Are Believers the Most Arrogant Atheists?

© Religion Erased

Atheism. The disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. There are plenty to choose from and with insufficient evidence, plenty to disprove. So how does one go about doing so? Well, wait until a religion presents credible evidence. One that actually stands out from the ordinary.

 

It makes sense. Instead of doing the impossible and spending a lifetime analysing the seemingly endless line of false prophets, wait for one to impress you.

 

That is what the religious community decides to do. If you ask a Christian what it would take to convert to Islam, the answer will be solid evidence. Meeting Allah face to face. Something that us utterly irrefutable and can no longer cast any shadow of doubt.

 

I share this stance.

 

If I tell a Muslim I am not a Muslim, I am labeled an atheist, whereas if I told a Christian that I’m not a Muslim, I’m simply not a Muslim. Why is that? Why the two perceptions?
Continue reading “Are Believers the Most Arrogant Atheists?”

What Does “God” Mean to You?

©Fueling Your Consciousness

I have smart friends.

Like, really smart friends. And I tend to save things they say in response to my prompts on Facebook because they truly blow my mind.

Here, my buddy sets the record straight about online religious debates.

Enjoy. 🙂

 

“As an igtheist, I have to say that I think this back and forth is pointless and fruitless. Until there is a solid agreed upon definition of god that can be empirically measured, there is no point in claiming to believe and/or not believe. The word is so loosely used that it always surprises me how really smart people can pretend to have a discussion about something so ill-defined.

 

The Judeo-Christian-Islamic god is defined as the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-benevolent, creator of the universe. There are many problems with accepting this as definition. The first is that it’s a contradiction. Epicurus proved this in the 3rd century BC. The mere existence of evil in the world means that god can be any two of the three but not all three (omniscient, omnipotent, or omnibenevolent). Google the “Problem of Evil” for more.

Continue reading “What Does “God” Mean to You?”

Believers, You Are What You Wear

© Religion Erased

‘But my veil is very little!’ The lady exclaimed, passionately arguing her case for the religious freedoms of women in Iran.

 

The interpretation from the opposing standpoint differs from her view that religious clothing isn’t a burden. The ladies remark would have no doubt translated to ‘but my chains are very light!’ in the mind of Christopher Hitchens, the very man at the other end, when confronting the delusion of suggested religious ‘freedoms’ during the Q&A session in Australia.

 


(Editors note: seriously, watch this one; it is worth every second.)

 

Billions of children are currently being brought up in a deeply religious faith, one with a set belief and dress code. Most of these families will justify this by claiming it is a choice, but if everyone coincidentally sports the same clothing, is it really a choice?

 

Taking into account how restricting certain clothes can be, is a niqab really the desired choice for a Middle Eastern summer? Is a robe really the best choice a priest can make to play a game of football? If these are choices, they are choices heavily influenced by religion.

 

Religion gives a guide to live by, not a choice. Lets compare with the sudden urge to buy a product after walking past a billboard. It is a choice but a choice influenced by external factors. I am not going to tell readers to refrain from wearing what they want, but I urge anyone reading this to know that it’s not what you want, it is what religion wants of you. It would be a mistake to say it was a decision made entirely on personal preference.
Continue reading “Believers, You Are What You Wear”

Archaic Plagiarism: Gilgamesh and Modern Apologia’s Failure

When I tell apologists that many of the stories and concepts in the Bible can be found in pre-Christian/pre-Judaic cultures, the usual mode of defense is something along the lines of: “But my religion has the correct story.”

 

I can rebut such an argument with the following thought experiment:

 

  • Imagine you walk into Library A and find a book called Story A.  Story A was published in 1800 in upper New York. It contains a specific story about a man named Jimmy who is 6 feet tall, has Scoliosis, lives in a blue house on a street named Peach, has 2 dogs and 1 cat, works for a lumber company called Logs Inc., and has a wife named Katherine who is 28 years old.

 

  • You leave Library A and go across town to Library B. You find a book with the title of Story B.  Story B was published in 1900 in lower New York.  It contains a specific story about a man named Jimmy who is 6 feet tall, has Scoliosis, lives in a blue house on a street named Peachy, has 2 dogs and 1 cat, works for a lumber company called Logs Inc., and has a wife named Katherine who is 29 years old.

 

  • The cores of Story A and Story B are almost entirely alike. However, there are small details which do differ. The small details which differ do not override the rest of the similarities (and the local geographical locations of where the two stories were published is also relevant).

