Moral Limbo

In “Why There is No Such Thing as a Good Atheist,” yet another poorly-reasoned attack on atheists, Pastor Rick Henderson writes this in his conclusion: “One sign that your worldview may be a crutch is that it has to appeal to an answer outside itself…”

Here we go again. Does this guy listen to himself talk?

Yeah, you, Rick Henderson, do you realize that in your worldview you appeal to an answer outside yourself? You cannot know right from wrong until you consult your moral shaman; you must ask yourself, WWJD?  That’s scary as hell to me.

And the answers you receive?

(Silence)

We are waiting.

Right. It’s not for us to know or understand or blah blah blah. Because this all-knowing, all-powerful god is either fucking with us or is blind, deaf and/or mute.

My patience is wearing thin for people who climb atop their imaginary moral high horse and preach. If you need to believe that there is a super-human being in the sky who wrote The Definitive Book on Human Ethics (nonhumans have a different guide), then perhaps you should be asking that being what he based his sense of decency on, how he came up with his “objective” laws, and why he cannot enforce them.

I know. It’s scary as hell to think we’re all alone here on Planet E.  We’re like prisoners without a warden. If all humans thought that no one was in charge, we’d have anarchy, right? People would kill their neighbors, fornicate with farm animals, eat their young. (OMG!) We need god to be good boys and girls.

But wait. Atheists cannot be bad or immoral either, for if we don’t believe in god and his objective good, then we cannot know what is objectively bad or immoral. Following Henderson’s reasoning, because evil exists in the world and in human nature, we now have to say that someone or something placed it there. There is also a Definitive Book of Wickedness. So, according to those who believe as Henderson does, there are no morally bad atheists either because we don’t believe in their god hypothesis.

I suppose then, you and I live in a state of moral limbo, incapable of understanding what is right because we have no super-daddy to tell us these things.  One of the problems with this very simplistic worldview is that people like Henderson fail to understand that morality is not that simple. It’s a changing, growing thing. A consensus.

Killing is wrong. We all agree with that. But what if you had a chance to kill a woman who was holding hundreds hostage? You’d kill her, right? Or would you put down your gun, remembering the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” What about our soldiers and police officers who kill to protect the public or our nation’s economic interests? (Freedom is not free!) If you believe in god’s commandments, then there are no exceptions, unless one was specifically stated by The Man himself in a verifiable way. (Hearsay doesn’t count.)  If you believe as atheists do, then you understand taking out the woman hostage-taker is not a moral crime.

That’s all I have to say about this. I’m tired of beating religion’s dead horse.

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78 responses to “Moral Limbo

  1. Exactly…..

  2. People have every right to form their world view which helps them get through life. But honestly, I’m at a point when I meet a person who identifies themselves as “christian,”, “religious,” “god-fearing,” etc. I can’t help tuning them out and avoiding them altogether. Even when told a well-meaning “god bless you” I mentally put them in the “you’re fucking stupid” category. I can’t take it anymore. I lose all respect for them. I respect very few people. Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

    • @Andy Staab, Unfortunately, I’m starting to feel the same way. If they could just keep their opinions to themselves and stop making judgments about atheists, I wouldn’t feel the need to “fight back” and set things straight.

    • Andy, thanks for putting my thoughts exactly in your words. Is it me or are more people pushing their Christian beliefs hard and fast? At the supermarket where I usually shop there are several cashiers who now say: “Have a blessed day.” Arrgh!

      • @triciagal The lady at the hair salon today was complaining that she had to work Christmas Eve. She said that you’d think it would be slow, but “It’s one of the busiest times of the year because all the Indians come in. They don’t believe in Jesus.” Haha. Little did she know, there are others who don’t believe in Jesus…

  3. Gerhilde Callou Sampaio

    I’m tired of beating religion’s dead horse.Too!

  4. Pastor Rick Henderson. *sigh* My (adult) daughter uses a word to describe those who she deems to be beyond stupid, and though I’ve never used the word before, it fits. He’s an asshat. Yes, an asshat. If the shoe fits…

    • @Kathy LOL. That’s pretty funny…I take it your daughter is “one of us,” too.

      • My daughter expressed doubt about god and religion from the time she was a little girl. I reluctantly made her attend Sunday School when she was young because I thought it was the “right” thing to do. If I had a do-over, I sure would do things differently.

