'Top Ten Atheist Inconsistencies' Examined

Atheist Issues?

'Top 10 Atheist Inconsistencies' was an article posted on HubPages by fellow 'Hub Pages' member, 'Graynight', to which this item is a response.

That original article is no longer available, but we may still consider the issues.

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What is the difference between atheists and antitheists?

Are atheists really guilty of at least 'ten inconsistencies'?

Or would that be the antitheists?

Or both, perhaps?

How about agnostics?

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Atheist: Greek "atheoi" αθεοι - "Those without God" [Ephesians]

2nd / 3rd century AD / CE. Out of copyright. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ephesians_2,12_-_Greek_atheos.jpg
2nd / 3rd century AD / CE. Out of copyright. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ephesians_2,12_-_Greek_atheos.jpg | Source

"Atheoi" / Atheists

The Greek term "atheoi" (αθεοι) is found in Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians 2:12. Indeed this is the only place in the New Testament where the word can be found.

"Atheoi" refers to people who are 'without God'.

Above is an image of the word from a late 2nd / early 3rd century papyrus.

More details here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ephesians_2,12_-_Greek_atheos.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ephesians_2,12_-_Greek_atheos.jpg

'Ten Inconsistencies'?


When Graynight, wrote a hub about, what he termed, the 'Top 10 Atheist Inconsistencies', he looked at atheism in ten contexts:

It is worth examining these 'inconsistencies', one by one:


War and Murder

Love

Fidelity and Procreation

Altruism

Abstract Immortality

Literal Immortality

Feelings

Meaning

Mutability

Suffering


From Paul's letter to the Ephesians 2:12

The Bible

Source

Atheist? Antitheist? Agnostic? Some Introductory Thoughts

I consider myself agnostic, rather than atheist,and this may need further explanation. The word 'agnostic' is related to the word 'knowledge'. I do not believe that either I, or anyone else, has enough, suitable, knowledge to know whether or not there is a God.

I am aware of the fact that many people have experienced events, which appear to have been 'supernatural'. I know that there is still much that is unexplained, and might possibly be considered 'paranormal', so I keep an open mind on such matters.

However, while I believe that it is not possible to know either that God exists, or that God does not exist, or what any God might be like, I think it likely that any God would probably either be an immense abstract power, incomprehensible to humans, or, perhaps, the mass 'essences', or souls', of deceased beings.

As far as the existence of 'God', is concerned, I think that sacred scriptures are mankind's attempts at understanding the inexplicable, and are, therefore, human invention; describing human ideas about what might be termed 'God', rather than being based on anything factual.

'The Holy Bible'

King James Bible
King James Bible | Source

'Atheism' often seems to relate to 'God', as originally described in the Old Testament. It also often includes a belief in a divine Jesus. Of course, there are other current belief systems with different views. But few people, nowadays, would call someone who did not believe in Zeus or Odin, an 'Atheist'.

This is something to ponder, because when 'believers' write about the apparent inconsistencies of atheism, they are usually talking about people who do not believe in a specific form of 'God', ie. as 'God' was originally described in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Consequently, criticism of atheists is often applied, almost equally, to agnostics.

Furthermore, agnostics and atheists do share some ideas and opinions.

I do understand why so many atheists feel as they do ~ and I often agree with them.

Thus I feel qualified to respond.

I am simply going to reply to to the assertions made ~ I am not going to refer to a writer or philosopher, whom I know little about, but who Graynight may have cited.

No 'Rules' in Atheism

Graynight claims that atheists 'criticize theists [for their] contradictory beliefs .., but they ignore the contradictions and inconsistencies that are so prevalent within the scope of their own attitudes and ideologies.'

Is that true?

Are atheists inconsistent and contradictory?

Is there an 'atheist attitude' or 'an atheist ideology'?

Before looking at the ten observations of Graynight, it is worth noting that Atheism is not a religious movement, nor anything of that nature, as so many believers seem to think that it is.

Therefore, one atheist does not have to agree with another.

There is no accepted 'dogma'. There are no 'rules' in atheism.

Different philosophers may have different ideas and theories, but other atheists do not have to approve of their conclusions.

The supposed 'contradictions and inconsistencies' are, therefore, completely irrelevant. Atheists simply do not believe that God exists.

'Atheists or Antitheists'?

Graynight begins his hub:

'Atheists - or antitheists, which may be a more fitting term in this context .....'

This comment makes matters more complicated.

Are we looking at the attitudes of ordinary atheists, or at the behaviour of people who don't like theists?

Atheists do not believe in the existence of God

Anti means 'opposed to'.

Theists believe in the existence of a Creator God (or gods).

Thus Atheists are not the same as Anti-theists.

Atheists disagree with theists; anti-theists are opposed to theists.

Some atheists may also be anti-theist ~ but the hub title concerns supposed 'Atheist Inconsistencies' ~ so this confusion between the two terms could lead to some ... confusion.

War and Murder

Graynight: 'One of the biggest lies told by atheists is that the majority of martial conflicts in the world have occurred as a result of people believing in God'.

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I agree that wars are rarely going to be about one issue, and that power and resources are often key, but ...

But, religion is very, very often also key!
The divide between warring factions is often along religious lines.
Religion is, very often, a very important factor.
And, as Graynight admits, some wars are actually called 'Holy Wars' or 'Wars of Religion'.

Just because other factors may be involved, does not mean that religion is not relevant.

And there are examples in the Bible ~ so any potential Christian 'Crusaders' should know exactly what to do! Consider the death and destruction in the story of the Amalekite bloodbath, where even tiny babies were killed.

Since Graynight indicates that Christianity should not be blamed for the bad behaviour of Christian leaders ~ eg. of the Crusades etc ~ then it is only logical to say that atheism should not be blamed for the bad behaviour of any atheist rulers. Thus Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, etc, should not be held up as examples of atheism.

As an aside, it is often claimed that Hitler was an atheist, but there is also evidence that he was Roman Catholic, so that is a debatable matter. Furthermore, the fact that atheists may have murdered people does not absolve Christians of their own guilt.

Look at the troubles that have occurred in the Balkans, the Middle East, Northern Ireland ~ are they all the result of religious difference? ~ No! Is religion involved? ~ Very much so!

Love

Graynight: 'if you place any kind of ideological value in love and think that there is anything to it other than the synapses in the brain firing in a particular pattern, you are a religious person'.

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I don't see the logic of this statement. Why does one have to be a religious person to think that love has 'ideological value'? There is more than one ideology.

Whatever the science behind love, people still feel it ~ and it makes people feel great.

It makes people want to help and care for their fellow man.
It has a positive influence on people. It affects people's moral behaviour.

Thus 'love' must be valuable to society.
I have read the scientific books on love and I still believe this.

Religious people do not have a monopoly on love.

Fidelity

Graynight: 'many atheists pride themselves on being able to live according to strict moral codes without needing a deity'

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The fact is that many atheists can, and do, live according to strict moral codes ~ and they don't believe in a deity.

There is no argument against this, because it is a simple truth. Somehow, most of us have developed a conscience.

OK, believers may say that the conscience is God-given ~ but they cannot prove that. Indeed, evolutionists believe that morality has evolved with society, based upon what is best for that society.

Regardless, Christianity does not have a monopoly on morality.
Why do Christians keep assuming that it does?
It does not!

Procreation

Graynight: 'atheists who think themselves to have such lofty levels of cognition seem to believe that the human genome does not need their superior genes.'

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One thing that the thinking, caring, educated person notices is that our world is becoming over-populated, polluted and generally damaged by mankind.

Responsible parenthood is a positive thing. In countries where childen often die, and where there is little or no contraception, it is not surprising that many babies are born, but, where contraception, health care and education are available, it makes sense to limit one's family to a reasonable number.

Research has shown, I think, that many atheists tend to be educated people, so it is not surprising, if they have given this matter serious thought and decided to have fewer than the average number of children ~ rather than 'filling the world with [their] seed'. [Graynight quote.]

It is not a good idea, to carry on harming our world, in the hope that 'God will provide'.

Do atheists 'detest' the 'theist masses' and plan their families accordingly!? Or do they simply disagree with them, resent the hostility of some of them, and then get on with their own personal lives?

Altruism

Graynight: 'many atheists still cling to .. concepts of virtue - [like humility, charity, and altruism] .... because they cannot bring themselves to let go of these last vestiges of theist irrationality' ... 'in a universe with no God and no life after death, there is only one thing that matters: me'. ~ 'why do most atheists today still advocate at least some level of altruism?'

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I am bewildered by this.

In a roundabout way this is suggesting, again, that, without God, there is no morality; no goodness; no charity; no altruism.

Let me repeat: Christianity does not have a monopoly on morality!

Calling a 'virtue', a 'Christian virtue', does not it a 'Christian virtue' make, I'm afraid.
And virtues are not irrational; they are beneficial to society.

Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche can have any opinions that they wish. Atheists do not have to read them, or agree with all of them.

It is simply not true that, without a belief in God, there can be no virtue, no altruism, no morality, and only selfishness.

A religion is a 'faith' or system of worship, related to a belief in a God ~ a powerful superbeing. It is not really possible to be truly 'religious', if one does not believe in a God or belong to a related faith. Of course, one can treat a sport almost like a religion, but that is not the same thing.

The fact that atheists can be moral people (which Graynight acknowledges) without belonging to a religion, or even believing in God, shows that Graynight is incorrect in saying that moral codes 'are almost completely irreconcilable with a non-religious worldview', since, self-evidently, this cannot be the case.

Abstract Immortality

Graynight: 'noble atheists deal with the problem of death by focusing on the fact that, though they will die, their memories and the effects of their lives will live on.' ... 'Noble atheists must realize that their memories and their legacies are as doomed as they are'.

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It seems to me that, while someone is remembered, there is, indeed, an aspect of them that lives on.

I study my family history, and ancestors, whom I didn't even know existed, have come alive for me. Without them, I wouldn't even be here. Now I can 'bring them back to life' for the rest of my family to get to know them. That's wonderful.

If their souls live on, in an afterlife, then I hope that this makes them happy. If their souls die at death, then at least they have lived again, for me, and they are not entirely forgotten.

Of course, they will eventually be forgotten, as will I.

Eventually, it seems that this whole world will die and nothing of us, or our history, or achievements ~ or our religious beliefs ~ will be left. I am quite sure that most educated atheists are fully aware of this.

Literal Immortality

Graynight: 'Some atheists .. advocate transhumanist doctrines that prophesy of a near future ... in which ... humans will be able to use science to achieve immortality. ..... But does he believe it's possible that there just might be another being in this vast universe who has achieved all knowledge before he has? No, that is ludicrous.'

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Science has provided many advances. Could it give us a future, where humans can become immortal? Possibly, I would say. But, then, where would we put all of the people?!

I don't see any problem with accepting this as a hypothesis.

Is it ludicrous to suggest that God has already done this? ~ Well, though I can see the point of this argument, it probably is ludicrous, because even Christians don't portray God as a scientist, experimenting and learning as he goes.

Indeed, God is portrayed, more, as a magician. He can make himself immortal, because he can; because he is God ~ not because he has studied science and discovered ways to outwit death.

Feelings

Graynight: 'Many atheists proudly say that they do not need dogma to tell them what is or is not right..... "just feels right... But when theists say that they believe in God because it "just feels right," that is proof of a lack of intelligence.'

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Back to morality, again.
Christianity does not have a monopoly on morality.
Christianity does not have a monopoly on morality.
Christianity does not have a monopoly on morality.

Atheists are at least as moral as anyone else. Check court and prison records and I am guessing that you will find this to be correct.

Why don't they go on criminal rampages?
Because they know right from wrong.

Most are intelligent enough to see the damage that crimes do to their societies. They do not need the Bible to tell them that.

OK, some may just say that it 'feels right', but if it does just 'feel right', then this is because it is something that they have learned from reading, studying, discussing, observing, etc, etc.

The fact that atheists are as moral as Christians is evidence that Christianity does not have a monopoly on morality.

Some feelings are based on actualities; some are just based on ... feelings.

I have to wonder, do atheists actually use the argument that morality simply 'feels right'?

Some probably do, but I haven't heard this 'feels right' argument.

I have heard that morality benefits society and that we have a conscience, etc. but nothing about feelings. This does not negate feelings, of course, but they do need to be backed up ~ if only by saying "I don't understand them, but I live by them".

Meaning

Graynight: "No, I don't believe in God or final judgment, but I have still found meaning in life" ... ask him what great meaning he or she has found, and the response is sure to disappoint you profoundly".

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Dear, dear, dear!!!
I am tempted to ask how people dare to accuse others of having no meaning in their lives!!!

What if the atheist said: 'I have heard it many times: "Yes, I believe in God and final judgment, and I have found meaning in life." However, when your friend says this, ask him what great meaning he or she has found, and the response is sure to disappoint you profoundly.'

The atheist really could say that.

Since s/he has rejected belief in God, then the meaning that Believers have supposedly found, can't do much for atheists, so they would, indeed, be disappointed.

Atheists can enjoy love and life, children and families, sunsets and rainbows, discovering the past and planning the future. There is so much in this world that we can all enjoy.

Did God make it? Believers think that he did; Atheists think that he didn't. And no-one can prove either of them right or wrong. So the atheist can find as much meaning in his world and his life as can the Believer.

Christianity does not have a monopoly on finding meaning in life, either!

Mutability

Graynight: 'if human life ends with death, and if there is no God, then our existence is nothing more than wind blowing through trees... Mortal humanity as atheists view it cannot be its own end and meaning.'

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Maybe our lives are 'nothing more than wind blowing through trees'. Maybe our sole 'meaning' is to reproduce and keep our world inhabited ~ just like all of the other animals

Suffering

Graynight: "I suffer. Therefore, there is no God." It's the common mantra of the bitter atheist'. 'The idea that an omnipotent and benevolent God would never let us suffer at all is ludicrous'

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I have heard it said that the suffering in the world is evidence against the existence of God, and I think that this is reasonable conclusion to draw. Christians say that God is the father and creator, who loves us all ~ even the tiniest sparrow. Well, if that is the case, why, indeed, does he allow us to suffer so much?

I have heard the arguments about parents allowing children to hurt themselves, in order that they might learn about dangers, etc. but I am not talking about anything like this.

Why do innocent children suffer serious diseases? Why do innocent children suffer at the hands of torturing psychopaths?

Why can lions and tigers only live by killing and hurting others of 'God's creatures'?
Why is it 'ludicrous' to ask this?

Furthermore, why does God, as described in the Bible, set such a bad example re causing people to suffer?
The Amalekites were to be annihilated ~ God ordered it. Even the tiny new born babies had to be sliced apart by the edge of a sword!
Job ~ the very good, loyal and devout Job ~ had to lose everything. God sanctioned it ~ in a bet with Satan.

