Response To A Religious Dude.

I conversed with yet another christian who tried to justify genocide, capital punishment for children, setting people on fire etc (that never gets old) and then condescended that atheists lack moral discernment – I kind of ranted at him in parts, but thought it was blog-worthy:

“Hello again. First off, about Pascal’s wager. You said that it’s just ethnocentrism and someone else could say I deny their God just like they deny mine. Well that’s fine. Heck, let’s throw Christianity out of the mix.”

Pascal’s wager hasn’t been mentioned in this blog that I can tell and what you’re responding to neither mentions it nor does the part of the blog I quoted – so this is a bizarre non-sequiter.  I said that what the blog author said was ethnocentric and why, it had nothing to do with heaven or hell or pascal.

“The point of Pascal’s wager is not to convert you. It’s to show you something about yourself if you are atheist or agnostic. It reveals our nature. The fact that we would still reject God when nothing but good things await for us if we follow him shows us just how hostile to God we really are.”

This too is ethnocentric. I am no more “hostile” to god than you are pissed off at the tooth fairy.  In fact it’s the one thing I’m incapable of being, just as you are incapable of being angry at a being you do not believe exists.

I just love when people start a conversation off assuming that anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe is just faking it because they’re not strong enough to be christian.

“You are, by being an atheist or agnostic, playing with fire spiritually. You are taking a huge risk. And that is what it’s trying to show you. It’s not trying to convert you.”

No, I’m supposedly taking a huge risk.  Just like you’re supposedly risking the wrath of allah.  If I claim that nuclear missiles are on their way now from russia to kill you, the severity of the claim or the immediacy of the supposed threat does not make it real.  You would (I hope) want some evidence that it was the case before you ran screaming for the nearest bomb shelter, and would not do so if you had no reason to think the threat was real.  I too have zero rational, credible, logically consistent evidence that there even is an afterlife or a god, let alone your particular god.

“As far as the Romans 1 goes, maybe you didn’t know this, but the whole point of Paul listing out all those sins is so that we know that we deserve death. Every single human being has committed at least one of the sins that is listed. Paul was a murderer; he even stood by as Stephen (a Christian) was stoned. He’s on there too. We all are. Homosexuals aren’t any more picked on there. Sin merits death, my friend. God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit, lest they die. Yet they ate it, and guess what? They’re in the ground. Just like you will be, and just like I will be.”

Arbitrary rules meant to instill guilt and fear.  I don’t think existing or not being perfect warrants the death penalty and neither do you.  You may pretend you do but you’re not going to go down the street executing people for having sex out of wedlock or being gay, and if I did that you’d call me a psychopath.  But you can pretend that these ideas are actually not just okay but holy so long as the bible says them.  In a less enlightened time you may have been leading an inquisition.  And you claim atheists have trouble with their moral discernment.

“Also, I’m a bit surprised. Don’t be offended by this because I don’t mean it mean, but you really must not know that much about the Bible. If you knew even some essentials, you’d know that the OT commands to kill people for committing such sins is not for us today but was for the Israelites. If you want to know how and when that changed, I’d be glad to tell you, but that’s just common knowledge. And there is not one NT verse telling anybody to kill anybody.”

Setting aside that this isn’t true and that jesus said that the old laws would not change one letter until heaven and earth passed away (which christians just respond to by sticking their fingers in their ears and saying “la la la I can’t hear you”), setting that aside there are plenty of passages in the “old” testament telling people to kill people, and you know it.  And even if jesus did say “don’t follow the old testament anymore” (which he never once did) it would be just as ridiculous as saying raping kids is moral now – oh wait, now it’s not.  No, now it is again – oh wait, now it’s not.  Now it’s only okay if canadians do it… oh wait now it’s totally wrong again for everyone.  Morality is situational, but the idea that it’s okay for someone to commit genocide or kill their kids or set people on fire or own slaves based on their race or their religion is preposterous, and you know this.  You would freely admit it if muslims or modern jews or anyone else tried to pull that shit.

