A Christian’s concern with Atheism

May 2, 2007 at 9:14 am 45 comments

One of the great successes of this blog has been the many comments we receive. In less than 2 months, we’ve had over 750 comments.

Here’s a comment by Robin I’d like to highlight for your, you guessed it, comments 🙂

Quotation Mark 3Here is my concern about atheism: I completely understand if individuals have doubts about the existence of God. I believe in separation of church and state. I don’t think it should mean tearing every reference to God out of the public square or out of the schools. Quite the opposite. I think that children should be taught spirituality early on. I think that each religion should be presented in a respectful manner. These days, science has become just another religion. Supposedly based in fact and reason, consensus is often reached politically. There is not one major development in science that was not hard won since back in the middle ages! To read a history of science is to really understand that while we can marvel at the advances science has made, we would be wise to not just accept everything blindly. String Theory? It’s interesting, but it is becoming another catch all to explain everything with scant physical evidence to back it up. The thing is, there is big money in science now. Big grants, big programs, there is incentive to skew results. And now it’s become political – hugely political with the global warming kerfuffle. Regardless of where you stand on it, it is a very serious thing to consider how much of your freedom you want to give up for a “consensus” – I came to these thoughts after reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It is not a political book, it is just an interesting book about science and how they know things, how things were discovered. It had the unintended consequence for me in seeing the political machinations within the scientific community, and the power plays that went on in the research about physics, origins, space, everything. It wasn’t his intention to draw attention to the underside of science, but it was there none the less.

Ok, so now you are wondering what does this have to do with atheism? Well, this:we here in America enjoy freedoms no one else in the world enjoys. The reason we enjoy that freedom is because the basis of our constitution is that our freedom is bestowed by our creator. It is vague about who that creator is, and that’s ok, the point is, it assumes a force higher than humankind from which our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness derive. Without those rights coming from something higher than humankind, they can only come from the collective humans – our government. The more that we throw god out, the more government moves in. People are no longer guided by conscience or “fear of God” they are only guided by laws, which must become increasingly restrictive as man loses his inner guide. No civilization has ever been able to survive the death of its gods. We could discuss whether man creates gods or god creates man, but the fact remains that man has never been able to create a society without gods that is not unspeakably cruel. When man considers a society for the good of man, man’s life ceases to be sacred. It becomes utilitarian. For the good of society, we should eliminate mentally retarded people from the gene pool. For the good of society, we should eliminate the elderly, for the good of society… Utopian societies never (I know, it is an absolute) turn out to be Utopian.

And right now, the barbarians at our door waiting for our gods to be gone are the radical Islamists who are looking to destroy immoral America which they feel is threatening their culture. Not from our war machine, but from the immorality we are constantly importing to their world via Hollywood and our entertainment industry. And quite frankly, they have every right to be threatened by our sexual immorality. It is a misconception that Jihadism is fueled by poverty and disadvantage. It is the intellectual elites from the wealthy and middle class who are fueling it, the same way the intellectual elites engineered the horribly bloody French Revolution.

Quotation Mark 4I’m not defending organized Christian religion here, and I think they have a lot to answer for, but one day the atheists are going to wake up to Sharia law and wish for the good old days when they were oppressed by mere Christianity.

– Robin

Do you believe Robin’s concern really is with atheism or the rise of Islam?

Advertisements

Entry filed under: agnostic, agnostic atheism, agnostic atheist, atheism, atheist, Bible, christian, christianity, Islam.

Militant Atheism: Good or Bad? Christian-Atheist Debate will air May 9th on ABC News Now & Nightline (NOT May 5th)

45 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brendan  |  May 2, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Let’s set aside for a moment that taking either Christian or Islamic mythology and “theology” as literal “truth” is silly.

    The question then arises: How do we know Islam isn’t the “one true religion” as it’s orthodox proponents claim? If it were, and “God” were going to send us all to Hell for our non-belief in the one true faith, then Robin’s “concerns” might actually be the spiritual ruin of anyone convinced by it. Meanwhile the “Sharia law” he/she is slandering would otherwise “save” us.

