I know I will regret this

We have mentioned Cornell here before. He is my neighbour in the hood, I thought with knowing yours truly, his writing will become more sensible. It appears he is gone off the racks completely.

In this post he is writing about punishment and the part of god in the matrix. On this blog we have said we oppose to punishment and are in support of rehabilitation. Society has every right to protect itself. In this case, though the removal from society of offenders, we propose that they should not be stripped of their dignity. Revenge doesn’t make society better.

The question Cornell is asking

Then why do people have a problem with a God who punishes evil in the world? Why do people have a problem with a God who sends people to hell for their sins?

is one which misses the point entirely. It absolves god, whatever they are, from blame. Cornell must first demonstrate that a god exist and show how this god is not complacent in the commission of evil. And to ask  why we have a problem with a god who sends people to hell is inhuman, a parson devoid of feeling and capricious.What would god want to achieve when he has these people in hell?

We are not in agreement on this

One thing we can all agree on is that people do not have a problem with a God who punishes sin.

for no god has been shown to exist.

I don’t know who agrees with him on this

no one is saying that there shouldn’t be a hell.

Many humanists have written against the concept of hell. Maybe he should spend time out reading different authors. I don’t want hell to exist. Don’t misunderstand me, am not saying hell exists.

If the believer holds it that god created man, there is nothing man can do to beat the wishes of god. The believer will have to prove that the offender’s behaviour is not what god intended for him/her and then to show why they should be punished for mistakes that rightly belong at god’s doorstep.

In this other post, he has expressed sophistry as I have not seen in a while.

He argues

[…]Do these examples disqualify the Bible? Many people believe so. Yet what such arguments against the Bible reveal is the arguers’ ignorance of what the Bible is and what the Bible does. The Bible is not God’s Word because it contains novel (new and unique) ideas about God. In fact, the reverse is the case, all true ideas about God that exist outside the Bible only prove that God is the author and owner of all truth. It is the reason R.C. Sproul has popularized the phrase: “all truth is God’s truth.”

and with one stroke of Oogity Boogity he has secured the bible from any criticism. I wish this were the case for him but alas, no, reality is different from this. How do we know an idea is true about god? Is something true about god if it gets mentioned in the bible and by secular author? What about those writings that are in direct contradiction with the supposed word of god? Do they also express a truth about god? And what truth is this?

I don’t know what truth is. Jesus, if he existed had an opportunity to settle this matter before Pilate [John 18:38] but he didn’t. When Cornell writes

Truth is truth, wherever you find it

I can’t for the life of me say I know what he means.

He ends his post with the sophistry with which he begun

The availability of truth apart from the Bible is actually an argument for God, not against Him. It is proof of His sovereignty — that  God is God over all people and all things, not just the Jews and the Christians. It is proof that those who will never encounter Christianity will not be judged unfairly, because “what may be known about God is “plain” to them (Rom 1:19).

There is a lot more to say about this fallacious argument. I hope not one of his many thousands of followers believe these nonsense he is selling to them. Any reasonable person who has read the bible and read some science book will be able to notice the several contradictions between the bible and what we have found out about nature and at the same time this person shall have seen the internal contradictions in the bible itself. The question then that we must ask is which is truth when we have two contradictory stories in the bible about the same event?

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Am feeling lazy

Sometimes you must like the god believers for their honesty. It is not always the case they are honest especially when they talk about their beliefs. Most times this honesty is hidden in several paragraphs of posts. Yours truly will just share with you a few instances of honesty. You can read the OPs if you have the time.

First, the author of stop arguing with atheists writes

our beliefs are generally not founded on intellect and reason in the first place, however much we like to think they are. Our beliefs may well have rational grounds, but we tend to gather that after the fact. We believe first, based on a complex mix of emotion and intuition, of personal and psychological and cultural reasons that we have little awareness of. And then we look to justify those beliefs intellectually and rationally. So when we argue, it’s never just reason and logic that’s involved – it’s personal.

He/ she continues to tell us

Arguing also doesn’t work because Christianity has never been primarily a matter of the intellect, of mathematical logic or scientific proof.

Do I hear an amen from somewhere. Here is an honest fellow admitting their beliefs are not rationally held and if there is an appearance of rationality it is after the fact. This is a fellow I could buy beer for being honest.

In atheism, the author writes

God, as far as I can see, is merely another word for ‘everything’, completely transferable with every other word we could choose to describe the ultimately undefinable, infinite essence.

I think this shows why we can never have a proper discussion with a theist. Words mean only what they want them to mean.

