Friday, December 31, 2010

Jesus and Prayer: Testable?

So first we need to know what Jesus says about prayer so lets take some biblical quotes of Jesus about prayer to see what the claim is. Here is a list of the claims:

John 14: 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 21:21-22 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen. "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

Matthew 18:19-20 Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.

Mark 11:24-25 Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him. Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.

Luke 11:9-13 And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Ok, so here we have all 4 gospels confirming anything is possible through prayer. So there is a test we can run to see if Jesus was right. The test comes in the form of a challenge Here is a challenge I have put forward to several Christians and they always fail. The challenge is since Jesus is saying anything is possible and since ending world hunger by tomorrow is in the set of everything, we should be able to achieve it. Lets get at least 2 people together who have at least the faith of a mustard seed and pray for it. If it happens it confirms Jesus was telling the truth, if it doesn't it proves Jesus was a liar or wrong. Now the funny thing that happens is once you start this challenge Christians quickly jump on an obvious thing and think it proves Jesus right. For instance a very unintelligent blog talk radio host who goes by the name of shockofgod when called on this challenge by my brother said, I pray for you to hang up the phone, and then he hung up the phone and acted like it proved something. He lied to hide from this. Another person in a chat room recently said she prayed for me to type again, well guess what that isn't proving everything is possible. This is a claim that's actually easier to show that it is incorrect then it is to show its correct. Sorry Christians you know Jesus was wrong here admit it.

If you are going to tell me Jesus doesn't mean what he says here, you better have more than just your assertion, I am talking about what the bible quotes Jesus as saying, not about how you interpret it. Your interpretation needs to be justified, otherwise Jesus meant what he said.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Matthew and The Law(revised)

Matthew 5: 17Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven"

Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law" (John7:19)

This quote in Matthew should come back to haunt Christians. I will say this view is the view of the author of Matthew and John as well. I want to stay with the first passage because it is clear. The common excuse is that Jesus fulfilled the law, but firstly that seems odd being you fulfill prophecy from prophets, but how exactly does one fulfill a law? Even if that were the case, the thing is it also gives very clear prerequisites that must happen first. The prerequisites are heaven and earth will disappear and everything will be accomplished. Now 2 of the 3 are hard to tell, we may not know when heaven has disappeared or when all has been accomplished, but as of today we do know that the earth has not disappeared. Now a prerequisite means in order for something to happen, something else must happen first. Like for instance in college you must take logic 1 before you can take logic 2. In the same sense Jesus is saying that Earth must disappear before the law is fulfilled. Here lies the rub, that means the old law still exists and should be kept. Now what is the old law. We know that the Jews of the time referred to the Torah or the 5 books of Moses as the law. So anything in those books even the smallest letter should be taught. That is what Jesus is instructing here. The 5 books of Moses are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. So we should observe the smallest letter of these books according to Jesus. So my question is why don't Christians teach these laws, as if they don't, they will be called least into heaven according to Jesus:
exodus 21:
20 "If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, 21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property

exodus 31: 15
six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death

Leviticus 24: 16
and one who misuses 1 the name of the Lord must surely be put to death. The whole congregation must surely stone him, whether he is a foreigner or a native citizen; when he misuses the Name he must be put to death.

Leviticus 20:10
If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Leviticus 25:44
Both your slaves, and your bondmaids, which you shall have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall you buy slaves and bondmaids.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29

If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her

This view is also consistent with the old testament clearly telling us: psalm 19:7
The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple

Does this make you think Jesus was moral? Are his teachings here good according to todays standards? I think not, but i may just be wrong that slavery and the death penalty for these crimes are wrong.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas

In the news you hear about groups fighting for companies to say Merry Christmas. Their reason, because 90% or so of American's celebrate Christmas. They say this makes it the most inclusive. Are you kidding me? Are these people serious? Some people celebrate Hanukkah and others Kwanzaa. Don't they realize that when you add those people on the percentage of people being greeted with happy holidays is greater. Christians are aware Christmas is a Holiday right? They do realize that when a place says happy holidays that Christmas is being included in that right?
Now I would go one step further and say even if it were only Christians that a store saying happy holidays would be more appropriate, because get this, wait for it, in the next couple of weeks we have another big holiday coming up as well. You know that holiday called New Years Day. Making it the number of Holidays that businesses want to address at least 2 but in reality more. So the phrase happy holidays does this the quickest and easiest.
Why do Christians want to make this a big deal, well I would venture to guess, they are feeling their dominance over this country slipping and are trying to make themselves seem like the oppressed. They are merely using the Christmas season which is something a lot of people like to do this. They get the people angry and feeling oppressed for Christmas and this keeps them closer to Christianity.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reality of Christmas

