What is evidence?

It has not occurred to me that the meaning of evidence was ever in contention until a few days ago. The great antagonizer has asked this question on his blog.  Debilis, who we have already met and Mark Hamilton have also written articles on the same and the two of them ask what do we want as evidence for god.

I know this post will not deal completely and exhaustively with this question but will attempt to answer some of the questions the three bloggers have raised and hopefully help us in moving the conversation forward.

To deal with this problem, I am going to start by giving definitions then proceed to point out where I think they are wrong.

Definition from Merriam Webster

1 a : an outward sign : indication

b : something that furnishes proof : testimony; specifically :something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter

: one who bears witness; especially: one who voluntarily confesses a crime and testifies for the prosecution against his accomplices
From oxforddictionaries.com
the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid
and from dictionary.reference.com

noun

1.that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
2.something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.
3.Law. data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.

verb (used with object)

4.to make evident or clear; show clearly; manifest: He evidenced his approval by promising his full support.
5.to support by evidence: He evidenced his accusation with incriminating letters.
First, we look at Debilis’ claims
When the statement is made, it would seem to mean that there is no scientific evidence that God exists. Whether or not that is true, the idea that there is no physical evidence for the non-physical is hardly mind-blowing. Rather, it is a simple category error. It has no more weight than saying that there is no mathematical proof that Winston Churchill was the Prime minister of Great Britain, or that there is no grammatical evidence of cosmic expansion.
There are historical records, photographic records and video reels that confirm a Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of Great Britain. These information can be corroborated independently from newspaper articles, magazines and books on British or World History. The same can’t be said of Debilis’ god. No one is asking for physical evidence, that would be a bonus though, all we ask is for any evidence. You must be all aware of a study done a few years back to study the efficacy of intercessory prayer, whether this can be proof for god is for you to decide. What non-physical has the theist offered as proof that their god exist? I think there are many reasons to believe we live in an atheistic universe than a world managed by an all-powerful benevolent master. The presence of any form of natural evil is evidence against the existence of a god that is absolutely benevolent!
He[I hope am correct on this] goes on to say
But, taken more broadly, the claim is simply false. That is, if the claim is taken broadly enough to be relevant to metaphysical issues such as God’s existence, then the metaphysical arguments for God’s existence is such evidence.
This statement makes no sense. The use of metaphysical here is to make the arguments look more than just arguments which they are. The metaphysical arguments, I believe this are the logical arguments for the existence of god, have been refuted and any one keen on apologetics would know this unless they present new arguments and we will be waiting to refute them. The theist has not defined god coherently so that to prove that such a thing can exist is even problematic. The discussion collapses even before it can lift its ass off the ground.
We can debate whether or not the evidence is sufficient, but the bold declaration that there is no evidence for God’s existence is simply out of touch with the facts.
What facts could these be? Is it that atheists have chosen to be blind to these facts. Why then do we still have apologists? In fact, why would we need apologists to defend god, an all-powerful and all-knowing being/non being [I don’t know the one theists prefer]? Don’t any of you think that if this god is what is claimed of it, we would have at least have had an appearance to answer the doubting Thomases once every so often. Any theist claiming this would not be good for us has not read Genesis where god visits with Abe for BBQ and clean up but find nothing wrong with it. If it was fine then, it must be more than urgent now!
Mark on his part starts by asking a question
Can you prove that I have a liver?
Yes, all mammals have been found to have livers so we don’t need to operate on you to confirm this and should you be found to not have one, it would be a serious birth defect and everything will be done to get you one. So this is what the Buddha would call a useless question.
He continues to argue
For many people this is the kind of evidence they want when asking “Is there a God?” They want something they can see and smell and experiment on.
This is simply not true. I can’t experiment on Cicero but I have sufficient reason/evidence to believe he existed. Empirical evidence is just one type of evidence. Looking at the definitions of evidence I gave at the beginning of this post, is there any where the theist has passed the test? Maybe I missed this evidence, whoever has it could be kind enough to share 😀
Mark proceeds to tell us
And it’s true, I do take it on faith that God exists. I don’t have empirical evidence for God. I also don’t have empirical evidence for the existence of my liver.
Then am accused of hypocrisy when I point out that faith requires belief even when one has no evidence. He would be dead if he didn’t have a liver. So to compare the two is to commit a fallacy of false analogy.
From here, our apologist jumps to the cosmological arguments for god and argues as William Lane Craig that an infinite regress of creators is logically impossible and then presents the statement of his argument thus

1. All things that come into existence have a creator.

2. Things exist.

3. Therefore, something must exist that has always existed.

After saying this he proceeds immediately to tell us

Now this does not prove the existence of God. But it does show that somewhere there must be an eternal and uncreated Something that everything else is based on.

Even if this were true, it does not answer whether it was one god, a bazillion gods and whether such gods are still alive today.

Nobody has ever observed, weighed, measured, or tested something that by necessity has always existed. It would be impossible to observe something to have always existed unless the observer has also always existed as well.

I don’t know, but how does this statement support his cause? He claims to have evidence for god, has he [Mark] always existed or how did he come by this evidence?

He ends his piece thus

 However we still can reasonably believe in it’s existence despite the impossibility of ever finding empirical evidence for it. I have faith in God’s existence the same way I have faith in my liver’s existence: confidently and reasonably without need of empirical evidence.

I definitely need help here. What is reasonable here, I must have missed it somewhere so friends please help. No your having faith in having liver is supported by many things, for example that you can take a piss, that you are not dead and more specifically because you have seen that all mammals have liver, you don’t have comparable evidence for god and so again you commit a fallacy.

I apologize for the long length of the post but I hope that I have been able to answer some of the questions concerning evidence, and specifically evidence for god.

An introduction

In the past, a few theist bloggers have been featured on this site for different reasons but mainly because they either censor comments they don’t like or engage in a hit and run game where they make outlandish claims about atheism and when these are questioned they don’t respond. Today I am introducing an apologist, Debilis, who I must say is not guilty of the above crimes and to her credit I must say she engages with anyone who comments on her posts.

She is being featured here, as you will notice when you visit her blog, because of her obsession with creating a caricature atheist whom she then argues against and obviously ends up showing that atheists generally and new atheists specifically are either dishonest, uneducated on Christianity and many other faults she can find.

Having read most of her posts, I think her greatest failing is a misunderstanding of atheists and atheism in general. Atheists are like every other human being, maybe a bit more rational, but victims to the same frailties and flaws attendant to members of our species. We are only united in lacking a belief in gods, that is it. Again to use Dawkins, Dennette, Harris, Ayaan Hirsi and the late Hitchens as a standard of measure of who atheists should be is simply ridiculous. It should interest her that the many books I have read on atheism are not written by the above group and that if she, as she claims to be, were intellectually honest she could look further than she has done. In several posts, she has offered response to Russell’s why am not a Christian and has used it as a launching pad for attacking New Atheists[whoever these are]. In her posts you will notice her vitriol is aimed at New Atheists though she doesn’t say where these group of atheists differ from old atheists.