Sam Harris is correct to say that little girls are raped and tortured on a regular basis ~ including the ones, whose parents are praying for them and who believe that God / Jesus is taking care of them ~ in the vain hope that she will be safe. This isn't a childish comment; nor is it a particularly atheistic comment. It's just a fact.

Would suffering end, if atheism ruled the world? ~ I doubt it.
Would suffering end, if Christianity ruled the world? ~ I doubt it.

People are people ~ and some people do some extremely bad things.
If believers are right, and God is there, then why does he not protect the innocent from these very bad people?

To say that mutilated infants and children, who have died after experiencing untold horrors, will be 'healed in Heaven' is simply not good enough. They have suffered unbelievable horrific cruelty ~ and their families continue to suffer.

Mutual Lack of Understanding

It strikes me, sometimes, that some Christians simply cannot understand the minds of those, who don't think and believe as they do.

And perhaps the feeling is mutual.

But I cannot see these 'atheist inconsistencies'!

Original Hub: 'Top 10 Atheist Inconsistencies' - By Grayknight

To read the original article ~ and to check whether I have been fair in my responses, please look at the hub:

'Top 10 Atheist Inconsistencies' ~ By Grayknight

Link below

Another Rebuttal:

Titen-Sxull has also responded to Graynight's hub.

Link below

'Misconceptions About Atheism' - Sam Harris

More by this Author


Comments 240 comments

davidkaluge profile image

davidkaluge 5 years ago

I think one think all atheist have in common is that there is no God just as all theist believe there is a God. Atheists have different reasons for their believe just as religious people have different views of God. But we always have something to say for or against any group we support or oppose.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again

Hey Trish_M, great rebuttals here, grayknight seems very confused on what atheism is and what it isn't and seems content to use his strawman ideas to smear all atheists. My guess is he wouldn't appreciate the same straw-manning if it were done to people of his religion. Atheist views are just as diverse as theist views.

Great hub :)


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 5 years ago from The Land Up Over

Good hub. Lots to say, but I'll try to pick just one.

"I have heard it said that the suffering in the world is evidence agaibnst the existence of God, and I think that this is reasonable conclusion to draw."

I would disagree with this, unless you are referring specifically to the Christian faith, and even then I would challenge it. While suffering in the world may have something to say about the nature of said god, it does not preclude or even challenge the existance of same.

the creator may not be able to stop it. That doesn't mean there is no creator.

the creator may be unwilling to stop it, or willing to, but only under specific circumstances, or willing to, but knows the result for the creator's purpose is better served by allowing it than limiting it or, many other rationales.

In this, I don't disagree with grayknight (except about the 'ludicrous' part. Even christians struggle with the 'why did god let this happen to me' question.)

Is it fair to say that suffering is evidence against what you believe god should be?

We then come back to simple opposing opinions, all with the same validity.

cheers


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi David, :)

Yes, of course, different people see things very differently ~ and religious issues can certainly have different effects on people.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Titen-Sxull :)

Thanks for your response!

I am not sure, but I think that many believers are so convinced of the existence of God that there is simply no question about it. Thus, no matter what the atheist may think, he is still being affected by God.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Anton, :)

Thanks for reading :)

I think that it would be easier to explain my stance, if I give you specifics.

My late father was agnostic ~ sometimes bordering on atheism. My mother, though, is a Christian believer. This led to many discussions in our house :) So, yes, owing to my background, I am thinking mostly about the Christian version of God.

My father was one of the people, who said that, if a loving creator father God existed, then it made no sense that he allowed so much suffering. Surely, a loving God would not have created foxes which had to rip lambs apart for food.

I don't doubt that there have been various 'gods', in the past and the present, who were not supposed to be omnipotent, or loving, but in the Christian world, that is supposed to be the nature of God. A less 'able' being wouldn't really be considered strong enough to have the title.

So, we are told that God is omni-everything and that God is love. But either God isn't omni-everything, in which case he doesn't fit his title, or he is omni-everything, but isn't willing to stop little girls being abused, or little lambs being torn apart, and he is happy to allow much suffering. Indeed, we are told that he sends many of his 'children' to hell. That doesn't sound like 'love' to me.

So yes, I can understand why atheists have drawn the conclusion that God doesn't exist ~ because the God that most Christians were brought up with, is supposed to be very powerful and very loving ~ which does not fit with the evidence.

It seems that 'suffering is evidence against' the God whom Christians witness to us about.


Thought-Provoking 5 years ago

Nice hub man, you give a very good point of view of what an Atheist feels like and the way they view the world. I myself am a Pantheist, I still believe in God, it's just that I believe is the Multiverse of existence and the Multiverse of existence is God, that is in us all. But dropping the stuff about me. i Do understand what you are saying in this article. I think many people have had misconceptions about atheists. In my search in spirituality and philosophy, I have taken it from everybody's point of view including that of the atheist, and have seen all the arguments that atheist have against God. But many people think that just cause a person is an atheist, they have no meaning in life, no moral code or anything like that. And that is not true in the end, as believer in god, I can honestly say that Most Atheists have a better sense of Morality than Christians, now i say Christians and Christians only. Because believe or not, the fucked up answers and ways Christians have looked at the world(Excuse my language)is why so many people defect from religion and become atheist. Not all religions are like this, Trust me, I use to be a christian too, I have explored other religions and even though i believe all religions lead to God, many of the eastern religions are teaching salvation and peace about God way better than western Christianity. But either way, I've always said that Many beliefs we hold most of the times depends on our experiences and perspectives. Through out all my searching in life, I have found reasons to believe in God, if someone else different from me went through the exact same thing i did, they might still come out atheist. because we're all different in the end. And Humans are always looking for truth and meaning in life. And if you truth and meaning in life doesn't need a creator or some divine other worldly being, then so be it. I'm not going to force my beliefs on You. I think if theists, mainly the Christians realized that, the world would be a way better place, at least the west, because it's the west that is struggling internally like this. Trust me whatever answer we come up with in the end. Atheists are just as much my brothers and sisters as I see myself to them. We must never try to fight each other in the end, just cause we have different views, we should all still be able to overcome this together, as believer and non-believer. Good Hub man.


Thought-Provoking 5 years ago

Oh I'm sorry for calling you a man, i didn't see your picture. I meant to say Good Hub Miss


writeronline 5 years ago

Whoa Trish, way to go! It was a dark night for Graynight, the night you fell upon his hub.... lol

Your polite, but irrefutably logical, rebuttals add up to 10 out of 10 for the atheists, agnostics, rationalists and humans; vs zip for the, "Let me take time away from my smug self-certainty to patronise and denigrate an alternative POV" brigade.

Works for me!! Awesomely. 'Up-ly'. Verily, even. :)


nikki_m profile image

nikki_m 5 years ago from Kansas City, Missouri

Very well done hub. I have had these same conversations with many believers after they find out that I do not believe in any deities. Could not have said it better myself :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Thought-Provoking :)

Thank you for your positive and interesting comments.

Like you, I don't say that there is no God. How could I possibly know that?! Something that we term 'God' may or may not exist.

I do think that the individual descriptions of God, given by various religions ~ eg Judaism and Christianity ~ are just perceptions. Thus I do not think that the God of the Bible is the real version.

Consequently, I agree that no one religion should try to force itself on others or should say that it is the only right one, etc.

My opinions often lead me to the verge of atheism, and I know atheists, so I think that I understand how they feel and I think it is wrong that, in some areas, they are so hated and mistrusted.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello writeronline :)

I'm not 100% certain that I have understood exactly what Graynight was trying to say. I think that it may have been connected to something that other believers have said to me ~ that regardless of what individuals do or do not believe, God is there and we live in God's world.

For example, I have noticed that, when atheists say that they rely on their consciences, believers may say that God placed a conscience within each of us, so we are still reflecting God's morality.

Thank you for your positive response! :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Nikki_m :)

Yes, these conversations go on and on, back and forth ~ and they end in stalemate, because we cannot see the world through each other's eyes :)

Thanks for commenting! :)


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Thoughts very well expressed, Trish. Voted up, useful and interesting.


diogenes 5 years ago

Trish...it really doesn't matter one way or the other and neither can it be proved one way or the other. Don't waste your prodigious talents on this hackneyed old debate. If there is a heaven, i am sure you'll go to it and help the big G with his memoirs...Bob


f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Great hub! Adding the video by Sam Harris was simply super - thanks Trish.

Wanting a god, even just as a non-religious cause and creator of it all is a highly anti-intellectual exercise which only indicates a lack of value for the mental skill and brain power to productively explore and discover all there is within nature ...

All religions, gods and myths are for storytellers, make for good reading and reflect a lot of cultural and anthropological value, but most critical thinkers can relate to reality quite successfully without first having to look for gods when there is so much more to explore about nature in the real world - even in every day life ... using scientific ideas and some applied logic!

The question ultimately is a personal one ... do you see greater value in training and expanding your own mind a bit better to get past the religious dead-end thought of a god or are you going to keep on looking for miracles?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Thanks Austinstar :)

Good to have your comment :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Bob :)

Well, when I joined Hub Pages, I promised myself that I wouldn't get into religious issues, but it is a really huge interest of mine ~ so, here I am :)

I suppose it's a 'hobby' of sorts. I have lots of books and DVDs on the subject and I have been fascinated by it since I was a child.

It goes with my interests in history and in life's mysteries. :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello f_hruz :)

Thanks for your comments!

Actually, I think that there are lots of miracles ~ but not necessarily 'supernatural' ones :)


Rad Man 5 years ago

Way to go Trish, I found my conversations with Graynight very frustrating. I don't think he has ever been around an Atheist. Most of my friend are theists and have no idea of my thoughts on religion. They don't need my help and I don't need there's in that regard.

I think it's a fair assessment to suggest that no loving, kind exists. This cruel world is what set my mind ablaze about religion when I was ten. If we were made in Gods image, he should have compassion. Where is the compassion?

I think anyone who claims to see gods will everyday may need some therapy. Does he communicated directly with God? Certainly needs therapy. Thinks he gets love and morality from god and without a belief in God, no love or morality can exist, he needs help.

Our moral code comes from our society. If it came form the bible some of us would be slaves and some would own slaves. The bible is very clear on slavery. It also tries to teach and when and how to beat our children. Polygamists use the bible to further there demented goals. Most of us know these things are wrong because of the society we live in. If we used the Catholic church to get our morality from, we would be keeping women bare foot and pregnant at home. Catholics are very honest about gender equality. Their actions are very loud.

See http://rad-man.hubpages.com/hub/The-Role-of-Women-...


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Rad Man :)

With regard to morality, I keep looking at all of the horrible things, supposedly done by God, or in God's name, in the Bible.

Some Christians simply accept these acts and try to explain them away; some don't know anything about them; some say that they cannot be true; some agree that it looks bad but are convinced that God must know what he is doing.

I say that God didn't do them ~ only the 'God' in the stories supposedly did them.

If God exists, then neither I, nor anyone else, know what he is like ~ but surely he cannot be as described in the Old Testament!

I have written a few hubs on the horrors of the OT, if you are interested.

I'll have a look at your hub :)


Rad Man 5 years ago

The problems is Trish, without the holy books there is no evidence of the existence of God. Without the books it's just a guess. Maybe this or maybe that. Is it likely a being created us that lives forever and has no parents or peers. No not likely. If you discount the books and I think we have to you have nothing.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Rad Man :)

Yes, I can certainly see your point, but, if you think about it, there has to be a reason why people thought that there was a God worth writing about in the first place.

I have written my thoughts on the subject ~ as best I can, anyway ~ in my hub 'God, Ghosts and Guesswork'.


f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Trish, there is a reason why there are all kinds of stories. The simple ones are easier to understand ... :)

Seeing the devil at work in a person requires no understanding of complex psychological factors. Thinking 'some god must have done it' doesn't require a PhD in astrophysics ... ahaha


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi f_hruz :)

No, I don't believe in things, which have no rhyme or reason. I don't see why the Bible, or church teachings should be accepted as true or sacred. I don't believe in hell or demons. But I am open to some logical possibilities.

I think that there is a difference.

I have received an excellent education; I have studied and read a lot; I have discussed the subject with many people of different backgrounds; I have analysed my own experiences and those of others I know well ~ and I find that some 'mysteries' have not yet been explained to my satisfaction.

Thus the only logical stance is to say that I just do not know, so I am agnostic

My opinions may change, if I discover reliable information that can explain some of life's mysteries, but, until then, I remain agnostic.

What I find strange is that some people seem to think that agnostics are really believers in denial; while others think that agnostics are atheists in denial. The truth is that humans do not yet know everything that there is to know :)

Thus all humans are agnostic, really :)


Highvoltagewriter profile image

Highvoltagewriter 5 years ago from Savannah GA.

Wow, now maybe I should do a hub about you doing a hub on another hub...Then someone else can come along and do a hub on my hub! That sure sounds like fun don't it? I get perturbed when Christians try to put Atheist or Agnostic into a box and then get their feathers ruffled if the Atheist try to label them!

Yes I know I am a Christian but that does not mean I agree with those who come up with goofy ideas of what Atheist believe, or do not believe in! Just like my relationship with Jesus is a personal thing being an atheist can be personal thing!

Oh by the way,I have written another hub on evolution and the only evolutionist that has commented on the hub seems to be stuck on stupid so I am seeking reinforcement from evolutionist who have a some intelligences so I will not become to bored with his vague viewpoints! So of course I thought of you, my favourite Agnostic Person! BTW, are you a member of The First church of Agnostic or the seconded? :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Highvoltagewriter :)

Thank you for your comments.

Sometimes a hub will prompt me to such a lengthy reply that it warrants a new hub ~ that's what happened here. I think, really, I prefer to do stand-alone articles, though :)

I'll have a look at that hub!


gobangla 5 years ago

Hitler was not an atheist. It is mistakenly believed that he was an atheist because he had a plan to eliminate Christianity in Germany. But Hitler didn't want to get rid of the churches because he was an atheist. He wanted to do it because he felt that the churches had corrupted true Christianity and he despised it's Jewish roots. For a time, Hitler promoted something called Positive Christianity as an alternative. According to this belief system Jesus was actually an Aryan. No atheist would try to establish an alternative Christian religion. Hitler hated atheists and persecuted them under his rule.

Grayknight, if I understand him correctly, seems to think that atheists don't procreate. I wrote a hub titled "Does Secularization Lead to Lower Birth Rates." This is a comparison of birth rates in Western Europe. The countries in Europe with the highest rates of atheism have the highest birth rates. The most religious have the lowest. It is a myth that the nonreligious aren't having kids.

As for morality, why be moral if you are a Christian? According to the Bible, as long as you believe that Jesus is your savior, you will be saved. Secondly, is Grayknight suggesting that religious people only do good for purely selfish reasons? After all, if you need the carrot of Heaven or the stick of Hell to be good, then you are doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Surely God would know that people are being good solely for what they can get out of it for themselves. Doing the right thing for purely selfish reasons is immoral in and of itself. Doesn't God know what is in everyone's heart? It seems like God wouldn't be all that impressed by the hearts of those who believe most strongly in him.

