Of all of those Big Questions central to philosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, the realms of theology and religions and the nature of deities continue to fascinate. Opinions proliferate in books, articles, videos, conversations in bars and pubs, and in fact anywhere and everywhere two or more humans are in proximity. There’s the pro side; there’s the anti-side. There aren’t too many fence-sitters. I’m still in the anti-camp as the following bits and pieces illustrate.
*It’s easy to invent religions, deities and holy texts out of thin air – out of the human imagination. Scientology and Mormonism are two ‘recent’ examples. So is “Jedi” theology and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Then too in the Star Trek universe we have the Q-Continuum and the Organians and the Bajoran Prophets. The (resistance is futile) Borg are ‘religious’ zealots trying to assimilate anyone and everyone non-Borg into the Borg Collective. As for holy books, the Ferengi have a holy book – the “Rules of Acquisition”.
Christian True Believer: You need to believe in God; the Bible is true; Christianity is the way forward.
Atheist: God isn’t real; the Bible isn’t true; atheism is the way forward.
Christians are highly respected for their statements; atheists are bucketed for their statements. Does anyone else see a double standard here?
*Religion: If you don’t know something, you’re justified in just making something up. I don’t know what causes lightning, therefore Zeus / Thor is responsible.
*Religions tend to start off with their conclusions and hence discount any pieces of actual evidence that doesn’t support those conclusions.
Regarding Religion vs. Science
*Human stupidity knows no limits. On the TV show “The Atheist Experience” (out of Austin, Texas and available for viewing on YouTube), an outside caller who called in to the hosts had absolute proof of God’s existence and reality. In order to prove God’s bona-fides, he insisted that human males had one less rib than human females due to the account of Eve’s creation by God in the Book of Genesis. No amount of scientific evidence, like actually counting the number of male ribs and the number of female ribs would convince this person to the contrary. Human males had one less rib and no correspondence would be entered into on this ‘fact’. There are just people who live in la-la-land and who refuse to enter into what passes for reality.
*According to Creationists, evolution is only a theory [but then so too is the germ theory of disease, the theory of gravity and the theory of relativity, etc.] They apparently need to see an ape give birth to a human before they believe in evolution – but God, now that’s reality!
*Magic is not an explanation.
*It’s not enough to disprove my argument, you also need to prove that your argument is correct.
Regarding Faith & Belief
*Being a true believer helps you deal with your insecurities. Your faith is just a security blanket.
*Theists seem to be of the opinion that if you question their beliefs, that that is paramount to attacking them personally. Attention theists: If I challenge the bona-fides of your beliefs that is NOT the same as attacking you personally.
*If you resolve to take anything on faith, then you can believe anything you want – including six impossible things before breakfast – no matter how illogical. So there is no position you can’t take as long as it is based on faith.
*If faith leads James to religion X, and faith leads John to religion Y, and faith in turn leads Juan to religion Z, and if X, Y, and Z are mutually exclusive, then faith isn’t a pathway to truth.
*”Could have happened” isn’t evidence.
*”It’s possible” is not proof or even evidence of what is possible.
*The default position is disbelief until such time as the positive claim is proven (or at least given some substantial evidence).
*You shouldn’t need to have to rely on faith-based answers to unresolved metaphysical or moral questions.
*Religious faith is most often just expressing a fear of reality (i.e. – death and the other nasty things that can happen to you). The world is a scary place so therefore I believe in my heavenly Big Brother (otherwise known as that invisible magic man in the sky).
*If you can’t convince yourself, then you’re going to burn in Hell for all eternity!
*The conclusion you reach is the point where and when you stop thinking. If your conclusion is “God”, well that says a lot about your ability to think for yourself. It’s far better to be taught how to think rather than what to think.
Regarding Pascal’s Wager
*We all know about Pascal’s Wager. If God exists, it is better to wager on belief in Him than on non-belief – for obvious reasons (i.e. – just in case God actually exists). If God doesn’t exist, it is still better to wager on belief than on non-belief since you lose nothing if you’re wrong in that belief. But the fallacy here is that those aren’t the only two options since of course the actual flaw here is that you might believe in God all you want to, but what if it is the WRONG god? So Pascal’s Wager is not really a sure-thing one-way bet between believing in God and believing in no-God. When you take into account all of the other possible gods, betting on God is a way, way less than a 50/50 proposition. It’s probably more like a 1 in 100 proposition, probably even worse than that. If you believe in God instead of Zeus, and it turns out that it is Zeus who is really real, then Zeus will have your guts for garters and send you straight to Tartarus. Finally, the actual oft quoted answer to Pascal’s Wager is that a really real all-knowing God would see right through your selfish self-interest pseudo-belief in Him. At least the atheist opting for belief in the no-God scenario was being honest.