She says this of atheists

The confidence and scorn with which they attack all religion is wildly out of proportion with the (lack of) evidence and logical rigor they provide as support for their claims.

and does not provide evidence to support the claim that we don’t provide evidence. On the discussion of whether god exists, the theist has failed to define a coherent god [ she believes in the god of classical theism; this will be addressed at the end of this post], having failed at the definitions they have failed to show evidence for this god[this is impossible without a coherent god], and lastly have failed to show that theism is true.  The atheist [talking for myself and those I know] have to be confident because we know what we are talking about and can defend it. So she must indeed show where we fail or withdraw.

[…] a sense of loss when I think about the shallowness of the modern discussion on religion.

What shallowness is she referencing here? Who is being shallow? And how deep does she want us to get?

And the New Atheists, for all their sloppiness of thought, their commitment to rhetoric over rationality, and their refusal to understand the subject being discussed, have forced the Church to think.

Anytime a person in the church dares to think for themselves they end up quitting. As proof of this there is the Clergy project, an online group of former church ministers who no longer hold to supernatural beliefs. I have linked posts by Eric at Choice in dying, a former church pastor who writes mainly about the right to assisted dying but also on atheism. So to call atheists sloppy without providing proof is condescending to say the least and an insult to our [atheists] collective intelligence.

That is, a group of raging atheists calling Christians moronic, while using arguments that just a little study could overcome…

What arguments are these? Atheists have been classified as being second only to rapists, so don’t worry being called moronic at least they[atheists] can defend their use of invective against Christians and whilst saying this, I hardly meet atheists calling you moron.

They may well have set in motion events which will lead to theism being stereotyped as the intellectual position.

When this happens it will no longer be theism.

In order not to make this post longer, allow me to discuss the god of classical theism and its problems. I know this is the god she refers to her in her posts[ she told me].

The god of classical theism has the following qualities

  1. Transcendence
  2. Omnipotence
  3. Omniscience
  4. Omnipresence
  5. Absolute benevolence

 The following five qualities can not coherently be held by one person/ being. Transcendence means out of time and space and omnipresence means he is everywhere all the time. So either this god is beyond time and space and impersonal and having no need to create the universe[immutable and self-sufficient] or he is everywhere all the time.

Can god do something that is logically impossible? Or better still can god create a stone he can’t lift. If he can’t do this, it rules out the omnipotence argument and all we then can say that of this god is that it can only do logically possible things which again it has failed to do e.g it is logically possible for an all-powerful god to prevent an earthquake, something this god has failed to do even once.

If god knows everything, that is the present, the past and the future, then  he can’t change it. Whence then is the omnipotence? The three qualities, that is, omnipotence, omnibenevolence and omniscience can’t be coherently possessed by one individual.

As I said in the beginning of this post, the Christian apologist has their work clearly marked out;

  1. They have to define a coherent god
  2. show that such a god exists

Problem of evil: Is free will defense adequate

As you already know, The problem of Evil appears to be one of the biggest problems to the theist philosopher. In trying to explain why god, if one exists, would allow evil to occur they[theist philosophers] have appealed to free will [I am of the view we have no free will as I have written in different posts here] as their line of defense to explain away evil.

Theist philosophers like Platinga and Swinburne argue that it is necessary to have evil in the world to enable us employ our free will in a significant way. They argue that in a world where our choices are between different level of goods, the world will be a playpen. They claim

[..] the existence of moral evil is permitted by God so as to preserve human free will, without which a host of significant goods – including self-determination, moral responsibility, and relationships of love and friendship – would be forever unattainable. [Trakakis Nick, The God Beyond Belief (pg 274)]

I don’t know if they really believe this, I find it absurd that one would claim that a loving god would create us with free will, allow us to commit horrendous evil against each other, so that we achieve can freely employ our freedoms in the slim hope that a heaven exists where we will live in eternal bliss with this god. Was it impossible for this god to create us in this state of bliss? Does this god have sadistic tendencies that he wants to fulfill and for his entertainment likes to watch men and women butcher, rape, maim, torture and kill each other just so that he can tell himself it ain’t my fault, they employed their free will! Free will my ass!

Why, for example, would a perfectly loving god with omniscient capabilities want such a state is beyond me.

My question therefore is, do you think the free will defense for existence of horrendous moral evil is successful in explaining why a loving god would not intervene to prevent such evil from occurring? Would a moral person with the power to stop such evil act with indifference as the supposed god seems to play aloof?

What claims does science make?

J.R Dickens has already been introduced here. In this post, I look at his post in which he talks about the value of science. He is welcome to defend his post here or show that he has been misrepresented.

He starts with the same argument that in the last post I endeavored to show was erroneous, that is, the claim that Atheism is a religion and even though he says the post stirred controversy, he seems to me, to not have picked anything from the controversy or he would have revised this line of Atheism being a religion.

This scientist openly admits that nothing in the realm of science requires such an assumption—he chooses his atheistic view of the universe as an article of faith. 

How this is an article of faith beats me, maybe you my fine readers know something I don’t know and could weigh in on this matter. In the previous post, I did show the scientist is not making this view of the universe as a matter of faith but this is what she has observed. Humboldt, Laplace, Darwin and any naturalists you can think of were not making statements of faith but were making conclusions after several years of observation. Dickens has to present when this position has been a question of faith[sic] for the Atheist!

The reason is simple: in a post-Christian culture, science is rapidly being elevated to the status of ultimate truth—where it bears directly on our understanding of meaning and morality. 

Here Dickens is spreading several falsehoods in one paragraph. First, we are not in a post christian culture. The religious control many aspects of our lives, they are busy with how they want the laws to be framed, who should marry who and so on. I would allow him however to show me where there is a post christian culture [ am aware that most parts of Europe are atheistic or secular but even in these places, the religious still have a say]. The second lie concerns ultimate truth, science does not make such a claim for itself. All the scientist is willing to admit is that the knowledge we have is provisional and gives the best explanation of phenomena as we have been able to observe. On the question of meaning, which is a philosophical question, all science says if am not mistaken is to talk of some meaning or purpose is to imply intent on a super natural being we have no evidence of its or their existence.Science has a say in morality.

science tells us nothing at all for sure. Science is neither the only source of knowledge, nor is it the most important one. Consequently, it cannot be viewed as independently authoritative.

Tell me, any of you agree that science tells us nothing? To make such a claim without providing other sources of knowledge is to be naive and besides no one says science is the only source of knowledge. As I had indicated in the previous post, his definition of science must be the narrowest I have encountered. Nobody denies that there are sources of knowledge but all these sources, to the best of my knowledge, to arrive at any useful knowledge employ the scientific method to arrive at their conclusions.

Of all the things that technology can do to improve our lives, there is nothing it can do for our moral improvement. In fact, as technology advances, we see the fallen nature of man devising ways to exploit technology for evil purposes.

Technology of course is impersonal. It doesn’t care this way or that so you don’t expect your computer to teach you how to behave but we can use technology to understand why a certain person acts in the way they do and when does this impulse occur. This knowledge of how the brain works, which will be acquired through the use of technology, would allow us to modify our penal codes and this to me is a great achievement. To imply that man is fallen is to use the theological line of fall of man in genesis after eating the metaphorical fruit [I don’t think there are theologians who take the Adam/Eve story literally anymore].

One person uses his computer to write a thought-provoking blog article; another uses his computer as a platform for electronic crime.

