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Why I am an atheist – atheody

My path to disbelief began Wednesday, June 27, 1979.

I know the exact date, because I wrote it in the copy of Woody Allen’s “Without Feathers” my grandfather purchased for me on a road-trip we took together. The irony is that his faith was strong, and he never would have purchased that book for me if he’d known it would lead to the unravelling of any belief I had in his religion.

I grew up in a mainstream Christian denomination, but for as often as we attended church, I never felt the spirit. Not during the sermons. Not in Sunday School. not in vacation bible school. Not in church camp. Not when I was baptized. And especially not when I prayed. I blame genetics; it was clear to me that my father’s side of the family weren’t church goers. While my mom’s side of the family played board games, drank sweet iced tea and prayed before meals, Dad’s side of the family played cards, drank beer, and cussed.

Out of high school, I joined the military, where I occasionally attended a church service or a bible study group. But the disbelief was growing. The seeds planted by “Without Feathers” began sprouting when I watched films like “Manhattan,” “Annie Hall,” and particularly, “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

My skepticism fully flowered upon starting college after I left the service. I’m indebted to a psychology class that encouraged me to think more broadly about the world. I began to consider the problem of evil, though without the benefit of Epicurus’ formulation. It became blindingly obvious to me that good and bad happen to the pious and impious alike. I began to see the universe, not as a flawed creation animated by struggle between malign and benign agents, but as an inanimate, indifferent process. The final nail in the coffin was that the idea of a perfectly malevolent being, Satan, seemed absolutely absurd. And because there is balance in the cosmos, without Satan, there could be no God.

Everything since then has served to buttress my disbelief. Earthquakes, tsunamis and genocides prove the indifference of nature. Recent theories of a “multiverse” reinforce the notion that no clockmaker was required. Shows like “Nova”, “Cosmos”, and “A Rough History of Disbelief” reinforce the foundation of my disbelief.

Although I am certain, /absolutely/ certain, that there is no supernatural agency in the cosmos, I do not flaunt my disbelief. A parent has asked if I believe, a sibling, cousin aunt know, two like minded coworkers and a couple of like minded friends, but no one else. I do not share because my mother’s family, and my spouse’s, are very religious. I have coworkers who have very strong faith. I do not care to be witnessed to, or shunned. We have a child who my spouse takes to church. I am respectful when they pray at meal times. To do otherwise would be petty. And frankly, I do not find the underlying purpose, gratitude for what we have, to be objectionable.

Make no mistake. I harbor a deep and abiding frustration at Christians’ inability – or unwillingness – as a group to live up to the example their messiah set. And at their lack of empathy for the least among us. I work at a basic needs non-profit, and I have seen these attitudes first hand. I find their inability to accept basic scientific truths and scientific consensus maddening. I’m incredulous that they don’t see or acknowledge the evidence of their unanswered prayers. They declare their god to be an awesome god, but then attribute inconsequential miracles to a god which, evidence shows, has no power the heal the sick, feed the hungry, lift up the poor, halt the disasters of flood, wind and fire. The works they attribute to their god shows he is incredibly tiny and inconsequential. He truly works in mysterious ways.

But I digress.

Our child has already expressed confusion over the concept of the trinity. It is my hope that she will someday ask what I believe. I will be forthright. If she chooses to believe, I will be respectful of her belief. All I ask is that she use her reason, respect science and the evidence it provides, and have some level of understanding for why I do not believe in her god.

This is my story.

atheody

Comments

  1. joed says

    Yes, there is no need to alienate everyone.
    If a believer want to discuss the god idea I am ready to engage. But my basic community spirit tells me to get along as best I can with other folks.
    The Rodney King syndrome seems to direct my social bearing: “can’t we all just get along?”
    Thanks atheody, your ideas on getting along need to be brought into the open.

  2. eveedream says

    I’m both impressed and baffled by your ability to be married to a believer and not really talk about your disbelief. For me it would feel like “sleeping with the enemy” or like I’d just finished bashing my head into a brick wall a bunch of times. And I definitely could not tolerate the indoctrination of my child into that den of lunatics until she were old enough to use reason and decide for herself that she wanted to go. Not sure whether you live in the South or not though, where I imagine going against the religious grain is significantly more difficult than it is here in upstate NY.

  3. Thorne says

    I have to agree with eveedream about your daughter. Letting your spouse take control of her mind at such an early age is dangerous. I think it would be better if, after she comes home from Sunday School, you sit down with her and ask her what she learned there, discuss things, let her know what you find objectionable about what they’ve told her, and try to counteract their brainwashing. It doesn’t have to be blatant, and doesn’t have to be contentious. Just a simple discussion, and you could even include your spouse in the talk.

    I used to think like you do. I’d let my relatives get away with interrupting activities in order to pray. But I quickly realized that many times when they were thanking their god for what they were about to receive, they should have been thanking me and my wife for our hard work. So I put my foot down: no public prayers in my home. I will respect their home, and I expect them to respect mine.

    Who knows? You may find, as I did, that there are a few of your relatives that agree with you but were afraid to say anything.

  4. julietdefarge says

    “I do not find the underlying purpose, gratitude for what we have, to be objectionable.”
    Personally, I find misplaced gratitude irritating… particularly when I’m the one who busted my butt to put food on the table. No, I wouldn’t expect my family members to praise me every time they ate or used the utilities, but a bit of frank discussion about the workplace is not out of place at the dinner table.

  5. congenital cynic says

    I too am in a position where I don’t get too vocal about my contempt for religion when I’m at work. I have some very devout colleagues, but they keep it to themselves. I also have some hard core atheist colleagues, and we ridicule religion when we are together in private. The subject of religion never comes up with my parents, though they are both believers of the watered down sort. My brother doesn’t believe, and he knows what I think. My wife’s parents are very religious, very, but they also know I think it’s hogwash. So it’s never discussed. They are nice people, and not “in your face” about it, so it all goes pretty well. My wife doesn’t believe either, though she’s not as much of an anti-theist as I am.

    I agree with eveedream/i> that I couldn’t be married to a genuine believer. It would be like a slow burning fuse that would undermine the kind of bond that marriage requires (at least what I think it requires). And I would never let our children (we have 4) get exposed to religious indoctrination at a young age when they were impressionable. We have presented them the truth from the beginning: no Santa, no tooth fairy, no gods. We expose them to science and reason, and to the fallacy of arguments given by the religious. So far the older ones look at religion as some kind of clown show for the weak minded and gullible. The youngest isn’t old enough yet to have her own thoughts on the subject, but she still watches the nonstampcollector videos with the older ones, so she’s slowly coming to see how absurd it is.

    Like the OP, I don’t want to create any bad blood just to get a chance to voice my scorn for religion, but I do have to say that I’ve lost respect for the intellect of some of my colleagues because of the preposterous crap they profess to believe. The mental place I occupy is so far removed from belief in any religion that I can’t honestly understand how anyone can look at what they profess to believe and swallow that enormous turd. The mind boggles.

  6. Thomas says

    Thank you for sharing Atheody.
    Would you say your mom’s side of the family, while maybe not as fun, were still pretty nice people?
    I ask because I was raised around relatively decent theists and wound up in a similar marital arrangement*.

    *not to be confused with an arranged marriage:)

  7. Dick the Damned says

    congenital cynic, i agree with your slow-burning fuse analogy. The mind-set of the believer, versus that of the rationalist, is a cause of disagreement that inevitably i think, poisons a relationship, eventually. At least, that’s what i found.

  8. eveedream says

    Re: Thomas at 7: The problem I have with theists (particularly the very nice, sweet, doting grandmother-types) is when they start voting. That’s when you realize all their adorable charm is just a cover for some very sick core beliefs. “Here, Johnny, have some more sweet tea and biscuits. Oh, and remember, God hates fags. Vote yes on Prop 8.” It’s the Mormon effect. Sweetness and light to cover up their batshit insanity.

  9. procyon says

    I have a young woman in my life who I refer to as my “step-daughter”, the daughter of an ex of 10 years. She came to live with me at a bad time in her life and immediately after moving in began dating a right-wing Christian Glen Beck Rush Limbaugh fan-boy. She became infected with Christianity. I am convinced her being “saved”, as she puts it, had a positive affect on her life at the time because I believe she was flirting with depression and suicide. At first we had long discussions about it, and she definitely knows where I stand. We have come to a meeting of the minds and are able to joke about it. The (now) husband….not so much (yes, she married someone who believes the antithesis of most everything I believe). This is a guy who, when I asked him if accepted evolution as being true responded that “sure…a fish came on land and mated with a butterfly” and insisted that we were a Christian nation founded by Christians, for Christians. We had more than one animated discussion while my step-daughter cringed in the next room, usually culminating in my proving him wrong using the Google machine. We have decided that politics and religion are subjects we no longer discuss.
    Last Easter I was invited to her home for dinner with his also right-wing religious parents in attendance. While showing off his newly purchased .44 cal hand-gun designed for concealed carry, he accidentally discharged it into the wall in front of all attending, filling the room with smoke and blasting out the side of a luckily unoccupied chair.
    The mega church they attend allows gays, and she is mixed race, so I know he’s not a bigot. She doesn’t follow politics (she is totally self-involved) even though I know he watches nothing but Fox News (he used to watch it on the my downstairs TV before they married and she moved out). She still has the same gay friends she had before her marriage, but I have noticed that when she goes out with her friends he usually does not go. My own friends have asked that I not invite him to their homes when she is invited because of his right-wing holier-than-thou attitudes. She has had a split with her sister over religious crap (which I attribute more to the sister than to her).
    Aside from giving him books that I know he won’t read at xmas and birthdays, the husband and I have reached an uneasy truce, solely for her sake. They have been married about 6 months now and there are already clouds on the horizon, and while I wish nothing but happiness for my step-daughter….