The Catholic leagues response to the atheist billboard at the lincoln tunnel says "you know its real: this season celebrate Jesus." Well do we know its real, lets look at some problems with Christmas.I am not going to spend time on overall facts like the lack of contemporary evidence for Jesus at all because that encompasses more than the supposed spirit of christmas the virgin birth of Jesus.
The first reality of Christmas I will point out is the date of Dec 25th is actually a pagan holiday. It was already being celebrated. So basically the Christians stole the holiday. Now this does not work as evidence that the Jesus myth is a copy of pagan beliefs, as early Christians did not celebrate christmas until the 3rd or 4th Century. So the earliest Christians did not celebrate his birth on Dec 25th. There was some dispute over when Jesus was born. Dates such as Jan 4th were also discussed.
Speaking of problems with Jesus' time of birth, we have a big gap in time between the 2 birth narratives. We have Jesus born during King Herods reign and when Quirinius was Governor. Here is an excerpt from a book called "Jesus Interrupted" written by New Testament Scholar Bart Ehrman to explain this problem:
"If the Gospels are right that Jesus’ birth occurred during Herod’s reign, then Luke cannot also be right that it happened when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. We know from a range of other historical sources, including the Roman historian Tacitus, the Jewish historian Josephus, and several ancient inscriptions, that Quirinius did not become governor of Syria until 6 CE, ten years after the death of Herod."(page33-34)

How are we suppose to believe this when the gospels have such a large gap in between birth narratives.

The next problem with Christmas comes again in the forms of the gospels. We have both Luke and Matthew providing us the narratives for his birth. Both, wanted to have Jesus fulfill 2 supposed prophecies. The first prophecy is to be born of a virgin and the second was to be a decendent of David. Now how do they get this accomplished, he is born of Mary who is supposedly a virgin, more on that later. Even though the virgin birth is a misreading of the actual arabic word for "young girl" and not virgin after all. We still achieve this. The problem comes in when you see how they get him through David's bloodline. Guess how they do it?
If you guessed through Joseph, the non biological father, you guessed right. Both gospels fulfill this through a man he is not even really the blood relative of. Don't believe me check for yourselves: Luke 3:23–38 and Matthew 1:1–17. So either he fulfills one prophecy or the other but since Joseph not Mary is the descendant of David, the virgin birth makes the bloodline impossible.

Speaking of virgin births,how can one believe this. I mean seriously the idea that she lied never came into your head? Do we have motive for lying? I say we certainly do, the death penalty for adultery is a pretty big motive. Where can we find the death penalty for adultery, that's right the bible:
lev 20:10
If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

John 8:4-7
and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

So we see motive for Mary to believe, and since Joseph probably loved Mary he convinced himself as well. What makes the John quote so interesting, is it shows this law spanned well past that time as the earliest and best manuscripts do not have this quote. It does not appear in manuscripts until hundreds of years later. So we have motive for lying, and its far more likely than an actual virgin birth, so that makes it more believable. I find this far more likely and there are other possibilities that are also more likely.

So do I know its real, not a chance. I know its a myth and the reasons should begin to come to your heads now as well.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Problem with Agnostics

There are several things I find wrong with agnostics. I will cover the 2 main ones here today. Firstly they are avoiding the actual question on belief and dodging with knowledge. Secondly they special plead in the case of god. The latter is the one I will spend the most time on because its the most frustrating part about them.

Ok, to understand agnostic, gnostic, atheist, and theist we must first understand what each word means:
theist- one who believes in a god or diety
gnostic- to have knowledge
a- is the greek prefix for not or no.
so therefore:
atheist- not theist
agnostic- not to have knowledge or not knowing.

Now to make this simple you can still believe without having knowledge. These 2 concepts are not mutually exclusive. So when somebody says they don't know to the question of do you believe in god, they are most likely avoiding the question. You DO KNOW whether you have the positive belief in god. Or in other words you place a trust or confidence in the existence of god or you do not. See there are 2 true dichotomies here:
theist vs atheist
agnostic vs gnostic.

