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Some Anti-Theist Religious Bits & Pieces: Round Nineteen - by John Prytz

Of all of those Big Questions central to philosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, the realms of theology and religions and the nature of deities continue to fascinate. Opinions proliferate in books, articles, videos, conversations in bars and pubs, and in fact anywhere and everywhere two or more humans are in proximity. There's the pro side; there's the anti-side. There aren't too many fence-sitters. I'm still in the anti-camp as the following bits and pieces illustrate.

Regarding Religion

*You can criticize just about anything you like - films, restaurants, corporations, politicians, even your boss and your spouse - but somehow religions (and baseball umpires) are off limits.


*Freedom of religion is also the same thing as freedom from religion.


*Freedom from religion is just as important as freedom of religion.


*Given what we know today about how life, the Universe and everything works, there is no way the Abrahamic religions could have gotten off the ground in the 21st Century. (via Christopher Hitchens)


*Religions require, indeed demand respect, so what religions hate is when you can poke and make fun of them.


*Freedom of Speech is all well and good until you mention how religion poisons everything or how God is an immoral thug or something similar like insulting this or that or the next prophet.


*"Merry Christmas" applies to only a certain fraction of religious people while "Happy Holidays" can apply to all. Therefore, "Happy Holidays" should be the preferred greeting.


*The American extreme religious right-wing elements keep going on and on and on about how America was founded on Christianity and Christian principles and values and therefore anything non-Christian should be made illegal. However, they never offer up any actual evidence that their Christian beliefs or that Christianity has any actual foundation in truth. Further, many historians would put a lot of caveats around the claim that the United States was actually founded on Christian values and principles.


Regarding Religion vs. Science

*Why should I respect someone religious, or someone's religion, when they make extraordinary claims but who can never seem to back up those claims with actual evidence? It appears to be a case of just believe me because I say so.


*Theists will argue that the way the Universe is, is exactly what you'd expect if God had created the Universe. Of course that firstly presupposes that theists have an insight into how God's mind works. That aide, now secondly, if the theists had predicted before-the-fact - based on their understanding of God's mind - what the Universe would be like if God existed and created the Universe then that might be more convincing. Arguing God would - Universe is - that's okay. Arguing Universe is - God would - that's not okay.

Regarding Faith & Belief

*Do you actually believe or do you just believe that it is desirable to believe?


*Lack of belief is always justified by a lack of evidence.


*Faith is a sign of weakness. Faith is just something to cling to when all else fails.


*Religious beliefs tend to decrease with increasing education levels.


*Being willing to die for what you believe in doesn't of necessity make that belief actually true.

Regarding Morality


*There is no moral action that someone of religious faith could do, that an atheist couldn't also do. However, there are immoral actions that those of religious faith do, that atheists wouldn't do (i.e. - 9/11).

Regarding the End Times

*You get many references in the Old Testament that the "day of the lord is at hand" or that the "day of the lord is near" (the books of Isaiah, Joel, Obadiah and Zephaniah in particular). Those references were of course presumably written well over 2000 years ago, so you gotta wonder what the Biblical or God's definition of "at hand" or "near" really is. It certainly doesn't correspond to what we'd mean by "at hand" or "near".

Regarding the Afterlife

*Cutting across all of the various theologies, you'll note that there is no universality, no consistent version of the concept of an afterlife.


Regarding the Bible

*If God is perfect then God's holy book should be perfect. Alas, it's not.


*Regarding the Bible: you can't trust the contents to tell you about the reliability of the contents.

Regarding God


*If God actually exists you'd expect a universal religion and not the hundreds that actually are practiced.


*Can you imagine a Universe without God? Yes, because in the here and now, there's no apparent God that's part and parcel of the Universe. It's easy to imagine what's apparently apparent, or in this case not apparent.


*You can't say that there is a God just because nature is beautiful. That's because nature is also nasty, damn nasty. No fly having a close encounter with a spider; no mouse having a run-in with a cat; no human coming face-to-face with a man-eating shark, or having a tornado bear down on him would be worshipping God.


*So here we have God demanding Pharaoh to "Let my people go" - or else - yet later on down the track sits back God, totally unmoved, with Nazi Germany exterminating six million of "my people", God's chosen people. Where's the logic?


*If you overhear someone on the bus / train saying that God talks to them, do you tend to move closer to that person, perchance strike up a conversation, or do you slowly edge away? (via Christopher Hitchens)


*How can God create existence, for if God exists, then existence already existed!


*The argument goes that just because God created the Universe doesn't of necessity mean that God wasn't in turn created.


Regarding God's Morality


*Any time people criticize what God does (as in mass murder, genocide, child abuse, etc.) theists argue that whatever God does is right and that God is His own moral authority because God is all-powerful and all-knowing. So in other words, might makes right!!!


*Why do you need God to be good / moral / ethical? Can't you be good / moral / ethical all on your own?


Regarding Atheists & Atheism

*Atheists, unlike theists, don't pretend to know what they don't really know.



Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian:


10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.


9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.


8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.


7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!


6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.


5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.


4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."


3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.


2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.


1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian. 

Science librarian; retired.

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