Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Don't Want him?


How often have you heard or uttered the following phrase, or some variation of it:

The problem with atheists is that they don't want to believe in god.

It's a common complaint of theists. Us mean old nasty atheists don't want no god runnin' our lives. But, why should that be considered a problem?

Belief in god does not make one more moral.

Why would we want to have a god around if that god is the one described in the Bible. This god goes on murderous rampages and makes life horrible for many people. Then, not content to simply make our lives brutish and painful, this god decides that he should also sentence us to eternal torture for even the slightest transgression (moral or otherwise) which we have no choice but to commit at some point in our lives (since no one is perfect). Why should anyone want that sort of god?

Of course, the person here is saying that there is something wrong with us for not wanting any sort of god, but that's simply not true. If there truly were a benevolent god that could make us all happy, why would we not want that? IOW, the original statement is quite possibly a straw man for many atheist who would be quite happy to have an actual benevolent god looking over us. Unfortunately, the facts simply don't support it.

28 comments:

Tyler said...

GCT: It's a common complaint of theists. Us mean old nasty atheists don't want no god runnin' our lives. But, why should that be considered a problem?

Precisely. Most damning to that canard is the fact that christianity offers a perpetual slate wiper in the forgiveness clause. There is absolutely no behavior a christian can engage in (save blaspheming the holey spit) for which they will be held responsible provided they utter a simple plea for forgiveness at their imaginary friend. Rape and murder a child? No problem. Forgiven. Send millions of people to death camps? Heaven's door is open to you for the asking.

If there's a shred of moral accountability in the idea that the most evil pieces of shit to have ever lived can get to heaven - while their victims/the most moral person goes to hell for nothing other than not believing in Jesus - I for one have yet to hear it.

tinkbell13 said...

Yeah, pretty much. I think that my dog has more of a chance of getting into heaven than most people I know who identify themselves as Christians.

There is a certain strength in knowing that you are personally accountable for your own actions. When you remove the actions of praying to be forgiven for everything that you do, you become a little more aware of what you do.

Anonymous said...

Which religion are you talking about? Not Christianity, at least not as presented in the Bible.

Or maybe you have... Certainly the Bible never talks about accountability or repentence... The Bible teaches that everyone who "prays" for forgiveness(IE: says the magic words) is forgiven...

Faith is merely lip service which doesn't need to resound in the being or action of the person who claims belief...

I am thinking of copying down this conversation as the quintessential example of how atheists argue against every religion except for those which actually exist. Enjoy your straw men...

Tyler said...

Anon: Which religion are you talking about? Not Christianity, at least not as presented in the Bible.

That's precisely the religion I'm talking about, as presented in the bible.

Anon: The Bible teaches that everyone who "prays" for forgiveness(IE: says the magic words) is forgiven...

That's the point, dipshit. Not a shred genuine moral accountability to be found anywhere in the religion. "Rape and murder a child? No problem. Forgiven. Send millions of people to death camps? Heaven's door is open to you for the asking." No penalty, no retribution, just a license to do whatever you want without fear of repercussion from your imaginary friend. Just like it never happened.

Anon: I am thinking of copying down this conversation as the quintessential example of how atheists argue against every religion except for those which actually exist.

Doing so will stand as a monument to your cognitive dissonance.

Anon: Enjoy your straw men...

There are no straw men here, dipshit.

GCT said...

Anon,
A) Brush up on your Bible.
B) Brush up on your logic.
C) Brush up on the OP and figure out that you haven't even come close to addressing the point.

Anonymous said...

GCT:

A) I haven't mischaracterized the Bible at all.

B) What logical error did I make? Unless sarcasm is a logical error...

C) My response was clearly to Tyler, not the OP. He lacks the ability to comprehend what he reads, and apparently you lack the ability to follow the conversation of your blog.

D) As for the OP, which asserts that happiness equates somehow to 'what is best for us'. As if the end goal of benevolence is satisfying every base desire which grants temporal happiness at the expense of long term depravation.

Tyler said...

Anon: My response was clearly to Tyler, not the OP. He lacks the ability to comprehend what he reads...

Please illustrate where my comprehension is in error.

GCT said...

"A) I haven't mischaracterized the Bible at all."

You threw accusations up that could have been aimed at me.

"B) What logical error did I make? Unless sarcasm is a logical error..."

