I need no sympathy from you!


I recently commented on a post on a random blog on a post where the OP[I don’t feel like linking the post today] had written something to the effect that atheists need sympathy and had tried to set rules for the game. In short he/she said any discussions with christians has to be centred on Jesus, not god.  He says in part

So in looking at atheism, which is not merely a rejection of christianity, but of any ‘religion’ that may be described as theistic, I do have a great deal of sympathy. After all, if the existence of God had been proved there would be no need for much further discussion and we could all agree. But the fact remains that God’s existence has not been proved. There is still doubt and disbelief, and that is not entirely irrational.

I certainly have a problem with this especially that we require sympathy, but in general I think he was generally polite. There is one guy who commented and whom I think needs help. Am going to let his comment just stand as it is for you to see the problem with some of the religious, who tell us their’s is a religion of peace and love until you stop believing in their chosen god and then you are ripe for hell.

He makes the oft repeated mistake that people are born with a knowledge of a god and that the universe proves this point. I need not say more about his comment. Read on you atheists, you are going straight to hell and there god shall wait to punish you hundreds time over!

I think the problem with having “sympathy” for atheists, from this kind of perspective, is that it gives too much credence to their position. You did mention Romans 1 in your previous post. I don’t think Romans 1 is a weak argument for God, I think Romans 1 is more fundamental. Here’s v18-30:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:18-30 ESV)

I don’t think Paul is arguing here that mankind should just be able to look around at the world and say “ah, clearly, God exists” (although that is an aspect of it). I think he’s actually saying that every single person is born with a knowledge of God. God has set eternity in the hearts of mankind (Eccl 3:11). I think the point Paul is trying to make is that no-one who has ever lived has a valid excuse to not believe in God. All of us are born with that knowledge, those who deny it are actually suppressing the truth. In other words, I don’t think there *is* such a thing as an honest atheist.

And this leads me on to the second thing I’d want to say. I would also not want to concede ground to those who want to judge God’s existence on entirely rational grounds, given the above. The Fall had an effect on our minds, our reason (“the noetic effects of the fall”, which is I think how theologians might put it). We cannot simply reason our way to God.

So if we say “I think it’s understandable to believe that God doesn’t exist, after all there’s not very much evidence” – it is basically conceding ground to the atheist that “reason” or rationalism is the correct way of going about determining whether God exists or not.

I feel that it’s important to bear in mind that it is not us who puts God in the dock and demand that he prove himself to us. I’d see humanity as being on the run from God, trying to flee from the inescapable fact that his existence is plain to us, in rebellion against Him, and that ultimately God will hold everyone culpable for unbelief.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

21 thoughts on “I need no sympathy from you!

  1. Al says:

    Obviously Muslims also need sympathy. Buddhists need sympathy. Any religion other than Christianity. I find it ridiculous that some people think that just because someone doesn’t have the same religion, they need sympathy. Each person is allowed to have their own religion, or .. non-religion.

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  2. john zande says:

    Do link… i’d like to reply to the commenter. He requires a dash of reality. (drop it in an email if you like)

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  3. oy, that old Christian bit of nonsense that golly everyone can see “proof” of their god by just looking around. It’s a pity that these poor folks don’t realize that every religion makes the same sad little claim.

    I do love watching a Christian insisting that Paul didn’t really mean something that he meant. It’s just great seeing this “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

    And then seeing a Chrsitian saying that “I don’t think Paul is arguing here that mankind should just be able to look around at the world and say “ah, clearly, God exists” (although that is an aspect of it).” Yep, we have one more TrueChristian sure that “clearly” doesn’t really mean “Clearly”.

    This TrueChristian lies again when he claims that there are no honest atheists. He is also claiming, by this, that there is no honest Muslim, no honest Wicca, no honest Shintoist, etc. He is sure, but cannot show, that everyone supposedly knows about his god and just ignores this knowledge. He also must retreat to the TrueChristian claim that we can’t know anything “for sure”, needing to excuse the utter lack of evidence for his god. Funny how this person doesn’t actually believe this excuse since he does not live as if we have some magically screwed up view of reality. He accepts that reality is reality when he uses a computer, uses modern medicine, eats modern foods, etc. It’s just when his god can’t be found that he must invoke claims of “the fall”.

    One can take our TCs last paragraph and show just how ridiculous he is when doubting other religions that he is sure that aren’t true:

    “I feel that it’s important to bear in mind that it is not us who puts Vishnu in the dock and demand that he prove himself to us. I’d see humanity as being on the run from Vishnu, trying to flee from the inescapable fact that his existence is plain to us, in rebellion against Vishnu, and that ultimately Vishnu will hold everyone culpable for unbelief.”

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  4. Mak – how do I get to this guy? I have things to say!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. shelldigger says:

    The problem here are the phrases “I think”, “I don’t think”, “I’d see”, and “I feel.”

    This thought exercise is essentially postulating on the color of a leprechauns underwear, and trying to rationalize the conclusion. A daft waste of time. Though if someone wants to chase their tail like a dog, in an endless circular void, I would not deny them or the dog, the opportunity to pretend they are doing something useful. I just can’t take it seriously…a child wondering what a crayon is made of would be a better proposition to spend time on. A crayon exists.