If you want to include all in the discussion the true dichotomy becomes:
agnostic theist vs gnostic theist vs agnostic atheist vs gnostic atheist.

See how the theist and atheist part are about belief and the gnostic and agnostic part are about knowledge and when you say your agnostic you have avoided the question all together.

Ok, now to the more annoying part of agnostics. Usually when in a debate with theists these people only add one thing to the conversation. They come in and say well you're making a claim god does not exist. So, you are just as ridiculous. These same people become remarkably quite when parents tell there kids there is no monster in the closet, there are no unicorns, there are no fairies. All of which are unproven claims, and with the exception of the monster in the closet are supernatural like god. They have no problem with anyone saying fairies do not exist based on lack of evidence for their existence. This is special pleading for god. I have never seen an agnostic give a reason for this that does not turn out to them having bought into the old argument from ignorance. They haven't bought it as a complete truth, but instead as a way of increasing the odds god exists to make it equal. Well guess what agnostics, someone could easily assert any of these other creatures responsible for what ever question you have fallen for, well how else do you get the universe, how else do you explain objective morality, how else do you explain the fine tuning, how else do you explain the logic/inductive reasoning. The list goes on and on. Its nothing more than an argument from ignorance and special pleading.

This is also a case of trying to misrepresent an atheists position from general to absolute knowledge. No, we do not absolutely know none of these things exists. For our general purposes the lack of evidence for god, unicorns, martians, fairies, trolls, vampires, zombies, and more is enough to go about our lives confident in the belief they do not exist. You as a agnostic only pussyfoot around the first part of that list. The rest of the times its all fine to say yup agree with you there. See how you change the rules for god. Stop bending over backwards for theists.

So all im asking the agnostics to do is simply before posting ridiculous comments about how both sides are equally working off faith, to evaluate whether you would be ridiculous enough to say, the same thing if a small group of people believed fairies existed and it was causing harm, that the people who say fairies do not exist are equally displaying as much faith. If not stop special pleading please.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

asserting a being as necessary and transcendent?

I have encountered this video several times in online debates. This video is bad, very bad. This video is not good logic. The first argument is just bad. You use the same logic on both beings. But, lets get down to their main argument. God is a necessary being. That is exactly the point we are disputing. This argument is retarded in so many ways. They assert their god is necessary. This is begging the question. The very question we are asking them to prove. We can simply assert the same characteristics for the flying spaghetti monster or the invisible pink unicorn and it means nothing. They are simply asserting the need to believe in their being without providing any proof.

People who make this argument are just simply unwilling to take the step back and start without the assumption god is more important. There argument assumes this. That is pure stupidity on its highest level. I love how they assert the spaghetti monster does not change reason and knowledge but their god does, hmm more assertions about the characteristics. I assert the flying spaghetti monster does effect reason and knowledge. See just how bad this video is. When I use random beings such as the invisible pink unicorn or flying spaghetti monster, I use them to show exactly where the assertion is. Sorry this argument was just so bad and I have seen it too many times now, just needed to rant.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Atheism causes harm?

When an atheist points out the harm religion does, you almost assuredly will get a response about what harm atheists have caused. This argument does not understand the point. Lets take a look at why it is reasonable to say religion causes harm but atheism by itself simply cannot not. Firstly religion is a set of beliefs, where as atheism is the lack of belief in god. Now in order to get from one belief ( or lack there of) you need a 2nd belief or premise. Amazingly religion can provide multiple beliefs and premises, atheism cannot. Lets look at killing children by prayer as an example. Here are the beliefs that lead to this:

The bible is the truth and says what jesus taught.
In the bible jesus clearly taught that anything can be done through prayer.
If the person believes these 2 things it logically follows that prayer should save your child from dying.
The result dead children, all from religious beliefs.

Lets take a look at other examples:
Islam teaches that sex outside marriage is punishable by death.
Woman gets raped and that is sex outside marriage.
Woman gets stoned to death. This has legitimately happened to woman in islamic countries.

Want another:
The bible says that one should not suffer a witch to live.
People believe the bible is the word of god and instructions on how to live.
People in undereducated parts of the world are still killing witches over this religious teaching.

Im exactly curious how does this one premise lead to harm:

Not believing in a god.