    Reply
    • 2. Marc  |  February 4, 2011 at 8:10 am

      Islam is failry easy to pick apart. That mankind influenced the scripture of the Islamic religion is not only probable, it’s onvious. Islamic falsehoods can be tested and proven.
      Islam claims to be the oldest and 1st religion, however, it’s text claims that Muhammad was the last prophet of God and that his testimony voids the bible.
      How can Islam be the oldest religion AND replace the old and new testament?

      Also, the book contradicts itself several times over. These are just a handful of examples. ( Source: http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/)

      1.>Consider, it claims 5 different people are the 1st muslim. Was it Muhammad [6:14, 163], Moses [7:143], some Egyptians [26:51], or Abraham [2:127-133, 3:67] or Adam, the first man who also received inspiration from Allah [2:37]?

      2.> The Qur’an forbids believers to marry idolatrous women [Sura 2:221], and calls Christians idolaters and unbelievers [9:28-33], but still allows Muslims to marry Christian women [5:5].

      3.> Man was created from a blood clot [96:1-2], water [21:30, 24:45, 25:54], “sounding” (i.e. burned) clay [15:26], dust [3:59, 30:20, 35:11], nothing [19:67] (which is later denied in 52:35), earth [11:61], a drop of thickened fluid [16:4, 75:37]

      4.>According to Sura 21:76, Noah and his family is saved from the flood, and Sura 37:77 confirms that his seed survived. However, Sura 11:42-43 reports that Noah’s son drowns.

      The bible seems to be entirely absent of this flaw. (There are several noted changes in the law between the old and new testament, but they don’t contradict each other. They are simply changes to the law.)

      Reply
      • 3. Marc  |  February 4, 2011 at 8:11 am

        Sorry for spelling. I’m working the late shift tonight and I’m quite tired.

  • 4. Heather  |  May 2, 2007 at 9:57 am

    This would be what concerns me:

    **those rights coming from something higher than humankind, they can only come from the collective humans – our government. The more that we throw god out, the more government moves in. People are no longer guided by conscience or “fear of God” they are only guided by laws, ** Equating God with a conscience can be dangerous. I do think people can remove the religious concept of God and still be guided by a conscience. I think the true danger would be more of removing a sense of the sacred — as in, every life is sacred, freedom is sacred, truth is sacred (although that one would probably lead to the question of ‘what is truth).

    The problem with keeping a religious concept of God forefront is that it does include being guided by a law. Conservative Christianity says that God had to fulfill His justice/law, so Jesus had to die to take the punishment so that people could go to Heaven. How many ex-fundamentalists, or even conservative Christians, have found it freeing to be removed from that atmosphere because the threat of hell no longer hangs over them? If anything, fear of hell/God’s law can be what keeps many in line. Look at how some Christians have said athiesm leads to chaos because without God’s law, it becomes every person for themselves. That response tells me that they don’t follow God out of love — they follow God out of fear of hell/punishment.

    Reply
  • 5. Pedro Timóteo  |  May 2, 2007 at 10:04 am

    There are so many things I could pick… but let’s try one of them:

    And right now, the barbarians at our door waiting for our gods to be gone are the radical Islamists who are looking to destroy immoral America which they feel is threatening their culture. Not from our war machine, but from the immorality we are constantly importing to their world via Hollywood and our entertainment industry. And quite frankly, they have every right to be threatened by our sexual immorality.

    (emphasis mine)

    Why do I have the feeling that, by “sexual immorality”, Robin doesn’t mean rape or child abuse, but simply sex outside of marriage and gay marriage, both of which don’t harm absolutely anyone?

    Yet, to a religious right conservative, they’re the biggest threats to decency and morality… Oh, and 9/11 was God’s punishment for that.

    Reply
  • 6. brian t  |  May 2, 2007 at 11:28 am

    He’s basically saying you should support his religion as a bulwark against … another religion. What’s wrong with this picture?

    As for the comment about “the underside of science”… and? Yes, scientists are people too, complete with human failings. Just as the US Guvmnt has its “checks and balances”, so does the scientific community: falsifiability, peer review, and the willingness to admit when you don’t know, or accept that you’re wrong. It’s not simply a choice between science and religion; it’s a choice between intellectual honesty, and acceptance of what you’re told without evidence.

    Reply
  • 7. beepbeepitsme  |  May 2, 2007 at 11:43 am

    RE: “I’m not defending organized Christian religion here, and I think they have a lot to answer for, but one day the atheists are going to wake up to Sharia law and wish for the good old days when they were oppressed by mere Christianity.”

