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Right in Two [Part III: Atheism, dekonstrukted] May 19, 2006

Posted by benj in Philosophy & Religion.
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Due to the palpable sense of confusion, bigotry and misconception by some visitors in this site, I’ve deemed it necessary to write a position paper on atheism – or whatever you think my philosophy should be called. If you feel that my atheism is not as consistent with conventional atheism, you can attribute that to the fact that I didn’t read a reference book on philosophy first prior to choosing to be an atheist. This article’s purpose is to allow those who are willing to understand have a fair access on how I see things and why I am taking a hard-line stance against christian bigots who seek to derail the flow of discussion in this site.

If you see this part of the post, congratulations, you’ve resisted waiting for god. clever, eh? hehe. anyway, read on.

I will only be talking about my own reasons for being an atheist and I will not speaking on behalf of others who may have the same principles.-

Since my memory is limited by the fact that I am human (duh) and most of my thoughts in my childhood were things that I kept to myself, I would like to think that my atheism started when I developed a intuitiveness and curiosity that would probably be relatively more expressed compared to the of children of the same age.

I started reading at an early age. Among the first books I read were high school level material on astronomy and geography. Unlike other children who were probably busy reading story books and the like at age five, I was already immersing my self in higher level texts. I was a geek growing up – hell, up to now. It was clear from the very beginning that it was science that was to be the divining concept in my life.

From the get go, I could see no impetus in believing that there was a god. Why would I believe in something that doesn’t even have evidence? There is absolutely no reason to forget about logic, reason and everything I stood for as a kid (and things that I continue to stand by as an adult) just because everybody else is doing it. The burden of proof falls squarely on the shoulders of those who believe in god – and it’s very unlikely that they will provide evidence that will be good enough for people who have a predilection to not believe.

It’s as simple as that. Anyone who doesn’t get this very simple explanation deserves to be called a bigot and an idiot.

For so long, atheism has long been maligned. For some narrow-minded retards, atheism has been equated to Satanism and as being related to the works of the Devil.

Atheism obviously is the default philosophy when man descended from the first hominids. It was around before any of the great religions were even a blip in the radar. Religion was merely an invention of man that got embellished through the ages as civilization developed. Though this cultural and “spiritual” development went hand in hand with human development, this doesn’t mean that a god magically materialized in the process. As time went by people developed a liking towards liking idea of a god, and since then, this belief has taken a multitude of representations and forms.

Bottom line, christians don’t own the world. They don’t have the monopoly of righteousness. Nothing can be farther from truth. When one religion considers having dissenting opinions as demonic, it is far and away from being holy. What value is there in something hardly gives you an avenue for independent thought? What value is there is shutting up and acting like a stupefied mummy in everything that the church says and states?

This christian elitism really gets tiring after a while. Considering the fact that their religion just borrowed a lot of their stories, concepts, festivals and rituals from pagan and other messianic religions of the ancient world, they sure have a lot of gall to claim that their philosophy is the real deal. It’s up for people like me to tolerate such behaviour as long as I can – and use due force when I feel that lines have been crossed.

One common mistake the christians commit when trying to debate atheists is when they passages from the bible. Aside from being a passable historical reference – I’m being generous despite the fabrications — the bible has as much value to an atheist as a brand new roll of toilet paper. The bible is a compilation of texts written by people decades after the real events have transpired. The way it was compiled, edited and revised is as shady as the way it was written. It also contains a lot of things that are to be considered taboo in our day and age. Is anyone up for a little ancient misogyny? Feminists will definitely be up in arms after reading Leviticus.

And yes, even if the bible were 100% accurate historically – and it’s not — it will not prove anything. It will still not make the critical link between it being a piece of literature and the concept of an existent omnipotent, omnipresent god.

Even if Jesus Christ truly lived, it wouldn’t prove anything.

Even if he was crucified, it wouldn’t prove anything.

His “ascension” and “resurrection” was ironically only seen by the people who were close to him. And all men are supposed to believe that?

It’s all hearsay.

It’s all hearsay written on papyrus – and now paper.

At the end of the day, even if I deny the existence of a god to infinity, I still reserve the right to be wrong. If I am wrong, I surely hope that the christians got it wrong. The christian concept of god is far from what is godly. The christian god is a god partial towards christians – and christians alone.

Of course, atheism is not just about denying the existence of the christian god – it’s about denying the existence of every other deity whose name has been tossed around for centuries.

It sucks to be an atheist though. We’ll never get the affirmation to say “I told you so” when we all die – that’s why we’re doing it now.

Cheers.


His piece seeks to divide the people who visit this blog right in two:
a) those who can think with their own brains and actually divorce their own thought process from what the church tells them; or
b) idiots; or
c) bigots; or better yet
d) a hybrid of B and C.

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Comments»

1. Tony - May 19, 2006

I can relate. I fell in love with astronomy too while still a kid. Among those papers I read that I truly enjoyed were texbooks on physics and geology aside from astronomy. Add to this Greek mythology. I was so fond of reading even the KJV bible with its beautiful prose I read as I kid. It helped build my vocabulary and grammar. 😀

pinoy_infidel

2. ollie - May 19, 2006

“It’s all hearsay written on papyrus – and now paper.”

good choice of words! this is exactly how i feel about the bible. i cant fathom how some people can just digest it word for word and not even have questions or doubts.

nice writing again! i like reading stuff like these coz it opens up my mind and force me to think outside the norm.