“Do I carry a sword? Why would you even ask that? The passage you are referring to is Luke 22:36-38 when Jesus tells his disciples to carry a sword because he is getting ready to be numbered with the transgressors. If you keep reading the passage, clearly he’s not insinuating combat, because when Peter chops off the guard’s ear, Jesus tells him to stop, heals the guy, and says that those who live by the sword die by the sword. There’s obviously some deeper meaning there.”

So the story is a parable rather than a historical account?  That actually makes more sense.

“You say “crimes” as if they’re not really crimes, and you mention disobeying your parents as if it’s something small. Sin is not small because it is not against a small sovereign.”

Call the cops the next time your kid doesn’t do his chores and see if they think it’s a “crime”.

“The seriousness of an insult rises with the dignity of the one insulted. The God of the universe is infinitely worthy of respect, worship, and loyalty. Failure to love and obey him is not trivial, it is treason.”

In a ruthless dictatorship maybe.  So if I don’t clap at the president’s speech I should what, go to jail?  Is that how morality works?

“It is going against the very purpose for which we were created.”

That isn’t how it works, sentient beings capable of suffering deserve moral consideration, a parent is a steward of their child, not the owner of their child.  They have as much obligation to forgive and protect and nurture them as the child does to obey and respect them (sometimes more depending on the parent).  The idea that creating sentient life means you can dictate what is right and wrong is insane.  If I have a kid can I torture them?  I created them, so I make the rules right?

I’m sorry, the ability to suffer is the source of our moral obligations, not divine authority, rules or regulations.

“Where do you get that putting people to death in the OT is wrong? So what?”

Yes, wonderful enlightened beautiful morality.  Setting people on fire?  Who cares?  Bashing the skulls of small children in for disobeying you?  Puh-leeze!  Atheists are so lost spiritually, aren’t we?  We actually think those things are egregious.  Shows what little we know.

“What objective truth are you alluding to when you make such a claim?”

Setting people on fire hurts.  It causes fear and anguish and unimaginable pain that you would never want to ever be subjected to to not only them but every non-sociopath who sees or hears about it, and especially to people who knew and loved the person.  Those are some objective facts you little monster.

“We can’t even have a discussion of right and wrong because any consistent atheist acknowledges that any sense of morality in their worldview is subjective and exists only in our heads. You can’t say the Bible is wrong for saying that you’re wrong.”

Morality is an abstract concept, yes.  But so is math.  Can we not say that if I have one of something and add another I have two?  This is the norm in christian apologetics, defend the indefensible by lowering the bar so far that absolutely anything fits in, even setting people on fire.

“In all seriousness, why are you so aggressive and hostile to Christianity? I understand the Gospel can be offensive when, after all, it tells us we’re wrong and evil.”

That’s not even in my top 50 list of the most offensive things in the bible.  Know what my view of myself is?  I’m less than a speck.  If you took the largest star and put our sun next to it our sun would be invisible on that scale.  And if you took the earth and put it next to the sun it would be invisible on that scale.  And if you took my city and put it next to the earth it would be invisible on that scale, and if you took me and put me next to my city I am invisible on that scale.  I am invisible next to something that is invisible next to something that is invisible next to something that is invisible next to something that exists in the natural world.  And I inhabit just one of the thousands of trillions of solar systems in the known universe.  I am as close to nothing next to the universe as you could possibly fathom.  And do you know what I think of this?  I think it’s amazing and beautiful and wonderful.  My ego isn’t bruised in the slightest, because I don’t spend all day thinking about myself and my self esteem and what will happen when I die and me me me me me.  I actually look out the window now and then and focus on things other than my own ego.

So no, I could care less that the bible says what a horrible wretched piece of dirt I am.

“But it offers the remedy. It gives the anecdote for our sickness. God came as a man and bore the penalty for sin. Are you upset that the OT put people to death?”

No, I’m upset that christians invoke the old testament selectively to justify hatred and persecution while hypocritically ignoring it whenever it suits them.