    I find it a strange and sad notion that we would choose to fight religious fundamentalism with our own brand of religious fundamentalism. If we have learnt anything in the last 3 hundred years, it should be that religious fndamentalism is dangerous to which ever side that wields it.

    My opinion on religious fundamentalism would be that we would want to distance ourselves from such behaviour; speak against the perils and dangers of such behaviour and decide that is a path we should not take ourselves.

    Reply
  • 8. Justin  |  May 2, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    I have to disagree with Heather about equating God with conscience. The conscience is one of the greatest pieces of evidence for God existing at all! Just a few points. First, t exists in every human (some would argue no, but the reality is that it does, individuals just learn to ignore it).

    Secondly, the emergance of the conscience through evolution does not fit with the theory of natural selection. Reality is, the conscience can’t be a product of evolution being that natural selection implies “survival of the fitest”. Surviving entails maximizing ones own position. Therefore, lying and stealing (which would maximize one’s current position) are beneficial in according to the principles of natural selection. However, we see that the human conscience encourages the opposite (truth and respect for another’s property). This type of behavior would not maximize your position, and therefor not help you “survive”.

    Conclusion: the univerality of the conscience, which is only in human beings, can’t be a product of nature as it defies the way nature produces “survivors”. Explanation? God.

    phew….sorry, that had no relation to the original post…more of a rebuttal against Heather’s view of the conscience. Keep up the posts!!!!

    http://politicsandreligion.wordpress.com

    Reply
  • 9. Justin  |  May 2, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    (sorry, the first sentence doesn’t make much sense in my previous post…i am disagree with Heather’s view that equating God with the conscience is ‘dangerous’)

    Reply
  • 10. Brendan  |  May 2, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    “Conclusion: the univerality of the conscience, which is only in human beings, can’t be a product of nature as it defies the way nature produces “survivors”. Explanation? God.”

    Huh? Of course it promotes survivors. Conscience is an aspect of the social impulse that conforms individuals’ behavior to group standards and allows large numbers of organisms to subjugate their own interests for the furtherance of the group of which they are a part. For most of the subjugatees, the payoff is worth it in organized, large scale agriculture, business, food, security, warmaking ability, etc. For some, it’s an extremely raw deal. But nevertheless, the human social impulse, which includes “conscience,” is a powerful biological and evolutionary mechanism.

    I have an extended explanation here:
    http://agnosticgnostic.blogspot.com/2007/03/infection.html

    Reply
  • 11. mysteryofiniquity  |  May 2, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    I agree with Brendan. Human consciousness and conscience did not just appear “whole and entire” and fully formed. Our conscience evolved by a series of trial and error.

    And yes, I believe there are some people who are either born without a conscience or whose mind was so conditioned by abuse and hatred that a conscience was killed early on. It’s almost impossible to get that back.

    As for Robin’s comments, I think that fear is the ONLY motivator that works in changing behavior; fear of punishment, fear of prison, fear of community censure. Evolutionarily speaking, the human race is so far away from doing good behavior just because it is good behavior that religion seems a necessary evil. Necessary in that it’s a catalyst and a springboard in envisioning how a true community should be.

    Reply
  • 12. Heather  |  May 2, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Justin,

    The reason why I think it’s dangerous, and this may not have been clear, is that it first depends on what the defintion of ‘God’ is. Removing a religious concept of God does not automatically translate into removing a sense of conscience. For example, some say that removing school prayer is the same as removing God from schools. But removing school prayer doesn’t mean that one removes a conscience. It didn’t have anything to do with conscience proving or disproving God’s existence.

    **Surviving entails maximizing ones own position. Therefore, lying and stealing (which would maximize one’s current position) are beneficial in according to the principles of natural selection.** Not in the long run. A conscience would go a lot farther in securing survival, because then one woudlnt’ always be on the look-out for theft and lies.

    Reply
  • 13. nullifidian  |  May 2, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Justin spake thus:

    Surviving entails maximizing ones own position. Therefore, lying and stealing (which would maximize one’s current position) are beneficial in according to the principles of natural selection.

