Moderates and Apologetics are not True Beleivers

In a way, I can admire the clarity of thinking of fundamentalist believers; they just believe whatever is told them, without question. It must be very restful to not struggle to understand, but just accept. I can understand the appeal of that – it takes no effort to not think, but just go about your business and life with a sense of surety of purposes, and not merely certainty, but absolute certainty of your place and everyone else as lesser than you, because god said so. How can people even argue with that? God said so because either I or one of God’s earthly representatives said that god said so.

The people I find confusing are the moderates and worse, the apologetics. People who do not take the sacred texts as literal and just cherry pick what suits them as need be – but rather moderates and apologetics undermine the sacred texts as metaphor or stories to illustrate truths rather than being historical telling. Moderates who bend their religion to appear to blend or bend to the reality of history and scientific knowledge.

How can they maintain a faith in a god, when they aren’t really convinced? That they acknowledge inconsistencies and inaccuracies – that they have to put actual effort in maintaining their beliefs – they must be exhausted from being on the defensive from fundamentalists who require no mental effort, but who expend energy into converted by the word or the sword; and from non-believers who constantly point out more and more reality, more and more scientific knowledge that poke bigger and bigger holes in religion and leave narrower and fewer gaps in knowledge for god to occupy.

Part of the problem is expectations, we are instant gratification seekers, so I can see the appeal of religion as providing apparently simple and very easy answers to any question. Goddidit, God’s will, sometimes the answer to a prayer is no.

You can pick any question, spin the wheel and any of these three things will provide an answer to the question. And don’t think too much about them not being actual answers that satisfy anything except the person who don’t want to think too hard or think unpleasant thoughts like, the invisible is pretty much the same as the non-existent.

And, if the universe has a causal agent, god, then what came before god? At which point, the believer brain freezes and numbs over from the blasphemy backlash.

But, by believer logic, if god needs no causal agent or anything before, then why can’t the universe be positioned the same way? Or at least, the horror, leave the question unanswered. What caused the big bang? We don’t know. Yet.

What caused the Big Bang? “God” or “We Don’t Know. Yet.”   The response “God” leaves a full but unsatisfied feeling, while, “We Don’t Know. Yet”. This promise of eventually finding an answer is exciting, tantalizing, it demands action and answering, but filling in the answer blank with “god”; that stops all questions but answers nothing.

Science is the study of nature, god is outside of nature. In religious studies, despite the number of people who claim to present the various gods on earth, gods and their ways are not accessible to mere humans, who worship, appease, pray and sacrifice, without ever being able to predict the particular god’s response – and so assume that lack of response to be a no; yet, they continue to worship their absentee and deadbeat deity.

That the universe exists does not confirm the existence of a god – and especially, not any particular god. And there’s been a lot of them worshiped by all the civilizations and tribes and even individual people throughout human history. Moreover, the apparently orderliness of the universe suggests no god at all, for any god would have to exist outside of such orderliness.

Further, human brains are pattern seekers – we cannot know that there’s actual order or are we merely imposing order on the parts of the universe that what we can perceive; except that for the universe to exist, it must be orderly, otherwise, the universe wouldn’t be coherent and stable enough for life to be able to evolve. Chaos with infinite time, resolves into order, for chaos, is not sustainable.

Again, no gods are required, as gods are not agents of order and are not confined by the apparent laws of nature, thus, they cannot exist in nature. Logically, gods are not compatible with order and as such, they have no impact in practical terms.

Especially, to the usual apologetic position of what if what the god willfully does is to give the appearance of order – like making things appear mature so disguise the young age of the world. The simpler answer is that things are exactly as they appear to be, and there’s no need for any god to make them appear as they would be if they were as old as they actually are. Simple age and passage of time can easily explain the appearance of oil and geological features, without resorting to a trickster god who makes the world appear old.

Indeed, why go through all of the machinations of making the world appear old and god hiding behind the appearance of a natural world, if the world is indeed young and managed hands on by god?

