Monday, December 29, 1997

Atheism: The Case Against God (Part 2)

  • p. 29: “What is the theist attempting to establish the existence of?” He isn’t. He’s not. He won’t. It is not the conclusion of the theist that God exists, it is his premise. It’s a given. It’s the basis of all he believes, put there by non-rational means. He is not searching for truth, he is not willing to accept any contradictions to his beliefs, unless the emotional contradictions become too overwhelming to ignore.
  • p. 30: “Even if it is demanded that the existence of god be accepted on faith, we must still know what it is that we are required to have faith in.” Not true. You must have faith now, in whatever I tell you, now or later.
  • p. 31: “…to state that ‘god exists’ is to communicate nothing at all; it is as if nothing has been said.” Dammit, stop talking as if the religionists were rational. They’re not, almost by definition. You will understand nothing about religion until you accept this. You believe what you’re told to believe, because you have been told to believe it, because you’re evil if you don’t. This works because man, while capable of rationality, is not inherently rational. Pure rationality is often not as good a survival tactic as doing what you’re told. Religion is there to ensure that a person’s rational, selfish tendencies are quashed in favor of behavior that benefits the community as a whole.
  • p. 32: “and it is instructive to note that, historically, more blood has been spilled in religious wars between theists of different persuasions than between theists and atheists.”
    • Have there been any wars between theists and non-theists before the communists? More to the point, did there exist a group of atheists large enough to wage war? Until the advent of science, atheism, in my view, was not a tenable stance.
  • I’m beginning to regard this guy as either an idiot or as blindly attached to his beliefs as the religionists are to theirs. Obviously, someone who believes in the deity of Earth or Nature believes these things to be living, intelligent entities capable of deliberately affecting the world we live in and the lives of believers and/or nonbelievers. I’m sorry, but that qualifies as a god for me.
  • p. 36–7: “To further illustrate the importance of the supernatural or transcendental element in theism, consider the following hypothetical situation. In another solar system, we discover an alien form of life, a form which is superior to man in all respects. These advanced creatures have an immense life span, superior strength, agility and mobility, and a superior capacity for memory and abstract thought. Does it follow, in virtue of these superior capacities, that these creatures should be designated as gods? No. Because despite the superiority of these creatures in relation to man, they are nevertheless bound by the natural laws of the universe. They are subject to the same physical and logical laws as man. If we did choose to call these beings ‘gods,’ this would mean that any creature who is superior to another creature thereby becomes a ‘god’—which would clearly lead to a chain of absurdities. A dog would be a god with respect to a plant. A man would be a god with respect to lower life forms. A genius would be a god in relation to a man of average intelligence, who would himself be a god when compared to a moron. These uses of ‘god’ may have a place as poetic metaphors, but they are chaotic nonsense if employed philosophically.”
    • Look: Probably the best overall definition of a god is a being of such transcendent power that we as humans cannot touch that power, and they can dispose of us as they will, with only the interference of other gods to stop them. The ancients, when they created these gods, had no inkling that they were violating physical laws—would probably not have created gods that could do the impossible. Godhood is about power levels and creation—that’s all.

And at that I stop reading, at least for now. For if he doesn’t realize the truth of what I’ve said above, I don’t see what value the rest of his work can have.

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