“You should probably be equally or more upset that a perfect man was killed for the sins of others.”

I’m actually more offended by this (though I think he was just a man) than many christians (link).

“I’m just curious because nothing but good things await you if you embrace Christ.”

I’ve yet to hear one good reason to think that’s actually true.  And if I wanted to believe it just to enjoy the fantasy I’m sure I could cook up a more interesting afterlife that would be more fun to imagine.

“Sorry it’s long. Just some dense discussion topics.”

Long doesn’t bother me – non-sequiter is a little annoying, as is defending child murder and genocide…


About agnophilo

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10 Responses to Response To A Religious Dude.

  1. Aloysius_son says:

    The search for God could be compared to the search for life on other planets.Some believe, some don’t, yet the search continues.

  2. Lovegrove says:

    I speak as a confused heretic rather than a clear-cut member of any Party on either side of the religion debate but one thing is as clear as day. To argue for justification within a moral stand doesn’t work using the Old Testament. I would recommend any bibliolotrist to watch The Atheist Experience on youtube and see how not to argue with sceptics.

  3. agnophilo says:

    @Aloysius_son – This is a good analogy, though to follow it further, if it had not been proved that there even was extraterrestrial life, would you accept thousands of claims about that life to be true?@Lovegrove – Some of their arguments are hilarious – my favorite is the “best caller of the week award” (or something like that).

  4. Aloysius_son says:

    @agnophilo –  Considering the number of possible locations and forms for it’s existance how would one prove that ET’s do not exist without completeing an exhaustive search, for no matter how many empty planets we find we could not rule out the possibility of life elsewhere, until we have searched every possible location.This reflects my belief in God, for as many times we disprove one form of Its existance we can not rule out the possibility of another. Most people cling to the notion that God, and ET’s both are somehow going to resemble humans. While this may be true, it also may not.. Likewise it is possible that there is no God or ETL, but we can not be certain unless we uncover every proverbial stone.Because we have not discovered life on another planet yet, should we take the leap and assume that there is none to be found, and cease the search?

  5. Aloysius_son says:

    Having faith and not having faith in God might be likened to two scientists each trying to prove the opposing view that life exists on other planets. As the believing scientist wants desperately to prove his point he will narrow his searh parameters to planets that meet specific criteria. The opposing scientist  also desperate to prove his view is less likely to explore the very same candidates. Only the truely open minded individual will examine every possibility. However given the amount of time available vs the amount of time required, it is unlikely that either can prove their case. If even after thousands of generations we have failed to find ETL we can not assume either to be true until we have exhausted every possibility. Perhaps because one believes and one does not, that the search even continues.

  6. @agnophilo – Caller of the week award? I’ve never heard of that one. Does it have anything to do with Harold Camping (lol)?

  7. agnophilo says:

    @Aloysius_son – I agree entirely, though we do know that at least some life exists, it’s not exactly like we’ve found one god and are wondering if there are more out there.  But I get what you mean.@Aloysius_son – It’s worth mentioning though that not believing something and believing something aren’t the same thing.  For instance if I believe in the existence of unicorns then the burden of proof is on me to show they exist, not the skeptic to show that they don’t.  If our logic was “something exists unless it’s proven not to exist” we would believe in the existence of fairies, unicorns, hob goblins, dragons etc, etc.  Skepticism is the default position in lieu of evidence a claim is correct.  I think you can mount a compelling though not conclusive case for the probable existence of life on other planets, but I don’t think you can mount a good case for the existence of a god – but we still can’t rule it out.  I think the existence of a species who are vastly more advanced and would seem god-like to us is more likely, but I wouldn’t call them gods.

  8. RexMasters says:

    I have yet to engage someone so one dimensional in a dialogue. the endeavor seems futile though. However I am pleased they didn’t resort to simple ad hominem for defense.

  9. agnophilo says:

    @RexMasters – Just accused me of being effectively a sociopath because I’m not christian.

Speak yer mind.

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