        • @Kathy Don’t feel bad. I did the same. I think many of us do or did. We didn’t want our kids to be the “freaks” who didn’t have religion. I had visions of my 5-year-old telling his classmates there is no god. That did happen later, and he became known as the “devil worshipper.” You know, because if you don’t believe in god, you must believe in the devil.

          • Kids are quite dichotomous in many ways. Could that actually be why the brainwashing is generally started at young age because then it works best and the “moral” pastors and preachers are well aware of that?
            If there was an age of consent regarding religion, I’d guess that the pious would not be a majority.

        • Kathy, I have not made my kids attend sunday school, and in a way I regret it. It is a way for them to learn those bible myths and stories that used and referenced so often in our current society. But ya know, in order for them to attend sunday school, I would have to get them there! So … no. We try to fill in the knowledge holes best we can ourselves.

  5. Hi Deb
    nice column. but sometimes I wonder… why bother with these people? is not that they won’t listen or reason, I thintk it is completely futile not only to discuss with them, but also about them. The fact that they think that they have a higher moral stand than the rest of humanity is just for their own audience, not for the rest of us.
    I deal with this kind of people very often either because they are “believers” or because the don’t believe in climate change, or the benefits of GMO, of they still think JFK was abducted. And the common denominator is non-reasonable people.
    Why waste a pice of your liver for this people?
    just saying

    cheers

    jp

    • @jp I think about that all the time when I blog: why waste my time writing about this topic when there are other important issues? I mean, religion has a stronghold, but it doesn’t prevent us from living the lives we want.

      I think that talking about religion has definitely created change. When I first start blogging, hardly anyone was talking about raising kids without religion and belief. Now, there are lots of people, and the number is growing every day. People read and they feel support; they feel empowered to defend their beliefs. Look how much the religious temperament of our nation has changed in the last couple of years. So maybe our job here is almost done…

      • Debbie, I agree 100%. I used to feel very alone in my lack of belief, but lately I see atheists and agnostics coming from everywhere. There is power in numbers and our numbers are growing every day. I am very thankful to you and others like you who are courageous enough to blog about their true feelings on the issue.

  6. As I ruminate on the religion, god and the state of humanity, I think of this famous Sherlock Holmes quote: “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” To explain an all knowing, all loving, all powerful God and the state of humanity (made in HIS image???!!!) one must have so many convoluted hypotheses. If finally, you take the daring jump to say, “There is and never was a god,” then voila! Everything starts making so much sense!

  7. I refuse to waste my time worrying about ignorant, superstitious, close-minded people. They’re entitled to their opinions, but not my time and concern.

    • What an unbelievable prick. A beacon of religiousity – I cannot understand how a popular delusion makes people so condescending also.

  8. OT – A Xmas Song to put things in perspective –

    The children’s chorus is a thing of beauty!

    • d(♥◡♥)b ♪

      • Dead, Dead, Dead, someday you’ll be dead
        Dead, Dead, Dead, someday we’ll all be dead.
        The minute we’re born, we start dying,
        We die a little more every day..
        Young or old, rich or poor,
        There’s nothing we can do to stop it..
        So look long at that Christmas tree,
        It may be the last one that you see..
        Decorate your house in green and red,
        ‘cos someday you’ll be dead..

        Dead, Dead, Dead, someday you’ll be dead
        Dead, Dead, Dead, someday we’ll all be dead.
        It might happen in a couple months
        Or 50 years from now..
        But no matter when it happens
        It will seem too soon to you..
        So be sure on Christmas eve
        When you snuggle into bed..
        That you thank God for your family
        ‘cos someday they’ll be dead..

        Dead, Dead, Dead, someday you’ll be dead
        Dead, Dead, Dead, someday we’ll all be dead.
        Who knows how many Christmas’s
        Are left in their short lives?
        Nobody knows, that my point!
        Enjoy them while you can.
        And so on Christmas morning
        Let good tidings fill your head..
        What a festive season,
        Someday you’ll be dead

        Dead, Dead, Dead, someday you’ll be dead
        Dead, Dead, Dead, everyone you know, dead.
        A very Merry Christmas to you!
        Dead, Dead, Dead..
        Merry Christmas Everybody!

  9. The idiot’s argument is beyond me — how is it precisely that he thinks non-believers use an argument beyond themselves? I’ve nothad coffee yet.

