any attempt to persuade you with science will fail. So long as you deny reason you will remain trapped in your delusion.
You are correct, one egg and one sperm will produce offspring. It is interesting to note that your knowledge of the existence of human gametes is a result of scientific inquiry and not divine revelation from your god. Religion taught for thousands of years that it was the man who planted his seed inside the woman, that women were merely vessels for male reproduction and were to be treated as chattel. Now you sit at your keyboard making magic claims while appealing to the very secular scientific knowledge your religion suppressed with fear and torture; all while still making fallacious arguments for your particular god; the nerve! Why not crack open your bible? Why not appeal to the claims made in your magic book? Oh, that’s right; we already know that the myths and legends in that text have been debunked.
Creation is hardly great; a child can recognize the flaw in your statement instantly, IT IS UNFOUNDED. You have presented absolutely no evidence for your claim. “God made us!” you say. OK, next question, what made god; and what made that; and what made that; so on and so forth. Say hello to Mr. Infinite Regress. Now, you avoid this obvious problem by committing the fallacy of special pleading, also called a double standard. Conveniently, everything that exists requires an act of creation up until we arrive at your god, which for some unexplained reason does not require a creator. Supernatural creation is not “great”; it is absurd and an affront the intelligence of the very minds that you seek to enslave. Occam’s razor disposes of such problems, there is no creator.
The following was made by a Christian regarding an ongoing discussion concerning the FFRF and Whiteville, Tennessee.
perhaps people have tired of your rants and untruths. perhaps they do not care to debate you any longer.
perhaps they are realizing there is no need to debate you as the battle was won long ago. you lost.
and perhaps they know that the xeists will never shut up until they close their eyes in death and, perhaps they have realized your are a very small minority and in all honesty really dont matter.
and perhaps they realize that while you are all brilliant you are absolute snobs and stuck up and feel all those who do not believe as you are low lives. and lastly perhaps they no longer have time to play with a bully who is incessant in the manner that he posts and cuts and post links to other sites to firm up his misguided beliefs and apparently lacks the mental and emotional strengths to ever have faith.
thirdum wordum VII 9-25-1919
thirdum wordum VII,
I have not grown weary in the least, rants are OK with me but I do prefer that they have substance; a quality rarely found in the rants which are religious in nature.
Maybe they do not care to debate any longer but that is merely a tacit admission of defeat, an abdication of an untenable position that the supernatural exists. We graciously accept their surrender and ask that they now consider emancipating themselves from the mind forged manacle of a celestial dictatorship.
Their may indeed be no need to debate, what other action can you undertake when all of your arguments have been dismantled and shown to be blatant logical fallacies?
Your claim that religion won the battle long ago is a bit arrogant on your part and shows a complete lack historical understanding. In the debate concerning the age of the earth, the origin of the human species, the cause of disease, the rotation of the earth, the orbits of the solar system, and the moral rightness of slavery,(just to name a few subjects) Christianity lost every time. Your spurious claim that Christians have won any debate is simply laughable. All assumptions must be critically examined; arguments from authority are worthless; whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised. We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be. In every instance Christians lost and were forced to capitulate to the facts as revealed by science.
You statement that a very small minority equates to being incorrect is yet another fallacious argumentum ad populum (Latin for “appeal to the people”). It is logically fallacious because the mere fact that a belief is widely held is not necessarily a guarantee that the belief is correct; if the belief of any individual can be wrong, then the belief held by multiple persons can also be wrong.
I am sorry that you have convinced yourself that we are snobs and stuck up. Our intentions are to persuade you to question why you hold the proposition of a god to be true. Our goal is to show you, via the Socratic Method, that belief in magical entities or anything which is based upon the claims of another human without evidence is unnecessary. Our goal is to dismantle every spurious claim with which you were indoctrinated. Claims later used to coerce you into surrendering all your reasoning faculties for the faith mentality of an abject slave.
