Thursday, May 15, 2008

Big booth next to the bar please.

This is a response to a post from Pastor Dwayne Norman . Although I am thrilled that a pastor stopped by to comment on my blog, I’m not thrilled that I'm having to hide under my desk while I write this (just in case lightening strikes).

Although, I agree with you that there are some (perhaps
MANY) Christians who unfortunately hate gays, ignore science, deny reason, and
have a moral superiority....I would like to say that there are believers who relish in academia and would be considered great scholars. One that comes to mind is William Lane Craig.

Well, you’re certainly starting off on the right foot. It’s always a good choice to agree with me. Now, I would never want to imply that all Christians hate gays and suffer from moral superiority. And though many of the most atrocious acts in the history of the world were committed in the name of God, religion also has positive influences. There, I said it. Can I come out from under my desk now?

I will admit that there are atheists who think that religion is the root of all evil and incapable of doing good. This view seems to be shared by some current atheist leaders like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Although I highly respect these individuals, I tend not to agree on this issue. One could even make a case that they are just as intolerant as the religious right. Ok, they’re not as intolerant. However, I do see some issues Atheist should be conscious of. I don't think we should ever deny rights to individuals because we think we know better than they do. That's arrogant and arrogance is unattractive regardless of the reasoning behind it.

In his book, I don’t believe in atheists, Chris Hedges makes several good points. He believes that the reason humans participate in evil acts is simply because there is evil inherently inside of us (I have children, so he's preaching to the choir here). Religion, according to Hedges, is a vehicle used to carry out evil. I guess it’s similiar to saying that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Hmmm, maybe the Brady Bill should be extended to cover Christians?

Now onto the issues of science and reason. My two favorite things followed closely by a stiff cocktail and a good rogering (in that order). I have heard people say that when scientific evidence differs from what the bible says we must believe that it is the scientific evidence that is wrong. Doesn’t this seem ludicrous? Truth is truth and if evidence doesn’t support something, how can it be the truth?

Most Christians shrug off the overwhelming evidence in support of evolution. So you can understand why I am skeptical when people advertise Christians as being proponents of science.

I think that when it comes to religion reason gets left at the door. For instance, is it only the non-religious who have trouble with many of the stories in the bible? When told about the talking snake do Christians ever think to themselves, whoa, I feel like I've been taking crazy pills. I mean, do they sit up at night wondering, how in the hell did Noah get all of those dinosaurs on that ark? When they read how Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still, do Christians think Einstein got it wrong with general relativity? I’ve heard many answers to these questions, but all of them require an abandonment of reason.

And it’s not only those stories, but also the attributes ascribed to God. Do they really make sense to Christians? Does it seem plausible that a perfect being could create something imperfect? When they hear the paradox about whether it’s possible for an omnipotent God to create a rock too big for him to lift, do Christians ever ponder this? Or the fact that an omni benevolent God allows all of the pain and suffering we see in the world do the religious ever think, WTF? And when God says that he’ll send all of the unsaved people to hell to suffer for eternity, can Christians honestly say they’ve reasoned this one out?

And if it is true that us non-believers are going straight to hell, who do I talk to about making reservations? Something close to the bar would be great. Not too close to the band. I hate when they put me next to the band. Am I right? I mean, I don't want to have to yell across the table when I'm talking to some of the greatest minds in the history of the world. Because that's just plain rude.

Thanks Pastor Norman for writing in.


Jay said...

All good questions. And some of the very reasons that I don't belong to a mainstream church! I do believe there is 'something' or 'someone' greater than ourselves, but I find blind acceptance of the bible impossible to swallow - and it's something which is impossible to discuss properly with many a Christian.

I don't know what to call myself in terms of theist/atheist/universalist/humanist/whatever, but I will tell you that I'm a Quaker. And that's because I'm interested in God and spirituality (not that those things are exclusive) but don't need the dogma and the pomp and the ceremony and the clergy cluttering things up. Lately I've been questioning even the Quakers' structure ... but that's something that will take me some time to work out.