  10. I like how you put it – morality is a consensus. Very true. As you said, without a consensus, we’d all be fornicating with animals (which some people do…but that’s besides the point).

    The point is, there are many many morals held by previous generations that we no longer abide by (i.e., slavery, women-subjugation, various property laws, homosexuality, sexuality in general, etc), because we, as a society, have come to a consensus that they were wrong.

    We grow as a person and a people. I wish I could be around when we finally grow out of religion.

  11. Posted this comment on the article. Was limited by word count or I could have gone on and on and on…. :)
    —————-
    Where to begin.

    1. “Anything and everything that happens in such a universe is meaningless…. but never given any meaning or value.

    While atheists don’t hold to any supernatural or grand designer meaning simply because there isn’t any, we do ascribe to lives filled with meaning. My life is filled with family, love, kindness, compassion, doing for others and, may I daresay, doing much more for my community than simply praying for solutions to the problems. To even suggest that one cannot live a meaningful life without belief in some form of Deity is shallow and short-sighted at best.

    2. “The universe is purely material…scientific….(and) impersonal.”

    I heartily agree! Yet such agreement in no way sucks the meaning from my life. (see #1)

    3. “In the strict framework of atheism outlined above, what reason is there to ever assume human dignity?”

    Unbelievable that you would even pretend that God or biblical references contain any sense of a moral standard. The Old Testament, with God-sanctioned atrocities including slavery, rape, kidnapping, genocide, and murder, is a disgrace to the concept of human dignity.

    It has only been by consensus, reason and the discussion of civilized people that we have concluded that these actions are despicable because we have decided, contrary to the example of “The Almighty”, to honor and value human dignity. Should any of those horrific acts be levied by a current world leader, there would be a outcry such as we have not heard. But God gets a pass.

    • I love your comments, Dennis. Especially about the Old Testament. So many of those things are what ultimately drove me away from Christianity. I just could not believe in a God that allowed, much less encouraged & condoned, such atrocities. How do people believe this stuff? I can’t wrap my mind around it!

  12. Great comment, Dennis!

    I also found his argument full of holes. In the example you gave, of course the universe is impersonal and doesn’t care. Only humans do. (Can you imagine otherwise? We’d all be puppets.) While rape and slavery and murder are meaningless to the universe, they are not meaningless to us humans. We arrive, together, at what is right and wrong through a consensus.

  13. Amen sister, that’s really kind of a joke… The most religious should remember that, vengeance is mine saith the Lord. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Isn’t it interesting that it says he who is without sin. Not she or they who are without sin. Oh and by the way since I’m such a great Christian why don’t I go out and shoot dead an abortion doctor that way God doesn’t have to do it because obviously I’m more powerful than God otherwise he would do this… Or the Muslims think that just because they decided you don’t think the same way they do that you are an
    infidel and they need to kill you. Honestly I feel that to a large degree religion and hypocrisy should be spelt the same way. Just can’t mind their own business and leave us two ours… With that said well it’s still a great holiday season, so, Merry Christmas and happy New Year’s to you all.

  14. Here’s a funny for your guys (and Palin). Jesus rebranded:

    Jesus Rebranded from MarkFiore on Vimeo.

  15. Thanks for posting this! I’ve had some conversations recently w/ people who see the world w/ this very simplistic world view as you stated. And it is so incredibly frustrating! You just cannot reason w/ these people! There is no nicer way to put it. What’s more, one of the people I spoke with recently (online) proceeded to berate me & try to tear apart every single argument I put forth (on how morality is very relative, which all started from me saying homosexuality is obviously not wrong), but never even offered his actual opinion until I called him out on it several times. Then he grudgingly admitted that he hated “The Enlightenment & all the hell it’s produced.” That is as far as he would go to admitting his beliefs. It was pretty obvious he was a fundamentalist Christian b/c of the way he attacked my beliefs (or perhaps in his view, my LACK of “solid beliefs”) but how sad that he wouldn’t even put that in words & yet felt it necessary to try to rip apart my arguments in every way possible. (He is in law school, imagine that?)

    • @rlcarterrn I think I argued with that same guy! Or, perhaps, there’s just so many of them.

      It’s a little scary to think that someone who admits they hate gays and the enlightenment and all it’s produced, will one day be allowed into the criminal justice system as a public defender or a judge. It’s too bad we aren’t required to identify ourselves on the Internet–you never know if people like that are your neighbors, bosses or public servants….

