Friday, 30 May 2008

Testing?


Why does god test us? For instance, take Genesis 22, where god orders Abraham to sacrifice his own son, Isaac. Abraham is ready to do it too, until god stays his hand at the last second. god explains that he was testing Abraham to see if he would do it, and satisfied that Abraham would take his own son's life, god relents at the last second.

Wow.

Isn't god omniscient? Shouldn't god know what Abraham will do? Why the need to test him? What about all the other tests that god puts all of us through, are they necessary? The only possible answer is, "No." So, why would god put us through all these things unnecessarily? This is sadism on god's part. The only possible answer is that god wills to put us through misery, and the testing is really not a part of it. god is a sadist who loves to see us suffer.

(It should also be noted that god does order people to kill their children, and we have proof of it in the Bible, so who's to say that modern day parents who kill their children based on god's orders are not really receiving orders from god to do so?)

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Pharaoh's Heart


Following up on yesterday's post, I wanted to talk some more about Exodus. This is an especially vile story. In it, god wants the Israelites (led by Moses and Aaron) to leave Egypt to travel to the promised land, but hardens Pharaoh's heart so that he will not let them go. Then, comes the familiar plagues: rivers turn to blood, frogs, lice, death of all the Egyptians' cattle, boils on man and beast, pestilence, hail (which kills all of the Egyptians' cattle again), locusts, three days of darkness, and finally the death of the firstborn across the land (including the cattle once again).

Apart from the fact that there is no archaeological evidence of any of this, and that god must have really hated the Egyptians' cattle (and been spectacularly bad at eradicating them), and that god is kinda not so omniscient if he needed the Jews to smear blood on their doors in order to make sure he didn't mistakenly kill any of their kids, what can we get from this story? I think god makes it pretty clear. He has hardened Pharaoh's heart (thus negating the arguments about free will and how much god values it) so that Pharaoh will not let the Israelites go, meaning god will be able to show off his power and get to kill little children. There is no way around this, god wanted to kill the children of the Egyptians; he wanted to show off his powers in a grand display. This is not a god that is worthy of worship.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Why Did it Have to be Snakes?


Apart from all the other fantastically ridiculous things in Exodus 7, I'd like to focus today on the staff that god turns into a snake. god sends Moses and Aaron to talk to Pharaoh and tells them to have Aaron throw his staff to the ground, which would then turn into a snake. This, supposedly, would show Pharaoh that god is serious and has powers. (Again, I'm ignoring the part about how god already knew it wouldn't work on Pharaoh since he had hardened his heart...maybe I'll post about that later...) Anyway, is Pharaoh impressed? Nope, not one bit. He calls his people together and they all throw down their staffs which all turn into snakes. So much for that magical power, right?

Granted, Aaron's snake eats all the other snakes there, but that's not the point. Where did Pharaoh's people get this power from?

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Creation


How many of you theists think that god is perfect? If so, then why create the universe? Did god have needs and desires that were unfulfilled? If so, then god is not perfect. Did god create the universe in order to experience something? If so, then god is not perfect.

Also, do you believe that god is omni-benevolent and perfect? Then, by definition, god is maximally good, right? Then, why create a universe that has evil in it? The only answer to this is so that god could bring about more good, but this defeats the idea that god is perfect and that god is maximally good. Theists like to think that the fact that we are here somehow is evidence for their god, but it actually argues against it.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Religion?


OK theists, repeat after me, "Atheism is not a religion." There, see? It's not all that bad. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. I've seen the smug smiles from theists as they assert that atheism is just another religion as if they've just defeated every atheist position there is. As if they didn't just deal their own position a death blow by resorting to relativistic arguments that their way is just as good as an atheists since they are both religions anyway and all that.

But, the problem is that it's simply not true. If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color and not collecting stamps is a hobby. How does one make a religion out of the rational position that theism has not upheld its burden of proof? You don't/can't. Rejection of your religion does not necessitate that I have formed one of my own. Before you decide that you have this clever statement/comeback, remember that you are simply wrong, and it's a bad argument for you to make anyway.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Perfection?