*If you pray to God or Jesus or any other deity to pass your exams (instead of actually studying), then that qualifies as cheating. Oh, and by-the-way, it won’t work!
*I said a prayer asking God for my team to win and low-and-behold the scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, so therefore God answers prayers. But what about all of the prayers uttered for and on behalf of all those starving children in the Third World? Well, God just works in mysterious ways!
*Prayer is a way to convince yourself that you’re doing something without actually having to do something. So with as close to no actual effort as possible, you can buck-pass your pressing issues onto a deity.
*The Devil tempted me and therefore the Devil made me do it – a convenient way of avoiding taking any personal responsibility for your actions.
Regarding the Soul / Afterlife
*Being dead isn’t scary – it’s how you become dead that can be scary!
*If life (as in afterlife) is eternal, then life (as in prior to an afterlife) is cheap. A finite life (once you’re dead, you’re dead) has way more value than an infinite one since if you have just a finite life you’d damn well better make hay while that sun shines!
Regarding Heaven & Hell
*Threatening people like atheists with hell and damnation and eternal torment just because atheists aren’t exactly like those who do the threatening (i.e. – True Christian Believers) seem to be pretty okay with those sorts of theists.
*Since atheists obviously won’t go to Heaven, that just creates or leaves more room for the True Believers. Maybe that’s why True Believers wish eternal Hell on the atheists.
Regarding the Bible
*In the beginning you are told, or better still indoctrinated, that the Bible is the one true word of God and you start off your theological / religious existence with that basic premise and that fundamental belief. Therefore, you more likely as not never get around to questioning that premise and challenging your own belief system. You never even think to ask, how do they (who told me this in the first place) actually know for a fact what they preach is actually true.
*The Bible is just a book cobbled and compiled together in an ad-hoc fashion by a committee.
*The Bible is not evidence for God, but upon reading it, it is evidence for the fact that humans can author a rather incoherent, illogical, immoral and all around dumb book.
*We know that various Biblical tall tales fall into the categories of science fiction (like the sun and moon standing still in the sky) and science fantasy (like talking snakes), but the horror genre hasn’t been overlooked. We have Zombies! Focus on Matthew 27: 52-53. Alas, the text doesn’t appear to actually say what became of the walking dead! Perhaps they still walk the earth to this very day!
*Do you put up a Christmas tree and decorate it? God will get you for that you heathen you! Just check out Jeremiah 10: 2-4.
*I’ve actually heard this argument given and used to prove the Bible’s bona-fides. Because the Bible mentions Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is an actual place, therefore the rest of the Bible is equally as accurate! That’s sort of like saying that because Spiderman lives in New York City, and because New York City is an actually real place, therefore Spiderman is equally as real. The I.Q. of some True Believers borders on the scary.
*The Old Testament contains a lots that is just plain horrid, but if you had to opt for the most horrid, it’s hard to go past Numbers 31. It’s downright NASTY, especially verse 18!
*Here’s another Biblical contradiction for you. Who begat Joseph, husband of Mary? If you read Matthew 1: 16, it was Jacob. In John 4: 5 it was Jacob. But Luke 3: 23 says it was Heli who fathered Joseph. Who knows? Who really cares?
*The Bible is not a book that can be rated “G”. Just consider the story of Lot’s two daughters having their wicked way with daddy. (Genesis 19: 30-36).
*An awful lot is made out of Biblical prophecy. However, if those way back then could really see the future, you’d expect to find references to such major discoveries as the Americas and Antarctica; exploration as in man landing on the Moon; transportation such as in submarines, railroads, aviation and of course the horseless carriage; why no mention of advances in telecommunications and of course the Internet; why not predict the germ theory of disease and antibiotics, global warming, and the atomic bomb. These aren’t minor issues and they should have been prophesied.
*When challenged about Biblical events and their bona-fides, theists will often ask, “Where you there?” Of course that’s the dumbest of the dumbest of retorts since theists weren’t there either!
*It has been claimed that there can be one, and only one Maximally Greatest Being or God. That seems to fly in the face of the multi-dozens of polytheistic theologies that have been postulated and fervently believed in. In any event, why not two Maximally Greatest Beings – one male, one female? If that doesn’t float your boat, what about two Maximally Greatest Beings – one composed of matter and one of antimatter. That makes sense in that God is a physical being composed of substance with actual structure. God must have these traits in order to have done all of the things He is alleged to have done. So therefore God is subject to entropy which means that God must eat and go to the bathroom and grow old. If these bits and pieces do not apply to God then God doesn’t experience food or waste elimination or ultimately suffer from senility and arthritis and therefore God is not omniscient.
*If everything needs and has a beginning, then so does God. Extraordinary exceptions to universal rules require extraordinary explanations. That God, and God alone, doesn’t require a creation while everything else does require a creation, strikes me as just a case of special pleading.
*Since humans have created artificial life and simulated life forms, and since (according to theists) humans in turn have been created by God, it makes relatively little sense to insist that God in turn didn’t have a creator.
*Does God need to ask Himself “who am I; what is my purpose in life; why do I exist; why am I here; why do I do what I do; and why am I just so damn omni-everything?”
*God has an ego problem – worship me above all else, or else! Methinks God needs some professional help by mental health experts who deal with egomania.
*Further, God definitely has a vanity problem.
*Any God worthy of being worshipped would not want to be worshipped.
*Atheists can’t refute theists ‘evidence’ for the existence of God until such time as actual evidence is offered up. Evidence here is defined as being able to go out and independently verify the evidence that theists claim exists.
*My To-Do List [courtesy of Jaclyn Glenn]
– Create Humans
– Drown Most of Them
– Only Favour One Group
– Kill Myself (for three days)
*God does not want anyone to go to Hell, which is of course why He created Hell!
*Here’s another not too bright Christian (as heard on a talk-back TV program).
Dumb Christian: So where do we get all of our energy from?
TV Host: The Sun.
Dumb Christian: That’s not correct since the Sun obviously goes down at night and thus it’s dark and thus no energy.
TV Host: So where do you think we get our energy from?
Dumb Christian: God, obviously. God is omni-present and gives us all of our energy 24/7/52.
Regarding God’s Intelligent Design
*Might one just point out the human appendix!
Regarding God’s ‘Morality’
*Let’s assume that God created Adam and Eve and at that time these two humans had no concept of right and wrong; of good and of evil. God then instructed them not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Now the question is, could Adam and Eve comprehend this instruction? For Adam and Eve to obey or not to obey would in itself require them to have a knowledge of good (obeying God) and evil (disobeying God) which they obviously lacked. So Adam and Eve had no real understanding of the consequences of God’s instruction, a fact that an allegedly all-knowing God would already have known, thereby rendering God’s command irrelevant. Nor would God’s threat of death through disobedience hold any meaning for Adam and Eve since being the first humans, they never had seen a dead human. Death would have just been an abstract word and concept. In any event, Adam and Eve didn’t die immediately after disobeying God, so God lies.
Regarding Atheists & Atheism
*It is a very common misconception that atheists believe that there is no God. That’s not quite their position. Their actual position is that there is insufficient EVIDENCE to yet rationally warrant and justify any belief in a deity – any deity – or the devil or any demon for that matter.
*If you hate God, you cannot be, by definition, an atheist. You simply cannot hate what you don’t believe exists.
*Atheists and theists agree to disagree. Theists, at least Christian True Believers, therefore believe that those who disagree with them deserve to be tortured for all eternity in Hell because their Bible says so. Atheists obviously don’t wish the same on theists since they don’t believe in non-existent eternal punishment that’s provided to the non-believers in a non-existent Hell.
*Theists claim that atheism is a religion because they believe in nothing. You have to have faith that God doesn’t exist. Actually of course you have to have evidence that God does exist and lack of evidence means no God (or gods) until proven otherwise. The burden of proof is always on the theist since it is the theist who is making the positive claim. If atheism is a religion, then a-fairyism is a religion for those who don’t think fairies exist, again citing no evidence by fairyism believers to back them up.
*Christians tend to call all atheists the same; all peas in a pod. But if atheists were to call all Christians the same; all identical clones, there would be hell to pay!
*If atheists HATE God, which they do according to Christian True Believers, then by that logic atheists HATE Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and even unicorns. Now hear this; now here this Christian True Believers, you CANNOT HATE something you don’t believe even exists in the first place. That would be illogical and irrational.