On The Topic Of Religion…

When people talk about religion they talk about a lot of things. The more moderate the beliefs of someone are, the more they are willing to tolerate differing beliefs. They will even tolerate a deistic notion of god. As long as you believe they are willing to work with you and despite thinking you are wrong they will not oppose you directly because you have one thing in your favor – you believe the one big lie. You believe in a god. They will even justify your differences as a different view of the one god… as long as you believe the big lie like they do. Fundamentalists won’t tolerate any such nonsense, for them you must believe as they do or you are ‘of the devil’ and destined to return to hell. Even if you’re minding your own business, fundamentalists will find you. If you’re gay, just different, or can be called a witch, they’ll have you killed.

Both the fundamentalists and the more liberal groups are equally offensive. The fundamentalists are clearly offensive. We need only look at the Westboro Baptist Church to understand this. There is not much doubt that these groups are hate group which offend the very nature of being human. The real problem is the liberal believers. Their belief and behavior is much more tolerable, no doubt. The problem comes in two parts:

  1. They are tolerant of fundamentalists
  2. They teach the big lie to their children and support those that want the big lie taught in schools

Yes, it IS a lie.

 

http://sagestone.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/dictionary-series-philosophy-truth.jpg

 

When you tell a story that you know you have no evidence for and that there is plenty of contrary evidence then what you are doing is lying. It does not matter that “your heart is in the right place” … what you are doing is teaching a lie. You are subverting the truth.  Excusing yourself because you think it does no harm is yet another lie.

We didn’t see believers protesting at the trials of those parents that did nothing but pray as their children lay dying of preventable medical conditions. That’s right. All those liberal believers also think those parents behaved in a criminal way. Deep in their psyche they know that prayer does not work. Whether they admit it or not they know that belief on it’s own is no explanation and causes harm. They know there is no evidence for their god. They just don’t want to admit it. It’s much nicer to hide under the covers and stay comfy rather than acknowledge that the house is on fire.

I encourage everyone to focus their discussions of and about religion on one simple topic: truth

If the discussion is not about truth and fact then it is completely wrong… or close enough to completely wrong.

Liberal belief is not better or less harmful or more tolerable. It’s just as wrong as bat shit crazy bible thumping hate mongering fundamentalism. I don’t care if they tell the lie nicer. It’s still a lie. The harm it does may not be immediate, but it is just as certain, just as lethal.

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  1. A fine non-biased, cross-the-board shitstorm… well done!

    • Thanks john,
      I’m kind of tired of arguing about which version of tolerant monotheism is okay or not okay. All of them are lies. None of them are okay. Yesterday I had a discussion with someone trying to say that moderates are okay, that anti-theist are wrong to lump believers all together in one group. It irritated me. I’m not wrong to do it for the simple reason that all of it is a lie. All of it is harmful. 2+2 is NOT 5.

      • Agreed… although i am guilty of singling out fundies more than theists in general. If i had to rationalise it i’d say i’m trying to turn theists against each other, and by doing so let them tear down their fragile belief structures by themselves.

        • Force them to admit what is truth and what has no evidence and it will hasten the process.

          When told that someone doesn’t believe in evolution I’m asking “how does evolution work” and then derailing the discussion with education. When told that someone has ‘experienced’ god, I’m going to derail the discussion by asking them to explain how the human brain works, what consciousness is and so forth.

          Lets talk about truth for a change.

          Well, try anyway. I’m no longer going to accept when someone tells me they aren’t qualified to talk about all that science stuff. The reason that they are not is because they are intellectually lazy and liars.

          • I’m getting into the habit of demanding they define their god. This seems to derail all god talk.

            • Yes, it does. The Atheist Experience was good at that.

            • How so?

              Curious.

              • It cannot be defined without getting into all sorts of problems. It also highlights that the theist really has no idea what entity they’re talking about.

                You should try it. The results are interesting.

                • I’m sure any definition is fairly complex, simply by necessity.

                  Is there a place somewhere with examples of hilarious definitions people have come up with?

                  Are you asking for a definition or a description or a character profile?

                  • Simply to define it…. open door policy. I just asked debilis to define his god. He hasn’t answered yet.

                    • How do you define your wife (or significant other, or best friend, etc)?

                    • There’s many ways, not least of all their physicality. You can describe their personality and use examples to demonstrate. You can say what makes them laugh, what makes them sad, and what sparks their curiosity. You can tell someone what their favourite colour is.

                    • I suppose I could try to come up with a definition for God.

                      Whatever God it is I believe in. Once I figure that out. If I figure that out.

                    • I’d be interested to hear it.

                    • I smell a blog post coming up.

                    • Might be harder than you think….