You can't logically get there without bringing more to the table. That is the point, religious teachings lead you right to harm if followed as taught, atheism cannot get there on its own.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Survival of the fittest" and morality

I had a friend claim that morality and "survival of the fittest" creates a problem. This is only so when you think one dimensionally at what is meant by "survival of the fittest." Survival of the fittest does not mean that the literal strongest survive. It means the animals that are most fit for survival survive. For instance cheetahs use their speed to survive and the fastest of them are more likely to survive. Other animals may actually use their strength to survive. The strongest of them tend to survive. Are humans a strong animal, not really in comparison, are humans a fast animal, definitely not. What then causes us to survive?

Lets explore this for a moment. We like many animals are social animals. Between being social and communication we have surpassed all other animals in ability to survive. Now, social animals must work together to survive. The animals that work together and don't cause problems are the best at survival. This is where morality comes in. Morality is doing what is right by other people. This benefits our survival. Who was more likely to survive when civilization was beginning a person who worked with others or the person who did bad things to the others. That person would be shunned out and was less likely to survive on his own.

So we are seeing that this helps individuals and the entire species to survive. So actually our own survival is a good reason to be moral and very well could be where morality comes from. As humans we have learned how to communicate as well, so that increases the common understanding of morality, adding to our ability to survive.

This explanation also explains why morality has changed. It has evolved, because we have learned certain actions benefit society and certain ones don't As we learn this we create rules of thumb in terms of morality and live by them which make us more likely to survive. Now being we a lot of the times are using rules of thumb in regards to morality, issues can come up that make for moral issues. If two rules of thumb contradict, or if a rule of thumb actually doesn't benefit survival in a certain time, we may experience problems. But these rules of thumb benefit, because an overwhelming amount of times they do work towards helping us to survive.

Now I admit this contains one assumption, that we have a will to survive, and animals that have a will to survive are more capable of surviving as they avoid death. Where this will to survive came from is irrelevant to this argument, as the argument was morality can't come from "survival of the fittest" or evolution? Now go ahead and pull the old infinite regress into god the gaps fallacy on the instinct to survive.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My response to a theists review of my debate

Ok so I found this lovely write up on my debate I had months ago, last night. Hmm how many ways am i going to destroy this guy, Mariano Grinbank, its funny to read as its kind of cute in the toddler trying to figure things out kind of way. He actually thinks he's made a point. So let me post it and destroy it piece by piece ok:

Kerrigan Skelly vs. Erik Dickerson – Christian vs. Atheist debate on the existence of the God of the Bible

Where does morality come from?
I don’t know.
You don’t know anything, it seems like.
I don’t know.

This is a very interesting debate and a case study in presuppositional apologetics/debate.
What this means is that, for example, Erik Dickerson condemns the God of the Bible for committing and allowing immorality yet, when challenged to provide a premise for his condemnation he simply has nothing to offer but further baseless condemnations. This alone discredits about 5 cubit tons of atheist literature.

So I think its quite telling that this guy starts right off supporting Mr Skelly's Red Herring argument. This was not the subject of the debate. For those who don't know what a red herring is here is a perfect example:

Kerrigan Skelly and this guy- Where do Erik Dickerson's morals come from? Or where do people's morals come from?

Actual topic of the debate- Does god exist?

See how they are using a subject to detract from the actual topic at hand. Thats what a red herring is, is simply a logical fallacy, based on using an argument attempting to detract from the original argument. Something tells me this is going to be like bad boxing and he's setting up the god of the gaps/argument from ignorance fallacy next, I know that's what Kerrigan did.

Now, be on the lookout for a favorite atheist debater’s tactic: peppered through Erik Dickerson’s statement is a very, very powerful lesson: since his statements are so very, very unfounded—by his own admission—he constantly seeks to prop them up by making emotive statements: rape, the Holocaust, murder, you name it.
That is to say; a debater will do this when they seek to get the audience on their side by bypassing their reasoning faculties and appealing directly to their emotions. Since emotions are actually felt and ideas are abstract, a debater can get the feelers in the audience on their side merely by pushing their buttons.
If you are not sidetracked by this tactic you will see that there is nothing upon which he bases his statements.
Kerrigan Skelly actually notes, “I wonder why Erik keeps give up time, because he really has nothing else to say…”

Hmm why did i give up my time, maybe cause i was there to debate the existence of god, and Kerrigan's assertion that morality makes god necessary was debunked many times by alternate ideas I had thrown out there. You know like societal influence mixed with other factors or even moral fairies or invisible pink unicorns. Hey if you're going to assert ridiculous supernatural beings like yahweh and zombie jesus why be prejudice against the IPU.