Each person acts according to their own nature. No one deserves any merit for writing a thought-provoking blog or solving a mathematical problem and I also say no one deserves condemnation for creating a computer virus [I will be mad if someone infected my computer with a damn virus though] for she will have acted according to her nature.

Evil intentions reside in the heart of man, not inside the machine. By making this point up front, we’re setting the stage to show that the scientific method cannot be used to make moral judgments. Knowledge of a moral nature must come from another source.

I can tell from a mile away where we are headed with this and that is the Divine Command Theory, William Craig’s favorite argument for morality. I will, however, give Dickens the benefit of doubt to tell us where he thinks knowledge of moral nature must come from. The scientific study of morality together with studies in human psychology, culture and other social sciences which in some way employ the scientific method will be crucial in solving the problems associated with morality. I can say here that religion is not going to solve the question and since we already know Dickens is an apologist for the christian brand of theism, he is far from likely to argue for the science of morality but will attempt to show us that his sect can give us a guide on how to make moral judgments.

When and if he does that, you will know.

Who is blind?

 

You met our friend Caroline a few days ago and she has continued to impress.

We have a new bible translation thanks to Caroline. As you have seen on her blog, our friend claims to love science and in this post her main job is to denigrate science and philosophy.

Atheists have a lot of objections to what is claimed about God in the Bible. But as I dialogue with them, it’s often unclear to me whether they believe their objections amount to evidence that he doesn’t exist, or that he is unworthy of worship. And I wonder sometimes if they’ve ever considered that maligning his character and condemning his deeds while disregarding evidence of the miraculous, both in the Bible and in creation, does not go very far in persuading against his existence, only in painting God as one to whom we ought owe no allegiance. But if he exists he is totally sovereign, meaning we owe him allegiance whether we like it, or him, or not.

Our objections answer to the two positions. The bible god is too contradictory to exist and two is beyond cruel and is as such unworthy of worship even if it were to exist. We don’t believe in the miraculous, as long as miraculous means anything that involves the suspension of the invariable laws of nature. Either you show evidence for the miracles. Creation doesn’t imply the existence of a god more so the christian god. Can any theist show that life needed a deity to create it? If not then this statement is classified in the same group as wishful thinking. And even if you were to show he or they exist we owe them no allegiance  I didn’t ask to be created neither did they consult me for that matter. All I can be expected to do is to acknowledge they exist then they must give a reason to be worshiped. A child can’t be expected to owe any allegiance to an irresponsible and abusive parent unless you believe in slavery by any means!

As I studied John Chapter 9 in preparation for my last post, I saw a lot of similarities there to the spiritual climate of today, in the way God is being judged for what we as finite human beings see as immoral, and his power and goodness ignored in the effort to cast doubt on his existence. So I rewrote it to have it speak of those who deny him today.

Are you implying that we see as immoral could be moral to god because he has infinite knowledge? If it is moral at another level where we have no conception, we don’t need it. It is useless to us and anyone claiming that a thing maybe immoral to us while moral to god is being pretentious!

Here is John 9 (CSV – Caroline Smith Version)

This makes to 800+ known translations.

As Jesus passed throughout the world he saw a man spiritually blind from birth. The angels asked him, “Lord, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. He was born a child of Adam, as all are, unable in their own power to see me, but I have provided a way for all to be healed of their blindness. I am the light of the world.”

If this is the reason for a man’s blindness, god must be so foolish. Why make a man blind just to show you are powerful! Who made Adam with sin? If Adam didn’t make himself, god will always be responsible. Good thing, however, is there was no Adam and there can have been no first sin. In fact, if a god were to exist, being born blind would be an evil. Why should a loving god allow a child to be born blind? This child has done nothing wrong, if anyone is to be made blind, is anyone purporting to speak for god spreading falsehood about him that he will punish people in hell for saying he has left no evidence for his existence.

Having said these things, he revealed to the man’s heart the reality of his blindness and the ugliness of his sin. And Jesus said to him, “Go, wash in the blood of the Lamb.” So he went and washed and came back seeing.

Where was this blood. If Jeebus had not been crucified at this time, where does this person get the blood? Is there any sense in this statement apart from poor logic! Besides, if the reason for his blindness was so that god’s power can be shown, it is specious to say he sin was ugly! You can’t have it both ways, either god is so childish and want to show he has the biggest toy or the guy is sinful.

The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a lost sinner were saying, “ Isn’t this the man who used to ridicule Christians and had nothing good to say about God?” Some said, “That’s him.” Others said, “No, he just looks like him.” But he kept saying, “Yes, I’m the one.”

There totally is no sense here. Sinner and lost, what the hell! If he is a sinner he must believe in god. Sin to the extent that it is anything that violates the relationship between man and god presumes the existence of god. If the man thought himself a sinner, he also must have believed in god. And why does Caroline think, christianity is so special?

So they said to him, “Then how is it that now you’re going to church and reading the Bible?”

He answered, “I finally saw what a mess my life was and I hated it. I was always doing things I knew I shouldn’t be hurting people I loved and hating people who disagreed with me. And when I honestly looked at what I believed, I realized it just left me with more questions than answers. So I took a chance and prayed. I said, ‘God, if you’re real, show yourself to me.’ And now I see.”

I don’t hate you Caroline because we disagree. In fact I have fun showing you are wrong. Believing in god has many questions than it answers that is why I believe the world is natural and there is nothing supernatural in it. I believe the metaverse just is. Well, this man had a myopic mind. If he thinks his life was messed up because he didn’t believe in god, then I can safely say he didn’t know why he didn’t have that belief and could not then justify his non belief.

But his neighbors took him before the philosophers and scientists and they asked him how it is that he turned his back on reason. “God is real,” the man replied, “and he opened my eyes to see the truth. I submitted to him in faith, and now I can see.”

Well I like this part. Caroline admits implicitly that the man turned his back on reason and chose faith. Need I say more?

Some of the philosophers said, “There is no God. If there is, he’s not good, or he’s not all-powerful. If he were, you wouldn’t have been born blind.”

I like the philosophers! Please tell me you do 😀

Some of the scientists said, “There is no God. We can’t see or feel him. If he existed he wouldn’t be so  mysterious. He would make himself obvious and testable so there would be no doubt. Besides, scientific theories can explain how the universe came into being without him. We don’t need God.”

And the scientists have been right since Laplace said he saw no need for the god hypothesis in a response to the Emperor Napoleon. And while we are here, my friend John has a nice post on why god is invisible. One should also read Atheism Explained that I mentioned a few days ago to look at the arguments against god’s invisibility.

But others said, “How can anything exist without a cause? And how does something that exhibits obvious design and intelligence arise from non-intelligence and chance?” So they were divided.

Well, here Caroline who claims to love science shows she understands zilch. This is the first cause argument that philosophers on both sides of the debate, if any religious philosopher can be called so, to be fallacious. For Caroline to taunt is a proof in beyond me. Scientists or philosophers are not divided on this matter unless they are in they are friends of William L. Craig who is deeply religious.

Finally they turned again to the man born blind, “What do you have to say about it? How is it that you are now preaching the faith you once tried to destroy?”

The easiest answer is he adopted credulity as his way of life but let us hear what Caroline is giving us in manner of explanation

The man replied, “My life was meaningless and filled with sin. I humbled myself and asked God to reveal himself to me, and he did.”