If religion is so important for morality, Grayknight needs to explain why atheists make up a fifth of one percent of the prison population while making up 5 to 10% of the population overall. He needs to explain why the most secular states in the US have the least social problems: divorce, singles parenthood, etc. He needs to explain why devout Utah has the highest Internet porn use in the nation. He needs to explain why largely atheistic societies in Northern Europe have some of the best social support systems in the world while many Christians in America support a political party that represents the interests of the richest of Americans while leaving everyone else to fend for themselves.

I'll stop now before my comment becomes a hub on a hub.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Gobangla :)

Thank you for reading ~ and for providing these very clear comments!

I have to agree with them :)


Talisker profile image

Talisker 4 years ago from UK

Hi Trish I like the way you presented this hub in a clear and succint way. I very much agree with you, and like how you addressed each inconsistency. -particularly the Fidelity section. The notion that it is perfectly possible for a person to govern their actions using their conscience, rather than relying on a deity.

A very clear and well thought out hub, I really liked this one!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi :)

Thank you, Talisker, for your kind and positive words. :)

I had not intended to be drawn into writing hubs on religion, or on joining in with religious debates, on this site, but it is a fascinating subject, for one thing, and, for another, I find it unfair that certain fundamentalists believe and spread incorrect information about atheism, evolution, etc, etc. I try to counter it, but I am guessing that those who do not wish to know simply will not read ~ or will consider me willfully foolish and, consequently, hell-bound :)


Steve LePoidevin profile image

Steve LePoidevin 4 years ago from Thailand

Another great hub! My religious views are pretty much summed up by the late, brilliant comedian, George Carlin, if you can handle him lol. I love his performance on God and Religion at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Steve, yes, I think that my son introduced me to him ~ I'll take another look :)


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

Trish, it was a pleasure to read this logical and clinical rebuttal of the worst excesses of some theist arguements.

I must declare my position; I am a convinced atheist. I would actually say I have an open mind, but that it would require a proportionately vast amount of material evidence in favour of God to set against the vast amount of material evidence in favour of scientific explanations for our presence here on Earth to give me a religious faith. I do not however have any objections to other people believing in God, and I have no wish to convert them away from their faith if it brings them contentment and good guiding values.

However I strongly object to the idea expressed by some theists that atheists are, almost by definition, less moral than theists, so thanks for defending atheists and agnostics on that score. Morality I believe initially came about from the fact that we are a social animal and it was originally in the interests of ourselves as individuals to develop social codes to live by - if we had no morality we simply could not exist in civilised communities. Subsequently, I am sure our intelligence and sense of awareness of our fellow human beings' emotions and sensations, and our ability to put ourselves in their shoes and appreciate their needs and desires, has helped develop our morality to a higher level. I don't think it's had anything directly to do with a belief in God.

But enough of my own personal gripe against some theists' literally 'holier than thou' attitude! It's sometimes difficult to argue the scientific case for natural origins and evolution, because by its very nature science - unlike faith - requires facts, and even the greatest of scientists does not have all the facts at their desposal to defend their case. However, you have done a very effective job in putting forward a few of the contradictions and errors in some of the arguements posed by those who wish to attack atheism. And I thank you for that.

Accordingly I'll show my appreciation with vores, and a bookmarking for future reference! Cheers.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Greensleeves and thank you for your very positive response!

I am planning a hub on morality, etc, but have already written one, related to the Christian claims of Turek and Geisling ('I Don't have Enough faith To Be An Atheist') re God's morality.

If you are interested, it's called 'Turek and Geisler Say 'I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist' But They Believe in God's Morality and the Bible'.

Thanks again! :)


Matthew Kirk profile image

Matthew Kirk 4 years ago from Liverpool

Well put and raised a lot of common inconsistencies.

I find it is only the most extreme groups and individuals who bring up such flawed and misunderstood arguments. Part of having those extreme beliefs is having a very uncritical mind, they have indoctrinated very heavily so that they hold onto their extreme beliefs. So I doubt you can convince this guy of anything with your logic.

Enjoyable and interesting for the rest of us though. Found myself agreeing with everything you mentioned.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Matthew Kirk :)

Thank you for reading and for your encouraging words :)


daisynicolas profile image

daisynicolas 4 years ago from Alaska

Your hub is a "rebuke" but it won't seep through the majority of blind faith. We have parallel thoughts and it's always good to learn of people who think rather than follow blabbering fools.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Daisy :)

I suppose that it is a rebuke, but people's beliefs are very important to them and I would guess that the last way of getting them on board would be by calling them names.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

There is an obvious tendency amongst atheists to ignore the evolution of law and morality (and hence its roots in ancient and modern religions). Laws are here because people are unable to live by their "natural state" of ethics! There is nothing wrong with ethical atheism, but to go so far as to say (paraphrased)" people can decide what is ethical for themselves" is plainly ludicrous and actually illegal!

Remember peeps, the law?

The most common intellectual mistake made by atheists is to stereotype all religions together; but stereotyping is a proven non-intellectual exercise that has nothing to do with science.

Not all religious people are bad; and not all atheists are bad; some religious people are bad; and some atheists are bad, etc is the way to stop the stereotyping of groups. When surrogate leaders of atheism (such as Dawkins) make public statements that "all religions are bad" it becomes an open slather dodgy unethical dog's breakfast of a tragedy.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Oztinato :)

Thanks for reading.

Interesting.

You seem to suggest that laws come only from God via religion, but laws are suggested, written and passed by humans. Yes, some rules are included in religious relief but they are formalised by human hand.

Of course people do break laws but most people do not end up as criminals so perhaps their "natural state" of ethics works well.

Furthermore, many religious rules - ie as found in the Holy Bible - would be quite unacceptable to most modern minds.

To suggest that it is impossible or ludicrous for people to decide what is ethical makes no sense to me. People decide what is morally ethical every day.

And how is it illegal to draw ethical conclusions? I don't understand that. Furthermore, someone's ethical conclusions might actually agree with the law. Plus, as I said before, some laws may not be ethical.

Of course, as you say, 'Not all religious people are bad; and not all atheists are bad; some religious people are bad; and some atheists are bad'. Who doubts that? Most atheists would agree.

If Dawkins and others indicate that religions is a bad thing, then I think that this is because he thinks that religions mislead people; that telling people something is unquestionably true, when it isn't, is wrong and can lead to all sorts of problems.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

I pointed out that law has Evolved out of religion into its current form not that it is a religion. Those who respect the Principle of Evolution should logically dispassionately survey the history of law and its religous roots. If these same respecters of the Principle of Evolution then go on to sterotype all religions we end up with hypocrisy at work. Both religion and atheism share a abhorrence of hypocrisy in both science and debate therefore those who claim to be expressing an atheistic view that practices hypocrisy MUST have other personal motives. Yes and religous hypocrites do the same thing.

If the debate is logical and scientific there is no room at all for stereotyping.

Also, if we examine law we can see that almost every part of human behaviour is covered by laws. People have proved the opposite of the casual claim of modern atheism that individuals are capable of "doing it for themselves". The assertion for individual freedom to decide is an illusion and falls under the heading of anarchy. The history of anarchy is a very poor one where attempts at anarchy quickly lead to ethical decline. Anarchy is a dead evolutionary branch. It is an anti evolutionary principle and hence cant be promoted by the same philosophy that promotes the Principle of Evolution due to unscientific hypocrisy.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello again, Oztinato :)

I think that we will just have to agree to disagree because I see no reason why people should not be perfectly moral and / or devise fair laws without religion or a deity having to be involved. :)

Religions, being a strong part of various cultures, may have codified some laws, but that does not mean that religion is required in order for good laws to be passed.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

As I said I see nothing wrong with ethical atheism.

Stereotyping of entire groups is not an ethical practice in either atheist or religious philosophy and is illegal in many civilized societies.

Respect for the roots of law doesnt leave any room for disparaging all religion.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Well Oztinato, I think that religion can be criticised as much as anything else and I don't think that it is a matter of stereotyping. I don't understand why criticising religion should be illegal in a reasonable society and I don't see any real connection with roots of law.


Rad Man 2 years ago

Stereotyping may not be ethical but I don't know anywhere where it's illegal. It may be illegal to promote hate speech, but I don't think thought such as stereotyping is illegal anywhere.


Oztinato 2 years ago

We agree that both some religious people(militant type nuts)and some atheists(Dawkins type nuts)can be guilty of stereotyping. These people are both equally hyopcritical.

If you examine say Western law it all evolved out of ancient religious traditions. eg ten commandments etc etc right up to modern times where Bibles themselves are still used in a court room. Of course today not all law makers are believers but the abiding principles of justice with compassion undeniabley have religous roots; until today where our law makers are a mix of both religous and secular philosophies.

Why be ashamed of it? Its like being embarrased by the fact the spinal cord evolved out of earlier creatures. Its no biggie just good science. Stereotyping has no place in science or religion otherwise the result is boring hypocrisy.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello again :)

I like Richard Dawkins. Maybe he is a bit too dismissive of things that are not yet fully explained, but he explains things calmly and rationally. I certainly wouldn't consider him a 'nut'.

As for laws, I agree that because religion used to pervade society, law, science, knowledge, etc, etc, was all part and parcel of that aspect of life, but that does not necessarily mean that law evolved out of religion.

Maybe the rules existed pre-religion or in spite of religion or alongside religion. Or maybe, in our brains, they evolved in the same way as religious observance.

Many religious rules would now be considered unacceptable and many modern laws have nothing to do with religion. Of the Ten Commandments which are now widely considered laws? I can think of only two. Thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not murder. I think that these rules would be considered the best way to run a society with or without religion.

What else in Western law evolved out of religion? Does ' justice with compassion' really have 'undeniably ... religous roots'? I wouldn't say that. In what way? Many religious rules were very severe and lacking in compassion.

Bibles are only used in courtrooms for people who want to use them. People used to swear on them because it made them tell the truth for fear of the repercussions of taking the Lords name in vain. Though people still lied, of course.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Rad Man :)

Thanks for reading.

Yes, causing hatred to people based on their beliefs is wrong and often illegal, but criticising the religion itself is not unethical.


Oztinato 2 years ago

History has clearly documented the evolution of the concept of law via religions both ancient and recent. That can be checked on Wiki.

Yes SOME religious people certainly need to be criticised but not ALL religious people (see above). If some religious people stereotype whole groups of course they need to be criticized. Likewise their fire and brimstone atheist individuals who publicly encourage the stereotyping of whole groups. Dawkins certainly falls into that classic hypocrite mould as he condems all religious groups outright in the most stereotypical way without ever even attempting to focus only on certain individuals. Thus he publicly practices stereotypical thinking in precisely the same way an unscientific bigot would say towards other entire groups of races. These "nuts" might even be able to get away with it but it is not intellectual or scientific or correct; it is just boorish ugly bigotry.

Yes there are SOME religous people in the exact same category but you cant correct this behaviour by aping it. To attempt to do so is "nuts".


Oztinato 2 years ago

PS

in my country we have actual laws against bigotry. Bigotry is certainly seen as a grossly ugly unethical way to behave by anyone with an once of intellectual or scientific character(hence my point about hypocrisy).If you would like to express some personal bigotry please dont hold back!

Regardless of individual countries laws no one can claim that bigotry is part of the scientific method or an effective way to conduct a debate.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi :)

We have laws against inciting hatred against groups of people but Dawkins et al do not do that. As far as I can tell they do not hate individuals or cause others to hate individuals. They criticise religion and they are against the general teaching that God exists when they can see no reason to believe that he does. Is that bigotry?

Perhaps you could recommend some books, please, that illustrate the proofs that we would not have our laws without religion. I would like to know which laws they are and how we can be certain that they wouldn't exist without religious input.


Oztinato 2 years ago

Attacking entire groups of races or entire religions AND worse still all religion(!) is definitionaly known as bigotry. To criticise an individual who practices this (like Dawkins or anti semites etc) is quite morally and ethically justifiable and a very worthy exercise. Look at it this way: it is unscientific and ridiculous to say that all scientific string theory should be banned and ridiculed. Firstly because it does not add to scientific research and secondly it is the equivalent of non intelligent "bigotry" or illogical stereotyping of a valid theory that has evolved out of earlier theories. The nazis in WW2 fell behind in nuclear tech as they refused to see the genius of jewish scientists due to bigotry and stereotyping. This is an extreme example but the point is science does not admit bigotry: so why does Dawkins a scientist admit bigotry towards ALL religion? Answer: to sell books. He practices hypocrisy for personal gain. I am free to criticise this individual on real ethical points plus he is handy well known bad example. The USA was founded on principles of freedom of worship and racial tolerance (still evolving!).

In reference to your query about law: we are all familiar with google and wiki to easily find out about the history of law and its evolution in a few minutes.

Spirituality claims that it is divine or enlightened Love/Compassion that is the main definition of what it is to be human. I am multi faith but I know it is the New Testament principle that justice needs to be tempered with compassion that is still the major hall mark of Western Law.

PS please excuse typos as I am not getting spell check when sending.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

As I said before, I just think that we shall have to agree to disagree :)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

I will have to take your last comment as a "surrender".

I also note you have failed to respond to reasonable points of debate.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

Oztinato; I suspect having followed this little disagreement, that the reason for Trish saying 'we shall have to agree to disagree' was not so much a 'surrender' as an acknowledgement from a rational person that the debate was going round and round in circles and that neither side was going to convert the other. To keep on trying to do so soon becomes a case of 'flogging a dead horse.'


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi again :)

Sorry, no, of course it's not surrender. We're not in a battle here, nor even a debate. You have responded to my article with some comments on certain aspects of atheism and it seems that we disagree on some points.

I had responded to your points and it seemed to me that there was little point in my re-iterating arguments, but I get the impression that you feel that I haven't given them real consideration, so I shall have another look at your arguments

In the main, they concern:

~ Morality, Law and the evolution of Laws.

~ Stereotyping, Hypocrisy and Bigotry.

First the law ...

You seem to think that all law evolves out of religion. Certainly I can see a link between law and religion but I disagree that it is important in the way that you seem to suggest.

You said 'I pointed out that law has Evolved out of religion into its current form not that it is a religion.' But my point is that when /where 'religion' is or appears to be the fount of all knowledge and authority, then this will include rules and laws.

Historically, clerics were the ones who were educated; who could write; who could philosophise - and who had the time to do this. They were, or appeared to be, more knowledgeable. Along with kings and tribal leaders, etc, they had the power, so they helped to organise the rules and laws of society.

Does this mean that we need / needed religions in order to have laws? No, simply that 'law' is in the hands of the powerful; ie those who claim to have the ear of God ~ and who do have the ear of the king of chief.