Next we look at what he is saying a little differently. I don't need to know where morality necessarily came from to know certain things it didn't come from. I can also very easily know that murder and genocide are terrible acts without knowing exactly why. I am using what people know is moral and showing god contradicts it, much like if a person didn't know what was the actual cause of something falling down instead of floating up, that person could easily understand its not a upward breeze.

It is particularly at t=52:58 that Erik Dickerson falls apart when his assertions are challenged and he is forced to admit that there is nothing supporting his claims.

On the issue of morality he ultimately states —when back into a corner by his own statements—that it is all about survival of the fittest. Yet, for example, he referred to that which is moral being based on whatever causes the longevity of society. But this is problematic since we know what was thought by Nazi society to provide for its longevity. Also, why is the longevity of society the standard? Well, because it is all about survival of the fittest. Fine but what if my society can survive as the fittest by exterminating other societies? See the problem?

See the blatant, i would dare say intentional ignorance here. How does nazi germany benefit the overall society of the world. HUH? Come on now this guy is quickly showing he's a jackass. I mean seriously does it benefit everyone to let other people go around exterminating other people who could potentially actually help out in some way. It is more beneficial for society to not worry about your race being exterminated and to actually work together as one. Doing a face palm right now as this dumbfounding ignorance.

Based on his baseless moral condemnations and survival of the fittest assertion he is asked about a particularly case in which a society is in dire shortage of women and whether it would be moral for (the majority) men to commit rape in such a case: at t=1:21:33 he affirms that in such a case he does not know if rape would be immoral thus, making rape only relatively immoral and also devastating his arguments about the God of the Bible allowing rape (even though the penalty for rape in the Bible is capital punishment Deuteronomy 22:25-27).
The point is that he knows that he can imagine a circumstance in which an immoral act could be moral. Now, if God is allowed the same standards the “problem of evil” is not problematic and shown to be an illogical assertion—see:

So far he has taken an extreme example here, that is highly unlikely and based everyday evils on it. This is a very poor way to argue. Does he really want to say that his god sitting around watching every child rape is like this example where there is a dire situation. Plus he missed the fact that, the problem of evil is actually just icing on the cake for the atheist argument. The failure of the theist to present evidence of their positive claim is the true reason to be atheist.

Was “the Problem of Evil” Solved Before it was Ever Proposed?

My Evil Thoughts

Does God Command You to Beat Your Slaves

Does the Bible and its God Condone Slavery?

Erik Dickerson made various references to supposed atrocities in the Bible. These mount to well-within-the-box-atheist-group-think-talking-points which I have responded to variously in essays such as Positive Atheism - Cliff Walker : Relative Ethics and Absolute Condemnations and within the section on rape and

As a side note: somehow Erik Dickerson concludes that in the Bible God causes 2.5 million deaths. The Bible covers a span of time reaching into the millennia (various millennia) and so it is interesting to think what a lightweight God is when we consider the fact that within the most secular and bloodiest century in human history atheists murdered millions upon millions and millions more people in a couple of years—see Adolf Hitler / Nazism / Communism.

So yes I stand by my words the bible is filled with atrocities carried out and supported by the evil sadistic god of the bible. If this guy even read it he would know that if god were on a dating site his favorite activities would be listed like this:

Likes: praising myself, good old genocide, slavery, child sacrifice.

I would love to see a logical flow chart that shows how some atheists being evil detract from gods actions being evil. Not even going to get into the ridiculousness of Hitler being atheist. I mean yeah if someone claimed Hitler was the source of morality this might be relevant. But, I fail to see in anyway how this was relevant to the debate topic, or the red herring argument Kerrigan engaged in.

For another atheist vs. Christian debate see Atheist vs. Christian debate - Morality: Natural or Supernatural?

