Weight Loss? »« Risky Business

Clarity

This changed one day during a conversation with my friend Alex. I had a habit of bouncing theological questions off him, and one particular day, I asked him this: If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament? – Rachel Slick on leaving her faith

Rachel Slick is an atheist.

She is also the daughter of CARM President, Matt Slick.

But why did she do it? Well Wintery Knight weighs in on this.

Now this is not necessarily basic apologetics, but it is fairly easy to respond to, and I posted something about it earlier in the week. I just want to point out that I don’t really view these sorts of objections as serious objections, since the core of Christianity is about the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus. Peripheral issues like Bible difficulties don’t really matter if the core is sound. The main focus in Christian apologetics isn’t on fine points of inerrancy or doctrine, it’s on God’s existence and the resurrection, which authenticates Jesus as the Messiah. More on that later.

You mean the core where the a talking snake got a knowledge free Eve to trick Adam into eating a fruit and so got kicked out of a Paradise and then had to populate the planet through industrial grade magic incest which resulted in evil men requiring a flood which needed to be fixed with more incest and historically inaccurate events culminating in the creation of a religion who’s origins are poor navigation and circumcision. And in order for all this to make sense god had to knock up a random lady in order to give birth to himself and then have himself executed and resurrected in order to forgive mankind himself….

As plots go the Bible is about as solidly constructed as Gymkata.

If your story can only be true if we ignore all the aspects of the story that are blatantly false then your story is false. Sure there may be a kernel of truth in there in the names of people, events and place names but it doesn’t mean the core is correct.

And the argument of morality is an important one because Christianity claims to have an absolute moral code. An absolute moral code that allowed for rape and slavery. That very same absolute moral code is utilised by individuals to deny women the right to basic healthcare and to harass the GLBT. Often at barbecues where bacon, sausages and shrimp may be found.

I think that’s very well said, and my experience with other decoverted fundamentalists has always been that they often had non-cognitive issues driving the deconversion:

It honestly does not matter what caused your deconversion from religion. Not every atheist has a epiphany with stars in their eyes as they cast of the shackles of religion and pull down the curtain and realise that there is no wizard, just old men and their tricks.

Some of us come into it gradually. Some of us never really believe.

  • boyfriend and girlfriend issues

Wait what? You got converted to atheism by your other half? A break up made you stop believing in a god?

Here is the thing. Your faith was probably not that strong and you had doubts anyways if this is all it takes to make you question.

  • popularity issues

Atheism is popular? Maybe on the Internet but in some places it will get you killed.

  • sexual activity / sexual orientation issues

Yes. The GLBT are heavily atheist and a trans friend of mine told me that the Trans community is probably one of the strongest atheist groups out there.

And I wonder why? Religious people hate them. They are ostracised. They have to pretend to be things that they are not and this erodes their faith.

Faith in religion dies when you begin to question it. It’s why it’s called faith. All the inconsistencies start adding up and you start to doubt your faith. And when your oppressors claim that they love you but instead torment you then it is very easy to realise that they are not acting out of divine imperative but because they fear you and religion gives them impetus and excuse to that fear.

  • unrealistic expectations of a pain-free life

The people who tend to say these things tend to not be in pain.

  • unrealistic expectations of God providing financially

I don’t think anyone has become atheist because god didn’t help them through windfalls.

  • unrealistic expectations of God making their foolish decisions “work out”

You mean like people who have prayed over their dying loved ones? Let us assume you believe in a “good” and all powerful entity.

And you know that this entity is capable of miracles. You hear about these every day.

And when it comes to you this entity refuses to help you. It watches you and your loved ones suffer. And then it’s chosen herald says that it is “his plan”. Then I am afraid it is very hard to treat such a being as good or indeed all powerful. So you either make excuses for him. Oh it’s an ineffable plan! Oh it’s just his time.

But the reality is that there was never any god. Some people realise that in that moment of pain, because pain sometimes brings clarity. That there is no one watching over us.

And so instead of relying on the imaginary being that does not watch over us, we must rely on each other to watch out for us.

So here’s my advice to parents who want to avoid this sort of rebellion.

It’s not rebellion. I never considered the Christian god to be real. I mean don’t Christians wish that Hindu and Muslim kids “rebel” against their parents? Or is it only rebellion if kids give up your particular god?

First, don’t concentrate on the inerrancy of the Bible as much as you emphasize the good philosophical and scientific arguments for a Creator/Designer. More effort should be put on the mainstream findings of science: cosmology, fine-tuning, origin of life, Cambrian explosion, galactic habitability, stellar habitability. The resurrection is also key, but should be defended with a minimal facts approach using mainstream historical methods – not by assuming inerrancy. The existence of God and the resurrection are the strong core of Christianity, not inerrancy. I am saying this as someone who believes in inerrancy for the autographs. It’s better to lay a foundation rather than trying to defend too much.

