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

Of all of those Big Questions central tophilosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, therealms of theology and religions and the nature of deities continue tofascinate. Opinions proliferate in books, articles, videos, conversations inbars and pubs, and in fact anywhere and everywhere two or more humans are inproximity. There's the pro side; there's the anti-side. There aren't too manyfence-sitters. I'm still in the anti-camp as the following bits and piecesillustrate.

Regarding Religion


*Religion doesn’t say anything about God.Religions say many things about many different gods (and goddesses).


*You can’t hide behind religion and sayreligious freedom gives you the right to do whatever you want to do under theguise of that religion – reference for example, Kim Davis.


*Doubt is not a pleasant condition. Butcertainty is an absurd one. (Voltaire)


*Tell me the reason that you don't believein other gods and I'll parrot back to you why I therefore don't believe in yourgods, god (or God).


*One of the easiest things to do in yourlifetime is to establish and start up a brand new religion. Even just in theUnited States, in the 1880’s you had Joseph Smith (Mormonism). More recently L.Ron Hubbard (Scientology), Jim Jones, David Koresh and Marshall Applewhite. Thelatter three all suicided along with their flock followers. Then too there wasSun Myung Moon. You had Anton LaVey (Satanism) and Gerald Gardner (Wicca). Andhow can we forget the theology behind the Flying Spaghetti Monster! You’ll alsoget a lot of people claiming “Jedi” as their religion although how seriouslythey really are is open to question.  


*Just giving a deity a name yields up notone jot of evidence that the deity with the now name in question actuallyexists. If you call a wizard “Harry Potter” doesn’t make Harry Potterreal.  


*If Islam is the religion of peace, how come so manyMuslims kill other Muslims (Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.)?


*Is it my imagination orhave I noticed that the extreme religious right wing, those vehementlyanti-gay, anti-same-sex marriage, anti-abortion, anti-national health care,anti-environmentalism (i.e. – climate change), anti-gay-adoption, always happyto attack non-religious institution and people for their bucketing or ignoringof Biblical teachings, are absolutely silent when it comes to giving a thumbsdown on the child sex abuse issue by various religious institutions andpersonnel. Any religious institution is good and God-fearing by definition;anything else isn’t good and has turned their back on God.


*“Human beingshave a demonstrated talent for self-deception when their emotions are stirred.”- Carl Sagan


*“A celibateclergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditarypropensity toward fanaticism.” - Carl Sagan


*“Where we havestrong emotions, we're liable to fool ourselves.” - Carl Sagan


Regarding Religion vs. Science


*[Paraphrasing Matt Dillahunty.] Doesn’t it both me … amI happy going to my grave not knowing the answers to the [Big] Questions [likeconsciousness]? No, I’m not. None of us are. We are all uncomfortable with thisidea of not knowing and that’s why we have science. That’s why we go out andtry to find what the actual damn answer is. It’s not that I’m comfortable notknowing. It’s that I’m more uncomfortable pretending that I know.


*[Paraphrasing Matt Dillahunty.] I’d like to believe asmany true things as possible and as few false things as possible.


*If a church steeple has a lightning rod attached doesn’tthat show a total lack of theological confidence?


*Science doesn’t tend to be overly concerned withreligious thoughts, but religions are often concerned with scientific thinking.


*“Who is morehumble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and acceptswhatever it has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book mustbe considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the humanbeings involved?” - Carl Sagan


*“It is farbetter to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion,however satisfying and reassuring.” - Carl Sagan


*“The idea thatGod is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky andtallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by 'God' one means theset of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such aGod. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense topray to the law of gravity.” - Carl Sagan


*“Thesuppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, butit is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor of science.” -Carl Sagan


*“For a longtime the human instinct to understand was thwarted by facile religiousexplanations.” - Carl Sagan


*“It took theChurch until 1832 to remove Galileo's work from its list of books whichCatholics were forbidden to read at the risk of dire punishment of theirimmortal souls.” - Carl Sagan


*“A religion,old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed bymodern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardlytapped by conventional faiths. Sooner or later such a religion will emerge.” -Carl Sagan


Regarding Faith & Belief


*A matter of faith means for those offaith that they don’t have to actually think!


