I am getting tired of condescending, patronizing, and manipulative Christians conceding the validity of science in order to make themselves more credible when arguing religion. It is tiresome, an obvious sales tactic, and a waste of time. If they really, truly accepted the implications of what we learn just from cosmology and biology, there is no way they could square the science with theology. I know, I know – there are examples of Christian scientists out there like Francis Collins, but these people have just deluded themselves. As smart as Collins is, he still has no good reason to believe Jesus is his personal savior other than the justifications he comes up with in his imagination.
The next time the cosmological argument comes up (the “first cause argument” for the existence of God), DO NOT let the Christian get away with trying to hijack logic when making this argument. The infinite regress must be applied to God as well, since he is a complex being that would have had an even more super-complex cause, and so-on ad infinitum. They will try to say that God is an infinite or supernatural being and only apply “everything has a cause” to the universe to support their argument, but they are just making up the rules as they go. They MUST use the same logic with God regarding cause/effect that they are using regarding the universe. They have absolutely no evidence God was the first cause, he is infinite, he exists, etc. – no empirical evidence for God at all and yet they want to get all logical and reasonable/scientific-sounding with this ridiculousness. The fact that Point A is not yet understood by scientists (“What caused the Big Bang”) does not make Point B true by default (“God created the universe”). The fact that we still need to point out the flaw in the logic here is pretty sad.
The next quick point here is that the argument is used by Christians in a non-sequitor of symphonic and operatic proportions (as Bugliosi would say). They make the connection that 1) everything has a cause, 2) God is the cause, 3) therefore the virgin birth, miracles, burning bush, and other supernatural events in the Bible must be true. I just ask at this point for someone to show me the connection from #2-3 without doing Olympian-like mental gymnastics.
I have not been posting much due to a recent schedule change from insane to borderline-unmanageable, but I will do my best to get back to regular updating as soon as I can. In the meantime…
Here are two interesting videos on creationism by scientists. Krauss is a pure genius, and I enjoy Bill Nye because I remember watching his videos in middle school science class.
I get this question a lot, coupled with statements like, “You become your own god,” and “There is no ultimate meaning for life,” and “Who is to say murder or theft is wrong if a supreme being does not legislate it and there is no ultimate punishment,” etc.
My answer is that we are accountable to our fellow human. We live on a planet with 7 billion other conscious beings who feel pain, joy, love, and have dreams and goals. We are accountable to our families, friends, neighbors, community members, the children in our community, and ultimately to everyone in the world.
The Golden Rule is a great concept to live by whether Jesus, Confucius, Buddha, or anyone else promoted it. Yes, there are people out there who, for a plethora of reasons, harm others and society, and they are taken to account by their fellow man. If a man steals a car, he must be punished – not because God commanded it, but because it damages someone’s well-being and people must know that they cannot do as they please if it hurts others – and it is comforting to know that our own well-being is being protected as much as possible by our community. We must have each others’ backs, because when it comes down to it that is all we have on which to rely. It is a mutual responsibility to act in our community’s best interest and this has probably evolved along with our species; however, the science of morality is a whole other topic that will be addressed later on this blog (read Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape).
NOTE: The type of question from Christians listed above is a great examples of how they argue the utility of religion rather than giving evidence and proof. When having a discussion with Christians, take note of how they jump tracks from trying to prove the truth and evidence of their faith to giving reasons why it is good for us to believe because of how it might impact our lives and our perspective (regardless of the lack of evidence). This should be pointed out to them to maintain clarity within the discussion.
I think one of the most difficult things an atheist has to overcome is creating new traditions and meaningful perspectives during holidays such as Christmas. I enjoy the spirit of giving to family members as well as those less fortunate, but there is always that nagging feeling of being on the sidelines as everyone else in my immediate community and family is focusing on Jesus’ birth as the centerpiece of the season – and I look at it as ridiculous and can’t believe how many intelligent people buy into the whole thing. It’s like I am living in some dream world and I am the only one who knows it’s a dream – and everyone looks at me like I am the one with the problem. I can’t even enjoy Christmas carols anymore because the lyrics are so inane and absurd.
The tension can be especially thick with Christian parents. I have a feeling of disconnect from my parents and my own past because I am not participating in the same family traditions of going to church and family devotions from the gospels etc. around Christmas-time.
I am happy with the new traditions my wife and I have been making with our children, and I hope our kids have strong and meaningful memories about the holidays. I don’t let this get in the way of enjoying the holidays, but the elephant is still in the room.
Not sure where I am going with this one – I guess I haven’t really nailed it down yet as far as what the issue is for me around the holidays. Anyone have any analogous feelings/stories to illustrate feeling outcast around Christmas?