If god is perfect, why does he make so many mistakes? Let's take the story of Noah's ark, for instance. In Genesis 6:6, god is repentant for creating man. This is an explicit admission of a mistake on god's part. He feels sorry for what he has done. So, he decides to wipe the Earth of all creatures to wipe out the wickedness of humanity, thus taking out his anger at humans on all animals.

According to Xians, we are all wicked, so why is there still wickedness? Didn't god wipe it all out with the flood? Shouldn't he have known that his plan wouldn't work? In Genesis 8:21, he again seems to be repentant for doing what he has done, which is another admission of error as well as an admission of immorality. Why worship this god that obviously is incompetent and immoral?

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Why Xians Need Hell


How many of you think torture is morally acceptable? For what crimes and for how long? Most of us revile the use of torture for any situation, others might find it acceptable in limited situations, god, OTOH, uses it as punishment for all situations, and for eternity. If your religion did not explicitly tell you that this was an acceptable act for god to commit, would you think it was acceptable? Of course not, because it's not acceptable, yet god gets carte blanche to do whatever nasty, evil, vile thing he wants. Why is that?

It's because Xians need the idea of hell, it's critical to the myth. Jesus died for our sins, supposedly. We are all in need to salvation, supposedly. If there is no hell, then we don't need to be saved, hence the whole idea of Jesus would be moot. For, why would we need to be saved if we aren't facing a cruel fate? This, however, is a double-edged sword because it puts god in the position of being the tormentor, which contradicts the idea of an all-loving god. It's simply one more contradiction in the myth that is Xianity.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

god's Morality


Supposedly we get our morality from god. Setting aside Euthyphro's Dilemma - is it moral because god says it is or is there some absolute morality that god informs us of? - which theologians have never quite answered, there is a serious problem with the way that morality is applied in the Bible. Not only does god seem to set himself above morality, meaning that he need not follow his own rules, but he wishes to punish us harshly for not following the rules - any rule.

To expand, jaywalking is as much of a sin as murder according to god. Both will land us in eternal torment. Yet, there is certainly a world of moral difference between not crossing the street at a designated crosswalk and the intentional taking of someone else's life. We humans recognize the difference, yet god - who deals in absolutes; black and white - seemingly can't differentiate between the two. Why should we take our moral queues from a being that seemingly can't understand simple concepts of right and wrong? Why should we follow a being that doesn't think morality applies to him? Finally, why should we worship such a being?

Thursday, 8 May 2008

What would you believe?

To the Christian, had you never heard of God, Jesus, or the Bible, what would you believe? How did the Bible get to America? The early white settlers brought it over here with them. And who told you the Bible was true? Your mommy or granny, a white person. The Bible is the white man's religion. The white man brought his religion over here with him. The Bible is used to justify every wrong done to another human being. It was god's will that [insert any human being here] was killed, tortured or maimed.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

god Lies


Open your Bible to the book of Genesis, chapter 1. In it, god relates to us all how he created the universe. Do you believe the Genesis account is correct? Let's say that you don't. Well, then god lied about how he did it, plain and simple. The only other alternative is that god was speaking metaphorically or in parables or something, but there's nothing in there to support that.

Now, let's say that you think Genesis is correct. Well then what about all the evidence that we have that contradicts this account? god is lying to you by deliberately placing false evidence to shake your faith. Either way, god is a liar.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Jesus


For the purposes of this post, I'm going to assume that Jesus said the things attributed to him in the Bible, because I want to look at the message that the Bible gives us. Is it a good message or a bad one? Let's find out, shall we?

First, there are some good things in there. The golden rule is one (although it didn't originate with Jesus, still he gets points for saying it), don't brag, don't judge, love your neighbor, love your enemies, turn the other cheek, don't be a hypocrite. Jesus, of course, falls well short of many of these things and is rather hypocritical, and there's serious scholarship about some of these, like the idea of one's neighbors being fellow Jews and no one else. Regardless, let's just move forward.

