Can the christians stand up

Could only Christian tell us what Jesus meant with these words,

Matt. vi. 25-34.—25. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Were Christians expected to follow them or was this idle talk? The question I am trying to ask is has there been a Christian in our midst?

To all of us,

Is brotherhood of man a pipe dream. One of those illusions. Can we love one another without loving god? The Christian god no less?

Tolstoi argues thus

The Christian doctrine, and the doctrine of the Positivists, and of all advocates of the universal brotherhood of man, founded on the utility of such a brotherhood, have nothing in common, and especially do they differ in that the doctrine of Christianity has a solid and a clearly defined foundation in the human soul, whereas love of humanity is but a theoretical conclusion reached through analogy.

He writes

But the man who loves humanity, what is it that he loves? There is a State, there is a people, there is the abstract conception of man. But humanity as a concrete conception is impossible.

And concludes

The Christian doctrine teaches to man that the essence of his soul is love; that his well-being may be traced, not to the fact that he loves this object or that one, but to the fact that he loves the principle of all things—God, whom he recognizes in himself through love, and will by the love of God love all men and all things.

A few questions from the ongoing

  1. Assuming for the sake of argument Jesus was, how do we explain the contradiction between the lives of Christians and his teaching?
  2. Is it possible to love all humanity without loving god, the Christian god?
  3. Is the love of all humanity desirable and why?

On human worth

A reddit user has posed the following questions and a disclosure about himself. His questions are indented

1) Where do you, personally, derive the feeling from that (human) life has any value? Is this even a valid question, or do you simply accept the feeling as an evolutionary instinct of sorts?

There is only one source, I value my life and I would expect others value theirs. Beyond this, I think the universe is indifferent to how I feel about my life. It is possible to argue that human life has no value to military strategists except as pawns or to ISIS except as a means to an end.

2) What would you say is the reason that atheists should condemn current and historical crimes against humanity, like genocide, colonialism or slavery, in case of the absence of any downsides for the side that commits those crimes?

Because they are human beings. The second portion of this question makes no sense.

2a) Context: All atheists I have ever spoken to do condemn these crimes, but were unable to explain to me why they did. “Because no human being should do that to another one”, or even the categorical imperative, do not really seem to apply when purely logically, there is no problem with the “strong” eliminating the “weak”. What am I missing?

It must be the case that you wanted an answer that maybe be transcendent that is why you find their answers inadequate.

Disclosure: I am a Catholic from Europe – not that it matters, but I guess the question would arise anyway. No, this isn’t flamebait, I am genuinely interested in understanding where some of “you” atheists are coming from. I tried to formulate my questions as clearly and respectfully as I could – if I failed, please excuse, I am not a native speaker, so I might be pressing buttons I don’t even realize are there.

Here we had a discussion on the same

 

The ignorance of theists

This post is a response to the irony of atheism. I am not suggesting that all the theists are ignorant but most of them, especially those who write on the internet about atheism, seem to be ignorant of their subject matter. I will be their educator, for free.

Atheism is a lack of belief in deities. I am sorry it can’t mean anything more than. You can cry a river all you want but it will not require a leap of faith, unless of course you are really ignorant.

Humanism removes the need for the divine for the supernatural or divine in human affairs. Atheists have no belief in the supernatural. Humanism is not a synonym for atheism. To use the two interchangeably can only mean you neither understand the meaning of one or the other or both.

Yours truly is unable to make sense of this

Consequently any movement or political system based upon Atheism and Humanism – Marxism,  Communism and/or Catholicism: Humanism masquerading as a religion for example – without fail end up enslaving and persecuting the very one’s they claim to represent and serve.

Is he saying atheism is like Catholicism or that humanism is like Catholicism? How does a philosophy based on man’s ability to rationally solve humanities problems enslave and persecute the very people it is trying to improve? Is there something am missing or is there a memo that didn’t get to me?

Someone please tell me whether Stalin’s Russia did all it did in an attempt to promote humanism and atheism. I am ignorant in this matters and since it gets repeated everywhere even by people who don’t know the meaning of atheism, we need this matter cleared up.

Atheist bashing! How atheism became a religion in all but name.

Yours truly happened by a post[ link will be provided at the end] that decries the zealotry of New atheists. Since the author, Frank Furedi, a sociologist, author and commentator and a former professor at a university also identifies as humanist, yours truly, will assume we don’t have to bother ourselves with definitions and go into the heart of the matter. He begins his post by reminding us there was a time when it was dangerous to be an atheist, though, we there are places in this day and age where apostasy is punishable by death.