3. cyberpunk - May 19, 2006

sige lang, ituloy mo lang pagka-atheist mo…para maiba naman… sawang-sawa na ako sa mga narrow-minded religious freaks 🙂

4. st.anger - May 19, 2006

benj should start a new religion – faaipism. hehe.

5. benj - May 19, 2006

Tony: Thanks Sir Tony. Natanggap na pala ako dun sa groups. haha

ollie: Thanks. Its nice that reading what I write is of value to you. Easy on the shoes. hehe

cyberpunk: itutuloy ko talaga. 🙂 thanks

st.anger: will you be the first fope? hahaha

6. Jhed - May 19, 2006

I have read your previous post and decided not to comment on it, because I’m afraid I’m going to be biased about it since I’m a Christian, and it’s too “hot” to comment on it now. Haha.

Anyway, hindi sana ako magco-comment, pero when I read this line,

“It’s all hearsay.”

I can’t help but to AGREE with you.

I agree that the Bible is all hearsay, that there are no proofs or evidences, whatsoever. I agree that Christians “borrowed” their philosophies with pagans and other religions. (I have read such facts.)

However, I can’t deny the fact that I still believe. That is the concept of religion, right? Correct me if I’m wrong, but religion for me is believing in what you know and what you’ve known. I don’t know if this make sense. Haha.

Your posts are different from what I’ve read before. It does make me think out of the box, keep this up! You have a great writing style too!

7. Jhed - May 19, 2006

Oh, by the way, congratulations nga pala. Taylor Hicks made it to the finale. I hope he wins this one. Go Soul Patrol! Haha.

*Depressed that the E-Train already made it’s last stop in the Top 3*

8. benj - May 19, 2006

Jhed: I cannot correct you because what you believe is what’s correct from your perspective. You just proven that the ability to believe in a god stems from something other than seeing the obvious. It’s that ability to have faith in something that has so little evidence – but there’s probably a spark in you that says that you should believe.

i dont have that spark – and ill never will.

i tried to make this as non-confrontational relative to Part II which was just an all out diatribe, i have to say i found it less stressful writing this. hehehe.

9. bulitas - May 20, 2006

bless you for having a firm stand on your belief!

i think one of the reasons why the status quo is on so much chaos
is that religious beliefs and doctrines keep on confusing things.

it’s ironic that despite the purpose of religion to perpetuate social order, most of the time, it acts as huge ripples that breaks its own philosophies. (i.e. controversies, scandals, repressions, domination, imperialism, etc.)

religion often confuses people’s ideologies, making them shift from one belief to another.
religion creates a viscious cycle of order-confusion-order.

on the other hand, religion keeps most people sane, by providing them something to believe in or hold to.

well, goodluck on your choice!

kudos to you!

haha.
if u won’t mind,
i’ve linked u up!
peace out!

10. benj - May 20, 2006

Thanks. You definitely nailed it. Religion keeps people sane.It’s just a lot better to think that there’s actually someone looking out for everyone. I don’t need to delude myself into that paradigm. It just doesn’t work for me.

Different strokes. 😉

thanks for linking.

11. Jachin - May 20, 2006

Actually god manifests himself in his creation. What I am trying to say is that there is a causal relationships in the universe- there is a source of life. The nature of that origin is unknown to man and perhaps we could not comprehend it. God could be a tiny molecule, or a bacteria, a sun, a black hole etc…Us freemasons call it the supreme being. Believing in no god is stupid unless you believe in the logic of Hume which effectively shows that there are no causal relationships. But personally I think that empiricist logic is bull.

But suffice to say human interpretation of god stems from what he percieves the world to be, and what he percieves this origin to be.
Thus the god we humans know is a mere project of our minds.

well we do agree on one thing that we can’t really know god and most of the gods we have now are just mere phantoms that came from our minds.

But I do believe religion is important in society.
Also in defense of christianity, right now is more tolerant than before plus they don’t have much clout anymore. And religion serves as a mean to control human behavior so that progress could occur. And most of the teachings of Jesus Christ really proves to be very good for society. And the idea of becoming a christian isn’t isntitutional, being baptized doesn’t mean you’re a christian. I do believe it stems from the actions a person does and how he ascribes to values that are espoused by J.C. So any muslim, buddhist etc can also be considered a christian as long as he/she practices the values of christian faith which can be summarized, in love thy neighbor. Only some sects of christian faith adopt exclusivity.

Religion has effectively conditioned man to act the way he is right now. Though some values are derogatory still religion is an effective way to control the populace. Without any control mechanisms human society might falter and religion is one of those mechanisms.

In a religion free world it would be hard to control people. I doubt that people would follow rules in the premise of common good and such since humans are naturally inclined to be self interested utility maximizers. And thus without “god” and the values and morals it brings along then let just say the world would be a cruel world.

Just some words,
Igood luck in your self searching.

12. benj - May 21, 2006

Jachim: Despite calling the foundations of my belief “bull”, I still thank you for chipping into the discussion. The causal relationships that you’re talking about still sounds a bit too esoteric to me and still far too removed from empricism.

I get your entire religion-free trade off, but if the rapture were to happen now, I’d like to think that average IQ of the human population will jump 20 points after all the christians have been evacuated. It is the people with an allegiance to religion who are primarily messing up the status quo. A religion-free world with only the atheists around will be a far more peaceful place despite the conceded selfish nature of man.

