Of all of those Big Questions central to philosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, the realms of theology and religions and the nature of deities continue to fascinate. Opinions proliferate in books, articles, videos, conversations in bars and pubs, and in fact anywhere and everywhere two or more humans are in proximity. There’s the pro side; there’s the anti-side. There aren’t too many fence-sitters. I’m still in the anti-theist camp as the following bits and pieces illustrate.
*Even if America was founded as a Christian nation – a myth [#] perpetuated by the extreme religious Right, especially Right-wing pseudo-‘historian’ David Barton who insists that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were founded on the Bible even though neither mention Christianity, God, Jesus or the Bible – that would still not of necessity mean that Christianity is the be-all-and-end-all of religious truth.
[#] The founding fathers were deists, not theists.
*The biggest threat to any religion is its own doctrine. (via Dark Matter 2525)
*There are two types of gods, or God. There are the religious gods (or God) which collectively have numbered in the thousands each with their own specific set of traits. Zeus is but one example. Then there is the philosophical concept of a god or God. 1000 theological philosophers would come up with 1000 variations on the theme of what a deity should be like. No matter which way you slice and dice things, you can find a deity to match your philosophical or theological worldview. What we need is for god, God or the gods to actually show their damn faces and settle these ever ongoing theological and philosophical issues once and for all.
Of course maybe there are no gods, god or God.
Then too the gods, god or God would have been just E.T. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic if you aren’t in possession of that technology or don’t understand that it even is technology. A flashlight to a human being who lived 50,000 years ago would be something supernatural.
Regarding Religion vs. Science
*The good thing about science is that it remains true regardless of whether or not you believe it.
*Another illustration of the double standards that religion adopts is that if science should support their beliefs, then it is a thumb’s up and science rules, OK? Of course if that exact same science refutes their beliefs, then it is an absolute thumb’s down. For example, if one finds a piece of wood that might have some connection to Noah’s Ark and carbon dating dates that wood to the time frame associated with Noah’s Ark, well that’s a thumb’s up. Of course when carbon dating doesn’t support a suitable age for the Shroud of Turin, well of course carbon dating is totally unreliable and lacks credibility so it’s a thumb’s down. Sorry True Believers, you can’t have it both ways.
Regarding Faith & Belief
*Say you walk into a bar and tell all and sundry loud and clear that you believe in the actual existence of the following: the Creature from the Black Lagoon; the Cyclops; dragons; the Easter Bunny; fairies at the bottom of your garden; human-alien hybrids; an invisible magic man in the sky; phantom trains; Santa Claus; spectral hounds; talking snakes; Thor; the Tooth Fairy; unicorns and the walking dead (zombies). In nearly all cases, you’d be given rather strange looks and avoided like the plague as a nut case. I said “nearly” all cases. What’s the exception to the above, the one example where nobody would think you odd at all? If you answered “an invisible magic man in the sky” you’d be correct! [Actually you might also get brownie points for dragons, talking snakes, unicorns and zombies since they are all cited in the Bible.]
*It is much easier to be told what to think than to actually think for yourself. That’s the whole beauty of religion. (via Dark Matter 2525)
*Why is murder wrong? Either murder is wrong because it is independently, fundamentally, intrinsically wrong, or else is murder is wrong just because God says it is wrong. Let’s examine the latter first.
God Says Murder Is Wrong 1: If God says murder is wrong, then God is a total hypocrite since God Himself murders. God’s philosophy with respect to murder is do as I say, not as I do. That’s God of the double standard. If it’s not murder when God does it, then isn’t this a case of special pleading? In any event, this theological paradox then suggests that if murder is wrong just because God says it is wrong, even though God murders, then all that just means is that morality is arbitrary on the grounds that it is different strokes for different folks (and deities).
God Says Murder Is Wrong 2: Many argue that if God created you then God has the right to uncreate you (i.e. – murder you). Of course God may have started the human race off by creating Adam and Eve, but God didn’t create any other human and certainly didn’t create me and so therefore has no moral right to kill them or me.
