This is an outline I started as part of discussions with theists and the conversations I have with them. This information provides what I believe to be my viewpoint of both atheism and the answers to common questions theists have regarding why I do not believe there is an Existential Being.
Part One - Truth, Facts, Gnosticism and Post Modern Philosophy
Truth has been the subject of debate throughout the history of philosophy. As long as there have been thinkers there have been opinions about what constitutes truth, the definition and rules used to identify truth when you run into it etc. The questions have always been; is truth subjective, objective, absolute, or even relative.
One of my biggest pet peeves with Christian “catch phrases” is when they say, Jesus is the truth the light and the way. I’ll give you the light and the way part. I don’t necessarily agree with it, I can see how a "believer" may make that statement. But TRUTH?
So hang on a minute there Mr. / Mrs. Theologian. While I do subscribe to the post modern philosophical definition of truth, the underlying definition is that truth is based on facts. Theology is based on faith. Faith and fact to not mix and never shall they meet. While some may claim that Jesus is THEIR truth, my issue is they still have not provided facts on which to base that statement.
For more information on truth and how we think please see the following;
1. Truth – A Guide by Simon Blackburn. It is a short read but will give you plenty to ponder if you are of a mind to do so.
2. Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge by Robert Audi. This one may take a bit longer to read but gives a good foundation for further discussions on philosophy.
As a naturalist in both science and philosophy I do base my perception of the world on reason and logic. In doing so I also work very hard to build arguments that support this process and are free of fallacies and faulty reasoning. As such the knowledge that I do consider myself to hold, I do so because it is reasonable and logical to do so.
I do not go to the woods and poke a bear with a stick because it is not reasonable or logical. Unless being mauled to death is your objective. It is this same reason I do not search for a god. It simply is not reasonable. Theology offers no logic or reason for practical use or explanation.
“Atheist are arrogant because if they say there is no god then they are claiming to know everything.”
I have always loved this statement by theist. First I have always seen it as an emotional response to a position or statement. It reminds me of someone’s little sister or brother being told to do something and them responding with, “Well you just think you know everything don’t you Mr. Smarty pants!”
Who claims what
For the purpose of clarification let’s get the ball in the right court when it comes to claims of knowledge.
A theist is an individual who accepts that the claim of a god is true (Any claim for any god).
Atheism or an Atheist literally means “one without theism”.
So with regard to theism there is only one position. “A god exists”. From the standpoint of belief there are two positions. I ether accept (believe) the statement is true. Or I reject (do not believe) the statement to be true. By rejecting the statement it does not put me in a position to offer a different statement, I simply do not accept the theist statement to be true.
Assuming we can agree on what the definition of what a God is, a logical conclusion must fall on one of the two clams to be true. (You accept or reject the claim that a God exists) But just because someone does not hold a belief to be true does not mean that they must hold the opposite to be true. I simply say I do not believe you when you tell me that a God exists. This is the reason why the theist’s claim that atheism requires “more faith” than theism is a false statement.
I would also assume a theist claim to “know” there is a God puts the theist in the position to overcome an additional claim of arrogance.
1. First you state that you know a god exists. (Regardless if you claim to know this through faith or carnal knowledge.)
2. By saying that your God is the correct God you have asserted that all the other theologies of the world are wrong. Which says you have knowledge of all the other theologies both past and present.
So it is the Theist who is arrogant.
As an Atheist not only is it a complete LACK of arrogance, it is the complete and total opposite. Because I do not except your explanations of “God did it” it leaves me free to continue to ask questions without making any claims of knowledge.
If you ask me “how did we all get here?” I can point to a lot of scientific evidence we have collected throughout the history of mankind that provides some explanations and builds more questions, but the honest answer is “I do not know”. Thus I will keep searching for the answer and if scientific history is any guide, someday we will know.