  16. Hey Debbie,

    Yea, I read that article of his that you enclosed and it’s just a bunch of surface fluff. I dug around a bit about him and he strikes me as one of those preachers whose congregants describe him as “he’s more of a teacher than a preacher”. I always found my former preachers like him dry and boring. I could never figure out what made them teachers because they said a lot of shit to basically say nothing at all. He somewhat reminds me of a former pastor of mine in Hawai’i who was the same way. We basically got kicked out of that church. Those “seeker friendly” churches who “don’t make waves” are worse than so-called traditional churches. They sucker people in under the guise of “progressive” Christianity (There ulitmately is no such thing because there’s nothing “progressive” about the Bible. That’s right, I said it!) and actually treat women and children just as bad, if not worse, than traditionalists. They make loads of money while they try so hard to convey “Hey, I’m just like you” with their khakis, a casual shirt and a coffee in tow as they sit on a tall stool talking story in front of their congregants. God forbid if a baby coos too loudly in the back of the sanctuary, preacherman may have to call the mother out because he’s so special he has a constant stream of liquid gold coming out of his mouth.

    This is the thing about know it all Christians who don’t know shit about others, especially atheists……be glad that we’re not their fellow “brothers and sisters in the Lord”. For so often they treat their “spiritual family” worse than what they treat anyone else. Trust me, I’m all too familiar with this. They’re so good at hating women, children, gays, Muslims and non believers because they practice on each other on a regular basis.

    I will leave with you a bit from the dear pastor’s own blog….

    “Happy husband. Proud father. Friend of Jesus Christ and desperate to introduce him to others.”

    • @Chope Oh brother. I’d be fine with him being a friend of JC. Can’t he just leave the rest of us out of it? Or, does he think he will be elevated to heaven more quickly if he find converts (yes).

      That is kind of ironic. Progressivism and Christianity don’t really go together.

      Sorry to hear that you had such bad experiences. I know there are good folks in the church, too. But it sure leaves a bad taste in your mouth to meet those who are unkind or hypocritical.

      • @Debbie

        I’m just glad to be out. Whenever I hear someone talk like this guy I think ” it could be worse, I could be seeing people like this two or three times a week on a regular basis in or through Church.”

        Yea, that whole being desperate to share Jesus with me thing makes me nervous. I honestly believe it has little to do with salvation and more to do with control.

        You control me, you start to control the masses. You control the masses, you control the money. You control the money, you control the politics. You control the politics, you control morality. You become the morality police, you turn us all into mindless, numb robots and our humanity is gone.

        • Great point about control, CHope. The first word that I thought of was “ego.” I have so much work to do on myself to be the kind of person I know I can be before my life is done. I’m hard on myself, which is another story, but when I read about people like Henderson, I imagine what I would say to him if given the opportunity. I think I’d either think “hopeless” and walk away or tell him he is the embodiment of so many things I rail against. You can’t reason with them.

        • I so agree, CHope. I had a bad experience growing up in a conservative Baptist church myself. I didn’t realize actually how bad it was until I left it. That environment is just so stifling. I can’t stand it. And I completely agree that ultimately it is all about CONTROL.

    • I hate to admit but for some reason this moron Henderson has been stuck in my head – there was something about him that I could not really understand that made me feel especially uneasy.
      Then it struck me – the way he described his faith and religion. It was in a similar fashion as if one were to explain something like down-hill cycling to an outsider. Messy, bit dangerous but gives a big rush afterwards. Rick Henderson made me sick – his peppy attitude combined with total disingenuity and condescendence make him an utterly obnoxious person.
      I am almost willing to use the H-word. I just about hate religions and what they do to my fellow human beings.

      My sis and her family are coming to spend the holidays with us. We have snow, we have the tree decorated, enough chocolate and red wine and glögg to intoxicate an army, more food than we’d ever need and a buoyant atmosphere altogether :-)
      I wish that the holidays are whatever you desire them to be, time of relaxation, time of social gathering, time of feasting, time of joy of giving and getting. We don’t need any imported religions to celebrate the fact that the days are getting longer again. Today the time between sunrise and sundown is a whopping 3h334min – an entire minute longer than yesterday :-)

      • @Saab93f That’s an interesting comparison, Konsta. Religion as messy, dangerous and giving believers a big rush. Although the fear or danger of not living life according to god’s edicts is not real, the mind believes it so the body reacts.

