Sunday, 29 June 2008
I could point to the book of Deuteronomy and what it tells you about treatment of unbelievers - it says that you should kill them. And, I could tie that together with Jesus and his penchant for chiding people for not following the laws of the OT closely enough. But, I thought I would focus on the NT treatment of others.
The well known verse is that Jesus said one should love thy neighbor, and many Xians understand that to mean that one should love all. This is not the case, however, if one takes into account the other teachings of the Bible. Take 2 Cor. 6 for example, where god commands that believers separate themselves from unbelievers, to shun them basically, and shut themselves off from them. That doesn't sound very neighborly to me.
Or, take 2 John. This book tells us that all who don't believe in Christ are liars and antichrists. I'm not sure if the word "antichrist" held the same meaning then as it does now, but if so this book is calling all non-Xians devils. Again, this is not very neighborly. Later, god instructs Xians to turn away all non-Xians, don't invite them into your home, don't even tell them "god speed," because even by bidding them a good farewell you are partaking in their evil deeds. (Aside: evil deeds? It's evil to not believe, even though we are made that way?) Even though the NT no longer directly commands you to kill non-believers, it certainly doesn't command that you love them. When Jesus said, "Love they neighbor," in this context, he certainly meant that one should love his fellow Jews, and the later Xians turned it into loving one's fellow Xians.
Friday, 27 June 2008
Some Xian sects tell us that god is a swell guy because he gives us a chance for salvation. OK, let's examine that thought, shall we? Perhaps he gives us a path, but if we don't follow it, he tortures us for eternity. It's like putting a gun to your head and demanding you do what he says. IOW, god is saying to us, "Worship/Believe in/Obey me or suffer eternal torment." These are not the actions of an omni-benevolent being.
It gets better, because a lot of Xian sects insist that we are born on the road to hell through original sin, and we can only attain heaven through god's grace. So, now he simply putting the gun to your head and pulling the trigger or not pulling it depending on how he's feeling that day. Again, this is not omni-benevolence, but capriciousness, cruelty, sadism, etc. Why should we worship such a being?
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Assume for a moment that free will isn't logically contradictory with an omni-max god. We are often told that god wants us to have free will, to freely choose to believe in him or not. So, he hides himself from us so that he won't mess up our free will. He refuses to present evidence that he exists because otherwise our choice to believe or not won't be free. Worse yet, he allows others to try and convince us that he doesn't exist or that other gods exist so that we can believe in them instead. So what? Well, if you don't believe, then you get to be tortured for eternity.
The inanity of this beggars belief. First off, belief is not something one simply chooses. It's not like I can choose to believe in the Xian god or allah or zeus tomorrow. For god to think that we freely choose to believe or not to believe is simply ludicrous. We can choose to uncritically swallow the religious pablum that is served to us, true. We can choose to not examine our beliefs or the utter lack of evidence for religious belefs, but we can't simply choose our beliefs absent those things. So, given what we can choose, god makes sure that the rational choice is one of disbelief, which is the exact opposite of what he supposedly wants, meaning that when we do exercise our free will, we will probably choose wrong. I don't think I need to point out the contradiction here.
Second, it has to be wondered why god values belief over acceptance. What I mean is that he seems to care whether we believe or not rather than whether we accept his message or not. If he were smart, he would want us all to believe and then choose to follow his message or not. He would present his side of things and then let us choose to follow a homicidal maniac or to follow a more moral path.
Third, apologist like to claim that hell is not immoral because all the denizens have chosen it. What a load of carp. No one chooses to be tortured, let alone for eternity. If one has chosen it somehow by default or by making a bad choice, it is not because one thought that hell and eternal torture would follow. Of course, god doesn't really present us with a way to rationally decide what is the right choice, and he allows others to lead us astray from that choice (I can make this claim because with all the competing viewpoints, it's impossible for them all to be right; hence someone is advocating an erroneous viewpoint and leading us astray).
Lastly, it's all too apparent that god values blind choice over informed choice, yet which one is more free? Are you more free if your choice is based on having all the facts at hand or having little if any facts at hand and misinformation? I think we can safely say that if god exists and if we have free will and if the Xians are right that god would rather not give us evidence of his existence rather than taint our free will, that god is inane, cruel, stupid, and contradictory. The more obvious conclusion, however, is that this logically inconsistent belief in god is most likely false.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
One of the well known apologetic arguments is that because Xians were persecuted and died for their beliefs, this somehow proves that those beliefs were/are correct, and therefore Xianity is true. Allow me to be underwhelmed by this argument. If it were true that only true beliefs are worth dying for and people would only put their lives on the line for true beliefs, then I suggest that we all convert to just about every religion the world has ever seen. Throughout the ages people have been willing to kill and die for their religious beliefs. Muslims have died for their beliefs. Mormons have died for their beliefs. Jews have died for their beliefs. Hindus have died for their beliefs. Name a religion and you can find someone who has died for their belief in it. That early Xians did so is not at all surprising and not evidence that those beliefs are true.
Saturday, 21 June 2008
If you were god for a day, what would you do with this power? Maybe you would cure cancer? Invoke your power to create world peace? Create enough resources for all so that people don't die of starvation and malnutrition? Create a world where we can all live without killing it through polluting fossil fuels? Maybe you would show yourself to everyone so that we could all believe and all could be saved? Or, better yet, abolish hell altogether? These are just some of the potential things that you could do with this power.