He/she’s opening salvo goes thus

Everyday atheists use money, an entirely fictional entity that only works because we believe in it. It has no intrinsic value, it is an idea, it has no tangible, provable existence, but it doesn’t stop them using it.

And I must say that till this moment, I wasn’t aware that belief in gods and use of legal tender were at par and interchangeable. I don’t know to what extent money is fictional because I want to open a fictional account and deposit fictional millions that I can then exchange for gold bullion[s] at the gold market. The paper money is printed on has no intrinsic value, but the paper is real and value assigned to it, maybe arbitrary, but it is useful and means something.

The author of thank you atheists, is quite happy that we are. I have no beef with him/her.

In the foolishness of atheism, the author believes atheists have been lied to and seeks to show where the deception took place. In their won words, they write

What was the pull that had so many persons denying that God exists? Why were so many persons falling for this lie and how did all this deception take place? Here are a few things the atheists believe and why they are deceived in their thinking.

This author doesn’t leave spare any insults. We are foolish because we contend that the bible is written by men, who in many cases were wrong about history or reality.

We have a challenge like the one the Koran makes

If any atheist can name any other book that even comes close to the bible in terms of its life changing ability and in terms of its endurance and power, I would like to know about it

There are more people who believe in the Vedas than there are Christians. The same can also be said to those who adhere to the teachings of Buddha. The Muslim would make a similar claim, the Jew would make a similar claim about the Torah. Such demand is juvenile and cannot be listed as a reason to believe something true.

And lastly since god lives in this person’s heart, on what basis does he insult others in whose hearts nothing lives. Our hearts exist only to pump blood to the rest of the body and if gods are to build their residence there, we need to know what real estate they need.

He quotes scripture which says

1 Cor 1:18-25. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign; and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Which in my view is a consolation for the stupid to continue in their stupidity. The author disparages human enquiry pretending they will be wise when they are dead. What foolishness! And if god has made wisdom of the world foolishness, how would they continue to trust such a being that is an outright deceiver? There is nothing, as Nietzsche said many years ago redeeming about Christianity. It rejects every human pursuit. It is a cult of death. Dearth of knowledge and wisdom. There is nothing in it in praise of intelligence. It is indeed a cult for the foolish. I do not understand why when this is stated, we are accused of arrogance.

Lastly to uplift your spirits is my take on Pascal’s wager.

Enjoy your reading 😛

6 reasons to believe

This post was originally posted here. Some responses can be found here for those who are interested. We would want to add our two cents worth of commentary to it.

Reason 1

Does God exist? The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.

To claim design, one must know the end or be in a position to know the end to which something has been done. There is no evidence anywhere the universe was designed not that it is sustained by any power other than those inherent in nature. Where is the evidence that the universe needed a creator.

We are given examples why this is the case and I will only deal with one. They write

The Earth…its size is perfect. The Earth’s size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter. Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.

The earth just is.  We have found ourselves on earth, we can speculate about how it would be if things were different, but that doesn’t change the fact that the earth just is. Thinking of how I would act if I were the world dictator doesn’t make me one. We are capable of speculation and most times we are misled by it as we forget to ground our speculative reason on what we know and can verify.

Reason 2

Does God exist? The universe had a start – what caused it?

This assertion is in need of proof. It would be a leap of several magnitude to come from the universe having a beginning to god did it. To rule out the universe always existing in some form or other is a case of special pleading.

Reason 3

Does God exist? The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?

We don’t know. All we can infer is that order seems to be inherent in nature.

Reason 4

Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell’s behavior

Being part of nature and in nature, we wouldn’t expect it to behave other than it does.

Reason 5

Does God exist? We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him

Last I checked it is proselytes knocking people’s doors selling faith. No one I know of has met this supposed god. All those who claim to hear him say they hear a voice in their heads. I don’t know, but how can we tell they are not hallucinating. Why should we take the claims of one over that of another?

Reason 6

Does God exist? Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us

Bunk! Honestly I didn’t see this coming. I don’t think the Jesus figure as claimed in the bible existed. This is wishful thinking and not a reason to believe.

I find this very disappointing. I was hoping to be convinced there is some reason to hold onto belief in the supernatural, and then this is all! How sad.

You know a true gem when you see one

Christians who claim that the Bible proves the existence of God are committing the logical fallacy commonly known as circular reasoning.

To believe the Bible, one must first believe in God. So saying that the Bible proves the existence of God doesn’t make any sense.