        I think CHope and I will be over to celebrate the holidays at your house with the chocolate and red wine and glogg!

        Do you ever get a little blue with so little sunlight at this time of year?

        • You ladies are naturally welcome :-)

          Yeah, the blue moment is just about the best we get. I mean really, just before sunset everything turns blue for a while. Eerily beautiful.

          On a serious note, yes – depression is an issue here. It is fought with bright lights and melatonin. However the lack of sunlight only lasts so long – the snow makes some up and then the fact that during summer months it does not get dark at all.

          • @saab93f I just saw this response…That is interesting that depression is fought with bright lights and melatonin. I guess one could use these items as a prophylactic in the months that daylight is short. I always thought that would be so cool to have days when it never got dark at all.
            I have enjoyed learning about Finland over this last year!

  17. “Friend of Jesus Christ and desperate to introduce him to others.”
    - Pastor Henderson

    Why? Misery loves company?

  18. Needing a god for morality – I’ve thought about this many times since making my leap of faith (knowledge) into atheism. It seems to me that every society, community, what have you, needs its rules to keep order, chaos at bay. Murder is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Etc. I don’t need a book to tell me I shouldn’t kill that bozo texting while driving, even though I may wish to. It’s not allowed by our societal rules, nor by my own morality.

    More subtle things to me boil down to treating others as I may wish to be treated. Maybe it’s downright a selfish thing, but it works for me.

    I’ve become FB friends with some people from work, one is a pastor of a very small, probably “progressive’, church he started. He posts some things which are anti-athiest. I’ve kept my mouth shut, fingers crossed, and will likely “silence” him so I don’t see him on my feeds. Another coworker, one of his congregants (several where I work go to his church) is someone I love working with, she’s upbeat, funny, etc. But I’ve come to realize she’s much more “goddy” than I can handle. She’s doing something of a fast each week for a person in her life, and for those not religious, she’s praying they find god. It makes me sigh.

    • @MelissaM Do the two religious friends you mentioned know that you’re an atheist or nonbeliever?

      • Probably not. It’s not something to be brought up at work, frankly. And it’s not like they are talking religion all the time, either. I also have a coworker who is a Jehovah’s Witness, and it really bummed me out when I discovered that fact, as I really like her, she’s a wonderful human being. It just meant to me that I wouldn’t get any closer to her, you know?

  19. Hi Deborah,

    A few clarifications for you. First of all, your characterizations of God are in no way a description that any Christian would even agree with – “believe that there is a super-human being in the sky who wrote The Definitive Book on Human Ethics,” “incapable of understanding what is right because we have no super-daddy,” “consult your moral shaman.” You’re arguing against a straw man that is set up solely to be insulting and is in no way descriptive of the God of Christianity. I don’t worship that God either, so I guess we’re in the same company.

    You’ll be hard pressed to find a Christian (except some minuscule % of misguided pacifists) who would disagree with your little paragraph on killing, and it isn’t because we would be selectively deciding on what we want to follow and what not to follow. The commandment is one prohibiting murder – the unjustified taking of a human life – not killing. So all your examples are just more straw men that in no way expose any kind of hypocrisy on the part of Christians.

    You’ve also misunderstood what the pastor meant when he referenced a worldview appealing to an answer outside of itself. The Christian worldview encompasses God, so appealing to God as the objective standard for morality and meaning in no way contradicts the worldview. He is not talking about referencing an answer outside of yourself, but of referencing an answer outside of itself – itself being the worldview. You’ve swapped itself for yourself.

    He says that “Any atheist who recognizes objective meaning and morality defies the atheism that he contends is true,” because objective meaning and morality are not supported by an atheistic worldview, yet atheists make this appeal all the time, an appeal to another worldview. By not referencing the rest of what he said immediately following the portion that you quoted, which is key to understanding what he’s getting at, you’ve provided and incomplete and erroneous critique of what he said.

    • Hi Brandon,

      I don’t think we’re in the same company. I don’t believe in god. You believe god is real. So, I guess you could say I’m arguing against your straw man.

      I did not misunderstood what the pastor meant. His entire argument could have been directly taken off several arguments we’ve had here on this blog. You and the pastor believe god is an objective standard for morality. I call BS on that.

