Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nobody Takes me Seriously

Not that I really care, and not entirely true perhaps, but true about one particular attitude that I have adopted in recent years. I no longer attempt to argue logically with Theists. Instead, I tend to fight irrationality with irrationality. I seem to have lost credibility with this tactic. I think it’s a perfectly logical response to the bullshit. Here’s why.

Take for example, This is a textbook example of my problem with theistic argumentation. It’s full of what Robert Anton Wilson would label fnords. First you have the name. Anyone who would try to preempt your good judgment by telling you that they are about to tell you the truth is probably about to bullshit you. This web site does nothing to refute that hypothesis. Like most theistic arguments, they stack the deck, lay down the cards, and then act like they have done something amazing.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

"Hasn't the existence of God been disproved?"

Christian Response: The person who asks this question usually believes that the existence of God has been disproved by philosophy, psychology, or science.

That’s nice. How many times…. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. You cannot shift the burden of proof away from your claim that such a fantastic and impossible being exists. Your belief in an unsubstantiated god is nothing short of delusional. It is not necessary to disprove the existence of some entity whose existence has not been proved. No serious pragmatist or philosopher would ask this question. The person who builds this straw man is trolling for the easily confused

Philosophical Objections to the Existence of God

The Problem: The major philosophical objection to the existence of the God of the Bible involves the problem of evil. Christianity teaches that God is both all-powerful … and all-good … Christianity also maintains that God created everything ... Yet, evil exists in the world. Therefore, many atheists argue that either God is not all good and is the author of evil, or God is not all-powerful and cannot do anything about evil. Either way, the atheist contends that the all-good and all-powerful God of the Bible cannot exist.

Christian Response: Christians answer the philosophical arguments against the existence of God by reaffirming the Christian doctrine of creation. Unlike pantheistic religions, Christianity teaches that God has created that which is not God. The doctrine of creation teaches that the universe is not a part of God, nor is it an illusion in the mind of God. Christianity teaches that God has invested His creation with true existence. Not only did God create something separate from Himself, but also made part of His creation in His image ... According to the Bible, humanity has been made in the image of God. One of the implications of being made in God's image is the ability to make decisions. People are not programmed robots or animals controlled by their instincts-but possess free will.

When theologians refer to human beings possessing free will they do not mean that people have unlimited options, but simply that they have the ability to choose between available options.

When God created humanity with free will He gave the ability to truly love or reject Him. God gave the ability to freely obey or disobey Him. God does not force anyone to love or follow Him …. Christianity teaches that it is the misuse of free will that allowed evil to come into the world ...

I’ve removed the Biblical references from the above. You don’t have to prove to me that your delusion is internally consistent. I grant that this is what you believe because somebody wrote it down and someone else swears by it. Loudly. And repeatedly. Ad Nauseum.

How many ways has the deck been stacked here? First, this is not the major philosophical objection, just one of many, and an old one known as the Problem of Evil (POE). The alleged “misuse” of Free Will does not answer the question, it begs it. How exactly can one “misuse” free will? (A thing for which we are beholden to no external entity, by the way.) The point is, you either have it, or you don’t. Having it, all options are possible, and none by definition can be “misuse”.

There is also a nice, simplistic view of options presented here. One either loves God or rejects God. No nuance of believing but hating versus thinking the whole religious edifice is built upon a crock of bullshit. One is never rejecting the religious corporations, one is rejecting the alleged and conveniently absent god. People have been successfully murdered through this deliberate misdirection. Maybe that’s one reason why the major monotheistic religions keep pushing their holy books and downplaying their own history.

I could go on, but it’s just more of the same. The site refers to “good and evil” and “sin” with no understanding or admission that this is all part of the religious paradigm. It is a gross oversimplification of the human condition and always has been. People like black and white solutions, but the world is in color and shades of gray. It’s just so much easier to jerk people around by their previously implanted black-and-white prejudices/sensibilities. We do not live in a comic book with comic book heroes and villains. Don’t get me wrong; there is ethical, and unethical behavior. There are honorable, and dishonorable, and altruistic, and self-serving behaviors. All can be justified. All justifications are not equally compelling. Manipulating a person’s sense of shame in order to make them subservient and a lesser human than their full potential will allow is criminal. This is the primary crime of religion.