  10. Trebuchet says

    I’m both impressed and baffled by your ability to be married to a believer and not really talk about your disbelief.

    I’m not, baffled anyhow, because I do the same thing. I would be harder if we had kids, but we don’t. I stay in the closet because doing otherwise would hurt people I care about.

  11. Jim says

    Your daughter s being brainwashed by your wife, and yet you’re waiting for your daughter to ask you what you believe? Why is your wife allowed to express her point of view to your daughter and you aren’t?

    How is it any different to stay in the atheist closet as it is to stay in the gay closet? Your friends and relatives who are believers get your courtesy, yet you aren’t requesting the same courtesy in return?

    I believe the word I’m looking for to express my feelings towards your reasoning is contempt.

  12. eveedream says

    Procyon – I have a soon-to-be brother-in-law who’s the same way. He’s a complete bungling idiot who spouts right-wing talking points because he quite literally can’t think for himself (his grand ambition for their future is to put a trailer on a plot of land and build a house AROUND the trailer). Dumbest person I’ve ever met. It sucks, but there’s nothing I can do about it. The way I figure it, if my sister is dumb enough to get engaged to that despite her family’s clearly voiced objections, then she deserves everything she gets. But good for you for keeping the peace for her sake, because she’ll need support if it goes bad. You sound like a great stepdad, and she’s lucky to have you in her life.

  13. eveedream says

    Seems to me like a marriage should be built on communication and a shared set of beliefs about the world and your place in it. Biting your tongue about the nature of reality in order to keep the peace with someone who believes in the ridiculous is just not a good foundation for a healthy marriage, kids or no kids.

    Of course, I’m assuming that everyone values truth and intellectual honesty the way I do. If those things are irrelevant, then sure, a marriage can totally work out if both parties are happy not talking about God or the lack thereof. Seems wicked shallow to me, but hey, some people like that sort of thing.

    I honestly can not imagine being unable to discuss certain things with my husband. We talk about EVERYTHING, and while we may disagree on things here and there (like just how much hockey a person needs to watch, or whether or not we want to do the Santa thing if we have kids), we ultimately share a very strong foundation in intellectual honesty and debate.

    Living in a closet and keeping my mouth shut in deference to the patently false (and destructive) beliefs of others is something I will never and can never do.

  14. kevinalexander says

    I agree with atheody’s decision about his daughter. First of all, his wife isn’t brainwashing her, the community does that. We hate to admit it but kids get less from their parents than we like to think. They usually follow their friends.
    An open conflict between parents would probably do more harm than good.

  15. says

    Good entry, but I’ll just leave you with the very first sentence of my book:

    NOT discussing religion or politics at the family dinner table is a tried and true method of keeping families together, but how strong are family ties bound with unspoken lies?

  16. Aquaria says

    I agree with atheody’s decision about his daughter. First of all, his wife isn’t brainwashing her, the community does that. We hate to admit it but kids get less from their parents than we like to think. They usually follow their friends.
    An open conflict between parents would probably do more harm than good.

    No.

    Just, no.

    You are doing what was mentioned up thread, about religion getting all the respect, and atheody’s beliefs (or lack thereof) having to be silenced so that religitard scumbags can be jackasses about their delusion.

    This is how religion holds onto its power, dumbass. Atheody is giving it to them, with a smile, and the religitards are laughing all the way to the bank by finding new brains to prey on–and keep preying on them–when any other obvious delusion would be booted to the curb.

    This is precisely why “the community” can make people feel like they have to be religious–because non-believers go prone for their tormentors. It’s Stockholm Syndrome on a fucking millennial scale. And it happens because non-believers of a culture’s dominant religion are silent. Because they don’t rock the boat. Because they “think of the family” and “think of X” that is oppressing them. And meanwhile, the religitards don’t remain silent, don’t fear rocking the boat, and don’t think of family or X first. They just don’t give a shit as long as they can cling to their idiotic delusions, and bootlickers like you are fine with them being such privileged douchecanoes.

    What the fuck is wrong with you to say something so appalling in its stupidity and cravenness?

  17. congenital cynic says

    A guy I played college sports with dated a religious girl through most of school and then married her right after graduation. He didn’t have anything to do with religion and I think her adherence kind of annoyed him, but he looked past it and went ahead with life. This guy was a model citizen, became a law enforcement officer, and was kind of the all Canadian boy type, so it wasn’t like he was a budding philanderer or anything. One of the most straight and honest people I’ve ever known.

    Well, he and his wife raised a couple of good kids, but the slow burning fuse eventually brought about change. After about 28 years of marriage, he left her. I think the religion, which seems to become more prominent with age, especially after the kids grow up and leave the home, just wore him down. He lasted a lot longer than I would have. His wife is a “nice” person, but I couldn’t spend that amount of time with someone whose world view included a sincere belief in Christianity.

    While I agree with the desire to keep open hostilities to a minimum, and to avoid putting my beliefs out there when I know it will only foment discord, I do resent the fact that religion gets de facto credibility and respect in our society when the intellectual space it occupies is so utterly insane.

  18. Beatrice says

    Our child has already expressed confusion over the concept of the trinity. It is my hope that she will someday ask what I believe. I will be forthright. If she chooses to believe, I will be respectful of her belief. All I ask is that she use her reason, respect science and the evidence it provides, and have some level of understanding for why I do not believe in her god.

    I’m guessing you don’t want to “push” your unbelief on your daughter. But your spouse isn’t holding back. So, your daughter is, instead of being let to make up her own mind which it seems you try to convince yourself is happening, being indoctrinated. Maybe she will decide it is all ridiculous and wash her hands of religion forever, but you have given your spouse and Christianity a head start. It’s not really her god (yet), it’s not her choice because she isn’t being given any other choice. She’s being raised in Christian faith, which is really a shame because she has one atheist parent who could give her that valuable other option.

    I understand that you don’t want to start trouble, but maybe it would be better for your daughter if you at least gave her some hints on the questions she should start asking. Maybe ask her what she thinks about certain things and explain that your spouse believes in these things but you don’t. Encourage her to ask questions.

  19. jaybee says

    I used to work with a guy who was worldly and had “known” women. He met a woman at a previous job who had been worldly as well, but she had since found religion. She is the type who has to give vocal affirmation of God’s goodness for providing today’s snack, and for helping her find her car keys when she thought they had been lost, for challenging her to be better when things didn’t work out as she had wanted (heads: God is good; tails: it is your fault God wasn’t good to you)

    My friend became a devout Christian too because he wanted to be with her. I asked him about it and he said, hey, it makes a lot more sense when you learn about it (he had been completely a-religious before that), and it isn’t like you have to give up IQ points to join.

    Well, it wasn’t long before he was denying evolution to the point he snickered that anyone could be so gullible to believe that stuff. He and his wife are good people and are raising nice kids, but they are so soaked in God that the only hope for their kids is they get sick of it by the time they are adults and think for themselves.

  20. cowalker says

    Atheody, your marriage sounds a bit like my parents’ marriage, except my mother went much farther than you to accomodate my father’s beliefs. Both were raised Catholic, but I am fairly sure my mother stopped believing in her youth. However this was back in the 1940′s. Her family never had the money to send her to college. I’m sure she believed, probably rightly, that she would have been shunned if she had shared her lack of religious belief. Then she met and fell in love with my father, who came from a strong Irish Catholic background. For the fifty-plus years of their marriage, she kept quiet about her beliefs, and attended church, AND observed strict Catholic rules about not using contraceptives.

    I started openly challenging religious beliefs in high school and she simply stayed quiet, leaving it to my father to argue with me. It wasn’t until I was considerably older, and had demonstrated that I could be discreet, that she shared enough about her life with me to allow me to draw my own conclusions.

    They had an extremely happy marriage. She died seven years ago after an extended period (years) of dementia, during which my father cared for her devotedly. She would have done the same for him. My 92-year-old father still misses her, and I believe will never know her innermost thoughts about religion. (No, he doesn’t surf the net.)

    None of the children–I and two siblings–are Catholics. One attends a Lutheran Church, I suspect mostly for the social activities and volunteer work. The other is an atheist like me. Perhaps we sensed a lack of full commitment to belief in our mother as children, but a lot of Catholics of my generation left the church even if they had two believing parents.

    Marriages can be very mysterious when viewed from outside. For me, this beautiful quote expresses it:

    If my marriage was to become sustenance and strength, it was then still something approaching menace. For within [my wife], then as now, is a secret room without door or window, a secret life that I could not, cannot penetrate, with shelves stacked high with memories that are hers alone. To understand that such secrecy exists in others, and that it must be left unviolated forever, even in those with whom we enjoy the most intense intimacy, is to be civilized; to cherish this distance is to be in love.”

