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Beliefs

Theists Are Not Just Their Theology

By | Religion | One Comment

Recently, a Christian man from Brazil reached out to me to apologize for the actions of some of his “brothers” that I’d been interacting with on Twitter. It’s a stark reminder that there are probably millions of theists out there that you could almost categorize at “humanist” – no matter their religious beliefs, they do love and respect their fellow man, and value the diversity in people’s backgrounds and beliefs.

It’s easy to get caught up in the conflict and the perceived ignorance, and forget that those theists you’re arguing with online are more than just theists: they are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, students and social workers, sports fans and .. well, you get the idea.

What I explained to my new Brazilian friend is that, on a human level, atheists generally don’t have a problem with believers – I’m friends with many christians, and I even dated one for a couple of years! What angers us is not the people in the church, but their behaviour when representing the church.

Prosthelytizing, door knocking, and preaching on street corners – such behaviour assumes that the theist is coming from a more moral position, or has access to some truth that atheists aren’t aware of. The fact of the matter is that atheists probably know more the theist’s beliefs than they do, because we’ve actually looked into it – we haven’t just accepted what’s been preached from the pulpit.

I know Christians think they are out their saving people’s immortal souls, but they really don’t understand that it comes off as arrogance on their part – they think that they have something to offer that we don’t know about. If a Muslim knocked on a Christian’s door early on a Saturday morning, asking if they know the truth about Islam, would the Christian react any different to an atheist confronted with a Christian?

But that’s not the real issue – in modern society, we’re all confronted with unsavoury elements on a regular basis.

The real issue is religion’s influence on society in general. For example, the rejection of evolution in favour of creation – it is incomprehensible that this idea that the world was created in six days has taken hold with so many people. Here’s the thing – you don’t have to understand evolution, you just have to understand how science works!

In science, something is observed, then once it’s observed enough times, a hypothesis is formed. Once a hypothesis is accepted – after many different people try to disprove it – it becomes a theory. So the fact is, any scientific theory is based on many observations and only survives after many people try to disprove it. Creation just does not stack up compared to evolution, no matter what your preacher tells you.

But it’s the rights of women, the rights gay, lesbian and transgender people, the rights of atheists and even minority religions, that are all held back by religion. This is why atheists are finally standing up and saying “This isn’t right!”

Atheists haven’t just turned up – there have always been atheists – but in the past, it wasn’t safe for them to speak out. It still isn’t safe in some corners of the world, but we have reached a turning point. We are now speaking out, and I really don’t think religion will survive against it.

The point I left my new friend with is one made my Penn Jillette:

“If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly the same way again. There might be some other nonsense in it’s place, but not the exact same nonsense. If all science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”

And that’s how you know what the truth is…

Atheism – Good enough for these idiots

By | Science | 10 Comments

You know, it’s really frustrating going up against the “head-in-the-sand” mentality most religious-types have.

In all honesty, I don’t care what beliefs someone has, as long as they don’t infringe on my rights, which being lucky enough to be a citizen of a first world country, should be exactly the same as everyone else.

I think it’s just sad when someone will reject solid science because it doesn’t sit well with their “beliefs”.

It seems obvious to me – if your belief doesn’t gel with the science, then there’s probably something wrong with your belief.

Narratives of the Birth of Jesus

By | Christianity | No Comments

From The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black (aka Mark Booth) (pg 285):

The two Gospels with infancy narratives, Luke and Matthew, give very different, indeed inconsistent, accounts, starting with the different genealogies ascribed to Jesus, the time and place of the births, and the visit by the shepherds in Luke and the Magi in Matthew. This is a distinction rigidly maintained in the art of the Middle Ages that has since been lost. While it may be glossed over in church, academic theologians accept that, where these accounts conflict, at least one must be false – perhaps an uncomfortable conclusion for anyone believing that scripture is divinely inspired.

The Best Argument For Atheism?

By | Beliefs | 71 Comments

Below is what I consider the best argument for lacking belief in any religions or gods. What makes this argument so powerful is that it covers any religion, and best of all, I don’t make the argument, you do. How strong the argument is really depends on how honest you can be with yourself. In fact if you’re a theist, you probably already know this argument, but have various ways to avoid facing it. So if you’re ready, let’s go through the argument as an experiment. The only one you have to answer to is yourself. You’ll know if you’re being honest with yourself or not.

Let’s imagine we’re sitting together having a relaxed, honest and open discussion about religion. On the table is a huge stack of white index cards and on each index card is one of thousands of different religions, gods, belief systems, along with arguments for believing in that particular religion or god. Maybe a card has a current religion, or maybe it has a older religion that no one believes in any more, or is largely forgotten. It doesn’t matter – the point is that they’re all here in this great big stack, except for the ones that you believe in – you religion’s not in this stack.

One at a time, I draw up a card and I read you the religion and god and arguments for why you should believe in it and you respond with the reasons you dismiss the arguments and why you don’t believe the religion or god, and I’ll write the responses down.

So we go through every argument ever made for every other religion, their gods, supposed holy books, witnesses, miracles, profits, saviours, prophecies, testimonies, answered prayers, faith claims, affects for good, archeological support; whatever the argument, we go through it. We note all your counter arguments and dismissals on the back on each card.

It won’t take long before we realize that there is a pattern. Your argument for dismissing one religion will likely be similar to a previous answer. We won’t need to write anything down any more – we can just refer back to a previous argument.

Once we get to the bottom of the stack, I take another card out of my pocket. This card has your religion and god on them, and all the arguments that you think support them. We go through that card and they are refuted referring back to arguments you made before, just as we did with all the previous cards.

The fact is that you’re an atheist in regards to thousands of other religions and gods. You already know everything there is to know about dismissing religious arguments. You’re an expert already. You rationally dismiss thousands of other religions or gods just like any atheist does. The difference is you don’t turn that critical side of your mind to your own beliefs.

This realization is all anyone needs to know to recognize their faith doesn’t stand up any more. It’s just question of how honest you can be with yourself.