The philosophical argument for a creator doesn’t mean the existence of Jehovah any more than the existence of Krishna or Tlaloc.

There is no scientific evidence for any god let alone Jehovah.

I mean not one part of Cosmology requires the existence of magic. And let us face facts it is magic. The ability to defy the known laws of existence. Magic is the ability to add 1 + 1 and get n (where n is any number). AKA the ability to break fundamental laws of existence.

Galactic Habitability and indeed the argument of “fine tuning” is like pouring out a glass of water and then marvelling at how the water fits into the glass. The “crane” of evolution means that all these bizarre notions are easily answered.

The Earth does not fit you, you fit into it. You either fit into it or “die”.

And yes you have to use minimal facts when doing this because there are no facts. Any serious scrutiny of the “facts” makes people quickly realise how shaky their proof of a god really is.

Secondly, don’t try to force children to act beyond what their worldview can bear. It is OK for you to have children and to go about doing your Christian ministry based on your convictions, without trying to demand that your kids operate at that level. Instead of telling them what to think, always try to show them both sides. Once a person sees a couple of William Lane Craig debates or Mike Licona debates, they are probably going to want to be like Craig and Licona naturally. But the main thing is that the actions have to be supported by knowledge.

William Lane Craig doesn’t think atheists exist from non-Christian Religions. And in fact has some  extremely faulty notions on what “religion” is.

Third, don’t just rest your support or opposition to various positions on the Bible. For example your views on theism and the resurrection should be rooted in secular arguments and secular evidence. Consider it a joy when you can go outside the Bible and confirm something the Bible says with secular evidence. Especially scientific and historical evidence. Connecting the Bible to real world evidence eliminates the painful anxiety of being “separate” and “other”. Always make the data the issue, not the position. The data can be debated more easily.

There is no secular evidence for a god nor is there any secular evidence for the resurrection of Jesus anymore than there is secular evidence for the kidnap of Sita by  flying chariot.

No. What this is, is applied theology.

You see it a lot in Islamic Apologetics. The world does not fit into the Koran, so “scientists” do these bizarre experiments with biased views in order to prove that the Koran is correct.

Science tries to eliminate as much bias as possible through the peer review process and through statistics. The “Christian Applied Theology” does not do this.

There is not one iota of scientific evidence for the existence of a god let alone Jehovah.

For example, if the issue is gay marriage, spend lots of time talking about the health effects of the gay lifestyle on gay men, the effects of same-sex parenting on children, the social costs of HIV/AIDS, the scientific evidence against the “gay gene”,  the low levels of stability and exclusivity in gay relationships, etc. Look – young people don’t want to feel weird having to defend every moral conviction with the Bible in public. Teach them secular reasons for everything that the Bible says, and it will reduce their anxiety and make being a fully convinced Christian in public much easier.

What about Slavery? You know. Good Olde Biblically Endorsed Slavery? Are we going to defend that too? Oh yes, it was a different time! Oh everyone was doing it? It’s not real slavery! We treated slaves well! They had it good! They were paying off debts.

Except remember. Absolute Morality means that the first diction of the law from Jehovah was the ultimate law and the best you could be. There is no moral code superior to that.

So which is it? The Moral Word of God which tells you how to keep slaves? Or the Immoral Word of Man where all humans are equal and are not property.

So Gay Marriage? The Health Effects of the Gay Lifestyle are no different from the health effects of any small group of people. Sure they are promiscuous. So what? That is what it boils down to isn’t it? Gay people are immoral cause they get laid a lot more? I know a lot do. I assume it’s because the Gay Men had to pretend to be straight normally and so a culture of casual sex built up. In addition men are a bit more (lot more) open about sex and so hook ups are easier. Whatever. It’s not important here.

These are not valid evidence. The health effects of the gay lifestyle are easily sorted through safe sex which is the same as the health effects of the heterosexual Casanova. If you  practice safe sex you will be safe. The problem was that the GLBT didn’t have any particular reason to practice safe sex  since the heterosexual reason is that life is an STD and babies while adorable are not conducive to a career so condoms were used more often. It was in both partner’s interests.

The GLBT didn’t have that and by the time they realised how HIV spreads, the disease had cut through their tiny, promiscuous and above all sexually exclusive communities.

