Posts tagged Atheism
Last week there was a big atheist coming out. It was called the Reason Rally. It was held in Washington and where thousands of Atheists gathered to, well, I don’t know…come out against religion I suppose. I other words, it is ‘unreasonable’ to believe in God.
According the the Reason Rally website:
- The intent is to unify, energize, and embolden secular people nationwide, while dispelling the negative opinions held by so much of American society… and having a damn good time doing it!
- This will be a positive experience, focusing on all non-theists have achieved in the past several years (and beyond) and motivating those in attendance to become more active.
Now on to their own words…
There were many speakers. Several of the featured names were famous folks who sent in videos: Penn Jillette, Bill Maher and U.S. Rep. Pete Stark. Others, popular in the Internet niche of skeptics, free-thinkers and atheists, came to the microphone to address the soggy crowds in person. A sampling:
- Friendly atheist blogger Hemant Mehta urged people to run for office, any post from school board to Congress to dogcatcher.
- Greta Christina, author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry?,attacked every major faith, even the teachings of the Dalai Lama. In a long litany of what makes her angry, she got all the way back to Galileo (overlooking the modern Catholic Church’s restoration of his reputation). A bit ironic.
- Adam Savage, co-host of Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel, said there really is someone who loves and protects him and watches over his actions — “It’s me!” Christians do that too. It’s called responsibility and accountability.
David Silverman, Reason Rally organizer and American Atheists president, also spoke. His words were a thundering call for “zero tolerance” for anyone who disagrees with atheism.
Headlining was famous atheist, Richard Dawkins. So was he ‘reasonable’. You decide.
Dawkins called on the crowd not only to challenge religious people but to “ridicule and show contempt” for their doctrines and sacraments.
But now is a good time to poke a little back at Dawkins. Here is my favorite Richard Dawkins quote in which he says he cannot be sure God does not exist. Just thought you should see it. It’s very interesting, nonscientific, and unreasonable.
Or perhaps it’s the most reasonable thing he’s ever said. Watch it here:
It’s Christmas time. So I was wondering what people who don’t believe in anything do during this season, since I wish everyone the best. Sure, they enjoy the merriment and paid vacations and food and gifts that is all the result of those of us celebrating the birth of Jesus through the ages. But that last part is, well, stupid. Right? Just ignore that.
Okay, okay. Maybe stupid is too harsh a word for this friendly time of year. If you believe that Jesus thing, then you’re just mislead and naive. See how Christmasy and friendly I feel?
In any event, I started thinking what atheists sing this time of year. So I looked for an atheist Christmas carol. Believe it or not, they exist. There are mostly mocking ones, but there are a few serious ones. I want to highlight both here.
First, the serious.
Much has been made of Vienna Teng’s The Atheist Christmas Carol. Now let’s ignore the fact that the word christ is in the very title. She sings very beautifully, for sure. And after listening to her beautiful song I decided to look deeper. And I found the lyrics, well, somewhat lacking in meaning.
That is not meant to be cliche or hyperbole. I am a writer, but I am a lyricist by nature first and foremost. The message was, in fact, fairly empty.
Pretty. But empty.
I suppose that is the challenge–writing something deep and meaningful about…nothing.
Here are the lyrics. See what you think.
It’s the season of grace coming out of the void
Where a man is saved by a voice in the distance
It’s the season of possible miracle cures
Where hope is currency and death is not the last unknown
Where time begins to fade
And age is welcome home
It’s the season of eyes meeting over the noise
And holding fast with sharp realization
It’s the season of cold making warmth a divine intervention
You are safe here you know now
Don’t forget, don’t forget
I love, I love, I love you
Don’t forget, don’t forget
I love, I love, I love you
It’s the season of scars and of wounds in the heart
Of feeling the full weight of our burdens
It’s the season of bowing our heads in the wind
And knowing we are not alone in fear, not alone in the dark
Don’t forget, don’t forget
I love, I love, I love you
Don’t forget, don’t forget
I love, I love, I love you
Next, I move on the a mocking Christmas carol. But let’s be kind. Let’s just call it humorous.
This one has no title. But it won an atheist Christmas carols contest over here. I think it’s very funny. And please stay for my comment at the end. Here are the lyrics.
*To the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas”*
On the first day a big mess exploded loud and free – remember the Big Bang Theory.