    One observation, and one suggestion:

    1. You obviously don’t have the faintest idea natural selection actually is.
    2. Read something — anything — about game theory.

    Reply
  • 14. Dunesong  |  May 2, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    I found Robin’s comment pointless as soon as I came to this:

    “The reason we enjoy that freedom is because the basis of our constitution is that our freedom is bestowed by our creator. ”

    This is simply false. The document the comment is referring to is the Declaration of Independence not the constitution. Our constitution is not in any way based on or derived from a belief in a creator higher than our selves. The opening is:

    “We the people in order to form a more perfect union…”

    Nothing about a creator here.

    The declaration of independence was a letter addressed to an audience of one King George III. It was written in a language targeted to that audience. That the language of our constitution is so different is not incidental.

    Reply
  • 15. Brendan  |  May 2, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Even in the DofI the phrase “endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights” does not identify the “Creator” as “God” of any particular religion (gasp, what if it’s “Alllah”).

    In a strict sense “All men” are “created” as a function of language and social construction. Each of us exists as the thing we are with the attributes we have as a result of language and social convention. Thus, the “Creator” of “all men” is social convention and faith in social constructs in language. Since “rights” are merely an outgrowth of the power of recognition of those rights, we can, by social convention (and remember, Tom Jefferson was modeling much of this on the writings of John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau) declare as the collective “Creator” of “all men” that certain rights are inalienable. The “recognition” of that inalienability by those without faith in that social construct may have to be achieved by other means (such as through logical reasoning and rhetoric), but more likely through bargaining and/or violence. In the American Revolution, which this document precipitated, it was the latter. By force, the American colonists imposed a new social reality and thereby “Created” these new inalienable rights for “all men.”

    Reply
  • 16. Brendan  |  May 2, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    And of course by “all men” at that time, they really meant “all white, landowning males.”

    Reply
  • 17. Robin  |  May 2, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    Ok, wow, thanks for all the responses… I have lots of replies so I am going to do it in bits. First of all, the title is a bit misleading. I do not belong to any organized religion. I do consider myself a Christian, but probably not like any other you have encountered. I have labeled my self a Christian Mystic for lack of a better term. I went for a very long time not wanting to tell people I was a Christian – not for what I actually believe, but because of what others would assume I believe and it certainly seems to be the case here. I see that some of you have assumed things about me or my belief system and then made accusatory remarks based on your assumptions. And pretty snarky about it, too. It is possible to disagree with someone’s opinion in a more neutral manner that is more conducive to honest debate. Are you here to have an interesting conversation that can be edifying for all, or are you just looking to pile on Christians? I am going to assume that it is interesting conversation you are looking for and continue my responses.

    Reply
  • 18. Robin  |  May 2, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    “Let’s set aside for a moment that taking either Christian or Islamic mythology and “theology” as literal “truth” is silly.

    The question then arises: How do we know Islam isn’t the “one true religion” as it’s orthodox proponents claim? If it were, and “God” were going to send us all to Hell for our non-belief in the one true faith, then Robin’s “concerns” might actually be the spiritual ruin of anyone convinced by it. Meanwhile the “Sharia law” he/she is slandering would otherwise “save” us.

    Brendan, you may very well be right. Islam may very well be the one true religion, but that is not my revelation. It is obviously many people’s revelation. Here’s the thing Brendan… you cannot live on a borrowed revelation. There are many people who have left the religion of Cristianity because they can see the untruth of the church system, and cannot see the difference between the church and The Church (meaning the called out ones). In their hearts they are simply seeking authenticity. They want to really hear the voice of god, not someone telling them they should hear the voice of god a certain way and something must be wrong with them if they don’t. I trust god that everyone is where they should be. It very well may be God’s will for us to be converted to Islam. I was not arguing we should have a Christian revival – I was trying to point out the irony of people whining about how oppressive Christianity is, how much Christians hurt people’s feelings, etc, while there is a much larger danger to them waiting in the wings for Christianity to be completly crippled. Do I fear this? No. I believe god controls the interplay of good and evil, and I am not always the best judge of what it is I am witnessing. Sometimes you can’t tell for quite some time what the implications of a thing are, especially when witnessing what seems to be an horrific evil. But evil is necessary for the breaking down of something so something else can be built in its place. My comments were merely to point out that everything has consequences, for every action there is a reaction.