 

  • In the real world of publishing, Story B would be a blatant plagiarized copy of Story A.

Continue reading “Archaic Plagiarism: Gilgamesh and Modern Apologia’s Failure”

On the Necessity of Apostasy

On one of the “atheists vs. Christians” Facebook pages that I occasionally haunt, one of the contributors recently raised an earnest question that deserves a sincere, considered response. I’ll begin by quoting him:

“You are asking this generation of Believers to put aside their beliefs in their Savior, after 2,000+ years of dedication Believers gave their lives to pass the legacy to each generation, per the Christ’s request?”

 

Garbled though it may be, this is one of the better questions I’ve seen raised in that forum. Without making it crystal clear, he seems to have broached two issues, one of which I responded to briefly with an observation about “throwing good money after bad” but now would like to address at slightly greater length: Yes, it’s true that the history of Christianity is strewn with martyrs who died for their convictions. And on some level, I’ll admit that’s impressive – just as it’s impressive when a Muslim fanatic dies for his beliefs, whether he’s put to death by the zealous defender of a rival faith or blows himself up in a crowded marketplace imagining it to be the will of Allah. But that doesn’t make his religion true, any more than being martyred for the Christian faith makes that religion true. All it means is that some people are willing to die for their opinions, and that others are willing to kill those who hold what they imagine to be the wrong opinions. No matter how many people die for a faith, the faith is not thereby validated.

 

Consider the violent end of that unfortunate first-century Palestinian prophet around whom the Christian religion is built. For the sake of argument, I’ll assume that such a figure as Jesus of Nazareth actually existed and was put to death by the Roman Procurator for inciting rebellion. That doesn’t make him the Son of God: it makes him the victim – one of many such victims – of an empire that wasn’t keen on having its prerogatives questioned. It happens all the time, and doesn’t make Jesus or any other martyr divine. For that matter, it doesn’t even place the stamp of validity on his message: his message – assuming we can find it somewhere within the opacities of the Gospels – stands or falls on its own merits.

 

I mourn for those who, like Jesus, are executed unfairly. I mourn the unjust death of Martin Luther King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethyl Rosenberg, Joe Hill and Mohandas Gandhi for the same reason. But that martyrdom doesn’t make them special: their lives made them special. Like Jesus, the five martyrs I named died for causes that I can get behind, but the thing that makes their message “true” and their causes worth fighting for is not the martyrdom of the messengers.
Continue reading “On the Necessity of Apostasy”

“New” Atheism?

In my daily searching of atheist news and tidbits, I see the phrase “new” atheists pretty often. I find it interesting. The article below is a critique of this group of non-believers. However, I offer this opinion. I think that this is more of a critique of the modern Internet culture where extreme views (one way or the other), get all of the attention. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The most vocal and divisive voices are heard. Live and let live, I say. Do I find the concept of organized religion or the existence of a white bearded man in the sky ridiculous? You bet. But if some people need that belief to get them by everyday, I say more power to them. Do I poke fun? Sure I do, that is the lens in which I view most things…with a sense of humor. I humbly offer you the article below as yet another point of view about modern atheism.

Why self-respecting atheists should ditch the New Atheists

Ryan Cooper
February 25, 2015

Courtesy of The Week

 

I grew up in a conservative small town, where there was the strong belief that evangelical Protestantism was the only route to the good life, and that I was going to be tortured for eternity for not signing up. It’s no surprise, then, that I was often attracted to the “anti-theist” diatribes of Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, otherwise known as the New Atheists.

 

But time changes all things. Though still far from religious, I no longer accept the more extreme narratives of the New Atheists, the certainty of their religious claims, and their historical view of religion. The atheist community would be well advised to chill out.
Continue reading ““New” Atheism?”

Lessons Learned Atop Mount Carmel

Think of what follows as a kind of love letter to any Christian fundamentalists who might have stumbled onto the trove of impious wisdom that is AtheistAnalysis.

 

*In my best stained-glass Sunday-School-teacher voice*:

 

Boys and girls, let’s open our Blessed Old Leather-Bound Bibles (NRSV) to I Kings chapter 18 and read together this inspiring story from the Word of God, beginning with verse 17:

 

*****

 

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” He answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but you have, and your father’s house, because you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals. Now therefore have all Israel assemble for me at Mount Carmel, with the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
Continue reading “Lessons Learned Atop Mount Carmel”

Atheists Can Be Moral: Definitions Make All the Difference.