On the second day the suns and the planets came to be. No lifeforms yet,
but remember the Big Bang Theory.
On the third day volcanoes erupted ceaselessly. ‘Twas pretty hot, no lifeforms yet, but remember the Big Bang Theory.
On the fourth day the landmasses grew above the sea. No God involved, still pretty hot, no lifeforms yet, but remember the Big Bang Theory.
On the fifth day the first cells swam around with glee. Naaaature is hot! No God involved, weather now fine, lifeforms are there, but remember the Big Bang Theory.
On the sixth day there’s backbones and eyes for all to see. Pretty cool stuff, Naaature is hot! No God involved, weather now fine, lifeforms are glad, but remember the Big Bang Theory.
On the seventh day some lifeforms came ashore to pee. They had legs a-running, pretty cool stuff, Naaature is hot! No God involved, weather now fine, lifeforms are glad, but remember the Big Bang Theory.
On the eight day the lizards ruled the land and sea. Introduce extinction, legs a-running no help, pretty cool stuff, Naaature is hot! No God involved, weather rather cold, lifeforms are few, but remember the Big Bang Theory.
On the ninth day some pre-apes decided to stand free. Soon they were dancing, around camp fires, with legs a-running, pretty cool stuff, Naaature is hot! No God involved, weather still cold, lifeforms have fun, but remember the Big Bang Theory.
On the tenth day the first priest invented idiocy. Gods everywhere now, they want us dancing, with legs a-hurting, oh, what a shame – aaall without proof! Gods getting pop’lar, weather now warm, lifeforms do pray, no one knows the Big Bang Theory.
On the eleventh day the churches controlled the minds unfree. Just one God, which one is right, they want crusaders, with swords a-slinging, oh, what a shame – aaall without proof! Monotheism, weather quite dark, lifeforms do pray, no one knows the Big Bang Theory.
On the twelfth day the clever ones finally broke free! No more Gods, but atheism, science is right, tell the believers: “No swords a-slinging, no holy war, Naaature is hot! Weather is sunny, lifeforms shall think and we all love the Big Bang Theoryyyyyy!”
So there it is. The Big Bang Theory. It’s all built on that. The only ‘reasonable’ thing to ask is, how do you get something from nothing?
And atheists think they don’t have faith…
Fa la la, la la la, la la la!
Well, ladies and gentlemen, may I suggest the Jesus toaster? With each piece of toast it burns an image of Jesus or the Virgin Mary into the face of the toast (see picture) for only $39.95.
Perhaps you have some very religious friends. Perhaps you are very religious yourself. Or maybe you are an atheist and just want to mock your neighbor or relative at the most wonderful time of the year. Then the Jesus Toaster is the perfect gift!
So get your God on and buy the Jesus Toaster from Burnt Impressions. Operators are standing by…
And yes, this is real.
[Update on this story below]
In Loudoun County Santa came to town, but it is not what you think. Here is a display that appeared on the Loudon County courthouse grounds one morning. As you can see it is a skeleton dressed up like Santa hanging on a cross.
Are you offended?
I don’t like it, but my briches aren’t in a twist about it. As you can imagine, it has caused quite an uproar. According to this article, skeleton Santa was meant:
“to depict society’s materialistic obsessions and addictions and how it is killing the peace, love, joy and kindness that is supposed to be prevalent during the holiday season.”
Uh, uh, uh, not so fast. Over the years, the Christmas season has brought several controversies to this county. The article also reports:
The issue of holiday displays — which have grown increasingly eclectic in recent years, representing Atheism, Jediism and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster alongside traditional displays — first sparked a heated debate in November 2009, when a resident-led committee decided the county should ban unattended displays outside the courthouse because of a rising number of requests to use the space.
That decision drew the anger of local residents after a rotary group’s application to place a Christmas tree on court grounds was denied. The county Board of Supervisors addressed the matter by creating a policyallowing as many as 10 groups to place displays on the courthouse grounds at any time, on a first-come, first-served basis.
My gut tells me this isn’t some social commentary on materialism. It isn’t an “Occupy the North Pole” or “Occupy Christmas” movement. There is more to this.
It is a mockery plain and simple. Yes, it is a form of protected speech, but my guess is that this is a nonreligious person (or group of people) making a statement about the Christian religion.