The effort of moderates and apologists to cling to their gap-god, when the gaps are becoming fewer and narrower with the passage of human time, is staggering and mind boggling all on it’s own. The effort to reject realty and nature is to maintain a cognitive dissonance of Herculean proportion.

This is the problem of denying reality’s pointing to natural processes to explain the appearance and fact of things, leaving the apologist to claim that that god makes things look the way we would expect natural processes to achieve?

Seriously, god made oil appear to be made in a way that indicated a hundreds of millions of years process; god has arranged the universe in a way that it appears that there’s no god, yet, this same god expects to be openly acknowledged and worshiped for all these naturally appearing processes?

Don’t apologists think it’s odd for a god who is too shy to make it’s presence openly known and acknowledged, to demand to be worshipped before all other gods, is not only pathologically jealous but also shy?

If there is a god who is so powerful as to be able to manipulate everything to appear as though there was no god, while only revealing itself to a few humans who are in on it and who are charged with convincing everyone else to worship said shy god on pain of death now or everlasting torture?

Really, this god sounds like all the mythical evil tricksters who don’t need worship, so much as willing followers to drain of life force, as if the god derives power from those willing to hand it over not those who have been compelled to, but who are willing. Is this why god believers claim we have free will and that is what we are to hand over to said god by our worship? If there were a good god, then it would leave us to our own devices and not interfere with humans. Only an evil god would want us divided and our attention diverted to themselves rather than our own potential.

After all, if god proved he existed, then there would be little choice but to worship – thus, what god wants, and what anyone who seeks to be the leader of people want: unquestioning obedience.

That is not something that any person who believes in the ideas of a secular democracy should be willing to hand over to anyone – this explains why Americans promote their form of government as the ideal of individual freedoms, but still feel the need to be armed against the government, if it should fall into disrepute and act against individual human rights, that the population can withstand or hold the government accountable.

The true American values are not Christian values, but are the social liberal values that upholds the individual, the inclusion of groups of marginalize people and the opportunity to economically participate and to be heard in the larger society. The poor, hungry and tired of the world, who seek a place they can call and have as home.

Religious people do not understand atheism at all. Religious believers are motivated by promises or threats of afterlife reward and deeply attached to tradition, wherein all their thinking about the big picture has been done and is ready made packaged for them. They simply and literally do not understand that atheists are not only not motivated, but honestly do not expect, anticipate or wish for an afterlife reward.

People who have adopted religion have embraced a system of beliefs that provide answers instead of questions, that tell comforting stories that they individually matter when the world does not give this assurance, it soothes the brow and warms the heart with promises of love and care taking and justice for all.

Admittedly attractive, but, like pastries and cakes in the bakery window – pretty to look at and to smell, but tasteless and unsatisfying – especially compared to homemade offerings that take knowledge and effort, craftsmanship and artistry.

Atheists reject claims for any afterlife for the same reason as we reject religion – there is no evidence to support the claims – only subjective experience and wish/fearful thinking of death; all propped up by so called sacred texts that have no basis in historical fact – other than being set in a particular geographic region where cities and villages and some people actually existed, but the sacred texts are no more truthful than any movie or TV show set in a real city and occasionally incorporating a real life person or event within the fictional world of the show.

No comfort at all is scary when compared to the false comfort of religion, but, if you are unafraid, there is simply no lack of comfort to fear.

It is the rejection of religious claims, full stop. There is nothing else too it than that simple premise.

Anything else is down to the individual and nothing to do with atheism. This is why there is no atheist suicide bombers or political system or genocide.

Atheism offers nothing to die or kill for.

16 thoughts on “Moderates and Apologetics are not True Beleivers

  1. Fundamentally, our perspectives on what Christianity actually represents. You (rightly) point out issues of paedophile priests, historical inaccuracies and assumptions, and doomsday pastors who renege on their ‘divinely inspired’ word the moment reality conflicts with it.

    While I notice those things, I am able to look past them. For one, 99.99% of priests are not paedophiles, and most paedophiles are within the family of the victim. It doesn’t excuse the pathetic Church reaction, of course.