But just because spiritual leaders / clerics, etc, have had the power to enforce rules does not, in my opinion, have anything to do with atheism. There is a historical link between rules and religion but this is not relevant to atheism. Atheism is to do with belief in God and laws are to do with organising society. The only link us that religious belief has also helped to organise society. It's almost, but not quite, a coincidence.

If I remember correctly, it is not a coincidence because there is actually a reason; the part of the brain which makes us obey rules - eg the rules that our parents enforce to keep us safe as children, seems also to be the part which also believes in God. If I find more on this, later, I'll add it.

Yes, I accept that the Bible - and probably other scriptures - contain laws and rules, but there is no reason to think that tribes and societies had no rules before they had religions or that laws and rules couldn't just exist alongside religions. In other words, even if religions incorporated laws into their writings, that does not mean that those laws couldn't or didn't exist separately from religion.

You mention 'The Ten Commandments'. These often seem to be considered as the main basis of law. Let's look at them in the Exodus version (Exodus 20:1-17):

I am the LORD your God ... You must have no other gods before me.

Do not make any images / do not bow down to them or worship them.

Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God ...

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy

Respect your father and mother.

Do not murder.

Do not commit adultery.

Do not steal.

Do not give false testimony against your neighbour.

Do not covet your neighbour’s house ... or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

These rules confirm the link between religion and law but do not prove that laws have their origin in religion.

And most of these ancient commandments do not belong in our current UK laws. Yes, murder is illegal, as is theft and perjury, but not the rest.

Furthermore, any ancient society that was going to be successful needed rules to survive. Murdering fellow tribe-members or stealing from them would cause social problems. These rules would have to exist with or without a religious belief.

Furthermore, if we read the Bible (OT), then it becomes very clear that these rules only applied within the tribe, since the Hebrews were encouraged to slaughter members of other tribes. Indeed, when it came to the Amalekites, even the babies had to be sliced to death. So this was not law as we understand it in modern British / European society - or American, I would guess.

To say that 'The assertion for individual freedom to decide is an illusion and falls under the heading of anarchy' or 'Laws are here because people are unable to live by their "natural state" of ethics!' makes no sense to me.

It is us 'people', as individuals or as members of society, who have made these laws. We humans have decided that society works best if we do not murder each other or steal from each other. And most of us do not need these laws in order not to be thieves or murderers. Thus, it is indeed our natural ethics, for many if not most of us, which keeps us on the straight and narrow.

It is neither ludicrous nor illegal to say that people can decide what is ethical. Of course, if some people do consider murder to be ethical then they are wrong - as decided by society and its laws. If they carry out murders, then they have committed a crime, but most of us are not murderers and have no desire to be murderers - or thieves, muggers, rapists, etc, - because most of us can live by our own ethics and consciences, which happen to parallel our laws.

There is a general acceptance amongst most people of what can be considered moral. Sadly, many believers think that atheists cannot possibly be moral. Many do not seem able to perceive that believers do not have a monopoly on morality.

So, regarding laws, yes, I'll admit that they are evolving all of the time, and I acknowledge that religions have played their part in legal history. However, I do not think that we need / needed religion in order to have societies which respect other people's life and property.

And, even if we did, this would no longer be relevant to anything.

In addition, there are rules in the Bible, which would actually be illegal in modern European society. Daughters who are not 'pure' on their wedding night, sons who are insolent, and poor folk who collect sticks to make a fire and keep warm on the Sabbath, should all be stoned to death according to the Bible. These do not relate to our modern laws.

I see no reason to believe that social rules could not exist separately from religious belief, or that any legal roots that do lie in religious belief are at all relevant to modern laws except in a very minor way. Other people may disagree.

As you say, not all current law-makers are believers and, even in England, where church and state are officially connected, religion no longer has any real effects on law. (The use of a Bible to swear upon is now a matter of choice.) As for any 'abiding principles of justice with compassion' being undeniably rooted in religion, I don't see it. Certainly not in the Bible, which is full of violence and horror. The 'Old Testament' is particularly bloodthirsty at times, but it is the New Testament which presents us with the horrors of eternal hellfire. So, not much compassion there.

Now stereotyping and hypocrisy ...

You say 'Stereotyping of entire groups is not an ethical practice in either atheist or religious philosophy and is illegal in many civilized societies'. Now, I don't think that stereotyping is usually illegal, but inciting hatred against particular groups of people often is - and rightly so, I think.

You say 'The most common intellectual mistake made by atheists is to stereotype all religions together', but I would disagree with this wording. If you mean that atheists 'lump all beliefs in God together' then I would say that they have no choice, simply because they do not believe in God and believers do believe in God.

Is lumping religions together the same as stereotyping? What does ' stereotyping' mean?

According to the Oxford dictionary, a stereotype is ' a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing'.

But, while it may seem to be an over-simplification to say that religious believers are different from atheists in that they believe in God, it is not. It is a truism. Atheists do not believe in God and may say so. It's as simple as that.

Although some scientists are believers, many scientis


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Well I am glad you can see that laws evolved out of religion. All societies be they hunter gatherers or peasant communities have religions. Even isolated tribesman in the middle of the amazon have their own religion. There is nowhere other than in urban cities where atheists exist! All peoples and tribes etc have laws locked into their specific religion. Maybe some very ancient peoples made a hash out of their laws BUT eventually it evolved into what we have today.

Hence to lump all religions together as uselss is the worst most bigoted kind of stereotyping we can possibly get as it lumps thousands of groups together.

These laws have evolved over milleniums as people CAN NOT do it for themselves. We have tax laws, traffic laws, neighbourhood laws etc for this sole reason. Advocacy of the method that lets each individual decide their own laws is anarchy and a fashionable dawkins style cafe illusion. Its just make believe that appeals to rebellious youth in order to sell books. Its like sociological pulp fiction.

The hypocrisy arises when either religious person or atheist begins to stereotype and attack other GROUPS.

This is not rocket science! When you get that "lumping together" society has a serious bigotry problem.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

I actually said:

'I accept that the Bible - and probably other scriptures - contain laws and rules, but there is no reason to think that tribes and societies had no rules before they had religions or that laws and rules couldn't just exist alongside religions. In other words, even if religions incorporated laws into their writings, that does not mean that those laws couldn't or didn't exist separately from religion.'

So I do not think that laws necessarily began with religion. And the rules that we find in religion are not necessarily ones that we would accept today. And regardless of the part played or not played by religion in the history of law, it is not relevant to atheism.

Certain people pass laws based on the rules that most other people feel are right for society. Thus, people can and do decide what is ethically and morally acceptable

Lumping all religions together as 'wrong' is not bigotry, it is atheism. Not believing in God ~ and hence in religion ~ is what atheism is all about. How can it be hypocritical to be an atheist? It is what it is.

And again I will say that we shall have to agree to disagree.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Greensleeves Hubs :)

Thanks for reading and for your input :)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Atheism itslef is not intrinsically bigoted, therefore lumping together of all religions as bad is NOT actually atheism: it is just a passing cafe fad of urban Dawkins influenced people. This lumping together of all religions is a recent fad that falls under the heading of bigotry (not atheism per se).

If you read wiki it clearly points out that laws evolved out of religions. It can't actually be denied; also undeniable is that all existing tribal societies and most modern day societies found anywhere on the earth have a religious system intertwined with their laws.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi :)

No, atheism isn't bigoted, but classing all religions as wrong / incorrect / etc is something that we are bound to find in atheism, surely, since it must be impossible to think that a religion is right if one does not believe in any god.

Atheism is the non-belief in any god. Thus any and all god-worshipping religions will automatically be lumped together as incorrect. What other choice is there?

By criticising religions, atheists are likely to be seen as bigoted, because bigotry is, according to the Oxford dictionary, 'intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself'' and, by definition, atheists hold different opinions from believers and clearly consider them to be wrong in those beliefs, so they may sometimes sound intolerant.

(Interestingly a bigot used to be a religious hypocrite and that is something that Dawkins et all are not. They behave and speak according to what they believe about God and religion.)

I agree that Dawkins may sometimes sound intolerant when he is debating, but that's the nature of the game. They all sound intolerant.

But surely it cannot always be intolerant bigotry to disagree with something that we perceive as wrong. Is it bigotry to criticise theft and thieves, murder and murderers, child abuse and abusers, etc? Surely it cannot be wrong to criticise those things we consider harmful to society - and some people really do consider religion to be very harmful. Indeed, I think that it has been very harmful at times.

As for Wiki, it's good, but only as good as the contributors who add to it. They are not always going to be 100% right.

We know that religion has encompassed many things, including what we might eat, but it would not necessarily be true or relevant to say that our menus evolved from religious origins.

Is it true to say that our laws evolved from religious origins? How can we know what the very first people who decided on rules believed? Did they think that murder and theft was bad for the tribe because it harmed social cohesion or because it angered a supernatural being? I don't know.

In the past everything was mixed up together, so you are right to say that separating societies from their religions is often impossible.

It's also impossible to say which came first - rules or beliefs. Law and religion, like everything else and religion, will be hard to separate. Perhaps they evolved together. Either way, people can have rules without having supernatural beliefs.

Is this potential link relevant to modern atheism? I don't think so.

To summarise, you say 'There is an obvious tendency amongst atheists to ignore the evolution of law and morality (and hence its roots in ancient and modern religions).' But I cannot see how we can be sure that this is true, and, even if it were true, how it is relevant to what atheists think or do.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

There is another choice to make: simply recognize the evolutionary role of religions in the development of mankind and NOT lump everything together as useless.

Don't forget the last 10,000 years (or more) of human culture were based entirely on various religions: art, architecture, law, ethics, philosophy and even science were all once totally religious based. This is FACT and can be easily studied in any encyclopaedia or on wiki. Only by the 20th Century did purely atheist beliefs begin to emerge and they still only belong to a small spectrum of society.

Why are people like Dawkins, who believe in the Principle of Evolution, disregarding that same principle when it comes to religion? It is therefore hypocritical and bigoted of him/they to do so.

Atheism (it is said) is simply the non-belief in God. This definition does not include hypocrisy or bigotry about all religions and history!

The link is highly relevant to atheism as this view creates tolerance and understanding. Normally an ethical system embraces tolerance and understanding. An ethical system that does not encourage these basic social positives is an UNethical system. Hence my disregard for surrogate leader Dawkins.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello again :)

Yes, religion has given us some wonderful music and beautiful buildings and some good educational establishments. Or rather religious people have given us these things.

Religion ~ or religious people ~ have also given us a lot of fear and hatred and wars and persecution.

As you say ~ and as I already noted ~ religion has been completely tied up in social life for a long, long time. This is now beginning to change. I have studied this as my degree is in medieval and modern history.

If we allow for evolutionary origins in religion, then we could suggest that almost anything evolved therefrom; our clothes, our meals, etc. So it becomes meaningless.

Do our laws evolve from religion? I know that laws have been encoded in religious papers, but whether they ultimately evolved from religion I cannot know.

However, it's worth looking at the societies of our closest relatives, the chimps to see what their societies are like.

"Katrin Riedl from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany found that chimpanzees will punish individuals who steal food from them ... "

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience...

Here we may have the origin of "Thou shalt not steal" ~ not from me, anyway, and if you do you will be punished. So chimps have rules on theft and they have punishments for breaking this rule. Yet I think you will agree that it is unrealistic to say that chimps have religion.

Let's have a look at what Wikipedia has to offer:

"Barbara King argues that while primates may not possess morality in the human sense, they do exhibit some traits that would have been necessary for the evolution of morality. These traits include high intelligence, a capacity for symbolic communication, a sense of social norms, realization of "self", and a concept of continuity.

[Barbara King (2007). Evolving God: A Provocative View on the Origins of Religion]

"Frans de Waal and Barbara King both view human morality as having grown out of primate sociality. Many social animals such as primates, dolphins and whales have shown to exhibit what Michael Shermer refers to as pre-moral sentiments.

"According to Shermer, the following characteristics are shared by humans and other social animals, particularly the great apes:

attachment and bonding, cooperation and mutual aid, sympathy and empathy, direct and indirect reciprocity, altruism and reciprocal altruism, conflict resolution and peacemaking, deception and deception detection, community concern and caring about what others think about you, and awareness of and response to the social rules of the group. [Michael Shermer (2004). The Science of Good and Evil]

"Shermer argues that these pre-moral sentiments evolved in primate societies as a method of restraining individual selfishness and building more cooperative groups. For any social species, the benefits of being part of an altruistic group should outweigh the benefits of individualism. For example, lack of group cohesion could make individuals more vulnerable to attack from outsiders. Being part of group may also improve the chances of finding food."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_morality

According to Jingzhi Tan and Brian Hare (Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina ) "prosociality toward strangers initially evolves due to selection for social tolerance, allowing the expansion of individual social networks." This implies a sociable attitude even to non-members of primate group and could well give rise to rules concerning good acceptable behaviour.

The above quotes basically state what I already posted ~ that members of societies need to co-operate. This is even found in animal societies.

Within human societies, stealing, killing, abusing, etc, etc, would harm the group and would be seen as contrary to human well-being. This is why I believe that, whatever part religion may have played, rules against killing or stealing, etc, could and most probably did pre-date religious practices.

You may say that all of this evolved from religion, I would say that it evolved from our own natural impulses ~ as illustrated be the bahaviour of chimpanzees.

Yes religions have encompassed social rules, but not all religious rules have remained part of law and, furthermore, people can be ethical without religion - and the whole matter is irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists, which is what atheism is all about.

Dawkins criticises what he considers to be wrong or harmful about religion and he has every right to do so.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

You might be interested in another of my hubs. It concerns human morality.

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Frank-Ture...


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

I agree that many higher mammals often demonstrate ethics such as protecting weaker members.

If we acknowledge that religion has played a major role in all culture for 1000's of years, then why denigrate it? Yes during the long evolution of religions there were mistake made by individuals: if we look objectively into it we can see that it is always politics and hypocrisy and mental aberrations that are the root cause of such problems. Hitler for example used religion as a political tool in his propaganda; but he certainly was not a religious person, just a political hypocrite.

Dawkins or anyone else has no ethical right to lump entire religious groups of humanity, culture, art and history together. It is bigotry and remains bigotry regardless of any rationalizations. You can't put lipstick on a pig and then call it beautiful. If we want to admire the works of the Ancient Greeks, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Van Gogh etc etc we are admiring the interaction of religion on human culture.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

However you rationalize it it is still bigotry to lump all of religions together in one negative heap.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

As I said, we shall have to agree to disagree.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Can't be done: you need to face up to the bigotry inherent in Dawkins and co.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

Ozinato; It may be bigoted to believe that no religion has ever contributed anything worthwhile to society, but I'm not sure Richard Dawkins - a great defender of the value of truth and evidence-based facts - has ever claimed that.

