Tag Archives: God

Sin and Morality

I was born this way

In an online discussion about morality, one participant wrote this:

“maybe i misunderstand morality but as i define it, it’s to feel remorse when no strings are attached”

The following was my reply.

That’s not morality: it’s guilt. It’s not uncommon for Christians to confuse the two. If you are a Christian, then I think the biblical focus on sin might be confusing your concept of morality. No matter what our positions on faith, we all know Christians are just as imperfect as anybody else: just as virtuous; just as venal; just as caring; just as petty . . . just as human.

Dictionary.com defines morality as “conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct” and it defines sin as “transgression of divine law: the sin of Adam”. Morality is a human construct. Sin is a biblical construct. Morality is affirmative. Sin is negative. The point of morality is self-improvement. The point of sin is guilt.

The human condition is all about our potentials. Good and bad, right and wrong, greatness and mediocrity. Morality can’t deny reality and remain valid. It MUST recognize the human condition. I look around and see that people are imperfect. Most of us are basically good but make mistakes. As we mature and learn, we try to improve. But we’re humans — not saints or angels. We’ll never be perfect: we’ll never stop making mistakes. All we can do is be honest with ourselves and strive to improve.

But that’s not what the Bible (and the religions it has spawned) teaches, is it? No sirree! We’re all wretched sinners unworthy of salvation unless we do (depending on the doctrine of your faith) one or more of the following . . .

  1. Love and profess Jesus Christ
  2. Get baptized (receive the Holy Spirit)
  3. Obey God’s word (revealed in scripture)
  4. Seek pardon from sin (through prayer or confession) when you fail

Some doctrines preach Original Sin: others don’t. The ones that do are adhering faithfully to the Genesis story of Adam and Eve. Regardless, we’re born imperfect humans unworthy of eternal life because of our God-given nature. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Genesis says God created Adam and Eve perfectly sinless. Well, duh! How can you sin before you’re created? If our nature is God-given, then he created us imperfect: doomed to fail. If God were a more ergonomic designer, he would have created us with fig leaves permanently affixed over our genitalia.

Other than stupidity, what else, but indoctrination, can explain how oblivious so many people are to this heads-I-win-tails-you-lose sham? God made us imperfect humans, then immediately punishes all humanity with death – by revoking our immortality — the very first time one of us was imperfect.

Even if you view this myth as a symbolic moral tale, what exactly is the moral of the tale? The inescapable lesson is a negative one: we should be ashamed of ourselves. We are guilty for our very nature – as if we had some choice in the matter.

And speaking of choice . . . if God endowed us with free will, then you don’t need to be omniscient to know that there’s only one way for us to be perfect but an infinite number of ways to incur God’s devastating, knee-jerk, wrath. If we could only preserve our immortality by obedience to God, we clearly never had a real choice: we never had free will in the first place. Not that it matters. After all, our immortality went down the drain with Adam and Eve – as if we had some choice in the matter.

Biblical sin is the ultimate con: a damn sham and scam. What purpose could it possibly serve for God to place us in opposition to ourselves? Why, by default, are we wretched sinners instead of basically good people who sometimes make mistakes?

What else?

Control.

Now, contrast biblical morality with secular morality: the morality of reason. Is it better to make choices based on the promise of heaven and threat of hell – of is it better to make choices based on logic and reason? It’s true that objective morality can only come from a perfectly objective source, such as (allegedly) God. But which God? The intolerant, genocidal, war-monger of the Bible? What’s that you say? That’s the Old Testament? So what!! Old Testament . . . New Testament . . . he’s allegedly the same God. Besides, Jesus demonstrated an appalling lack of concern for the subjugation of women and slaves. How perfectly objective is that? Do we need that kind of New Covenant in our world?

Morality tainted and twisted by biblical sin is inherently self-loathing. All you have to do is take the primitive spirituality of ancient, superstitious, ignorant, people and apply just enough pretzel logic to hopelessly confuse them. Voilà . . . spiritual entrapment: mission accomplished. As Friedrich Nietzsche once observed: “Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose.”


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Atheism, Agnosticism and Absolutism

Absolute Certainty
.

 

  • “A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition.” ~José Bergamín
  • “The educated in [the critical habit of thought] are slow to believe. They can hold things as possible or probable in all degrees, without certainty and without pain.” ~William Graham Sumner
  • “Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.” ~Bertrand Russell
  • “Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.” ~Richard Feynman
  • “Doubt is not a pleasant state of mind, but certainty is absurd.” ~Voltaire
  • “Intolerance is the natural concomitant of strong faith; tolerance grows only when faith loses certainty; certainty is murderous.” ~Will Durant
  • “Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.” ~Bertrand Russell
  • “I have approximate answers and possible beliefs in different degrees of certainty about different things but I’m not absolutely sure of anything and of many things I don’t know anything about. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things: by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose . . . which is the way it really is as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn’t frighten me.” ~Richard Feynman
  • “One reason why mathematics enjoys special esteem, above all other sciences, is that its laws are absolutely certain and indisputable, while those of other sciences are to some extent debatable and in constant danger of being overthrown by newly discovered facts.” ~Albert Einstein

The quotes, above, are for those who claim absolute certainty of God’s existence or nonexistence. Think about them.

No matter which freethinker discussion group I visit, it seems there’s always a thread debating agnosticism versus atheism. There’s always divergent views about the meanings of these two words. To me, the apparent confusion stems from ambiguous word usage. It should be noted that dictionaries don’t define words for us: they merely reflect how we use words. Lexicographers write dictionary definitions according to the actual usage of words. So, if they are ambiguous in actual usage, dictionaries will reflect this ambiguity. But what is NOT ambiguous is the etymology of these two words. The root of the word, ‘agnosticism’, means ‘knowledge’. The root of the word, ‘atheism’, means ‘belief’. By adhering to what we know, unambiguously, about these two words (their etymologies), we can more easily and clearly distinguish them.

Etymologically, agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive. One can be both. In fact, I’d dare say most atheists are ‘agnostic atheists’.

Atheism claims a lack of belief in God. That’s all. It’s about belief . Belief involves subjective claims and opinions.

Agnosticism claims a lack of knowledge of God. That’s all. It’s about knowledge. Knowledge involves objective facts and conclusions.

Atheism is a subjective (belief) claim. Agnosticism is an objective (knowledge) claim. I lack knowledge of God and I lack belief in God. I am atheist by subjective opinion. I am agnostic by objective conclusion.

I would happily believe in God if solid evidence for him ever surfaced but I think the odds of that ever happening are vanishingly remote. Until physical evidence of God’s existence or nonexistence surfaces, rational integrity dictates that I have no logical basis for certainty either way. So my agnosticism is absolute but my atheism isn’t: I am 100% certain I lack knowledge of God but my lack of belief is only 99.99% certain. Personally, I lack belief in God because all evidence points to natural – NOT supernatural – causes.

God, as a concept, is a meme that can’t be proved or disproved: there simply is no substantive information from which to draw an informed conclusion – much less, certainty.

Addendum:

Technically, we really should first clarify what we mean by the word ‘God’. In the West, we usually mean the personal, revealed, monotheistic, God of Abraham. The Abrahamic God is the god of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Alternatively, we might mean the impersonal, absentee, cosmic, god of deists or pantheists. The Abrahamic God is (allegedly) revealed through divinely inspired scripture: the Hebrew Bible; the Christian Bible; and the Quran. For their respective religions, these scripture are the inerrant, immutable, Word of God. The cosmic god of deists and pantheists, on the other hand, is amorphous. We don’t really know anything about him. He has no scripture to inform us of him.

If, for the sake of argument, we pretend that God is truly revealed by his scripture(s), then we can easily conclude that the God of scripture is absolutely false: contradictory and incoherent. This is virtually as good as proving he does not exist. But the amorphous god of deists and pantheists is another matter entirely. Without any information to go on, we can’t reach a conclusion about him: much less, an absolute one.

So, for me, when I think of agnosticism and atheism, I’m thinking of the amorphous god of deists and pantheists: NOT the revealed god of theists, who, on the authority of his own scripture, CAN’T be real . . . so, logically, I must discount him.

 

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Oldie but Goodie: Why I Am an Unbeliever

Carl Clinton Van Doren (1885 – 1950) was a long-time distinguished professor of English at Columbia University and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer (1938) of Benjamin Franklin. I’m a big fan of his essay, “Why I Am an Unbeliever”. He eloquently covers the main points with a disarming style that persuades convincingly. A quick Google search of Carl Van Doren revealed that his brother, Mark Van Doren, was also a Pulitzer Prize winner, for poetry. Interestingly, Mark Van Doren’s son, Charles Van Doren, is famous for his central role in the quiz show (Twenty One) scandal of 1959. He confessed before the United States Congress that he had been given the correct answers by the producers of the show, Twenty One. The story of the quiz show scandal and Van Doren’s role in it is depicted in the film Quiz Show (1994; he was portrayed by British actor Ralph Fiennes), produced and directed by Robert Redford and written by Paul Attanasio. Follow the links to learn more.

Without further ado, here is . . .

Why I Am an Unbeliever

by Carl Van Doren

Let us be honest. There have always been men and women without the gift of faith. They lack it, do not desire it, and would not know what to do with it if they had it. They are apparently no less intelligent than the faithful, and apparently no less virtuous. How great the number of them is it would be difficult to say, but they exist in all communities and are most numerous where there is most enlightenment. As they have no organization and no creed, they can of course have no official spokesman. Nevertheless, any one of them who speaks out can be trusted to speak, in a way, for all of them. Like the mystics, the unbelievers, wherever found, are essentially of one spirit and one language. I cannot, however, pretend to represent more than a single complexion of unbelief.

The very terms which I am forced to use put me at the outset in a trying position. Belief, being first in the field, naturally took a positive term for itself and gave a negative term to unbelief. As an unbeliever, I am therefore obliged to seem merely to dissent from the believers, no matter how much more I may do. Actually I do more. What they call unbelief, I call belief. Doubtless I was born to it, but I have tested it with reading and speculation, and I hold it firmly What I have referred to as the gift of faith I do not, to be exact, regard as a gift. I regard it, rather, as a survival from an earlier stage of thinking and feeling: in short, as a form of superstition. It, and not the thing I am forced to name unbelief, seems to me negative. It denies the reason. It denies the evidences in the case, in the sense that it insists upon introducing elements which come not from the facts as shown but from the imaginations and wishes of mortals. Unbelief does not deny the reason and it sticks as closely as it can to the evidences.

I shall have to be more explicit. When I say I am an unbeliever, I do not mean merely that I am no Mormon or no Methodist, or even that I am no Christian or no Buddhist. These seem to me relatively unimportant divisions and subdivisions of belief. I mean that I do not believe in any god that has ever been devised, in any doctrine that has ever claimed to be revealed, in any scheme of immortality that has ever been expounded.

As to gods, they have been, I find, countless, but even the names of most of them lie in the deep compost which is known as civilization, and the memories of few of them are green. There does not seem to me to be good reason for holding that some of them are false and some of them, or one of them, true. Each was created by the imaginations and wishes of men who could not account for the behavior of the universe in any other satisfactory way. But no god has satisfied his worshipers forever. Sooner or later they have realized that the attributes once ascribed to him, such as selfishness or lustfulness or vengefulness, are unworthy of the moral systems which men have evolved among themselves. Thereupon follows the gradual doom of the god, however long certain of the faithful may cling to his cult. In the case of the god who still survives in the loyalty of men after centuries of scrutiny, it can always be noted that little besides his name has endured. His attributes will have been so revised that he is really another god. Nor is this objection met by the argument that the concept of the god has been purified while the essence of him survived. In the concept alone can he be studied; the essence eludes the grasp of the human mind. I may prefer among the various gods that god who seems to me most thoroughly purged of what I regard as undivine elements, but I make my choice, obviously, upon principles which come from observation of the conduct of men. Whether a god has been created in the image of gross desires or of pure desires does not greatly matter. The difference proves merely that different men have desired gods and have furnished themselves with the gods they were able to conceive. Behind all their conceptions still lies the abyss of ignorance. There is no trustworthy evi­dence as to a gods absolute existence.

Nor does the thing called revelation, as I see it, carry the proof further. All the prophets swear that a god speaks through them, and yet they prophesy contradictions. Once more, men must choose in accordance with their own principles. That a revelation was announced long ago makes it difficult to examine, but does not otherwise attest its soundness. That some revealed doctrine has lasted for ages and has met the needs of many generations proves that it is the kind of doctrine which endures and satisfies, but not that it is divine. Secular doctrines which turned out to be perfectly false have also endured and sat­isfied. If belief in a god has to proceed from the assumption that he exists, belief in revelation has first to proceed from the assumption that a god exists and then to go further to the assumption that he com­municates his will to certain men. But both are mere assumptions. Neither is, in the present state of knowledge, at all capable of proof. Suppose a god did exist, and suppose he did communicate his will to any of his creatures. What man among them could comprehend that language? What man could take that dictation? And what man could overwhelmingly persuade his fellows that he had been selected and that they must accept him as authentic? The best they could do would be to have faith in two assumptions and to test the revealed will by its correspondence to their imaginations and wishes. At this point it may be contended that revelation must be real because it arouses so much response in so many human bosoms. This does not follow without a leap of the reason into the realm of hypothesis. Nothing is proved by this general response except that men are everywhere very much alike. They have the same members, the same organs, the same glands, in varying degrees of activity. Being so much alike, they tend to agree upon a few primary desires. Physical and social conditions brings about a general similarity in prophecies.

One desire by which the human mind is often teased is the desire to live after death. It is not difficult to explain. Men live so briefly that their plans far outrun their ability to execute them. They see themselves cut off before their will to live is exhausted. Naturally enough, they wish to survive, and, being men, believe in their chances for survival. But their wishes afford no possible proof. Life covers the earth with wishes, as it covers the earth with plants and animals. No wish, however, is evidence of anything beyond itself. Let millions hold it, and it is still only a wish. Let each separate race exhibit it, and it is still only a wish. Let the wisest hold it as strongly as the foolishest, and it is still only a wish. Whoever says he knows that immortality is a fact is merely hoping that it is. And whoever argues, as men often do, that life would be meaningless without immortality because it alone brings justice into human fate, must first argue, as no man has ever quite convincingly done, that life has an unmistakable meaning and that it is just. I, at least, am convinced on neither of these two points. Though I am, I believe, familiar with all the arguments, I do not find any of them notably better than the others. All I see is that the wish for immortality is widespread, that certain schemes of immortality imagined from it have here or there proved more agreeable than rival schemes, and that they have been more generally accepted. The religions which provide these successful schemes I can credit with keener insight into human wishes than other religions have had, but I cannot credit them with greater authority as regards the truth. They are all guesswork.

That I think thus about gods, revelation, and immortality ought to be sufficient answer to the question why I am an unbeliever. It would be if the question were always reasonably asked, but it is not. There is also an emotional aspect to be considered. Many believers, I am told, have the same doubts, and yet have the knack of putting their doubts to sleep and entering ardently into the communion of the faithful. The process is incomprehensible to me. So far as I understand it, such believers are moved by their desires to the extent of letting them rule not only their conduct but their thoughts. An unbelievers desires have, apparently, less power over his reason. Perhaps this is only another way of saying that his strongest desire is to be as reasonable as he can. However the condition be interpreted, the consequence is the same. An honest unbeliever can no more make himself believe against his reason than he can make himself free of the pull of gravitation. For myself, I feel no obligation whatever to believe. I might once have felt it prudent to keep silence, for I perceive that the race of men, while sheep in credulity, are wolves for conformity; but just now, happily, in this breathing-spell of toleration, there are so many varieties of belief that even an unbeliever may speak out.

In so doing I must answer certain secondary questions which unbelievers are often asked. Does it not persuade me, one question runs, to realize that many learned men have pondered upon supernatural matters and have been won over to belief? I answer, not in the least. With respect to the gods, revelation, and immortality no man is enough more learned than his fellows to have the right to insist that they follow him into the regions about which all men are ignorant. I am not a particle more impressed by some good old mans conviction that he is in the confidence of the gods than I am by any boys conviction that there are fish in the horse-pond from which no fish has ever been taken. Does it not impress me to see some good old woman serene in the faith of a blessed immortality? No more than it impresses me to see a little girl full of trust in the universal munificence of a Christmas saint. Am I not moved by the spectacle of a great tradition of worship which has broadened out over continents and which brings all its worshipers punctually together in the observance of noble and dignified rites? Yes, but I am moved precisely by that as I am moved by the spectacle of men everywhere putting their seed seasonably in the ground, tending its increase, and patiently gathering in their harvests.

Finally, do I never suspect in myself some moral obliquity, or do I not at least regret the bleak outlook of unbelief? On these points I am, in my own mind, as secure as I know how to be. There is no moral obligation to believe what is unbelievable, any more than there is a moral obligation to do what is undoable. Even in religion, honesty is a virtue. Obliquity, I should say, shows itself rather in prudent pretense or in voluntary self-delusion. Furthermore, the unbelievers have, as I read history, done less harm to the world than the believers. They have not filled it with savage wars or snarled casuistries, with crusades or persecutions, with complacency or ignorance. They have, instead, done what they could to fill it with knowledge and beauty, with temperance and justice, with manners and laughter. They have numbered among themselves some of the most distinguished specimens of mankind. And when they have been undistinguished, they have surely not been inferior to the believers in the fine art of minding their own affairs and so of enlarging the territories of peace.