    From “In the Jaws of the Black Dogs” by John Bentley Mays

    However I did not wish to have a marriage where religious belief had to be kept private, and I married a person whose religious AND political beliefs were very close to mine. (The last twelve years would have been agony to me if we hadn’t shared opinions on these matters.)

    at 3 June 2012 at 9:28 am congenital cynic says:
    “And I would never let our children (we have 4) get exposed to religious indoctrination at a young age when they were impressionable.”

    My atheist spouse and I (both raised Catholics–a helpful shared experience) took a different approach. We baptized our two children for the grandparents–three of the grandparents anyway! We shared our thoughts on religion with our children from their earliest years, but took care to explain that others we respected, including their grandparents and friends, had different beliefs. We took them to Sunday school for Catholics from the ages of five to eight, explaining that they should know enough about religion to decide if they wanted to attend church, because most of the people they would meet would be believers. At the same time we talked about what they learned and why we didn’t believe it ourselves. They each made their First Communion, which pleased the grandparents–traditional big family party. In each case that pretty much took off the pressure from that quarter. We told each of our kids that after that, they could make their own decision about going to church and Sunday school.

    You will probably not be shocked to hear that they abandoned religious practices with hearty enthusiasm. Of course what happened there wasn’t a reasoned choice on their part. They didn’t like going to Sunday school or sitting in church. Plus they imitated us, as children do in a healthy family. By the time they no longer wanted to imitate us, they had the intellectual tools to weigh the evidence for themselves. I had confidence in their eventual ability to come to reasonable conclusions. I had thought that they might explore religion as adolescents jsut to wind us up, but they did not. They are young adult atheists now, with partners having similar beliefs.

    I know that I reacted very badly to authoritarian presentations of religious belief in my youth, and I wanted to avoid setting up a struggle of wills in this arena. Plus we still have good relationships with all grandparents.

    Just another way of approaching the situation.

  21. brucegee1962 says

    I’m another closeted atheist who agrees with the OP.

    With me it’s a bit different — I was a believer (at least of a fuzzy Unitarian theist variety) when we got married, and she made it quite clear that theism was part of the package that was required for a husband. I explicitly agreed that raising our kids in the church would be fine with me.

    When I finally reached the end of my long, winding road to atheism, she figured it out fairly quickly, and things were rocky for a while. Was it worth busting apart our family, saying goodbye to someone who was the most compatible person I’ve ever met in every other way, and putting our kids through hell just because of this one area of disagreement? Not even close.

    I’m still going through the motions, because I made her a promise, and promises don’t change just because I’ve changed. I’m even teaching the kids about the Bible (partly because, as many others have said here, it’s one of the best ways to achieve unbelief). If they ever ask me directly (or in any event when they’re doing their own questioning in college) there will be time enough to tell them.

  22. cowalker says

    3 June 2012 at 11:36 am eveedream says:
    “I honestly can not imagine being unable to discuss certain things with my husband. We talk about EVERYTHING, and while we may disagree on things here and there (like . . . whether or not we want to do the Santa thing if we have kids). . . .”

    If you disagree on that, you better not have kids. Just kidding, of course, but WOW, the social pressure to do the Santa thing is amazing. Just think about the hate that would be directed at Asantas who put up billboards at Xmas time with pictures of parents putting presents under a Xmas tree while eating the cookies left out for Santa, under the words “There is no Santa.” Santa represents a huge chunk of our economy. What would Black Friday be like without the prospect of Santa’s arrival? American parents can worship the god of their choice, but EVERYONE must honor the innocent child’s belief in Santa. Are you going to tell your 5-year-old there is no god and no Santa and send them off to school where they will tell their friends? I predict you will hear from more angry parents about killing their child’s belief in Santa than God.

    I find it pretty weird.
    Prancer film
    Check out this movie for an unwitting portrayal of this strange fixation. This movie says some smart, gritty truths about family relationships and their profound importance, but in the end it all hinges on belief in the actual reality of a flying reindeer.
    Prancer ending

  23. eveedream says

    @cowalker Yeah, I’ve spent the last few years fighting off the Christmas pressure from all sides, and kids aren’t even on the horizon (ahh, the joys of infertility). It’s taken some work, but the family is pretty clear now that I’m down with a family get-together that happens to fall during seasonally sanctioned days off, but don’t expect me to get all “Christmas Spirit-ish.” I’ll be opting out of the culturally-mandated gift giving orgy, thank you very much. I’ve been angling for a light-up palm tree instead of a pine, the better to celebrate Pastafarian Holiday with (I think it would go pretty well with my collection of pirate nutcrackers). Too bad the rules of supply and demand mean that the pricing of palms vs pines is not in my favor. So the $20 pine came home with us instead.

    By the way, that Prancer clip is probably the most depressing thing I’ve seen lately. Thanks for that. Good times. Hubster looked up from playing Fallout: New Vegas to ask, “What the hell are you watching?” and I had to say, “The end of Prancer.” *facepalm*

  24. cowalker says

    To eveedream:
    Sorry if that clip depressed you. I just thought it was a completely weird way to end that particular movie. Of course it was the only way to end it that would please all the Santa-believers that they wanted to attract to the theaters for a Christmas movie. It was just so discordant with the rest of it.

  25. Margaret says

    @eveedream

    The problem I have with theists (particularly the very nice, sweet, doting grandmother-types) is when they start voting. That’s when you realize all their adorable charm is just a cover for some very sick core beliefs.

    Yes. This made me think of the time I saw a nice little grandma (a great-grandma actually, though thankfully no relation to me) with her happy smile and her cheerful voice talking about picketing an abortion clinic. The smile was horrifying and creepy. I can never look at her the same way again. I had never before so fully felt the old quote that “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.”

    I’m ashamed of the fact that I kept quiet to avoid a scene and the possible loss of a friendship with the woman’s daughter. I’m afraid that congenital cynic’s comments about “slow burning fuse” may apply to friendships as well as marriages.

  26. Dick the Damned says

    Damaging relationships is another instance of harm that religion does. But i guess the religious would claim it’s atheism at fault there.

    Incompatibility of belief is the root cause, but the promotion of religious belief is responsible for adding something to human consciousness. As that something is indefensible, it seems reasonable to blame it, rather than atheism, for the incompatibility.

  27. says

    My path to disbelief began Wednesday, June 27, 1979.

    I know the exact date, because I wrote it in the copy of Woody Allen’s “Without Feathers” my grandfather purchased for me on a road-trip we took together. The irony is that his faith was strong, and he never would have purchased that book for me if he’d known it would lead to the unravelling of any belief I had in his religion.

    Reminds me of how I came to let go of the Catholic indoctrination I received as a kid. The first serious challenge to the received wisdom of the Church was a book that intended to celebrate “all faiths” by putting side by side creation narratives, all rendered in beautiful literary translations: Babylonian, Hebrew, Greek, Hindu, Norse… With the net effect of making the Bible look nothing more than any other mythological system, i.e., fiction.

  28. joed says

    I’ve read on this very blog many times that perhaps the better goal is to teach our kids how to think not what to think. Critical thought, scientific/philosophical thought is not about any particular subject but rather how one approaches any subject.
    At least that is the way I understand it.
    So, teaching the kids to critically think seems to be the better way to educate, not only them, but ourselves too.

  29. antigodless says

    Hello atheody, nice testimony to atheism. Couple of comments I would like to make:

    1. “Make no mistake. I harbor a deep and abiding frustration at Christians’ inability – or unwillingness – as a group to live up to the example their messiah set”

    Remark: Relying on the imperfections of others should not determine your own life’s values. I am sure that ALL Christians cannot be accused of an inability of not attaining the standards of their Messiah. You have your wife’s family to observe. Do they fail the standards of their Messiah to the fullest extent that it is worthy of ignoring their Messiah? Secondly, in observing the high moral qualities of the Messiah to which they refer, can you see any benefit in His teaching, and His life, that warrants you to consider the Messiah’s lifestyle any LESS than an Atheist’s lifestyle which you observe?

    2. “The final nail in the coffin was that the idea of a perfectly malevolent being, Satan, seemed absolutely absurd. And because there is balance in the cosmos, without Satan, there could be no God.”

    Remark: You are stating ‘balance on the cosmos’. A kind of ‘Yin and Yang.’ SO you agree that the concepts of evil and good must exist. However, you deny there are any eternal, supernatural entities which envisage evil and good. This, therefore, relies on a subjective evaluation of morals which can vary according to each individual’s evaluation of such. You might think murder is not Ok, but your neighbour may disagree. You may think that adultery is perfectly OK. But your fellow employee disagrees. By which standard does your morals come. Consensus?
    Can something exist without your awareness of it? Can you admit that your awareness of the world is limited to your own experiences or knowledge; but does not mean your world view could be finite and limited?

    3. ” I find their inability to accept basic scientific truths and scientific consensus maddening.”

