Friday, 25 October 2013

"I Don't Believe In Atheists" Audiobook Breakdown. Chapter 1.

I've been given an audio book called "I Don't Believe in Atheists." I've decided I will take it slowly and dissect the contents of each chapter in blog posts. This will be the first of many!

Chris's main point in this chapter is that atheists are fundamentalists. They seek a new utopia which they hope to gain through absolutism ideals on morality and with intolerance of others who disagree.
WOW! I have no idea where he gets this. The prominent atheist authors and YouTube personalities hate absolutism. They speak against false certainties and espouse doubt as a humble trait. Science drives away absolutism and instead views the world in relative probabilities. Nothing is 100%. I'll try and reveal this while going through his more nuanced claims.

Claim: We don't move forward morally. We are inherently sinful and do not progress. We may have societal rules in place that give the appearance that the people are morally superior, but on the individual level, a person from 500 AD has the same internal morality as someone from the 21st century.

I definitely disagree with this. I would point to the abolition of slavery and the empowerment of women as proof that we are more moral than we used to be. He would say "That's a societal morality!" But how does a society's moral law imrove without the individuals improving? If the individual morality is forever stagnant, why should we expect our institutional morality not do the same? The laws are PROOF of changes on the individual level. Morality is influenced by empathy, education, and understanding. He discounts those components when judging an individual's morality; clearly not considering them as a part of morality. He sees animal instinct and nothing more. People are damned from his perspective, and it isn't a surprising viewpoint coming from a theologian.

Claim: Science can't perfect human society. It is useless in the world of ethics and morality. People use science to justify their current opinions and agendas. In fact, slavery was a scientific racism because the scientists of the day came to the conclusion that other races were inferior and made to serve.

Science doesn't seek to perfect society, it seeks to understand the natural world. It isn't a perfect process and selfish people will cherry pick for their own agenda. One modern day example of this is the Heartland Institute. Energy sector lobbyist money as well and religious climate deniers founded the Heartland Institute to show the world how science denies climate change. Science does NOT deny climate change. 97% of climate scientists agree that human caused global warming exists. Still, we see how the Heartland Institute cherry picks the data to misrepresent the science found. They do not use the scientific method in hopes of uncovering reality. Instead, they start with their conclusion and then try to find data that fits their conclusion. Real scientists doing real science do not do that.
The scientific method we have today is actually a modern thing. In the not so distant past, most doctors, engineers, and astronomers went about science much more loosely. They often espoused things like phrenology, bloodletting, and astrology. Today, we have labelled these non-evidence based ideas as "pseudoscience."

Claim: Atheists assume Christianity is represented by fundamentalists like Pat Robertson. They dismiss modern, liberal Christians who are the vast majority.

I wish this was true. A vocal minority is a small dog with a loud bark. Unfortunately, the issues that need defending are supported often by the majority of Christians.
-65% of Americans want prayer in public schools.
-54% of Americans think creationism should be taught in science classrooms.
-40% of Americans oppose gay marriage.

I'll give Chris credit. He doesn't believe in the traditional form of Christianity. He dropped out of seminary because he couldn't take the hypocrisy. I'm interested in his book "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" and I will be reading it in the coming months. His dad was a pastor who supported gay rights. He doesn't believe in angels or demons. He does NOT represent Christianity! More than two-thirds of Americans believe in angels, demons, the devil, and hell!

If America's Christians looked like him, there wouldn't be "militant atheists" like me.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Gay Christians Shouldn’t Just Leave the Church; They Should Leave the Faith

Recently, The Friendly Atheist published an article breaking down a fictitious interview on Christianity Today between a pastor (Pastor Jones) and a gay Christian (Todd). It gave a lot of good critiques, but I want to add a couple things they missed.