The sad thing here is that nonreligious movements usually involve mockery and destroying. Not debate. Not true social interaction and commentary. Just destroying what people value most. It is quite an irony since the main complaint from those who are nonreligious (who I have no problem with) is that religion is destructive.
[Update: This post was published at 6:30 AM Dec. 7th. As of this afternoon, crucified Santa has been removed. Ho! Ho! Ho!]
Now that may sound stupid to you. But most of us who’ve grown-up in America were told there’s Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God, and Jesus. We teach kids they’re all real, but they’re not all real.
Eventually our kids will be okay with Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy being cute little white lies, while accepting Jesus and God as completely legit—right?
Not really. At least I don’t think so, and it’s something I talk about in my book 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith. So Santa is something that my wife and I have spoken about in depth, because ultimately we want to be honest with out children.
Will we tell our kids about Santa?
More importantly, will Santa be the one who gives them their gifts?
On a humorous side-note, it’s funny how many atheists (and some agnostics) have railed me over the years for teaching my kids about Jesus and God—something that can’t be proven. You know, they want to wait to introduce ideas of faith and religion to their kids when they’re old enough to decide for themselves.
Sounds so intellectual and enlightened, right?
But these people have had no problem telling their kids about a fat guy sliding down the chimney with a sack full of gifts and eating the cookies and milk, his elves, flying reindeer, and somehow doing this at midnight in every home all around the world. What’s with that? Do I have a problem with the story of Santa? Not at all. We’re not Grinches. We tell our kids the story of the real Saint Nicholas. But we’ve decided that’s where it stops. Sorry Santa. No cookies for you at the Berggren home.
It’s not always easy. A few years ago our middle child (who was 5) confessed that he told a friend at school that day that Santa isn’t real. Of course, this is something we have coached our children notto do extensively. So we reprimanded him.
This issue may not be a big deal to you, and I understand. For us, this all came together when our oldest was about three. Like most, he was still enamored by the story Santa. We had to explain it again.
And when he added “…and Jesus and the Bible!” we were floored. Now, I’m sure there are some (that don’t believe in God) that love the fact my son made that connection. But for us, Jesus is real and we explained that to him all over again.
So there is a little dynamic about our family and Christmas. I’m sure you have some funny family dynamics as well. It’s what makes life interesting.
*much of this was taken from a previous post.
It’s the holidays. It’s a time when we see family…and try to ignore awkward tensions and not fight. Speaking of, did you know noted atheist Christopher Hitchin’s brother is a devoted Christian? AWKWARD! His name is Peter Hitchins. I wouldn’t want to be eating with them on Christmas no matter how good the ham is. In any event, this is a time when we celebrate the birth of Christ. To many, this is a great relief and brings peace. But others see it as an event that brings judgment and pain–since they don’t believe. Here is an amazing excerpt from Peter Hitchin’s book on this very matter:
What I can recall, very sharply indeed, is a visit to the Hotel-Dieu in Beaune, a town my girlfriend and I had gone to mainly in search of the fine food and wines of Burgundy. But we were educated travelers and strayed, guidebook in hand, into the ancient hospital. And there, worth the journey according to the Green Michelin guide, was Rogier van der Weyden’s fifteenth-century polyptych The Last Judgment.
I scoffed. Another religious painting! Couldn’t these people think of anything else to depict? Still scoffing, I peered at the naked figures fleeing toward the pit of hell, out of my usual faintly morbid interest in the alleged terrors of damnation. But this time I gaped, my mouth actually hanging open. These people did not appear remote or from the ancient past; they were my own generation. Because they were naked, they were not imprisoned in their own age by time-bound fashions. On the contrary, their hair and, in an odd way, the set of their faces were entirely in the style of my own time. They were me and the people I knew. One of them — and I have always wondered how the painter thought of it — is actually vomiting with shock and fear at the sound of the Last Trump.
I did not have a “religious experience.” Nothing mystical or inexplicable took place — no trance, no swoon, no vision, no voices, no blaze of light. But I had a sudden, strong sense of religion being a thing of the present day, not imprisoned under thick layers of time. A large catalogue of misdeeds, ranging from the embarrassing to the appalling, replayed themselves rapidly in my head. I had absolutely no doubt that I was among the damned, if there were any damned.