Dear friends, please tell me, apart from the Torah, the Bible or Koran for the monotheists, where do they get their idea of god from? Do I miss something? Can they have one without the other?

why it is bad to misrepresent your opponent when you are ignorant about her ways!

I apologize for the mouthful title of this post, I just couldn’t think of a better one to capture what it is I want to deal with. I was on my many strolls on the internet when I came across a post that decries anti-theists ignorance of religion but came out to show the author seems to be ignorant of atheists or has created a strawman to attack. That this is the case is evident in almost every paragraph, if not all of them.

The post starts thus

Ever since the Enlightenment we have held the rather dumb idea that not having a religion makes you smarter and having one makes you stupid

in which the author is wrong for saying it is a dumb idea. Only the educated are free of superstition and as such whatever little that can be said of the atheist, is, there is one point where she is smarter than the theist and that is with regards to matters of religion. Anyone who applies a little common sense to religion will easily see the folly in it. Am not going to say the religious is stupid, no, just that as long as he is religious, there is an area of his/her life to which he has not applied common sense and he would do himself good if he took time off to examine her religious claims.

We are told

 they assume that the different religions are false, rather than actually argue that they are false

The theist has made a claim about his religion. A theist of a different walk has a belief contrary to the one held by the first theist. And with differing sects and denominations, we have a situation where either all of them are right or are all false or one is right and the rest are all false but to know which is the right one then remains the only challenge to be overcome. The theist who thinks her religion is the valid one has the onus of showing us why this is so.

The author takes issue with atheists for writing a lot about some religions more than others. He writes

there is the fact that they argue against some religions more than others. They certainly argue more against Islam than against Buddhism.

Whereas am an equal opportunity non- believer, I have not met a person of Buddhist persuasion in my entire short life but I am surrounded by Christians everywhere. There is almost a church every where you turn. At the same time, the Christians are trying to have their beliefs made into law. The Hindus are not trying to do this. The Buddhists are not trying to do this. Unless the Christians acknowledge or are willing to acknowledge that their should be separation of church and state, am afraid, I will still have to write about it.

You know a person is in the deep end of numskull when they write

Another thing they do is assume that science somehow disproves God rather than actually showing how.

Science, construed broadly, only deals with testable claims. If you claim your god is actively involved in the events that happen around us, then science can test for that and if there is no evidence of supernatural intervention, then it can be said with confidence that science has disproved the necessity of the god hypothesis. It doesn’t need to do anything beyond that.

There is always the claim made requiring atheists to first have read religious books before they can criticize religion. The OP writes

Anti-theists also show a constant ignorance about religion. For instance, they attack Islam without even having read the Qur’an

You would expect that a person on a mission to show how wrong atheists are would not fall into the trap of committing such fallacies or at least would not be ignorant of Courtier’s reply. You don’t need to be versed in the Koran to critique Islam, far from it. The followers of Mo [piss be upon him] make claims about their deity or their prophet for which nothing in way of a demonstration has been proffered. You don’t need to read the Koran to know that Islam treats one half of the human species as being subordinate to the other half.

And he/she displays their ignorance more when they write

They also do not know anything about the Christian tradition of giving up all your material possessions and living an austere life in service of everyone else. Really, many do not even seem to know about the existence of saints.

We know because it is written, however, the jury is out for the number of Christians who live as described by this fellow. And we also know that the church has designated as saints some men and women for reasons decided on by themselves. However, the recognition of an individual to have lived an exemplary life is not proof of the validity of the belief but only shows how the deeply the individual was convicted.

The author writes

[..] that antitheists are more moral is proof that they are not as intelligent as they think they are

in which it is evident the author is not informed on what he/she is arguing about. When atheists say they are more moral than the believer, it is generally used to imply that their motivation for doing good is not based on a fear of deities but is based on our duties and responsibilities to those we live around. How this negates the intelligence of the atheist is yet to be demonstrated.

How do

friars and sisters dedicated to helping the poor

prove them wrong?

And then we have the often repeated line of atheist killers. We are told

And the atheist mass killers prove that atheism is not better at preventing people from doing moral atrocities, unlike what Warren Ellis would tell you.

and one would want to really be told who killed to further non belief in deities. Who among the atheist killers was motivated to kill because of his lack of belief in gods? And what are we out to settle here? I will say any killing is wrong[ am aware this implies an objective moral value], to do it in the name of a deity is worse.

There is the claim that there are other ways of knowing besides science without telling us really what this are. Here, I take science to mean

is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. In an older and closely related meaning, “science” also refers to a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied.