Long story short, there is no arguing with a person who argues from within an internally consistent, closed-loop delusion. This is why I prefer to tell the believer, “Your god has wings, and wheels, and looks like a big Tylenol!” … or something like that, usually with a bit more contextual relevance. Even if they don’t see it, I hope the juxtaposition will make some other reader realize that what the religious zealot believes is no less ridiculous than what I can invent on the spot.

The image is actor Frank Fontaine, a.k.a. Crazy Guggenheim.

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At 11:51 PM, Anonymous rita said...

Give it up. You can't logically or illogically argue w/those people. It'll make you crazy trying. Trying to rationalize what the religious do is like having Tourette's syndrome. You just can't stop the crazy.

Like most theistic arguments, they stack the deck, lay down the cards, and then act like they have done something amazing. This is good, too.

Aw, fuk'em.

I do like your reference to POE (Problem Of Evil) because it's my 2 year old grandsons middle name, (he's named after Edgar Allen Poe) He's off to a good start...

At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Infidel753 said...

"Hasn't the existence of God been disproved?"

Huh? This is a classic straw man. I've never heard anyone claim that the existence of God has been disproved. At our present state of knowledge, it isn't possible to prove absolutely that God doesn't exist, just as it isn't possible to prove absolutely that unicorns or vampires don't exist. It is, however, pretty obvious by now that the existence of unicorns, vampires, or God is sufficiently unlikely as to be not worth worrying about.

They, on the other hand, make a virtue of believing in things for which there is no evidence ("faith"). No, there's no point in trying to argue rationally with that.

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a point when you say you cannot argue Christians out of their point of view but this is because our belief is based on faith and so no we cannot see our "God" but because you cannot see Him doesn't mean he doesn't exist. But it is also the same for a Christian to say you cannot argue an Atheist out of his or her point of view. People will believe what they want and they will stick to it. Even people who claim to be open minded are in fact stubborn in their core beliefs. But back to the point an Atheist wants physical proof (which they claim is rational) not the faith Christians have in "God". So my point is that you can say that it is impossible to rationally argue with a Christian but from a Christian's point of view it is the same for Atheists so just learn to deal and be respectful.

At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry i didn't include this in my first comment but it just accrued to me. We argue and argue but there is truly only one way we will find out who is right and that is death. Christians only should be trying to convince Atheist of the belief in God out of love. This is usually not the case though and Christians come off as hostile, delusional, hypocritical, and offensive. Which in a side not I find it funny that it is evil to offend anyone in this culture except Christians but that doesn't bother me so much because it is expected. But anyway my point is that in the end we will all figure out so if you truly and firmly believe what you do why do you care so much what a Christian believes. The Christian cares what the Atheist believes because he or she cares for them (most of the time) I hope this makes sense and please do not flip out on me I am just stating my point of view. Thank you.

At 11:08 PM, Anonymous spencer said...

I DO HAVE A SIMPLE QUESTION FOR THE ATHEIST IN THE WORLD, "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DIE?" I know it's a common one, but have you really thought aout it? I, as a christian believe I am goin to heaven and am watched over by a all powerful God. I'm not perfect, and I make mistakes, as does everyone. But I have "Faith",and if I'm wrong then so what,I'll be in your same boat. But if I"m right and your wrong then you should be worried. Not Hostility intended or intent to "make" you do anything. Just something to consider.I do appreciate you reading and hope you'll try to consider my point.

At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it offensive that you want Christians to respect your beliefs, yet you can't seem to respect ours. For those who truly do believe in our God, you know that you cannot possibly hope to understand everything or hope to even think on His level. I am not delusional. I believe in science and all that good stuff, but it is nothing compared to the faith in my God. I do try to persuade others with love, as well. I don't corner people, make them feel stupid for their own beliefs, or threaten them with damnation. I show rather than tell what my God has done for me. I love all people even when they do not return the feeling. My God is good, and He is love, so that is what I strive to show to all. Though, I am not perfect, either. I get angry and say mean things when attacked intellectually. God is father to all. Yes, he gave us freewill. Just because his children turn out evil in some cases, doesn't mean he has evil in him. Just like a human parent isn't necessarily bad just because his or her child turns out faulty. However our ideas may differ, I live in a free country with freedom of speech. I may not agree with you, but you have every right to voice your opinion. I would defend your right to say it even if it offended me, so don't think I am saying that you shouldn't say what you are. That is just the person I am.


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