Religious disservice

In the satires and profanities of James Thomson, there is an essay about an famous Old Jewish firm that has me in stitches all through. At some place he writes

[…]Jah always kept himself invisible, while the son and mother were possibly seen, during some years, by a large number of persons; and among those who have never seen them their portraits are almost as popular as photographs of the prince and Princess of Wales.

Satires and profanities

And this reminded me of the case of the Muslims who are busy chopping heads in the name of the prophet while no one knows how the profit looked like, if he did live.

I think religious people are funny.

On justice

I must say first that if you have time, pick this book by Robert A Heinlein and you will not fail to find something totally hilarious. In some place he writes

…justice is not a divine concept, it is a human illusion. The very basis of the judeo-christian code is injustice, the scapegoat system. The scapegoat sacrifice runs all through the old testament, then it reaches its height in the new testament with the notion of the martyred redeemer. How can justice possibly be served by loading your sins on another? Whether it be a lamb having its throat cut ritually or a messiah nailed to a cross and “dying for your sins”. Somebody should tell all of Yawheh’s followers, jews and Christians, that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Job, a comedy of justice

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?

 

if we admit

that all that happens is god’s doing, i see no reason why anyone should be punished for doing what god has made them do. Jeff Bohlender in the liked post has written and I quote

God makes us what we are, places us where we are, and operates our operating, even if it still seems to us that we’re “doing” things. Growth in our experience happens when God brings us into conscious enjoyment of Him as the Source and Operator of all existence, of which we all are a part. Growth in faith comes through hearing and believing God, Who gives ears to hear and belief in the heart.

which i think is consistent with omnibenevolence as nothing would stop a god from achieving it ends, ie omnipotence and the said god would know all outcomes- omniscience-. Are religious people ready to accept the conclusions that must be drawn from the premise that everything that happens is god’s will?

Unbelievable? Chapter 7

On suffering

Justin wants you to know that god is present in your suffering and sees the future even if you can’t. So stop complaining.

An argument has been made by theists and Justin repeats it, that why do atheists complain about suffering if we live in an indifferent world. This question does seem to me to miss the point. The atheist is telling the theist, you have made such and such claims about the universe and were that the case, the following should be expected as matter of course. In an indifferent universe, suffering is embedded in the nature of the universe. In a world with an omnibenevolent being, suffering is allowed to exist. And if that is the case, then either god is not willing or not able to eradicate suffering.

Justin says because there are many arguments for god, god must exist. No argument would be necessary for god were the existence of god obvious.

He quotes this statement of CS Lewis

My argument against god was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust. A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust.

Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, my argument against god collapsed too- for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancy. Thus in the very act in trying to prove god did not exist, in other words that whole reality was senseless, I found was forced to assume that one part of reality- namely, my idea of justice- was full of sense.

First, was he a theist or atheist? Leaving that aside, do we really need transcendence to say this is not fair? Is a toothache the order of things so that one can’t complain if they have a toothache? Must a god be posited to claim that a toothache is pointless? My idea of justice as a reasonable person leads me to the conclusion that we live in an indifferent universe where unless humanity works together to alleviate the suffering of others, their pain and burden becomes unbearable.

Jeff’s favorite argument. Freewill. Justin wants us to believe that it would be a greater evil for god to intervene, which we are told he has done before, than to allow freewill. Basically, we are told to accept that god is inadequate in coming up with scenarios where we maintain our idea of freewill without causing harm to others or ourselves. Where is omnipotence and omniscience when you need it? To Justin it was better in the eyes of god for the African holocaust to happen because of freewill than to intervene to stop it. How many of you find this argument convincing?

Justin says we live in a spiritual war zone and also that suffering draws people to god. I don’t know about you. But for me, there is no logical contradiction in a world where there is a god and there is no suffering. There is nothing that would come in the way of an omnipotent god who wanted to draw people to himself. No human connivance would prevent this from happening.

Commercial break

I don’t know if I have said it before, but I like quora. Generally it’s a good site. There are also unbelievable stories that I have read on there that I have usually suspected must be by some bored fellow living in a basement where light never shines.

Anyway I have seen a question on quora and I think some people should not have internet. A guy has asked

If god doesn’t exist, how do atheists explain that the coronavirus outbreak emerged in a non Christian country? Why do search outbreaks never emerge in Christian countries


This link from WHO is a good place to start. And I thought measles was eradicated? What the hell Europe?

Back to the question, I thought if god exists, it is everywhere. So god must have caused the outbreak. Let’s hope no Christian dies😁

There is a devastating locust outbreak in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, how is this to be treated?

is it rational to believe in god

Well, who knew scientists were polled and their verdict was it is rational to believe in god. So Brian and Jeff, find the nearest church near you and ask to join.

Will Jones opening salvo is a fallacious argument. The bible says there is a god and the bible says it is rational to believe in its god. You can see where there is going. Downhill all the way! Jones calls as his witnesses Plato and Aristotle but unfortunately this doesn’t help his cause. To Aristotle, the number of gods could be 47 or 55. This is not all for Diagoras and Theodoras flatly denied that there were any gods at all and many other ancient philosophers did not agree on the nature of god(s).

Had the being of god been obvious, there would have been no need for apologetics. Jones tells us

However, Bible-believing Christians have generally stuck by the classical and biblical view that the existence of God is something for which sufficient reasons are supplied by the light of nature.

which is interesting because humanity have managed to explain things that were believed to belong to the domain of the gods but Christians have stuck to their old conceptions as if time has remained static and we have collectively as a race done nothing towards knowledge acquisition.

Jones disagrees with Spufford whom he quotes as having written

No, I can’t prove it,’ Spufford says. ‘I don’t know if there’s a God (and neither do you, and neither does Professor Dawkins . . . it isn’t the kind of thing you can know. It isn’t a knowable item).’

and calls the above anti-rational idea which tells me he would disagree also with Pascal who in his Pensees argues reason can help you make the ascent to the being of a god. You must forget reason. And have faith. While we are here, I don’t know of anyone who became a believer because he heard Francis Collins is a believer. In fact, this post by Ark might be helpful on this point.

Seeing that his arguments lack substance, Jones then calls as a witness to his god the fine tuning argument. Any argument that depends on an inference of design a posteriori was dealt a blow by Hume many years ago. Maybe if Jones had read Hume, he might not have called this witness to the stand. This is the only fine tuning argument I am willing to get behind.

In a world with an omni god as the Christians claim their god is, free will is not possible. While Jones want us to believe that without his god, we can’t have morals, he forgets that eons passed before some desert goat herders dreamed their religion and some European missionaries decided to spread this nonsense around the world.

While I agree with the first part of this statement

Ultimately, Francis Spufford is wrong about human beings: we are not entirely controlled by our feelings, and reason is not and ought not to be, as David Hume had it, ‘the slave of the passions’. Whatever else we are, we are rational animals, possessed of a reasoning mind, capable of recognizing and responding to truth when we see it, including the truth of God.

it shouldn’t be lost on us that Jones intended to demonstrate that belief in god is rational. This he has failed to do.

This

Seasoned apologist John Lennox spoke at Coventry Cathedral recently on the evidence for a Creator, and a colleague of mine went along with an atheist friend. Afterwards the friend turned to him and said: ‘I now believe in a Creator God.’ That is the power of truth.

is funny. Who would believe such drivel really?