It is certainly not in the slightest bit bigoted for any atheist to think that all God-centred religions are wrong in their basic beliefs, and in that sense to 'lump them all together in a negative heap'. As Trish has suggested, that is inevitable. Atheists who do not believe in God are of course going to think that all religions which believe in God are wrong. That is not bigotry, any more than God-believers who think all atheists are wrong are bigoted.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

While I do think the atheist community has its share of small minded and perhaps even bigoted people I don't think Dawkins or any of the popular "new" atheists are bigoted for denouncing the negative aspects of religion and focusing on them.

Christopher Hitchen's book God is Not Great had the subtitle "How Religion Poisons Everything". The idea is NOT that religious people are stupid or that they should somehow be treated differently - which would be bigotry - but that religious thinking and religion lead to negative outcomes and those positives that we get out of religion do not require it (feeding the hungry, etc).

The word bigot primarily has to do with treating people of a minority or group unfairly and again while I'm sure some atheists do this I don't think most do. Most atheists used to be religious and fight against religion because we want to help others find their way out, so really being a bigot would defeat the purpose.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Quite so Titen-Sxull.

Atheists are not perfect. Dawkins is not perfect. No-one is perfect. Bigots may exist within any community.

However, most intelligent atheists are not against believers but, rather, they are against the potentially harmful beliefs and behaviour for which religions are responsible.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

These comments I see here proves the point that Atheism is now much more than just a "disbelief in God". It now clearly extends to many areas outside the normal definition of atheism which until recently has been limited to a disbelief in God.

The potentially harmful effects of some individual relgious hyopcrites completely pales to what certain powerful current atheist hypocrital individuals are up to. Beastiality? It could potentially create nightmare diseases like "Ebola Flu" or how about "Swine Syphillus"? Infanticide? It could wipe out more people than any terrorist could hope for(quietly of course without noisy explosions). Religious intolerance? Atheists are talking en masse about the allged evils of ALL religions which attends to the people and cultures that go with it including such innocuous groups like Tibetans and obscure nature religions from the remote jungles of Sth America. In other words by throwing out all of the wisdom of the ancients and replacing it with cafe chat and seinfeld sit com wisdom festivus' we can easily create an unethical frankenstein.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

The potential harm of atheist beastiality and its potential to unleash hideous new diseases on humanity far outweighs any failings of a few religious hypocrites; as also the atheist attempts to legalize infanticide which will exponentially end more innocent lives than even the worst terrorist group.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

My word, Oztinato, it seems to me that you, if anyone, seem to be someone who has concluded:

~ that Atheism is now much more than just a "disbelief in God"


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

" In other words by throwing out all of the wisdom of the ancients and replacing it with cafe chat and seinfeld sit com wisdom festivus' we can easily create an unethical frankenstein."

The wisdom of the ancients? Yeah, people who practiced human sacrifice to appease angry gods and thought working on a Saturday should be punishable by death.

Give me a break.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

I will take that as a compliment!

Many online atheists are trying to say that atheism is just a disbelief in god; but the modern atheist claims contradict the old simple dictionary definition. Atheism is trying to take on a new philosophical role. It can even do good if it succeeds! but it won't succeed without building on the long history of religious ethical evolution: protect the weak, high moral and ethical standards to name a few. If it rejects religion's legacy outright it will be in a state of rapid "devolution" (which unfortunately is currently happening).


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

" but the modern atheist claims contradict the old simple dictionary definition."

The definition of words change over time. The word atheist was originally applied to CHRISTIANS who refused to profess faith in the Roman gods.

"but it won't succeed without building on the long history of religious ethical evolution: protect the weak, high moral and ethical standards to name a few"

What you're talking about isn't atheism, you're talking about secular humanism, or just plain humanism. Atheism is a stance on one single position. If you believe a god or gods exist, than you are a theist. If you don't believe than you are an atheist. Anything else, any other philosophies, are separate entities from atheism. Just as a theist might be a Muslim or a Christian or a Democrat or a Republican or an existentialist, or, etc etc etc, those are separate issues.

Theism and atheism deal only with the issue of belief in gods.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

I would suggest that religious ethics have not always protected the weak or represented high moral and ethical standards.

And atheists are entitled to be concerned about such matters ~ while not believing in the existence of God / gods. :)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

We need to distinguish between religious hypocrites and actual religious people; as well as atheist hypocrites and actual atheists.

A real atheist (by your definition) merely doesn't believe in God; an atheist hypocrite builds a whole philosophy about total religious intolerance/bigotry and then tries to justify it.

On the long road of evolution we have dead branches of both species and ideas. Human sacrifice is a dead branch practiced by ancient religious hypocrites that was symbolically ended by JC(starting with the ancient roman empire). Why replace human sacrifice with the atheist 21st Century model by legalizing Infanticide with a dodgy version of atheism?ie certainly not protecting the weak. What next? perhaps turning Tibet into a new real estate hub? (oops that's happening as we speak by an atheist government) Or maybe turning the Vatican into a giant mafia Casino? Let's not forget certain prominent atheist groups trying to legalize bestiality.

As I have said many many times: I have no problem with atheism if it remains rational, tolerant and of very high standards. If it talks hypocrisy you can expect opposition.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Oztinato,

Atheists might be life-savers or murderers; uneducated or brilliant, etc, etc, etc.

Atheists may have all sorts of different views, jobs, educations, cultures, families, interests, etc, etc, etc.

So, if an atheist happens to be a murderer, it is not because of atheism. Atheism is simply not believing in God / gods.

Now, even if there are some atheists who are interested in child-slaughter or bestiality, then that is nothing to do with atheism per se.

Just because someone doesn't believe in God does not mean that s/he is going to set about causing havoc and mayhem.

Personally, I have never come across any atheist who want to do this.

But atheists, like anyone else, are entitled to have opinions. They are entitled to think that religions can be harmful and they are entitled to criticise religious leaders / teachers, etc, who tell children that evolution never happened and / or that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. This is not bigotry.

And don't forget that sometimes a movement that some call atheistic might actually be just another type of religion.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

I beg to differ: the recent attempts regarding legalizing infanticide (see "after birth abortion") and beastiality are by well organised and educated high ranking SOLEY atheist lawyers doctors and "ethicists."


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

I think that those philosophers who wrote about "after birth abortion" were simply asking us to inspect a difficult subject. Ie. If it is acceptable to abort a baby before birth, then could it be acceptable to kill one after birth? What is the difference? When might it be sympathetic euthanasia and when would it be child murder? Etc, etc, etc. This is not atheism; this is putting forward a philosophical idea for consideration and debate.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

As for bestiality, are you talking about the US military? I'm not sure how many people this might apply to but I doubt that it would be too many and I am pretty certain that it has nothing whatsoever to do with atheism.

'Congress is reportedly poised to remove the only specific reference to bestiality in the UCMJ, though officials say its removal is merely a legal technicality and does not represent any fundamental change for servicemembers and, by extension, service animals, the publication reports. "The department's position on this issue remains unchanged and that act remains illegal ..."'

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/09/us-milita...

Meanwhile in Europe:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20523950


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Having looked again at some atheist stances on 'infanticide'. I can only find something on whether euthanasia would be morally wrong for a child with health problems that would cause immense suffering. Euthanasia to prevent suffering could actually be considered morally right, surely?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

By the way, the only accounts I have found online, so far, about arrests for bestiality concerned two men who seem to be Christians.

http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message11...


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

You are avoiding the issue and misrepresenting the facts.

If you look at Peter Singer in Wiki you sill see his attempt to justify beastialty as benign "zoophilia" (plus links) and also his ideas on infanticide("after birth abortion") of healthy babies up the age of six months. He is now fanatically supporting the book "Citizen Canine" as a way to proceed onwards with law changes which will soften beastiality as a criminal offense.

Try googling: Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva (graduates of Singer) in the so called Journal of Medical ethics. They are promoting the killing of healthy six month old babies. They are atheists too.

http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medeth...

As these and many many other references to my points are so easily available on the net I feel quite justified in saying you are avoiding the issues and misrepresenting the facts.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Oztinato, as I said before, different people have different views, which may or may not run parallel to atheism. But atheism is simply non-belief in God.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Baloney. One line dictionary meanings are too restrictive. Go to comprehensive anthropological and philosophy dictionaries.

Evolution too is a theory about how creatures evolve but quickly became a part of philosophy, science and psychology etc. Same same.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Evolution is a theory, yes, but, sadly, most people do not understand what the word 'theory' means. It belongs within 'Science'.

Infanticide has nothing to do with atheism and euthanasia might actually be considered a good thing. It might or might not be supported by atheists.

Where do these points fit with my article?


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

It fits in quite neatly as

1. you are discussing many ideas directly associated with atheism and not stopping at "just a disbelief in God" eg morality.

2. I am clarifying that the recent new wave of modern atheism is not a one line dictionary definition; but like the concept of evolution has now rapidly spread to encompass large groups of new specifically atheist existential philosophy and agendas.eg infanticide and beastiality are totally atheist agendas.

ie. I am in total disagreement with your premise.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

As I said before, we shall have to agree to disagree,


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

It's okay Trish, Oztinato is obsessed with the idea that atheists worship a man named Peter Singer who has a handful of questionable ethical positions (such as the idea that sex with animals isn't always abusive).

He seems to think that what are called the "new" atheists or online atheists all have some kind of unified agenda as seen here:

"encompass large groups of new specifically atheist existential philosophy and agendas.eg infanticide and beastiality are totally atheist agendas."

Not only have most atheists never even heard of Peter Singer but I have yet to meet a single one who supports beastiality or infanticide.

As for the euthanasia, the right to die is something that believers have fought against for ages mainly because they do not subscribe to the idea that human beings should be autonomous. Instead they seem to think we BELONG to God, we are slaves and serfs and thus our lives are not our own to end even if we are elderly and in great pain.

Oztinato however is not talking about people who take euthanasia seriously and just want their elderly relatives to be able to choose to die without pain - he's once again talking about Peter Singer, who he has a personal unhealthy obsession with and who he assumes all atheists are taking our marching orders from.

The philosophies he's fighting against are not even mainstream or well-known by atheists and even when being generous with the numbers atheists make up less than 10% of the global population with Christians ranking in with 30% or more. So his fears and complaints, while they seem directed at all atheists, really should only be directed at a tiny fringe of people that have no political or philosophical pull to speak of.

In the past Oztinato has even tried to say that atheists control the internet. The persecution complex is strong with this one Trish ;)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Titen-Sxull.

Good to hear from you - and thanks for the explanation. :)

Well, of course there are going to be people with questionable morals, beliefs, behaviours, etc, in all walks of life.

Not all atheists agree with each other on everything. After all, it's not a religion, it's just a non-belief in the existence of God.

I hadn't heard of this Singer chap, before - so thanks :)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

As usual those guilty of not standing up to such atheists are therefore condoning them.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

I cannot stand up and criticise every person on the planet with whom I disagree but I do not approve of anyone hurting others.

Furthermore, I am not an atheist; I am agnostic. I am also many other things - English, female, a parent, a wife, etc. Am I therefore responsible for what every agnostic English wife and mother does?


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

I wasn't referring to you.

However I will politely ask you to remove TitenSxulls very lengthy personal attack and gross misrepresentation of me.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Is Titen-Sxull wrong in his conclusions re your stance on atheism?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

You can remove it if you want Trish, I don't mind in the slightest :)

Upon trying to dig up the actual quotes to support what I said about him it appears his hub on the dangers of 21st Century Atheism has been deleted.

I may have exaggerated his obsession with Peter Singer for comical affect and for that I apologize as I find it humorous.

There was also a question he posted about Peter Singer, but my answer quite mysteriously didn't show up. You can read it here and make up your own mind as to whether or not to delete my earlier comment:

http://oztinato.hubpages.com/question/240692/why-d...


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Thanks T-S.

I looked at the thread and I think that it does imply that atheists know all about / support / agree with Peter Singer.

I think that it also implies that atheists approve of infanticide and bestiality.

Absolute nonsense.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Trish

yes I am MOST DEFINITELY implying that those who do not protest against these things are indirectly supporting them. This is self evident.

However, there is still a personal attack against me on your hub and I once again politely ask you to delete it. there is no place for personal attacks, social media bullying, gross misrepresentation, defamation and invective on Hubpages: all these appear in TitenSxull's post.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

I can only peacefully repeat that it it clear that by not objecting to these odd atheist ideas a person is indirectly supporting them.

Please remove any personal attacks made by TitenSxull or I will report this Hub for violations.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Sorry but I really cannot see any personal attack there. He simply poInted out some of the things that you are against and which, you feel, atheists support.

Surely your criticisms of atheists, accusing them of supporting terrible things, is a personal attack in itself. I'm not keen on censorship unless someone really is being unpleasant.

Perhaps I should just get rid of the whole conversation.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Trish

I am not here to play social media popularity games.

By not deleting that personal attack you have lowered your standards. I will be vigourously lodging compliaints with Hubpages. They are very quick to ban people who make any personal attacks. If they dont ban titen and issue you a warning they would be acting in a highly hypocritical manner for all to see. Failing that I will research ways to reinforce my legal rights regarding online defamation and social media bullying.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Oztinato,

I really don't want this to get further into personal opinions, etc, re Singer or his (non-)followers, because it's not what my hub is about and, since none of this is really relevant to my subject, I am tempted to get rid of all of the comments. However, as I said before, I am not a supporter of unnecessary censorship so I am leaving it as it is for now.

However, you have, it seems to me, accused all atheists of being supporters of bestiality and infanticide. Correct me if I am wrong, but this is how it reads - and this is how Titen-Sxull seems to have read it, too, so I don't see how his quotes of, or references to, your comments on the subject can be seen as insulting, defamatory or bullying. Certainly no more defamatory than suggesting that atheists are bestial child-murderers.

I have not denied any of your comments, even when I have disagreed with them so I'm sorry but I feel that it would be unfair to deny the posts of others.

I have already asked Hub Pages to check these comments and they did not find any cause for concern.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

Trish, certainly you shouldn't have to remove the comments. Oztinato says he has been offended by what Titen-Sxull said. Personally I've been finding some of what Oztinato says, rather offensive. He says:

'those guilty of not standing up to such atheists (as Peter Singer) are therefore condoning them.'

and:

'I am MOST DEFINITELY implying that those (atheists) who do not protest against (infanticide and bestiality) are indirectly supporting them.'

I am an atheist. I'd never heard of Peter Stringer (just as 99% of other atheists have never heard of him) until reading these comments, so I've never in the past protested against him for these apparent beliefs. Therefore Oztinato is implying I am condoning or supporting these things. That is offensive. (But I won't ask you to remove his comments Trish :-)

Of course I can say now I condemn these things but there's no reason why I or other atheists should be any more obliged to speak out on these matters than religious people, because such policies are not part of an atheist agenda. They are nothing to do with atheism.