13. Heathen Dan - May 21, 2006

“If you feel that my atheism is not as consistent with conventional atheism, you can attribute that to the fact that I didn’t read a reference book on philosophy first prior to choosing to be an atheist.”

What? You’re not a conventional, orthodox atheist? I’m afraid I will have to terminate your membership to the Evil Atheist Conspiracy™. Please turn in your EAC decoder ring and membership card post haste. :p

14. mitch - May 21, 2006

Oops. I believe I’m one of those 5-year old kids engrossed in storybooks and fairytales you’ve mentioned. hehe! Guilty as charged! 😄

Reared in a Catholic school all of my scholastic life, I could just imagine the faces of our religious mentors if ever they read this piece. Baka ma-highblood yung mga yun. haha! I remember when I was reprimanded and humiliated in front of my classmates because I did not know my Exodus. And also because I reasoned, “I thought it wasn’t important (as part of the recitation).” LOL

I don’t think that a religion-free world will make the world a better place. Like what you just mentioned, religions keep people sane. And having insane people in society contradicts to a peaceful world. 😄 Or maybe not? 😄

But I do agree with you that atheists are not bad people or have Satanic tendencies. If they don’t believe in God, it follows that they don’t believe and (need not believe) in Satan. 😄

15. kevin - May 22, 2006

i know what you feel. it doesn’t mean that you’re an atheist, you worship satan. it’s different, since atheists do not worship any god. well, pagpasensyahan mo na; sometimes Christians like us are reacting so much about it.

^_^ anyway. don’t worry. it’s not a big deal.

16. Coach Pop - May 23, 2006

Is it just me or all you are talking about lately are religion-related things? Haha! Come on man! Playoffs! World Cup! Talk about another topic! Hahahaha!

BTW,

We lost today. Darn DeSagana Diop. Darn Dirk.

17. juice - May 23, 2006

I definitely respect all sorts of beliefs. Even though I’m a practicing Catholic, it doesn’t give me a right to judge people or hate them just because they have other beliefs. I grew up studying in an international school w/ different backgrounds of culture and religion so I know how it is.

My only concern here is that, why you’re only focusing on Christianity and not so much in other religions. Sure, Christianity might be the biggest religion in the Philippines and has great influence on us Filipinos but in the world it’s not. I live in the biggest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia, and man they have weird beliefs.

Try looking at other aspects of religion. Great post, take care 🙂

18. ollie - May 23, 2006

coz i think Muslims dont post “quotes” here. kasi puro mga Christians ang nakikita ko na nagpo-post dito with their in-your-face-your-going-to-hell attitude. sa akin kasi ganoon eh. puro christians ang nagiging ka-debate ko. lalo nun sunday napag-usapan eh yun Da Vinci Code sa church. although i know its fiction and i dont believe it, (but im not saying its NOT possible) in church during Sunday School, i made it seem like i was becoming a confused xtian and i started questioning their beliefs, the bible, Jesus Christ etc, which was pretty fun. coz they started panicking and getting in my face. nakupowww!!! hahahhaha. one even said that they were gna pray for me! heheheheheh. VIP pala ako.

ps. hey benj i had to use some of the info from ur writings. hope its ok! hehehehehe.

19. benj - May 24, 2006

no prob ollie.

i’m still here in sagada, guys. bukas ng umaga, tutulak na kami pabalik ng baguio. tapos the next day, uwi na. 🙂

20. benj - May 26, 2006

Yes, religion keeps people sane. But here’s the deal, there are people in the world like me who don’t need religion to keep themselves sane. If the world were populated entirely by people like me – despite all my factory defects and flaws — it will still be a better place. it will be a much more peaceful place.

it’s not just about ridding the world of religion – it’s about ridding the world of the impressionable people who need it. when that happens, it will all be good.

I don’t need religion to keep myself sane.

I’m very sorry that some of you do.

21. mitch - May 27, 2006

some people don’t need religion to keep them sane even if it’s part of the “sanity that society defines”. pero if you take out religion out of that sanity, some people can still go on with their lives.

and believe me, some of them are Christians whose religion they only deem as some sort of formality. 😄

22. benj - May 27, 2006

mitch: good for them then. 🙂 I find it pathetic that an entirely human construct like religion would be the key to someone’s sanity.

23. matt - May 31, 2006

benj

I’m a Muslim & I’m bothering to post here…where many wouldn’t

you seem to be unaware that there is no true atheism, it’s really just agnosticism dressed up with opinion…it’s certainly not a belief system…just another philosophy from the rational mind, not transcendant of it..

