Have you read your New Testament lately?

Because that could be only reason you are an atheist. So dear friends, atheists especially, pick up that dusty old bible of yours wherever you have been keeping it, jump to the new testament and Jesus will minister to you on every verse. Can I hear a loud Amen.

And then if you are lucky, you might just marry an international healing evangelist willing to compete with the local shaman in a village of your choice. Amen.

But this works well if you try it while undergoing a traumatic episode in your life. You can start with the 30 no-pay- trial period before you purchase the full version. What are you waiting for?

Or maybe you have the stomach for this. I didn’t.

Fishing

The Necessity of Atheism by Percy Shelley is one of the best you will ever find. It is precise and straightforward. It’s a joy to read only comparable to reading Nietzche’s the Antichrist.

I am looking for work by abolitionist Garrison; a lecture by Ernestine Rose in defense of Atheism, and Stunton’s work on women’s rights.

If you have pdfs or epub copies of these works, please share. And that is all the fishing I am doing today.

who knew

that all you heathens are on a slippery slope towards the troubled realms; and this means you are headed into veganism. Sometimes I think if people could read whatever they write out aloud to their friends they would be advised against pushing the publish button.

And this analogy has made me laugh. I almost want to agree with the author. Politics and religion are generally similar- chosen without much reflection.

What do you believe in?

Is a question I get asked occasionally when I say I am not religious. Generally, depending on what I am doing at that precise moment, my response will be drawn from it. For example if we were having beer, I would jokingly say I believe beer is good.

But I don’t think this is the answer they are looking for. The question seems to me to be a loaded one. It does seem, in some sense, that to the believer, my lack of religious belief and by extension god belief, I am devoid of beliefs.

The other implication is, for the believer, all their other beliefs can be explained by their belief in god. That is to say, to the believer, any question would be answered by god and that would seem to be a sufficient answer.

But there is a problem. Whereas we hold beliefs to the degree we believe them true and no more, it is possible we hold unexamined beliefs, false beliefs and so on. And where there is true knowledge, we generally (in common usage) say we know 1+1=2 except for catholics where 1=3, but that’s a debate for another time.

Therefore, in answer to the above question, whoever should want an answer should be specific. I hold many beliefs depending on the weather and what side of the bed I wake up from.

To those who get asked this question, how do you respond?

Evidence for Christianity

The argument from truth

The author of the linked post intended, and failed, to show that atheism is not compatible with truth or to argue that atheists have a problem with truth. I argue, without fear of contradiction, that s/he has not proved their case. They didn’t even get off. We cannot, from reading their blog determine what truth is and how its existence is proof for god or an argument against atheism.

I will state, following Odera Oruka that all truths are contextual, where context is a tradition that determines the levels of understanding and the rules of rationality. Within a context, objectivity is implied and therefore, to argue that truth is contextual is not to commit to relativism.

After failing to make a coherent argument for truth as demonstrating that the Christian god exists, our interlocutor moves to morality and attempts to kill the horse that has been killed so many times there is no death left in it- is morality objective or subjective?- in their own words

What about claims that morality is relative? Someone may say one behaviour is acceptable and another not. If there is no God, then all our morals are a matter of personal opinion and not objective.

And as I have said of truth, codes of behaviour are context specific. And within a given context, whatever norms or codes that people live by are considered, they will be objective.

Our interlocutor then writes

If there is no God, then all our morals are a matter of personal opinion and not objective.

as if transferring the source of the opinion improves objectivity. Where gods have been claimed to have spoken, they have not been clear. Is it bad to kill? Not if they worship a different god. Or if it is as a sacrifice to a god. So that, if we are to follow the precepts laid down in the bible (our interlocutor argues for Christianity), we would not be certain on how to act.

We are told

However, if there is a God, and that God has defined right and wrong moral behaviour, then we have a standard outside of ourselves providing us with an objective standard for morality. If God does exist then we can have real objective moral truths.

and I ask which are these? Don’t eat shellfish? Take for example the command don’t kill. Why should we not kill? Because god has said. This, I argue, is unhelpful. It takes us to WLC philosophy of divine command theory where everything that god says is right. I am not sure Euthyphro’s dilemma has been successfully answered.

