10 “Unanswerable” questions #8

TodayChristian’s Question #8, on the list of “unanswerable” questions, is a three-fer.

8.       What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?

The answer for all three questions is the same, and unfortunately it’s a bit harsh. The explanation for all of the above questions is that people are gullible.

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10 “Unanswerable” questions #6

Today’s “unanswerable” question is another easy one.

6.       If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?

Easy: God has nothing to do with meaning. Meaning exists apart from God, and comes from the fundamentally-ordered nature of reality itself. But I’m getting ahead of myself. To really answer TodayChristian’s question, we should first examine what he or she is really asking.

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10 “Unanswerable” questions #5

Question #5, from TodayChristian’s list of 10 “unanswerable” questions, finally creates an interesting problem. Not because it’s particularly hard to answer, but because it’s essentially a re-phrasing of question #4.

5.       If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?

This is the real problem with superstition-based moral systems like Christianity. Because TodayChristian’s faith wants to make God the only reason why people do anything, he or she has completely failed to understand what the real-world constraints are on our behavior. And in fact, TodayChristian has it completely backwards, in some ways. People who have a God are often more likely to feel free to do what they want, up to and including murder and rape. It’s the atheists, who understand that actions have material consequences, who have the best basis for consistent good behavior.

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10 “Unanswerable” questions #4

So far, TodayChristian’s 10 “unanswerable” questions have turned out to be pretty easy to answer. Question 4 is no harder.

4. Without God, where do you get your morality from?

All good morality comes from the same place: material reality. Even Christians take their morals from material reality, for the most part. Sure, they superstitiously attribute them to God, and tack on a number of arbitrary, harmful “moral” codes that aren’t really moral at all. But ultimately, morality is dictated by material reality, apart from anything any god could say or do.

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A friendly quibble

The Friendly Atheist just posted a good look at another instance of Ted Cruz’s hypocrisy on the subject of church/state separation, along with documentation showing just how big of a hypocrite Cruz is being. Towards the end, though, he says something that bothers me just a bit.

The question Dougherty asked was: “How and why does your religion play a part in your political decision making?”

Cruz never directly answered that because the truth is that faith plays a role in everything he does. That might be okay if he were a random citizen, but it’s downright illegal when he’s supposed to be the leader of all Americans.

Well, no. I know what he means, but that’s not quite right. It’s not illegal, even for someone in the government, to allow faith to play a role in everything they do. The dividing line comes when they have to choose between their faith and the law. The law must take precedence, including the law that requires the government to be neutral with respect to religion. As long as the believer abides by that constraint, in the execution of his or her governmental duties, there’s nothing forbidding faith from having a role in the person’s life. They just have to make sure they do nothing to impose their faith on anyone else.

In Cruz’s case, of course, the distinction is moot, because he puts his faith above the law, and so he violates the law, and advocates violation of the law, whenever doing so works to establish his religion as “superior” to all others. “Religious liberty” in Cruz’s mind is nothing more nor less than Christian supremacy, and he’s more than happy to force his religious principles on anyone and everyone he can. That’s what makes him a hypocrite when he talks about “defending religious freedom.” Not just the fact that he lives by his faith.

Ok, quibble satisfied. Carry on.

10 “Unanswerable” questions #3

We’re up to Question #3 of TodayChristian’s “Ten Questions for Every Atheist,” and it turns out to be three questions for the price of one.

3.       What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!

Since this is really three questions, I’ll give it three answers, and the first will be very short.

Answer #1: There are two differences between this question and the jihadi who threatens to cut off your head unless you convert to Islam. The jihadi is taking personal responsibility for threatening you, instead of trying to blame the threat on God. And the jihadi is only threatening to hurt you one time, instead of threatening you with eternal torment. Other than that, this question and the jihadi are making the same basic argument: believe, or suffer. Bravo, TodayChristian, you’re nearly as good at evangelism as a jihadi.

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10 “Unanswerable” questions #1

I’ve seen a few posts on this, here at FtB and elsewhere, and I thought it looked kinda fun. From a website called TodayChristian.net comes a list of 10 Questions for Every Atheist. According to the intro, this list consists of “Some Questions Atheist Cannot Truly and Honestly REALLY Answer! Which leads to some interesting conclusions…”

And the first of these mind-boggling, unanswerable, gotcha-at-last questions, that no atheist can truly and honestly REALLY answer is this:

1.       How Did You Become an Atheist?

Way to set the pace there, TC.

In my case, the answer to this question is, “Through decades of prayer, Bible study, and even fasting. Plus a promise I made as a youth to believe only what God said, and not what men said about God.”

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A dark, bizarre ritual

If you were raised in a traditional Christian home, as I was, you’ve probably been conditioned to see the Easter story as a noble, uplifting, feel-good kind of story. I don’t even mean a conservative Christian home necessarily. Throughout most of my childhood, my family belonged to a pretty liberal United Methodist church, and even among liberal believers, the annual three-day saga of crucifixion, burial, and resurrection has always been seen as the heart of the gospel, the generous principle of goodness that sincere believers should cling to instead of obsessing over all those picky, literal minutiae like the fundamentalists do.

It took me quite a long time to realize that Easter’s family-friendly facade was masking something very dark, twisted, and bizarre. And I’m not even talking about the exaltation of gore and death, or the so-called “shame of the cross” that the Bible talks about. I’m talking about the perverse and corrupt message this blood ritual sends regarding good and evil and the relationship between them.

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