We do not feel that those like you, who believe in magical sky wizards and undead Jews, are low lives. You must remember that most of us were once under the same delusion as you are now. I personally spent many hours debating against non-believers but in the end, after educating myself on Aristotelian logic and absorbing all the truly wonderful discoveries concerning how the natural world really works, reason prevailed and I had to reassess my own position. I realized that there really was no legitimate reason to accept the magical claims of holy books and was repulsed when the true nature of faith, the antithesis of reason, dawned upon me.
We are not bullies, you have been programmed to think that we are your enemy, we are in reality your friends; we speak out because we want everyone to be truly free; free to think for themselves without fear that an invisible monster will torture them for eternity. There can be little liberty on earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven.
Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”
― Christopher Hitchens
Thank you Christopher, we will take it from here…
An Essay by: Wrath
Often, I have been chastised by believers for turning my back on the “Son of God”, “Our Lord and Savior”. How dare I reject the one who suffered and died for my sins? The object is to make atheists feel some sort of misguided “obligation’ to believe, shaming us into believing by equating not believing in Christ to African Americans not believing in Martin Luther King Jr. or Harriet Tubman or Jews not believing in The Holocaust. Odd when you consider that atheists don’t believe that Christ died for anyone’s sins, least of all ours. So why would we feel guilty? That creates a bizarre form of circular reasoning. “You should feel guilty for not believing because Jesus died for your sins, but if you don’t believe then you wouldn’t feel guilty which should make you feel guilty for not believing.” It makes no sense.
For the sake of argument, let’s agree that two thousand years ago, a guy named Jesus, believing himself to be the living offspring of the one true god (delusional or otherwise), allowed himself to be beaten and crucified for the sins of man. He became, “The Lamb of God”. “Lamb” in the sense that lambs and goats were often sacrificial animals. Apparently, deities can create animals but can’t eat them unless they are murdered during ceremonial rituals or burnt upon an altar. Or, they just like to watch the beings they created prove their devotion by destroying their own food, goods, and valuables, when really gods have no use for these things. Either way, pretty weird when you think about it. And the ladder is just plain vain and capricious, which of course fits perfectly in line with the other dominant personality traits of the Christian deity. But I digress. If Jesus was or was not the son of God, but believed himself to be in either case, his “sacrifice” was both stupid and unnecessary. How about simply asking daddy to chill out? I don’t recall ever reading about Jesus just asking his dad to loosen up before taking such extreme measures. Imagine if your kid sold an organ to buy a bike before ever asking you for the money to buy it. You’d think the kid had lost his mind. The story of Jesus is no less extreme.
Okay, please help me understand this. Jesus is god but yet he had to die in order for his father, who is also him, to forgive the creatures he created for the natures that he authored that led them to commit atrocities he could have prevented so that he wouldn’t send them to hell? Did I miss anything? Jesus sacrificed himself to himself in order to save his creations from him? Am I the only one who sees something idiotic in this? Am I the only one who wonders how anyone could believe this nonsense?
Self-sacrifice is one of the highest of human virtues. One person’s willingness to sacrifice their happiness, wealth, or well-being, even martyr themselves, for others is a virtue almost without parallel. It’s what makes the biblical story of Christ so compelling. “Oh, he didn’t get crucified for being a rebellious lunatic who thought he was the son of God. He actually was the son of God and he meant to get himself crucified as a sacrifice to his father so that God would forgive man of all his sins.” It’s an emotional story. It pulls all the right chords and pushes all the right emotional buttons. After all, who would not feel obligated to someone who sacrificed themselves for you? The only button it doesn’t push is the logic and common sense button. Because immediately after telling us that Jesus sacrificed himself to God for us, we are also told that Jesus is God. What the fuck? That doesn’t make sense.