Your repeated instances of accusations to logical fallacies that simply aren't, all the while committing them yourself gets you a general remark here.

"C) My response was clearly to Tyler, not the OP. He lacks the ability to comprehend what he reads, and apparently you lack the ability to follow the conversation of your blog."

Considering that comments usually come from you directed at me, that you didn't address Tyler, and that you've leveled similar charges at me previously, it's not hard to see why one might think you were speaking to me.

"D) As for the OP, which asserts that happiness equates somehow to 'what is best for us'. As if the end goal of benevolence is satisfying every base desire which grants temporal happiness at the expense of long term depravation."

Wow. Way to talk a big game about comprehension and then completely miss the boat. But, hey, that's probably my fault that you consistently refuse to deal with the points made in the OP, right?

Anonymous said...

So then you didn't write: "If there truly were a benevolent god that could make us all happy, why would we not want that?"

Please. You're either being dishonest or you are just that ignorant.

GCT said...

Wow, so you read an OP about the problem with atheists being that we don't want to believe in god, you read a statement where I point out that it's a straw man in many cases anyway and that atheists don't necessarily not want a god so long as that god is benevolent, and you change that to me saying that happiness equates to "what is best for us?" And, further pointing out that you're out in the weeds indicates that I'm dishonest or ignorant (ignorant of what exactly)?

I guess you're using the tried and true theist tactic of scorched Earth now, eh? I don't blame you. When you can't actually back up your arguments, it's very tempting to simply flame everything and everyone and hope that no one notices the complete lack of substance of your comments.

Tyler said...

Anon: My response was clearly to Tyler, not the OP. He lacks the ability to comprehend what he reads...

Please illustrate where my comprehension is in error.

Anon: You're either being dishonest or you are just that ignorant.

Tick tock, tick tock...

Anonymous said...

GCT:

Would a benevolent God want what is best for us?

Which would a benevolent God favor; that which makes one happy or that which is best for someone?

Want to continue being dishonest?

GCT said...

Anon,
A) You are way off topic as I've pointed out. It's your way of avoiding the issues brought up. We all recognize what you are going. (It's the equivalent of that tried and true second grade taunt, "Well, you're a poopy head!")

B) You are trying to over-simplify something in order to try and attain some sort of "gotcha" and I'm not even sure why, except that you may want to argue that we have to have suffering in order to learn, grow, etc. and this is your attempt at defending god for allowing suffering or some such completely off topic thing. If you wish to keep flogging straw men, so be it, but don't call me dishonest because you have to make up positions that I haven't articulated and don't hold.

Anonymous said...

GCT:

A) You are dishonest as you refuse to respond to my critiques of your proposals. It isn't my fault you cannot validate claims made in the OP. The point I addressed was not only one of the three main objections you raised towards a suppossed generic complaint of theists. Nearly 1/3 of the content of the OP dealt with the point I addressed yet somehow I'm off topic? Looks like I received my answer as to whether or not you wish to continue being dishonest.

B) No, no and no. I don't want a gotcha, I just want you to be honest. I am not arguing suffering being necessary to grow, I'm showing your assertion that a benevolent God would make all of us happy is false (unless you still wish to maintain that following your statement to its natural ends you wouldn't arrive at this conclusion...). If it is now a straw man to address something someone else said, then forget it all. I just can't afford the passport required to enter the crazy land you're trying to take me to.

Tyler said...

Anon: You are dishonest as you refuse to respond to my critiques of your proposals.

Well now, there's some more of that fine flaming christian hypocrisy for ya...

Anon: My response was clearly to Tyler, not the OP. He lacks the ability to comprehend what he reads...

Please illustrate where my comprehension is in error.

Anon: You're either being dishonest or you are just that ignorant.

Tick tock, tick tock...

tinkbell13 said...

Looks like you may have found another JD here GCT.... Cannot keep up, totally misses the point, misdirects the argument when he cannot argue back, and then tells you your stupid cause he cannot answer you back.

Fun.

Now, like JD, he will start attacking me to get you guys off his back and he can keep his hypocritical Christian perspective intact.

GCT said...

Tink,
I've suspected for a while that this anonymous may actually be JD (even made a comment to that effect). I think it is the actual JD trying to hide is identity.

Anon,
"A) You are dishonest as you refuse to respond to my critiques of your proposals."