Oh, and I love science, and see no problem with evolution. Just for the record.

Seedmother said...

I think George Carlin has given the most cogent discourse on this subject.

There is no way to take into account the diverse attitudes, intelligence levels and emotional makeup of both believers and non-believers. But you did a good job pointing out the irrational aspects of a faith based, "non questioning" blindly accepting orientation. It renders those individuals somewhere between arrogant and paranoid. Arrogant if they think all knowledge and authority emanates from THEIR particular god. And paranoid it they think THEIR particular god is constantly monitoring their thoughts.

Freedom to wonder, question and investigate is truly the essence of freedom.

womaninawindow said...

God, you wrote this really well. And by "god" I don't mean to address you as god, but I mean, holy crap! Oh, there's that heavenly influence again...I guess I mean, SHIT, that was good! Shits can be good things, too, right? I'll be drinking Irish cream...I like mine with milk. Do you think there's milk in hell?

womaninawindow said...

Oh, Jay,(up above, not like up above in heaven but just scroll up) gotta look up more about Quakers. I keep hearing about Quakers and they seem pretty ok to me.

Godless Sunday said...

Great points Louise!

And yes, that George Carlin, I'll have to save some room for him at my table. He is so frickin' funny.

Thanks for commenting!
Still having some comp issues. Ugh.

Godless Sunday said...

Hey Jay,
Quakerism. Huh. I'll have to read about that. Thank you for your comment though, thanks for visiting!!

Godless Sunday said...

I missed you! Oh GOD how I missed you! Thanks for stopping by I need to go read your stuff now.

I Love an Athiest said...

Today is my anniversary. I have been married for four years to the most wonderful woman in the world. A husband could not find a better wife than her. She is kind, loving, generous, compassionate, and just a kick-ass lover. And if that wasn’t enough, she happens to be the best mother I have ever met. She goes by Godless Sunday and I am proud to be her husband.

Thanks Monica for everything that you do.



Dwayne Norman said...

Interesting posts! Gosh, never figured that my post would cause such a "stir". LOL

Monica and all, I would respectively say that there are "answers" to everyone of your questions. Have you ever thought though, that often the answers that are before us are ignored or considered not possible? However, sadly and honestly the majority of those who claim to be Christians cannot answer those questions.

By the way, you can come out from under your desk. I think the lightning storm has passed.....LOL


Dwayne <><

Dwayne Norman said...

By the way, have you guys ever studied Pascal's Wager? Just curious.... If not, take time to check it out. I would be interested in your take.

Dwayne <><

Heather said...

Pascal's Wager is popular in my atheist corner of the world, but why would I commit myself to a lifestyle of incoherance and personal unhappiness on a bet.

Frankly, if god is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent...wouldn't the opposite of Pascal Wager be true: "Dude, god, it just seemed so stupid, who knew, I'll take the cloud on the left.

Seriously, I have been investigating Judas and Jesus myth check my blog.

Zachary said...

Pascal's wager is one of the most terrible arguments you can put forth in favor of God. It is simply awful.

Also Dr. Craig (whom I have met and argued with personally) takes great liberties with his interpretation of the Bible. His cosmological arguments are similarly poor imo, especially with regards to the problem of evil.

Godless Sunday said...

Hi again Pastor Dwayne,

Thanks for your question.

I am familiar with Pascal's Wager. And although Pascal may have been brilliant, his wager most certainly is not.

The wager is basically adhering to something you really don't believe simply because you want to avoid a potential punishment. There are many refutes to this argument, but here is the one I like best.

If God were omniscient, wouldn't he know you're really faking it? I mean, come on. Isn't a true believer defined by the fact that he/she truly believes? This isn't the case for those who take the wager. In my mind, they are hypocrites

Susan said...

I often wondered what it would be like to live in a whale. I could sleep on the bladder and piss the whale off.
You have to have faith to believe- but then that darn rational thinking comes to play

Sunny said...

Do you ever lie in bed thinking, "WTF how did the universe begin?"