I've been following these comments with mild amsement, but if Oztinato is suggesting that HubPages should ban Titen-Sxull for his inoccuous comments, and warn you for allowing them, then he is going too far.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Thanks, Greensleeves, for your thoughts on this.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

I have never attacked anyone personally. I am attacking hypocrisy.

A personal attack is not an innocuous comment. Personal attacks are totally banned from Hubpages and perpetrators are usually banned immediately.

Those atheists who are not protesting against such crimes among their own atheist ranks are INDIRECTLY supporting them ( in the same way we criticize Muslims who are not opposing terrorism.)

Peter Singer is a well known atheist leader and professor just as Dawkins yet it seems atheists choose to pretend he doesn't exist.

I am utterly tired of hearing atheists say "I never heard of him" as it is feigned ignorance. He represents the cutting edge of atheist thought and current direction.

OK you know about him now:) so what are going to do? Feign ignorance.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

Oztinato I don't criticise ordinary non-activist Muslims I know as friends for not publically standing up and condemning the acts of all other Muslims whom they have nothing to do with. There's no reason why they should.

Nor do I criticise ordinary non-activist Christians I know as friends for not publically standing up and condemning the acts of all other Christians either today or in the past, whom they have nothing to do with. There's no reason why they should.

Equally non-activist atheists should not be criticised for not publically condemning the acts of another atheist - especially when 99% have never heard of that person and even more so when that person's reportedly controversial views have nothing whatsoever to do with atheism, which is simply a lack of belief in God.

This would be a very depressing world if everyone felt obliged to be a political activist constantly protesting against some other individual whom they have nothing to do with.

I said in my last comment that I had never heard of Peter Singer (in fact I notice now I even miss-spelled his name). So when you say now that atheists who claim never to have heard of Peter Singer are 'feigning ignorance', you are not only directly accusing me and others of hypocrisy, you are accusing myself and others of lying. That is a personal attack by you Oztinato - something you claim a few sentences earlier, to never do.

I don't know anything about this person Singer, and have never read anything about him except in this thread, but infanticide and bestiality are NOT at the ' cutting edge of atheist thought'. That is a an offensive point of view on your part, because it is an attack on the integrity of normal, civilised, moral people like myself.


Rad Man 2 years ago

"The cutting edge of atheist thought"

Where do you get this stuff? It's like saying some Christian in South America that no one ever heard of who thinks babies should be killed and children molested is on the cutting edge of Christian thinking.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

Trish, sorry for writing that long post, but Oztinato's attacks on the integrity of people like myself who simply believe in natural processes behind the creation and evolution of life, but who have never directly or indirectly supported the unpleasant things he talks about, made me a bit angry. Rest assured I've no intention of getting drawn into an extended 'flame war' because such exchanges do become rather pointless. Best wishes :-)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hello Greensleeves.

No need to apologise. You pretty much said what I was going to say. If we join a group, support it, advertise it and finance it, for example, then yes, I think that we have to take some responsibility for their actions, but just because we don't believe in a certain deity or question whether such a deity even exists does not mean that we automatically condone, or even have to consider, another non-believer's potentially unpleasant opinions on some matters.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Rad Man :)

Thanks for commenting.

I understand that Richard Dawkins believes that all subjects should be open for discussion and that none should be taboo just because the matter in question might upset some people. I imagine that these - bestiality and infanticide - are such subjects.

After all, many babies are aborted when they look just like other babies who are loved and cuddled and celebrated. I don't think that it can be wrong, therefore, for philosophers or scientists to discuss the morality of killing babies who have been born naturally when so many perfectly pleasant people think that it is ok to kill them by abortion. I don't know much about this Singer chap but maybe he has concluded that it could be the right option in some circumstances.

But 'cutting edge of atheist thinking'? - I doubt that I would put it that way.

However, this is probably a subject for another hub :)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Greensleeves

unless good people stand up in some way against atrocities they will continue. Einstein himself said the same thing.

Who said anything about public statements?

We are here online so WE should be making public statements! We are all alleging that we are ready to make public statements.

A Muslim person would be better off informing secretly about any information which could lead to arrests and so should any atheist or christian.

The reason its "cutting edge" atheism is because Atheism is not giving itself any other direction than this. Forget about Singer for a moment and look at the general direction of atheism today: its abysmal. Churches arent promoting abuse as a policy. What a gross misrepresentation by "radman".

The only people talking calmly about killing babies are in facilities for the criminally insane.

Hate to tell you guys this but murder is highly illegal.

I am making NO personal attacks against any individual: I am attacking attitudes of hypocrisy.

On the other hand titensxull has made blatant personal attacks against an individual, myself. These have so far gone unpunished by this Hub which is unethical and against Hub rules.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Atheism is not a religion.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

No responses to my points of logic of course.

Now we have established that atheist people support discussions supporting child murder, hands up those who support discussions in favor of Singer style beastiality.

Silence as per usual.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

Oztinato; there is no such thing as 'cutting edge atheism'. The term is meaningless. Atheisim, I reiterate, simply means a lack of belief in God. It is for most of us, a consequence of the enormous weight of evidence (as we see it) in support of natural physical, chemical and biological processes in creating the Earth, and life upon the Earth, and the lack of any reason to believe in a god.

Atheism has no direction to go, least of all an 'abysmal'one', because as Trish says, it is not a religion. It is also not a political belief, and it is not a social movement. It has no agenda whatsoever, although of course some atheists for various reasons (not least in order to defend their own morality) are keen to debate and refute religious belief systems, just as some religious people are keen to attack atheism or indeed religious faiths which differ from their own.

But whatever - atheism is nothing at all to do with the things you have talked about. It certainly does not 'promote abuse as a policy'. It has no policies. Any 'policies' are just the point of view of individuals. The only commonality among atheists is a lack of belief in God. I hope you can begin to understand that.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

“unless good people stand up in some way against atrocities they will continue.”

Attempting to make Peter Singer sound like Hitler and Kony rolled into one when he wields no political power and is not at the center of the debate on ethics. Tell me Oztinato, have you denounced the activities of theists in Africa who want homosexuality to carry a death penalty? Because from what I can deduce you are a THEIST right? So then all the bad things theists do you should always be ready to renounce, by your own logic.

Here's an example, Christian Philosopher William Lane Craig, a very popular apologist here in the USA who has a PhD and has done decades worth of public debates on the subject of God and God's existence has excused the infanticide and murder of children (often by God himself and other times by being slaughtered by Israelites) in the Bible by saying, and I quote VERBATIM, these children were “recipients of an infinite good”.

So by your own twisted nonsensical logic I could easily claim that theists are condoning such things for not denouncing William Lane Craig AND that they. through Craig, support killing people before the age of reason/accountability because those children will go to Heaven.

“On the other hand titensxull has made blatant personal attacks against an individual, myself.”

All I'm saying is that you have a grudge against Peter Singer, would you deny that? And yeah okay I played it for comical effect. Addressing someone directly, on an individual basis, and even exaggerating their position or poking fun at their position DOES NOT constitute a personal attack, don't flatter yourself Ozt.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Oztinato: "Now we have established that atheist people support discussions supporting child murder, hands up those who support discussions in favor of Singer style beastiality."

That's what philosophers do, Oztinato; they discuss moral issues. There's nothing weird about that. This might include any type of topic, including killing, bestiality, etc, etc. It does not mean that they support the behaviour. They may; but they may not; they may in certain circumstances; or they may not have decided.

A number of philosophers will be atheists.

Some people who support killing, etc, may be atheists.

And many certainly are not.

Just look in the Bible at the amount of killing carried out by believers in the name of God - and it has been going on ever since.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

Oztinato; according to the time frame at the moment when I am writing this, you wrote a comment 2 days ago. 45 hours ago you wrote another comment in which you said:

'No responses to my points of logic of course.'

Give us a chance mate! Some of us have better things to do than reply immediately to the kind of 'ideas' contained within your previous comment. Well, now you have received a few replies.

I may write again if you make personal attacks, or if you make generalised abusive comments about atheists, or indeed if you make any logical points. Though I would prefer to just wryly smile, shake my head sadly, and move on. :-)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Philosophers discuss moral issues not immoral issues. They do not discuss making murdering children or having sex with animals legal. It only worsens the hyopcrisy to try to misrepresent the bible to justify legalising murder and beastiality. That is irrational.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

No, Oztinato, I am not being irrational.

The Bible is full of murder. The slaughter of the Amalekite babies is a horrific story, for example.

And when philosophers discuss morality that includes 'immorality'. How can you discuss one without including the other.

Here's an example of how such a discussion might begin:

~ Since it is acceptable to many people to abort an unborn child if its life would be unacceptably unpleasant, or if its birth could cause serious problems to its family, then shouldn't it be equally acceptable to consider killing such a child after it is born?

Looking at this question philosophically does not have to imply that one would consider killing children. It is merely an exercise in logical philosophical thought.

And just because I have shown how it works does not mean that I support killing babies, or anyone else for that matter.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

If people want to contemplate murder online it is their choice but don't call it philosophy. Legally it is "premeditation" not "philosophy". Premeditated murder of infants is in the very worst category of crime. No church is trying to legalize murder. Singer has thousands of ardent admirers and followers who are trying to make it LAW.

Still waiting for you people to start defending beastiality in the same way you defend infanticide.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

This is all nonsense, Oztinato. Really it is. Do you honestly believe that being an atheist is equivalent to being a depraved murderer? Because if you do, then there is absolutely no point in going any further with this discussion.

It is nonsense, and insulting nonsense at that.

Singer may have admirers; I have no idea whether he does or not. But anyone can get followers. There are plenty of people who are happy to commit crimes. That does not make Singer cutting- edge and it does not make hi or his followers typical atheists.

Atheists do not believe in God. That's it. For the most part, they are not criminally depraved murderers.

And Philosophy can cover any subject.


Rad Man 2 years ago

God himself is said to have ordered the killing of the first born of entire cities, so I'm not going to listen to someone pretend that their religion has brought them to a higher ground. It's irrational. Should I now start claiming that all people who follow the OT are baby killers. Please!!!


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

No, atheism has become a fully blown philosophy with hundreds if not thousands of organised groups.

From your comments you are saying beastialty too is open for discussion!

Now THATS rubbish.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

" It only worsens the hyopcrisy to try to misrepresent the bible to justify legalising murder and beastiality. That is irrational."

The Biblical God directly supports, by his direct verbal admission, slavery, owning other human beings as property and even beating them.

The Biblical Mosaic law directly supports putting rebellious children to death.

That's not a misrepresentation.

The Biblical God also kills many innocent children or has them killed according the Bible and I've had people DEFEND THAT. Should I start blaming all theists for the fact that a few of them defend infanticide? Or is it a misrepresentation to not differentiate between those God murders and those mankind murders. Is it more of a sin or less of a sin when a perfect God is the one sucking the life from a child?

No, not all theists would defend such things, theists come in many different shapes and sizes AND SO DO ATHEISTS. The enemy you are fighting against simply does not exist outside of Peter Singer, it is either a deliberate and purposeful strawman you have created or an imaginary figment inhabiting the darkened corners of your mind.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

I've been having a look at Peter Singer. I may even write a hub on him. He is a philosopher. He discusses all sorts of things. He is free to do so. We all are.

As far as I can tell the 'infanticide' thing is really a euthanasia thing. Euthanasia is controversial but should not be taboo.

Now the bestiality thing. He was asked to review a book about bestiality, so he did. I got the impression that he found the whole matter fairly odd and not something that floated his boat, but he realised that a lot of people do seem to want such a relationship with a pet. Who knows why. Lonely perhaps? Other problems maybe? Who knows? It is certainly strange behaviour for most of us, but, as he says, as long as no animal - human or otherwise - is forced to do this against their will, or bullied into it, or hurt it any way, then we should perhaps ask why we think that it is so wrong and why we can't just leave these people in peace to get on with their lives. He's not promoting it, merely trying to understand a minority group.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Trish

you really really REALLY need to do a tad more research.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

So do you :)

You really need to understand how philosophy works.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

Trust me Trish, Oztinato is the world's leading expert on Peter Singer research, he may go for his Masters in Peter Singer studies.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Trish

so have you found out yet that "philosopher" Prof Singer (and his thousands of follwers) wants to kill healthy six year old children? Have you protested this? Have you found out that these people also want to have sex with animals legalised? Are you keen on this?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Where on earth do you find this 'information', Oztinato?

From Singer?

Or from his enemies?

Read his own words:

https://www.princeton.edu/~psinger/faq.html


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

You know, Titen-Sxull, I'm beginning to think that Singer's detractors invent a lot of unpleasant stuff in order to increase the number of his enemies.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"Why do innocent children suffer serious diseases? Why do innocent children suffer at the hands of torturing psychopaths?"

Here's why our loving Creator has temporarily allowed suffering to exist: http://bit.ly/11EyvgO


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Thank you for the link, Joseph. :)

However, I'm afraid that the article doesn't provide an adequate explanation, in my opinion.

If God is there and God is God then 'he' must be capable of protecting little children. If he does not protect them then it is reasonable to ask why not? Is it because he does not exist anyway? Or is it because he does exist but lacks the desire or the ability to protect them?

Either way God is not protecting the innocent, which is what one might hope that a loving fatherly God would or should do. In my opinion.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"‘Why has God not prevented tragedies?’ Really, that would be an injustice, and it would cloud the issue by making it seem that rebelling against God is without consequence." -http://bit.ly/11EyvgO


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

My reply is the same as above :)


Rad Man 2 years ago

An injustice? Really. It's just to starve and molest children? It's such a shame to see someone allowing religion to blame the helpless victims.


Rad Man 2 years ago

Joseph, it's not a rebellion against God, it's a rebellion against the concept of a God. If a God exist, we know nothing about him other than he put us here on a planet orbiting a second or third generation sun which is one of billions in our galaxy which is one of billions of galaxies.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Yes, Rad Man, I too find it surprising that so many people are willing to accept behaviour from a 'loving deity' that they would heartily condemn in any human.


Rad Man 2 years ago

One would think that the unethical and immoral behaviour seen in the bible would be a clue that said God doesn't exist, but it appears the need to hold onto the concept of immortality is greater than the need see reality as it is. Sad, really.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Rad

"If a God exist, we know nothing about him"

Would you like to know about him?

"It's just to starve and molest children?"

Strawman. Sorry, try again.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Rad

"It's such a shame to see someone allowing religion to blame the helpless victims."

"People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD." -Proverbs 19:3


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

"Man made trains and boats and planes but God made Man and God gave Man his brains."

I can't remember who said that but we used to repeat it our school assemblies on occasion.

The thing is, it works both ways. If man's achievements are really God's, then man's failings are really God's too.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

Except that God is perfect and everything he does is sublimely perfect. Man's failings are his own by his own choices. See Proverbs 19:3.