Being blind, I can understand this a bit. But I have seen many blind men whose lives are full of meaning, well since you create meaning it is only expected some will be unsuccessful in trying to give their lives meaning and some will be very successful. Meaningful or meaningless life does nothing to prove that a god exists. It only shows that life is complex for most people and absurd for the very intelligent ones.

The learned ones still did not believe that he had rejected man’s wisdom for religious faith, until they sent for his parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you sent to the finest schools to be taught that God is an illusion and religion is a neurosis? How is it that now he believes in God?”

Here I don’t accept Caroline’s translation for two reasons. The bible people if they existed have been shown to be ignorant to claim there was a fine university she is lying. The Greeks and Romans before them had philosophical schools, the Hebrews who story we are reading in the bible, nay! Two here Caroline is again lying. I don’t know of a place where people are taught god is an illusion unless she means seminaries where they study god and make no conclusions. If you don’t trust me, then you haven’t listened to William Craig debate.

“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he has rejected the notion of God since he’s been at university. But how he came to believe in God, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the scientists and philosophers, for they had decided that anyone who acknowledged God would be put out of the scientific and societal circles.

You are lying through your teeth Caroline. There are religious scientists in the Royal Society and even in the American Academy of Sciences. I haven’t read anywhere they have been sidelined. Give the proof of this or I can safely say you make baseless claims about scientists. Why would the parents be afraid anyway? Caroline hasn’t shown they were scientists and so there is no way they could have been sidelined from the science circles.

A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Don’t be a fool, man,” they said. “We know God is just an imaginary being created by men who don’t want to take care of themselves.”

The scientists have always been right, at least, they haven’t been shown to be wrong to date especially on the god hypothesis. I advice that our friend Caroline should read more science and philosophy [ please not Platinga] books to learn about the natural world. I recommend she starts with Auguste Comte on Positivism.

He replied, “Exactly what you or others think him to be, I don’t know. One thing I do know, I was blind but now I see.”

Yes, he now has faith. It happens to everyone who uses faith.

Then they asked him, “Why do you say that there is a God? What happened to you?”

He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to believe in him too?”

Of course, I don’t want to live on faith. I want to live with what I know and only with that!

Then they hurled insults at him and said, “We are scholars and scientists who know enough to only believe in what we can see and measure. You are a deluded imbecile believing in fairy tales. As for God, we have no proof that he exists.”

I don’t consider saying Caroline is deluded an insult. I have shown cause why she is deluded so all she must show is that my reasoning is fallacious. And it is true that as for gods we have no evidence that he or they exist. I will be generous to Caroline and ask her for the proof that her god exist.

The man answered, “Now, that is remarkable! You have no proof he exists, yet the universe and everything in it exist, and something can’t come from nothing. Without God, none of you would even be here, much less be able to reason him away.”

Nope, I have already said that our existence does not offer proof for the existence of god. Our existence only shows we are here and nothing more. She also must show us that the universe can’t be eternal and always existing.

To this they replied, “You are an uneducated, mindless sheep; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

They couldn’t have done that. I listen to many theists everyday and there is no time I have thrown them out. That is also why we debate with you. All we do is show you are wrong and stop there. We have no need for the stake. We ask you to be your own king and priest and to apply your reason to where it takes and not to think the stories in the bible infallible and inerrant.

Jesus saw that the man was cast out, and coming to him said, “Do you believe in God the Son as your Savior and Lord?”

Where was Jesus all this time? Why didn’t he sit with the scientists and philosophers? Did he already know the claims he was making were ridiculous?

He answered, “And who is he that I may believe in him?

Caroline please, what do you take us for? You said when you started your story that Jesus gave this man his site. It would be credulous to ask us to take this question seriously!

Jesus said to him, “I am he, the one who became a man like you in order to reveal the Father and give his life as a ransom for all who will believe.”

How many of you believe this story? I don’t.

Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Good for him!

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Jesus really was an idiot. If he is god why didn’t he even bother to leave behind his recipe for wine making? This guy if he existed was a failure if he was a god. The best thing he did was curse a tree out of season and call some people brood of vipers so much for god!

Then some of the scientists and philosophers got together to ridicule the man who was blind, saying, “He was blind and now he can see?! It’s the other way around – he used to see and now he is blind. He must think we’re blind if he expects us to believe in such nonsense.”

A high-five for the scientists!

And Jesus said of them, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

I mean after telling us all this nonsense, Caroline tells us Jesus had no good news for the loser! Seriously if this guy loved philosophy and science as Caroline claims, he should have remained thus!

That is my submission!

How to make god ?change his mind

Another opportunity has presented itself for us to have fun in this series where I bring to light the kind of spurious arguments apologists use to defend their god, make him look both good and rational but which all fall flat face. As I have said before, I grant the brother right of reply.

I think anyone who in this day and age believes in the doctrines of John Calvin, to the extent that he[Calvin] supported the killing and burning at the stake of Dr. Severtus, this person is not a friend of man and further that this person could willingly participate in the Inquisition if one were to be held today believing if god was to damn a non-believer eternally there would be no problem causing the same person untold pain and suffering down here. This is the making of a fiend. I have no doubt that the brother is a kind person trying his best to make sense of the world, I believe he is better than his creed. I can’t respect his creed, I can’t support his creed that says man is born depraved and that the greatest percentage of men are to be damned for no fault of their own. No man should be made to believe that he doesn’t have evidence for. Let reason reign, let men be free to soar the skies like eagles, let every man be his priest and king. And most of all, let us stop believing in superstition.

Let all men work to remove the doctrine of hell from the pulpit, let us convert churches to libraries and theatres. Let the pastors, ministers, bishops and priests become teachers of things natural. There are no ghosts, holy or otherwise, concerned with how we live our lives. Let make this life the best. If we live a good life here, should there be another life elsewhere, we will just make it as good as what we had here. Besides my late mother has not come to tell me stories of another life or even my grandmother who loved me and as such I entertain no such hope of resurrection.

You’ve  probably come across those passages in the Bible where God changes His mind after a prophet intercedes for the Israelites. Maybe you’ve even been part of discussions about how to reconcile such passages with those other passages that explicitly say God does not repent, or change His mind. Two common solutions have been proposed. Most liberals and open theists have settled for a smaller God, a God whose will conforms to ours. They have settled for a God who reacts to new information. A God whose actions are determined by our “free will”An Arminian God, if you like. But others have sought to preserve God’s sovereignty in the face of this apparent contradiction. And the most common solution to the puzzle can be summarized in these words by R. C. Sproul:

I have come across many of such verses like where Abe tries to talk god out of destroying Soddom and Gomorah, where Moses tells god to stop acting stupid and so on and I have no problem reconciling these apparent contradictions. I know the bible is work of different men, writing at different times and there was never and can never be any room for supernatural inspiration. Try reading the bible just like you would have no need for any solution. And please don’t bring free will into the discussion! I must add too that this problem exists to the theist since he/she has not been able to coherently define what they mean by the word god. Any other attempts at explaining contradictions in scripture or between religious beliefs result from this core problem.