God Says Murder Is Wrong 3: Most theists would say that murder is against God’s nature (in which case these theists haven’t read the Bible), but then what gives these theists the authority to decide what God’s nature should be? In any event, if murder is against God’s nature, was it God Himself who determined what His nature would be or was it determined by circumstances beyond God’s control?
God Says Murder Is Wrong 4: If God murders, then that murder / those murders are all done according to God’s Master Plan and God’s Master Plan is ultimately good. Of course theists are just inventing things here, like a Master Plan and further that any Master Plan of God must by definition be good. That logic doesn’t follow. Hitler had a Master Plan and look how that turned out!
Murder Is Really Wrong 1: If murder is wrong because it’s really wrong, and wrong whether or not God exists or whether in fact God says murder is wrong, then morality doesn’t require God which would mean God isn’t a requisite of or for morality.
Murder Is Really Wrong 2: On the other hand, if there really is no God then murder is unjustifiable (because there is no God setting us a bad example) and thus highly consequential.
Murder Is Really Wrong 3: Well the non-believer doesn’t believe in an afterlife which means their current life is all they get. So, a) if they murder someone then their only shot at life is ruined by spending time in prison or being executed; b) by taking someone’s life they would believe that they had shortened that person’s life forever – the ultimate violation. Empathy, whether for self or for the victim, would make that act of murder therefore a highly untenable proposition.
Murder Is Okay 1: It is good to murder for God is good and God sets us a good example by being a murderer Himself (and a mass murderer at that!). Murder cannot be wrong for as long as God exists. God exists for all eternity, so throughout eternity, murder isn’t wrong. So if God exists not only is murder not wrong but it’s totally justified! Why?
Murder Is Okay 2: Since everything happens according to God’s Master Plan, a Plan which must ultimately be good, if someone commits a murder that murder was obviously part of God’s Master Plan which is good and therefore the murder was good.
Murder Is Okay 3: It is good to murder since the murderer all needs do is just ask God for forgiveness and God will so forgive and the murderer will not be punished for the murder.
Murder Is Okay 4: But murder just cannot be wrong if the murderer is just sending the victim to an eternal life with God, and what’s a few years less of life, a life cut short, compared to an eternity in Heaven? By that same reasoning, what does it matter if God murders since the victim presumably gets to live on for all eternity?
Murder Is Okay 5: If God says that murder is wrong, but atheists say God doesn’t exist, therefore atheists must believe that murder might not be wrong and morality is just a “it depends” proposition; morality is thus subjective and morality is thus inconsequential.
Murder Is Okay 6: It is good to murder if by killing someone, you end up saving the lives of five others. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one (according to Mr. Spock and who can question his logic!).
Murder Is Okay 7: It is good to murder in order to rid the world of the unbelievers and the infidels.
Regarding the End Times
*Here’s another absurd End Times item. According to [obviously American] Christian fundamentalists, the ushering in of the End Times is all about what happens in America, either America’s foreign policy (especially in the Near and the Middle East), and/or the state of American society. According to End Times fanatics, very evil things are afoot in American culture like “happy holidays” and the war on Christmas; abortion; the separation of church and state; LGBT rights including same-sex marriage; the teaching of evolution; the removal of God from the Public Square; and on it goes. God is not amused and so God will as a direct result of America giving God the middle finger, usher in the End Times! You may recall Michele Bachmann’s famous utterance that President Obama would all by himself usher in the End Times (God isn’t a Democrat). Of course now that Trump has been elected to the presidency – Trump being Bachmann’s poster boy – Bachmann has been strangely silent and has clammed up about the End Times, probably because Trump will undo all of the above evil facets in American society.
Regarding Heaven & Hell
*If you can’t be yourself; true to yourself in Heaven (i.e. – sinful), then your only true to yourself afterlife must be in Hell.