The author tells us

The same with morality, since the scientific method can’t tell me why I ought to not kill an innocent person (you don’t need a religion to know that, yes, but that is not the point, the point is that science is unable to tell you such things because it is outside of what science does).

If science is applied as the described in the second meaning, I don’t see how it would be inadequate in helping one identify what ought or ought not to be done. To claim or imply that religion teaches morality is to say that whatever a god commands is right.

It has always been written that once a person erects a strawman, there is no losing the argument. The author excels in doing this in almost every paragraph. He writes

Treating religion as a monolithic thing is another thing that antitheists do despite that being completely ignorant

is a strawman and doesn’t represent atheistic thinking. Religious practices and rituals are as disparate as the religious believers. The claims about how the deities or how many there are differ from one culture to the next and it would be foolhardy to treat all of them as one. No atheist that I know of does this.

And the following accusation

Antitheists on the other hand would make you believe that all religions are equal in making people do violent things

is false. Atheistic religions like Buddhism or UU are for most part very peaceful. Islam and Christianity who serve a vengeful god tend to produce vengeful and angry people. What would you expect will stop the christian from dealing violently with me if he holds the belief that his celestial master is going to punish me for eternity?

The author writes

Saying religion is a scam is another, even though that needs to ignore what the religion teaches and whether that religion is actually a scam or not. Certainly there are religious sects that are a scam. But many others are not

and ignores the validity of the claim. As long as the priests, mullahs, rabbis continue to peddle the lie there is a god who loves you and wants your money, it shall remain a scam. The only way to get around this is to prove the god hypothesis beyond what would be called a reasonable doubt.

The claim the author set out to demonstrate, that is

many anti-theists are very ignorant, and their anti-theism can actually make them less smart and intelligent as opposed to more. They have shown to be just as foolish and dumb as religious people, and for that reason should stop their arrogance and condescension.

has not been proven but the contrary seems to have been affirmed, that is, the religious are more ignorant than we actually think them to be and the author of this particular post demonstrates the truth of the claim without a shred of doubt.

Atheism or God: Which is more rational?

Depending on which side of the debate you sit on, the answer is either god or atheism. For those who answer god to the above question. I have a few questions for you.

  1. which god is it?
  2. why god?
  3. how many are they?

There is a fellow called Prof Peter Kreeft a professor of philosophy at Boston college who argues for god. He claims it is more rational to believe in god than to be an atheist. Before we consider what the good professor has to say, I have a word of advice for his students, that is if any of them visit this blog. If you must do philosophy, do it under a new lecturer or attend a different college for this is what we call in my village a waste of money and time!

He starts his argument by asking a question that has been dealt with time and time again, that is, is faith and reason are opposed to each other?  When I wrote on the same question, I did show that faith is believing in things hoped for without any shred of any evidence they will ever come to pass. It is, to say succinctly, to choose to remain stupid against all odds! I don’t know when and how faith became rational. I am going to need a lot of help to understand this!

Then he goes on to tell us that the universe is evidence for god, to which i say hell no! That everywhere is the fingerprints of god. He however doesn’t say that cancer is the fingerprint of god. If the universe everywhere shows the fingerprints of god, how then can anyone worship such a god? The universe is beset with calamity and goodness in equal measure. Is it a god who is indifferent, acting as he pleases to amuse himself or is this god a sadist? Or rather are these apologists, theologians and philosophers daft?

He appeals to the five proofs[ and a refutation] of Thomas Aquinas as written in the Summa Theologica

The argument stated simply goes

  1. things move
  2. nothing moves for no reason
  3. something must cause movement
  4. this something is god

To arrive at the conclusion 4, he resorts to the same line of argument used in the Cosmological argument that an infinite number of causes is absurd. The good professor then begs the question by saying there must be an unmoved mover.

They say, those who claim to understand quantum physics don’t understand it. So on big bang cosmology, yours truly will refer you to It starts with a bang. There is an interesting new post that I think for all intents and purposes should help in understanding what astrophysicists mean when they talk of the big bang.

Back to the professor, he takes issue with the proposition that there could be other universes with the bold claim there is no empirical evidence for them and continues to look us straight in the face without offering any empirical evidence for his supposed god!

I didn’t think he will come to this, but this professor should change professions. He advances the argument so much liked by theists and apologists alike, that of Isaac Newton being a god believer. It appears to me they ignore the fact that he also believed in alchemy and for all intents and purposes, his theology was plain bad. If you want an example of scientists making bad theologians, Sir Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal are perfect examples, you need not go further than that!