    Pointing out bad seeds in religion is pointless. I could use the fact that Stalin was an atheist to say that all atheists are thus complicit in repression, ethnic genocide, and so on.

    I’ve already outlined what I see Christianity to mean from my perspective. We’re allowed to disagree. But we do agree that ‘God’ isn’t there. I just add the caveat that just because God isn’t reL doesn’t mean Christianity lacks all merit. There isn’t a dualism between belief and non-belief, in terms of being able to incorporate secular interpretations of religious perspectives.

    But we’re unlikely to get past that, so we may as well call the debate.

    This will be my last post, but if I may, I’d like to recommend a book by New Zealand theologian Lloyd Geering, entitled ‘Christianity Without God’. After writing it, he was charged with heresy by the Presbyterian Church in NZ, I think for the first time in several centuries that such a charge had been laid — and he was removed from their Church. It outlines the justifications and potential for Christian Humanism far better than I can while in bed at 1am. As humanists, I’d say you owe it to yourselves
    to at least understand that there’s a spectrum of humanisms (just as their is for Christianity), and certainly not a clear-cut dualism as exemplified in this blog post.

    • Stalin was lapsed Catholic and a dictator. While he might have become an atheist – the crimes against humanity he – and Mao and other dictators who deem themselves to be gods or are/were atheists – did not commit their atrocities for atheism – they did it to consolidate their power.

      This is merely the truism that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      Which leads us to the atrocities that are done in the name of or with the support of religion.

      The Spanish inquisition, the destruction of the Templar Knights, the extermination of the Cathars, the Crusades (including the current one, although it’s less honestly so), shooting abortion doctors, suicide bombers in Israel, 9/11 – are all religiously motiviated and the perpetrators are seeking religious martyr status. The crimes are done to glorify the power of the perps chosen god or in the beleif that they are divinely inspired to do these crimes

      no one has ever strapped a bomb to themselves, walked into a crowd, shouted for nothing and then exploded.

    • “Pointing out bad seeds in religion is pointless. I could use the fact that Stalin was an atheist to say that all atheists are thus complicit in repression, ethnic genocide, and so on.”
      And this has certainly been done, if you watch “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed”. Actually, what is usually claimed is a causal relationship, i.e. atheism CAUSES genocide and other horrors. But in the case of Christianity, I see this more as analogous to calling yourself a Stalinist and expecting everybody to ignore the implications.
      In any event, it’s your label. If you are comfortable calling yourself a Christian Humanist, and you feel the definition and connotations describes you, who am I to argue.
      I may be repeating myself, but I will point out, once again, that putting the word “Christian” into any self-description outbalances the “Humanist”. There’s just so much baggage attached to the word. A Christian Humanist might as well be wearing a T-shirt reading “Let’s talk about Jesus” Then see who wants to sit next to you on the bus.

  2. I find all the arguments about biblical historical characters very… pointless.

    “King David and King Solomon Led merry, merry lives, With many, many lady friends And many, many wives; But when old age crept over them, With many, many qualms, King Solomon wrote the Proverbs And King David wrote the Psalms”

    Exactly. And who cares now. Not I. Not in the least.

    • The bits of the bible that contain wisdom, well, the bible is merely one of many containers of the same wisdom.

      As for the characters in the bible, that they are claimed as actual people is a claim of proof for the whole of the bible – and when the actual truths in the bible are in all cultures, they are not unique to or dependant on the bible, it is merely one more vessel rather than the origin, source or authority over/for/over – combined with the characters being characters or composites rather than actual people – then the bible slips from sacred text to merely text – and becomes the middle ages version of movies like Forest Gump.

      Set in real locations and touches on real people who made contributions and a difference in the real world and is an entertaining fictional story about fictional influence in the actual world.

      Once the central characters of the bible are proven fictional, in whole or part, the central theme and meaning of the bible falls apart.

      and faith is demonstrated to be wishful and magical thinking at worst or personal preference at best.

      neither of which is the basis of secular law and especially human rights.