So, the question is: why hasn't god done any of these things?
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
OK, so god is a single being, ya know, because Xianity is all monotheistic and stuff, right? But, god is also three distinct beings in the father, son, and holy ghost. Um, what? How is it that god is both one being and three beings, and Xianity is monotheistic? Well, it's just another contradiction of course. When your whole religion is based on contradiction, I suppose it gets easier after a while.
Also, why is Satan not considered at least a demi-god in some Xian sects? Wouldn't this also be a violation of the monotheism thing?
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Saturday, 14 June 2008
The story of Adam and Eve is particularly troublesome for Xianity for many, many reasons. But, one that is especially galling to me is it's treatment of knowledge.
In the story, Adam and Eve eat the fruit and god gets angry and tosses them out of paradise. The fruit they eat, however, is the fruit of knowledge of good and evil and god clearly states that he is throwing them out because of the knowledge they have gained. The inescapable conclusion is that knowledge is a bad thing and it seems that Adam and Eve are being punished for gaining knowledge. It seems that god wants us to be ignorant and unlearned. He doesn't want us to discover new things, he simply wants us to do as he commands. Incidentally, this also argues against the Xian conception that god wants us to have free will. No he doesn't. He punishes Adam and Eve for using their free will. He wanted them to simply obey and be ignorant.
Sadly, this anti-knowledge streak persists to this day. There are tracts in the NT that speak against knowledge and Xianity tends to eschew it in many ways. Through the dark ages, the Catholic church refused to do mass in any language but Latin, thus assuring that the masses could not understand the words (I believe they still do this). This trend continues to the modern day where we see virulent anti-science sentiment among many Xians. These Xians are all too eager to use the latest technology - cell phones, computers, airplanes, etc. - while holding scientists in disdain and engaging in anti-evolutionism and anti-climatism among other science denials.
Friday, 13 June 2008
Some Xians seem to think that the Bible is very accurate and archaeologically proven. I've previously shown some examples of how this is not so. Let's take a look at another one, Jesus's birth.
In order to fulfill some prophecy, Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem, so the gospel authors had to invent some reason for Jesus's parents to travel there for his birth as well as establish a timeline. Luke and Matthew both tell us that it was during the time of King Herod's reign. Herod, however, died in 4 BCE. Luke goes on to invent a reason for Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem. He tells us that Augustus Caesar has decreed a tax and that all people have to travel to their ancestor's homeland in order to pay this tax. Apart from the absurdity that the Roman government would force people to move simply in order to pay a tax (they were better governed than that and would not erect barriers to taking tax money from their subjects), the timeframe for this is supposedly when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. But, Cyrenius wasn't governor until 6 CE.
So, it appears that there is a problem of timeline here, one that the Bible writers were careless about. It does speak against the claim that many make that the Bible is highly accurate and reliable. There are many instances where the stories simply don't match up with history and evidence, and this is just another case.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
You do know that the cross that you worship is a torture device, right? And, you do know that it's very probable that Jesus (if he existed and died as the Bible says) would have been crucified on a cross that resembled a "T" and not a "t", right?
Sunday, 8 June 2008
I recently asked a theist how he knows his beliefs are true. I kid you not, the answer I got was, "Because I have faith." Are you kidding me? For any theists reading this, faith does not equal knowledge. Simply because you believe that your mythology is true doesn't make it so, even if you really, really, really believe in it. Having faith in something that lacks evidence does not mean that your beliefs somehow counteract that lack of evidence and make it true. If this were the case - if god existed because people believe in him - then there wouldn't be just one god but one god per theist, as I'm sure no two theists have the exact same conceptions of god.
Thursday, 5 June 2008
And god threw Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden and proclaimed that all of their descendants will be sinful because of their bad choice. OK, that's paraphrased, but it's the gist that counts. This is a greatly immoral action on god's part, but let's skip that for a moment. This is also a rather hateful ideology, but we'll skip that for the moment as well. god creates a situation where sin is passed from parent to offspring when he throws Adam and Eve out of the garden. The mechanism that science has uncovered for this is through our genetic make-up. So, is there a sin gene?
Let's say, for a moment, there is a sin gene. Is it possible that this gene can mutate and be selected out by evolution? It's quite possible that this would be the case, although it's true that certain genes persist for long stretches of time due to their necessity (if they mutate, the organism dies). Considering that Adam and Eve would not have originally had this gene (when did god insert it?) it seems unlikely that it would be necessary for survival, so it's possible that it would be susceptible to mutation and loss or change of function.
To get even deeper into the idea, with modern genetics we might be able to locate and isolate such a gene. This would open up the possibility of us modifying it (in the future of course) in order to design humans that would be free from sin. This would make it possible to undo god's work. Wouldn't this negate the Xian concept of the need for Jesus?
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
One response to the problem of evil argument is to blame all of life's ills on free will. This is an especially bad answer for many reasons, like why god would give us free will if it would cause so much suffering, the fact that it hasn't anything to do with natural evil, and how this doesn't get god off the hook in any case, among some of the failings of the argument. What I want to focus on today, though, is heaven. What does this argument mean for the concept of heaven?
Well, if the Earth is a place full of evil because of free will, and heaven is devoid of evil, what does that tell you about the presence of free will in heaven? It seems that heaven would be a place where we are all automatons according to the free will argument. Is this what we should strive to be? Is this the end-all be-all of our existence, to wind up as unthinking robots? Is this really how you would want to spend eternity?