I have not refused to respond - I've already mentioned that it's more complicated than you are making it out and that your characterization is simply wrong. Secondly, even if I did refuse to answer a question of yours, it would not make me dishonest. Dishonesty comes from telling falsehoods, not from answer the misdirected, snooty, and OT demands of every creationist.

"It isn't my fault you cannot validate claims made in the OP."

I can, and have. I can not, however, defend the straw men that you have put forth as my position - that much is true.

"The point I addressed was not only one of the three main objections you raised towards a suppossed generic complaint of theists. Nearly 1/3 of the content of the OP dealt with the point I addressed yet somehow I'm off topic?"

Wrong again. The point you are trying to make is an unwarranted extrapolation from one phrase in a larger piece. What I was pointing out was that claiming that atheists don't want there to be a god is a straw man argument. You are trying to imply that I'm wrong because I think that happiness is inextricably tied to god doing that which is best for us. Your "point" is not accurate and not representative of the argument being made, no matter how much you try to bully me into thinking it is.

"Looks like I received my answer as to whether or not you wish to continue being dishonest."

You may want to rethink that one.

"B) No, no and no. I don't want a gotcha, I just want you to be honest."

Now who's being dishonest?

"I am not arguing suffering being necessary to grow, I'm showing your assertion that a benevolent God would make all of us happy is false (unless you still wish to maintain that following your statement to its natural ends you wouldn't arrive at this conclusion...)."

Do those goal posts feel heavy? And, now I'm curious as to how you think you're showing anything even close to your new assertion.

"If it is now a straw man to address something someone else said, then forget it all."

Again, brush up on some logic some time.

"I just can't afford the passport required to enter the crazy land you're trying to take me to."

You don't need a passport, you just need to employ reason and logic and stop believing that your beliefs shape reality.

GCT said...

BTW Anon,
There are plenty of posts on this blog where you can argue about omni-benevolence and whether it means god should make us happy or not. There's no reason you should try to hijack this thread in order to put forth your views.

In fact, I can even start a new thread just for you to expound your views if you like. I can do it this afternoon even.

Anonymous said...

The OP presented an argument in opposition against the theist complaint that "Us mean old nasty atheists don't want no god runnin' our lives." You then offered three supporting arguments against this mentality...

1) Belief in god does not make one more moral.

2) Why would we want to have a god around if that god is the one described in the Bible.

3) If there truly were a benevolent god that could make us all happy, why would we not want that?

As previously stated, you spent nearly 1/3 of your OP on the third point. You brought up benevolence and explicitly stated that if a benevolent god existed who could make you happy, you would want that. My argument shows there need be no relation between benevolence and happiness and that we could be perfectly content with a benevolent god (truly looking out for our best interests) even if they never made us happy. The best parents are certainly witness to that.

And stop with the claim that I'm missing something or am way off topic. If you didn't want to discuss benevolence then I don't think it was appropriate to bring the subject up at all. As your view of benevolence and happiness relates to 1/3 of your argument against your so-called theistic viewpoint... it is directly related to the conversation.

1. I didn't engage you on this thread in my first responses and only did so at all out of courtesy to you as the host and picked what I felt at the time would be the most easiest of your points to respond to in short form.

2. If you want people to engage you at all, I suggest you become a better host (at least try to be slightly honest... i know it's difficult...). Take a look over your blog and track the number of comments when someone with a different view responds vs when everyone agrees with you... I should think you would like to encourage a healthy dialogue. If not, so be it and I'll leave.

3. I don't buy into entitlements. This isn't my blog and I don't have to respond to every person who directs comments my way. Not responding is not 'losing the argument', there are some people that simply aren't worth engaging. I thought, and still am trying to believe, better of you.

Tyler said...

Anon: Not responding is not 'losing the argument'...

Not backing up your argument is, however, losing the argument.

Anon: ... there are some people that simply aren't worth engaging.

Said the chickenshit upon being called out for the claims he made about others while engaging them. To wit:

Anon: My response was clearly to Tyler, not the OP. He lacks the ability to comprehend what he reads...

Please illustrate where my comprehension is in error.

Anon: You are dishonest as you refuse to respond to my critiques of your proposals.

Tick tock, tick tock, chickenshit...

GCT said...

Anon,
So close, yet so far...

"You brought up benevolence and explicitly stated that if a benevolent god existed who could make you happy, you would want that."

