God, the universe and us

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.

Carl Sagan
In his post god…, John, has attempted to respond to a comment, I am assuming by an atheist, and tells us nothing really. The comment

The idea that is some super powerful entity created the universe 13.8 billion years ago, then waited about 9 billion years before creating our solar system, then waited another 4 billion years before creating humans, then waited until about a few thousand years ago to reveal himself. He did all of this, created a universe with billions and billions of galaxies, each containing billions and billions of stars, most of which we cannot see, all for the benefit of a species of carbon based organisms on a small planet orbiting a small to medium sized sun. And this species has only inhabited its planet for less than 1/100 of 1 percent of the life of the planet. And this super powerful being in this gigantic universe watches what people do and listens to their wishes and cares whether someone gets a job, or recovers from an illness or wins a football game. This idea is so ridiculous, so outlandish that it should be considered effectively impossible.

So that’s why people don’t believe in your mythological deity…. because it’s stupid.

A comment I agree with. It is not of interest to us. I copy it here for those uninterested in going to check John’s post.

John attempts to turn the comment on its head to argue the probabilities of our existing are close to nil but forgets the little detail that regardless of what possibilities/ probabilities say, we are. This is one fact you can’t assail. And our being, does not shine a light on the existence of a god.

John writes

This notwithstanding, what interested me most about this reply was the portrait of God presupposed in the description. The argument only really works if you presuppose that God does not conform to a concept of God, but to the realities of what it’s like to be a human being.

I hope he intends to tell us about his conception of god is.

He tells us the above portrayal of god is inaccurate. He says

These are no doubt interesting questions but they presuppose a rather anthropomorphic understanding of God.

But one must ask, isn’t a god who suffers, who dies, who hears prayers, loves and hates anthropomorphic? How else would one describe the god of the Abrahamic religions? Isn’t it anything but anthropomorphic?

The god of the bible, is said to have given man dominion over all things on land and in water. Essentially, to this god, man is at the apex of creation. John, by denying this should at least tell us which god he serves.

In Genesis god rested on the seventh day. I don’t know whether it was out of tiredness or lack of ideas. Whatever linguists want to take the rest to mean, it is there in the bible. So when John says

when one doesn’t have to rest

he at least should tell us why the author of that part of Genesis had god resting. And the claim that is metaphorical will not wash for everywhere, Christians justify resting on their chosen days of worship by referring to god’s rest.

While I don’t know what god is, I would be interested in knowing how John purports to know the mind of god. I would like to know how he knows

God can at any single time have before him with full attention every single piece of existence, as it were, as if it were the only thing that exists. In other words, there is nothing exceptional from God’s perspective in his ability to be interested in prayers, ponies, water-polo, and the Polish all at the same time—intimately and immediately.

this about god. The only perspective I can claim knowledge of is mine. I can from my own experience make inductive judgments on other humans, but how John can make such statements about god waits to be demonstrated.

I don’t know about you, but at the end when John writes

In fact, to construe God any other way, is, I proffer, to misunderstand what the concept of God is.

I am left unconvinced that he has shown his conception of god to be not anthropomorphic. What he has done is to increase the abilities of god infinitely but still, it is, as far as I can tell, a man with superpowers.

I don’t think John has answered to the critique raised in the comment above. Neither has he demonstrated how his god isn’t anthropomorphic.

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what is it with believers?

Here we are, having a conversation on freewill and I get asked

And how do you decide what behavior is “good”, and thus ought to be pushed on everyone? I know that the Bible makes it pretty easy – good is probably best defined as that which is consistent with God’s nature, evil is that which is inconsistent with it. But you probably reject that. So what do you put in its place, and by what authority?

And I am left wondering why do believers shortchange themselves this much? Are they incapable of reason? Why would you defer to a book written by superstitious herders on how to relate with your neighbour? Is it that bad? Are Christians so handicapped?

I am not trying to have a certain mode of acting forced on anyone. I don’t posses that much influence. Beyond the people who read this blog and my social circle, I am not known anywhere else. However, I believe human reason and nature is a sufficient guide. We may falter, but with new knowledge, we correct the mistakes of the past so that every generation improves on the knowledge it inherits.

In his Categorical imperative, Kant wrote,

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law

He believed, and I agree, reason is sufficient to guide human behaviour.

Anyone who needs a bible or a religious book to behave, is handicapped and in need of sympathy.

