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Apr 30 2014

God’s Not Dead in a Barbwire Column

Jeff Allen, one of the editors of Matt Barber’s new site BarbWire, phones in this column, which is little more than the movie God’s Not Dead turned into a sad attempt at writing about politics. It’s full of the usual strawmen and false assumptions we’ve come to expect.

As an effective training exercise, shadow-boxing involves a single participant throwing punches at an imaginary sparring partner. An amateur or professional boxer will often use this technique as a way to prepare their muscles and perfect their moves. However, the ultimate purpose is to eventually employ such skills in the ring against an actual contender.

It seems, though, that the atheists are engaged in a futile ‘shadow-boxing’ effort against a God they claim doesn’t exist. They keep swinging and swinging, but are not prepared to admit to the presence of a real opponent. Why then do they expend so much effort and energy fighting that which they believe is not real? Despite this confusing conundrum, in just the last month alone, the atheists, skeptics, and humanists have taken quite a few swipes at God.

He then goes on to list four recent political and legal controversies involving church and state issues, falsely claiming that these battles have to do with atheists attacking God. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Fighting for separation of church and state is not an attack on God, for crying out loud. Lots and lots of Christians favor strict separation as well. This is almost certainly a deliberate attempt to conflate entirely different issues.

Truth be told, it’s not so much an actual matter of disbelief in God; it’s that they hate Him. They despise the idea of a God who has authority over their lives or who stands in opposition to their hedonistic pursuits. Others are bitter towards God due to some personal pain or tragedy.

Same old presumptuous bullshit. This mirrors the idiotic narrative of God’s Not Dead when the professor breaks down when the student yells “Why do you hate God?” at him several times.

22 comments

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  1. 1
    raven

    Why then do they expend so much effort and energy fighting that which they believe is not real?

    As Ed points out, Jeff Allen is a serial killer. Of Strawpeople. Won’t someone think of the poor Strawpeople.

    1. We don’t hate the gods. In fact, many of them have redeeming qualities. Thor and the Aesir keep the Frost Giants away. No one has seen one for centuries. Last winter was a tough battle but all you need to do is go outside to know they won again.

    Isis, Bast, Frigga, Estre, Athena. Medicine, cats, knowledge, spring and fertility, wisdom and knowledge.

    2. We do have problems with some of the followers of the xian Sky Monster god however. While he is nowhere and does nothing, his followers are definitely real and rather malign.

  2. 2
    gopiballava

    “They despise the idea of a God who has authority over their lives or who stands in opposition to their hedonistic pursuits”

    I despise the attempts of God’s followers to have authority over my life and my friends’ lives in the name of their god. I despise their attempts to stop my gay friends’ blatantly hedonistic marriages.

  3. 3
    Mr. Upright

    From the article:

    Apparently, a single mention of God when honestly answering an interview question, along with recommendation letters referring to his faith, were all that was necessary to disqualify Mr. Jenkins from the program.

    I suspect there is more to the story, but this reminds me of a pre-med mock interview I participated in a few years ago. The candidate recounted a story of a camping trip where his friend fell off a cliff. The candidate helped save the victim and treated him until paramedics arrived.

    He kept saying, “I know I didn’t save my friend, God did.”
    “The EMTs didn’t save my friend, God did.”
    “The doctors didn’t save my friend, God did.”

    I finally suggested that an interview panel of doctors might not appreciate being told they don’t save lives. He was rather shocked by my response, but he seemed to get the point.

  4. 4
    justsomeguy

    He’s not wrong in that last part. I *do* hate the *idea* of a cosmic dictator having authority over my life. I don’t believe such a being exists, but that doesn’t make the notion any less horrible.

    Also, the only reason we shadow-box god instead of taking him on for realsies is because he’s too much of a coward to show himself.

  5. 5
    bahrfeldt

    Barbwire: Worse than the Movie. Either movie.

  6. 6
    eric

    I’m not bothered by the constant attacks on strawmen atheists, or the focus on saying we hedonistically object to a godly society. These are sectarian arguments – public admission that you want some law or privilege because God says it’s good helps us, not them. “Here, fundies, have as much legal rope as you want.”

  7. 7
    Kevin Kehres

    who stands in opposition to their hedonistic pursuits.

    …and there it is. The real reason theists hate atheists so much.

    They’re afraid that somewhere at some time, someone is having some fun.

    I wonder if they’ve actually met any real atheists.

  8. 8
    dugglebogey

    I don’t hate any gods, and I don’t hate any christians.