A few words on the actual debate. So lets first just list the logical fallacies that Kerrigan used and this guy fell for. Right off the bat we get the false dichotomy, where kerrigan tries to rule out other gods or other explanations and make the source of morals and inductive reasoning god or nothing. In case you don't know what a false dichotomy is its when you eliminate other explanations with no reason and don't have all actual possibilities on the table. Its trickery, its like saying there is either shoes in the box under toms bed or nothing. That is simply not the case. He has special pleaded his god to be a better possibility then moral fairies or inductive reasoning fairies or the invisible pink unicorn. Are we seeing a trend in prejudice against her horniness.

So the next step he eliminates other possibilities is to assert his god. This, when referring to a god, is a god of the gaps fallacy, also known as a argument from ignorance. The basic concept is "well I can't think of anything better, so it must be god." We see how that worked for the greeks and other cultures asserting gods for the sun rising, thunder, the ocean tides. Not so well might we say.

So in closing his fallacies: Red Herring, argument from ignorance/god of the gaps, special pleading, and a false dichotomy.

I stand accused of appeal to emotion, because I dared to say that genocide and slavery was wrong. Hmm don't we all know that about morality by now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Story of Sally: the ordinary Christian girl(problem of evil)

Sally and her mother have just arrived home from a family get together at aunt Jacky's house. Its 9:00 pm that night so its past Sally’s usual, school night, bedtime. Sally gets ready for bed; brushes her teeth, changes into her pajamas, etc. As she is getting ready for bed she kneels next to her bed says all her prayers to Jesus. As most 9 year olds do she grabs her favorite stuffed bear and is off to bed.
As to know a little more about our main character, lets get to know Sally a little bit better. She is a small girl for her age and has brown wavy hair down just below her shoulders. Sally is a third grade student, she struggles at math but is good at English and really coming along at reading. Her favorite things are Jesus, unicorns, and her stuffed bear, who wears a blue and red plaid vest and has big black eyes, that she got from Santa only 2 months earlier.
Sally has just dosed off, when she is awakened by a loud bang and crashing sound. Her mom screams "Who are you?" This is immediately followed by what sounds like a struggle her mom groaning in pain. After a few moments of this a thud and the floor vibrates. This is followed by silence. After a few moments, which to Sally feel like an eternity, footsteps start moving towards her door.
Sally in the meantime has rushed into her closet to hide. She clasps her little hands together as tightly as she can and begins to whisper " lord o mighty if you hear me now please protect my mother and me, please be with us today amen. " Just as she finishes a large bang, that sounds like a large body hits her door. The door holds. Second bang comes even harder, with a crackle. Still the door has held. Third crash into the door and an even louder crackle the door is seriously cracked. On the fourth bang the door comes down. A large imposing man enters the room.
The man proceeds to look around. Sally is dead silent in the closet, still with her hands clenched tightly continuing to silently pray to god. Then the man turns towards the closet. He rips the closet door open. Sally and the unknown man lock eyes. The man quickly grabs at sally and she tries to squirm away. Unfortunately the man is too strong, and he grabs sally and throws her out of the closet. Sally's head slams into the wall. Sally is dazed but not unconscious. As a drop of blood starts to trickle down Sally's forehead the man begins to walk towards her again.
Sally laying on the floor bloody and in terror with tears rolling down her face is too terrified to move. She is absolutely paralyzed with fear. The man once more picks Sally up and this time throws her on the bed. The man proceeds to rip Sally's pajamas off and he brutally rapes her. After this is done the man walks away. After a few moments the sound of a car can be heard pulling away.
Sally coming to about an hour, later after coming out of the shock, slowly emerges from her bed. She walks to her kitchen where she heard the struggle earlier. As she approaches the kitchen she sees a small stream of blood running out into the hallway. She turns the corner to see her mom with a knife stuck in her side. Her mom is still breathing but barely. Sally reaches for the telephone and dials 911. After not really being able to talk to the operator the, the operator is able to pinpoint the location of the call and sends help. The time between this and the help arriving feels like an eternity. A siren is heard in the distance, and at this moment Sally turns to look out the door which had been ripped off. She sees the flashing lights of a police car approaching.
She then turns back to her mom. There is not a motion in her mom. Not the faintest movement or breathing. The police arrive and shortly after an ambulance shows up as well. The paramedics declared Sally's mom dead on arrival. They rush sally to the hospital.
Years go on and still no suspect has been found. Sally has spent her life in and out of therapy for emotional problems stemming from this event. She as time went on questioned this event in terms of faith until she got to the point she could no longer believe in an all loving all powerful Christian god. She is now atheist from her experience.