    Remark: Darwin was limited by lack of fossils. Today, there are far more fossils and still lack of evidence. To an extent that Dr Louis Bonoure, a former director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, has been known to state that “evolution is a fairy tale for grown-ups.” Yet, you made a profound statement that gives us a clue as to why evolution is popular in the scientific community -’consensus.’ The majority rules ok? Do the votes of a community mean it is necessarily true? Is Science supposed to be a democracy with elections periodically? Or is it supposed to allow objective analysis of the evidence that could even include Supernatural or religious findings? Plenty of Biblical Archaeology, Intelligent Design Scientists and Creation Scientists are disqualified from writing in major scientific journals, or secure research grants, or even speak in schools, due to the bias of the ‘scientific consensus’. I don’t call this truth – I call it bullying.

    4. “They declare their god to be an awesome god, but then attribute inconsequential miracles to a god which, evidence shows, has no power the heal the sick, feed the hungry, lift up the poor, halt the disasters of flood, wind and fire.”

    Remark: How would you know, as your worldview excludes supernatural explanations, and certainly excludes prayer as a relevant reason for changes around the world. If you look in your wife’s sacred book, you will read “We know that all that God created has been groaning. The created world continues to groan even now” (Romans 8:22). It is a realistic analysis of the reality we find ourselves in.

    Question is – why would you blame God? How about humans for throwing excess food into the oceans every day? What about the greed of humans who rob the poor by giving them minimal wages and charging high interest? What about natural laws that science has discovered, such as tectonic plate theory, laws of gravity, and other such factors which cause floods and earthquakes. Is God supposed to be a superman who saves every human from themselves? What difference are you making in … an imperfect world with imperfect humans and imperfect processes. Would it make you believe in God any more if He took away every problem in your life and you can relax. According to the Bible, Adam and Eve was in this state, but yielded to the temptation to be … like the superintelligent, infinite being that apparently created them. And ever since, humans have wanted to ‘be god.’
    How hard is it to accept that a being known as Satan DOES exist, given your observation of imperfect human beings, whether Atheist, Theist, or Agnostic.

    Final remark: If you want to teach your daughter something, carefully consider the implications of your worldview, the advantages of teaching your worldview to her, and the fruits that will come fifty years down the track to a child who imbibes your worldview, rather than the worldview of your in-laws.

  30. eveedream says

    Re: 31 – This joker again? *makes some popcorn and settles in for the show*

  31. consciousness razor says

    *YAWN*

    Remark: antigodless, you’re boring. I’ll make it easy for you. You could give evidence for any god. I don’t care if it’s some version of the Christian god, Zeus, Huitzilopochtli or whatever. Take your pick and offer evidence for him/her/it/them.

  32. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How would you know, as your worldview excludes supernatural explanations,

    And you, abject loser, show no evidence the stupornatural exists, inspite of demanding real and conclusive phsyical evidence. Losers, liars, and bullshitters, can’t put up, and can’t shut the fuck up, like people of honesty and integrity do. So you acknowledge to the world you and your stupornatural explanations are nothing but lies and bullshit. Gee, where else on this blog have you made the the same fuckwitted and unevidenced claims? EVERY TIME YOU POST YOU DO NOTHING BUT LIE AND BULLSHIT AS YOU PROVIDE NO CONCLUSIVE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE…

  33. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    why would you blame God[my unevidenced delusion that only exists between my ears]?

    Fixed another mistake for you abject liar and bullshitter. You haven’t proven your deity isn’t imaginary with evidence, you have only presupposed it exists. So *POOF*, your claim is dismissed as the lies and bullshit it is. Prove otherwise by citing the peer reviewed scientific literature, or shut the fuck up.

  34. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How hard is it to accept that a being known as Satan DOES exist,

    Satan is as imaginary as your evidenced deity. Show otherwise with solid and conclusive physical evidence, or shut the fuck up as a liar and bullshitter should do when challenged to provide real evidence.

    And your word isn’t evidence, it is lies and bullshit, same for any person or website that presupposes your imaginary deity.

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If you want to teach your daughter something, carefully consider the implications of your worldview,

    Yep, the world view of no imaginary deities, no mythical/fictional holy books, not presuppositions based on lies and bullshit, resulting in more lies and bullshit.

    You have nothing whatsoever to offer to rational people, as you can’t and/or won’t show conclusive physical evidence for you imaginary deity, but you talk about it anyway. The same as any con man has to do, who can’t put up, and can’t shut the fuck up. Every post by you reeks of a con game….

  36. Wowbagger, Vile Demagogue says

    antigodless wrote:

    How hard is it to accept that a being known as Satan DOES exist, given your observation of imperfect human beings, whether Atheist, Theist, or Agnostic.

    If Satan does exist, and has the power you claim he has, then nothing can be trusted. Nothing.

    This, of course, includes every part of your religion. If Satan exists, he could have written the bible. If Satan exists he could have created the churches. If Satan exists he could have been pretending to be Jesus, turning people away from the true faith of Judaism.

    Please, antigodless, demonstrate how if Satan exists I could be wrong about these examples.

  37. says

    This, therefore, relies on a subjective evaluation of morals which can vary according to each individual’s evaluation of such. You might think murder is not Ok, but your neighbour may disagree. You may think that adultery is perfectly OK. But your fellow employee disagrees. By which standard does your morals come.

    Why do you think more than one standard is expressed here? Do you not see a qualitative difference between murder, which deprives an unwilling person of the right to life, and adultry, which doesn’t really deprive anyone not directly involved of anything? This is the lack of understanding of even the simplest nuances of thinking that results from dogmatic, authoritarian theism.

    Remark: Darwin was limited by lack of fossils. Today, there are far more fossils and still lack of evidence.

    So what the fuck are you looking for in the way of evidence? Fossils continue to correlate with the age of the rocks in which they are found as far as complexity. Transitional fossils have been found, such as the feathered dinosaurs. In fact, every fossil ever found is entirely consistent with Darwin’s theory.

    To an extent that Dr Louis Bonoure, a former director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, has been known to state that “evolution is a fairy tale for grown-ups.”

    Says a guy who believes life began in a magic garden with talking animals and an angry giant.

    Plenty of Biblical Archaeology, Intelligent Design Scientists and Creation Scientists are disqualified from writing in major scientific journals, or secure research grants, or even speak in schools, due to the bias of the ‘scientific consensus’.

    No, it’s due to the definition of science. If your hypothesis cannot be falsified by any possible evidence, even in principle, because MAGIC, hey presto, it’s not science.

    Remark: How would you know, as your worldview excludes supernatural explanations, and certainly excludes prayer as a relevant reason for changes around the world. If you look in your wife’s sacred book, you will read “We know that all that God created has been groaning. The created world continues to groan even now” (Romans 8:22). It is a realistic analysis of the reality we find ourselves in.

    Oh, the world is groaning. Now there’s a scientific hypothesis if ever I heard one. I’m certain it will lead to many productive methods for predicting and avoiding disasters.

    Question is – why would you blame God?

    Because he’s omnipotent? And because the Bible tells us he created evil? And sends down shit like floods and earthquakes?
    Of course, blaming God requires that one believe in such a thing.

    Final remark: If you want to teach your daughter something, carefully consider the implications of your worldview, the advantages of teaching your worldview to her, and the fruits that will come fifty years down the track to a child who imbibes your worldview, rather than the worldview of your in-laws.

    Yeah, a hearty fuck you on that one. I’m currently 31 years down the track with my “child,” and our relationship is one of the great joys of my life.
    Did I mention fuck you?

  38. Owlmirror says

    To an extent that Dr Louis Bonoure, a former director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, has been known to state that “evolution is a fairy tale for grown-ups.”

    Creationists are liars, and take scientists’ words out of context, and often make up what scientists have said.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/ce/3/part12.html

    Yet, you made a profound statement that gives us a clue as to why evolution is popular in the scientific community -’consensus.’ The majority rules ok?

    The majority with the reason and the evidence rules.

    Creationists have no reason and no evidence.

    Or is it supposed to allow objective analysis of the evidence that could even include Supernatural or religious findings?

    It is — except that there is no evidence for the supernatural, and no evidence for religion being true.

    Heck, “supernatural” is not even well-defined. What does it mean?

    Plenty of Biblical Archaeology, Intelligent Design Scientists and Creation Scientists are disqualified from writing in major scientific journals, or secure research grants, or even speak in schools, due to the bias of the ‘scientific consensus’. I don’t call this truth – I call it bullying.

    That’s because you’re a liar, who hates truth.

    There are no “creation” scientists, only creation liars.

    There are no “Intelligent design” scientists, because “intelligent design” is not a science.

    The science of archaeology has proven that the bible, in many places, is false. Any archaeologists who reject this proof are not scientists.

    How would you know, as your worldview excludes supernatural explanations, and certainly excludes prayer as a relevant reason for changes around the world.

    Prayer has been tested by science and has been proven not to work; i.e., there are no different results between praying for something and not praying for something.

    And, why should prayer work? Even if your make-believe God were real, prayer assumes that the one praying knows better than God what ought to happen. It assumes that God is not superintelligent — thus contradicting your own implicit assumptions about what God is supposed to be like. It is the epitome of self-contradicting stupidity.

    If you look in your wife’s sacred book, you will read “We know that all that God created has been groaning. The created world continues to groan even now” (Romans 8:22). It is a realistic analysis of the reality we find ourselves in.

    It is a mythical description of reality. There is nothing realistic or analytical about it.