    Reply
  • 19. Robin  |  May 2, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    Heather’s turn:

    “The problem with keeping a religious concept of God forefront is that it does include being guided by a law. Conservative Christianity says that God had to fulfill His justice/law, so Jesus had to die to take the punishment so that people could go to Heaven. How many ex-fundamentalists, or even conservative Christians, have found it freeing to be removed from that atmosphere because the threat of hell no longer hangs over them? If anything, fear of hell/God’s law can be what keeps many in line. Look at how some Christians have said athiesm leads to chaos because without God’s law, it becomes every person for themselves. That response tells me that they don’t follow God out of love — they follow God out of fear of hell/punishment.”

    First of all, I reject the conservative Christian view of hell/punishment and the existence of evil, and Satan. So, let me respond to part of your comments with what I believe:

    “The letter kills, but the spirit igves life”
    The church system wants you to live under the law so that they can control you. They want a heirarchy of priests and laymen to govern you, so that you don’t develop your own relationship with god – if you do, you are rebellious. But that is actually NOT what Jesus said. When asked by the Sadducees (in an effort to discredit him)what was the most important law, jesus replied “love god with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength, and after that, love your neighbor as you love yourself for upon those two laws, all the others hang” and as for people who like to judge their brother: “why do you try to remove the speck from your brother’s eye when you have a log in your own?”

    My argument that atheism as a state religion is not that it would create chaos (although it likely would, but that is not my argument) but it would create a vacuum. What then? Something must fill it… I agree the church system deserves to fall, but not faith. What has made the church system corrupt is the politics of man, the greed of man, allowing a “government” to take charge of our spiritual lives. A personal relationship with god is the most powerful thing a person can have. Nothing motivates like a spiritual belief that one is integrally connected with forces stronger than oneself.

    I don’t mean to be jumping around, but I want to get one more thing in: the necessity of laws. Our society has become more lawless even though we have more laws than ever. Because morality cannot be legislated. As people fall away from god in their hearts, their hearts do not become more filled with love for their fellow man. We seem to become more hedonistic, looking for distraction. I think it is interesting that Washington said in his departing speech that our way of government can only stand as long as we remain a religious people.

    Reply
  • 20. Brendan  |  May 2, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    If you imagine God as a thing or a being that does things, you aren’t a mystic. Also, if you can’t find yourself in other sets of mythological symbols you aren’t a mystic. The truest test of a mystic is the ability to engage in “passing over” to other systems of thought, find the elementary idea and return. So long as you see a world with “Christians” and “Muslims” and things “religious” and things “non-religious,” you are shouting out the elementary idea – the mystic. Being mystic is as much about what you don’t know as it is about what you do.

    Aside from that, your response didn’t really answer my comment. Are you suggesting that Muslims’ religious experiences are not authentic?

    Reply
  • 21. Robin  |  May 2, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    And Pedro:

    “Why do I have the feeling that, by “sexual immorality”, Robin doesn’t mean rape or child abuse, but simply sex outside of marriage and gay marriage, both of which don’t harm absolutely anyone?

    Yet, to a religious right conservative, they’re the biggest threats to decency and morality… Oh, and 9/11 was God’s punishment for that.”

    Gee, Pedro, I have no idea why you are projecting those thoughts onto me.

    What I mean by sexual immorality is all of those things you mentioned AND child abuse and rape. It is not just Christians who believe that sex outside of marriage, with a person of the same sex or against someone’s will or with a child is immoral. Sex outside of marriage and most of the other practices you mentioned are pretty much frowned upon universally throughout history as normal social mores. We may think we are too sophisticated to respect such “unenlightened” beliefs concerning sexuality, but you cannot deny that unfettered sexuality is not particularly healthy for a society. And for the record, I don’t think it is because God doesn’t want people to have fun, and he’s punishing the practitioners, it’s the natural consequence. Free for all sex is disruptive to society. Today we don’t have much respect for the sacredness of sex. Pornography does not celebrate the beauty of sex. It is no respecter of women, or men for that matter. As for the spreading of dieases… well, people could practice safe sex, but they don’t. The average age for having sex for a child – yes, a child is 15 – and that was 8 years ago – I wonder what it is in 2007. Do you realize that in order for 15 to be the average age, that means there were lots younger than that. How about unwanted pregnancies? Have you heard the latest statistics on unwed mothers? 37%, of all babies born in the USA in 2005 were born to single mothers. That is nearly one in four children without a father. Do you think that is good for the continuation of a healthy nation economically, able to face the competition of other countries, hungrier than ours? Our culture is so obsessed with fornication little else gets done or even thought about. If it weren’t for the Asian immigrants in our schools both as teachers and students, our educational system would be completely in the dumper. So, I’m sorry, I do not accept your assertion that sex outside of marriage is not harmful to society.

