Dear theist


This is a response- kinda- to this letter directed to atheists. It’s a letter that from the very onset is full of fallacies. I will pick a few and leave the rest for you to name.

The pastor asks

How do you think we got here? Was it a colossal cosmic accident or is there some plan, design or purpose behind our existence? (false dilemma fallacy)

An an atheist or unbeliever, there is no contradiction in answering I don’t know to the question of how we got here. As we do not have any definite knowledge on how we got here, the question of purpose cannot be answered conclusively. We can say our purpose is to propagate more life. But if this is the case, are those, who for one reason or another, do not propagate living purposeless lives?

The next question follows a wrong assumption.

 If we are here by cosmic accident, who is right and who is wrong, and what rules should we live by?

I don’t know how we got here or even why but that doesn’t stop us from working out a way to live that promotes peaceful coexistence.

If theists believed and acted like they believed their gods existed, some of the things we see around us would not happen. So to write

 If there is no ultimate arbitrator then I would assume that we are not accountable to anyone which means that the rules we make are based upon current opinion, force of autocratic power or democratic vote

is in my view to be blind to history and reality. We don’t need an ultimate arbitrator. We need just a few intolerant people to be adamant about something and it may become law.

I am certain there is a fallacy involved in this next question

You say that there are some things inherent in us that define what is right and wrong, but if we are cosmic accidents is anything really inherent or does each of us have to figure out life and sometimes we discover similarities in our experience and we conclude that our similarities mean something is inherent.

Our first parents (taking liberties here) can be cosmic accidents but we have what is called accumulated history and knowledge of the race that has contributed in promoting life. Over time, these habits, tendencies become part of the group psychology. It is not rocket science. And I don’t think there is any contradiction in finding a product of a cosmic accident having some inherent properties.

In the next question, the good pastor is being dishonest. He asks

If that’s the case why is it that all civilizations look for “God” without knowing each other or having a pre-existing cross reference?

And I argue that people do not look for gods per se, but are looking for answers. In this pursuit, humanity have invented gods, imbued them with powers ranging from omniscience to immortality, without ever being able to tell coherently what a god is or why one is even needed.

In asking

Religion is confusing and there are multiple religions and theories, but does that confirm that we are a cosmic accident, or does it mean that we just do not know definitively one way or another?

the pastor is mixing up issues.

How should we live? Many things answer this question. And we get answers from custom, from public opinion( a very potent guide, actually. The threat of public dishonour or shame is enough to keep many people in check). The good pastor however thinks he can corner us and asks

You insist you are certain there is no possibility of God, so who or what determines how we should live?

Is it nature?

Is it public opinion?

Is it science?

His question is loaded. He has introduced god in the premise as a determinant on how we should live.

Do our lives have meaning? In his book on the human condition, Benatar, identifies different levels at which our lives can have meaning; cosmic meaning. There are some people whose lives have meaning only so far as their families are concerned. Other people luckily, manage to transcend borders. Therefore, in asking

But can science help us with meaning? If we are cosmic accidents, is there a single meaning, or are there multiple meanings?

the pastor is pretending there is a universal meaning for all of us. Had this been the case, the many people who live miserable lives trying to find meaning for their lives shouldn’t be a common occurrence.

Atheism generally is understood as absence of belief in deities. It says nothing about the character of the atheist. The pastor in writing

If you subscribe to a belief system, do you have to be profane against the thing you don’t believe? Shouldn’t your atheism produce someone who is superior to the ignorant people who believe in God? Shouldn’t others be able to look at you and your character and conclude that atheism is good and produces better people?

is making an argument that has no leg or head to stand on. One could turn the question on its head and ask of the theist, why with the belief in god and the threats associated with it, do they steal, pillage and cuss? Do they not fear their god(s)?

In his final paragraph, Dave tries to be dishonest again. He writes

Since there is no scientific experiment that either proves or disproves God, why should I give up on something that works for me?

which contradicts what he wrote before, thus

No one is required to believe in God because we are all individuals who make our decision from our knowledge base.

Put differently, everyone believes as they are convicted. But there are good reasons to give up religion.

About makagutu

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

47 thoughts on “Dear theist

  1. “How do you think we got here?” I do not fucking know. Period. This is the ONLY honest answer. All others are hypotheses. Period. The theist simply can not rest with simply not knowing. “Because I don’t know, I do. God is the answer. I know it cause I don’t know the answer. I’m smart. You’re stupid if you can’t see that, and my god will burn you forever in hell for not believing in him as I do. Now, I’m off to molest some small kids and get away with it, so leave me alone–you non-believing dogs, you!”

    Like

  2. limey says:

    ugh! What a steaming pile of bovine excrement that was!

    Like

  3. judyt54 says:

    we make it up as we go along, but at least as non-believers we KNOW we’re doing it, and we’re not fooling anyone. Each person is an individual, each one follows the ‘rules’ in his head, and learns from his own tribe how the rest of the rules work, to keep harmony inside the tribe itself.
    From my standpoint there’s a LOT of “live and let live” in this life, and it’s not my business to tell anyone else how to live their own life after the doors close and the shades (metaphorical or otherwise) come down.

    I think the major difference is the ‘rules’ come from within the ‘tribe’ rather than being superimposed from the outside by a few interpreters trying to tell us what to do and how to do it and pass the hat at the same time.