And just for the record…
I am by definition a Strong or Gnostic Atheist. Based on the facts presented by philosophical, logical, empirical and mathematical arguments, I believe not only is there not an existential being but there is no reasonable argument to even entertain the idea of one possibly existing. This does not stop me from examining evidence that someone brings; it does, however, mean that I believe I have heard, read, or have knowledge of every possible argument an apologist has offered thus far.
I would also offer that there is no reasonable evidence why anyone should even consider the Christian God to be true, just as there is no reasonable evidence to go looking for the Locke Ness Monster, or hunting for trolls under bridges. I would not stop you if you wanted to look under every bridge in the world to prove the point, but it is not reasonable to do so because there is no evidence to support the proposition in the first place.
My contention is with anyone who wishes to intrude or mandate others also believe in their God and follow rules that they think are relevant because their God dictates. As I said you are free to go look for trolls under bridges, but the minute you tell everyone that all bridges must be closed on Sunday because everyone should be looking for trolls, we have a problem.
Obeying Gods Laws
I do hear from many Christians who say they witness or share “the good news of Jesus” because their bible instructs them to do so.
1. I have two fundamental issues with these type theologians.If you are doing something because your religious text tells you to, shouldn’t you be doing everything your religious text is telling you to do?
The reasonable answer is yes they should. In all of the major theologies of the world, I have yet to find any instruction in any book that tells the follower they are free to pick and choose which rules and laws they want to follow and which ones they do not. AND I am not aware of any instruction or passage that allows for any of the rules to be modified or changed because they do not coincide with modern social concepts or beliefs.
2. In the top three major religions of the world not one is a positive message. Most Christians or Muslims will tell you that the positive message is eternal salvation. Well first of all there is no such thing, second their text and theology is both repressive and discriminatory, not to mention violent and destructive. Not only is there no good news, it is destructive and misleading and manipulative. It serves no purpose other than to control and give power to those who claim that they are simply leading people into the fold of God’s flock.
Ray Comfort and Other open mouth idiots
Honestly I have to laugh when I see or hear people like Pat Robertson, Ray Comfort, Jerry Falwell and the likes. I don’t even have to build arguments against them; they do it for all of us. You say “Now TK that isn’t a very positive thing to say.” My response is, well they make it hard for me to say anything positive about them. Would you care for some examples?
- If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being.
- I had a student ask me, "Could the savior you believe in save Osama bin Laden?" Of course, we know the blood of Jesus Christ can save him, and then he must be executed.
- I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!
Scary huh… oh but wait it gets better!
- We have enough votes to run the country. And when the people say, "We've had enough," we are going to take over.
- We at the Christian Coalition are raising an army who cares. We are training people to be effective -- to be elected to school boards, to city councils, to state legislatures, and to key positions in political parties.... By the end of this decade, if we work and give and organize and train, THE CHRISTIAN COALITION WILL BE THE MOST POWERFUL POLITICAL ORGANIZATION IN AMERICA
- There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution. It is a lie of the Left and we are not going to take it anymore.
- The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society. And that's what's been happening.
And just for fun… Ray Comfort
- Bananas – The Atheist Nightmare. (Ray comfort claims that bananas are the perfect design and because they are a perfect design, atheist can’t refute that they were of an intelligent design and therefore there must be a god.) My response… BLAH HA HA HA HA HA!
- Ray Comfort has published something called the Evidence Bible – Irrefutable evidence for the thinking mind. I have yet to get my hands on a copy of this, but just the title alone makes me laugh. IN my opinion this guy is nothing but a charlatan and swindler.
- I see Ray Comfort to be extremely ignorant, ill-informed, or dishonest. For the life of me I cannot figure out why anyone would listen to a word this man says.
If you seriously believe that any of these people, or anyone else who trying to tell you how you should live your life, are trying to help you, you need a serious wake up call and start engaging your brain to recognize reality and a little bit of common sense.
And No, Atheist are not trying to tell you how to live your life. We are advocating that people use their brains and engage in a little bit of critical thinking. Logic and reason will show you how to live your life.
More to come…