    Reply
  • 22. Robin  |  May 2, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Brendan – are you defining me? You are really going to tell me what I am and what I can or cannot believe? I think that is very judgmental of you. I said I use Christian Mystic as a label for lack of a better term. I am not trying to define your belief system or lack of one or whatever it is that you are, please be more respctful of mine.

    Again, you do not seem like you really want to engage in meaningful discussion, you seem to be only interested in demeaning me.

    Reply
  • 23. Brendan  |  May 2, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    Robin: “You are really going to tell me what I am and what I can or cannot believe? I think that is very judgmental of you.”

    Daily dose of irony? . . .

    “And right now, the barbarians at our door waiting for our gods to be gone are the radical Islamists who are looking to destroy immoral America which they feel is threatening their culture. ”

    Check.

    Reply
  • 24. Justin  |  May 3, 2007 at 1:53 am

    I must say that I am a bit disappointed with a few of the disrespectufl responses I have had to my post. I sensed a bit of sarcasm to my previous comment. Nonetheless, there’s no need to get offended – I was merely offering my viewpoint on the situation (you don’t have to agree with it).

    First off, Brendan says “Our conscience evolved by a series of trial and error”. I’d be interested to see undisputable evidence on this theory. Of course we all know that there is not so that is why it remains a theory and not fact.

    The tricky thing w/evolution is that it is based on assumptions about unknowable phenomena. Some of the following questions should be considered when thinking about the topic….for instace:

    Which evolved first (how, and how long, did it work without the others)? a) The digestive system, the food to be digested, the appetite, the ability to find and eat the food, the digestive juices, or the body’s resistance to its own digestive juice (stomach, intestines, etc.)?

    b) The drive to reproduce or the ability to reproduce?

    c) The lungs, the mucus lining to protect them, the throat, or the perfect mixture of gases to be breathed into the lungs?

    d) DNA or RNA to carry the DNA message to cell parts?

    e) The termite or the flagella in its intestines that actually digest the cellulose?

    f) The plants or the insects that live on and pollinate the plants?

    g) The bones, ligaments, tendons, blood supply, or muscles to move the bones?

    h) The nervous system, repair system, or hormone system?

    i) The immune system or the need for it?

    Lots of questions…no, little, or poor answers to each. Is it possible that similarities in design between different animals proves a common Creator instead of a common ancestor?

    I can see a great deal of you salavating at the opportunity to “shake me from my faith” with scientific facts. That’s okay though, i really don’t mind because science is actually the best evidence for God I have ever come across!

    (in fact, I received a publishing contract on the very idea!)

    keep up the great blog AgnosticAtheism!

    God Bless! 🙂

    http://politicsandreligion.wordpress.com

    Reply
  • 25. Justin  |  May 3, 2007 at 1:54 am

    ps. i’m sorry again, my post has little, or nothing to do with the original message! I’ll try to do better next time 🙂 !

    Reply
  • 26. Heather  |  May 3, 2007 at 4:28 am

    Robin,

    **My argument that atheism as a state religion is not that it would create chaos (although it likely would, but that is not my argument) but it would create a vacuum. ** I do understand your argument, I just don’t think a belief in God is the same as a conscience. Atheism doesn’t remove a a conscience (in general).

    Justin,

    ** I’d be interested to see undisputable evidence on this theory. Of course we all know that there is not so that is why it remains a theory and not fact. ** There’s a difference between what we refer to as a theory, and a scientific theory. Scientific theories do have undisputable facts.

    Reply
  • 27. Brendan  |  May 3, 2007 at 6:19 am

    Justin: “First off, Brendan says “Our conscience evolved by a series of trial and error”.”

    I didn’t say that, actually.