    Question is – why would you blame God?

    With great power and great knowledge comes great responsibility. With all power and all knowledge comes all responsibility.

    If God were real and not make-believe, God would be to blame for the world being as it is.

    How about humans for throwing excess food into the oceans every day?

    Where does this happen?

    What about the greed of humans who rob the poor by giving them minimal wages and charging high interest?

    If God were real, he could feed the poor himself. Or he could make financial reform his top priority.

    The greed of humans is only to blame if God does not exist.

    What about natural laws that science has discovered, such as tectonic plate theory, laws of gravity, and other such factors which cause floods and earthquakes.

    Hahahaha! Weren’t you just whining that those natural laws had to come from somewhere, like from God? You stupid and incompetent boob! If those laws exist because of God, then God is responsible for people being harmed by their effects!

    Is God supposed to be a superman who saves every human from themselves?

    If God were real, why couldn’t God be exactly that?

    What difference are you making in … an imperfect world with imperfect humans and imperfect processes.

    Humans have to make a difference, precisely because God does not exist to make a difference.

    Would it make you believe in God any more if He took away every problem in your life and you can relax.

    Isn’t that exactly what the promise of heaven entails?

    According to the Bible, Adam and Eve was in this state, but yielded to the temptation to be … like the superintelligent, infinite being that apparently created them.

    And for some strange reason, the putative “superintelligent, infinite being” found this to be scary!

    What does a “superintelligent, infinite being” have to fear from humans being like it?

    How hard is it to accept that a being known as Satan DOES exist, given your observation of imperfect human beings, whether Atheist, Theist, or Agnostic.

    Because Satan makes no more sense and has no more evidence in support of it than does your “superintelligent, infinite being”.

    If you want to teach your daughter something, carefully consider the implications of your worldview, the advantages of teaching your worldview to her, and the fruits that will come fifty years down the track to a child who imbibes your worldview, rather than the worldview of your in-laws.

    A worldview that values truth is better than one that values lies.

  39. Owlmirror says

    You know, I’m beginning to suspect that antigoodness really ISN’T interested in honest discussion.

    GASP . . . !!

    WHAT YOU SAY !!

  40. anteprepro says

    Atheody: I say this as someone who is meek IRL and will probably be put in a similar position to you if/when I have a child.

    You are letting your spouse walk all over you on the matter of religious instruction/indoctrination merely because hir religion is socially dominant and considered “normal.” And you are sitting by idly despite fervently disagreeing with that religion. You are unwilling to approach your child with your beliefs for fear of unduly influencing her by mere presentation of a dissenting opinion, while your significant other pours their opinion down the child’s throat for at least two hours a week, with an added dash of Popularity and Authority to make the rhetoric go down easier. Your sensitivity and concern for intellectual freedom and development of your child is fantastic, but you need to open your eyes and realize that your spouse and her congregation are NOT playing by the same rules.

    They are not playing fair, and are not playing nice. They are poisoning the well, stacking the deck, building lies upon distortions upon exaggerations upon half-truths upon assumptions. And they are doing so every week, to children too young to fully grasp WHY what they are hearing is bullshit and who are getting so accustomed to distorted reality presented in church every week of their life that they will be far less able to divorce themselves from that mindset completely if they ever come to reject even a part of it. The majority of children are defenseless against the lies and emotional manipulation used in church to turn kids into lifelong believers(but, obviously, some of them do get better. And others only get slightly better. And still others get better and then get even worse than before).

    So, if you must concede that your children go to church, at very least have the courage to teach your child the alternatives. Present the child with your beliefs. Teach them about other religions, and maybe delve into other religions together if you don’t know enough to teach them yourself. Talk to them about what they are learning at church and try your hardest to counter all the emotional blackmail (and probably some of the arguments as well, if you can muster the courage). Try to get them to understand critical thinking, logic, and scientific subjects ASAP. Do not wait for her to ask you what you believe, because your spouse is definitely not waiting.

    And a side-note, to dash your hopes. Confusion over the Trinity is not a sign of potential future disbelief: The Trinity is noted as inherently difficult to understand by believers all the time, i.e. “It’s A Mystery! “. The fact that it is incoherent and ridiculous bothers believers not-a-bit. If confusion over the Trinity is going to lead to disbelief, it will be due to the child realizing that the further “explanations” are bullshit, and that it is not just because the child is too stupid/immature/unenlightened to understand Sophisticated Theology. Which is where you can help. And where, if you refuse to help out of fear of having too much influence on the child’s beliefs, you will most likely let your child slip into the unreflective bleating of True Belief.

    And now, I just need to follow the advice that I gave to you. Good luck, future me.

  41. Utakata says

    @ antigodless:

    “Couple of comments I would like to make:”

    But I counted 4! O.o

  42. Ichthyic says

    SWEET PLASTIC BOBBLEHEADED JESUS ON MY DASHBOARD!!!!

    ATTENTION PAUL ZACHARY MYERS:

    please exert energy into moving runaway zombie to the ZOMBIE PEN.

    The rot dripping on the floor here is starting to cause permanent damage to the linoleum!

    thank you.

  43. anteprepro says

    Somebody named “antigodless” is bound to be offering some substantial insights. BOUND TO BE.
    (Warning: Long comment. Yell at me if its an eyesore.)

    I am sure that ALL Christians cannot be accused of an inability of not attaining the standards of their Messiah.

    Don’t let the Bible get in the way of pontificating about how good Christianity is. (Only the quotes are relevant, the blather about Calvinist doctrine is irrelevant).

    Spoiler: It could be argued (like almost everything in your garbled, nonsensical religion) that it is NOT POSSIBLE to attain God’s standards (and that this is the reason for salvation in the first place).

    Secondly, in observing the high moral qualities of the Messiah to which they refer, can you see any benefit in His teaching, and His life, that warrants you to consider the Messiah’s lifestyle any LESS than an Atheist’s lifestyle which you observe?

    Yeah, that priest who babbled about everyone burning in hell and insisted that his followers abandon their possessions and families sure was a swell guy.

    SO you agree that the concepts of evil and good must exist. However, you deny there are any eternal, supernatural entities which envisage evil and good. This, therefore, relies on a subjective evaluation of morals which can vary according to each individual’s evaluation of such.

    Wow. So you are going to try to use reductio ad absurdum Good and Evil supernatural entities into existence by implying that otherwise we might not have a good reason to say that X is immoral? By God, you’ve got this apologetics thing mastered .

    Can something exist without your awareness of it? Can you admit that your awareness of the world is limited to your own experiences or knowledge; but does not mean your world view could be finite and limited?

    Yes, yes, and yes. But, usually, people who have awareness and knowledge beyond the scope of other people can find a way to show that they are actually onto something. This is obviously not so on the topic of religion. To the point where it resembles self-parody. If you, upon realizing your world view is finite and limited, accept things outside the scope of your experience, knowledge, and awareness just because of gut feelings or the unsubstantiated claims of others, could it be that you are gullible and cramming your worldview full of bullshit?

    Yet, you made a profound statement that gives us a clue as to why evolution is popular in the scientific community -’consensus.’ The majority rules ok? Do the votes of a community mean it is necessarily true? Is Science supposed to be a democracy with elections periodically?

    Who would’ve guessed a creationist would be a cretin? Unheard of! Here’s a few clues.
    Consensus of general population: No promise they are informed, ad populum.
    Position of a few experts: No promise they aren’t outliers, ad verecundiam.
    Consensus of experts: Informed and large enough amount to not be statistical anomalies, reliable as we can possibly get.

    Consensus of experts is only unreliable if facts/method are unreliable, or if experts are overwhelmingly biased. Creationists have consistently failed to show either to be the case. Because they consistently fail at everything.

    Or is it supposed to allow objective analysis of the evidence that could even include Supernatural or religious findings? Plenty of Biblical Archaeology, Intelligent Design Scientists and Creation Scientists…

    I am just busting a gut at seeing “objective analysis of evidence” within spitting distance of “Biblical Archaeology,” “Intelligent Design” and “Creation Scientists”. We all know that the only people capable of objectively analyzing evidence are religious scientists. Those biologists and geologists are just BIASED. Dr. Jesuslove from Bible University with a degree in Literal Genesisology, though, he’s going to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

    (Also of note: Supernatural findings and religious findings are hilarious concepts all on their lonesome. Like oxymorons with an emphasis on “moron”.)

    your worldview excludes supernatural explanations, and certainly excludes prayer as a relevant reason for changes around the world.

    Hah. That’s because in order for prayer to be an explanation, it would have to explain something . Virtually every “fulfilled” prayer can be explained by natural mechanisms. Assuming that prayer actually can even do anything, there is no satisfactory explanation ever presented for the occasions in which prayer doesn’t work. When cases where prayer “works” can be explained without prayer, and when cases where prayer doesn’t “work” cannot be explained adequately based on the way that people claim that prayer “works” , you have one fucked up hypothesis.

    But, yeah, we’re just BIASED against magic. Every unbiased true Christian knows that prayer/magic WORKS. . If you rewrite history enough, it WORKS

    Question is – why would you blame God? How about humans for throwing excess food into the oceans every day?

    So God can part seas and change water to wine, but can’t clean oceans, huh? Is it just that janitorial work is beneath him, but parlor tricks are right at his level?