And what if there were? How did I know there were not? I did not know. I could not know. Van der Weyden was still earning his fee, nearly 500 years after his death. I had simply no idea that an adult could be frightened, in broad daylight and after a good lunch, by such things. I have always enjoyed scaring myself mildly with the ghost stories of M. R. James, mainly because of the cozy, safe feeling that follows a good fictional fright. You turn the page and close the book, and the horror is safely contained. This epiphany was not like that at all.
No doubt I should be ashamed to confess that fear played a part in my return to religion. I could easily make up some other more creditable story. But I should be even more ashamed to pretend that fear did not. I have felt proper fear, not very often but enough to know that is is an important gift that helps us to think clearly at moments of danger. I have felt it in peril on the road, when it slowed down my perception of the bucking, tearing, screaming collision into which I had hurled myself, thus enabling me to retain enough presence of mind to shut down the engine of my wrecked motorcycle and turn off the fuel tap in case it caught fire, and then to stumble, badly injured, to the relative safety of the roadside. I have felt it outside a copper mine in Africa, when the car I was in was surrounded by a crowd of enraged, impoverished people who had decided, with some justification, that I was their enemy. There, fear enabled me to stay silent and still until the danger was over, when I very much wanted to cry out in panic or do something desperate (both of which, I am sure, would have led to my death). I have felt it when Soviet soldiers fired on a crowd rather near me, and so I lay flat on my back in the filthy snow, quite untroubled by my ridiculous position because I had concluded, wisely, that being wounded would be much worse than being embarrassed.
But the most important time was when I stood in front of Rogier van der Weyden’s great altarpiece and trembled for the things of which my conscience was afraid (and is afraid). Fear is good for us and helps us to escape from great dangers. Those who do not feel it are in permanent peril because they cannot see the risks that lie at their feet. (The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith, 101-104)
In light of the very interesting Atheist 10 Commandments by Pen Jillette, the taller half of the noted magic duo Pen and Teller, that I posted about, I wanted to talk about faith, belief, and doubt.
>For me, faith isn’t about fantasy, as many atheists hold. No. It’s about possibility and potential in light of the unknown.
We all rely on a set of beliefs or core values, not necessarily religious in nature, that guide us at unsure times. Perhaps people seek the advice of good friends, parents or grandparents, take a class, or read a book. The resulting beliefs and values they develop aren’t visible, but people trust in them.
So isn’t it true that we all look at the situations we’re facing, consider what we believe, and then leap?
This functions much like faith. For the most part, we’re all trusting in things we can’t see—a type of faith, to some degree.
>Don’t get me wrong, I still doubt from time to time. But I think it’s normal to doubt.
In fact, I don’t even view doubt as the opposite of faith. Some think it is, but that’s unfair. In the same way that caution isn’t always the opposite of risk, or fear isn’t the opposite of courage, doubt is not the opposite of faith. They can be present at the same time. There’s always a measure of caution when balancing a risky decision. There’s also a sense of fear to sober us as we advance in a courageous endeavor. And there’s always a sense of doubt that tests and purifies my faith as I step forward with it. I just believe what Jesus said is true.
>To me, faith is the unknown revealed and explained.
Having faith may seem irrational to you—and I assure you, it is. With faith it’s strangely possible to acknowledge the unexplained, face it, embrace it, and move forward. It’s not a mindless devotion to antiquated ideas or benevolent ideals, but a calculated conclusion in the light of present reality: there’s more unknown than known. It’s a coming to terms with the mystery of life. It’s the strength to keep a conviction when surrounded by questions. It’s discovering twenty variables and one truth, then holding to that truth regardless of the present ambiguities. It can go against better judgment and modern thought, while being the wiser approach.
Faith is a gift.
Faith captures my imagination.
Faith pushes my potential.
Faith inspires dreams of possibility.
Faith explains foundational questions of the unknown.
And yes, faith is the basis of very healthy and productive of divergent thinking, rather than being conformed to convention and reason. Because whether it’s science or faith, we all have to suspend our limitations in order to test, consider, and discover what is true.
I’ve seen him in many interviews and thought, “Now here’s a guy I could have a good conversation with.” I’ve never seen him be adversarial or confrontational. Serious? Yes. Direct? Sure. But always respectful.