As for stability? Well? Long term homosexual relationships seem no less stable than heterosexual ones and open relationships aren’t a bad thing. In addition? These are equally valid arguments against heterosexual sex too. Heterosexuals cheat and have menage a trois too you know. It’s as if Gay Marriage is just two men in leather humping each other over everything in the house while us straight people sleep in separate beds like Bert and Ernie.

We too pretend to dress up as C3PO and have sex with a Cylon.

Lock it down R2…. Lock it down…

I think that one of the biggest problems out there right now is that Christian men and women are under so much pressure to conform to the sexual standards of the day in order to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Some people really want to have boyfriends and girlfriends who are first and foremost physically attractive, and their faith gets in the way of achieving that goal. They see superhot guys and superhot girls, and they think about how impressed their friends will be if they are “with” that person. Young Christians basically have a “God will provide the perfect person for me” view of relationships, and their method of figuring out who God wants is by having tingles, not by thinking about what marriage is and finding someone who can do the job. Very often, just being superhot is no guarantee of willingness to marry, though, and may actually be more of a guarantee that you are going to be pressured for sex. Did Rachael do a good job of choosing a marriage-minded boyfriend who values chasity and is ready to commit in order to get sex?

Or you are going about it the wrong way and are expecting two people in an empowered world where women have more agency to form a relationship based on a mutual belief in a particular superstition. I don’t know about you but a shared belief in the existence of a talking snake villain is not the primary basis for a healthy relationship. There are so many other things to think about.

Wait…

People are leaving Christianity because of all the sexy sexy people?

Man am I going around doing this incorrectly. I shouldn’t be writing gigantic posts on not believing.

I should be publishing an erotic nude calendar.

So what to do about that pressure for sex? Well, when I think about why I am totally convinced that premarital sex is stupid, it’s because I want my future marriage to last. And I have looked at evidence from peer-reviewed studies that shows that the number of premarital sex partners is a threat to relationship quality and stability. I want to make effective Christian children, and to impact the church and the university. I want my marriage to be an example to others. A divorce wrecks all of those plans. With the evidence in my hand from mainstream research, it is much easier to accept and act on what the Bible says about premarital sex. The Bible doesn’t have this data, we have to look outside the Bible to get the data to confirm it. Has Rachael looked outside the Bible to be persuasive about what the Bible says?

How would pre-marital sex  stop your future marriage from lasting? That’s like saying that I refuse to try out my clothes before I purchase them because I want my clothes to last. A marriage is a commitment is it not? A big step. Then why the hell would you jump into it without realising that you and your wife may not be compatible?

Yes but the number of pre-marital partners also indicates “religiousness” and religious people stay in relationships even after they are dead. Just doing the same dead routine day in and day out because they cannot leave.

For a young person facing her non-Christian peers, parroting “the Bible says” is not as easy or defensible as saying “the Bible says, and mainstream scientific evidence confirms”. We need to make evidence the foundation. The problem with young people is that they are surrounded by other young people who are just as clueless as they are. A pretty easy question from a young friend cannot easily be answered by a person who has a very limited knowledge apologetics gleaned from Christian rock music and television shows. What we need to do is to get them looking outside of their peer group for answers, and that means connecting them to real scholars with real logical arguments supported by real mainstream science and history. We need to connect the Bible to the data in the real world.

Oh? The Bible says gays should be killed. Mainstream evidence suggests that Gay Men are more prone for STDs but LESBIANS are actually LESS prone. Does that mean lesbian marriage is okay since it is actually less prone for STDs than Heterosexuals? God Hates Fags? Likes Lesbians?

Ah yes.

The problem is when the data in the real world does not support the Bible it is ignored. Which is why we have Creationists.

Rock On Rachel. Welcome to the Club.

Comments

  1. says

    The “galactic habitability” argument always cracks me up. Yeah, the universe is so finely tuned to make room for us talking apes 99.999% (roughly) of the space available in the universe is absolutely deadly to us. If you look at the time dimension it’s even less hospitable for us.

  2. Snoof says

    SallyStrange @1

    The “galactic habitability” argument always cracks me up. Yeah, the universe is so finely tuned to make room for us talking apes 99.999% (roughly) of the space available in the universe is absolutely deadly to us. If you look at the time dimension it’s even less hospitable for us.

    I know, right? I did a few back-of-the-envelope calculations. The volume of the universe we _know_ to be inhabitable is on the order of 10^9 cubic kilometres, a thin skin of air on the surface of a ball of mostly molten iron. The volume of the observable universe is about 10^71 cubic kilometres, most of which is empty space with a few wisps of hydrogen. That’s 62 _orders of magnitude_ difference.

    It’s pretty clear if the universe is designed for anything, it’s empty space. Or maybe hydrogen, or black holes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>