He writes,

Where atheism was once depicted as a dangerous and subversive creed, today it is often portrayed as an enlightened outlook that perches on the moral high ground.

and this is where yours truly begins to see a problem. If the moral superiority he mentions is the demand that religions do not be given special treatment in the public square, or the claim that when the church and the state were in bed together, people were unhappy and miserable or that many lives have been lost in the name of religion- then atheists have a valid claim. Whenever it has been said that atheistic regimes have committed similar atrocities, the question that must be settled is whether this leaders killed or had others killed for their disbelief in the existence of gods for I think it is that question alone that atheism answers to. I could be wrong on this and I would like to persuaded that atheist regimes have killed others for not believing in god and if this is proven as true, then the atheists can have no high ground against the church they condemn.

He continues

But what is often overlooked is that the growing cultural affirmation of atheism has been paralleled by a big transformation in its meaning.

and I know you all want to know what this change in meaning reflects. He tells us

atheism takes itself very seriously indeed. With their zealous denunciation of religion, the so-called New Atheists often resemble medieval moral crusaders.

And how do they do this? It is by arguing

that the influence of religion should be fought wherever it rears its ugly head.

and this is partly true but doesn’t reflect the gamut of the argument. The argument here is that religion, any specific religion for example Catholicism cannot insist that assisted suicide, contraceptives or stem cell research shouldn’t be conducted because it is against Catholic doctrine. No! And it is this that those Frank identifies as NA decry and I think he would agree too. Opposing the clamour for special treatment of churches in the public square, for example tax exemption, doesn’t in any way make the atheists zealous. It is for the benefit of everyone that the public square be free of religious influence as much as is humanly possible for you never can tell which would be the next religion at the helm and whether they will approve of your brand of faith!

I don’t know how the arguments and claims of atheists verge on hysterical and irrational. To refuse to admit that religion causes harm is to ignore the testimonies of the many people who have left faith and have documented how the process of deconversion was painful and how they still feel the after effects of religion in their relationships.

His next issue appears is with the language adopted by New Atheists for he writes

the language used by atheist moral crusaders avoids the theological vocabulary of the religious. Instead, it prefers a more scientific-sounding narrative, demonising religion through the idea of medicalisation

and how do they do this? He tells us

In this vein, Richard Dawkins has described religion as a form of child abuse in his book, The God Delusion, and in other writings. He claims that instructing children about hell damages them for life. He claims that ‘religions abuse the minds of children’ and says ‘we should work to free the children of the world from the religions which, with parental approval, damage minds too young to understand what is happening to them’.

which makes yours truly wonder whether his problem is with Dawkins or New Atheists. That aside, I think, any teaching that leads to indoctrination whatever the source is not good for children. As a sociologist he must be aware of how hard it is to get people to change their thinking on matters such as religion or culture that were adopted in childhood when they were least able to analyse the questions in a rational way. It must be said there are those who for different reasons do not feel that they were damaged for good by religion but there are those who do and to deny this is to claim that those saying this are lying and I don’t think Frank intends to do that.

I think, Frank would agree that if one random fellow went to him with a narrative like the one found in the bible of a man living in fish for three days,  would consider that person mad and would recommend counselling. The fact that these stories are believed by many people do not now change the position that it is similar to a delusion and if it is the language he has a problem with, I don’t know how we can help this. I don’t think he would have a problem with believing WLC to be delusional in believing there was a zombie apocalypse as described in Mathew and that another is in store for the future. Let us be fair to the New Atheists, whoever they are, for why should Frank while decrying them for using medical language in describing belief go ahead to quote persons who I guess are believers. He writes

Father Leo Booth, in his book When God Becomes a Drug, warns of becoming ‘addicted to the certainty, sureness or sense of security that our faith provides’. John Bradshaw, one of the leading advocates of the American co-dependence movement, has produced a self-help video titled ‘Religious Addiction’

Am actually at a loss here for what has this got to do with New Atheists or the claim that religion could be described pathologically? And if it is the language that is the problem, I would expect that he would be generous enough in showing us some light in how he thinks these matters would be addressed. I can hazard a guess that there will be a shift in how these matterss are handled. I know this is possible drawing from experience in how people living with AIDS/ HIV or disabilities are referred to now compared to not long ago when the language used to refer to such groups was out-rightly discriminatory and encouraged stigmatization in many societies.