Well, it seems he’s put together a list of the “Atheist 10 Commandments” And they are pretty good. I think they have a lot of common ground we all can agree on–atheist, Christian, believer.
So here they are. I think you’ll like them too:
1. The highest ideals are human intelligence, creativity and love. Respect these above all.
2. Do not put things or even ideas above other human beings. (Let’s scream at each other about Kindle versus iPad, solar versus nuclear, Republican versus Libertarian, Garth Brooks versus Sun Ra— but when your house is on fire, I’ll be there to help.)
3. Say what you mean, even when talking to yourself. (What used to be an oath to (G)od is now quite simply respecting yourself.)
4. Put aside some time to rest and think. (If you’re religious, that might be the Sabbath; if you’re a Vegas magician, that’ll be the day with the lowest grosses.)
5. Be there for your family. Love your parents, your partner, and your children. (Love is deeper than honor, and parents matter, but so do spouse and children.)
6. Respect and protect all human life. (Many believe that “Thou shalt not kill” only refers to people in the same tribe. I say it’s all human life.)
7. Keep your promises. (If you can’t be sexually exclusive to your spouse, don’t make that deal.)
8. Don’t steal. (This includes magic tricks and jokes — you know who you are!)
9. Don’t lie. (You know, unless you’re doing magic tricks and it’s part of your job. Does that make it OK for politicians, too?)
10. Don’t waste too much time wishing, hoping, and being envious; it’ll make you bugnutty.
Pretty good stuff, right? I like this guy.
You may be familiar with the new atheist movement. Its leaders (albeit informal) are Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. I once reviewed a book by some aspiring new atheists in the movement called The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails. In a strange way, it was a fun read. And probably to all the contributers disappointment, it only served to strengthen my faith.
No, it’s not to indoctrinate children like you barbarian religious nuts do. Of course not, he alleges. His is much more noble and altruistic. He simply wants to to teach children to ‘think freely’.
>Yes, let’s all teach children how to think freely by telling them that there is no reason or purpose to life–that any thoughts or ideas leading to that end are just figments of their imagination.
Don’t you feel free? Me too! My bones are filled with hope at the thought of nothingness.
Admittedly, I haven’t read the book. But my thoughts are based on some of his interview highlights. I find it interesting. Watch it if you’d like:
I’ve been told that the Bible has no credibility many times. I’ve heard it on tv over and over. Recently I heard it from a political analyst who was commenting on a Republican debate of presidential hopefuls. The remark was also an underhanded criticism of the folks who associate themselves with the modern Tea Party movement. These groups tend to have faith in common.
The basic point was:
>These people believe in the Bible, which is clearly filled with myth, so how can we trust them with national policies? If they are willing to base their lives on non-facts, it would be stupid to give them control of our country.
It was condescending, arrogant, and elitist. As if big, centralized, statist policies are all based in fact? Please.
Back to me essential point.
>Sometimes it seems, with regard to discussions with those without faith, that any source seems to be more valid than the Bible. Even one with only one or two copies citing a particular event holds more weight (so long as it casts doubt on Christianity) than the thousands of manuscripts of the Scripture. If two books record the same event, the Bible is automatically wrong. Why? Well, because it’s the Bible, of course! Aren’t you paying attention? This is something I especially noticed in the atheist book The Christian Delusion which I reviewed.
>So, was the Bible manipulated to spread propaganda for God? That seems unlikely when you consider how the Bible includes so many ugly details about people who claim to follow God. People like King David, the prophet Samuel, and the apostle Peter certainly don’t always come across looking good, and that would seem to reflect poorly on God. If I were trying to persuade people through propaganda, I’d leave out details that tarnish my reputation.
This is something I explore in The Idiot Genius Contradiction–and it is quite a contradiction. Skeptics like this hold that the Bible is brilliant and stupid all at once. Somehow both are true. Somehow it has zero credibility but controls peoples lives better than anything else has for the last 2,000 years.
>This argument lacks credibility, if you ask me.
You know those people who picket funerals with signs that say “God Hates Fags”? I reference them in my own ABC interview. Here is the son of the founder Fred Phelps. His name is Nate Phelps and he is an atheist. It’s no wonder, right? Here is an interview he did that I find extremely sad and interesting. As a Christian, it’s should be mandatory. It’s heavy, but worth watching.