“I think that what we have here is the mystery of providence whereby God ordains not only the ends of things that come to pass but also the means. God sets forth principles in the Bible where he gives threats of judgment to motivate his people to repentance. Sometimes he spells out specifically, “But if you repent, I will not carry out the threat.” He doesn’t always add that qualifier, but it’s there. I think this is one of those instances. It was tacitly understood that God threatens judgment upon these people, but if somebody pleads for them in a priestly way, he will give grace rather than justice. I think that’s at the heart of that mystery.”

What this makes of such a god is that he does poorly at persuasion. Any time you have to resort to threats or intimidation then your position is weak. I also think the priests were taking advantage of the ignorant masses just the same way as ignorant masses take this statement as a solution to a contradiction.

I noticed that ALL the passages in which God repents have to do with God’s wrath and God’s punishment of sin. He is always repenting from punishing the Israelites for their sins, upon intercession or mediation. For instance:

“Thus the Lord God showed me, and behold, the Lord God was calling to contend with them by fire, and it consumed the great deep and began to consume the farm land. Then I said, “Lord God, please stop! How can Jacob stand, for he is small?” The Lord changed His mind about this. “This too shall not be,” said the Lord God,” [Amos 7:4-6]

and

“Then the LORD relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.” [Exodus 32:14]

another one,

“Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you.” [Jeremiah 26:13]

Am I missing something here. If I repent for doing harm, it only can mean one thing, I was wrong in the first instance. If my brother is willing to accept that god can be mistaken, we can remove the omniscience attribute from god[he never claimed it for himself anyway]. The verses presented here by the good brother cannot be used to qualify the attribute of all loving and all merciful even if he doesn’t carry out the threat. He intends to if something is not and such change can only be possible when we consider a sentient being not an infinite, timeless, formless and unchangeable god. So as I said in the beginning paragraphs, the theist must first define what he or she means by god before we deal with the matter of existence and then what god so defined can or can’t do!

On the other hand, I noticed that ALL the passages that speak of God never repenting or never-changing His mind have to do with God’s blessings, or God’s mercy and grace. For instance:

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. [Numbers 23:19-20]

and this one,

“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent” [1 Samuel 15:29]

or this one,

“I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” [Malachi 3:6]

and in the New Testament,

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” [James 1:17]

Anyone please tell if you have ever met a man who repents for being merciful! Am waiting….. and am a patient guy 😀

Why this imbalance? Why is it that God only changes (or seems to change) His mind when it comes to punishing our sins but never seems to do so when it comes to blessing us? If Moses and other prophets like Amos could reason with God and convince Him to relent from punishing the Israelites, why couldn’t the sins of the Israelites and their disobedience cause the same change of heart concerning God’s promise of blessing? It is obvious  from the look of things that, people sin, God promises wrath, someone interceded, people repent, then God relents. But when God promises blessing, even when the people stray, His promises still stand. If it is indeed possible to change God’s mind, why can we only change His mind towards not cursing us and we seem not able to change His mind towards not blessing us?

The imbalance is easy to explain. The concept of god exist in your mind and you can adjust it to reflect your present circumstances. You can explain away anything always giving god a free pass while at the same time always seeing humanity as the ones ultimately responsible. Something else worth of note here is that to the Israelites, they thought that whenever they disobeyed god, bad things happened to them and that if only they could follow the commandments then god will bless them. Well, they tried this and sometimes they suffered more when they followed this commandments and it is this problem that the prophets writing later why trying to deal with in the apocryphal writings. They could no longer explain why things were the way they were and an explanation was needed. As I have told you in different posts before, the people writing these passages never said they were inspired by god, no they never made that claim, they wrote as they saw things happen. The passages were written after the event and not before.

The prophets[poets] could have been honest in their beliefs that they were the messengers of god, but they were mistaken. They were as deluded as today’s priests, pastors and ministers who claim to speak for a god they can’t define and there adherents who believe this same god speaks to them, hears they crazy blubbers and wishes them well.

It is in this mysterious dichotomy that I found an amazing truth. And this truth lies in the conditions necessary for God to “change His mind.” If we look at the Old Testament, there were always five events that transpired in the cycle of God changing His mind. First, the people sinned. Secondly, God intended to punish their sin. Thirdly, a prophet interceded. Fourth, the people repented. Fifth, God relented. Does this cycle look familiar? Yes, it is the whole redemptive cycle that is at the heart of the biblical narrative. And this cycle in the old testament was only foreshadowing the ultimate cycle fulfilled in the New Testament: We are sinners, God intends to punish sin, Jesus intercedes, we believe and repent, God relents. The Gospel!

There is no truth here. You have just expounded a falsehood. If man sins, god[if we grant it existence] is ultimately responsible. He [for the purpose of this argument lets grant him existence] could have created a universe devoid of sin and made man without the ability to do sin. If he creates man defective, the problem must be laid where it rightfully belongs. If the theist is going to blame man for bad and give god a free pass, he worse than a hypocrite! God must be such an ineffective designer of anything, if he has to always correct his mistakes. It appears to me then that first programme he made was so full of bugs that there were not enough fixes to deal with all the security glitches that he resorted to using death as a means to an end. You can always bury your mistakes, ask doctors if you don’t believe me.

Do you want to change God’s mind? Then preach the Gospel.

Why would anyone rational being want to change the mind of that which does not exist? Is this not the height or credulity?

You see, we cannot look at sinners and then say that they are “almost” saved or on their way to salvation. The paradox of the grace is that we can tell unbelievers “you are headed to hell” without fearing that they could be among the elect; and when they get converted, we can talk to them as if they were always on their way to heaven.

There is no paradox here. It is credulity and ignorance at its highest. To even for a moment entertain the thought that someone is going to hell for not believing in a god when he no evidence to do so only goes so far as to show how one takes pride in seeing others suffer. As I have said before, if not all men are to be saved, then I prefer annihilation to hell. And if heaven can’t exist without hell, then there should be no heaven and I want it remembered that I defended against cruelty. No loving parent having the foreknowledge that their children would disobey them, creates them and then damns them. It is the work of a fiend, a cruel bastard, a monster! If the theists accept their god created hell many years in advance for the sole reason to damn me eternally, they must accept they are worshiping a fiend, an enemy of man and an irresponsible bastard!

This is the paradox of God changing His mind. At the cross, the passages about a God who changes His mind meet the passages about a God who never changes His mind. At the cross, God’s wrath against sin is expressed fully, with no repentance. At the cross, God’s mercy is expressed fully, with no repentance. At the Cross, God’s wrath and God’s mercy kiss.

I have said before this is wishful thinking. If the story of Adam and Eve is metaphor, the fall of man a metaphor it follows the cross is a metaphor and that Jesus if he existed died for a metaphor basically he was a fool.

And the most amazing thing happens. Sin is punished, sinners are forgiven, and God is glorified.

If gods do not exist, there can be no sin that is if sin is defined as an offense against god. We can’t sin against what doesn’t exist. There is no possible way such an eventuality can occur and this I say belongs to wishful thinking.

It may look like God’s mind has been changed, but it’s really our hearts which have been changed.

No such thing has happened. You have just convinced yourself of the impossible and the credulous!

An Apology for Atheism

by Charles Southwell

Every once in a while one gets to read a book that blows your mind completely and that is exactly what this book did to me. I have in the recent past read quite a number of books in defense of Atheism by such authors as Joseph Lewis, Michael Onfry, Nietzsche, Robert G. Ingersoll among others, all good books but there is something interesting about this book that I hope am going to be able to show you.