A scientist can be religious, that is not being denied, science just has no faith. There is no Hindu science, Baha’i science or Christian science. So the believer goes into the lab, but while there doesn’t pray that god will meddle with his results. For all intents and purposes, god is given a compulsory leave for the duration of the test. She is free to show up, and will be tested if that is possible.

And to reduce atheists to his level, he finishes by saying atheism requires faith while belief in god requires rationality. You know you have a dimwit when you hear something like that.

If you have read till this point, I have a treat for you, the professor himself making a pitch for god, he doesn’t tell us what, and how many gods there are.

Faith vs Reason

Allow me to introduce our new apologist, J R Dickens, who I will be looking at some of his posts and offer a response.

In this post, our friend tries to show through torturous reasoning that faith and reason are synonyms and that reason starts with faith. Allow me first to define our terms; the Merriam Webster dictionary defines faith as

1a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty

 (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
(1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
 (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust
: something that is believed especially with strong conviction;especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>

while reason is defined as

1a: a statement offered in explanation or justification
b: a rational ground or motive

c: a sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense;especially: something (as a principle or law) that supports a conclusion or explains a fact
d: the thing that makes some fact intelligible
(1): the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways :intelligence(2): proper exercise of the mind (3):sanity
b : the sum of the intellectual powers
archaic : treatment that affords satisfaction
With the matter of definitions behind us, now I want us to consider what our friend is talking about in the usage of these two words and see whether we can agree with him or not.
According to the popular view of philosophy, faith and reason are mutually exclusive and consequently incompatible. But this is only true when “faith” is defined to mean a belief that contradicts the known evidence—i.e., that you choose to believe something in spite of the evidence.
From his blog, in his about he says he is keen on apologetics. In this case therefore I think when he talks about faith he must be referring to the faith [trust in things not seen even against contrary evidence]. In this case the only way a believer can test the truth of this claim is after they are no more- especially since I don’t think there is an afterlife. The believer thus cannot revise this belief. Whereas, where one believes something for which he has evidence then we are talking about justified true belief. To mix these two meanings is misleading and that is what he does in his post. I need not add that no one chooses to believe, you believe as you can and not differently.
Since there is no evidence for Abe neither for a god, to consider the story of Abe sacrificing his son to be a measure of faith to me seems to be to see the biggest problem with particular verse. How could anyone consider it a thing of grandeur to want to kill your child because you had a voice in your dreams? This aside though, to argue that Abe had unflinching faith in god is also to cherry pick the good book. Why for instance does Abe sleep with Hagar if he believes god is going to give him a child in his old age? Therefore this belief can’t qualify as 1, talking about fidelity!
Another way of describing faith is simply trusting in the future fulfillment of what has already been promised. If someone borrows $20 and promises to return the money in a week, we are trusting that they have both the means and the desire to pay us back.
Whereas from the surface this statement looks correct, it would be insane to lend a jobless person without the ability to pay and have a belief that your money shall be paid at the end of the week. The reason we are lending money here is because we have evaluated the ability of the borrower to repay us and have confidence that she will pay but we can adjust this belief if our money is not paid back. The same can’t be said of any religious belief.
Notice that we have to use our powers of reason in order to exercise faith.
What reasons do you have for believing that god loves you, that he died for your sins, that there is heaven and hell[that is if you believe they exist], for believing your god exists and that yours is the one true religion?
In order to exercise the powers of reason, we have to start with an assumption that reason is possible and that it depends upon the laws of logic and inference. In other words, I cannot “reason” unless I adhere to a set of rules that guide the reasoning process. But those rules must exist beforehand and apart from reason itself. These are the assumptions I must place my faith in before reason can be exercised. In the absence of logic, my thoughts are incoherent and useless for drawing inferences or conclusions.
You don’t need faith to reason. It would only be absurd for you to try to be skeptical on every subject. The process of argument will not even leave the ground. In the Problems of Philosophy, we notice, we must start from some belief to acquire knowledge of the world around us. We can take it that I exist as the starting point and evaluate every proposition after that to see whether it can be considered as true belief or not. Faith therefore is not a prerequisite for reason.
In the end, we see that faith and reason are inseparable allies. Everyone has faith. The only question is, “faith in what?”
No! That is not the only question.  The question most important question is why? Faith and reason are separable. One only need to see the definition of reason and faith to see where the two can be separated and while at it, it is important also to distinguish what one means when they say I have faith in something or else we commit fallacy of equivocation.