So wondering what to do with your kids next year? Maybe you want to send them to the atheist summer camp Camp Quest. I have some thoughts below after all this. From their website, Camp Quest is:
…the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States aimed at the children of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Brights, or whatever other terms might be applied to those who hold to a naturalistic, not supernatural world view.
Their purpose is:
…to provide children of freethinking parents a residential summer camp dedicated to improving the human condition through rational inquiry, critical and creative thinking, scientific method, self-respect, ethics, competency, democracy, free speech, and the separation of religion and government.
Through their programs they seek to:
Build a community for freethinking families
Foster curiosity, questioning, and critical thinking
Encourage reason and compassion as foundations of an ethical, productive and fulfilling life
Raise awareness of positive contributions made by atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheistic people to our society
Promote an open dialogue about metaphysical questions that is marked by challenging each other’s ideas while at the same time treating each other with respect
Demonstrate atheism and humanism as positive, family-friendly worldviews
I watched their training videos for volunteers at the camp. It was interesting to hear them imply that religious people are ‘jerks’. Is that the ‘positive, family-friendly’ worldview they’re talking about? Maybe I heard it wrong, but seems like that’s what I heard in this video.
This is their answer to things like Vacation Bible School. Good for them. I am not afraid of questioning and challenging. But it seems that if you are a person of faith, you are automatically the opposite of all the things they seek to do. That’s simply not true.
Although there are hypocrites on both sides, just because I believe in Jesus doesn’t mean I’m not free-thinking, curious, compassionate, reasoned, open, critical-thinking, or believe in democratic principles. Gimme a break!
Limited thinking like that is like me saying moral relativists can’t have ethics or be moral, logically speaking of course.
Let’s all get over ourselves a little bit.
See this ad? What do you think? It’s from an atheist group called Central Arkansas Coalition of Reason (Central Arkansas CoR), which is affiliated with the national group UnitedCoR, and they want to run a slew of ads like this in the public transit in Arkansas.
But their request and ads have been rejected.
My main problem with atheism is that it most often the tactics are destructive and condescending. So often it seeks to destroy faith through mocking and ridicule. It is even an encouraged tactic by people like Dawkins and Hitchens. Although atheists claim to be guided by reason above all, there is usually not a reasoned approach when engaging the community of belief. No, the free exchange of opposing ideas between equals is no where to be found. The ‘Socratic Method’ dies to immature personal attacks, because people of faith do not deserve such respect.
That being said, this ad doesn’t bother me. In fact, I think it’s a fair and reasonable way to make the point. If I was driving by a bus with this on the side and one of by kids asked, “What does that mean?” I could engage it and present the opposing view to them with respect, since it is presented intelligently–and not as an attack ad.
So why has CoR’s ad campaign been rejected by the transit authority? Allegedly because the state requires $30,000 in insurance from the atheist group due to expected vandalism from such an ad.
Whatever the case, I am all for conversations, so to speak, framed like this.
And by the way, I’m good with God.
In my life I have had many conversations with people who don’t believe in God. Believe it or not, I welcome them. This does not scare me. This does not intimidate me. These are some of the most important conversations I’ll have. Christians need to be skilled in these subjects and not view them as a threat. In my conversations, I frequently run into what I call:
The Idiot Genius Contradiction.
In my observation, this is a major pillar of atheists and agnostics contention to Christianity. And in order to accept it, you must accept two contradictory theories at the same time and believe them both simultaneously. Although they should largely negate each other (if we are ‘intellectually honest’), somehow they survive each other, together.
The contradiction is this:
Christianity (and Judaism to a lesser degree) is built on the brilliantly maniacal manipulative writings of an elite group of people (i.e., the Bible). This group has been able to translate, re-translate, craft, and re-craft the Bible in a way that has enabled them to control the masses, proliferate their religion throughout the centuries, and maintain their own positions of power. With it and through it they prey on fears, promise rewards, and punish disobedience.
And at the same time…
Somehow this elite group was not smart enough to make God perfect, his followers flawless, and his will universal and clear as the Caribbean waters in those same writings. Obviously, this would require no apologies and phony justifications while helping the elite ensure more power, influence, and amass more money. Instead, in the Bible, they make much of alleging God (and often his followers) as an ethical tyrant, moral monster, racial hatemonger, oppressive master, violent father, indifferent to suffering, and permissive of evil. But somehow we were all tricked into following this God while reading all of this.