Before we get into the book, I would like to state here as I had stated somewhere in this blog, that if I am going to engage with a theist, he/she will first start by defining what they mean when they say god. They have to define this god coherently and at least show that such a god so defined can exist, should this be impossible, I advice they shouldn’t enter into the god debate.

About the god worshiped by the bible believers and on the bible on whose authority they base their reasoning, he has this to say

The very ‘book of books,’ to which they so boldly appeal, is conclusive against them. In its pages they stand convicted of idolatry. Without doubt a God is revealed by revelation; but not their God; not a supernatural Being, infinite in power, in wisdom, and in goodness. The Bible Deity is superhuman in nothing; all that His adorers have ascribed to Him being mere amplification of human powers, human ideas, and human passions. The Bible Deity ‘has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth;’ is ‘jealous,’ especially of other Gods; changeful, vindictive, partial, cruel, unjust, ‘angry with the wicked every day;’ and altogether a Being far from respectable, or worthy to be considered infinite in wisdom, power, and goodness. Is it credible that a Being supernaturally wise and good, proclaimed the murderous adulterer David, a man after his own heart, and commanded the wholesale butchery of Canaanites? Or that a God of boundless power, ‘whose tender mercies are over all his works,’ decreed the extermination of entire nations for being what he made them? Jehovah did all three. Confessedly a God of armies and Lord of Hosts; confessedly, too, a hardener of men’s hearts that he might destroy them: he authorised acts at which human nature shudders, and of which it is ashamed: yet to love, respect, yea, reverence Him, we are commanded by the self-styled ‘stewards of his mysteries,’ on peril of our ‘immortal souls.’ 

The author shows atheists can not be accused of blasphemy, for to blaspheme, one must first believe. This is what he says

It would be well for all parties, if those who raise against Atheists the cry of ‘blasphemy,’ were made to perceive that godless unbelievers cannot be blasphemers; for, as contended by Lord Brougham in his Life of Voltaire, blasphemy implies belief, and, therefore, Atheists who do not believe in God, cannot logically or justly be said to blaspheme him. The blasphemer, properly so-called, is he who imagines Deity, and ascribes to the idol of his own brain, all manner of folly, contradiction, inconsistency, and wickedness. Yes, the blasphemer is he who invents a monster and calls it God; while to reject belief therein, is an act both reasonable and virtuous.

and I doubt any of our accusers have a response to this?

And he is full of humor, just look at this question that he poses

Every one has heard of the Predestinarian, who, having talked much of his God, was asked by a bystander to speak worse of the Devil if he could; but comparatively few persons feel the full force of that question, or are prepared to admit God-worshippers in general, picture their Deities as if they were demons

who can answer this question without showing their god to be extremely cruel and evil?

Can the religious tell us which brand of christianity is the correct one.

The priests of nearly all religional denominations ascribe to Deity the low grovelling vindictive feelings which agitate and disgrace themselves. If Roman Catholic principles are true and undeniable, none but Roman Catholics will be saved from the wrath to come. If Anglo-Catholic principles are true and undeniable, none but Anglo-Catholic will be saved from the wrath to come. If orthodox Protestant principles are true and undeniable, none but orthodox Protestants will be saved from the wrath to come. 

Here only we Atheists are right, we say no one is going to heaven or hell, those two places just can’t exist. I wait for a consensus among christians on which is the correct position and which is the true christianity since all of them can’t be right.

On the question many believers are wont to ask of atheists, that is, where did the universe come from or rather who created the universe if not god. This is what our fine gentleman posit and please I don’t want to hear that line again that Atheists are willfully being ignorant!

Theologians ask, who created Nature? without adducing satisfactory evidence that Nature was created, and without reflecting that if it is difficult to believe Nature self-existent, it is much more difficult to believe some self-existent Super-nature, capable of producing it. In their anxiety to get rid of a natural difficulty, they invent a supernatural one, and accuse Atheists of ‘willful blindness,’ and ‘obstinate deafness,’ for not choosing so unphilosophic a mode of explaining universal mystery.

He continues to say this of the designer capable of making the universe

for the maker of a thing must be superior to the thing made; and if there be a maker of the universe there can be no doubt, but that if such maker were minutely examined by man, man would discover such indications of wisdom and design that it would be more difficult for him to admit that such maker was not caused or constructed by a pre-existing Designer, than to admit that the universe was not caused or constructed by a Designer. 

Can any theist show me that matter isn’t eternal, always existing? They posit god as always existing outside of time and space, I would like for anyone to show me how and where the material and immaterial interact.

The Atheist says, matter is the eternal something, and asks proof of its beginning to be. The Theist insists that matter is not the eternal something, but that God is, and when pushed for an account of what he means by God, he coolly answers, a Being, having nothing in common with anything, who, nevertheless, by his Almighty will created everything.

Is there any theist capable of conceiving god?

An unknown Deity, without body, parts or passions, is of all idols the least tangible; and they who pretend to know and reverence him, are deceived or deceivers. Knowledge of, and reverence for an object, imply, the power of conceiving that object; but who is able to conceive a God without body, parts, or passions?

Then continues his onslaught and I don’t know if anyone has a response to this

Could God be known, could his existence be made ‘palpable to feeling as to sight,’ as unquestionably is the existence of matter, there would be no need of ‘Demonstrations of the existence of God,’ no need of arguments a priori or a posteriori to establish that existence. Saint John was right; ‘No man hath seen God at any time,’ to which ‘open confession’ he might truly have added, ‘none ever will,’ for the unreal is always unseeable. Yet have ‘mystery men’ with shameless and most insolent pertinacity asserted the existence of God while denying the existence of matter.

About the RCC with the body of christ or it god, he has quite an interesting anecdote of a conversation between a priest and a muslim man who had been forced to convert to catholicism

How many God’s are there? None at all, replied Benedict, for that was his new name. How! None at all? Cries the Priest. To be sure, said the honest proselyte, you have told me all along that there it but one God; and yesterday I ate him.

And about the soul believed by theists to exists, he quotes an eccentric count on his death-bed

After a long pause he broke silence by saying, ‘Ah, friends, I see you are anxious about my soul;’ whereupon they pricked up their ears with delight; before, however, any reply could be made, the Count added, ‘but the fact is I have not got one, and really my good friends, you must allow me to know best.’

Christians have often quoted Newton as a scientist who believed in god. Let us look at what Newton thought about god and see how coherent this was and whether they really should continue to believe in such a god on the authority of Sir Isaac Newton

Newton conceived God to be one and the same for ever, and everywhere, not only by his own virtue or energy, but also in virtue of his substance–Again, ‘All things are contained in him and move in him, but without reciprocal action.’ (sed sine mutua passione) God feels nothing from the movements of bodies; nor do they experience any resistance from his universal presence. 

Please tell me, one what?

Newton continues to describe the relationship with the divine thus

By[…] He is called the Lord God, the Universal Emperor–that the word God is relative, and relates itself with slaves–and that the Deity is the dominion or the sovereignty of God, not over his own body, as those think who look upon God as the soul of the world, but over slaves

Can we conceive of slavery without tyranny. If we must accept the above relationship, then we must conclude that god is the great tyrant ever conceived of by man!