Regarding the Bible
*True Christian Believers will tell you all about the multi-dozens of flood tales from around the world which just goes to prove the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark. God’s global flood was an absolutely true event. Of course what those same True Christian Believers leave out; they won’t tell you, are all of the very significant differences in all of those other stories! Further, there are numerous societies in locations that never ever even experienced a flood of any kind during the time the alleged Biblical Flood allegedly happened. In any event, there’s a quite ready-made and logical explanation for these multi-dozens of flood tales. Civilisations, nations, cities, etc. way back then all tended to establish themselves very close to a major water supply – usually a river – for drinking, washing, agriculture and of course for waste disposal purposes. Major water sources, like rivers, are prone to flood sooner or later. Even today there’s not a year that goes by without many major flood events happening. End of mystery.
*Are we seriously expected to believe that the Israelite ‘slaves’ who were led out of Egypt by Moses and Aaron numbered [actually slightly over] 600,000 men? That’s 600,000 fighting fit males able to go to war once they reached the Promised Land. That’s NOT including their families – the women and children. Consult Exodus 12: 37 (and also Numbers 1: 45-46). Such a figure is blatantly ridiculous if you really stop and analyse it. Even the entire ten-year Trojan War – thanks to Helen, whose face launched (over) 1000 ships filled with Greeks in defence of her honour – never involved even close to that number of combatants (plus families). Further, 600,000 was way more manpower than it took to construct the pyramids (or any other of the seven wonders of the ancient world). A city of over 600,000 is even today considered to be a major and well established large urban area requiring a major infrastructure to maintain, sustain, support and nurture it. Finally, if you really had over 600,000 men, women and brats wandering around in a relatively confined geographical area for 40 years (itself an absolutely ridiculous concept) there would have to be archaeological evidence for that and there is absolutely none. To top it all off however, there’s no documentation in the annals and records of ancient Egypt that gives even the remotest validity to this (tall) tale.
*So if the Bible is absolute proof that God exists, then by the same token; by the same logic, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” proves Sherlock Holmes exists!
*Knowledge and the advancement of knowledge about life, the Universe and (nearly) everything has advanced significantly over the past 3000 years. Knowledge about God hasn’t advanced one single jot over that same period. What does that say about the reality of God then?
*If one absolutely wants to prove the actual existence of (the Christian) God, then one has got to point out at least one sort of observation that everyone else can note and log as well, an observation of something that ONLY the Christian God could be held accountable for. No other god / gods or deity / deities could be held responsible – not Allah, not Brahma, not Quetzalcoatl, not Athena, not Gaia, not Apollo, not Thor or for that matter not even magical pixies. No other entity except the Christian God could be accountable for this universal observation. Of course there is no such observation, nor is there ever likely to be. So therefore, if you ever hear someone say that they have absolute proof of (the Christian) God’s existence, you know it’s pure bovine fertiliser.
*If God is the unmoved mover, the uncaused causer, the First Cause of life, the Universe and everything, then everything that trickles down from that First Cause (i.e. – all subsequent causality) is directly attributable to God. So, if my car breaks down – and clearly that had a cause – God is ultimately responsible!
*When God said “let there be light”, what language was He speaking in? I mean there were no humans yet around and hence no spoken languages were yet in vogue. For that matter, what language did Adam and Eve and that talking snake use? God must have taught them His language (whatever that was) or infused, imprinted or programmed it innately into their hardware (i.e. – their brains).
*The Titanic sank and over 700 souls were saved. Isn’t God wonderful! Praise God! Alas, over 1400 other souls were lost, so of course it was just their time to boldly go and to be with their Maker. Isn’t God wonderful! Praise God! Of course all of these souls lost and saved had absolutely nothing to do with the inadequate number of lifeboats on board and no relationship to the concept that women and children getting first crack at being saved when in peril at sea. You see you can’t win when it comes to God’s action in the eyes of the True Believers since God can do no wrong.