                    • Well, then, let me suggest a preliminary definition and get feedback before developing it into a full-blown post.

                      As understood by orthodox Christianity, the godhead comprises three individuals sharing a single essence, will, and metaphysical description. Their existence transcends the physical universe, and they are responsible for its genesis, though not directly responsible for natural phenomena within the physical universe. They are capable of altering the physical universe in any way they see fit, though this is rarely considered necessary.

                      The godhead has interacted with specific groups of humans on a semi-regular basis for much of history.

                      The most well-known of these three, known colloquially as “the Son”, suspended his divine existence to place his consciousness within a unique human body and named the result Yahshua, or “God’s Salvation” (typically Latinized to “Jesus”). This incarnation and Jesus’s life served as a turning point in humanity’s interactions with the godhead, ushering in a complete description of the godhead’s purpose for humanity, the world, and the cosmos.

                      How’s that for starters?

                    • Nah…. you’re just giving a brief of Christianity with a dash of unsubstantiated cosmology thrown in.

                      Where does this tri-being live? What makes it happy? What makes it sad? Why does it exist? What’s it purpose? Is it friendly?

                    • Cosmology? Where?

                      As far as “where” the godhead “lives”, that’s not a meaningful question because God’s existence is defined (above) as transcending the physical universe.

                      As far as purpose, emotions, and so on are concerned, those are answered in the definition with reference to the purposes of the Incarnation.

                    • “Their existence transcends the physical universe…” is wishy-washy cosmology. It also implies its locale, which you should be able to define if you’re so confident about the whole “transcending” part.

                      See how difficult it becomes?

                    • Which part is wishy-washy, “transcends” or “physical universe”? Not sure how either point implies a locale.

                    • the whole transcends thing is wishy-washy…. plus if you identify the physical universe then you’re saying you “know” there are other dimensions. Do you? can you prove them to me now? But you just said there “are” other dimensions outside this universe… your god inhabits these zones… You must know they’re real. show me….

                    • I thought that was a fairly common usage.

                      How do you define “dimensions”? Because that might be important.

                    • According to the book, no one has seen the face of god and wrote about it, nor have they known his name. Your god could be that Satan guy!

                      Defining your god will take some effort, more effort than I’d be willing to wager you’ll produce. John is exactly right. Until you can define your god, it’s pointless talking about it. It leaves you saying that there is some being you can’t describe that wants us to stone homosexuals to death… sure, that makes sense.

                    • What does this have to do with the definition?

                      And how exactly does my definition fail to impress?

                      The question was to define God, not construct him with a compass and straightedge.

                    • Well, some general description of the unknown just sounds make believe. Unless you’ve got some proof that your description is accurate why should anyone believe it more than they believe in invisible pink unicorns? Plus, so far your description is not anything from which one could deduce the rules for living, never mind whether there is an afterlife etc. It just sounds like make believe.

                    • I thought a “definition” was something you get from a dictionary….it seems you’re more interested in what comes from an encyclopedia. A peer-reviewed encyclopedia, no less.

                    • Any claim that a god exists is most certainly due, and fairly so, for critical analysis. If a god cannot even be defined to an agreeable degree then there is little reason for a conversation about what is not defined. It would be like arguing about wishful thinking – pointless. This is exactly john’s point.

                    • I don’t follow. There were no claims being made here. A definition was given. What about said definition was disagreeable?

                    • Pop on down to the bottom – lets get some more room here.

                    • Whisky, you should pop over this post linked below. It’s something to get your teeth into…

                      http://fidedubitandum.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/thank-god-for-the-new-atheists/

                    • Seems reasonable. Let’s see what I can find by poking around in the comments.

                    • That is not a good response to the question of how you define your god. I don’t have to define my wife… here, here is a picture. Come by happy hour and meet her…. in that way we’ll have a shared experience of what it is like to meet her, talk to her, hear her ideas and dislikes etc.

                      For me to be certain that we are talking about the same thing I will need you to fully define/describe your god.

                    • I was more trying to get an idea of the underlying purpose. Description v definition v introduction and so on.

        • theantisocialmanifesto
        • April 9th, 2013

        Exactly. Moderate religion is a chrome turd: shiny and nice on the outside, but nothing but shit in the middle.

        • I just had a mental picture of some robot dog…errr K9 leaving chrome turds all over the Tardis !

            • theantisocialmanifesto
            • April 12th, 2013

            Ha!

    • Stormdaughter
    • April 9th, 2013

    I haven’t commented here before, but I like your blog, so here goes!

    I’ve always used the “Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy” argument- They sure are fun to make-believe in, but no one really thinks they’re real (no one sane, anyway). Lies, yeah, but no more than any other fantasy. Harmless so long as no one takes it to seriously.