    You proposed that you knew for sure that there was no “survival” purpose to a conscience. I proposed an a very rational explanation for why “conscience” does aid in furthering an organism’s survival (with a link to an expanded explanation on my blog). Beyond that, I don’t waste my time engaging in debates about “creationism,” and I couldn’t care less about shaking you out of your faith.

    Reply
  • 28. Justin  |  May 3, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Okay Brendan, that’s fine. I’ll check out your blog and read some of the stuff you have to say.

    I do find it interesting though that so many people believe in the existance of evolution as true fact, when it’s certainty has never been confirmed. I suppose that just confirms that even atheists are capable of faith. 🙂

    Reply
  • 29. mysteryofiniquity  |  May 3, 2007 at 9:48 am

    Robin,
    You preach it sister!! I love your comment:
    “The church system wants you to live under the law so that they can control you. They want a heirarchy of priests and laymen to govern you, so that you don’t develop your own relationship with god – if you do, you are rebellious. But that is iactually NOT what Jesus said.”

    This is my problem with Christianity, as an institution and as a hierarchical system. My deconversion from Christianity has nothing whatsoever to do with whether I choose to believe in Jesus or God or not. Some people confuse the two issues. We can deconvert from the Church system and still hold theistic beliefs. I think people assume that when you are critical of Christianity or any other institution made by men (and men are fallible creatures), you are critical of the whole theology behind it and that’s not necessarily true.

    I do not form my conscience any longer based on the pietistic religion of fundamentalist patriarchal religionists of any kind. For some of us, Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God are an excellent basis for living our lives, as you said. Being a Christian Mystic is a fine label for those who insist on labels, but it by no means defines everything about us, nor should it. Labels are just another tool to circumscribe what others do not understand.

    By the way, I’m the one who said our consciences are formed by trial and error. It’s my personal opinion and it’s based on the a posteriori theory that we are not born with innate knowledge, only genetic code and hormones, and that our experiences form our concepts and values and therefore our consciences. And no, I cannot prove it, nor do I care to. Frankly, if we could solve this problem of where our conscience comes from we wouldn’t be having this discussion so I think that it’s best left with scientists and philosophers.

    Reply
  • 30. honjii  |  May 3, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    I think Robin is misguided in many of her opinions, but I really take issue with Robin and anyone else who uses conscience and morality as proof of a god. There have been studies done, where moral and ethical questions are posed to both believers and atheists, the results for both groups are about the same. It is believed by anthropologists and psychologists that conscience is hardwired into us (and other social species) as a survival mechanism for the species as a whole.

    A Harvard professor believes we are born with an instinctive sense of right and wrong, and has subjected adults to a series of moral dilemmas, while scanning their brains… read more

    Reply
  • 31. Robin  |  May 3, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Brendan: I do not see how those two statements equate, or what your point is.

    honjji: So, you think that the rise of atheism and the decline of Western Civilization is a coincidence? Or is it your position that Western Civilization is not in decline?

    Reply
  • 32. honjii  |  May 4, 2007 at 1:01 am

    Robin,
    Civilization (societies) are not stagnant and go through many cycles. If, for the sake of argument, Western Civilization is in decline, then it is rather simplistic to attribute it to what you see as the rise in atheism. I don’t happen to believe that there is a rise in atheism, it’s just that we are out of the closet. I have no statistics, but I would venture to guess that the ratio of atheists to believers is probably not much different than it was a hundred years ago.

    Atheists have never been responsible for inquisitions, crusades, wars, burning witches, terrorist attacks, and more, in the name of religion. I think, if anything, these things would have a much more profound effect on the decline of a given civilization than people who simply don’t believe in a god.

    Reply
  • 33. Brendan  |  May 4, 2007 at 8:44 am

    “I do not see how those two statements equate”

    Exactly. And that is my point.

    Reply
  • 34. Karen  |  May 4, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Exactly. And that is my point.

    LOL. Point taken.

    Reply
  • 35. Robin  |  May 5, 2007 at 3:00 am

    Hojji… Let’s see now… The French Revolution, The Chniese Cultural Revolution, The Russian Revolution, and the Nazis, oh, yeah, and Korea, Vietnam, Cuba? What did they all have in common… let me think… ummmm, could it be ATHEISM????? Why yes… mass murder in the name of NOT religion.