It is often claimed by theists that atheists are incapable of being moral, because atheists lack a “moral authority.” I was recently confronted with the notion that it is possible for me to practice “good ethics”, but not possible for me to be moral, because I don’t have an acting moral authority, outside myself.

 

I don’t want to beat around the bush too much, so here are some definitions:

 

mor·al

Pronunciation: mr-l, mär-

Function: adjective

1 a : of or relating to the judgment of right and wrong in human behavior : ETHICAL b :expressing or teaching an idea of right behavior <a moral poem> c : agreeing with a standard of right behavior : GOOD <moral conduct> d : able to choose between right and wrong

2 : likely but not proved : VIRTUAL <a moral certainty>

 

moral

Function: noun

1 : the lesson to be learned from a story or an experience

2 plural : moral conduct <a high standard of morals>

3 plural : moral teachings or rules

 

eth·i·cal

Pronunciation: eth-i-kl

Function: adjective

1 : of or relating to ethics

2 a : following accepted rules of conduct b : following professional standards of conduct

3 : sold only on a doctor’s prescription <ethical drugs>

 

eth·ics

Pronunciation: eth-iks

Function: noun singular or plural

1 : a branch of philosophy dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation

2 : the rules of moral conduct governing an individual or a group

 

Now that we have the definitions right in front of us, the theist’s argument doesn’t hold water. The definition of moral has the word “ethical” right in it. Moral and ethical are synonyms.

 

Let’s refer to: moral 1 : the lesson to be learned from a story or an experience

It clearly states that morals can be learned via a story or through experience. Theists claim to learn their morals by way of reading their holy books. Atheists obtain their morals by way of life experiences. Whether those experiences be their own or experiences they’ve witnessed or read about, atheists are learning from experiences. Which means, atheists are moral.

 

Now for: eth·ics 2 : the rules of moral conduct governing an individual or a group

 

The definition of ethics clearly states it is possible for an individual to have one’s own set of moral rules governing one’s conduct.  Thus, atheists can be are moral. Words mean what they mean, whether you like the definition or not.

 

 

Craig Hicks: Consumed By Rage

The tragic and detestable murder in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015,  of 3 young Muslim students at the hands of Craig Hicks has presented a critical opportunity for us to examine the rhetoric used in the ongoing debate between theism and atheism. This happening as it did, in the wake of the controversy caused by President Barack Obama acknowledging that atrocities have been committed in the name of Christianity forces to the fore the need for clarification.

 

Does religion cause atrocities? There have been volumes written to answer this question with a resounding “yes” (perhaps most notable of these is God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by the late Christopher Hitchens, whose book reads like a Ciceroesque polemic against religion). It is an easy talking point for atheists: the atrocities committed during the crusades, the inquisition, the Muslim expansion shortly after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, The Reconquista, The 30 Years War, The Holocaust, the human rights violations and war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians, almost everything the Catholic Church has ever done (like raping children and working to cover it up, or discouraging condom use in AIDS-ravaged parts of Africa, using Church resources to advocate and facilitate the 1994 genocide in Rwanda), 9/11, and so on. Theists are always quick to counter with examples like Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, The Kim regime of North Korea, Stalin, Hitler (who was a theist and had close ties to the Catholic church, and whose anti-semitism was nothing new in Europe and derived from medieval Christianity), and coming soon to an apologetics forum near you, Craig Stephen Hicks.
Continue reading “Craig Hicks: Consumed By Rage”

Solving the Holy Land: Designing a New Anti-Virus.

One of the most telling aspects of the living organism is the immune system, a series of checks and balances evolved to search, recognize, and subdue or destroy.  The changes undergone in the processes of gaining biodiversity and complexity can be metamorphosed into the political state of the world today.  We have seen human society reformed countless times: from the isolated and xenophobic tribal states of humanity’s origins, to the conqueror empires of Alexander and Genghis Khan, to city- and nation-states, and now to the beginnings of an economic nationalism, a global cellular structure where quality of life is starting to supersede arbitrary traditional 19th and 20th century borders.

 

The intense inter-connectivity and physical transitions from the furthest corners of the globe have made the idea of a global organism that much more real to me (I am still looking for the corners of a spheroid to justify that old saying, but alas).  The world is a living entity with the equivalent of breathing organs in the varied ecosystems, a Circulatory System in the oceans and travel lines, a Nervous System within the world wide web and satellite arrays, and finally, an Immune System hybrid of autonomous sovereign states who have agreed that the social contract of human life is worth compromise.

Continue reading “Solving the Holy Land: Designing a New Anti-Virus.”