As it is imposible to have conviction in non-experience! as opposed to it’s opposite….. it just means the personal experience that would leave you staggering in the enormity of your misconception about the Beloved hasn’t happened to you yet or is being kept from you…I pray that it does & you may receive guidance

As a mystic, faith for me and those like me was borne from profound personal experiences,(for me in the path of shamanism), where years ago, out of uni, I was a little like you, a doubter & sceptic particularly toawrds Christianity also…it’s a good start…there’s more to God(Exalted Be He!)’s Stupendous Realities than the small domain of the theocratical, man made Church,

these experiences kept happening, that you wouldn’t believe if I told you, yet they happened with reason & purpose so that I would be left in no shadow of a doubt as to their reality…this was a gift, a openly, secret one too…so as a Mystic I can only laugh at the blind person who denies the colours of the rainbow before him, merely because he can’t perceive them! barriers to his own perception are constructed with in the self…

and to deny this in others, in a blanket fashion, is the height of folly & delusion..and the even more ironical thing about delusion is of course the deluded are the last to know it…since it is of course about themselves

but hey thanks for the pointer to cluster maps, that was worth it

Good Luck on bursting the mirrored ego-bubble whose edge is invisible to you…steps on the path

and may happiness & peace be yours

24. benj - May 31, 2006

of course there is no transcendence from the rationalism of atheism – and yes, it exists. i do not yearn for transcendence. that's just another form of unnecessary form of escapism that people take.

as an atheist, i could also laugh at someone who claims that god exists just because he sees the colors of the rainbow. 😉 touche.

im ready to treat anyone with respect – as long as the other party respects me. i would appreciate it if you stop attempting to talk over my head. thank you. 

peace and happiness to you too.

25. bleue - June 1, 2006

i’m a catholic, matt is moslem, benj is an atheist…. etc and etc…
we may differ in beliefs and ideology, but we must preserve respect to one another, that will keep us together and will bring world peace… bow… ahihihihi!

26. Ninelong - June 3, 2006

Well, as Thomas Hobbes put it, it is religion’s ‘fuzziness of words’ that spawns religious discord amongst the people, and I couldn’t agree more. …although respect and tolerance would work nicely, I don’t see much of it here in the Philippines. Nice write.

27. son of god - June 5, 2006

“I started reading at an early age. Among the first books I read were high school level material on astronomy and geography.”

alam mo, ako rin.

i dont remember an intance that i believed. imagine! i am amazed.

it is safer to refer ourselves as non-believers. the term atheist doesnt fit someone who used to believe. if one has an idea of what God and rejected it then he/s- cant be an atheist. the term fits those who have no idea.

28. mico - June 15, 2006

I agree on you on this.
that Religion is a creation of man..

o_O im still drowning. words…. cannot comprehend.

it’s weird though. I get your point.
sorry if my comment is lame.

29. Rocker09 - July 18, 2006

We had disagreements in the past but it’s the present that matters. I agree with you that the bible is merely a book written by mortals decades after the so called “events” took place. There are no evidences that all that is written in the bible are true. I agree with a lot of the points you raised but I still believe in God. Why? It’s because of faith. You see, faith is about the belief in the possibility of a higher existence. Possibility, that’s the key word. I respect your opinions regarding this matter because of the fact that it all makes sense. I believe that all people should try to question their so called religion once in a while because I believe that blind faith is not real faith. People who keep on believing without even asking questions are either just plain stupid or are afraid to challenge their beliefs. This is a good position paper. I can sense that it is filled with what you really feel. Kudos!

30. eugene zantua - September 5, 2006

Hi poh! i am a catholic, but still nangangapa p rin
gusto ko sana makamit ng mga taong satanista yung totoo ha

31. benj - September 7, 2006

^ could you even define satanism on your own terms?

Did you read my essay? Why the hell didnt your head explode?

32. Atheism In The Philippines « As above me, so below me… - October 25, 2006

[…] Just like what I said here and the rest of the articles on this category, it is really appalling that Philippine Society in general is hard in the clutches of the inescapble talons of the roman catholic church. For some reason, despite what I would consider as considerable intellectual prowess of most citizens, people still continue to think that Catholicism is the default ideology and religion. I would really want to regress and just see how the church was able to turn the tables around and give the onus of proof the other side of the house – that side being one that holds logic, justice and autonomy. Now, it’s a totally different scenario. We see that people have embraced an ideology that was actually FORCED upon the early Filipinos and now, they’re so confident about the veracity of these  lies they wouldn’t even dare question them. […]

33. albert - October 28, 2006

Couple things:
1. I see the RCC as a heretical Christian institution.
2. For the atheist, science is the replacement for God
3. Secularistic humanism is primarily a product of Jesus (meaning none of the ideas are original).
4. Rationalism actually serves as a proof for the existence of God.

4a. Let me give you one example:
Let’s assume one of the properties of God is absolute objectivity. By this property, it doesn’t matter whether or not we believe he exists, he just does.

34. albert - October 28, 2006

Oh right, and one other thing: don’t let your empirical bias towards the RCC color your opinion towards Christ himself. Only He sets the standard, not institutions.

35. benj - October 29, 2006

Albert, I see where you’re going. If he sets the standards, then it’s not my problem anymore. it’s either he can see my inability or he’s as stupid as the people in the church.

I dont think rationalism will ever prove that a god exists. Yes, there are things that can’t be explained by science, but that doesn’t mean one has to resort to the conclusion that a god exists.

thanks for visiting, albert. 🙂

36. albert - October 29, 2006

Albert, I see where you’re going. If he sets the standards, then it’s not my problem anymore. it’s either he can see my inability or he’s as stupid as the people in the church.

Do you mean by saying “…it’s not my problem anymore. it’s either he can see my inability”, that you’re just completely through with it, no more religion, period?

If so, I think this is an attitude that all must avoid – including the reverse for myself.

I dont think rationalism will ever prove that a god exists. Yes, there are things that can’t be explained by science, but that doesn’t mean one has to resort to the conclusion that a god exists.

Using rationalism, I actually just proved “God” exists. I think you might have confused it with empirical rationalism (the scientific method).