*Faith is not just believing something isso with insufficient evidence to back you up, it’s believing that something isso irrespective of the evidence.


*Faith isn’t proof of anything as a visitto any mental health institution (insane asylum; funny farm, etc.) will morethan adequately demonstrate.


*How one can believe in God (or any otherdeity) and retain any intellectually honesty is beyond me.


*If all you have is just faith based on noactual evidence, then you also need to have belief that your faith could beincorrect.


*If you just have faith in one religion,then you can’t really distinguish between the multitudes of religions on tapsince all of the other True Believers in those multitudes of religions alsohave faith equal and opposite to yours.


*True Believers like to put their faith inideas that are comfortable rather than in ideas that are demonstrably true.


*Why should I believe what you believewhen you can’t demonstrate that what you believe in has any degree of realityat all?


*“You can'tconvince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence,it's based on a deep seated need to believe.” - Carl Sagan


Regarding Prayer & Miracles


*If you pray toyour god (or God), you are basically telling Him that he has screwed things upand so you’re going to tell Him, via your prayer, how to set things to rights.


Regarding Morality


*We don’t haveingrained into ourselves at birth a moral compass, an ethical sense, or a legallibrary. But rather we acquire our morals, our ethics our legal obligationsfrom others in our society – societies and cultures which differ from place toplace and from time to time thus resulting in slightly differing moral values,ethical values and legal values.


*We do not needdivine permission to know right from wrong. (Christopher Hitchens)


*It’s a sin tobe jealous of your neighbor for owning slaves (thou shall not covet) yet it’snot a sin to own slaves.


Regarding Heaven & Hell


*Even a MAFIA Boss couldn’t torture youforever, but God apparently can!


Regarding the Afterlife


*If there is no reason to believe that Godor god(s) presides over this existence, then there’s no reason to believe thatGod or god(s) presides over your afterlife – assuming an afterlife – existence.


*One reason why what our reality actuallyis matters has to do with our final act within that reality – which is dying –for it’s the nature of that reality which will determine what happens next – ifanything.


Regarding the Bible


*If there are mistaken or misconceptions about God in theBible (i.e. – God supports slavery), then isn’t it God’s responsibility tocorrect those misconceptions or mistakes? That being the case, why hasn’t Goddone this?


*Why can’t God give us the one true – no interpretationneeded – Bible instead of the hundreds of versions and translations that’s ontap?


*We True Christian Believers believe in the literalBiblical word of God except when it’s inconvenient.


Regarding God


*According to the Bible, there have been severaleyewitnesses to the Big “G” (God). Witnesses include Adam & Eve, Cain,Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jonah, Job, and there may be others. That should countfor something in terms of evidence for God's existence. However, for thoseeyewitnesses to have any bona-fides, theists must first demonstrate that thesepeople were actually historical flesh-and-blood beings. Can theists actuallyverify the historicity of even any one of these individuals?


*The personal experience of God might be [mentally]real but that doesn’t of necessity mean that God is real.


*If God were really all-powerful and really on Histoes, He would have created life, the Universe and everything in a splitnanosecond instead of dragging things out over six days!


*Does God exist? Well first define the god in question.Then state what would be the state of the Universe, what would the Universelook like if that god actually existed – does expectation match reality?  


*So according to the best physical anthropologicalevidence, modern humans have existed as a species for roughly 200,000 years -give or take. Let's say to err conservatively its 100,000 years. So that meansthat the big "G" waited for roughly 95,000 years and then, and onlythen, decided that He'd better go downstairs and introduce Himself to the greatunwashed. But only to a very select few and only within a tiny geographicalregion of the total global geography, all of which - apart from Antarctica andparts of Polynesia were also inhabited by the great unwashed, or modern humans.Really? Does that make any real sense?


*The stars are pretty. That is NOT evidence that Godexists!


*What absolute pure luck – I was born into the onlysociety, time and place that got religious things right!


*You can’t just choose the nice bits and say thereforethere is a God. You have also got to come to grips with the nasty stuff, andthen ask “why, God?”


*Stephen Fry to God: Bone cancer in children?