  3. @RandomNTRGG “so, why cling to a meaningless term that contributes nothing?”
    The point I was making, and that @betasoup chose to ignore or dodge, is that the term Christian DOES contribute something. What “Christian” contributes is a taint – the moral stench of Terry Jones, child molesting priests, a Pope that covers for them, the acrid smoke from Giordano Bruno burning at the stake, and two thousand years drenched in blood and repression.
    I wasn’t really arguing about whether Christ actually existed, or whether he was a good man. If he was just a man, he was really not all that special. Lots of other teachers have presented the same message. Personally, I think Christ was a complete jerk, but that’s just my opinion. If a person doesn’t believe in God, and doesn’t believe that Christ was the son of God, and doesn’t believe in such nonsense as somebody else being able to take your sins upon them like the scapegoat that was chased away into the desert, then why on earth is he calling himself a Christian. It just turns the word Christian into a watered down apology for not going all the way and just being an atheist.
    From reading the background of @betasoup, it is clear that he has a huge amount invested in religion. I think I read the words “divinity school” in his bio, but I’m not going back to check. So he’s had a crisis of faith and decided to try to wiggle away from nonsense he has spent years studying, but he just isn’t wiggling far enough. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, and very sincere. But the fact is, you don’t need Christ, or the same guy by any other name, to tell you to play nice. Hanging Christ’s name on your philosophy just throws you into very bad company. Because if you call yourself anything with the word “Christian” in it, you are standing beside Terry Jones and Joe Ratzinger whether you like it, or admit it, or not. And that’s not a place any humanist should stand.

    • Yes, I agree that he was dodging the issue of why include a term that by his own admission, adds and subtracts nothing.

      What’s interesting is not only the matter of whether there was an historical Jesus – and there were several men running around through that and other centuries (even now) who claim to be the earthly son of god, so the bible Jesus is at best a composite of a number of the ones of that day or if indeed based on one particular one, is one of many claimants.

      But, Jesus aside, King David and Solomon are also dubious characters who, if they did exist, have certainly been exaggerated in their kingdom size and accomplishments – and King David is far more pivotal to the bible stories than Jesus.

      Which also makes christianity rather humorous, since the bible god is the god of the Jews and christians do not make the chosen cut.

      So you have to wonder how their self esteem and worth, in their attempts to gain the favour of a god who has no interest in them and, on the face of the story, who sent his son for his chosen people – the Jews.

      Which makes me wonder why christians are so keen for the rapture that is not coming for them.

  4. Well, to begin, I find it confusing and mildly insulting that you suggest that Humanism can only be tainted by the inclusion of (secularly interpreted) religious insights. Equally, your Humanism could be said to be bereft of an entire school of thought. My perspective on religion is functionalist and to some exten consequentialist. Secularly interpreted, Chrstianity boils down to two related ideas. The first is to love one’s neighbour as if they were ‘God’, which we can interpret by treating our neighbour as if they were ourself. The second principle supports the first, and is the concept of the Imago Dei: that all people bear God’s likeness, or may be considered as God.

    But, God doesn’t exist. So what function does such an instruction hold for a secularist? God the concept is of something people are instructed to love, and to serve, and if everyone bears the likeness of God, we are to love and to serve everyone. So when I see a homeless man, I don’t just see a homeless man, but I see ‘God’; that which I am required to serve. Christianity teaches that Christ came to serve mankind, and to be Christlike is to take up this obligation.

    What I’m getting at is that this framework for living my life needn’t be redundant just because I don’t believe in God. I don’t require fear of a lack of eternal reward to compel me to do what I see as the good. Rather, it is an obligation I place on myself.

    Moreover, I require myself to be humble; to have humility as servant would. If ‘God’ is a servant, if I dare see myself as more than a servant, than I am placing myself above ‘God’.

    Darwin Harmless, you make a misleading argument. For one, in the midst of telling me how the grand the myths around Christ are, you contribute to them. For one, Yeshu (the name that Christ’s followers and acquantices most likey used for him, not ‘Jesus’) was not nailed to the cross. The nails are mentioned in only one of the Gospels (I think it is John’s), written 100 years after the fact. That he wasn’t nailed suggests he didn’t die, and his resurrection didn’t occur. If so, Yeshu loses credibility as a Messiah; people have reason to doubt it. Enter the nails, and the Doubting Thomas of John’s Gospel.