In short, this elite crowd was not smart enough to frame a God that didn’t seem bi-polar and is at least good, yet somehow invented the most successful religion (Christianity) ever. It’s very similar to the 9/11 conspiracy theories: somehow President Bush was an evil genius that destroyed the Word Trade Center to line his (and his cohorts) pockets by starting a war for oil without leaving a hint of evidence–but was also the biggest bumbling idiot at the same time.
That’s the Idiot Genius Contradiction. So the Bible is brilliant and stupid all at once. Somehow both are true.
Got it? I just think it’s an interesting part of the conversations about God that we should be aware of, since it often comes up.
A new 3 year study by a team at Oxford University called the Cognition, Religion and Theology Project revealed that believing in God is actually part of our wiring. They studied cultures from China to Poland and the United States to Micronesia and found that every culture, no matter how isolated or not, develops some system of belief in the afterlife. The project incorporated more than 40 different studies by dozens of researchers and found that each culture assigns some purpose for existence and life.
Clearly, there are many ways to look at this. Atheists would probably say, this doesn’t mean anything. We need to just grow out our our need to believe. While people of faith might say that this inclination serves God’s purpose–that He wired us to ‘look’ for Him.
One researcher commented:
It [faith] isn’t just a quirky interest of a few, it’s basic human nature. This shows that it’s much more universal, prevalent, and deep-rooted. It’s got to be reckoned with. You can’t just pretend it isn’t there.
I think this is very interesting. And yes, I believe there is an echo in all of us that draws us to believe. To me, there is obviously a spiritual element to life. It’s something I’ve long thought.
What say you?
I probably am going to step in it, but I wanted to make another observation from my conversations with atheists. Now I know they have plenty to say about us. That’s fine. Christians drive me nuts too. Before I get into it I also want to remind people to join my cause by praying for Christopher Hitchens in his battle with cancer. Please spread it around by copying this and posting it to your social media status: PRAY for ATHEIST Christopher HITCHENS #PrayForHitchens. And here’s why>>> http://bit.ly/hIdSco
Anyway, back to my point today and it has to do with beliefs and worldview…
It seems to me that most atheists I’ve had run-ins with are Marxists in regards to their social/political philosophy (most are Socialists and a few admit to being Communists). Have you noticed this?
Respectfully, I find this somewhat inconsistent and even humorous. It is a true lapse of the ‘unwavering’ logic they profess. I’m just sayin’. Why not have the integrity or decency to be anarchists at best (the only ‘survival of the fittest’ social/political philosophy) or Libertarians at worst (the only amoral one).
Atheists are so often averse and upset about the influence of religion on society and its ‘oppressive’ morality, which I certainly understand.
Their perfect, reasoned, and logical solution?
To revert to another form of moralism. They seek to employ all the authoritarianism of a theocracy, minus the God part.
Just a curios observation.
One common argument (as I have noticed) from atheists against Christianity is all the differences. That is, they dispute Christianity because there are so many variations of it (with the denominations, non-denominations, and cults, to a lesser degree). In essence, Christianity (and Christians) can’t agree with itself, so it must be false.
Have you head that one?
It’s a fair point, until you start thinking it through a little. The logic is: because there are varying viewpoints on a particular subject (the result of free will, mind you) then none can be correct or worth considering.
Make sense? Not really.
Bring that into a marriage or friendship and see where that gets you. Not to mention, this isn’t exactly a fair point to make at all.
Atheists only have to agree on ONE THING: there is no God.
In the inverse, Christians unanimously agree on this point (that there is a God). And they agree on the most important element of Christianity: Jesus.
Beyond that, there can be no more comparing, since we have doctrine, principles, and lessons to learn from and interpret. If atheists had the same to consider they would obviously find themselves in the same predicament.
Just a thought.
So here is a proper send-off for the weekend. Here is an amazing clip of the famous R&B singer Al Green singing/preaching at a church service. Agnostics and atheists BEWARE! You may not be able to resist coming to Jesus by watching this.
“I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.”
-This is from notorious atheist Christopher Hitchens. Talk about nailing it. By the way please copy and past this in your social media status: Pray For atheist CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS #PrayForHitchensHere’s why>>> http://bit.ly/hIdSco