37. benj - October 29, 2006

Hi Albert.

Do you mean by saying “…it’s not my problem anymore. it’s either he can see my inability”, that you’re just completely through with it, no more religion, period?

If so, I think this is an attitude that all must avoid – including the reverse for myself.

As much as it makes you feel bad, I actually think it’s the way to go for something that hardly makes sense for someone. If an ideology seems so farfetched, why would you force yourself to believe in it? I think it’s all about Impetus. For me, the impetus for belief would be to have empirical basis for the existence of god. The chances of that happening is close to nil, imho.

Banking on rationalism is almost as precarious as banking on faith. You are still putting arbitrary amounts on certain variables that can’t be confirmed in any conceivable way.

Could you walk me through how you proved god exists? Maybe Im just looking at the wrong posts.

Thanks.

38. albert - October 29, 2006

As much as it makes you feel bad, I actually think it’s the way to go for something that hardly makes sense for someone.

That’s exactly it… start from the beginning if you feel like you don’t understand it. The beginning is Jesus: his words and his actions. Ask yourself, “how it this consistent”?

If an ideology seems so farfetched, why would you force yourself to believe in it? I think it’s all about Impetus. For me, the impetus for belief would be to have empirical basis for the existence of god. The chances of that happening is close to nil, imho.

If you need an impetus, I think the promise of eternal life and justice for others would suffice, wouldn’t you? An empiricist bias (or “empirical basis” as you put it) for belief is hardly an impetus. It would have to be a promise of some sort.. a deal. You get that with Jesus.

Banking on rationalism is almost as precarious as banking on faith. You are still putting arbitrary amounts on certain variables that can’t be confirmed in any conceivable way.

This is true, but also applies to the cutting-edge quantum physicist. What is the impetus there?

Think about it: for the majority of cases, is the impetus to discover more about human physiology for humanist reasons, or for money?

Could you walk me through how you proved god exists? Maybe Im just looking at the wrong posts.

Just to tie up loose ends, look here.

39. benj - October 30, 2006

If you need an impetus, I think the promise of eternal life and justice for others would suffice, wouldn’t you? An empiricist bias (or “empirical basis” as you put it) for belief is hardly an impetus. It would have to be a promise of some sort.. a deal. You get that with Jesus.

Are you sure you’re going to argue this way? I find this very weak – and a lot of christians don’t like this as well. Believing in a god for the fear of eternal damnation and tokenistic faith is a bit too superficial. A real god would see all through it and notice that the motivation is faith is nothing else. Very weak argument – for atheists and christians alike.

If you need an impetus, I think the promise of eternal life and justice for others would suffice, wouldn’t you? An empiricist bias (or “empirical basis” as you put it) for belief is hardly an impetus. It would have to be a promise of some sort.. a deal. You get that with Jesus.

Now this is really weak. again, impetus. impetus. I definitely don’t see it in this paragraph. A promise?

First, you have to prove that god exists.

Two, you have to prove that the christian god exists.

The hole in your argumentation is you want people to put their faith on one god/being just because he made a promise.

You really think you’ve proved something? You’re assuming too much in terms of what people accept as the truth already. Yes, Jesus Christ may have lived a model life, etc. But that doesn’t make him a god. No one can prove that. He only “showed” himself to people who are party to his religion and they could have easily made that up.

40. albert - October 30, 2006

Why do you quote the same paragraph twice?

Are you sure you’re going to argue this way? I find this very weak – and a lot of christians don’t like this as well. Believing in a god for the fear of eternal damnation and tokenistic faith is a bit too superficial.

I didn’t really outline why it was I believe in Jesus. I was meeting you on your terms – that is, defining an impetus for belief. Proving God’s existence is a whole different story… and trust me, I can go pound-for-pound as far as that’s concerned.

A real god would see all through it and notice that the motivation is faith is nothing else.

“… and notice that the motivation is faith is nothing else”: I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you mean here. If you’re talking about the motivation is faith, and nothing else, then I wouldn’t see the problem as long as the believer is putting everything on the line for God and for his/her neighbors (Luke 10:27), scientifically uninformed as he/she may be. Faith in and of itself isn’t a problem. It’s the excessive dogmaticism and social stratification that is.

Very weak argument – for atheists and christians alike.

Now this is really weak. again, impetus. impetus. I definitely don’t see it in this paragraph. A promise?

First, you have to prove that god exists.

Two, you have to prove that the christian god exists.

Like I said before, impetus and proof of diety are two entirely different things. The impetus I suggested to you is becoming justice to the downtrodden and eternal life. (Those two things are only a crumb compared to the bread of God’s promises).

Whether or not that appeals to you is entirely subjective.

The hole in your argumentation is you want people to put their faith on one god/being just because he made a promise.

No, I’m not saying this at all. I never fully stated my position on why I think you should believe in God anywhere in my responses. If you want to know my position on that, I’ll be glad to write one out :).

41. benj - October 30, 2006

I have no idea why I did that. Must be me being sleepy. hehe

Like I said before, impetus and proof of diety are two entirely different things. The impetus I suggested to you is becoming justice to the downtrodden and eternal life. (Those two things are only a crumb compared to the bread of God’s promises).

Whether or not that appeals to you is entirely subjective.

It doesnt appeal to me at all. I have a lot of entries that directly deal with that self-serving setup wherein the rules are clearly skewed against free choice. It’s absolute blackmail if you ask me.