    We may never know how this all started, or why, or when. And it really doesn’t matter, does it.

    What does matter is how we behave, how well we treat ourselves and our world, and what we leave as a legacy when we die.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      What does matter is how we behave, how well we treat ourselves and our world, and what we leave as a legacy when we die.

      this, as they say, is the whole law

      Like

  4. Swarn Gill says:

    If you are interested, the fallacy in the 4th passage you quote is the fallacy of composition/division. The formal definition is that one assume a part represents the whole, or the whole represents the parts. What he’s saying is that since the universe is a cosmic accident, everything happening in it since must also be a cosmic accident. This is not true in the least as you illustrate quite well. It’s also a bit misleading to call it an accident. Random would probably be a better word. Another good example might be that that if you heat a volume of air up, the molecules themselves still have random paths, even if the net result is expanding air because you’ve increased the kinetic energy of the molecules.

    The original post does appear to be pure rubbish.

    Liked by 4 people

    • john zande says:

      Wish I could explain things a tenth as good as you do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Swarn Gill says:

        Very kind of you to say John…but you are no slouch in the explanation department. As a teacher I do spend a good bit of time trying to think about the best way to explain things. I don’t always succeed of course. lol

        Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Thanks Swarn.
      The pastor is trying to make a point on why he believes and show that atheists are wrong. I think he took a big step. He should have started by addressing, say, Catholics on why he ain’t catholic before he jumps to non believers

      Liked by 1 person

      • Swarn Gill says:

        That would be a better intermediate step. lol The problem is, that if you call into question some other group’s belief in the divine, you’ll have a harder time defending your own. It’s easier for them to draw a line between theism and atheism. The problem is they aren’t intellectually prepared for dealing with the other side of that line. lol

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        • makagutu says:

          It would be interesting to watch though, for example a Protestant showing why they are not Catholics

          Liked by 1 person

          • Swarn Gill says:

            Well for my mom it was pretty easy for her to explain why Catholicism was wrong. She said that worshiping the mother Mary was idol worship and thus Catholics weren’t true Christians. But that’s the sort of arena you have to fight in. Complaining about certain rituals and practices being unimportant or against biblical teachings. Arguing over whether it’s okay to use birth control, let women be religious leaders, etc. All very Earthly stuff.

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            • makagutu says:

              That’s interesting. So Mary, mother of god is idol worship. She is a nobody it seems. Poor Mary

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              • Swarn Gill says:

                LOL…I mean I don’t know. My mom was very weird about getting on her knees and bowing down to any particular object. She refused to bow to the Guru Garanthsab (holy book in Sikhism) when on rare occasions we went to temple with my dad’s side of the family. I always thought she was just being disrespectful and if there was a God, that God would know what was in your heart and that you weren’t recognizing other Gods as being real, just being respectful towards other cultures, but she didn’t agree.

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  5. renudepride says:

    The dialogue always involves persons of a religious faith. Since this seems to always be the truth, we should just all avoid them. I do and it certainly keeps my mind from dwelling on so much silliness, untruths and myths. Naked hugs!

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  6. john zande says:

    Well, right off the bat, selection is not random, so the good pastor is off to a terrible start.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. pastors are inherently dishonest. Each has their own set of lies.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. basenjibrian says:

    He also completely ignores the “Which God” issue. My deity, Blue Hummingbird on the Left, would scoff at the soft, passive Yahweh-worshippers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. rautakyy says:

    How does this pastor pretend to know the will of the “ultimate arbitrator”? If he does not agree with slavery being OK, that male homosexuals should be stoned to death, or that tatooed people, anyone who eats shrimp, or wears mixed fabrics of linnen and cotton should be punished by divine will, he can not claim that his view on what the synthesis of El, Baali, Sebaot and a bunch of others also unbiblically known as the Trinity has alledgedly deemed moral for humans in the Bible. If instead his understanding on what is right and wrong is even remotely based on what we know (through science and cultural experience) to be either beneficial or harmfull to humans as societies and as individuals, then he is basing his morals on the very same principles as the strawman “Mr Atheist” he keeps referring to.

    The pastor seems to object to democratic law making process. I agree with him, that it is not perfect. However in comparrison to ages past, and some societies present in our own time, where religious experts (not unlike pastors) guessing what the will of the “ultimate arbitrator” might be, democracy is superb.

    He does not come to any coclusion about how he knows there is an “ultimate arbitrator” in the first place. Science tells us what is, not the meaning of things, but while science does not tell us that a god exists, neither does this god really tell us what the pan-ultimate meaning is. Saying that there is a god, that gives us a meaning does not really disclose what that meaning is even supposed to be. So what is it?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. shelldigger says:

    “And I argue that people do not look for gods per se, but are looking for answers.”

    This ^^^^^^^^^

    … and the answers are bullshit.

    That’s a lot of fallacies to digest this early in the day Mak. You should be more considerate to your audience 😉

    Like

  11. Oh, what dirty minds some folks have! 😀 I was referring to evenings spent kneeling in front of the porcelain goddess after having too many alcoholic beverages. Now ya put an icky image in my mind! Damn! My pure, Christian-like mind has now been sullied! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Argus says:

    The Ark has disappeared and I’m having a few wee troubles with my own blog—is this a vindictive God at work, do you think?

    (CLUE: for any Religioso reading this … it’s a trick question, be warned)(beyond here be monsters).

    Like

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