Most times when I read blogs by Christian apologists, I am left wondering why do they live in such small worlds. When a person writes

The Atheist must borrow the Christian worldview, to hold onto objective moral truths, but at the same time they want to reject the foundation for moral truth.

i ask is the world divided only between Christian and atheist? From whose world view does the atheist in Buddhaland borrow from?

If 1+1=2, the existence of god adds nothing to this. It is independent of gods. I don’t see how empirical facts help with the argument for existence of gods. Unless the apologist is able to demonstrate that the existence of god will change the value of 1+1, then using it as an argument to demonstrate the existence of god fails, unless I am missing something.

Questions

Happy Monday everyone.

Those who read this blog religiously have, I am sure, read the questions of Zapata. I am not going to re-post them here. No, the questions we have are more interesting, but before the questions something we might all agree with.

Everything for which we love and venerate the man Jesus becomes a bitter and absurd mockery when attributed to the Lord Christ

James Thomson, Satires and Profanities

Now the questions

  1. he went about doing good; if God, why did he not do all good at once?
  2. he cured many sick; if god why did he not give the whole world health?
  3. he associated with publicans and sinners; if god, why did he make publicans and sinners at all?
  4. he preached the kingdom of heaven; if god, why did he not bring the kingdom with him and make all mankind fit for it?
  5. he loved the poor, he taught the ignorant; if god, why did he let any remain poor and ignorant?
  6. he died for love of mankind; if god, why did he not restore mankind to himself without dying? and what great thing was it to seem to die for three days?
  7. he sent apostles to preach salvation to all men; if god, why did he not reveal it at once to all men, and so reveal it that doubt had been impossible?
  8. he lived an example of holiness to us all; if god, how can our humanity imitate deity
  9. why did he ever let the world get evil?

I hope to hear your responses and have a great week everyone.

here is something I like

even if you don’t read the whole blog, this alone I find is quite good

In conversation with a believer

To be clear, I do respect anyone who does believe with integrity. Who does treat others with respect, those who do not share into the same belief. Or those who do not want to believe at all in any form of a higher being. Because, without that principle in place, the believer will not receive the respect he or she is craving.

I do not believe in any higher being or deity, nor do I adhere to any mystical belief system.

For me, the adherence to a “believe” is an absolute private matter! And in my opinion, has nothing to do with any religious affiliations. As I understand if a person needs the embrace of a religious group, there must be doubts about the validity of the held beliefs. If one is convinced that there is a deity in existence, then there is no need for spiritual support of that conviction. One is free to worship on one’s terms!

To me, a belief is personal, and like our imagination, are emotional responses of the individual. As far as I can count, there are currently around eight billion individual emotional responses possible on this planet.

As an atheist, I take responsibility for my entire existence!(Here is where we say AMEN-my own) I alone must account for my actions and my thoughts, including my demise into nothingness. For me, life is a one-off experience, and I feel lucky to have that experience. There is no one to blame for my bad choices, but myself. I am aware and respectful to the fact that I am part of a universal cycle; consequently, I treat my life with the utmost reverence. Of course, we all make mistakes and fail in our quest on occasion. There may be one religion I would call myself an adherent to, and that is the religion of universal love!

I am suspicious of people who are in need to convince others of the righteousness of their beliefs. To me, it proves they lack convictions!

On a more general note, if we human beings had decided a long time ago to adhere only to one single belief system, we would have died out by now! Because only through the challenges and variety of conflicting ideas has the human mind progressed to this day.

Question for atheists

Whenever this block suffers a dearth of posts, I go to that wormhole otherwise known as Quora to just stroll and see what questions people are asking. I like it for other things. The stories lies people tell. And so today I saw this question

Imagine you died, and then you find out the afterlife and God are real. God presents himself to you, satisfying whatever proof you need to know it’s him, and he then asks you to explain your lack of faith. What would you say?

I can tell that this question is loaded with assumptions. I can bet, I didn’t bother to check, that the enquirer is a Christian. They tend to hog the god name with a capital G. So the first question would be of identity, which god are we talking about? The god of the philosophers who set the ball rolling and went to sleep, maybe even died, or the god of my forefather- indifferent. Or that of the Abrahamic faiths- petty, jealous and murderous?

