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.