“… and notice that the motivation is faith is nothing else”: I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you mean here. If you’re talking about the motivation is faith, and nothing else, then I wouldn’t see the problem as long as the believer is putting everything on the line for God and for his/her neighbors (Luke 10:27), scientifically uninformed as he/she may be. Faith in and of itself isn’t a problem. It’s the excessive dogmaticism and social stratification that is.

Major typo. sorry. What I meant was an all-knowing god would’ve seen the self-serving reasons of why one would believe in him/her/it. I think belief and religion based on a paradigm of fear and merit is a tad too shallow. It’s tokenistic for people who are not analytical enough. And yes, in a setup wherein a christian god existent, logical prowess is still provided by him/her/it, so it’s like god sabotages people by making them too analytical.

42. albert - October 30, 2006

One more before I go to bed:

A: Like I said before, impetus and proof of diety are two entirely different things. The impetus I suggested to you is becoming justice to the downtrodden and eternal life. (Those two things are only a crumb compared to the bread of God’s promises).

Whether or not that appeals to you is entirely subjective.

B: It doesnt appeal to me at all. I have a lot of entries that directly deal with that self-serving setup wherein the rules are clearly skewed against free choice. It’s absolute blackmail if you ask me.

Under the Christian rubric, free choice is ultimately determined by whether you choose Jesus or not. Similarly, freedom outside of Christ is slavery to sin, whereas freedom under Christ is slavery to him. Slavery under the second condition becomes freedom, because in essence, you can do whatever it is the Spirit leads you to do in love – which is and has a future reward.

So, in simplifying, slavery under Jesus is like having your cake and eating it too, whereas under sin, you just eat it (and eat away at your humanity).

The RCC interprets doing these works for the point of self-service – like you mentioned – but the true follower does this because Jesus did it for him, as the ultimate friend. So good deeds for the point of “repayment” is wrong, and it ties in with an earthly concept of “treasure” – materialism.

What I meant was an all-knowing god would’ve seen the self-serving reasons of why one would believe in him/her/it. I think belief and religion based on a paradigm of fear and merit is a tad too shallow. It’s tokenistic for people who are not analytical enough.

I completely agree. If you also meant “dogmatic” by “not analytical enough”, I completely agree as well.

And yes, in a setup wherein a christian god existent, logical prowess is still provided by him/her/it, so it’s like god sabotages people by making them too analytical.

I wouldn’t take it that far. Predestination is the underlying issue in this comment, and with regards to that, I think people sabotage themselves by giving in to sin rather than pursuing the good, right, and just.

This usually comes in the form of narcissism, self-righteousness, prejudice, malice, envy, greed, and lack of control over sexual impulses (lust) – among others – leading to the breaking of marraiges/destruction of families, exclusive clubs/memberships barring the poor/underprivileged, exploitation of poor countries, racial tensions, and false pretenses (a facade) – also among other things.

To address the idea of being “too analytical”, though, I don’t think there can be a point that really bars you from entrance into heaven. The dichotomy is always with respect to sin and free will, not the attributes God gives you at the outset.

43. benj - October 30, 2006

Let me into your head. Why do you believe?

I’m pretty sure that your reasons will not be compelling enough for a lot of atheists. Atheism more often than not arises from an inability to believe/ inability to see the impetus in believing in something.

Yes, it may sound a bit bordering on predestination, but the mere fact that the CHANCE to sin and the CHANCE to judge is present does present it like pure blackmail. Sin and Judgment didn’t need to be formulated into the equation at all.

SIN and SALVATION were inserted to the setup to make him/her/it more relevant and less prone to the ambivalence of ‘slaves’. Total blackmail, really.

44. albert - October 30, 2006

Let me into your head. Why do you believe?

Are you asking this rhetorically? Or is it a sincere question?

I’m pretty sure that your reasons will not be compelling enough for a lot of atheists. Atheism more often than not arises from an inability to believe/ inability to see the impetus in believing in something.

Yes, it may sound a bit bordering on predestination, but the mere fact that the CHANCE to sin and the CHANCE to judge is present does present it like pure blackmail. Sin and Judgment didn’t need to be formulated into the equation at all.

Well, that’s why it’s called free will/self-determinism. If we didn’t know what it was like to be away from God, what benefit would we have being with him? We blackmail ourselves.

SIN and SALVATION were inserted to the setup to make him/her/it more relevant and less prone to the ambivalence of ’slaves’. Total blackmail, really.

Ambivalence, or total rebellion?

Part of the answer to your first question is that I know I am sinful. Whether I’m not lusting, swearing carelessly, or simply disregarding others to serve myself – all these I recognize as my sinfulness.

This pattern was especially apparent during my high school years, where despite going to church every Sunday, I turned around and indulged in every kind of lust and individualism. I was a narcissist and I didn’t realize it: because my parents held me up as their trophy, I saw myself in the same light.

And it was then that I saw that I couldn’t stop myself, either. This is when I realized I needed to be saved.

This is how my journey of faith began – very subjectively. Since then, as you’ve partially seen, I’ve been gathering all kinds of information regarding the life sciences, philosophy (especially epistemology and ontology), anthropology, etc… and they’ve all served as further evidence that Jesus was who he said he was.

So, I probably debate with you ad infinitum, but that doesn’t usually make a difference. Real change comes from the heart, and comes to affect everything – especially the head.