*Then we have the story (fable?) of the building of the Tower of Babel to which God was not amused. (Genesis, Chapter 11) Why? Well apparently the great unwashed were building a sort of stairway to heaven, which God probably thought of as a form of cheating on your final exam. Anyway, to nip this little adventure in the bud, God created a diversity of languages among the people, thus hindering communication, as well as scattering them to the four corners of the globe, thus further hindering communication. Communication is essential in the successful designing, and in constructing projects of this nature. Alas for God, this didn’t ultimately work out so well. Fast forward a few thousand years and humans have out-towered the Tower. We’ve built skyscrapers that soar way above anything the ancients tried to build, skyscrapers present and accounted for and prevalent in every major city in the world. So what’s The Almighty going to do about this little fly in His ointment? What’s God going to do for an encore since He’s used up language and geographical diversification in His little bag of miracles?
*If you talk to yourself, well okay, sometimes that is the only way to have an intelligent conversation. If you talk to your plants, well best not tell anyone. But when you talk to inanimate stuff, well that’s just plain weird. But, we have this magic deity (i.e. – God), who lives in the sky, who chooses to talk to the snow, and of course the snow hears and obeys. I kid you not. Check it out at Job 37: 6.
*I’ve noted before how God loves His burnt offerings; offerings unto Him. Sometimes things get really beyond the pale. In 1 Kings 3: 4, Solomon gives God 1000 burnt offerings. But that’s nothing compared to 1 Kings 8: 63 when Solomon ups the ante to 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep all going up in flames as a burnt offering to the Lord! This absolutely defies belief!
*God supports and rewards your belief over your deeds. Your deeds can be forgiven – if you believe in Him – but a lack of faith or belief can’t be forgiven. To God, faith and belief in Him is the most holy of hollies / the most fundamental of the fundamentals. Personally, I find that absurd.
*God can’t be all-just and all-merciful. All-just is you get what you deserve, no more and no less. All-merciful means you get less than your just desserts.
*If God exists outside of space, then God is dimensionless (which is an absolute state of nothing) which is absurd. If God exists outside of time then God must be motionless which is also absurd. Therefore the whole concept of being outside of space and time is absurd and meaningless
Regarding God’s Intelligent Design
*If God really had intelligently designed the laws, principles and relationships of the physical sciences, the God should have made Pi a rational number; God should of made the speed of light exactly 300,000 km/sec (an all-knowing God would have had the foresight to know the metric system was coming); God should have made the number of 24 hour days an exactly divisible number of the Earth’s yearly orbital period (i.e. – no leap years and other adjustments). And I’m sure engineers, scientists and even many members of the general public could come up with dozens of other similar examples where God could have done a better job instead of forcing the great unwashed to constantly fit not quite so round pegs into round holes.
Regarding God’s Omnipotence
*Apparently over 160 worshippers were killed when the Reigners Bible Church International collapsed in southern Nigeria on Saturday, 10 December 2016. What does that say about God’s morality? What does that say about God’s omniscience and omnipotence? What does that say about God’s actual reality?
Regarding the God of the Gaps
*Science can’t explain and scientists can’t create life from non-life, therefore God did it!
As to the origin of life, that’s a transition – life from non-life – that is still unexplained. But something currently unexplained doesn’t of necessity translate into forever and ever unexplained. The history of science is full of multi-thousands of events once unexplained that are now taught as fully explained to even elementary children.
Once upon a time it was established ‘fact’ that you couldn’t generate organic compounds from inorganic compounds. Then urea was synthesised. Highly complex organic chemistry, chemistry part and parcel of the life processes, has now been routinely synthesised under what we believe were natural conditions. Against all expectations, highly complex organic molecules have been discovered in interstellar space.
If you take the vast amount of real estate that the cosmos presents itself has having, coupled with those most abundant of elements in the cosmos, elements that just happen to form the backbone of life (hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen), coupled with billions upon billions of years for reactions to happen in, coupled with the concept of panspermia, well I believe a natural explanation for the origin of life is way more a realistic explanation than a theological one. Just saying “God did it” is just too easy an answer, and an answer that in and of itself hasn’t been demonstrated as established fact.
We may not have THE answer to the origin of life in our lifetime, but perhaps in a 100 years, 1000 years, any school kid might be able to create life in a test-tube as part of their biology class. Once the answer is actually known, it will probably seem obvious.