    In that way, there is a convincing argument that moderates are better than fundamentalists- Moderates are just people who don’t want to stop believing in Santa, even though they know he’s not really there.

    I always have to explain that “belief” in religion is not the same as “belief” in fact. Religion is a game, and fact is reality. There really aught to be two different words.

    • When saying that moderates are better than fundamentalists, it’s helpful to think of it like this:

      While being confined to a wheelchair all your life is certainly better than being a quadriplegic, I’m going to bet that you’d just as soon be better off having the same use of your limbs as healthy people… amirite?

        • Stormdaughter
        • April 9th, 2013

        Yeah, but its still definitely worse to be a quadriplegic than a paraplegic.

        Not to mention, there is hope for moderate religious folk, sometimes the DO listen to reason. Not so for fundamentalists.

        • And that is all the more reason to confront fundamentalist belief directly, without softening the blows. In this action, Hitchens was effortless and brutal. It was fundamentalism he was confronted with and refused to bend over simply because someone was more moderate.

        • You’re forgetting I used to write for AiG.

          (Not that you know me from Adam; just being overly rhetorical. Pay me no attention.)

          • Uhm, I don’t care about your status with other people. I’m talking with you about your ideas/beliefs. I don’t think AiG credentials matter a bit. If your ideas right here and now do not stand on their own, it doesn’t matter who else holds them. You know nothing of my past either. It doesn’t matter. The discussion must needs not depend on credentials. Truth does not require a pedigree.

            • My comment was directed at Stormdaughter’s assertion that there’s no hope for fundamentalists. I used to be one. Hence, hope.

              🙂

              • Yeah, I’m answering from the notifier… went and looked… my bad.

    • theantisocialmanifesto
    • April 9th, 2013

    I support your view 100%· This is exactly how they operate. And when their beliefs begin to fade in them, they adopt a new one, like Intelligent Design…a concept that Dawkins brilliantly shot down in his The Blind Watchmaker….Like bad children, they just need to be told, “No!”

    • I agree. Arguing the finer points of the bible or god’s supposed dislikes matters not. Pics or it didn’t happen!!

  2. Do you think I believe the “big lie”?

    • Is your belief in something because of the one incident, or do you believe the entire Christian religion and use that incident to justify the belief?

      • I don’t identify as a Christian, although to other Christians I “fit it” enough if I keep it brief. My beliefs were already firmly in place before that incident. The incident reaffirmed what I already believe, but I feel outside of the group who acts purely on “faith” alone. It also comes down to how one defines “God”. My definition doesn’t really align with how others define “God”.

        It’s a loaded question, I know.

        • While your belief seems Christian (as I understand it) it is not according to stricter definitions of what it is to be Christian. If you define god differently than your basic Christian, you are not Christian. I don’t have the texts to refer to at the moment, but the way you reference god is not like what is being argued against here. There are polytheists and Hellenists who read my blog. I do not find these harmful. I don’t think they are right, but I am not in the business of thought policing. Where the issue comes in is when a belief system is used or demands adherents to alter their surroundings to suit the religion.

          The theory of mind I proposed in the free will series accounts for personal ideologies that cannot be externally confirmed yet are felt to be absolutely true.

          Unless a belief can be confirmed through shared experience, test, experiment, and measurement, there is no way to know for certain if it is true.

          To accept the claims of Christianity as truth without evidence is to accept a lie. Ditto for all the Abrahamic faiths.

          In your case, if you were to learn new information or experience differently, would your belief change, or would you simply adjust and say it is some different aspect of your current belief?

          • My beliefs are based on my experiences and my inner intuition. If I experienced something new, it would alter my beliefs, because new information would need to be assembled in with what I have already experienced.

            • A belief without dogma is not much more than a hypothesis without proof. It also seems to me that you’re not pushing your belief on anyone.

              • No, I am not a pusher. If my beliefs allow for one thing, it is to allow others to have their own experience. I am willing to share mine, but I don’t claim to be an authority on anything.

                • This is something I can find no fault with, even if I feel that ultimately you are wrong. I too will share mine and if we should agree it is a good thing. You deserve to understand why you experienced what you have, and what, if anything, it might mean.

                  • Maybe I am wrong. Maybe what I experienced is not God at all. Maybe what I experienced is a provable, scientific force that we have yet to nail down. I have considered that too.

                    • It is good that you are open to more than one interpretation of it… I too think there are things which need better explanations. If there is meaning in life for me, part of it is to seek those answers honestly and find out what we can.

                    • You are right in that my beliefs don’t really resemble those of Christians or other religions.

