Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"God Is Plain To Them, Because God Has Made It Plain To Them." An Atheist Reponds


I'm really beginning to hate the book of Romans. There are many verses from it that I see theists often using so that they can claim knowledge over you in a debate. Just like Psalm 53:1, Romans 1:19-21 says that everyone knows god exists, and that atheists are really just deniers. Theists will throw this piece of rhetoric at you when then know they can't provide any real evidence that their god exists. So let me provide some justification on why I loath this verse.

First, if everyone knows the "truth" that the god of the Bible is real, then how come most gods that were fabricated are different from Yahweh? I mean, even today only 30 percent of the world believes Yahweh is real, and the other several billion theists alive have a wide range of deities they worship. It is far from "plain" that we all have an innate sense to know that the god of the Bible is real, as opposed to countless varieties of other gods.

Second, we have very good natural evolutionary reasons that can explain why we tend to believe in gods at all. I summarized this when I critiqued Alvin Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. Attributing agency to natural events seems to have been hard wired in us as it benefited our survival.

Third, the theist who holds to this doctrine in Romans fails to acknowledge the fact that some people are simply not religious. Some people like myself are who BlasĂ© Pascal wrote of when I affirm that I am "so made that I cannot believe." I am a natural born skeptic; I've never had a religious inkling in me, ever. From the earliest age I could see through the lies of religion, and I never fell under its spells. That's something I am arrogantly proud of.

Fourth, the theist who outsources his evidence for god to the Bible fails to recognize that we atheists don't believe the Bible! This is something theists never seem to grasp. They think they can throw a few verses at us and it is going to make an effect. I can throw a verse at them from the "holy" Qur'an 3:85:

And whoever desires other than Islam as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.

Is this verse going to make any Christian stop and think, "Woa. I better convert to Islam"? No! But countless stupid Christians think throwing a verse from the Bible at us is going to have that same effect with Christianity.

Finally, the theist who touts this rhetoric also fails to acknowledge that one can be a critical thinker who takes a good hard honest look at the evidence and concludes that Christianity is untenable, without being an evil "denier." I'd say there are some pretty damn good arguments and evidence to "excuse" oneself and deny Christianity and god's existence. The Christian can so easily see this in the falsity of Islam, but often their faith blinds them from seeing the very same flaws in their own religion. The Christian just projects their religious ways and emotional bias towards their own faith onto the atheist in the same way that the Muslim does. The Muslim has convinced himself that nothing can be more obvious than the truth of Islam, and so you must see it too. And if you deny this, it's only because you hate "Allah" and want to be your own boss. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this.

Theists are all alike.

I've recently been studying up on biblical criticism and I'm finding how flimsy the case for Christ really is, and how apologists have built their case on sand and faith.

23 comments:

  1. I don't fault anyone for not believing in God. It's really none of my business - their beliefs about the existence of God. I am willing to bet that many Christians feel the same way - they want you to believe as they do, but they personally don't condemn you for your disbelief. So, how can you say that all Theists are the same??

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    1. Well I don't mean that in a literal sense that all theists are exactly alike. But I get that verse from Romans thrown at me by almost every Christian I deal with and their Muslim counterparts do the same thing with Islam: they outsource at least part of their argument for their god/religion using their scriptures in a way that is often oblivious to the fact that this book holds no authority over non-believers whatsoever.

      But let me ask you, since you seem to be saying your a more thoughtful and reasonable theist, what denomination are you and what Christian philosophers/theologians inspired you?

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  2. I was raised in the Baptist church. After studying science in school, and after reading Julian Jaynes' "The Origin of Consciousness", I became an agnostic when I was in high school. I remained in that frame of mind for many years. I've had some personal experiences over the years that have led me to believe that God does exist. I now attend an independent bible church that is conservative, and the doctrine that is taught there is that the bible is literally and completely true. For myself, I can't accept that, with respect to the story of creation particularly. I think the scientific evidence about the cosmos and the development of life on our planet is rather overwhelming, and can't be refuted by the bible. But I do believe in God as the creator.

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    1. I'm glad you don't take the fundamentalist approach. But I'm curious now, how do you tell which part of the Bible is meant to be taken literal, and which part is meant to be taken metaphoric?

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  3. What has the Romans ever done for us?...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9foi342LXQE

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  4. The parts that conflict with science are obviously not literally true. That is actually only a small portion of what is in the bible.

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    1. So you don't believe in the resurrection? That I believe conflicts with science and is the most important part of Christianity.

      Do you believe that David collected 200 Philistine foreskins to marry Saul's daughter since it didn't technically violate science?

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  5. No - I believe in Jesus resurrection. I don't think science can disprove that.

    I don't remember the story about the philistines that you refer to. I'll look that one up.

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    1. Science may not be able to "disprove" it in the strong sense, but science and history leave us very little reason to think it actually happened, and assent to something as unlikely as the resurrection cannot be rationally maintained.

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  6. 1 Samuel 18:27 I have no reason to doubt this account.

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    1. How do you personally deal with the contradictions, like for example, who went to Jesus' tomb, who was there, whether there were 2 angels, 1 angel, no angels, guards, no guards, an earthquake, no earthquake?

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    2. The real question you should be asking is what reason(s) do you have to actually accept this account.
      Scepticism should be the default position :-)

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  7. Separate accounts, written by different people. The important part of the account is not changed by the fact that the narratives differ on peripheral details.

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    1. I would think that it matters since some of the peripheral details and utterances are what's trying to be shoved down our throats via the Christian right.

      Well if you consider the resurrection an important part of the account, then in Mark's account the tomb is open, empty and a man tells them to tell others, but they tell no one. There are no post-mortem appearances at all. No earthquake, no dead coming back to life, no darkness falling over the world - details unlikely to be missed by any author. Other accounts have them. This is a clear sign of embellishment and since Mark is the first gospel, the others seem suspect. Hardly anything one should base their entire worldview on.

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    2. Separate accounts, written by different people. The important part of the account is not changed by the fact that the narratives differ on peripheral details.
      They're not seperate accounts - GMark is the only gospel account which doesn't rely upon others (while it does rely upon existing scripture). Matt and Luke rely upon Mark (with Luke likely relying upon Matt), while John appears to be written as a response to the synoptics.

      What is the important part of the account, Frank?

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  8. I would probably be very critical of such discrepancies, had I no personal experience of God in my life. I think that I, like yourself would be very skeptical of the Bible as an authority. Christianity is more than reading a book, and trusting its authority just because it was written long ago.

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    1. At heart I think all religious belief is emotional, not logical.

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    2. Frank, how can you rationally respond to a Hindu who invokes his/her personal experience of Vishnu as evidence to support the rationality of their religious faith?

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  9. I think it's important to respect the religious beliefs of others, without passing judgement or trying to "be right".

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    1. Frank, if we lived in a world where everyone was rational and kept their religious beliefs to themselves, then I could envision a world in which we do not pass judgement on one another. But since those with religious faith use their faith to pass laws over other people and start wars and other things, it is an important matter of concern who's right.

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    2. It's important to respect people.
      Beliefs deserve no respect by default. Crazy beliefs, like a personal walking on water, or coming back from the dead, even less so :-)

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