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  6. […] I need no sympathy from you! (maasaiboys.wordpress.com) […]

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  7. Sonel says:

    I think they need sympathy for believing in something that isn’t and never was there at all Mak. Sympathy for holding on to something that will never be there for them. Sympathy because one day they will wake up and smell the roses and it might be too late.

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  8. Sipech says:

    A slight correction is needed as the synopsis provided at the top is not a fair or accurate representation of the view I expressed.

    The word sympathy was not intended to be interpreted in any sort of condescending way, but rather as an expression of solidarity. In summary, my point was that the diversity of beliefs can be confusing to the atheist as to what someone actually believes if they, for example, state that they are a christian. What does that mean? Though many atheists I know hold their (non)-belief in its own right, others express their atheism with specific reference to a limited number of religions. If one wanted, say, to counter the claims of christianity, then it would help to understand not just what a christian might believe, which is greatly varied, but also how they belief, hence my repeated reference to an ordo fides. That is, very few christians that I have come across think first, “is there a god?” and then subsequent to that think “which one?”

    I was not also trying to “set the rules of the game” but rather to provide a helpful guide to anyone who wanted to engage with or counter a christian viewpoint. In other words, I was saying “if you want to dismantle my belief, here’s a rough guide on how to do it.” Anyone can be free to look this gift horse in the mouth if they so wish, but to imagine that the existence of god is the primary basis for christian belief is a mistake, which can lead to talking at cross-purposes.

    Perhaps if links to both parts of the post had been posted at the top, any readers of this post would have been able to check the evidence for themselves rather than rely on your 2nd hand account which was (unintentionally, of course) misleading.

    With regards to the comment Phil made below the line, he has recognised that this was a mistake and has posted an apology.

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    • makagutu says:

      How and in what way was my account misleading? The post wasn’t about you or your post but the comment by Phil which I copied as it was written. Rereading the post, I even said my only disagreement was on the implication of atheists requiring sympathy and added that you were indeed on the whole polite compared to other posts I have read on the web written by christians on atheists or on how we should engage.

      And what is the difference between setting the rules of the game and providing a helpful guide on engagement? You have said in your response to me that to talk about christianity we must look at the Jesus character and even sent me a link on the same which I read though comments are closed on it so I haven’t responded as yet.

      If I misrepresented your use of sympathy, I apologise.

      But I don’t know of atheists who are atheist with reference to a specific religion

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  9. Perspective Collector says:

    I like the style of your posts, responding to things you’ve read/heard and sharing your thoughts. I may give it a go. I love it when things get you thinking. And I do like the quite measured way you write. There’s hardly anything worse than flippant, hostile words for the sake of being obnoxious (sorry if too harsh), but I find it unattractive no matter what the topic.
    Would you consider having an About page?

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  10. I don’t like labels so please no assumptions from anyone reading this that I am a believer in anything, one way or another. That said, take away the label, the words, the books, and what is there? That’s rhetorical. I like what Joseph Campbell says about religion, that in the unspoken mystery is a unification that can’t be spoken of, the thread that is common to everything, that one can point to but words can’t touch. It’s shared by all religions, the mystery. And, it’s shared by all human beings. (a paraphrase, of course). My heart advocates tolerance for all. Have your belief but don’t hurt another with it. Thank you for your kindness in visiting my site and supporting me, especially when there’s illness in my home. It speaks to kindness for which I’m grateful, regardless of what you believe. Your friend, Paulette

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    • makagutu says:

      My friend Paulette, you and I are in agreement. We ought to promote tolerance for all. We are free to hold our beliefs, whatever they are, as long as we don’t demand that they be given a pedestal on the public square, that they be treated with kid gloves where it could be evidently seen they are causing damage. Thank you for visiting and hope you are keeping well.

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  11. X says:

    Each man is born believing in the one true god, the invisible pink unicorn that lives at the center of the Andromeda galaxy black hole and devours hamburger particles. However, the evil 6-Leaved Plasma clover has convinced us that we must worship pagan deities instead of the one true creator, the Unicorn, which is beyond scientific analysis, and DON’T YOU DARE ORDER THE UNICORN TO REVEAL ITSELF TO YOU YOU PATHETIC MAGGOT! It created you and you must worship it cause it loves you and will devour you if you don’t! You are not a christian, this is just a facade given to you by the evil clover, you are a Unicornist! “Only the fool says in his heart there is no god”, if the fool gets it, than what the hell is your problem? “Noetic” science is Pseudo-Science, your argument fails. Anything that has no proof of existence whatsoever (NOT CLAIMS THAT YOU SEE HIM EVERYWHERE JUST CAUSE YOU ARE “ENLIGHTENED”) doesn’t exist, and anything that “is beyond analysis” doesn’t exist either, unless you can prove to us that the supernatural is real. If we thought god was real and ignored him to “sin”, then Burglars could stop believing in police officers to steal whatever they want without being arrested.

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