      You do not understand atheism. There is no “atheistic worldview.” Do you have a “a-unicorn worldview”? Silly, right? You don’t have an a-unicorn worldview because you don’t believe that unicorns are real. Unicorns didn’t provide us with an objective standard for our morality, right? But I believe they did. I live by the objective moral code of the holy unicorns, which was spoken (my unicorns speak) and then written thousands of years ago. You don’t believe in my moral code? You don’t believe it’s The Truth? Then you cannot truly be good or moral.

      I’m not trying to be flip with you, I’m just trying to show you how flawed your reasoning is….

      • I understand atheism very well, and my reasoning is perfectly sound, but what I question is whether or not you understand what a worldview is. Yes, there is no definitive, absolute creed or dogma that one who claims to be an atheist much hold to. That is not what I mean when I refer to the atheist worldview. It’s not what the pastor meant either and he is clear on that in his article.

        But a worldview encompasses the overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world. If you think your atheism doesn’t have any relation to how you see the world, then I would question why you started a blog about raising your kids without religion. That’s one very key area of your life informed by your atheism. It also drives your desire to see all religious thought and expression confined strictly to individual homes and places of worship as you have expressed here before. It affects your views on religion, morality, truth, the universe, politics,etc.

        The fact that you likely claim that atheism isn’t a belief doesn’t mean that there isn’t ideological freight that comes with the atheism. I suppose this is what led to the silly unicorn example you used.

        Here are just a few things that atheism entails:
        - that the universe is impersonal and amoral
        - that all other religions are wrong
        - that the end of physical life is the end of existence
        - that any sense of meaning or purpose is found in the accidental experiences of humans

        I’ll resist the urge now to address any further the idea of objective morality, as from what I have seen discussed on the blog, I’m not quite sure you understand what proponents of objective morality mean when they make the distinction between subjective and objective. I was mainly interested in pointing out that what you thought were contradictions on the part of the pastor simply weren’t.

        I’m also not trying to be flip either. I just wanted to point that out since it is so easy for tone to be misconstrued when we are writing replies, as opposed to having an actual spoken conversation.

        • Hi Brandon,

          If you are honest, then you know this statement makes no sense: “He is not talking about referencing an answer outside of yourself, but of referencing an answer outside of itself – itself being the worldview.” A “worldview” is not a thinking, living thing unless you are actually talking about god as “worldview.” Your view of the world is unique to you, as mine is unique to me. As you mention later, “But a worldview encompasses the overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.” Exactly. So I have a worldview, but I interpret the world through what I see, feel, hear, smell and learn through experiencing and through reading about science, history, etc. My world view is NOT shaped by what I imagine that a diety wants or expects of me. I write this blog because I would like people to be more aware of the ways in which they push their god(s) onto everyone else, including our children.

          So why are we arguing about this? It’s not about semantics. It’s about the fact that you believe there is one Truth, as laid out by god. And I (we) do not. This must surely be a little frightening to a person who has believed all his life that there is someone, some authority figure watching over us and making the rules. It must be scary to think that no one is in control but us, that we are running the show.

          You are not correct in your understanding of atheism. I’ll go over each point:

          ” – that the universe is impersonal and amoral”
          For the most part, yes. But really, the universe is not moral, amoral or immoral. It just is. Morality and language are human constructs. If you think that the universe is moral, then you’ll have to explain how it is reflective of morality or how it is personal, how you believe there is some sort of deity controlling or manipulating our lives.

          “- that all other religions are wrong”
          I can’t speak for all atheists, but I believe that all religions (not all “other” religions because atheism is not a religion) are just a projection of man, manufactured right here on planet earth. Wrong is not the term I would use. Unfounded and unproven are much better terms. However, I respect your right to worship and belief as you want as long as you are not hurting or infringing on the rights of others.

          ” – that the end of physical life is the end of existence”
          Again, some atheists believe that there is such thing as reincarnation. I do not. But obviously, the materials that make you and me go back into the earth and are used for something else. It seems fear and egotism feed the belief we should live forever. Do you believe apes have “spirits” that live on after they die? Why or why not?

          “- that any sense of meaning or purpose is found in the accidental experiences of humans”
          We define our own meaning, individually and as a society. Ultimately, even if you believe in god, you define your own meaning (it’s Jesus) AND your life has no more meaning than the atheists. You will “go to heaven” and then what? What meaning will your life have then? You will float around in the sky with your old buddies and relatives. And what then? What is the point?