I do not want to accept it that believers suffer this inadequacy. I want to believe they have the same mental capacities as the rest of us godless. And I want to believe they are better than their religious books. That, by virtue of their living in the present age, with the accumulated knowledge we have, they can do better than the 2000+ old books. But if they can’t, the more the pity.

Further reflections

A while back when I wrote an atheist’s extraordinary evidence, the blog author to whose post I had responded to, did write a 2000 word rebuttal which I saw no need of responding to then, given he had not responded to the argument I had raised in my initial post.

I am not responding to his post but I want to add further insights to my original post.

The entire gamut of evidence the theist has for his belief is; he/she said that god said. When the theist reads the bible, they find written, thus says the lord and believe it to be so. No theist ever says the lord has told me this or that.

And this reminds me of the several times I have seen people gathered at a spot looking into the skies at something someone said they saw. Every person who comes later will swear on the graves of their grandmother that they, too, saw it. This is analogous to how the religious idea spreads.

Lastly, there are no religious/ supernatural experiences just natural/ non religious experiences but given a supernatural explanation. Just the same way, at some point, epilepsy was treated as a possession, so is similar experience given a religious/ supernatural explanation.

Have a pleasant Sunday, you all.

Observations and insights

A public service announcement to help theists mainly.

1. There is no part in the theory of evolution that says we evolved from monkeys. We have a common ancestor. That isn’t the same thing as evolving from monkey.

2. That the chances of life occurring naturally are slim doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

3. There is no evidence for your Jesus. Stop behaving like you have evidence

4. Muslims, the Koran is not evidence for Allah or Mo[Piss be upon him].

5. And please, please, before you expect us to take your books seriously, demonstrate they are divinely inspired

What I would say to a theist

I stood up as best I could to their disgusting stupidity and brutality, but I did not, of course, manage to beat them at their own game. It was a fight to the bitter end, one in which I was not defending ideals or beliefs but simply my own self.

George Grosz
In this address, let it be known, I have been unable to find a label that would fit me. I hold no pretensions to knowing anything about or believing the supernatural. I find all such claims to be a load of bullshit unbelievable. Any claim, religious or otherwise, that relies on being divinely revealed has no tract with me whatsoever. If, you feel, what will follow this intro might offend your sensibilities, this is the time to stop.
It is ambitious on the part of the christian to expect me to not judge their religion based on their conduct but on, what is at best, anonymous writings of 1st to 2nd century Jews. And if the question is just about relationship with Jesus, one wonders why it has not, in most of the believers, effected any marked difference between them and those not part of this relationship.
I do not pretend to know what happens after we die. Experience, however, shows me that bodies rot. I don’t know of minds without bodies and I don’t know of any existence after death. I will not live my life on the hope that there is a future where all will be all rosy. I see no reason you should believe a god who, in this world, was unable to give you gold to give it to you in a future existence where, as far as I can tell, from all the writings of the divines charlatans, you will have no use for it.
Human reason is sufficient to arrive at the most rational ideals to live by. There is no need for a god or sun of gods to tell you to respect your mother, help your poor neighbour. It is, to me, an indictment on your humanity to claim, without shame, your inability, through reason, to arrive at modes of behaviour that are beneficial to you and society at large.
And if, as you so imply, that Christianity is a private belief, let it remain so. Do not insist to have laws made according to your books and expect them to apply to everyone else. They are your books. Ask for dispensation to apply them in your lives only and you bet, there will be little opposition or criticism of your affairs. But the moment you oppose science education because it contradicts Genesis, I will use everything, excluding violence to oppose you. I will ridicule your beliefs. I will criticize your beliefs. And I will stand in opposition to your wanting them imposed on those who disagree with you.
I will, for as long as I can, ridicule the belief that it is possible to curse a tree out of season, that a dead man walks, that people can miraculously speak languages they understand not, that fishes can be used for transport, that virgins give birth and stay perpetual virgins, that donkeys talk. Your sensibilities maybe hurt, but that, I promise you, is the least of my worries.
My rejection of your beliefs, your Jesus and your god, is not out of a disdain for love. I reject your religion because it is silly. It is incredible. It is baseless. It stands on a foundation built upon ignorance. It is based on heresy. That a person believed that some dead guy had come back to life and was doing visitations eating fish and bread when the occasion to identify himself showed up. I can’t believe it.
Since, I have no John to quote, I will end by telling you, it is a waste of human reason and intellect to hold some book as special because you have been told so. It is evidence of a degenerate mind to assent belief to so incredulous propositions and to proudly express them.
This post was in response to what I would say to an atheist