    What about the greed of humans who rob the poor by giving them minimal wages and charging high interest?

    So God can’t affect the economy, huh? Please tell every religious person who prays for help getting out of economic hardship. Also, please inform every Republican. They seem to believe that the Invisible Hand belongs to Jesus.

    What about natural laws that science has discovered, such as tectonic plate theory, laws of gravity, and other such factors which cause floods and earthquakes.

    God isn’t responsible for natural laws now? Maybe you AREN’T a very good apologist after all…

    Is God supposed to be a superman who saves every human from themselves?

    Nah. God’s just a space creature who is entertained by human error. We can’t honestly expect him to have magical powers or to meddle in human affairs. Especially not to HELP us. I mean, what kind of lovey-dovey, corny bullshit is THAT!? We all know that God isn’t some sort of superman, responsible for saving anyone. Whoever associates Jesus with “saving” is obviously just out of their damn mind. Those of us who are truly enlightened know that we shouldn’t worry about The True God saving us: we should worry about whether he will eat us first. Ia! Ia! Yahweh fhtaghn.

    Would it make you believe in God any more if He took away every problem in your life and you can relax. According to the Bible, Adam and Eve was in this state, but yielded to the temptation to be like the superintelligent, infinite being that apparently created them.

    *Glances at top of comment*
    So trying to be like God is suddenly a BAD thing?
    Christianity: Everything and its opposite is TRUTH.

    How hard is it to accept that a being known as Satan DOES exist, given your observation of imperfect human beings, whether Atheist, Theist, or Agnostic.

    Evil exists.
    Therefore Evil Magical Fallen Angel (created by Good Magical All-Powerful Deity, and is somehow a legitimate thorn-in-the-side of that All-Powerful Deity despite being not All-Powerful) exists.

    The logic isn’t exactly smooth there, Einstein.

    Final remark: If you want to teach your daughter something, carefully consider the implications of your worldview, the advantages of teaching your worldview to her, and the fruits that will come fifty years down the track to a child who imbibes your worldview, rather than the worldview of your in-laws.

    And fuck you too.

  44. Ichthyic says

    Yeah, that priest who babbled about everyone burning in hell and insisted that his followers abandon their possessions and families sure was a swell guy.

    you mean is?

    hell, Brian Tamaki is asking his followers to do just this, as I write this!

    check it out:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7036203/Bishop-urges-his-flock-to-leave-homes-and-jobs

    it’s going to be serious schadenfreude to watch him run off to Australia with all the rubes money and some excuse about his Kiwi followers “not being faithful” enough so that’s why he couldn’t build his “golden city” in NZ.

  45. Amphiox says

    Yet, you made a profound statement that gives us a clue as to why evolution is popular in the scientific community -’consensus.’ The majority rules ok? Do the votes of a community mean it is necessarily true? Is Science supposed to be a democracy with elections periodically?

    As usual the theist troll gets it backwards.

    Evolution isn’t “popular” because of the consensus.

    The consensus exists because evolution is supported by the evidence.

    The evidence is available for all to examine for themselves, and all with sufficient knowledge and understanding to interpret the evidence can see that it plainly demonstrates massive support for evolution.

  46. Amphiox says

    SO you agree that the concepts of evil and good must exist. However, you deny there are any eternal, supernatural entities which envisage evil and good. This, therefore, relies on a subjective evaluation of morals which can vary according to each individual’s evaluation of such.

    Theists also ALL rely on subjective evaluation of morals which vary according to each individual, as can readily be demonstrated by the vast variation in the moral teachings of different faiths and the moral acts of different theists.

    Atheists are simply more honest with ourselves in that we ADMIT that our moral evaluations are subjective, and always will be.

  47. Amphiox says

    Is God supposed to be a superman who saves every human from themselves?

    If God isn’t, then what use is god? How is god different from no-god? And why would anyone bother to worship such a god?

    If god cannot or will not save humans from themselves, then humans should not put their faith in god. Humans should put their faith in themselves and each other.

    And this is EXACTLY what secular humanism suggests that we do.

    So again, what use is god?

  48. Amphiox says

    your worldview excludes supernatural explanations,

    Only because “supernatural” is definitionally incoherent

    and certainly excludes prayer as a relevant reason for changes around the world.

    It does not, actually, do any such thing.

    Prayer is not excluded de facto. Prayer is excluded because it has been empirically put to the test, and found to be wanting.

  49. Amphiox says

    I would also point out that everything the troll calls supernatural, ie God answering prayers, creating universes, designing life, Messiahs redeeming sinners, Satan inflicting evil, the whole kit-and-kaboodle, by the troll’s own definitions of what these are and what they do, is actually, again by the troll’s own definitions, actually COMPLETELY NATURAL.

    In other words, in the troll’s worldview, by its own definitions, there is no functional difference between the things it calls supernatural and the things it calls natural, except that it has completely arbitrarily decided to call certain things “supernatural”.

    And this is why the term “supernatural” is definitionally incoherent.

  50. madtom1999 says

    ahteody – well done. You have my sympathies when it comes to not being evangelical in your atheism!
    When I worked it out initially the few people I told about it thought I too was the devil incarnate. It was only when I opened up to some of my dads colleages (university professors etc) that they admitted to atheism too and I found myself in some kind of exclusive club. There was a kind of rite-of-passage feeling but it was still something that I felt couldnt be shouted in public without serious consequenses.
    I gave evidence in court once and there was a murmer when I affirmed rather than take the oath and I knew my evidence would be discounted by some as a result.
    But please make an effort with your children – they shouldnt have to live with fear of the truth as well as fear of their peers.

  51. anteprepro says

    Ichthyic: Hilarious. Also scary. Hopefully people are keeping an eye open once Tamaki finally opens New Jonestown.

  52. Agent Silversmith, Feathered Patella Association says

    Is God supposed to be a superman who saves every human from themselves?

    To get even so far as a being who falls disappointingly short of superman status, he’d have to exist first. You haven’t made a case that he even does that.

    If you really think that atheists “blame god” for bad things that happen, you’ve got the phalange-in-auricle move down pat with ninja efficiency. In fact, the timing matches the Fokker’s gun-propeller sync or a bat’s signal-receive co-ordination. Anyone addressing this assertion has told you, in precise detail, just why they do not blame god for bad things – but somehow, you’ve never heard this.

    So with the slightly depressing thought that you’ll just Fokker this out of your consciousness as well, atheists do not blame god or any other supernatural force/being for bad events. Those are caused by natural phenomena/organisms interacting with us in ways we don’t like. Nothing more or less. When the bad shit that happens is compared with the assertion that an interventionist god is present – who could, allegedly, step in any time he likes and stop a bad event – the conclusion that this “god”, if he exists, is about as useful as a stuffed toy dog is at guarding a house has nothing to challenge it.

    Pray to the monitor you’re looking at, and you’ll get as many things you want as you would from praying to god, regardless of how worthy the things you’re asking for are. Atheody knows this, and I hope one day his daughter knows it, and can slap down irritating godbot mosquitoes instead of letting them suck away her life.

  53. Ichthyic says

    Prayer is excluded because it has been empirically put to the test, and found to be wanting.

    Indeed, even by the Templeton Foundation, whose job it supposedly was to PROVE that prayer works!!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all

    by any measure, intercessionary prayer is a failure.

    since intercessionary prayer is a failure, there is no reason for the Catholic Church to exist.

    If there is no reason for the Catholic Church to have ever existed, there is no reason for the Protestant Church to have split from it.

    there is no reason for xianity, or judaism, or islam.

    of course, all other religions making similar claims have also been put to the test and found wanting.

    it’s merely lies and denial that prop them up still.

    but, like the greek gods, the roman gods, the norse pantheon…. all will fade as the straw they are made from rots away.

  54. Snoof says

    there is no reason for xianity, or judaism, or islam.

    I dunno. They’ve certainly done a spectacular job at concentrating political and economic power into the hands of a tiny percentage of the population, historically speaking. That sounds like a reason to me.

    It’s not a _good_ reason, especially if you’re not one of the privileged few, but it’s still a reason.

  55. Ichthyic says

    It’s not a _good_ reason, especially if you’re not one of the privileged few, but it’s still a reason.

    touche.

    you’re right, of course.

  56. 'Tis Himself says

    antigodless’s god fails to live up to the advertising.

    Either this god can help people out of trouble but doesn’t, in which case it is not omnibenevolent; or

    This god doesn’t help people out of trouble because it can’t, in which case it is not omnipotent.

  57. bargearse says

    Amphiox@52

    I’m so stealing all of this comment. It’s not the first time I’ve seen it expressed but I like how concise you made it.

  58. KG says

    completelybrainless,

    I am sure that ALL Christians cannot be accused of an inability of not attaining the standards of their Messiah.

    I’m trying to thread my way through the forest of negatives here: what you seem to be saying is that you’re sure there is at least one Christian who is unable to fall short of a specified standard. Right?