          You seem like a smart guy. I do not mean to be condescending to you. But you have come here, and you must have some of your own doubts.

        • Well, I am honest and the statement makes perfect sense. Clearly a worldview is not a thinking, living thing, but that is irrelevant to my point. In your attempt to call him out as contradicting himself by saying “Yeah, you, Rick Henderson, do you realize that in your worldview you appeal to an answer outside yourself? you used yourself, when he used itself because he was referencing the worldview. Changing those out impacts the meaning and the accuracy of any supposed contradiction, as I explained in my initial comment. You certainly disagree with what he said, but he was not contradicting himself.

          I come by this blog (and others like it) from time to time, not because I have doubts about my beliefs, but because I like to see what is being said by those who I disagree with. Nothing is served when one hermetically seals himself off from opinions and views that run counter to his own.

  20. “Here are just a few things that atheism entails:
    - that the universe is impersonal and amoral
    - that all other religions are wrong
    - that the end of physical life is the end of existence
    - that any sense of meaning or purpose is found in the accidental experiences of humans”

    Theists always paint non-theists as some sort of competing “belief/religion/worldview.” Then they characterize what they don’t understand as devoid of meaningful personal experiences and joy, as though life is all just a crapshoot. I imagine a “worldview” rooted in fear would lead one to that conclusion. Something outside of a god-fearing life must truly be unimaginable. Once I let go of religion, my life began to absolutely blossom with joy and peace. I experience that every single day. I have no more fear and so much more love that I try to show in action every day. Atheism isn’t a religion and doesn’t seek to “convert” anyone. It’s an individual rejection of things that just don’t make sense to the individual pondering existing religions. Atheists have no need to “be right.” Feel free to call me a fool. I don’t care if I’m considered “lost,” “without hope,” “amoral,” or “wrong” because I’m happy and I know I have found truth. My truth. My truth isn’t Brandon’s and I would not expect a thousand volumes of response to convince him otherwise. I have the peace of a mouse in a forest. My life has no more importance than any other creature’s. When my time is done, it’s done, and I think death will be a beautiful experience, the perfect climax of a life well lived.

  21. English is my second language, so I will try to reply to the best of my abilities.

    I have the same problem every time this subject is addressed with a believer. Morals and ethics, with is what I understand by “standards of right or wrong” are a socio-cultural evolution that changes in time within humanity.

    Moralities are sets of self-perpetuating and ideologically-driven behaviors which encourage human cooperation.

    That’s why we live in societies. Social animals, from ants to elephants, have modified their behaviors, by restraining immediate selfishness in order to improve their evolutionary fitness.

    Human morality though sophisticated and complex relative to other animals, is essentially a natural phenomenon. God has anything to do with our morals.

    Remember, ethics and morals are NOT a “subjective concept”, they are tangibles and you can witness their evolution. Philosophers like Plato and Aristotle discussed about morals and ethics hundreds of years before the bible and jesus.

    To give an example; nowhere in the Bible is slavery lambasted as an oppressive and evil institution, yet we as a society, came to the conclusion that slavery is wrong, so today, it’s a crime and illegal to own other people.

    Morality involves conscious choice, and the choice to act in a manner that increases someone else’s moral good, then, is a moral act, and its opposite is an immoral act. To give you another example, rape is bad, whether or not god say it, rape is bad. Yet God offers no prohibition against rape, and in fact seems to encourage it in many instances as a perquisite of war for victors. Adultery, which is prohibited in the Bible, would still be wrong even if god say it or not.

    Ask people this, next time someone gives you a hard time:
    Why you believe?
    If you find out today there is no god, no heaven, no afterlife, no reward. will you go ballistic, into a murderous rampage tomorrow?

    Ismael

    • Hello Ismael Benitez Thank you for your comment. You’ve made many good points, and your English is very good.

      No doubt many will continue to believe that god provides a moral structure for them no matter what they are asked. You can’t really reason someone out of faith because hope and fear are strong incentives.

  22. Every religion in the world who has committed gross crimes against other human beings has done so…in the name of their imaginary gods…. Its now getting to the point in the 21str century that you Liars for Christ, you Islamic slobs and believers in a pedophile prophet….are being shown for what you are….. paranoid schizophrenics, who believe you have a right to control, kill, and go to war against other people…in their name of your imaginary gods.

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