45. benj - October 30, 2006

I would never be overcome by something that abstract. 🙂 And yes, that was a sincere question.

I appreciate your moderate stance, but your arguments will hardly convince any atheists – at least not the ones that i know. 🙂 The impetus to change is again, very subjective. It’s probably something that the creators of the religion injected into the philosophy to create a false stimuli for people to acknowledge the christian god.

Again, the threat of eternal damnation is nothing but an unbelievably sadistic setup promulgated by the unanalytical inventors of the christian religion. They probably thought that such blackmail tactic would be enough to scare people into joining their congregation. Its a good thing that a lot of people probe a lot deeper than those mere threats.

46. albert - October 30, 2006

I would never be overcome by something that abstract. 🙂 And yes, that was a sincere question.

You say “I would never be overcome…”, but the mindset is actually one of coming to an understanding about yourself in a very real, concrete way.

Interesting, huh? Read it again: the mindset is actually one of coming to an understanding about yourself, not regressing to child-like thinking.

I appreciate your moderate stance, but your arguments will hardly convince any atheists – at least not the ones that i know. 🙂 The impetus to change is again, very subjective. It’s probably something that the creators of the religion injected into the philosophy to create a false stimuli for people to acknowledge the christian god.

My stance isn’t moderate at all. There’s no (and should never be) politicising of religion – especially in Christianity. I think it is an orthodox position, meaning there’s a paradigm shift in order – that is from politics to philosophy :).

With regards to your second comment, the actual genesis of Christianity started post-Resurrection when more than 500 witnesses saw, touched, ate with, and spoke to Jesus. As a result of the testimony of these first-century Christians, Rome underwent a sea-change (confirmed by Josephus, et. al).

Only over time has it become more subjective – as instances of the power of God in miracles and tongues has markedly decreased in most areas.

Again, the threat of eternal damnation is nothing but an unbelievably sadistic setup promulgated by the unanalytical inventors of the christian religion. They probably thought that such blackmail tactic would be enough to scare people into joining their congregation. Its a good thing that a lot of people probe a lot deeper than those mere threats.

… to say that there were “inventors” of “the christian religion” is a fallacy. Let me say it again: Jesus was the sole “inventor” and “promulgator” of Christianity.

47. benj - November 1, 2006

Why are you then discounting the possibility that christ could have been just a) mentally disturbed and b) a con man who continues to deceive more than a billion people all over world?

Again… Impetus. There is no impetus to believe and the christian setup in general is a self-serving one with the trappings of meritocracy. There is free choice, but is almost non existent due to the gravity of the supposed benefits and punishments. THAT setup was meant to make the weak minded ones submit into the fledgling religion.

48. albert - November 2, 2006

Why are you then discounting the possibility that christ could have been just a) mentally disturbed and b) a con man who continues to deceive more than a billion people all over world?

This is a great question that was addressed in More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell. It talks about the trichotomy of Lord, liar or lunatic (obviously, I recommend it for reading).

To address your points, though:

a) if nothing else, Christ was a great moral teacher, but if he were a great moral teacher how could he also be a hypocrite at the same time? McDowell concludes that for this case to be true, Jesus would have to be a “deliberate liar,” and this does not coincide with his life teachings. Furthermore, why would he, or any man die for a lie?

b) On the other hand, if Christ were a lunatic, “then couldn’t he actually have thought himself to be God, but been mistaken. For a man to have done this in such a fiercely monotheistic culture (Judaism) as that which existed during Christ’s life, would be “no slight flight of fancy (going crazy)”. Yet, how could the instructions of an insane man liberate so “many individuals in mental bondage” (dogmaticism/Pharisaical teaching)?

Again… Impetus. There is no impetus to believe and the christian setup in general is a self-serving one with the trappings of meritocracy.

I hope you’re not concluding that in a summation response to my posts.

There is free choice, but is almost non existent due to the gravity of the supposed benefits and punishments.

Free choice definitely does have heavy costs/benefits, but it’s not a wash. The fact that you are still able to retain choice even after “making it” is a testament to the precise degree of your autonomy.

THAT setup was meant to make the weak minded ones submit into the fledgling religion.

This is, in plain words, wrong. Referencing Acts and specifically Paul, many were liberated from “practicing religion” (dogmaticism/legalism), which lead to the revolutionizing of Rome and eventual conversion of Constantine (would you call him “weak minded”?) in 312.

49. benj - November 2, 2006

This is a great question that was addressed in More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell. It talks about the trichotomy of Lord, liar or lunatic (obviously, I recommend it for reading).

To address your points, though:

a) if nothing else, Christ was a great moral teacher, but if he were a great moral teacher how could he also be a hypocrite at the same time? McDowell concludes that for this case to be true, Jesus would have to be a “deliberate liar,” and this does not coincide with his life teachings. Furthermore, why would he, or any man die for a lie?

b) On the other hand, if Christ were a lunatic, “then couldn’t he actually have thought himself to be God, but been mistaken. For a man to have done this in such a fiercely monotheistic culture (Judaism) as that which existed during Christ’s life, would be “no slight flight of fancy (going crazy)”. Yet, how could the instructions of an insane man liberate so “many individuals in mental bondage” (dogmaticism/Pharisaical teaching)?

Point A is riddled with one too many logical leaps. 🙂 He’s a great moral teacher so he’s not hypocrite. There’s too much assumptions done on that paragraph alone. He died for his own lie – his own ego.