    I hate people who try to force me to conform to the totally arbitrary rules of their ridiculously unjust and ridiculously racist, misogynistic, pro-slavery and pro-hate religion religion.

    Hate with white hot passion.

  9. 9
    Menyambal

    Truth be told, it’s not so much an actual matter of disbelief in God; it’s that they hate Him. They despise the idea of a God who has authority over their lives or who stands in opposition to their hedonistic pursuits. Others are bitter towards God due to some personal pain or tragedy.

    Protip, people: If you think you understand your opponent’s deepest motivation, and your summing up would fit on a bumper sticker, and it makes you feel better, you are probably wrong. This guy obviously suffers from envy of atheists …. right?

    For what it’s worth, my dad has authority over my life, and my mother stands in opposition to my hedonistic pursuits. I don’t despise them or the idea of them. I just don’t imagine a god to help them. This guy is obviously projecting his own resentments, right?

    People being bitter toward their god because of some personal trauma, well, that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish from atheism. See, atheism is pretty much a lack of belief. Being bitter requires still believing in the god, and believing that such a feeling makes sense. This guy ….

  10. 10
    raven

    Needless to say, Jeff Allen, using his own reasoning, hates almost all of the gods.

    Thor, Odin, Athena, Ra, Ahura Mazda, Tlaloc, Brahma, Allah etc. are all very sad. Jeff doesn’t worship them any more. He never even calls or writes.

  11. 11
    Sastra

    Why then do they expend so much effort and energy fighting that which they believe is not real?

    This question really contains two questions. The first one is “why keep religion out of government?” The second one is “does God exist?”

    Every time someone who believes that God not only exists, but is vital to experiencing and understanding the very meaning of life, asks the question “why do you want to argue over this?” I laugh. Pick a horse and ride it, baby. Either this is a legitimate issue or it’s a private personal indulgence. It doesn’t get to be both.

    Truth be told, it’s not so much an actual matter of disbelief in God; it’s that they hate Him. They despise the idea of a God who has authority over their lives or who stands in opposition to their hedonistic pursuits. Others are bitter towards God due to some personal pain or tragedy.

    Yeah, that’s why I stopped being a Transcendentalist. The Oversoul of sublime Beauty infused into all things wouldn’t let me masturbate.

    Idiot. They’re blinkered.

  12. 12
    John Pieret

    Why then do they expend so much effort and energy fighting that which they believe is not real?

    Why do Christians spend so much time hyperventilating over Islamists, sharia law, our Muslim president, etc., etc. if Allah doesn’t exist?

    Yeah, same here.

  13. 13
    sinned34

    Just so that we’re not bashing straw Christians, many Christians would say that Allah, Aesir, and the rest of the “false gods” do exist, but they’re really demons trying to deceive humanity. A good number will probably say the same thing about ghosts and UFOs, as well.
    Demons, demons, everywhere.

  14. 14
    Akira MacKenzie

    …who stands in opposition to their hedonistic pursuits.

    Riiiiiiight, I mean just today I’m going to do some housecleaning, then, if I have the time, write up my ideas for non-Vancian spell casting rules for classic D&D for my RPG blog.

    Have I mentioned that the hardest drug I’ve ever done is caffeine and I haven’t had a date in 17 years?

    Yeah, It’s everyday is an orgy at the of Den of Inequity that is my house.

  15. 15
    Nihilismus

    Two can play at this game. If they are so certain that a god does exist, why do they expend so much energy fighting us? They should just keep to themselves, knowing their reward is in heaven. It’s not like they actually care if we atheists get into heaven — they just want to be seen by a god (and more importantly their peers) that they did something. But it can just be a simple gesture such as saying “God bless you” instead of “thank you”. It doesn’t have to be a huge effort to battle secularism in every area of society.

    By even trying to rationalize to themselves why they must keep fighting, they are borrowing the language of reason and language. Many people, once they start down that road, realize that they can’t actually make rational arguments and they eventually realize that they don’t actually believe in a god anymore.

    They argue with us because deep down they know that they are lying to themselves so that they can have “hope” that there is a pleasant afterlife that justifies the misery of this one. They know there is no evidence for their beliefs, just hope.

    These people, as children, heard the stories of a god literally appearing and talking to people, and assumed that they would surely experience that as they grew older. But they didn’t and they realized that it is all bullshit, but they hold out for hope that maybe a god just communicates subtly — despite knowing that’s not how it happened in the Bible or how televangelists explain it.