He then introduces Clarke, a contemporary of Newton but a theologian, who wrote some eight attributes of god. Here we look just at one of these

…… this always-existing Being is unchangeable and independent.[ …….] Now, as no human action can be imagined without necessary precursors in the shape of motives, reasoning from analogy, it seems impossible that the unchangeable and independent Being, Clarke was so sure must ever have existed, could have created the universe, seeing he could have had no motive or inducement to create it.

This is the position of the Atheist

…. the Atheist, because he finds it impossible to explain the action of matter, because unable to state why it exhibits such vast and various energies as it is seen to exhibit, is none the less assured it naturally and therefore necessarily acts thus energetically. No Atheist pretends to understand how bread nourishes his frame, but of the fact that bread does nourish it he is well assured. He understands not how or why two beings should by conjunction give vitality to a third being more or less analogous to themselves, but the fact stares him in the face.

and is it possible for one to show me at what point this is being obstinately ignorant?

He says elsewhere in the treatise that scripture has first to be proved word of god before it is appealed to. IS there any objection to this?

And for fear of typing the whole book here, I leave you, the theist, with this matter to consider

He is a rigid Predestinarian, which no one can be who doubts the all powerfulness or foreknowledge of that God whom Christians worship. Taking Scripture as his guide, the Predestinarian must needs believe some are foredoomed to Hell, and some to Hell, irrespective of all merit; it being manifestly absurd to suppose one man can deserve more or less than another, in a world, where all are compelled to believe, feel, and act, as they do believe, feel, and act. 

and the Atheist to rejoice in this belief

He who is without God cannot run into absurdities and blasphemies like these, whereas he who is with one cannot keep clear of them. 

 

 

Atheism among the people pt 2

by Alphonse De Lamartine

I want to continue to show that the author of this book is misguided on his understanding of atheism and atheists.

Instead of this, Atheists and demagogues united to persecute religion, to revenge themselves for the old persecutions of the priesthood. They profaned the temples, violated conscience, blasphemed the God of the faithful, parodied the ceremonies, cast to the winds the pious symbols of worship, and persecuted the ministers of religion.

I have not read the writings of Diderot, Rousseau, Voltaire who are among those very active at the height of the French Revolution among others but I have read Thomas Paine who writes about the French Revolution in the Age of Reason and Rights of Man and I can say without a shred of doubt that they asked the populace to profane the temples. Someone will have to show me that this was the work of atheists and not the peasants who were tired of the despondency of the priestly class.

When the ignorant People no longer saw God between them and annihilation, they plunged into the boundless and bottomless abyss of Atheism, they lost their divine sense, they became brutal as the animal, who sees in the earth only a pasture ground, instead of the footstool of Jehovah.

Can this responsibility be put at the court of atheism. In the Rights of Man, Thomas Paine, asks the people to spare the life of the king but kill the position. He pleads that the man’s life be spared. It is not atheism at fault, but the system hitherto that bred so much hate in the people who ought to take responsibility. We can’t shift blame.

…… under the names of Fourierism, of Pantheism, of Communism, of Industrialism, of Economism, and, finally, of Terrorism.[….],–there is a single one of these philosophical, social, or political sects, which is not founded on the most evident practical Atheism; which has not matter for a God; material enjoyments for morality; exclusive satisfaction of the senses for an end; purely sensual gratifications for a paradise; this world for the sole scene of existence; the body for the only condition of being; the prolonging of life a few more years for its only hope; a sharpening of the senses to material appetites for a perspective; death for the end of all things; after death, an assimilation with the dust of the earth for a future; annihilation for justice, for reward, and for immortality!

I don’t know if there is evidence for another world apart from this one here, if there is evidence for anything separate from matter and where death isn’t the end of life. I may entertain the thought that I would see my adorable late mother again, but I just don’t think this is true. I don’t know why someone should have a problem when people are told there is no evidence they will exist beyond the grave since there is no evidence they existed before they were born.

What People is there who would become fanatics, only for their own destruction; renounce their moral nature, their divine souls, their immortal destinies, only for a morsel of more savory bread upon their table, for a larger portion of earth under their feet? No! no! enthusiasm soars aloft, it does not fall to earth. Bear me up to Heaven, if you wish to dazzle my eyes; promise me immortality, if you would offer to my soul a motive worthy of its nature, an aim worthy of its efforts, a price worthy of its virtue! But what do your systems of atheistic society show us in perspective? What do they promise us in compensation for our griefs? What do they give us in exchange for our souls? You know,–we will not speak of it.

We show you there is no need to be deluded. We promise no false hope. We ask that we live our life here to the fullest, and go on to say should there be heaven we will learn to live there as we did here. We never were prepared for life here, we were born ignorant of everything around us. The only thing I think we could do from the moment we were born was to cry to show our distress. Everything else we learn through very painful moments and sometimes through fun moments. This is all we offer and it, I think, is more realistic and honest.

Atheism and Republicanism are two words which exclude each other. Absolutism may thrive without a God, for it needs only slaves. Republicanism cannot exist without a God, for it must have citizens. And what is it that makes citizens? Two things,–the sentiment of their rights, and the sentiment of their duties as a republican People. Where are your rights, if you have not a common Father in Heaven? Where are your duties, if you have not a Judge between your brothers and you? Republicanism draws you in both these ways to God.

Here duties refers to duty to god. Is it true that sans god we have no rights? Aren’t we then slaves to this heavenly being or is there something I don’t understand?

Thus, look at every free People, from the mountains of Helvetia to the forests of America; see even the free British nation, where the Aristocracy is only the head of liberty, where the Aristocracy and Democracy mutually respect each other, and balance each other by an exchange of kindnesses and services which sanctify society while fortifying it. Atheism has fled before liberty: in proportion as despotism has receded, the divine idea has advanced in the souls of men. Liberty lives by morality. What is morality without a God? What is a law without a lawgiver?

Had he read the Rights of Man he would not have used the monarchy in Britain as an example of just government. He lived too early, he would have had to show us who gives god law or why god should be exempt from being given law. He presents the same argument advanced by WLC that there can be no objective morality without god. Is there objective morality to begin with?

While the great men of other nations live and die upon the scene of history, looking towards heaven, our great men seem to live and die in entire forgetfulness of the only idea for which life or death is worth any thing; they live and die looking at the spectators, or, at most, towards posterity.

The great men of France to me died a noble death.

Now let us compare the deaths he lists

Sidney, the young martyr of a patriotism, guilty, because too hasty, died to expiate the dream of the freedom of his country. He said to the jailer, “May my blood purify my soul! I rejoice that I die innocent toward the king, but a victim resigned to the King of Heaven, to whom we owe all life.”

with this

See Mirabeau on his death-bed. “Crown me with flowers,” said he, “intoxicate me with perfumes, let me die with the sound of delicious music.” Not one word of God, or of his soul! A sensual philosopher, he asks of death only a supreme sensualism; he desires to give a last pleasure even to agony.

and this

Listen to Danton, upon the platform of the scaffold, one step from God and immortality:–“I have enjoyed much; let me go to sleep,” he says;–then, to the executioner, “You will show my head to the People; it is worth while!” Annihilation for a confession of faith; vanity for his last sigh: such is the Frenchman of these latter days!

then tell me which you think is the most beautiful way to die given the circumstances?