                      I believe in the power of the human mind. I think we know a drop in the bucket of all that there is to know. For any one of us to think that we have it all figured out is foolish and arrogant. We should want to know more and to do that we have to be open to anything. I do believe there is more to life than what we see in front of us, but listening to some of your thoughts has helped me to focus more on the “what is in front of us” part.

                    • My blog is as much for me as anyone else, more so. I wanted to write down what was in my thoughts… cement them in my memory. You might be interested in the Free Will series I did recently. In it I present a theory of mind, an explanation of consciousness and a framework for understanding experience. I’m still working on it… I’m hoping that others help me.

  3. I can’t disagree with you on this. And as we had said sometime ago, we have to change where the game is played. And this approach I think allows to deal with all the religious batshit at one go.

  4. @physics and whiskey
    Given that you have stated the Christian orthodox view of god as a definition, this does make claims. Claims for which there is a long list of folk who think them make believe, wishful thinking, and flat-out wrong. This list included Jews, Muslims, non-trinitarian Christians, atheists, agnostics, Wiccans, Animists, Buddhists and so on. Pretty much 75% of the world is unconvinced by this. To top off the fact that your description is claimed as wrong even by believers in YHWH, you have zero credible evidence that such claims are of any value.

    You cannot describe a god without making claims about that god which you cannot provide credible evidence for. Without that evidence, all you have is wishful thinking and any claims made are meaningless. You’ve stuck yourself in the same arena with crazy people.

    • I didn’t make any claims. I gave a definition of who God is according to Christian orthodoxy. If I was going to be making claims, I’d be starting from an entirely different position, thankyouverymuch.

      So I’m curious to know if you had any issues with the definition, or if “define God” is just a clever way to bring up the old “evidence, evidence, zero credible evidence” chant.

      • Actually john brought it up. You have chosen to use the orthodox Christian definition of a god, and that does make claims for which there is zero credible evidence, or do you not see that?

        • Since you asked followup questions, I was assuming you were on board.

          Last I checked, defining something and making claims about something are decidedly distinct. Evaluating—or even countering—any position requires that you understand it well enough to define it clearly and accurately.

          • While I can agree that in some cases making this distinction is true, claiming the bit about the Jesus and the book as part of the definition necessarily includes claims.

            Additionally, describing a triune god is making a claim about that god.

            • Okay, definitely not following. Are you saying it’s impossible to define a belief without making a formal claim as to the validity of that belief?

        • Wouldn’t let me reply to the other….

          Okay, definitely not following. Are you saying it’s impossible to define a belief without making a formal claim as to the validity of that belief?

          • Well, how many times do you proclaim a belief without believing it valid? You can certainly describe a belief and not believe it… this is religion ed. If you were simply making an exercise in describing a god without believing it… ok. Still, the point is made. It is necessary to make claims about the god you believe in even just in describing that god. Were you simply doing an exercise in describing a god?

            • It’s not at all necessary to make claims. Definitions describing God need not embed any claims.

              A claim is a specific fact statement that can be expected to be evaluated and debated at length. A definition, in this instance, is information about a belief; it can be evaluated for accuracy without respect to the accuracy of the belief itself.

              Surely you’re getting this. If you have a definition of Christian belief, I wouldn’t ask you to prove Christianity.

              • I’m not sure what you’re not seeing. When you describe god as a triune god this is a specific ‘fact’ statement that can be debated at length and in fact is debated by many.

                I see you trying to say that you can describe a god, or rather relay someone else’ belief about a god without believing it yourself. That wasn’t the point being made. If you believe in god, your definition of god is either undefined or indefensible… or similar to that. If you’re only relaying someone else’ definition, you would be making no claims of your own, only repeating someone else’ description and claims which you cannot defend either.

                • But can’t a definition be provided and discussed first, before the claims themselves are actually evaluated?

                  • The description of something that can’t be seen is necessarily a truth claim. I do not know the color of the building you live in, so your description of it is a truth claim. Unless you want to say that you’re not sure or can’t remember or tell etc. but you have to say that it’s not a truth claim in order for the description to not be a truth claim.

                    God is timeless – is a truth claim.

                    So, god is not confined by time, or so it would seem to me, at least this seems reasonable – is not a truth claim.

                    • I thought the purpose of the exercise was to determine whether a clear definition could be provided.

                    • Anyone can make a clear and wrong definition of anything they like. Sagan gained some fame for defining an invisible fire breathing dragon that floats so leaves no foot prints. A definition with no truth claims is … well, useless… more or less.

                      That is to say that a false definition is of no use. Define a car as having feet. It’s a definition but it is both wrong and useless.

                      Now, when you define what is not yet defined, everything about the definition is a truth claim. john’s point is that because there is no universal definition of god, every definition is a truth claim that has no credible evidence.

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