    Some of these people have done things as part of their religion that they feel guilty about (e.g., disowning their gay children), and they feel even guiltier when they think about how there is no god that required that of them. Since guilt is an unpleasant feeling, they get angry at the person that made them feel guilty. In this case, it’s the atheist that pointed out how unethical their actions were and reminded them that there is no real evidence for a god.

    Deep down they don’t believe in a god. If they did, they would never do anything that they consider a sin. They would never be “tempted”. If they knew for certain that certain actions (and refraining from certain actions) were necessary to get the “good” eternal afterlife, and that taking a different course of action would, guaranteed, lead to eternal torment in the “bad” afterlife, then they would not rationally take that second course of action. If I truly believed, there is nothing in this current life that is so tempting that I would risk dying immediately after sinning without a chance to repent, resulting in eternal torment instead of eternal bliss. If I were a contestant on a reality show that required me not to “sin” (in the strictest interpretation of the old and new testaments) for an entire year as the only condition to win a million dollars, then I would be a millionaire.

    So theists don’t actually believe. They fight us so hard because they want to play pretend. They are in a reenactment, like a medieval times or civil war reenactment, only pretending that gods and magic exist. They want to be central figures in this reenactment, which requires them to really act out the roles and do things in front of people. The more public and governmental the actions, the more central to the story they are. And they don’t want some spectator pointing out the obvious — “Uh, you’re an actor. This isn’t real.”

  16. 16
    Michael Heath

    Jeff Allen writes:

    . . . atheists are engaged in a futile ‘shadow-boxing’ effort against a God they claim doesn’t exist. They keep swinging and swinging, but are not prepared to admit to the presence of a real opponent.

    I’m surprised you didn’t focus in on this astonishing degree of psychological projection. I.e., atheists are here debating now – we can validate this is true. So far God’s yet to reveal himself, let alone engage. A reasonable person might even conclude God might not exist.

  17. 17
    Michael Heath

    Ed concludes:

    This mirrors the idiotic narrative of God’s Not Dead when the professor breaks down when the student yells “Why do you hate God?” at him several times.

    It’s typical of conservative Christians to behave like this. I.e., Premise an entire argument on facts that aren’t in evidence; where some depended upon “facts” aren’t even rational to presume exist. The latter would be “knowing” with certainty what another’s motivation is for their conclusion (“they hate God”) in spite of your target not providing any evidence that is their motivation.

    I’ve had, “You just hate/(are mad at) God!!!” hurled at me a several times in meat-world. My reply is reactive and the same. I dispassionately respond this is incoherent and then explain why. Their eyes glaze over in mere seconds. Repeat one or so years later.

  18. 18
    Akira MacKenzie

    Why then do they expend so much effort and energy fighting that which they believe is not real?

    Because theists are wrong. Duh.

    I would expend equal “effort and energy” (Isn’t that redundant?) to fight people who say that global warming is a hoax or that capitalism is a fair and equitable economic system for the very same reason: they’re wrong.

    That, and your wrong beliefs, whether it’s in a supernatural beings who rule the universe or conservative politics, are seriously fucking up this world. I care a lot more about civilization and the human race than I ever will about anyone’s ability to believe in and spout bullshit.

  19. 19
    Akira MacKenzie

    Sorry, blockquote fail.

  20. 20
    moarscienceplz

    @#3 Mr. Upright

    I suspect there is more to the story

    Yes indeedy! From The Baltimore Sun:
    ” he was denied admission into the radiation therapy program, and he asked the program coordinator for an explanation in an email.

    The program director, in an email included in the lawsuit’s exhibits, wrote that other applicants had higher grade-point averages and that there were “other reasons” why he did not make it in.”

    “CCBC’s lawyer also pointed out that Jenkins has a criminal record that includes drug and theft charges. The lawyer said CCBC officials told Jenkins that he would have difficulty finding a job in Maryland because of his background. He had said during his interview that he wanted to stay in Maryland.”

    “Davis said the two-year radiation therapy program is small, with about two dozen students.”

    So, a guy with so-so grades and a criminal record who would be resistant to accepting a job out of state, fails to be one of the top two-dozen applicants. Oh yeah, such awful discrimination!

  21. 21
    felidae

    I don’t despise a god that I don’t believe exists–I despise those who use a belief in a god to impose their way of life on me

  22. 22
    Crimson Clupeidae

    Off topic (completely), but;

    Akira MacKenzie @14:

    ideas for non-Vancian spell casting rules for classic D&D for my RPG blog.

    Tell me more….. :)

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