Todd: Some friends say that the Bible condemns homosexuality, and others say it does not. I hear some evangelicals accept monogamous gay marriage, based on the argument that the Bible simply does not address monogamous same-sex relationships, but I hear most evangelical churches insisting that marriage is only between a man and woman.
 We worship a God who speaks into the dark areas of our lives with enough moral clarity that we can understand the rough outlines of how he wants us to seek him, in purity and holiness. The Bible has much more to say about heterosexual sin in all its crazy varieties than it does about homosexual sin, but in every place where homosexual conduct is mentioned, most clearly in Leviticus 18:2220:13Romans 1:26-27, and 1 Corinthians 6:9, it is clearly condemned.
From my own research on this issue, I have found that there isn't a single Christian denomination that preaches homosexuality is alright.
-There are some that say it isn't a sin to be gay, only to act on it. (This is not the majority opinion due to verses like 
Matthew 5:27)
-There are some denominations that don't mandate doctrine, and thus, their churches can choose their own theology. (such as United Church of Christ)

At the heart of Christianity is the belief that each person is "broken." Nobody is perfect. We all have our faults and everybody struggles with different things. Of course, even if you are a saint among sinners, you are still "broken" thanks to your inherited "original sin." Regardless, the only way to be "mended" is through Jesus. Whether or not this is a healthy way to think about yourself or others could be debated on its own. The issue I want to drive at is the fact that every top-down, theology-minded denomination believes homosexuality is a type of "brokenness."

I find this to be horribly untrue. To equate homosexuality with the other sins like murder and theft is to see a human being in the wrong light. This is the same light the anti-choice crowd embraces as they work against the empowerment of women and oppose their emancipation from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. Is sexual reproduction all a person is good for?! Is it how you measure their contributions?

Addressing the latter type of church I mentioned earlier: Is it really worth twisting countless verses and ignoring countless more so you can continue to view the bible as the word of god while living as an open and active gay person? So many gay people have found it harmful to try and have the cake and eat it too. Maybe you haven't given it thought, but to quote a recent campaign by the Center For Inquiry "Millions are living happily without religion." If you still cling because you assume you can't have hope or happiness without religion, you would be wrong.

Todd: Well, I'm grateful for this information, but I can't say that you have solved things for me.Jones: I apologize if my own inadequacy, mediocre scholarship, or lack of Christian maturity have failed you in any way. But Christian maturity is not about solving things; it is about faithfulness. We are confronted in this area with the uncertainty of our paths, the modesty of our knowledge, and the mystery of the human condition. My appreciation of these uncertainties has only grown over the years.
To me, this is the worst thing a person could do. If it's not possible to reconcile your faith with reality, don't just believe anyway. Don't so casually throw away your rationality, self-respect, or happiness.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

To the Abrahamic religions of the world:

I think we can agree that religion is man-made when it comes to all of the other religions out there. Why would your god throw in another religion? Why would it appear to spread entire naturally like all of the other religions out there? (colonialism, wars, missionaries, etc) Why would your god use the same flawed human method of transmitting information (oral/written tradition, councils/committees, private revelations, etc) when he could have written instructions into the stars or something to set it apart? Why throw a "divinely inspired" religion into thousands of religions and expect we would be able to divine which one is right? Why trivialize such an important message?

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Science Converges, Religion Diverges.

As time progresses, the various scientific fields converge. Findings in geology, biology, paleontology, oceanography, etc come together to create a more accurate view of the world. We see them supporting each others' conclusions. Like putting together a puzzle, or coloring in different parts of the same picture. This confirms their pictures of reality are leading them to the same truth.

In contrast, as time progresses, religions diverge. They become more numerous, their conclusions differ ever more, and even exclude each other. Looking at Christianity alone, how many versions of the "one eternal truth" have been created in this century alone? How varied are they from 1500 A.D.? From 33 A.D.? The number of answers show this "shot in the dark" method of determining the truth is fatally flawed. It leads humanity further from truth and into the realm of useless and unsatisfying (although comforting) speculation.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

God allows, commands, and in some cases commits abortion.

Pro-lifer: God is against abortion! Don't kill babies!

Psalm 137:9: "Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks."

Pro-lifer: Stop that! Out of context!

Isaiah 13:16: "Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated."

Pro-lifer: Those are evil Babylonians! Justifiable!

Hosea 13:16: "their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.”

Pro-lifer: That was Sumeria! Also evil! Justifiable!

Exodus 12:29: "At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well...there was not a house without someone dead."

Pro-lifer: That was Egypt! Justifiable!

It seems to me that God is okay with killing babies as long as they aren't Hebrew babies...oh wait:

Numbers 5:27-28: If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse.

If your wife cheated on you and she is pregnant, God will give you an abortion...Hebrew style!