Two, this god appears after I am dead. Isn’t that a wee bit late. The answer simply is you didn’t present yourself when it counted.

Thinking more about the question, it is a weaker version of Pascal’s argument. You are implored to just believe, without evidence because maybe this angry god might be waiting for you the other side of the grave. Not happening. Don’t fear death my friend, nor the gods. If they exist and love us, we have no reason to be afraid. If they exist and they are capricious, then worshiping them is no guarantee that you’ll be spared from their bouts of anger.

Does science really disprove god

I know we are all tired of Covid19 news and or bike falls so we will do something different today. The author of this post says no but I want to argue that science doesn’t set out to prove or disprove god. The results from science studies only seem to make god unnecessary as a causative agent.

I want to begin by agreeing with the author that

None of the points I’ll make here is intended to provide absolute certainty; no amount of mere reasoning could do that — whether for or against God

though I think this makes the case for god already weak from the beginning. For all that is claimed for god, the evidence for god should be such that there is little doubt of its existence. You know like the sun.

The author says next

[…]over the years I’ve gradually become more and more confident that belief in God best explains the most important aspects of our lives — areas like science, morality, and meaning. Again, not 100 percent confidence, but much more than I think is warranted by the evidence for atheism.

and it is this evidence that we would want to consider in this post and see how it holds up. Maybe by the time we are done reading, Mary will be convinced to become a bible carrying, tithe paying evangelical :).

This

But hasn’t science — surely an impressive source for what we know — shown that there’s no God, or at least that God is unlikely?

is a strawman.I don’t think this can be a scientific conclusion. Generally we know scientists to say their findings are provisional and can change depending on new evidence. Since there is no known way of studying existence of god (given gods belong to that class of beings that we only have claims of others for their existence) no scientist in their right mind would say my experiment proves there is no god.

Cosmologists have attempted to answer the question of how/where did the universe come to being and there answers I think, without a doubt, beat “and god said let there be“.

We are told, well science has explained much, but not given us ultimate answers. From the horse’s mouth pen

Suppose that all these theories are entirely true. Surely an all-powerful being like God could have made the universe using the very objects and workings described by these theories. If there were a God, he could have easily guided natural selection and made sure that there were the genetic variations needed for the right evolutionary paths. He also could have created an enormous number of universes by way of quantum fluctuations, making sure that at least one of these universes resulted in us. There’s no necessary inconsistency between belief in God and our current scientific theories.

To which I respond that there is also no contradiction in arguing that the scientific explanations make god unnecessary.

At this point, I wonder why this author even set about to write this post. He writes,

These theories could never explain themselves, even in principle; that’s not in their job description. Scientific laws simply aren’t in a position to answer “Why these laws?” Moreover, our theories are about how the stuff of the universe behaves (whatever that stuff ultimately turns out to be), and not about the ultimate origin of the stuff itself.

which I think undermines the whole object of this thesis. If the conclusion is that science can’t tell us about the ultimate stuff, why then bother?

We are then asked

In any case, given all that we know today — given what science has told us — how can you be so confident about your atheism?

and my simple response is that all religions (that I am aware of) as far as I can tell have failed to demonstrate that their god is real, is necessary and that theirs is the right religion.

And finally Christianity and the bible make an appearance. I am surprised it took so long.

I wish I had more space and time (or spacetime) to discuss, but for now I’ll say this: the actual teachings and purpose of the Bible are more amenable to contemporary science than you might think.

Yeah. Like Jonah eating the fish, or the goats jumping over sticks and changing colour or Jesus walking on water. I know. I know. These are all compatible with the best science results we have from science. Who is to doubt.

And what good is an apologetics post with posing the question of meaning or morality?

One is the nature of morality. What would a purely human-grounded moral code imply for my everyday life if I took this idea seriously? Another is the meaning and purpose of life itself. Why get out of bed in the morning? Why choose the life goals I do, and why pursue the relationships I do, particularly if the universe and its contents (including us) are just going to end in what physicists call the “heat death”? And if this is the whole story, is that a problem?

Have a science-y day, won’t you?