Rad Man 2 years ago

@Joseph, no straw man was used. I'm looking straight at the words that you say are Gods words and showing you they are unethical and immoral.

And NO. I need not delude myself with a soother into pretending I'm immortal.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, I'm afraid that creating predatory animals to rip baby lambs, etc, apart and creating murderers and perverts to wreck or end children's lives is not the work of a 'sublimely perfect' super-being.

Furthermore, the Bible tells of several atrocities attributed to God.

Either way, this is not good and would not be tolerated in humans.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

As for 'Proverbs 19:3' etc, I do not need the Bible to tell me that if God exists then he has to be supreme - and a supreme, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful God, who creates murderers and perverts and allows them to torture the innocent, is not a loving or 'sublimely perfect' father-figure. He is either cruel and / or uncaring, or he lacks the power to help us.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Rad

"no straw man was used"

Then show me where I specifically state "It's just to starve and molest children."


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Rad

"Gods words [] are unethical and immoral."

@Trish

"the Bible tells of several atrocities attributed to God."

"Imagine a person who comes in here tonight and argues 'no air exists' but continues to breathe air while he argues. Now intellectually, atheists continue to breathe - they continue to use reason and draw scientific conclusions [which assumes an orderly universe], to make moral judgments [which assumes absolute values] - but the atheistic view of things would in theory make such 'breathing' impossible. They are breathing God's air all the time they are arguing against him."

- Greg Bahnsen


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Sorry Joseph, that simply isn't true.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"God, [] creates murderers and perverts and allows them to torture the innocent,"

God doesn't create murderers or rapists anymore than you can give birth to murderers or rapists. Individuals CHOOSE to become murderers or rapists.

"allows them to torture the innocent, is not a loving or 'sublimely perfect' father-figure. He is either cruel and / or uncaring, or he lacks the power to help us."

Why would he help you? Why would he care for any of you? All you do is proclaim to the world how much you despise him:

"At that time they will call to Jehovah for help,

But he will not answer them.

He will hide his face from them at that time,

Because of their wicked deeds." -Micah 3:4

"If anyone turns a deaf ear to [Jehovah's] instruction, even their prayers are detestable." -Proverbs 28:9 (Bracket mine.)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"that simply isn't true."

How so? Surely not because you simply say so, is it?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

I'll elaborate a bit.

Only believers believe this and believing something does not necessarily make it so.

It is not necessary for God to exist in order for air to exist.

Similarly, it is not necessary for God to exist in order for morality to exist.

Believers can say that these things are true and then base all sorts of conclusions on the premise. This does not mean that they are correct.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

'How so? Surely not because you simply say so, is it?'

I could ask the same of you, Joseph :)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

And I'm glad you did!

Like Christ before me, I too "do not speak of my own originality, but the Father who remains in union with me is doing his works." - John 14:10


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, I don't wish, hope or intend to convert you. I simply disagree with you. :)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"it is not necessary for God to exist in order for morality to exist."

Let me emphasize again, the question is not: “Must we believe in God in order to live moral lives?” There is no reason to think that atheists and theists alike may not live what we normally characterize as good and decent lives. Similarly, the question is not: “Can we formulate a system of ethics without reference to God?” If the non-theist grants that human beings do have objective value, then there is no reason to think that he cannot work out a system of ethics with which the theist would also largely agree. Or again, the question is not: “Can we recognize the existence of objective moral values without reference to God?” The theist will typically maintain that a person need not believe in God in order to recognize, say, that we should love our children. Rather, “the central question about moral and ethical principles concerns this ontological foundation. If they are neither derived from God nor anchored in some transcendent ground, are they purely ephemeral?” (Paul Kurtz)

If there is no God, every basis for the herd morality evolved by mankind as objectively true is quite frankly arbitrary. In the end, just what is so exceptional about humanity in general? On Atheism, we are simply concomitant nimieties of nature having advanced comparatively recently on an infinitesimal speck left high and dry somewhere in a dreary and purposeless universe condemned to oblivion individually and jointly in a relatively not to distant future.

Some action, say, gang rape, may not be biologically or socially advantageous and so in the course of human evolution has become taboo; but there is on the atheistic view nothing really wrong about committing gang rape. If “The moral principles that govern our behavior are rooted in habit and custom, feeling and fashion,” (Paul Kurtz) then the non-conformist who chooses to brush-off the herd morality is doing nothing more serious than acting passé.


Rad Man 2 years ago

Joseph, air is something measurable and testable, God is something imagined. If you are at all honest you would see the difference.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, I have written a few hubs that relate to God and morality. They will explain my stance on the subject:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Frank-Ture...

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Genghis-Ch...

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Destru...

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/If-Jesus-W...

Suffice to say that child murder, gang rape and other revolting behaviour has evolved as human society has evolved. It helps us to live happier more successful lives if we co-operate better. Is it also because we are born with some kind of innate sense of morality? I don't know.

Some people say that we do have an innate sense of morality and that God put it there. However, this cannot be so - and, here, I look at the God of the Bible and at God as (apparently) experienced by earthlings.

The Bible has God encouraging, condoning and even ordering baby murder and gang rape, so it certainly cannot be this version of God who has made mankind consider them evil and immoral

And from our our experiences we see that God allows innocent animals - human and non-human - to experience utter terror, torture, pain, humiliation, death, disease, etc. He is all-powerful, so, yes, if he is there, then he is allowing it. Not only that, but he has created the system and the individuals which result in this suffering.

So please tell me how I am supposed to assume that morality comes from God?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Rad

Argumentum assertio. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Prove your claim. Prove that your Creator is just a figment of imagination.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"God allows innocent animals - human and non-human - to experience utter terror, torture, pain, humiliation, death, disease, etc. He is all-powerful, so, yes, if he is there, then he is allowing it."

You'll be glad to know that animals don't actually suffer. I just finished publishing a hub on this very subject: Can Animals Actually Suffer? http://bit.ly/1v5ripl

As far as human suffering is concerned you need to consider if our Creator could have a very legitimate reason for temporarily permitting human suffering: http://bit.ly/11EyvgO

"Not only that, but he has created the system and the individuals which result in this suffering."

Not in the slightest. Our current state of affairs was architected by Satan, Adam and Eve. Our loving Creator had nothing to do with it: http://bit.ly/11EyvgO

"So please tell me how I am supposed to assume that morality comes from God?"

Remember what Bahnsen said? Without absolute moral values and duties you can't judge anyone's actions as moral or immoral. You'd merely be expressing your own opinions, nothing more.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@Joseph

"Some action, say, gang rape, may not be biologically or socially advantageous and so in the course of human evolution has become taboo; but there is on the atheistic view nothing really wrong about committing gang rape."

My abhorrence towards gang-rape has nothing to do with my atheistic view point. PLEASE, Joseph, if as you say in your Profile you are a "foe of lies," then do not try to twist logic into something that you know is not true.

You are trying to present yourself as someone scholarly and able to present a reasonable argument. Yet, in suggesting that a belief in a god is a walk towards morality, you show simply a deep bias that is unable to consider wider possibilities... In my humble opinion.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

Rad

Kurt Godel. Remember? Proving God by pure logic and maths.


Rad Man 2 years ago

Argumentum assertio? I don't believe you understand that fallacy. You see it is you who is telling us that X is true and if we don't believe it we have a closed mind. It's also known as Rhetoric because an assertion itself (God) isn't really proof of anything.

I don't believe I'll be reading your hub that states that animals don't suffer, you see I have another animal in the house and I know they suffer. I didn't read nor will I read anything after that nonsense.


Rad Man 2 years ago

Oztinato,

I thought I'd add some Godel quotes if you don't mind.

"Religions are, for the most part, bad—but religion is not"

"I like Islam, it is a consistent [or consequential] idea of religion and open-minded."

I've yet to see the math or logic yet. Not that this matter but he was good friend with Einstein and Einstein disagreed.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

I've commented on the suffering animals hub.

As I said, I'm an animal and I am capable of suffering.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Jonny

"My abhorrence towards gang-rape has nothing to do with my atheistic view point."

Because Atheism is amoral.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"I'm an animal"

Speak for yourself :)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Rad

"Argumentum assertio?"

Yes, argumentum assertio. “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Prove your claim. Prove that your Creator is just a figment of imagination.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

I am an animal, Joseph.

Of course I am.

And so are you.

So are we all.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Joseph, your arguments do not improve.

Religious belief does not equate to being "moral."

However, it can equate to feeling superior.


Rad Man 2 years ago

@ Trish, and they call Atheists arrogant? It's they who think they are the apple of God's eye, the centre of the universe and the reason for the universe and somehow not animals.


Rad Man 2 years ago

BTW Joseph, Spiritual experiences have been given to people by simply utilizing magnetics to the right hemisphere in 90% of people. I don't pretend to have a creator besides my parent, but I can say that if simple magnets produce what you would can the presence of God then that feeling is a product of your mind.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

Nope. I'm not an animal. I'm a rational, thinking, feeling human being :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Yes Rad Man, you and I seem happy to consider ourselves animals :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, 'rational, thinking, feeling human being's are animals, too.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

Joseph, I take it you refute the science of biology? Yes, I can agree 'animal' does have a somewhat different meaning in popular English usage which likes to distinguish between other species and human beings on the basis of our enhanced cognitive abilities and emotional complexity, but biologically speaking in terms of anatomy, physiology and - yes, our evolutionary origins - we are all animals. That is a fact. It is not in dispute among biologists.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Yes, it's interesting, 'jonnycomelately' , that many Christians seem to think that they have some kind of monopoly on morality.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 2 years ago from The English Midlands Author

Yes, Greensleeves Hubs, I agree that, while we humans are, indeed, animals, there is something rather different about us - and I acknowledge that it is a mystery :)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

@Green

Evolutionary origins? Are you suggesting we share some ancient ancestry with irrational animals?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 24 months ago from Tasmania

Trish, Greensleeves, I see so much effort on the part of theists to convert me to their way of thinking, their beliefs, that it amazes me they even bother.

Is their "faith" not strong enough to stand without my help or agreement? Does their "god" have so little actuality that "He" must always have his flock repeatedly reaffirming his existence?

Is there so much ambiguity to be seen within that holy book, so vague behind and in amongst the ancient texts, that it takes a multitude of interpreters to bring even a slight semblance of "truth" to my ears?

Does it stand up to good logic that people take ancient texts, about ancient peoples and cultures, in a distant desert land, and try to pretend that their "god" spoke to those people in strange, magical ways which can be taken at face value in the 21st century after their (questionably fictitious) founder left this physical world?

Such feats of logic are even prevalent amongst well educated and intelligent individuals.

Must be a genetic trait.... can't think of any other explanation. Can you?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

I think, Joseph, that you know all about the science of evolution so your question is clearly meant to be tongue-in-cheek :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi again jonnycomelately :)

Why do modern people - even educated ones - believe that ancient texts reveal a true creator God, who still watches over us, requiring our devotion?

Why do believers want non-believers to convert to their religion?

Interesting questions. I have thought about them a lot - and asked people about them.

I personally know some very intelligent and highly educated people who are devout believers - and I have read about others. Why don't they doubt?

I ask one friend, who answered that we all believe in something. This happened to be his thing.

Only yesterday a friend told me that it was what she had been brought up with; it suited her and her family, felt right, so why abandon it?

Others tell me that they have experienced something that sounds almost magical - God talking to them or working in their lives.

And then there is 'the human difference'. Yes, of course we are animals but, even noting all the similarities, we are still very different even from our closest relatives likes bonobos. Why?

Also, many people do have what appear to be supernatural or spiritual experiences. I have had them, myself, and know lots of others who have, too.

No doubt this has happened throughout time and, when coupled with such mysteries of nature as thunder and lightning, for example, must have seemed like evidence for God and for other heavenly, or hellish, realms.

To this day, not all apparently paranormal activity has been explained.

I think that all of this helps to explain a continued belief in the existence of a magical deity. And I also think that, with no clear explanations for some of these mysteries, this is understandable.

It's not that I am a complete atheist; I consider myself agnostic. As my friend the believer said - we all believe in something and you (ie. 'me') believe in all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

I would say that I believe in possibilities, but I do not believe that the God of the Bible is real, except as a reflection of what the ancients believed, and I very much doubt that Jesus was an incarnation of this rather violent and fickle Bronze Age super being.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 24 months ago from Tasmania

@Joseph, are you suggesting that you KNOW that animals (other than human animals) are irrational? Or is this just one more of your beliefs?

How can we KNOW the nature of how other animals "think?" You and I, and most other people, can communicate with each other, using language, art, etc., to describe the way we are thinking. We can compare notes, come to some kind of conclusion that what we are thinking is at least similar.

Scientists can do experiments to reach various conclusions about what and how other animals think and react to situations. We cannot know what they are "thinking" about when they just sit/lie there, ruminating on their cud, or just.... staring into space, as we perceive.

Ultimately, what does it matter what they think, or whether they "think" at all?

If they think even half as much as we do, they will have a pretty poor opinion of mankind; that species which plays havoc with and often destroys their habitat.....all because we presume we are that much more important and closer to our "creator" than they are.

Maybe this is a bit too rational for you, eh?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

PS. Richard Dawkins discusses / explains belief as a genetic trait in some of his books.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 24 months ago from Tasmania

Now there's a courageous man!

So was the Late Rev. Lord Donald Soper, who would debate with anyone at

Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park. He was a Christian minister, renowned for his great and noble work with the poor, in the docklands of East London.

He remained a Pacifist throughout World War II, despite being castigated as a traitor for not fighting in the war.

Courage to stand up for what he believed.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

I found this Richard Dawkins quote. (It may, eventually, appear more than once because it keeps disappearing.)

"... in the case of religion, I think there was something built into the human brain by natural selection which was once useful and which now manifests itself under civilised conditions as religion, but which used not to be religion when it first arose, and when it was useful."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/atheism/pe...


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

I love listening to Dawkins. I keep searching for his debates on YouTube. I used to love listening to Christopher Hitchens, too.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

I have to say that I find it, at the very least, disconcerting and confusing, as to why decent moral people, who would normally condemn genocide, rape, murder, torture, child abuse, etc, are willing to find excuses for such behaviour, and even praise, worship and adore the perpetrator and / or his followers, just because this is the Bible


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

Happy Thursday Trish! :)

You say, "I do not believe that the God of the Bible is real." Why is that, if you don't mind my asking?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 24 months ago from Tasmania

I suggest the "God of the Bible" was designed by Man. Designed by Church- and State-orientated people to use as a Weapon of Mass Control.

Create a sense of guilt in your population for a start. Then build fear of retribution. Then paint scenarios of punishment and destruction. Threaten "Hell, Fire and Brimstone," as a consequence of not bowing to Order.