Imagine if I were to tell you that I had to torture and murder myself in order to keep myself from torturing and murdering you. It would only make sense if I was psychotic in the true sense of the word, schizophrenic, voices and all. I would have to be bat-shit crazy. And if I did martyr myself in this psychotic way, perhaps you would be grateful to me or fate or luck or the deterministic laws of the cosmos that I sacrificed my life rather than taking yours, but you’d still be rightly freaked out that I was thinking of torturing and killing you in the first place. I’d hardly qualify for sainthood for killing myself rather than murdering you. You certainly would not feel the same gratitude you would have felt if I were interceding to prevent someone else from torturing you by offering myself to be tortured in your place. That would be virtuous, the former is simply twisted. Would any of his victims have worshiped Jeffrey Dahmer if, after luring them to his apartment and drugging them, he tortured and cannibalized himself instead of them? Would they have felt gratitude toward him or would they have just thought, “What a fucking nutjob!” and got the hell out of that apartment as fast as they could? We may never know the answer to that, but I think we have a pretty good fucking idea.
So, when people are horrified that I do not worship or believe in Jesus Christ because he is/was my savior who sacrificed himself for my unending sins, I point out that he must have been nuts to do that. If he was god, he could have simply made the decision to welcome us all into heaven and not send us to hell anymore instead of going through all the theatrics. If Jesus = Lord then what he did was more like some extreme form of masochism rather than self-sacrifice. Lunatics should be medicated, not worshiped and revered.
By: John Tremblay
In a recent online debate with multiple theist I submitted the following thought experiment as an example of the nature of evidence with regard to decision making.
John Doe stops you and informs you that Jane Doe has just been murdered. You ask John Doe to take you to the scene and show you the body. When you arrive at the scene of the crime there is no body, no blood, no physical evidence of a murder; yet John Doe swears by everything that Jane Doe was just murdered in that very location.
What would you do?
Would you accept John Doe’s testament on faith or would you doubt his claim until further evidence were found? Let us suppose, just to spite me, you accept John Doe’s assertion on faith. Great, no harm no foul, John Doe can believe anything he wishes. But wait, John Doe then informs you that he witnessed a Mr. Jeff Davis commit the murder and implore you arrest and charge Davis post-haste.
Now there are consequences, now your choice of belief or non-belief will inform your actions, what would you do?
Would you, upon faith alone, arrest Mr. Davis on the charge of murder and take him before a Judge?
If it is not obvious to the reader, only a complete imbecile would do such a thing as you would be laughed out of court and possibly charged with violating the civil rights of Mr. Davis; arrests are not made without evidence. Jane Doe could very well be dead but until evidence of the murder is found then you cannot rightly claim to KNOW that Jane Doe is dead. No matter how much John Doe cries foul, cusses at you, demeans your character, insults you, tells you that you are of the devil and that you are going to hell for not believing his message. No matter what John Doe says, you simply cannot act without evidence.
John Doe’s claim may be true and the murderer so thorough that he was able to remove every trace of the crime within a very short time span; or John Doe could be under a mental delusion of some sort. At any rate, you cannot base a case upon the mere statement of John Doe. Human perception is sometimes flawed and influenced by outside forces.
The default position is non-belief, until such time as objective evidence is located to move to a belief that Jane Doe was, in fact, murdered. These rules are the foundation of our legal system and work to ensure that lies are discarded and the truth, as much as possible, is discovered.
Likewise, millions of people claim that a supernatural entity exists based upon hearsay from millions more people who were born before them, and so on and so forth, going back 2000 years. They have no evidence, only a collection of writings by unidentified sources based upon stories passed down from people who could not write.
There is, in reality, no evidence for the claim that millions of people make.
Therefore, the default position is non-belief until such time as objective evidence is located to move one to a belief that any god actually exists. I hold the default position and it seems to anger the religious when I point out why their position is flawed and challenge them to support their position with evidence. Religious advocates only produce appeals to emotion, circular appeals to authority, and worst of all, empty threats of eternal torment.