    You have your wife’s family to observe. Do they fail the standards of their Messiah to the fullest extent that it is worthy of ignoring their Messiah? Secondly, in observing the high moral qualities of the Messiah to which they refer

    What high moral standards are those? Those of the man who demanded that his followers hate both themselves and their families? Who cursed entire cities because they didn’t welcome his diciples? Who promised that those who failed to believe his claims would be tortured forever? Who petulantly cursed a fig tree for not bearing figs because, er, it wasn’t the season for figs? Not an individual I would like my son to take as a role model, to say the least; I sincerely hope he never becomes a parasitic, bullying cult-leader prone to irrational temper-tantrums.

    can you see any benefit in His teaching, and His life, that warrants you to consider the Messiah’s lifestyle any LESS than an Atheist’s lifestyle which you observe?

    Your incoherence is amusing, as once again you seem to have said the opposite of what you presumably intended; but no, I see no benefit whatever in Jesus’s reported lifestyle, and consider that of many atheists I know to be morally far superior to his (as it appears in the gospels).

    However, you deny there are any eternal, supernatural entities which envisage evil and good. This, therefore, relies on a subjective evaluation of morals which can vary according to each individual’s evaluation of such. You might think murder is not Ok, but your neighbour may disagree.

    Well I think genocide is wrong, but the imaginary being you worship apparently disagrees, as he is reported to have both ordered it on numerous occasions, and carried it out himself. He is also reported to intend to torture people for ever, which would be a depth of evil far beyond that of Hitler or Stalin. This points up the fact that even if such supernatural beings existed, their opinion of what is right and wrong would not be beyond question, any more than yours or mine.

    Darwin was limited by lack of fossils. Today, there are far more fossils and still lack of evidence. To an extent that Dr Louis Bonoure, a former director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, has been known to state that “evolution is a fairy tale for grown-ups.”

    A bare-faced, brazen lie, whoever says it; and no “Dr. Louis Bonoure” (or Bounoure) has ever been director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research. So all you are doing, completelybrainless, is repeating lies other creobots have told you, without the most elementary fact-checking. IOW, you couldn’t give a shit about whether the claims you make are true or not.

    Or is it [science] supposed to allow objective analysis of the evidence that could even include Supernatural or religious findings?

    Yes indeed. Such evidence, I agree, should be objectively analysed. As I have pointed out before, this kind of objective analysis led honest scientists who were also Christians, and in their early careers, believers in the Noachian flood, to abandon belief in it as far back as the 1830s. No evidence of supernatural events or beings has ever stood up to objective analysis. If and when it does, I will revise my belief that no such events occur.

    Plenty of Biblical Archaeology, Intelligent Design Scientists and Creation Scientists are disqualified from writing in major scientific journals, or secure research grants, or even speak in schools, due to the bias of the ‘scientific consensus’.

    No, these pseudo-scientists cannot get published in real scientific journals because they almost never* do any real science. Instead, they have decided in advance that their favourite fairy tale is literal truth, and ignore and distort evidence to fit it, exactly as you do.

    Question is – why would you blame God? How about humans for throwing excess food into the oceans every day? What about the greed of humans who rob the poor by giving them minimal wages and charging high interest? What about natural laws that science has discovered, such as tectonic plate theory, laws of gravity, and other such factors which cause floods and earthquakes. Is God supposed to be a superman who saves every human from themselves?

    God is supposed to be omnipotent, i.e. with powers infinitely greater than superman. So if he does not save those killed by earthquakes, tortured at the behest of tyrants, suffering from rabies or Alzheimer’s disease or harlequin syndrome – it’s because either he doesn’t exist, or he’s a vile sadistic psychopath who wants this suffering to continue.

    How hard is it to accept that a being known as Satan DOES exist, given your observation of imperfect human beings, whether Atheist, Theist, or Agnostic.

    Well if he does, he’s clearly doing God’s bidding, since God supposedly created Satan and is infinitely more powerful.

    *Some have published – but what they have published either takes proper account of the evidence (for example, of the great age of the earth) and so contradicts creationism, or is in fields remote from creationist concerns.

  59. John Morales says

    [meta+ OT]

    joed, are you noticing the difference? :)

    (I think you are, and I think I have, too)

    PS Due apologies to atheody for my off-topic comment.

  60. joed says

    WHY DO YOU FOLKS LET ANTIGODLESS TAKE OVER THE COMMENTS?
    atheody’s post gives and excellent example of a subject that really needs to be looked at and dealt with by the atheist community; when do we tell others of our atheism and what are our motives for revealing our atheism.
    my point is that a reply to antigodless is a move away from atheody’s post.
    antigodless is playing and commenters here don’t seem to realize that.
    Just ignore the fucker.

  61. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just ignore the fucker.

    It doesn’t work. Lurkers will think we don’t have an answer to AG’s fuckwittery. By showing AG’s inane OPINION is nothing but warm swallowed air expelled through his anus, we show the lurkers the real worth of its ideas.

  62. No One says

    Ah… the minion of satan has returned…

    “The evidence… It burnzzzz!!!!!!!!”

    Only the possessed can be so blinded to quote as fact that which is easily refutable by google.

  63. No One says

    Atheody,

    by joeds promoting I offer you this. Buy an illustrated book of Greek mythology for your daughter. It’s a very good “starter” point. You want your daughter to be versed in the classics… right?

  64. anteprepro says

    On a similar note to No One, try exposure to various works of sci-fi and fantasy as well. Obviously its not a guaranteed faith-killer, but sometimes imagination is all you need to realize what a stupid, unimaginative, and unnecessary idea “gods” are in the first place. I guess it also helps that a lot of sci-fi and fantasy authors are atheists, or at very least milquetoast believers, and occasionally get jabs in against religious ideas. Bonus!

  65. Anri says

    So, antigodless has, once again, bravely refused any sort of back-and-forth. Nothing like having an all-wise, all-powerful, perfectly loving being on your side to furnish you with all of the arguments you need.

    Antigodless has seen how much the prolific posters here post – has seen how powerful, even sometimes eloquent, those posters can be. Such a force working for god would save many souls from the worst fate possible.

    But antigodless has better things to do, apparently.
    And god has better things to do than giving antigodless the tools needed to make that happen.

    On a not-very-related note, I wonder if antigodless is frustrated every time DNA evidence is presented at a trial, or every time a paternity test is done. This is, of course, the same science, the same technique, the same essential theory that underpins our modern understanding of evolution. If DNA testing works, evolution is heavily evidenced by it.
    Start writing letters, antigodless, start calling talk shows.
    If you actually believe what you say you believe, there is a terrible travesty occurring – people are taking DNA evidence seriously.

    Of course, you will do no such thing.
    And you know it.
    Think, for just a moment, about what this says about what you actually believe.

    A good example of obvious error is what a brief google search reveals about antigodless’s cited source, Dr Louis Bonoure (apparently actually Bounoure). If antigodless would like me to put up my results, I’ll be happy to do so.
    Antigodless is either wrong, or lying, once again.
    And will refuse to face this fact, once again.

  66. Grumps says

    Dear Auntie Godless,

    So glad you’re still here because I’ve got a few questions that I’d like you to answer for me. I’ve asked scientists before but they just give me answers based on reason and evidence! Can you believe it? How fucking irritating is that? Anyway I would love to hear your unevidenced best guesses so here goes:

    1. I’ve noticed that when I get cold I get little bumps on my skin (we call them goose bumps or goose pimples here in the UK) I expect you’ve experienced them too. Why does this happen?

    2. Why does God hate amputees?

    3. Why do I get these headaches? I’m a pretty good guy. Does a god hate me?

    Love
    Grumps

  67. cybercmdr says

    I see that AG is back, showing his other face. First it was all about the “evidence” creationists have put together to fool the ignorant. That was his sciencey face. Now we’re getting to the Bible thumping, “It’s all true!” face, complete with Beelzebub.

    AG, I guess it is time to start calling you Janus, after the two faced Greek god. As he was the god of comings and goings and we’ve seen you come back, isn’t it time to leave?

  68. cybercmdr says

    Correction, Roman God Janus. Of course, they borrowed all their gods from the Greeks, much like Christianity borrowed all it’s basic principles from other religions of the time.

  69. says

    I’m in agreement with those who have advised a more proactive approach with regard to the indoctrination a child will face under those circumstances.

    As well as how impossible it would be for me to be in such a relationship. For me it isn’t even a slow fuse, it’s more like nitro. Absurd beliefs, particularly those that lay the foundation for, or are actively responsible for, bigotry, willful ignorance and the subversion of critical thinking set me off immediately.

    And, especially with those in my very, very small inner circle of friends/family, I’m like a dog with a bone with this kind of thing. I just can’t let it drop.

    More off topic, I had a chuckle when I realized how annoyed I was to see god capitalized and Superman not.

    God is a title. Yahweh is a god. Allah is a god. In the same way that Jim is a janitor, or Lisa is a doctor, or Harry Potter is a wizard.

    Superman is the guy’s name when he’s on the job! Heh.

    Just one of those little insidious things that religious privilege gets away with. They don’t recognize that there are thousands and thousands of gods, that it is a title, that theirs is one of many. They pretend like there is only one God, and his name is Yahweh (or Allah or Xenu or whatever particular flavor of superstition the believer follows) and so the words are synonymous, and are both proper names.

    I don’t like to allow them that, arguably minor, concession; the subtle reinforcement that their god is The God, the Only God, the Real God.