The point being that there's no justification for the theist claiming that atheists don't want any gods to exist. You seem to indicate that you get this and then blow it all to hell later. It's almost as if you know you're veering off topic but you want it to appear that you aren't.

"My argument shows there need be no relation between benevolence and happiness and that we could be perfectly content with a benevolent god (truly looking out for our best interests) even if they never made us happy."

What argument? You've presented no argument.

"And stop with the claim that I'm missing something or am way off topic."

You are - this post was not about benevolence, it was about a specific theistic claim. Even if you are right that benevolence need not be present for us to be content with a god, how does that even come close to challenging the idea that given a benevolent god that makes us happy that atheists would still not want that?

"1. I didn't engage you on this thread in my first responses and only did so at all out of courtesy to you as the host and picked what I felt at the time would be the most easiest of your points to respond to in short form."

We've already been over this. In the future, I suggest you give the name of the person you are responding to to avoid any confusion.

"2. If you want people to engage you at all, I suggest you become a better host (at least try to be slightly honest... i know it's difficult...)."

Please point out where I've been dishonest, and then support it. Calling me a liar is meaningless when you have zero support for it. And, as for being a better host, I take a lot of time and effort to engage you and try to answer your questions, fully.

"3. I don't buy into entitlements. This isn't my blog and I don't have to respond to every person who directs comments my way."

This has nothing to do with entitlements. I don't need to respond to every comment either, I simply choose to respond to the majority of them. Finally, I've not said that you have to respond to anyone, so why are you bitching at me?

Anonymous said...

GCT:

"Even if you are right that benevolence need not be present for us to be content with a god, how does that even come close to challenging the idea that given a benevolent god that makes us happy that atheists would still not want that?"

No what I'm arguing is "that we" (atheists and Christians and Muslims... all of us) "could be perfectly content with a benevolent god (truly looking out for our best interests) even if they never made us happy." I'm not saying we have to be content without a benevolent God at all.

The implication of the part of your argument I addressed seemed to imply that a benevolent God does not exist because there is no God trying to make us all happy. If benevolence is a trait possessed seperately from the desire to 'make us all happy' I would then ask which you would truly prefer? Seems most would prefer true benevolence... again ask anyone who had decent parents... As such, if you are truly arguing that you would desire a benevolent God, the God you have will do just fine to be desired.

"It's a common complaint of theists. Us mean old nasty atheists don't want no god runnin' our lives."

Do you really have that many people complain to you about the type of God you want (or whether you want one or not)? I personally don't care what type of God you want... after all when it comes to God we all get what we get.

GCT said...

"No what I'm arguing is "that we" (atheists and Christians and Muslims... all of us) "could be perfectly content with a benevolent god (truly looking out for our best interests) even if they never made us happy." I'm not saying we have to be content without a benevolent God at all."

Even if that were true, how would that "even come close to challenging the idea that given a benevolent god that makes us happy that atheists would still not want that?" In fact, you seem to be arguing that atheists could be perfectly content with any sort of god, meaning that the theist's complaint is shot through by your own arguments.

"The implication of the part of your argument I addressed seemed to imply that a benevolent God does not exist because there is no God trying to make us all happy."

See, this is why I say you don't get it, because you clearly don't. I wasn't discussing whether this god exists or not. I'm discussing whether a specific complaint of theists is accurate or not. Whether or not a truly benevolent god exists is beside the point.

"Do you really have that many people complain to you about the type of God you want (or whether you want one or not)?"

It is a common complaint, which is why I addressed it.

"I personally don't care what type of God you want... after all when it comes to God we all get what we get."

For once we can agree. The universe is indifferent to us and whether god exists or not is independent of what your beliefs are (and mine incidentally). I wish more theists would understand this. (Note: I fully realize that you probably don't fully comprehend what you just said.)

Tyler said...

Anon: Not responding is not 'losing the argument'...

Not backing up your argument is, however, losing the argument.

Anon: ... there are some people that simply aren't worth engaging.

Said the chickenshit upon being called out for the claims he made about others while engaging them. To wit:

Anon: My response was clearly to Tyler, not the OP. He lacks the ability to comprehend what he reads...

Please illustrate where my comprehension is in error.

Anon: You are dishonest as you refuse to respond to my critiques of your proposals.

Tick tock, tick tock, chickenshit...

MyNameIsJillian said...