So with that story told, and no its not a true story, per say, but based on many true events that happen around the world on a regular basis. As you were reading it, I'm sure you could picture it happening, however disturbing the imagery may have been. I tried to make the story as brutal as possible while sparing the explicit details of the actual rape. I also carefully chose rape as the example because there are people sick enough with the disease of religion to use the excuse that if Sally died that at least she was in a better place. We as a society live in mostly sheltered worlds where these terrible things happen to other people but not us. It actually helps to be shocked by the poor grotesque violence used in this illustration to get you in the true understanding of suffering. With that said onto the religious relevance of this example.
Firstly I will discuss the problem here with the Christian god and Jesus in this situation. Its widely excepted that god is all loving and all powerful and sees the entire world. So I ask you as Sally sat there suffering was it god didn't see it, didn't care to stop it, or couldn't stop it? Which answer makes you most comfortable in your own little world . Which answer makes your security blanket still work?
One has to be the case cause if god sees everything he must have seen this. If god is all loving, its impossible for an all loving anything not to act against such an atrocity. If he’s all powerful he surely can act because there is nothing that can stop him from doing so.
The first argument I usually here for this is free will. This usually comes in different forms. Some people argue just for free will to believe in god and some argue for free will as a whole would be destroyed if he interferes. These are equally appalling arguments and disgusting excuses to hold onto your security blanket in my opinion. Again I remind you while this story is a work of fiction as I’m not writing about somebody in particular, similar events have occurred somewhere in the world in the time it has taken you to read this far.
:Lets first look at the free will to believe in god argument. If god shows up and stops this event we wouldn't be able to choose to believe in god anymore. If you actually buy this argument I ask you to consider to you really consider a cosmic game of hide and seek a good enough excuse for watching this? Even if we know god exists it doesn't take away our free will to worship him or not.
Secondly, lets look at the argument that it would take away all free will and turn us into zombies, which is basically the argument. Sorry this has one huge assumption that fails all tests. The assumption here is that taking away one idea of free will takes away all. I ask you based on this assumption how god stepping in to save Sally effects my decision on whether to go to Las Vegas or New Orleans for vacation this summer. You guessed it there is zero connection. This argument absolutely falls flat on its face right there. Each event of free will is independent of another so god could step in anytime and take away certain parts of free will and not break the others.
Free will also has another huge issue with me. The same people who argue free will believe god is our creator. This creates a problem in the entire idea of free will to me. Its ridiculous to believe god can't limit freewill when if he created us he created a design for us that in its very nature limits our free will. No matter how much you want to explore the entire bottom of the ocean your body is not designed for you to be able to get there. No matter how hard you flap your arms you will never fly with just your body.
The final nail in free will's proverbial coffin is this, if freewill is required and a requirement of free will is that there will be evil, how does one go back and explain heaven. Obviously for it to be a great place there must be free will, Oh, but wait there is no suffering in heaven. How can this be. Did god teach us how to exercise free will in heaven without suffering? Does he interfere there? If either of those are your excuses why doesn't he do this here.
Any other excuses have a big issue to get around. This issue is if there is no excuse for a person to willfully watch a child raped shouldn't we hold god to a higher standard than that. To give him an excuse brings him below human moral standards. There is only one time I can conceive of when a person could watch a child raped and not be judged morally wrong in my book.
This one example is what I call the "other victim" example. This would be per say, if a person was being held at gunpoint and forced to watch and knew with a reasonable amount of certainty that any action to prevent it would result in their death or harm and the child still being raped. Does this excuse pertain to god? I don't see how it can unless he’s not all powerful. He can't have such a negative side effect because if he’s all powerful hens always able to fix it. Again just for those dense enough to still buy it freewill is not even close to the same level of a side effect as god if all powerful can always go back and give it back to the people.
Now back to our story as it creates another moral problem on the part of a lot of Christians. Sally has suffered an atrocity and cannot bring herself back to believing in god. Who could truly blame her if she died and met god and was bitter that he just watched this happen. This would in most Christian cultures means she goes to hell. Wow, Sally is victimized and thinks about this in a rational way and is sent to hell for this.
Now meanwhile the man who raped little Sally and killed her mother has since reformed and accepted Jesus into his life. This means his sins will be forgiven and he will then in turn go to heaven. He is now a devout catholic and has confessed all his sins. Now do not get hung up on which form a Christianity because a good portion of them do believe this as well.
I don't see how you can ignore this as a huge problem. Its morally void of any goodness. Its absolutely disgusting when you place this one event into the Christian views of the world. I ask how can this be? What type of monster actually still buys this?