    Fuck you. Your mythological wizard is just another wizard, you magical fuck.

  70. joed says

    @31 antigodless
    “Remark: You are stating ‘balance on the cosmos’. A kind of ‘Yin and Yang.’ SO you agree that the concepts of evil and good must exist. However, you deny there are any eternal, supernatural entities which envisage evil and good. This, therefore, relies on a subjective evaluation of morals which can vary according to each individual’s evaluation of such.
    antigodless, your remark about morality shows your ignorant, childish ideas about morality.
    human consciousness creates morality.
    there is nothing that is good or bad except people make it so.
    sure there are universial moral principles (the same in all societies) but there are no objective moral principles (morality without people)(and here please don’t bring up chimps/bonobos/orangs.).
    your childish development of moral relativism is beyond ignorant–it is really verging on learned helplessness.
    you really want to have the answer don’t you. but you gotta’ be a bit more humble to get beyond ignorant childish ideas. you have to shed the crap you learned as a kid and then grow up and think critically and be open to reason and evidence. reason and evidence seem to be 2 concepts you have yet to be aware of.
    C’mon kid, learn the concepts of evidence and reason and then you can really bs the other kids. this jebus crap don’t get it no’mo’.

  71. RFW says

    #73 cybercmdr says:

    Correction, Roman God Janus. Of course, they borrowed all their gods from the Greeks

    That’s a begarblement: elements of truth, put together the wrong way.

    Both the Roman and Greek pantheons are derived independently from the pantheon of the proto-Indo-Europeans, just as is the Hindu pantheon. The Romans equated their gods to the Greek gods, just as they equated them (the Roman gods) to various other gods found throughout the Empire.

    The correspondences pantheon-to-pantheon are not exact, but then neither are the languages that descend from proto-Indo-European.

    much like Christianity borrowed all it’s basic principles from other religions of the time.

    In respect of the mythology, you may be right, but the core teaching of xtianity is to love one’s neighbor, even if he isn’t an xtian himself. Xtianity made a lot of headway in its earliest years because the xtians helped one another: charity seems not to have been much of a virtue in other religions of the day. Another notable distinction was that whereas if you wanted to participate in the Mysteries of Isis, you had to pay the priests, xtians didn’t have to pay anything to participate in their own mysteries.

    It’s in striking contrast that mormon charity is for mormons only and there are strings attached. [In its earliest days, mormonism had a distinct communist flavor.] Some RCC institutions get it right: unlike the Salvation Army, which serves up too many sermons with the soup, St. Vincent de Paul charities take care of everyone in need with no such religious strings attached.

  72. CYBERcmdr says

    RFW,
    While the Romans did try to equate their gods to the local versions to get buy-in (like Sulis in Britain was made equivalent to Minerva), they did trace their ancestry back to the Trojans. The Trojans worshiped the Greek Pantheon.

    Many of the Greek myths were brought in wholesale into Roman culture. Of course, this may be because the cultures were so intertwined. Any cultured Roman spoke Greek, and were probably educated by Greek slaves. Because of this, I think the Greek pantheon was a source, rather than a local equivalent to the Roman gods.

  73. cyberCMDR says

    RFW,
    I can see what you mean about the common Indo-European roots. Still, I think the Greek link was most likely the immediate source for the Romans.

  74. says

    CYBERcmdr,
    * the Trojan origin of the Romans was a myth of theirs;
    * the real Trojans probably did not worship the Greek gods; and
    * the Greeks at the time of the Trojan war most likely did not worship exactly the same gods as they did 5-800 years later, either.

    Common proto-Indo-European origins, supported by a lot of cross-fertilisation, make historical sense. Total wholesale adoption does not. The early Romans already had gods of their own, including Jupiter and Mars, when they encountered the Greeks.

  75. says

    Thanks atheody.

    I can definitely relate to that concept of just not feeling the spirit. Some people genuinely do feel it, but I suspect that has more to do with placebo effect than proximity to the divine.

    Personally, I’m with joed (#30) as regards your daughter. I think it’s very important to talk to her about beliefs so you can help her develop her own. The best thing a parent can do is give their child the tools to understand the world and make their own choices. You can’t make her choices for her, but you can teach her how to choose wisely.

  76. cyberCMDR says

    @ Alethea,
    Sorry. I had half remembered this , and had somehow connected this as proof of a Turkish (Trojan) origin. Unfortunately, that connected the Etruscans with that area, not the Romans.

    As for the Trojan worship, there was some overlap from what I understand.

    Definitely the Greek religions evolved in the period between the time Trojan War was supposed to have happened and the “Classical Greece” era.

  77. Margaret says

    You can’t make her choices for her, but you can teach her how to choose wisely.

    Yes. I wish I had had some help in learning how to make choices. I don’t think you necessarily have to discuss your beliefs with your daughter. I think if you work on two things — imagination and reasoning — the rest will take care of itself. Explore ancient mythology (Greek, Indian, Native American, etc.) and modern fantasy (Tiffany Aching, Harry Potter, etc.) with her. You shouldn’t have to mention Christian mythology for her to eventually get the point. Explore science and critical thinking (again without mentioning Christian nonsense) with her. The benefits will be many, and religion is just one of the lies she needs to be able to dismiss.

  78. Ichthyic says

    Joed @65:

    WHY DO YOU FOLKS LET ANTIGODLESS TAKE OVER THE COMMENTS?

    see Joed @75

    :)

  79. Ichthyic says

    ome people genuinely do feel it, but I suspect that has more to do with placebo effect than proximity to the divine.

    more likely recall or confirmation bias.

  80. cyberCMDR says

    I think it may be something like a belief in ESP. As a kid, I remember believing in that stuff, and even thought I was good at it for a while. It seemed like I was actually sensing some things. I tried my hand at Tarot cards, remote seeing, precognition, etc. I definitely had my family convinced; they didn’t want to play Battleship with me. ;-)

    Eventually I outgrew it, after I came to better understand how the mind works.

  81. says

    Stella #80

    I can definitely relate to that concept of just not feeling the spirit. Some people genuinely do feel it, but I suspect that has more to do with placebo effect than proximity to the divine.

    Genuinely do feel… what?

    This was one of the things that led me to dismiss it altogether as a child. Whenever I would ask what a “spirit” or a “soul” was, I never, ever – and haven’t to this day – received a coherent answer.

    When I press people on spirit it always breaks down to “uh, stuff”. There are a bunch of fancy, empty words often used. Essence. Breath of life. Piece of god.

    But when pressed further, when asked to explain it in a way that separates it from anything else, it degenerates into the equivalent of “stuff” that you can “feel”.

    It is just code for “I believe this magical shit so fucking hard that I get emotional over it, and I’m going to call that emotion spirit. And that spirit is God. God confirmed.”

  82. Ichthyic says

    It is just code for “I believe this magical shit so fucking hard that I get emotional over it, and I’m going to call that emotion spirit. And that spirit is God. God confirmed.”

    yup.

    recall and confirmation bias.

    I’ve found people that say they “feel” this to usually describe as a sense of “connectedness outside of self; outside of the typical feelings of connecting with friends and family”

    but in the end, it is just various biases, with a unique label plastered on them to make it seem special and different to the person recounting.

    Hell, I spent years myself studying this, reading “psychologists” like Jung (who also struggled to define what the essence of this was and nebulized it into “collective unconscious” and “synchronicity” and other likewise fabricated terminology), and in the end realizing that it really was just confirmation bias, anthropic bias, and recall bias all rolled into one, empowered by the fact that such a large swath of society EXPECTS this kind of thing from people stating they “believe in God”, or whichever religious dogma one cares to examine.

    It seems pretty damn simple to me now, looking back 20 plus years.

  83. joed says

    @83 Ichthyic
    Ichthyic, believe it on not, Nerd of Redhead made me do it! I didn’t want to but…NoR convinced me it is better to engage antigodless the little fucker.
    See,
    @66 Nerd of Redhead

    I’ll make it through this–whatever it is, somehow.

  84. Ichthyic says

    I’ll make it through this–whatever it is, somehow.

    aye, there’s a good lad!

    stiff upper lip!

  85. says

    tkreacher #86

    I’m not 100% sure what they feel exactly, but I think you’ve nailed it:

    It is just code for “I believe this magical shit so fucking hard that I get emotional over it, and I’m going to call that emotion spirit. And that spirit is God. God confirmed.”

    I think the phenomenon of mass hysteria can be applicable here, too.

  86. Ichthyic says

    Stella:

    check your blog; I posted my contact info there for purposes of pubbing in Welly.

    :)

  87. atheody says

    Just back from a longish trip. Surprised to see so many comments. I’ll read and respond as I have the chance.

    @Thomas – my family are, by and large, nice people. even the religious ones. :-)

    @cowalker – your comment resonates strongly.

    My spouse is not barely religious. I believe that there is some comfort in the ritual, and a desire to please the parents. But I don’t see any evidence that the roots of religion are deep.

    As for our daughter, she is a very curious child. I know she’ll ask the questions. I was raised in a very religious home, and I made it out of religion, reason intact. She will too. :-)

  88. atheody says

    dear antigodless -

    I work at a basic needs non-profit. That’s the difference I am making in the world.

    What difference ate you making? Trolling doesn’t count.