Point B, well, go use that argument for the person who started Hinduism, Buddhism and all the other major religions. Those millions can’t be all wrong, right?

Again, there’s no impetus for the non-optimistic and empricist.

50. albert - November 3, 2006

Point A is riddled with one too many logical leaps. 🙂 He’s a great moral teacher so he’s not hypocrite. There’s too much assumptions done on that paragraph alone. He died for his own lie – his own ego.

You say “riddled”. I quoted (sorry, it should have been the other way around):

a) [ed: referring to b)] if nothing else, Christ was a great moral teacher, but if he were a great moral teacher how could he also be a hypocrite at the same time? McDowell concludes that for this case to be true, Jesus would have to be a “deliberate liar,” and this does not coincide with his life teachings. Furthermore, why would he, or any man die for a lie?

So you have a couple correlations: Jesus was a teacher, but not a hypocrite. If he was a con man, he would have had to be deliberately lying. This does not coincide with his teachings. He died for his teachings.

Can you explain to me which of these are logical (rational) leaps, please?

As far as dying for his own ego is concerned, Jesus repeatedly says that he is there to accomplish the will of his Father, not to bring glory to himself. So this is just a false assertion.

To recap: wouldn’t you say the biggest problem with Christians today is their inability to walk the walk? Jesus did that and more.

Point B, well, go use that argument for the person who started Hinduism, Buddhism and all the other major religions. Those millions can’t be all wrong, right?

You don’t directly respond to the rebuttal, but that’s fine. You bring up the point of absolute truth claims vs. pantheism, which claims that all religions offer routes to salvation/heaven (ref: princeton definition at the bottom).The important point is to know that each religion has its own claim to absolute truth. The fact of the matter is, few meet the criteria of scientific, rational, and/or social criticism.

Again, there’s no impetus for the non-optimistic and empricist.

Non-optimistic and empiricist? Do you mean to say you’re a pessimist and subjective empiricist? (I’m actually a pessimist of sorts as well. But it’s with with regards to humans, not life in general). If so, to address the first point – pessimism – I think the opposite logic applies. Oftentimes, the case is usually that the pessimist who takes their philosophy to its logical conclusion (i.e. suicide) will usually find impetus in the form of hope in Jesus, and in faith.

As for subjective empiricism, this is in truth a euphemism for narcissism.

Objective empiricism (which I will define as trusting/using other people’s experiences as validation of your own) is an improvement to gaining an understanding of truth as far as its helps to avoid narcissism.

51. benj - November 4, 2006

You cannot simply base your premises on text that was promoted by his very religion. The bible is the brochure that comes with the christian product so it’s not a reliable basis for his consistency as a person. of course he is going be be shown in a favorable light.

I think your definition for objective empiricism is a tad too fallacious. It is still the prerogative of an individual to assess whether the individual who observed it has adequate perceptive and cognitive skills.

Call it narcissism if you want, but I won’t adapt others’ perspectives just because it worked for them.

We are so not on the same page when it comes to IMPETUS. That hope is not impetus, that is a mere abstract incentive that doesn’t really provide a concrete answer to the onus of proof. Convenience and peace of mind, imho, are not sufficient enough to be considered impetus.

52. albert - November 8, 2006

Call it narcissism if you want, but I won’t adapt others’ perspectives just because it worked for them.

I’m sorry if I offended you.

However – by your last sentence in #49 – it did seem like you were saying the only proof you would accept would only be through subjective experience – meaning that you are the ultimate proof of God’s existence.

Is that right? Wrong? I’m trying to see what exactly it is you’re trying to say here.

You cannot simply base your premises on text that was promoted by his very religion. The bible is the brochure that comes with the christian product so it’s not a reliable basis for his consistency as a person. of course he is going be be shown in a favorable light.

I agree and disagree. It’s true that it is “biased” in the sense that the epistles frame Jesus in a positive light, but that isn’t necessarily 100% true on the part of the Gospels. For instance, Jesus was recorded as being unable to do miracles in Mark 6:5. Similarly, events following the crucifixion, such as the total abandonment of the apostles and mockery of Jesus would have probably been left out if it were mythologized.

I think your definition for objective empiricism is a tad too fallacious.

Again, what is “fallacious” about this definition?

It is still the prerogative of an individual to assess whether the individual who observed it has adequate perceptive and cognitive skills.

Right. This is called “trust”.

We are so not on the same page when it comes to IMPETUS. That hope is not impetus, that is a mere abstract incentive that doesn’t really provide a concrete answer to the onus of proof. Convenience and peace of mind, imho, are not sufficient enough to be considered impetus.

Sorry, but I don’t have an absolute morality for the sake of convenience, and nowhere in my responses do I imply that I believe for convenience, either.

Only moral relativists believe for the sake of convenience; those who believe in moral absolutes believe for absolute reasons.

Furthermore, without sugarcoating it, your remarks regarding impetus are non sequitur. I’ve done a lot more, through the course of these posts, than specify how hope is an impetus for believing in God for the hopeless.

Justice is hardly an abstract incentive (look, for example, at your latest post). A change of heart for permanent pursuit of the good is hardly an abstract incentive. No suffering, no fear of death, no work, no worries – and most of all, no guilt – are hardly abstract incentives.

It’s partially my fault for not stating more of those initially. What do you think of them? Still too abstract/insufficient an impetus?


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