Friday, July 16, 2010

The theist's atheist compared to me. (strawman)

After watching a debate between Dan Barker and Adam Deen, I realized how annoying the theists constant misrepresenting of what atheists actually believe. A chart to show the problem:

Questions Theists atheists answer
Do you believe god exists?
my answer: no
Theists version of an atheists answer: no
Do you believe the universe came from nothing?my answer: no
theist version of an atheist: yes
Where did the universe come from? my answer: I don't know
theist version of an atheist: nothing
What's the source of logic? my answer: I don't know
theist version of an atheist: nothing

See how many answers are different. That is because theists tend to debate a strawman atheist. The first question is the only one they get right. The second one is clear that the answers are different. The third and fourth questions to some may seem like semantics but i assure you they are not. Let me explain using my box example. Its pretty basic you can not know whats in a box and still not believe that the box is empty or has nothing in it. Those are 2 very different positions to hold. If you pick up that box and its heavier then its suppose to be you make the guy who says its empty look bad, but the guy who didn't know what was in the box never said it was empty so he still doesn't look bad.

This is key for theists to start to understand, not knowing is not the same as saying nothing did it. I am really tiring of this twisting of the position to make an argument. It occurs all the time. This is often used side by side with a god of the gaps argument. For instance, when a theist says that the universe came from god, then goes on to say the atheist has to say the universe came from nothing and that's irrational. What's irrational is the theists complete misrepresentation of the atheists position there. The universe could have come from any number of gods, or a sequence of multiverses, or any other number of possibilities, and yes perhaps nothing at all. Amazingly unlike the theist tends to think I have not ruled out any of the other possibilities and just picked the last possibility of nothing.

This argument seems to me to be an attempt to put the atheist down on their level since they have picked a position on something for which there is absolutely no evidence, they can't comprehend that someone is actually withholding a positive belief on a claim until the evidence is in.

Burden of Proof

Hi, this will be my first blog on atheism. I will mostly be addressing christianity, but also other religions. Today's blog will be able to address all religions but I will use christianity in the examples.

Many theists I talk to claim that it if we don't know about god they just accept the positive claim while atheist just accept the negative claim. This simply is not true. Atheist do not believe the positive claim that a god exists. Lets look at an example of how this works. If there is a box in the middle of the room and you have never seen it before and it does not have any clue as to whats in it, do you believe a pair of size 9 red and white nike shoes are in the box. Probably not. Would you say with absolute certainty that those shoes are in the box.(assuming the box is big enough to hold them) No you wouldn't. Now if we could start seeing some evidence that that is what is in the box it might be rational to believe those shoes are in the box.

Lets look at things another way. Before, I wrote this sentence did you believe in Maranamacons? Nope you had never even heard of them. Do you believe it now? Nope, how could you you have no concept of what they are. So naming something certainly does not make the proposition of existence seem even. How about we define them as aliens from venus who are eternal and are the route cause for why the laws of gravity work(beyond everything we know about gravity, the next step in our understanding). Now that they do something does this make it just as rational to believe in them as not to believe in them. I have my doubts that this assertion made anyone with any sense believe in them. Why do you not believe in them at this point? Well its simple you require evidence to support the claim. Asserting they cause something is not enough to get you to believe in them.

I think everyone knows right away that before ever having heard of the Maranamacons you did not believe in them, which was the base belief. We have followed this base belief up through giving a name and then defining the being and still we find it is not something you just up and believe in. Yet theists when it comes to their god will special plead that by doing the very thing with their god without any evidence to back up their assertions that both stances are equal. They know this is not true for Maranamacons, Invisible pink unicorns, Flying Spaghetti Monsters and more but once their god is involved, all bets are off with this way of thinking. No one in their right mind would say its just as rational to believe in Maranamacons after this post as it is to not believe in them. You will require more evidence for them, so that is what an atheist expects for god. So for the love of Maranamacons please start having the same standards for your god.