Regarding God’s ‘Morality’
*Many True Believers don’t think through the implications of their belief system. True Christian Believers believe their God will send non-believers to eternal torment in Hell (which of course God Himself created). So perhaps it is not surprising that non-believers are more than slightly upset with what True Believers believe. Wouldn’t you be upset if someone who wouldn’t know you from a bar of soap thinks you should – just and only just because you are a non-believer in their religion and in their God – go to Hell and be punished for all eternity. So apparently True Believers have to believe in God’s ‘morality’, that finite ‘crimes’ deserve infinite punishments (i.e. – Hell). If you do not agree with God’s ‘morality’ as stated in your holy text(s); if God’s ‘morality’ offends you, then in order to avoid being a hypocrite, you should shop around a find a more suitable religion or just give up religion entirely. It’s not as if there aren’t alternatives.
*I’m a bit confused here. In the Book of Exodus, God wants the Egyptian Pharaoh to let his people go and sends Moses and Aaron along with a bunch of magic tricks to ‘diplomatically’ arrange for this to happen. However, God also hardens Pharaoh’s heart in order to prevent the very thing that God wants from happening. Why? The only reason that makes sense is that this gives God an excuse to multiply His signs and wonders unto the Egyptian nation and thus also give reason for Him to wage atrocities upon Pharaoh and the Egyptian people. It’s all just for the sake of patting His omnipotent self on the back, getting some of that fear of God PR (no publicity is bad publicity) into the great unwashed, all while waging atrocities just for the sake of waging atrocities and for no other reason. It just gives God an illegitimate excuse to strut His stuff. Presumably the last thing God actually wanted was for Pharaoh to let his people go – even after Pharaoh let His people go.
Regarding the Real Ten Commandments
I bet you think you know what the Ten Commandments are especially since they are given twice, first in Exodus, Chapter 20; then again in Deuteronomy, Chapter 5. But of course Moses broke the tablets upon which those original Ten Commandments were written, so it was back to Square One and let’s do it all over again. However, the second set of Ten Commandments, the ones that actually found their way into the Ark of the Covenant, bear little relevance to those original set of inscribed tablets. Somewhere along the line, God changed His mind. So here’s the relevant parts of Exodus, Chapter 34 – King James Version (KJV) – which give you the real second and final set of God’s Ten Commandments.
Exodus 34: 1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.
34: 4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
34: 5 And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.
34: 14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: [Commandment One]
34: 17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. [Commandment Two]
34: 18 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt. [Commandment Three]
34: 19 All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. [Commandment Four]
34: 21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. [Commandment Five]
34: 22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end. [Commandment Six]
34: 23 Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. [Commandment Seven]
34: 25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning. [Commandment Eight]
34: 26 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk. [Commandments Nine and Ten]
34: 27 And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
34: 28 And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
By the way, the immediate above (Exodus 34: 28) is the very first time the phrase “ten commandments” is used in the Bible.
Comments: It’s interesting that in both sets of Ten Commandments, the First Commandment, God puts Himself first and foremost. As I’ve said countless number of times, God’s an egomaniac to end all egomaniacs.
Of the grand total of 19 Commandments – both sets – only three are actually adopted as human law in nearly all societies, and those are exclusively from the first set of tablets – the set that Moses broke.
*The Christmas story of the three wise men bearing gifts for little baby Jesus is only told in Matthew, Chapter 2. That itself is unusual – why no mention of this event in Mark, Luke or John? However, the really oddball thing is that they brought gifts for him, meaning baby Jesus, gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Now I honestly have to ask you, what the hell does a newborn baby need or do with gold, frankincense and myrrh? It’s total nonsense. Methinks the ‘wise’ men weren’t really very wise at all.
Regarding Atheists & Atheism
*Atheists might be happier to co-exist with religious people of faith if religious people of faith were happy to co-exist with atheists. But many (not all) religious people of faith (True Believers) refuse to co-exist with atheists.