*What kind of God requires faith over evidence? Notrational.


*How come that existence (our Universe) requires anexplanation, yet that explanation (i.e. – God) doesn’t require an explanation?So what’s the explanation for the explanation? God’s existence requires God’sown God. So here is a variation on the theme of God’s existence as proposed bySt. Thomas Aquinas in his “Summa Theologica”.   

Five traditional arguments for the existence of God’sGod. Who / what was God’s God?

- Who / what moves the first / prime mover (i.e. – God)?God’s God, that’s who.

- Who / what caused the first cause (i.e. – God)? God’sGod, that’s who.

- Who / what created the being that created creation(i.e. – God)? God’s God, that’s who.

- Who / what should God be compared to if God is allegedto be perfection? God’s God, that’s who.

- Who / what designed the designer (i.e. – God)? God’sGod, that’s who.

This by the way is an infinite regression.


*“Anything youdon't understand ... you attribute to God. God for you is where you sweep awayall the mysteries of the world, all the challenges to our intelligence. Yousimply turn your mind off and say God did it.” - Carl Sagan


*“What I'msaying is, if God wanted to send us a message, and ancient writings were theonly way he could think of doing it, he could have done a better job.” - CarlSagan


Regarding God's 'Morality'


*Numbers 31:7 (King James Version)

“And theywarred against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses; andthey slew all the males.”


Numbers 31:9 (King James Version)

“And thechildren of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their littleones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and alltheir goods.”


Numbers 31:15 (King James Version)

“And Mosessaid unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?”


Numbers 31:17 (King James Version)

“Nowtherefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hathknown man by lying with him.”


Numbers 31:18 (King James Version)

“But all thewomen children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive foryourselves.”


Translated:Kill everyone EXCEPT the young virgin females! I can leave the rest to yourimagination! Further, God’s A-OK with this.


And how manywere the “women children”?


Numbers 31:35 (King James Version)

“And thirtyand two thousand persons in all, of women that had not known man by lying withhim.”



*If I am more moral than God, and I amsince I’ve never committed genocide or mass murder or child abuse and havenever endorsed or condoned slavery, then it’s clear that I did not get mymorality handed down from on high.


*When you test or compare God’s morals vs.human morals, then human morals trump God’s morals. The average human is moremoral than God.


*Why should we spend a lifetime on our knees worshippingGod when God is such an immoral thug?


*God’s most common interaction with peoplein the Old Testament is to kill them.


*God has way more concern over what you eat than overwhat you own, as in humans as your property (i.e. – slavery). Slavery rankslower in God’s list of priorities than any of the other over 600 commandmentsHe dictates. In fact, God absolutely endorses slavery (Exodus 21). 


*Consider the following Biblical passage: 


Regarding God's Ten Commandments


*Contrast the following Commandment inExodus with Luke 14: 26


Exodus 20:12 (King James Version)

“Honourthy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land whichthe Lord thyGod giveth thee.”




Deuteronomy 5:16 (King James Version)

“Honourthy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may beprolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”




Exodus 21:15 (King James Version)

“Andhe that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.”


Exodus 21:17 (King James Version)

“Andhe that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.”



Luke14:26 (King James Version)

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, andwife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, hecannot be my disciple.”



*Consider God’s ‘Thou shall not kill” Commandmentin Exodus or in Deuteronomy.


Exodus 20:13 (King James Version)

“Thoushalt not kill.”


Deuteronomy 5:17 (King James Version)


“Thou shaltnot kill.”


Now that apparently doesn’t apply tosomeone you know who 1) violates the Sabbath; 2) erects a graven image, or 3)takes the Lord’s name in vain. Then you are supposed to kill them!


And we all know about this contradiction.


Exodus 22:18 (King James Version)

“Thoushalt not suffer a witch to live.”


Regarding Jesus


*Jesus is coming? Santa is coming? At least you know whenSanta will arrive!


Regarding Atheists & Atheism


*Atheism is disbelief in one and only oneproposition, the proposition that supernatural deities exist. Given the lack ofhardcore physical evidence that such beings / entities actually do exist,atheists take a skeptical position on the issue adopting the mantra thatextraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Science librarian; retired.

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