Atheists are blamed for being selective on whom they express their ire against. He writes

[..]although it claims to challenge irrationalism and anti-scientific prejudice, it tends to confine its anger to the dogma of the three Abrahamic religions

and he is partly right but as I said before he ignores the fact that in most of the western world, to which I guess he gets all these atheist writings, it is the Judeo- Christian- Islam lot of believers that each of us are confronted with on a daily basis and it is these three that insist to have a say on every public policy wherever they are the majority. The Hindu community in my country is so small and so quiet one may actually think they don’t exist. They pose no threat to public harmony but if they did, I would write about it. Atheists have condemned the ongoing terror posed by Buddhist monks, in areas where they dominate, against muslim minorities. To want us to put the Vedas or the Gita in the same breadth with the Quran or the Bible is to be blind to the great divide between how the Easterners sees man and his place in the universe and the narratives by the Middle Eastern god. Yours truly should be found guilty as charged for preferring the gospel of Buddha to the New Testament any day.

I don’t know if what he writes about spiritualism and mysticism is true. He writes

Since the New Atheism is culturally wedded to the contemporary therapeutic imagination, it is not surprising that it has adopted a double standard towards spiritualism.

I don’t know about you, but as for yours truly, to talk about spirits and to talk about god fall in the same class. They are words that to me have no meaning. And don’t get me wrong, for a great number of people these words seem to carry so much weight. I just don’t see it that way, sorry!

When he mentions Voltaire, he ignores to tell us that he, Voltaire, when in 1761 published the Testament by Jean Meslier, published a a grossly distorted “Extract” that portrayed Meslier as a fellow-deist and entirely suppressed Meslier’s anti-monarchist, proto-communist opinions, a document that can be described as the first atheistic treatise in modern times and which was so critical of religion, all religions and its influence in the Europe of his time.

He is right that the idea of atheist temples is abhorrent to most atheists but to claim that atheists shouldn’t meet as the religious do is to be guilty of insinuating that, because we have rejected the idea of god[s], we no longer need communities. How could this be when we are just as human as the next believer except of course that we lack a belief in phantoms, ghosts and gods? Why deny our humanity?

I therefore don’t see how he could justify the claim that

in all but name the New Atheism has transformed itself not only into a secular religion but into an intensely intolerant and dogmatic secular religion.

unless he supplies us with what the dogma he refers to is and what rituals and associated practices go with it. Unless he can do this, we would consider a baseless attack on atheists.

He says, and yours truly agrees, that

As a humanist, I am distressed by the corruption of the idea of atheism

but this isn’t done by atheists simply because atheism answers to one question and one question only. Beyond the question of the belief in existence of gods, you can’t deduce whether I like eggs or not.

When he writes towards the end of his article

Genuine humanists are critical of the influence of creationism and of religious fanaticism. Yet while attempts to reverse the separation of church and state are always a cause for concern, the real challenge facing humanists today does not emanate from organised religion. Rather, it is now often secular movements that promote the idea that human beings are powerless, vulnerable and victims of their circumstances

am a bit at a loss for I don’t see how atheists are at fault here. I don’t know what secular movements promotes the ideas he mentions and I would like to be enlightened.

Again when he writes

So instead of the religious belief in original sin, today we are confronted with the therapeutic claim that children are easily damaged and scarred for life. All the old religious sins have been recast in a secular, medical form. People are no longer condemned for lust but rather are treated for sex addiction. Gluttony has been reinvented as obesity. And envy and avarice have been rebranded as illnesses brought about by our ‘addictive consumer society

I don’t see how atheists are at fault.

Since this post is already longer than they usually are, I intend not to say anymore but to quote Meslier writing about religion in 1725. He writes

I saw and recognized the errors, the abuses, the vanities, the follies and the evilness of men. I hated and despised them, but I didn’t dare speak of them during my lifetime. I will at least say them upon dying and after my death, and it is in order that they be known that I make and write the present Memoire so that it serve as a evidence in support of truth to all those who will see and read it, if they deem it appropriate.

And if Frank or anyone else is going to expect us to wait till our dying moments to point out the faults of religion as we see them in our days, he is grossly mistaken, especially, living at a time where at every corner there is a church and one can not surf through broadcast before he is bombarded with religious channels asking for your money or time for miracles to happen in your life. No we shall not be cowed and for this we can’t apologise. Accuse us of other crimes but don’t tell us to keep quiet!

How atheism became a religion in all but name

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?