WOW . You ( the author of the original post ) clearly don't understand anything you're talking about in the least . First of all , it's not just a " clean slate " after you repent . You're only ASKING for forgiveness from God . Yes , he will forgive you, but he will NOT forget . Haven't you ever heard of the Plan of Salvation ? Before we go to heaven , we're put through a phase called JUDGEMENT . That's when we are evaluated to see if we are worthy of entering God's kingdom , or banished to an eternal darkness in Hell . We don't live thinking that we can do anything we want , pray , and then everything is like nothing happened . Every Christian like myself knows that everything has consequences , so why would anyone think this ?

God doesn't make our lives miserable . He's what makes them better . He gives us more opportunites in this life than anyone else can give us, and countless ones after we've died . ALL he asks for is obedience , but dumbasses like you think rebelling against it is the best thing you could do . There's a thing called sacrifice you know . Compare how long your life is , to the time of forever . Forever is billions and billions of years , while your life is ... well , round it to 100 . Couldn't you take ONE glimpse of time away from yourself to receive endless happiness ? Think of it like this: taking a moment to help a woman open a door, and living the rest of your life without a single bad thing happening to you . Weird , yes , but that's only because humanity doesn't understand yet . All you're proving by going against him is that you're a self-centered ass.

I hope and pray that one day you realize how easy it is to follow along for half a second , and decide to repent and work towards a better life . Maybe one day God may forgive you .

GCT said...

Jillian,
"You ( the author of the original post ) clearly don't understand anything you're talking about in the least ."

I suppose you'll enlighten us all then?

"First of all , it's not just a " clean slate " after you repent ."

Were you reading the same OP and comments as me, because this has nothing to do with anything in this thread.

"That's when we are evaluated to see if we are worthy of entering God's kingdom , or banished to an eternal darkness in Hell ."

OT, but I will point out that you're not helping your case here.

"We don't live thinking that we can do anything we want , pray , and then everything is like nothing happened ."

Still OT, but why not?

"God doesn't make our lives miserable . He's what makes them better ."

Classic. Tell that to all those affected by disease, natural disaster, etc. and who then end up in hell.

"He gives us more opportunites in this life than anyone else can give us, and countless ones after we've died ."

And I'm the one who doesn't understand Xianity? You get judged once according to Xianity, and it's heaven or hell (or purgatory sometimes) and then that's it. Your sentence is eternal with no chance to change after your judgement. How does that constitute any chance, let alone "countless" chances after death?

"ALL he asks for is obedience..."

A greater virtue than actually being moral, of course.

"Compare how long your life is , to the time of forever ."

Your point being? The concept of heaven is contradictory to other Xian concepts to begin with and the concept of hell is unjust, cruel, sadistic, and evil. And, this evil lasts for eternity? Hallelujah.

"Weird , yes , but that's only because humanity doesn't understand yet ."

Sorry, but you don't get to hand wave away issues with your beliefs by using the "god is mysterious" line.

"All you're proving by going against him is that you're a self-centered ass."

Actually, if the god of the Bible is real, then it is the moral position to speak out against such a cruel and immoral dictator.

"I hope and pray that one day you realize how easy it is to follow along for half a second , and decide to repent and work towards a better life ."

Trust me, I know how easy it is. Maybe someday you'll learn that simply going along does not make one moral or present one with a better life.

Torie said...

Agreed on the more or less moral thing!

You could be completely sinless in your life other than the fact that you don't believe in God, and someone else could have sinned in every area, but that... The only problem is that not accepting the Holy Spirit, of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (which are essentially the same thing) are the only non-forgivable sins possible.

Will you go to Hell... not for me to decide, but I think you might. Only God knows your heart, and if you don't accept Jesus in it.. eternal death(or boredness as some of you would put it.)

That shouldn't effect the way you are treated tho.To any of you who have ever been outcast by a Christian, I would truly like to offer my apology. I do love you and would love to talk to you. tortor_92@hotmail.com. :) shoot me an email!

GCT said...

Belief, however is not a moral positions, so you are basically admitting that god judges us not on our morality, but whether we hold true beliefs. This is no different from god administering a math test for entry into heaven. Whether we have correctly interpretted nature seems to be the criteria. To make matters worse, god has thrown up barriers to make it more difficult to make the correct interpretations. Is this a system that you really think you should endorse?