    Brendan… the only “point” I think you might be trying to make is that you think I am being judmental in calling radical islamists babarian. I think that is pretty much the dictionary definition of people who saw off people’s heads and blow themselves up in the middle of a marketplace of innocent civilians.

    Reply
  • 36. Heather  |  May 5, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Robin,

    Hold on — Hitler and most of those wo followed him were Christian. That was mass murder in the name of religion. As for the others … the problem is that no one really kills in, “The name of no God whatsoever, because I don’t believe.” What Honji is saying is that Athiests don’t kill in the name of religion aka in the name of absolute morals.

    Reply
  • 37. Robin  |  May 5, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Heather, sorry no, the Nazis were definitely NOT Christians, as a matter of fact, they were in the process of trying to construct a religion for tbased on paganism for thier new society because they realized that a society with no gods cannot stand. The History Channel did a documentary on it.

    When I Google the topic, I get returned lots of hits alluding to it, but find those soources to be specious in their credibility, but then find from Cornell Law library actual documents from the Nueremberg Trials detailing the Nazi plan for the persecution of Christian Chruches. Check for yourself:

    http://library.lawschool.cornell.edu/donovan/nur.html

    Reply
  • 38. Robin  |  May 5, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Oh, and the Nazis were after the Jews for their race, not thier religion. They are two separate things.

    Reply
  • 39. honjii  |  May 5, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    Robin,
    Judaism is a religion, not a race. There are Jews of all races and nationalities.

    Your comments make you seem really defensive, as if you’ve been backed into a corner. Chill out.

    Reply
  • 40. Robin  |  May 5, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    No corners here. but… I stand by my assertion that the Jews were being persecuted for their race, not their religion.

    Non practicing Jews were persecuted just the same as practing ones.

    Reply
  • 41. Karen  |  May 5, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Robin, what are you talking about? Judaism is a religion. It is not a race, there’s no question on the matter. Anyone can convert to Judaism, it’s not race-based.

    Hitler was a terrible monster, we can all agree on that, and I would never hold him up as a follower of Christ. But he also was by no means an atheist, so please don’t lump him in that camp.

    Hitler was raised a Catholic, educated in monastary schools and served as an altar boy. He was a anti-semite who wanted revenge on the Jews because they “killed Jesus” – official Catholic teaching. The Vatican backed up the Third Reich and refused to condemn Hitler or Mussolini, something the current Pope is under fire to apologize for, in fact.

    Here’s a quote from Hitler himself on the matter:

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”

    –Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

    Reply
  • 42. Karen  |  May 5, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    The History Channel did a documentary on it.

    ROTFL! Sorry, but The History Channel puts on all kinds of crap that no real historian would endorse. It’s entertainment TV, not a valid source of historical information.

    Reply
  • 43. Heather  |  May 5, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Robin,

    Many Nazis considered themselves to be Christians, and part of the anti-semetism they were able to tap into stemmed directly from Christian treatment of Jews. The Nazis used much of what Martin Luther said about the Jews as justification for Nazi practice. They were also advocating ‘Positive Christianity,’ which was to turn Jesus into an Aryan. Were there Christians and churches in Germany who fought back against HItler? Of course. But HItler and the Nazis can’t be labled as ‘athiests,’ especially if there was interest in paganism or the occult.

    Judaism is the religion, a ‘Jew’ is an ethnic term. Hitler did target them based on race, but as I stated above — much of that came from Christian treatment of Jews.

    The document you sited doesn’t seem to list persecutions against Christians due to religion, but due to the power the churches had over the people.

    Reply
  • 44. arrgjonsmad  |  May 8, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    it seems to me that he is just trying to say, believe in something instead of nothing. thats not smart.

    Reply
  • 45. John  |  September 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    What a bunch of idiots! All this concern about supernatural forces that none of us have ever seen (factually)

    In simple terms, there is no god. Never was, and I hope there never will be. Talk about a way to lose freedom! Whew! The last thing Americans need is a real God. They can’t even handle this false one. …or any of the 63,000 other false ones.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Agnostic Atheism Wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God, you will be judged on your merits and not just on whether or not you ignored the lack of evidence of his/her existence and blindly believed.

%d bloggers like this: