Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Proofs" that God doesn't exist

I found an interesting website last night, one that I encourage anybody reading this to look at, regardless of religious belief. The site is godisimaginary.com, and it's got a list of 50 "proofs" that God doesn't exist. These are not actual proofs that God isn't there, of course, since that's not actually provable, but they are very convincing. I've read through the first five, and if I had read these a couple of years ago I would have come out of the atheist closet a lot sooner. The first couple show that prayer doesn't work, just like I said a couple posts ago!

Anyway, I challenge all the Christians who happen to be reading this blog (all 2 or maybe 3 of you) to head to this site and read through a couple pages there. I know you probably won't, because you will usually refuse to even look at anything that contradicts your precious worldview. If this is the case with you, well enjoy living with your head in the sand I guess.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I will not be quiet. Just so y'all know.

So since I've been antagonizing religious folk on the internet quite a few Christians have told me something to the effect of "It's fine for you to be an atheist, but you shouldn't try to force your beliefs on other people." When people tell me this at first it makes me mad, then it makes me chuckle, and then I get mad again.

Since my intent is usually to offend religious nuts, I won't pull any punches or mince words here: people who tell me that are hypocrites.

To simplify things I'll address the rest of this post to those people.

First off, you are followers of a religion of which evangelism is a core tenet. You are supposed to force your beliefs on other people. The Bible tells you to. You don't have a problem with the act of forcing one's beliefs on others, you have a problem with my beliefs. Christians talk about God all the time, and hardly ever are they called on it. As long as Christians are talking about how much they love God I will continue to talk about how much I hate him.

Second, I am an American, and so are virtually all of you. As an American, I have the right to bash your religion, whether or not you agree with me. So either admit that you don't really support the First Amendment or be quiet. You can bash atheism all you want, too, but don't tell me that I'm wrong for talking about it.

You might ask, "Well why can't you just leave us alone?" If you were a bunch of peaceful Buddhists meditating in the woods then I probably would. But you're not, you're a member of a religion whose history is drenched in the blood of dissenters. Christianity has been a dangerous and detrimental plague on society for thousands of years, and until you collectively stop killing and oppressing your fellow humans, I will continue to speak out against you.

I will not be silent and I will not leave you alone.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Christianity confuses me

So I'm fairly well versed in Christian lore, but I just don't get it. Here's my understanding of the premise of Christianity.

A long time ago God created hell so he could send some rebellious angels there. Later he created earth and people. The people disobeyed him by eating some fruit, and "sin" came into the world. Now, because Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating fruit*, they were doomed to hell, where God sent all those bad angels eons before. I'm not really sure why this is, but it just is. Two to four thousand years later, depending on who you ask, God decided he'd give the people a break and sent his son Jesus to earth to die for everybody's sins. Why it took God a few thousand years to get his act together enough to do this is not clear. Anyway, Jesus, who was born of a virgin (apparently abstinence isn't 100% effective after all) was God's son, but was also God. He had to die, because that was the only way God, an omniscient and omnipotent being, could figure out to resolve the whole people are sinful because the first people ate some forbidden fruit and now they're all going to hell thing. So, because of some rules that God made up (I'm assuming, I mean, he created everything, right?) he had to kill his son so that he didn't have to just damn everybody to hell anymore. Once Jesus was killed after living a completely sinless life he rose from the grave and now all you have to do to get to heaven is telepathically tell him that you accept him into your heart.

Are you confused? Me too.

If any biblical scholars can explain to my why any of this stuff had to happen I'd be grateful. I really don't understand why God had to go through this big multi-millennia long drama in order to get people into heaven. Why couldn't he have just done it from the start? Does anybody understand this stuff, or do Christians just never stop to think about how the premise behind their religion doesn't make any sense? Lots of questions.

*I'll address how the story of the Fall is an illogical and unfair mess in a future post.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Imagine


I don't really feel like writing anything today, so here's a picture I've seen floating around the internet. Richard Dawkins mentioned in in The God Delusion as an ad for some kind of documentary.

Imagine. Likely the secularists will imagine a better world and the religious people will imagine a bleak wasteland of vicious hedonists humping everything in sight. Personally, I think it'd be pretty rad to not have to deal with suicide bombers anymore, because I doubt many would exist without the 72 virgins incentive.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why do I see a bunch of wealthy Christians?

I've been to a lot of church services in my day, and one of the things I remember a preacher saying is if Jesus says something twice, it's way important, and if he said "he who has ears to hear, let him hear" or something to that effect then it's also very important. Today I'm writing about something that Jesus not only said twice, but said "he who has ears to hear, let him hear" about.

Open up yer Bibles and read Luke 14:26-35. Verse 33 is my favorite: "So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions." (NASB) Verse 35 is the "he who has ears." Now read Luke 18:18-25. This is the story of the Rich Young Ruler, which most people who grew up going to Sunday School know, but almost nobody seems to actually care about. Notice verse 22: "And when Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." The Rich Young Ruler didn't like this, and became very sad.

Jesus' words seem very clear cut to me here. He says twice, in fairly plain language, that in order to be a follower of Christ one needs to sell all off their possessions. He doesn't say "Thou shalt give a little bit to charity when thy budget allows it" or "thou shalt volunteer at a soup kitchen no less than twice a year." He says you must give up all of your possessions and serve God. Now I know a lot of Christians who are by no means rich, but they're certainly not the widow giving all she had. (Luke 21:1-4)

So what gives? Why do Christians still have stuff? Before anyone angrily points out Luke 18:26-27, saying I pulled my verses out of context and ignored these ones, sure, things impossible with men are possible with God. But I don't think that this is just a get out of jail free card, allowing you to keep all your possessions because anything is possible with God. Jesus said in plain language that you were supposed to sell all your stuff and give your money to the poor. He said it twice. I don't think this one verse negates the numerous times poverty is extolled as a virtue in the Bible.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Prayer Changes Things


If you're as obsessed with me as I am, which is probably unlikely, you'll know that I made a post about prayer over a year ago. The message in this post will probably be somewhat different.

The way Christians think about prayer is ridiculous. They understand that God usually doesn't answer prayer. The way I used to rationalize this is that "God always answers prayers. No is an answer." After a few years of praying, I started to notice that the answer was "no" an awful lot of the time. The answer was "no" so often that it started to look like prayer wasn't changing much at all. Now that I look at it from the other side of the fence, the way God answers prayer looks a whole lot like coincidence to me.

Christians chalk up this whole phenomenon up to "God working in mysterious ways." So when God doesn't answer your prayers, he's got his own mysterious reasons for not doing so, and the Christian must be content. On the rare occasion that a prayer does get answered, it's never Jesus thundering down from the clouds on a fiery chariot to silence your annoying co-worker with his gigantic sword. Instead your co-worker gets disciplined by the boss for being an asshole, or whatever. Nice little things like this happen to atheists all the time, and we don't even spend time praying for them. What gives? Y'all have a direct line to the most powerful being in the universe, how come you're not more successful than us?

As for the psychological benefits of prayer, yes those are real. So if you're praying for something in your life that you need to do yourself, like lose 5 pounds or nail a job interview, then yeah, pray like crazy. Praying helps you focus on an issue and sort out your thoughts. I still kind of pray (not to God, of course), because it's how I calmed myself down and sorted out my thoughts for years. Meditation can do the same stuff.

So if you want to pray about your crippling internet porn addiction, go for it, it could help, but if you're praying for rain or your elected officials you're just wasting your time. Really.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Nature, man


Hey people. I know my massive reader base is probably disappointed that I haven't posted in over a week, but I was in the mountains with my brother for 5 of those days and I was feeling lazy for the others.

While I was in the mountains I was again and again awed by the incredible beauty of nature. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is mind blowingly epic and beautiful, hands down the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Nature is really some awesome stuff.

Lots of Christians claim that seeing all the splendor and grandeur of a mountain range is evidence that God exists. What? Does a person who's lived their whole life as an atheist and never thought much about God think that when they look on a mountain range? Do I, a recent convert to the infidel camp, think that? No. It's ridiculous. This is 2010, there are very good scientific explanations for the vast majority of natural phenomena. Resorting to "God did it" is intellectually lazy, and saying "God did it for us" (This seems to be the general Christian viewpoint) is unbelievably arrogant. Mountains being beautiful is in no way evidence for God's existence. You see something awesome, you think "man this is awesome", and because you already believe in God you mentally connect the dots.

Also, I find it interesting that Christians never cite a forest fire destroying literally millions of lives as evidence of God's awesome loving existence. You never hear a Christian say "Man, check out those coyotes devouring that newborn deer. God must exist," or "Hey, that thunderstorm blew these baby birds out of the nest, and now their tiny bodies are all mangled. Praise the Lord!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Problem of Evil

I made a post a couple days ago dealing with the problem of evil, but I seem not to have made my point the way I wanted. I'll just post Epicurus' version of the problem of evil, since he was the first to formalize it and his millennia old argument still has not been satisfactorily discredited by religious apologists.

Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?
Why indeed?

Monday, July 19, 2010

These Books are Good

Hello people. I'm on too many different prescription drugs right now to come up with an intelligent thing to say about philosophy, so I'll recommend a couple of books. Most atheists who are like, into being atheists have probably read these, but I think Christians and any people of faith should read them too. They're very anti-religious, but they're very well written and they'll make you think.

The first is The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris. Sam Harris is a philosopher and neuroscientist who attended Stanford and UCLA and has written two New York Times bestsellers. In The End of Faith he sets out to prove that religious belief is not only stupid and irrational, but dangerous and detrimental to society as well. He doesn't only accuse fundamentalists who fly planes into skyscrapers and shoot abortion doctors either, but indicts religious moderates as well. Read this book, it's good.

Secondly I'd like to recommend The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, a genetic biologist at Oxford with a charming accent. He indicts religion for making people blind to scientific discoveries and uses his expertise in evolution to discredit Intelligent Design. Be warned though, Dawkins' tone is biting, and is not for the easily offended Bible thumper.

If you're a secularist, definitely read these. They'll make you jump around and fist pump like those weird Italian dudes on the Jersey Shore. If you're religious, definitely read these. They'll open your eyes to aspects of religion you never thought of before. If you make it through the book unscathed your faith will probably be stronger than it was.

I'll leave y'all with a quote from my favorite philosopher, the late great Mr. Robert Nozick. "Only the refusal to listen guarantees one against being ensnared by the truth."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Omnibenevolence

The problem of evil has been hotly debated for thousands of years. How does an omnibenevolent God allow evil in the world? Christian apologists have written volumes trying to reconcile the existence of evil with their all good and all loving God, but they were really wasting their time. If God is pure good, he wouldn't ever do a single evil deed. If he ever did anything evil, then he's not purely good, end of story.

God did a lot of obscene things in the Bible. For instance,

-he allowed a man to kill his own daughter in Judges 11:29-40
-he killed the first-born of every Egyptian family in Exodus 12 because Pharaoh wouldn't let the Israelites leave, after he himself hardened Pharaoh's heart against... letting the Israelites leave
-he said slavery was okay in Exodus 21 and Leviticus 25
-he said it was cool to sell your own daughter in Exodus 21
-he said witches should be killed in Exodus 22:18, a verse which led to the torture and execution of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children as young as two in medieval Europe
-he sanctioned numerous genocides throughout the Old Testament
-he killed every living thing on the planet except for a handful of people and two or seven of every animal with his flood.

Even if God is real, he doesn't seem very good at all, much less purely and only good. And lest you think I'm ignoring all the good and merciful things God did, I'm not. I know that God did some fine things in his day, but imagine this: Bob is a fine upstanding person. He's a member of the school board, the pta, the rotary club, and numerous other things like that. He donates 50% of his income to charity. He spends a month every summer helping poverty stricken children in Africa. He spends his weekends volunteering at soup kitchens. He does all sorts of good stuff. He also kidnaps, tortures, rapes and murders a little girl once or twice a month. It would be absolutely ludicrous to say that Bob is a good person. Why do people still insist on calling Jehovah a good God?