Jesus also said some bad things, like the bits about how one should hate one's family, how he didn't come to bring peace but to bring a sword, his acceptance of the Noachian flood, etc. One would think that an all-loving, omni-benevolent god would only bring good words and not evil ones, which makes for a real problem for Xians. Also, the good should be considered with the bad. All too often Xians make the mistake of focusing solely on the good and disregarding the bad, but one needs to acknowledge both. This isn't the focus of this post, however.

The real focus is on a big problem I have with the teachings of Jesus in the Bible. Jesus sets up a system of absolutes. One is either good or bad, with nothing in between. Then, he sets up impossible standards. For instance, in the sermon on the mount, Jesus says that one should not be angry with others (without cause I believe). But, he takes it to extremes when he equates being angry with others to be tantamount to murder. This has gone too far as is all too often the case with theistic belief. Anger is a natural and normal human expression. We should strive to not be angry without cause, but it is going to happen from time to time. What we should focus on is finding positive outlets for that anger. Yet, according to Jesus, we are all guilty of murder. We are all guilty of sin and worthy of punishment. And, as if that weren't enough, Jesus is not content to allow us to simply die, but we must be punished. So, he preaches that we are all guilty and are all deserving of eternal torment in hell. This pernicious teaching is simply vile and anti-human.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Pascal's Wager


How many of you Xians think that Pascal's Wager is a good argument? For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, the short version of the argument goes like this:

If you believe in god and you are wrong, well no harm no foul. If you are right, you get to go to heaven. If you disbelieve in god and are right, no harm no foul. But, if you disbelieve and you are wrong, then you go to hell. Disbelief at best leads to nothing and at worst leads to eternal torture, while belief at worst leads to nothing but has heaven as a reward for being right.

I've had lots of Xians try to use this argument as if it's a good one. Unfortunately for them, it's not a good argument at all. Let's forget about the perversity of a supposedly omni-benevolent, all-loving god that will throw us into hell for simply disbelieving. This argument presupposes that god wants us to believe regardless of everything else. The argument hinges on god holding our belief as a higher virtue than anything else, but no one can know that. It may be that god would rather us be true to ourselves than try to profess belief in something that can't be shown. The argument also presupposes that we can simply choose to believe. Really, it sets up a system where we should believe, just in case. But, this is not true belief, and it's hard to believe that an omni-max god won't see through the ruse.

There are, of course, other problems as well. This argument presupposes the Xian god, but there are other gods out there that will throw you into hell for your disbelief. Take Allah for example. If you disbelieve in Allah, you are bound for hell. So, any Xians that think this is a good argument should also believe in Allah in order to increase their chances.

Friday, 2 May 2008

God's Plans


Does god have plans for you? Does god have plans for the universe? Can god's plans be upset? IOW, can you do something that violates what god has planned; something that makes god's plan not turn out the way he planned? I think that if you believe in the omni-max god that most Xians believe in, the answer is no.

So, what does that mean? That means that everything that happens, does so according to god's plan. That everything you think, say, do, etc. is all according to the plan that god set forth from the beginning of the universe. The inescapable next step is to realize that when people go to hell, this must also be part of god's plan. god has planned that people will go to hell where they will suffer for all of eternity; where they will be tortured. god is supposedly all-loving omni-benevolent, however, which sets up a contradictory situation in that an all-loving, omni-benevolent deity has intentionally set up a plan where most (as per the Bible) people will be tortured for eternity.

There are, of course, other ramifications to consider, like the story of Adam and Eve where god punishes us and passes their "sins" onto all of us through hereditary means which must have been planned all along. (As an aside, I've heard some Xian claim that this was done so that Jesus could come along a couple thousand years later to save us all, thus begging the question as to why god felt it was a good idea to make us all need saving just so he could come and save us, but whatever.) There's also the story of Noah's ark, where god knew that humanity would disbelieve and that he would kill off almost all of humanity, which he must have planned to do from the very start. There are others as well, but I won't go into them all. Suffice it to say that god can not have the attributes that most Xians ascribe to him while simultaneously holding to the doctrines of Xianity, as they are internally inconsistent and self-contradictory.