If you wish that this revolution should not have the same end, beware of abject Materialism, degrading sensualism, gross Socialism, of besotted Communism; of all these doctrines of flesh and blood, of meat and drink, of hunger and thirst, of wages and traffic, which these corruptors of the soul of the People preach to you, exclusively, as the sole thought, the sole hope, as the only duty, and only end of man! They will soon make you slaves of ease, serfs of your desires.

I need education on the relationship between communism and atheism.

Are you willing to have inscribed on the tomb of our French race, as on that of the Sybarites, this epitaph: “This People ate and drank well, while they browsed upon the earth?”

Give me this epitaph any day and I will rejoice in my grave.

No! You desire that History should write thus: “This People worshipped well, served God and humanity well,–in thought, in philosophy, in religion, in literature, in arts, in arms, in labor, in liberty, in their Aristocracies, in their Democracies, in their Monarchies, and their Republics! This nation was the spiritual laborer, the conqueror of truth; the disciple of the highest God, in all the ways of civilization,–and, to approach nearer to him, it invented the Republic, that government of duties and of rights, that rule of spiritualism, which finds in ideas its only sovereignty.”

I don’t want! We can either serve god or humanity and not both. Look at the good book of what it says concerning having two masters!

Seek God, then. This is your nature and your grandeur. And do not seek Him in these Materialisms! For God is not below,–he is on high!

What stops god from making this any easy by just showing up. Is it too hard for him/it/she to just appear to put the matter of his existence or non-existence to rest?

Atheism among the people

by Alphonse De Lamartine

I have finished reading this short book and I disagree with it in its entirety. I will show why I disagree and since it is a big topic we will have it in sections to ensure the length of each post is not too long.

And whenever I have thus questioned myself, I have thus answered myself:–“I love the people because I believe in God. For, if I did not believe in God, what would the people be to me? I should enjoy at ease that lucky throw of the dice, which chance had turned up for me, the day of my birth; and, with a secret, savage joy, I should say, ‘So much the worse for the losers!–the world is a lottery. Woe to the conquered!'” I cannot, indeed, say this without shame and cruelty,–for, I repeat it, I believe in God.

Do we need to believe that there is a sky-daddy watching over us to care for others? Is love, for whatever it’s worth, only conceivable when we include of an imaginary daddy? Are we not capable of just loving one another knowing we are all human, children of accident and soon or later, for those who are lucky, we will be gone?

This elementary, gross, instinctive, involuntary belief in God, is not the living, intelligent, active, and legislative faith of humanity. It is almost animal. I am persuaded that if the brutes even,–if the dog, the horse, the ox, the elephant, the bird, could speak, they would confess, that, at the bottom of their nature, their instincts, their sensations, their obtuse intelligence, assisted by organs less perfect than ours, there is a clouded, secret sentiment of this existence of a superior and primordial Being, from whom all emanates, and to whom all returns,–a shadow of the divinity upon their being, a distant approach to the conception of that idea, which fills the worlds, and for which alone the worlds have been made,–the idea of God!

Here I agree with those philosophers like Nietzsche and novelists like M. Twain that animals look at man and wonder how far he removed himself from his nature how he suffers to the extent that he created a god to worship!

Faith, or reasonable and effective belief in God, proceeds, undoubtedly, from this first instinct; but in proportion as intelligence develops itself, and human thought expands, it goes from knowledge to knowledge, from conclusion to conclusion, from light to light, from sentiment to sentiment, infinitely farther and higher, in the idea of God

Isn’t this a contradiction. To talk about faith and reasonable in the same sentence. I think as human thought expands so does the desire to believe decrease. The idea of god becomes more vague as our knowledge increase and as we learn about the evolution of gods.

No! God is not a mere notion, an idea, an evidence;–God is a law,–the living law, the supreme law, the universal law, the eternal law. Because God is a law on high, he is a duty on the earth; and when man says, ‘I believe in God,’ he says, at the same time, ‘I believe in my duty towards God,–I believe in my duty towards man.’ God is a government!”

This is indeed new! To consider the idea of god as a law and a government. I will wait for the god believers to explain what this law is, there never seem to agree on many of its aspects.

The love of the People, the conscience of the citizen,[ ……..], from any thing but that single sentence, pronounced with religious faith, at the commencement, in the middle, at the end of all our patriotic acts:–“I believe in God!”

I refuse to accept that we can only love brother if we love god. In fact I contend we don’t love our brother enough when we love god, when we see love as a duty to god and not to our fellow-man whom we can injure.

Therefore, Atheism in the People is the most invincible obstacle to the establishment and consolidation of that sublime form of government, the idol of all ages, the tendency of all perfect civilization, the dream of every sage, the model of all great souls,–the government of the entire People by the reason and conscience of each citizen,–otherwise called the REPUBLIC.

To claim that atheists can’t love, can’t fight for social justice, can’t defend human rights is an insult to all atheists. Everywhere atheists are saying we deserve to treat each with kindness. Atheists are the number one humanists world over. We say and write that you are free to worship, to believe as you do as long you don’t make it public policy. It is in the mostly religious states where basic freedoms are denied, where LGBT rights are not guaranteed and so many other ills that can only be tied to religion.

Must I demonstrate to you so simple a truth? Can you not comprehend, without explanation of mine, that a nation[…..]–do you not understand, I say, that such a People, having no God but its selfishness, no judge but interest, no conscience but cupidity, will fall, in a short time, into complete destruction, and, being incapable of a Republican government, because it casts aside the government of God himself, will rush headlong into the government of the brute: the government of the strongest, the despotism of the sword, the divinity of the cannon,–that last resort of anarchy, which is at once the remedy and the death of nations without God!

If this were the case, then Scandinavian Europe where the god idea is receding much farther from the public life would have collapsed. It is however interesting to note that it is in the very religious countries where there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor. In the church the pastor lives well while the parishioners support his bad habits.

Alas! it is not that God has denied this sense to these men of figures, of science, and calculation; but they have blinded themselves, they have cultivated the other senses so much, that they have weakened this. They have believed too much in matter, and so they have lost the eye of the spirit. These men, we are told, have made great progress in experimental science, but they have made good, evil, to the People, by saying to them, “We, who are so high, we cannot see God!–blind men! what do you see, then?”

Here he argues against atheistic scientists. He does not show that something besides matter exists. Just goes on to repeat the same line I hear everyday, that we lovers of science are blind. I contend if his god is so powerful, who is at fault here? The scientist who hasn’t been able to find a reason to keep holding the god idea or the powerful god who has failed to convince the scientist? Be the judge.

Thus these men count for nothing the forms of worship and the forms of government. They are neither followers of Brahma, of Confucius, of Mahomet, of Plato, or of Rousseau; neither absolute monarchists, constitutional royalists, nor republicans. They are of the politics, and of the religion, in which they can manufacture most, buy and sell easiest, trade the best, multiply fastest! Their civilization is traffic; their God is the dollar! This sect, useful in administering intelligently the affairs of commerce, has been a shadow over intellectual civilization; for it has forgotten heavenly things, and, in forgetting them, has contributed to make the People also forget them.

Please show me a pastor who is not concerned with growing his flock to increase the dollar and I will show you a fool. I can’t speak for everyone, what am certain of is my god if I were to have any is not the dollar.