    Also, you’re implying that Yeshu never existed, despite convincing historical evidence for his existence. True, much of what Christians think they know, they probably don’t, but his existence and core messages are historical fact.

    And even if I did drop the term Christian from Christian Humanism, it wouldn’t change my perspective. This way, I just recognise where a part of my personal philosophy originates.

    Sorry of this comes across as… argumentative? It’s late and I spent the day studying.

    • Being confused and being insulted are mutually exclusive – if you are confused, then you wouldn’t understand that there is a slight – but since you do understand the slight that religion is a taint and corruption, your stating confusion makes no sense.

      Or is it that you are saying confused to be polite rather than factual in order to provide a face saving on my or Darwin Harmless’ part to back away from our statement that religion is a corrupt taint?

      If, as you say, you do not beleive in any external god and instead beleive that each person is for all intents and purposes a god (which is a eastern yoga concept, not an Abrahamic idea), then why maintain any of the ideas of chrisitanity?

      The blog you are responding to is actually supported by your comments – to be a true believer in any given religion, one must be a fundamentalist.

      To reject or modify even a part, means you are not a true believer – and if you’re not true, why maintain any part?

      The bits of Christianity that have merit, have merit because they are inherent or obvious – so obvious in fact, that nearly all religions and philosophies encompass the concepts. So why credit one over the other?

      Doing unto others – being cooperative is evolutionary reinforced behaviors and nothing to do with religious ideas – people who could work and play well together stayed in the group and obtained the benefit of shared resources, defense and breeding opportunities.

      so, by your own argument, if dropping “Christianity” from your self label would make no difference to the content of your beliefs – then Christianity also adds nothing to these same beliefs

      so, why cling to a meaningless term that contributes nothing?

  5. @betasoup Just to be clear, it seems to me that Christian Humanist is a first class oxymoron. Doesn’t work for me at all. If you want a man to follow, how about Nelson Mandela, or Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King. There are lots of upright dudes to emulate and in the case of the more contemporary of them, you can actually verify that they existed and what they said and stood for.
    Face it, the word “Christian” has been corrupted by centuries of blood and gore, and continues to sink under the slime exuded by cretins like Terry Jones. Kick that label out the airlock. It’s had it’s day.

  6. @Betasoup I think you should go one step further and just become a straight up Humanist. Christ may be a good symbol to hang ideas on, but the man himself was nothing to follow. Beating up fig trees? Telling his followers to abandon their families? And more. I think everything about the dude has been spin doctored by his followers, including his resurrection and final words on the cross. What He actually said was “Hey Dad, those nails fuckin’ hurt. You asshole. Couldn’t they have chased a goat off into the desert with their sins instead of hanging them on me?”
    On a more serious note, I appreciate your soul searching. The answer is right in front of you, and you are more than half way there. Good luck.

  7. “The people I find confusing are the moderates and worse, the apologetics. People who do not take the sacred texts as literal and just cherry pick what suits them as need be – but rather moderates and apologetics undermine the sacred texts as metaphor or stories to illustrate truths rather than being historical telling. Moderates who bend their religion to appear to blend or bend to the reality of history and scientific knowledge.”

    Hi Random Ntrygg. Have you considered the possibility that they are Christian Humanists, like myself? http://christianhumanist.net/default.aspx

    • Hi betasoup

      Yes, but that’s what the problem is, being a humanist is not compatible with any religion – especially not Christianity, which is anti-human.

      Humanism only becomes possible by rejecting parts of the religion – so why not jettison the whole mess and be a humanist?

      The point of this post is that religion is anti-human and anyone who waters down their religion to include humans and to reduce the disparity between what religion claims and what reality is, is not being a true believer in the religion –

      so the question is to you – why are you tainting your humanity and humanism, with religion?

    • I am turning the tables on the other hassles and the weather induced migraine is gone. Still, it seems odd to say, better to stick to what I know, given the subject matter.

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