Now paint another picture, one of Avoidance. Avoiding the consequences of disobedience, by "believing in" one who seemed to have Harry Potter-like, magical abilities and who continues to look down upon each and everyone of us in judgement. One who reports back to his "heavenly" Father who will then decide which 144,000 from the flock of billions will be allowed into that Pie-in-the-Sky, "Heaven."

You know that "God of the Bible" is in reality a bunch of self-serving people that call themselves christian.

Join with Joseph. Join the Club.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Yes, it is certainly possible that the ancient priests and chiefs 'used' the idea of God as a means of control.

It is also likely that anything unknown or misunderstood could have been taken as 'God'.

I can understand a belief in the supernatural, but I don't see why modern man, even if he believes in a superior deity, should believe in God as described in the Bible - as opposed to gods found within any other ancient writings.

Why that version? Why not Zeus or Odin or Ra? I suggest that it's just chance - that the version which eventually reached us was the one which arrived in the hands of people who could spread the idea further. (The Roman Catholic Church, perhaps???)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

"To my surprise, I found substantial knowledge and deep insight in the pages of the Bible. I was fascinated with researching the scientific accuracy of the Bible and the fulfillment of hundreds of detailed prophecies applying to events occurring over thousands of years of human history. I was especially impressed by how the integration of multiple Bible prophecies—in the books of Daniel and Revelation—provides a solid basis for determining that we live in “the last days.”—2 Timothy 3:1.

In studying the Bible, I was unknowingly in excellent company. I later learned that Sir Isaac Newton, regarded as one of the greatest scientific geniuses of all time, admired and intensely researched the Bible. Like Newton, I focused on prophecies in Daniel and Revelation that foretold major historical events and developments that have actually occurred. However, I had the distinct advantage of living during and after the realization of the many prophecies that have been fulfilled since Newton’s day. I discovered that these prophecies are amazingly diverse and extensive as well as unerring and undeniable. It was an eye-opener to realize that the entire Bible, penned by more than 40 men over a period of 1,600 years, contains an internally consistent, coherent, and compelling message concerning the major issues facing humankind and its future.

Letting go of my belief in evolution did not come without resistance, however. I respected the substantial weight of scientific authority backing up this theory. Nevertheless, I discovered that all Bible statements about the physical world are entirely consistent with known facts and cannot be disproved. I came to appreciate that in order to achieve a complete, cohesive understanding of the Bible’s extensive, interrelated contents, one cannot discount a single teaching, including the creation account in Genesis. I therefore discerned that acceptance of the entire Bible as truth was the only reasonable conclusion." -Dr. Kenneth Tanaka - Former Atheist (http://bitly.com/1ebIe05)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

"My work as a biochemist involved studying the design of certain molecules found in ocean-dwelling cyanobacteria, which are microorganisms that don’t depend on other living things for food. Some researchers think that these organisms were the first living things on our planet. Using energy from sunlight, the microbes use an extremely complex chemical process, which is still not fully understood, to convert water and carbon dioxide into food. I was also amazed at how cyanobacteria can harvest light with incredible efficiency.

I thought about engineers trying to imitate the marvelous mechanisms found in living things, and I came to the conclusion that life must have been designed by God. But my faith was not based solely on what I studied in science. It was also based on a careful study of the Bible.

One of the many things that convinced me was the detailed fulfillment of Bible prophecies. For example, centuries in advance Isaiah described in abundant detail the death and burial of Jesus. We know this prophecy was written before Jesus’ death because the Isaiah Scroll, found at Qumran, was copied about a hundred years before Jesus was born.

That prophecy says: “He will make his burial place even with the wicked ones, and with the rich class in his death.” (Isaiah 53:9, 12) Remarkably, Jesus was executed with criminals but was buried in the tomb of a wealthy family. This is just one example of the many fulfilled prophecies that convinced me that the Bible is inspired of God. (2 Timothy 3:16) In time, I became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses." -Dr. Davey Loos, former atheist (http://bit.ly/16DSMSi)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

I'm afraid that I haven't found anything other than very interesting historical documents in the Bible.


Rad Man 24 months ago

Hey Joseph, I'm not sure how you think those to quotes make any case at all. I did like the guy who said letting go of his belief in evolution was difficult for him. What next, is he going to let go in his belief in electricity?

I have to say I'm a little embarrassed for these two. You may want to have a critical look at all the prophesies. Like fortune telling they may sometime hit a not and that's all one remembers, they don't remember the thousand misses. Further, we don't know what the writer of the NT had access to because they very well may have wrote what the prophesies said. Notice the first gospel has no mention of the birth of Jesus or the resurrection, but the ones that came after did?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

But do you understand why Jehovah God, the God of the Bible, stands head and shoulders above all other gods?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

But do you understand why Jehovah God, the God of the Bible, stands head and shoulders above all other gods?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 24 months ago from Tasmania

It's also very interesting how, if you "read between the lines" of many stories found there, they reflect human nature, human leanings, human desires, successes, failures, emotions, social traits, etc...... all of which can be seen in our modern day. We humans have not changed in our basic, animal, instinctive characteristics.

I am so glad that Charles Darwin had the courage to step outside of conventional thinking, and by doing so opened up the human mind to other ways of exploration.

We have all, religious and non-religious alike, benefited from his work.

Not to say anything is ever "cut and dried," of course. There is always room for more observation, more learning.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 24 months ago from Australia

Joey

please stop embarrassing yourself. Its hard enough to combat atheist religious intolerance. Listening to an allegedly religious person defend religious intolerance is abysmal.


Rad Man 24 months ago

@Joseph, I'm sure the Greeks thought Zeus stood head and shoulders above all others. It's kind of funny because the Mormons are sure that the book of mormon is as divine as the NT. If they can be sure and wrong of that than you can can be sure and wrong.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, what makes you say that 'the God of the Bible, stands head and shoulders above all other gods'?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 24 months ago from Tasmania

The answer to that is simple, Trish.... it's all head stuff....lol


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

The fact that the Bible is the single most published book in all of human history. Billions of copies have been printed, it's available the world over in hundreds of languages and each one announces that Jehovah is the one and only true God.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

@Rad

“The vulgar modern argument used against religion, and lately against common decency, would be absolutely fatal to any idea of liberty. It is perpetually said that because there are a hundred religions claiming to be true, it is therefore impossible that one of them should really be true.

The argument would appear on the face of it to be illogical, if anyone nowadays troubled about logic. It would be as reasonable to say that because some people thought the earth was flat, and others (rather less incorrectly) imagined it was round, and because anybody is free to say that it is triangular or hexagonal, or a rhomboid, therefore it has no shape at all; or its shape can never be discovered; and, anyhow, modern science must be wrong in saying it is an oblate spheroid. The world must be some shape, and it must be that shape and no other; and it is not self-evident that nobody can possibly hit on the right one.

What so obviously applies to the material shape of the world equally applies to the moral shape of the universe. The man who describes it may not be right, but it is no argument against his rightness that a number of other people must be wrong.”

― G.K. Chesterton


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, let's say that God exists. I don't know whether this is possible or not. I know that it seems to fly in the face of Physics, but I am agnostic, so I don't know.

Now, let's say that us mere humans cannot really grasp what God is all about; that it is too huge a concept for our minds, but we try. And throughout time we have tried. And this has resulted is all sorts of beliefs; all sorts of gods.

Why should the Bible stories be any closer to the 'real God' than the stories from any other ancient culture?

The fact that lots of Bibles are sold is irrelevant. Lots + lots of Superman comic books, videos, etc, etc, are sold. Does that mean that Superman is real and is God?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 24 months ago from Tasmania

".....us mere humans cannot really grasp what God is all about;...."

Precisely! And because of this, the concept of "God" has given rise to all manner of metaphor, analogy, artist impressions, poetry, idolatry, etc. All trying to give an idea of what "God" might be like, in terms of what we humans perceive as worth focusing on.

The trouble comes, I feel, when individuals and even groups cannot see the true nature and function of metaphor. They regard the metaphorical as reality.

In that bible, metaphor has been so diverse, and the meaning obscure in many cases, that it's brought about argument and derision to the point of bloody warfare, fighting over the "true meaning," when really such "true meaning" is only applicable to the individual reading it.

With this understanding, Joseph, if you really do "get it," you will see that you really are free to believe and perceive whatever you like, but your own interpretation is not necessarily transferable to the mind or the immediate needs of another person.

I know that such understanding does not suit the needs of a controlling group of people, called a church or a synagogue or a mosque. Or a faith......


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

How do you mean that God's existence 'flies in the face of Physics'?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

Do you know of anyone who's been executed for simply owning a copy of a Superman comic?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph, the fact that religion causes (way too much) violence is not relevant to whether or not God exists, or whether such a god might be the God of the Bible.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Joseph: "How do you mean that God's existence 'flies in the face of Physics'?"

Well, can you explain, scientifically, where he is and how he can affect the universe, unscientifically, as described in the Bible?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

Hiya Trish!

I must confess, I don't quite understand the relevance of your reply. Can you clarify?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

"can you explain, scientifically, where he is and how he can affect the universe, unscientifically, as described in the Bible?"

“I would not expect religion to be the right tool for sequencing the human genome and by the same token would not expect science to be the means to approaching the supernatural. But on the really interesting larger questions, such as ‘Why are we here?’ or ‘Why do human beings long for spirituality?,’ I find science unsatisfactory. Many superstitions have come into existence and then faded away. Faith has not, which suggests it has reality.” - Francis S. Collins - MD, PhD


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

I am not a scientist but I have heard scientists say things such as that there is no place for God / Heaven to exist within our universe and also that God's miracles would not fit with the laws of physics, etc.

I appreciate that some scientists are also Believers and, as you suggest, they would 'not expect science to be the means to approaching the supernatural', but I don't see how that can make sense in scientific terms.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

All that means is that they exist outside our universe. This is certainly in line with such outlandish conceptualizations as String and M theories.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

I don't know enough about them to comment on String and M theories.Do you? Are you a scientist?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

Hiya Trish!

To answer your question, I am an autodidact but you can find good summaries of these theories via Google :)


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 24 months ago from Tasmania

Sounds more like plucking at strings and clutching at straws to me.

Joseph, if "they exist outside of our universe," then what does it have to do with us?

The only way you can communicate with any such other world is by imagination. And that is very suspect.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

I am an autodidact, too, and, as I said, I don't know enough about String and M theories to comment.


Rad Man 24 months ago

"Many superstitions have come into existence and then faded away. Faith has not, which suggests it has reality.” - Francis S. Collins - MD, PhD

Actually what it suggests is that people are prone and are easily susceptible to superstitions. Watch people line up to get their future told and watch how we ignore every error the psychic makes and only remember the correct things. Religion is really nothing more that a collection of superstitions. But science can't tells us why we are here, but neither can religion, it's just wishful thinking.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

A combination of wishful thinking and fear, I would say.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 24 months ago

"Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy: the mad daughter of a wise mother." -Voltaire


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 24 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Voltaire was a great man of his day - but his day was a long time ago and we have learned much since then.

Born: November 21, 1694, Paris, France

Died: May 30, 1778, Paris, France


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 24 months ago from Essex, UK

Re-Voltaire; here are a few more wise quotes attributed to him:

'Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.'

'Of all religions the Christian is without doubt the one which should inspire tolerance most, although up to now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men.'

'Which is more dangerous: fanaticism or atheism? Fanaticism is certainly a thousand times more deadly; for atheism inspires no bloody passion whereas fanaticism does; atheism is opposed to crime and fanaticism causes crimes to be committed.'

Voltaire was undoubtedly a truly great thinker. One of the greatest ever. He may have been a believer in God, but that was the times he lived in, and he certainly had scepticisms about the Bible. One can never say how his views would have been had he lived post-Darwin, but I suspect he would have been even more sceptical about religion. Either way, despite the fact that his sayings are often very wise, I do love another of his quotes:

'A witty saying proves nothing.'


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 24 months ago from Tasmania

So, Joseph, why would you repeatedly fall back on the sayings of others, from different times and circumstances, when it is within your own life, your own conscience, that you could well apply your questions and seek answers.

No one else can do that searching, questioning and answering but YOU, in your own time, with your own energy and honesty.

Wishing you enlightenment on that journey.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 23 months ago

Happy Saturday Trish!

If I may, how does any of this invalidate the truth of his reflection?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 23 months ago from The English Midlands Author

More from Voltaire:

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."

"If God has created us in His image, we have more than returned the compliment."


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 23 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Here's another one that makes Voltaire sound confused.:

"To believe in God is impossible - to not believe in Him is absurd."


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 23 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Voltaire was clearly in a state of great confusion towards the end of his life.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 23 months ago

@Green

Voltaire undoubtedly made the same mistake many make today in confusing Antichristians with Christ's sedulous and peaceful followers.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 23 months ago from Tasmania

Trish, are you using a slow connection via an Android smart phone? Sometimes that can lead to repeat postings unintentionally.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 23 months ago from The English Midlands Author

No, Joseph, I was on my laptop. I don't know what happened with that post. Weird.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida

Excellent discussion of theist baseless accusations against people who do not share their beliefs. I had to laugh at some of graynight's statements--they were so off the wall. And don't forget arrogant. and ignorant.

Atheists do understand the mind of the theists. They understand because the large majority of atheists were once theists; but after much study and thought they left it behind. The other way around doesn't happen very often.

Voted up I and U and also funny--because Greynight's comments made me laugh.

P.S. Hitler was a Catholic. I have never heard of a quote from him saying he was an atheist. l'm sure if it existed, the theists would have plastered it all over the internet.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 17 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Catherine.

Yes, I think that you are probably correct that most atheists are former believers.

What Hitler actally believed or didn't believe I cannot be sure, but I have read many times that he was Roman Catholic.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 17 months ago from Australia

To any honest observer and studier of such people as hitler it is quite clear Hitler's beleifs were all catering to his insane quest for political power and hence such beliefs were only for expediency. A scientific look at his religious beliefs reveal a clear preference for his own highly idiosyncratic version of ancient pagan Germanic religion. How anyone who claims to be an intellectual can brush such truisms aside has to be taken as proof of "other agendas" such as deliberate highly unscientific misinformation


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 17 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Hi Oztinato. :)

Sorry, could you please clarify who you mean by 'the intellectual[s who] brush ... truisms aside'?

Thanks :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 17 months ago from The English Midlands Author

Re Hitler Christianity:

"People often make the claim that Adolph Hitler adhered to Atheism, Humanism or some ancient Nordic pagan mythology. None of these fanciful and wrong ideas hold. Although one of Hitler's henchmen, Alfred Rosenberg, did undertake a campaign of Nordic mythological propaganda, Hitler and most of his henchmen did not believe in it."

From: 'Hitler's religious beliefs and fanaticism (Selected quotes from Mein Kampf)' compiled by Jim Walker' http://www.nobeliefs.com/hitler.htm .

***************************************

"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." Adolf Hitler

"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 myself 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, 12 April 1922

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