Nor is the outlook of unbelief, to my way of thinking, a bleak one. It is merely rooted in courage and not in fear. Belief is still in the plight of those ancient races who out of a lack of knowledge peopled the forest with satyrs and the sea with ominous monsters and the ends of the earth with misshapen anthropophagi. So the pessimists among believers have peopled the void with witches and devils, and the opti­mists among them have peopled it with angels and gods. Both alike have been afraid to furnish the house of life simply. They have cluttered it with the furniture of faith. Much of this furniture, the most reasonable unbeliever would never think of denying, is very beautiful. There are breathing myths, there are comforting legends, there are consoling hopes. But they have, as the unbeliever sees them, no authority beyond that of poetry. That is, they may captivate if they can, but they have no right to insist upon conquering. Beliefs, like tastes, may differ. The unbelievers taste and belief are austere. In the wilderness of worlds he does not yield to the temptation to belittle the others by magnifying his own. Among the dangers of chance he does not look for safety to any watchful providence whose special concern he imagines he is. Though he knows that knowledge is imperfect, he trusts it alone. He takes, therefore, the less delight in metaphysics, he takes the more in physics. Each discovery of a new truth brings him a vivid joy. He builds himself up, so far as he can, upon truth, and barricades himself with it. Thus doing, he never sags into superstition, but grows steadily more robust and blithe in his courage. However many fears he may prove unable to escape, he does not multiply them in his imagination and then combat them with his wishes. Austerity may be simplicity and not bleakness.

Does the unbeliever lack certain of the gentler virtues of the believer, the quiet confidence, the unquestioning obedience? He may, yet it must always be remembered that the greatest believers are the greatest tyrants. If the freedom rather than the tyranny of faith is to better the world, then the betterment lies in the hands, I think, of the unbelievers. At any rate, I take my stand with them.

Where Ex-Atheists Come From

The blue pill is religion. The red pill is atheism. Cypher represents an ex-atheist.

Where Ex-Atheists Come From

Every once in a while, we read or hear about an atheist who has converted to Christianity or Islam or Judaism. I just can’t wrap my mind around what that process must entail. How do you move from atheism to religion: rationality to superstition? It just doesn’t make sense. However, it’s a bit easier to understand if the ex-atheist became a Buddhist, deist or pantheist: these belief systems aren’t really full-blown religions – they don’t have a personal God who meddles in human affairs or performs miracles or answers prayers.

Atheists have, ostensibly, reasoned their way free of superstition, religion and God(s). This implies an aptitude for the application of logic. Yet we sometimes run across atheists who see conspiracy theories everywhere they turn . . . or who soak up Islamic, vegan, or other extremist propaganda without critical analysis . . . or who get suckered into New Age bullshit, like pyramid power . . . or who are prone to anthropomorphizing . . . or who reason viscerally, by feelings, rather than logic. These kinds of things make me question if their atheism is well grounded in reason. If they reason so poorly with other issues, how well did they reason with God and religion?

Then it struck me . . . this is where those inexplicable ex-atheists come from. They never really grounded themselves in freethought. They may have wanted to . . . but simply failed. Fortunately, ex-atheists are a rare breed. I guess that’s testimony to the staying power of enlightenment. So now I have a plausible theory for what might actually be happening: some people identify with freethought but have never really freed their thoughts. Their atheism was never really solid in the first place. It’s not so much that they’re ex-atheists; rather, they’re failed atheists.

I know that nobody has actually ‘freed their thoughts’ entirely. We’re human, not Vulcan. So I suppose it must be a matter of degrees. Nonetheless, I think most atheists are reasonably grounded in logic and that there’s no chance in hell they’ll ever renounce logic in favor of superstition — not even for an 11th-hour, or death-bed, conversion.

Most ex-atheists who adopt a formal religion probably never really shook themselves loose from God’s grip. To them, God is a meme they can’t ignore.

 


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eMail: AtheistExile@AtheistExile.com


http://www.limetorrents.com/download/The-X-Factor-US-S02E12-HDTV-x264-2HD-1596811

God is Flawed

God tells Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If this was the only way they could understand the difference between good and evil, how could they have known that it was wrong to disobey God and eat the fruit?” ~Laurie Lynn

Satan and Jesus square off
GOoD vs dEVIL

Have you ever done something you regret? If so, how does that compare to eating a fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”? If sin is disobedience to God and all sins are the same to God, then eating the apple was, by God’s own terms, a pedestrian sin.

Yet God condemned all of us to death because of a single sin: the first sin ever sinned. Are you guilty of Eve’s sin? Of course not! No more so than for Lindsay Lohan’s sins or for mine. Right off the bat, common sense tells us that the Bible, in Genesis, is preaching a twisted morality. It puts us in opposition to ourselves by claiming our nature is sinful.

I’m no genius but I know a scam when I see one. Biblical sin is God’s heads-I-win-tails-you-lose con game: it’s a sham used to manipulate and control us via fear and guilt. I reject the neurosis of biblical sin: I believe our nature is basically good but we sometimes make mistakes. Hell, if we believe we’re not good, we probably won’t be.

But that’s definitely not what the Bible preaches, is it? We’re ALL unworthy, wretched, sinners.

The Bible says God created the universe and everything in it, including Adam and Eve. He did this in 6 days; executing his allegedly perfect plan on schedule and without a hitch (except that Eve was an afterthought). Adam and Eve were pure and sinless: they had all eternity, in Eden, to bask in God’s glory.

Unless, of course, they pissed Him off.

And it doesn’t take much to piss off God. No sir! And second chances? Forget about it. One mistake and you’re history. By the way, all of your offspring, forever, will also be cursed with death. How do you like them apples?

Because of Adam and Eve, we’re all born guilty of “Original Sin”. So much for God’s perfect plan (let’s call it, “plan A”). In fact, Original Sin made the human condition so intractably degenerate that God had to wipe out all life (human or not) with a catastrophic flood so that Noah’s family could start humanity anew, from scratch. This was God’s idea of plan B.

Well guess what? God’s plan B was all for naught. A few thousand years later, humanity had repopulated itself from Noah’s incestuous Ark and – surprise, surprise – was no better than before. I guess that’s what inbreeding gets you. You’d think God would have learned that the first time around.

Time for plan C.

This time, instead of genocide, God chose suicide. He came to Earth personally, as Jesus, to act out a script he divinely inspired, in biblical prophesy, that ended with his own trial, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension back home to heaven.

Why did God do this? Original Sin. Because of Original Sin, we can never be innocent enough for eternal life. We must be forgiven before heaven’s gates will open for us. If you know your dogma, you know Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross so that we may be redeemed from sin (and have everlasting life). Because God eternally cursed mankind with death, he had to provide some means for our redemption. The alternative was to abandon us. Quite a conundrum God put himself in, no?

Basically, God had to “save” us from the curse he imputed upon us to begin with. I’m amazed that so many people don’t see through this preposterous charade. Perhaps the pretzel logic is too tangled for most to unravel. The Bible would have us believe – and doctrine upholds – that we are all miserable wretches who will be granted eternal life only if we love Jesus. Of course, this assumes we can trust God not to resort to a plan D or E or whatever. After all, God is perfect and all-powerful: who’s going to stop him from tossing out plan C if he decides, yet again, that he still hasn’t gotten creation right?

God must regret cursing mankind with death. God is perfect, so we can’t say he makes mistakes; I prefer to say he has regrets. Anyway, I suppose God was hot-headed in his youth; the Old Testament clearly depicts him with a short fuse. So once he imputed death upon us, he couldn’t “un-impute” it. I mean, he’s God! Right? His word is law and immutable. What kind of self-respecting, omniscient, God would change his mind? If God is love, then I guess it’s true that, “love means never having to say you’re sorry”.

Eventually, God found a loophole in his own immutable law: leave mankind cursed but offer individuals an exemption by redemption. Yeah, that’s the ticket! For Christ’s sake – why didn’t God think of plan C before plan B? After all, if redemption is a workable plan, God flooded the Earth and wiped-out humanity for nothing. I hate when that happens!

From Original Sin to redemption, Eden to Gethsemane, the story twists a pretzel-logic plot of servile spiritual entrapment, with a theme of self-loathing morality.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I think the Supreme Being should be an elected position. Surely we can put somebody with more compassion and foresight onto the throne of the Ruler of the Universe. At least, if we elect poorly, we can vote for a replacement next time.


© Copyright 2011 AtheistExile.com
eMail: AtheistExile@AtheistExile.com


George Carlin Video: Religion is Bullshit

The all-time king of stand-up comedy (R.I.P.) was in prime form when he performed Religion is Bullshit.  One of his best routines.  I’m sure not all those audience members laughing their asses off were atheists.  Perhaps humor is the most effective proselytizing technique.

N E W S :
I’ve created an English transcript of this video. It’s available here.

In the bullshit department, a businessman can’t hold a candle to a clergyman. ‘Cuz I’ve gotta tell you the truth, folks, when it comes to bullshit – big time, major league, bullshit – you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion. No contest.

Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of 10 things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these 10 things, he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry, forever and ever until the end of time.

But he loves you.

He loves you and he needs money. He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing and all-wise – somehow, he just can’t handle money. Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story . . . holy shit!

I want you to know (this is sincere) when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God who created each of us in his own image and likeness, loves us very much and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize something is fucked up.

Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe this guy would’ve been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say ‘this guy’, because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man. No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit – which I admire in a person and which would explain a lot of these bad results.

So rather than be just another mindless religious robot, mindlessly and aimlessly and blindly believing that all of this is in the hands of some spooky incompetent father-figure who doesn’t give a shit, I decided to look around for something else to worship. Something I could really count on. And immediately I thought of the sun. Happened like that. Overnight I became a sun worshiper. Well, not overnight – you can’t see the sun at night – but first thing the next morning I became a sun-worshipper. Several reasons. First of all, I can see the sun. Okay? Unlike some other gods I could mention, I can actually see the sun. I’m big on that. If I can see something . . . I don’t know . . . it kind of helps the credibility along, you know? So everyday I can see the sun as it gives me everything I need: heat, light, food, flowers in the park, reflections on the lake, an occasional skin cancer – but hey – at least there are no crucifixions and we’re not setting people on fire simply because they don’t agree with us.

Sun worship is fairly simple. There’s no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn and we don’t have a special building where we all gather, once a week, to compare clothing. And the best thing about the sun? It never tells me I’m unworthy. Doesn’t tell me I’m a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn’t said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So I worship the sun. But I don’t pray to the sun. Know why? I wouldn’t presume on our friendship: it’s not polite.

I’ve often thought people treat God rather rudely, don’t you? Asking trillions and trillions of prayers every day. Asking and pleading and begging for favors. Do this. Give me that. I need a new car. I want a better job. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday . . . his day off. It’s not nice and it’s no way to treat a friend.

But people do pray and they pray for a lot of different things. You know . . . your sister needs an operation on her crotch; your brother was arrested for defecating in a mall; but most of all, you’d really like to fuck that hot little redhead down at the convenience store. You know, the one with the eye patch and the club foot? Can you pray for that? I think you’d have to. And I say fine. Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything . . . but what about the divine plan? Remember that? The divine plan?

Long time ago, God made a divine plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the divine plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s divine plan? What do you want him to do? Change his plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a divine plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down schmuck with a two-dollar prayer book can come along and fuck up your plan?

And here’s something else. Another problem you might have. Suppose your prayers aren’t answered. What do you say? “Well, it’s God’s will. Thy Will Be Done.” Fine. But if it’s God’s will and he’s going to do what he wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me. Couldn’t you just skip the praying part and go right to his will? It’s all very confusing.

So to get around a lot of this, I decided to worship the sun. But as I said, I don’t pray to the sun. You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: first of all, I think he’s a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn’t fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.

For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog, Joe Pesci straightened that cocksucker out with one visit. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat.

So I’ve been praying to Joe for about a year now and I noticed something: I noticed that all the prayers I used to offer to God and all the prayers I now offer to Joe Pesci are being answered at about the same 50% rate. Half the time I get what I want, half the time I don’t. Same as God: fifty-fifty. Same as the four-leaf clover and the horseshoe; the wishing well and the rabbit’s foot: same as the mojo man; same as the voodoo lady who tells you your fortune by squeezing the goat’s testicles . . . it’s all the same, fifty-fifty. So just pick your superstition, sit back, make a wish and enjoy yourself.

And for those of you who look to the Bible for moral lessons and literary qualities, I might suggest a couple of other stories for you. You might want to look at the Three Little Pigs, that’s a good one. Has a nice happy ending, I’m sure you’ll like that. Then there’s Little Red Riding Hood, although it does have that x-rated part where the big bad wolf actually eats the grandmother. Which I didn’t care for, by the way. And finally, I’ve always drawn a great deal of moral comfort from Humpty Dumpty. The part I like the best? All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. That’s because there is no Humpty Dumpty and there is no God. None. Not one. No God. Never was. In fact, I’m gonna put it this way: if there is a God, may he strike this audience dead.

See? Nothing happened. Everybody’s okay? All right. Tell you what – I’ll raise the stakes a little bit. If there is a God, may he strike me dead. See? Nothing happened . . . oh wait . . . I’ve got a little cramp in my leg . . . and my balls hurt . . . plus I’m blind . . . oh . . . now I’m okay again. Must have been Joe Pesci, huh? God bless Joe Pesci.

Thank you all very much. Joe Bless you. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

The Death of Christian Apologetics

·

Many Christian apologists try to give the impression that slavery was upheld in the Old Testament only. The fact is, it was also upheld – by none other than Jesus himself – in the New Testament. It’s gospel! Here’s the verse (Luke 12:47 – 48) . . .

Beat slaves who did wrong with many stripes, unless they knew not their wrong, then few stripes.

. . . Paul and Peter also upheld slavery in the New Testament. Come to think of it, there’s not a single word against slavery in the entire Bible.

There’s all kinds of immoral acts condoned, upheld or even encouraged in the Bible: bloodlust, incest, genocide, vengeance, battlefield atrocities, slavery, etc. But, as far as I know, human subjugation (slavery and male dominance over women) is the only one endorsed by BOTH the Old and New Testaments. This fact is important because it preempts the old apologist cop out: “That was the old covenant of the Old Testament but Jesus changed things with his new covenant of the New Testament”. They can discount the Old Testament all they want but slavery is also upheld in the New Testament by the ultimate authority: Jesus himself . . . God in the flesh.

Apologists are persistent, so next they’ll likely attempt to claim the word, ‘slave’, is a mis-translation. But it’s not. The Greek word, ‘doulos’, plainly means slave and is used unambiguously in the Bible. Some translations of the Bible soften the word into ‘servant’ but that’s an intentional attempt to mask an obvious weakness.

Once you shoot down that lame claim, you’re likely to be told slavery was kinder and gentler back in the Biblical era. The other day, one such apologist claimed slaves were better treated because their masters knew that, by law, they had to manumit their slaves after 7 years (some experts claim it was actually 6 years) . . . and this foreknowledge “tempered the master’s temper”. However, that claim was a conscious, calculated, misrepresentation. The fact is: only indentured Jewish MALE slaves – Hebrew MEN who sold themselves into bondage because of extreme poverty or debt – had to be manumitted. But non-Jewish slaves (mostly Canaanites) were chattel for life and could be passed from generation to generation through inheritance. And guess what? Females sold into slavery by their families – even if they were Jews – were slaves for life! That’s right, Hebrew male slaves get manumitted after 7 years . . . but Hebrew female slaves were chattel slaves for life. The human subjugation double-whammy, in the Bible, is reserved for women.

The bottom line is that real slaves (not the indentured, Jewish, MALE, slaves) were property for life and could be whipped or raped at the discretion of his/her master. Chattel slavery is chattel slavery: human subjugation is not kind or gentle. Or moral.

Some will claim that, when Jesus spoke (in Luke 12:47 – 48) about beating slaves, he was telling a parable. That’s not true. He wasn’t telling a parable – he was explaining one (Luke 12:35 – 40): clarifying a point about responsibility and accountability. But even if he was . . . parables take commonplace ideas to convey, by comparison or analogy, deeper ideas. So, if Jesus used the beating of slaves to convey lessons about responsibility and accountability . . . what does that say about his concern for slavery? It says he doesn’t give it a second thought! It’s a natural part of the order of things as far as Jesus is concerned.

The final, desperate, maneuver of the Christian apologist is to claim the “culture” or “prevailing attitudes” were different in the Biblical era. And that is the final nail in the coffin of the hapless apologist. By suggesting slavery is morally relative – justified by prevailing attitudes – one is admitting the immutable word of God is subjective, not objective, and not immutable or perfect or moral after all. Besides, God had always upheld slavery . . . nobody needed “prevailing attitudes” to make it okay.

Apologists can’t have it both ways. Either God’s word is immutable or it’s not. Either God is good and perfect, or he’s not. Either God is the source and final arbiter of morality or he’s not. Either the holy Bible is true and the divinely inspired word of God or it’s not.

And if God and the Bible are moral, true and perfect, then so is the slavery they uphold. But we know better. Don’t we? Slavery can no longer be upheld. We’ve grown beyond that. There’s no way in hell we will ever re-normalize slavery in order to align mankind’s morality with God’s. That slave ship has sailed. It’s over.

This fact puts slavery out of reach of Christian apologetics. Anybody can see – unless they refuse to – that if God’s morality grows outdated, it was never true or perfect to begin with. Clearly, God’s word is not the objective truth. In fact, God stands corrected by us ALL: believers and nonbelievers alike. If we must overrule God, we’re better off without him.

The single issue of slavery is all it takes to prove God is not moral, timeless or perfect – and neither is his split-personality scripture. If the allegedly omniscient, omnipotent, God or his scripture can’t stand the test of time, they’re frauds.

P.S.
Of course, all this presumes the Biblical God exists in the first place.


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