C.S. Lewis – The Answer … To Nothing

I am known to occasionally stroll around various topics of wordpress and there I sometimes find the strangest things. Case in point is this snippet from a Christian apologist:

“As C.S. Lewis put it in Mere Christianity, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

So even those who scream that there is no God also have the need to discover something more than a life of mere materialism. Even they seek to transcend the mundane world they find themselves in. While shaking their fists at God, they give the game away by imitating religion.”

.... can't explain that!

As for the first assertion listed, that must mean mass killings exist to fulfill the desires of mass murderers? Buildings exists to fulfill the desires of arsonists? What a steaming pile of logic that is. We are born with desires because of how our brains work and how it interacts with the trillions of cells that make me me and you you. Desire is the drive to increase pleasure/safety and reduce harm/fear. Our brains calculate the risks and possible actions like a chess computer millions of times per day. To say that a satisfaction must exist for any given desire a creature might have is to confuse things beyond repair. It is to say that you cannot desire that which does not exist, yet people desire the impossible, the improbable, and the non-existent all the time. This logic fails miserably yet believers buy into it because of the really super good examples of sex and water.

Then he jumps into something stupid.

So even those who scream that there is no God also have the need to discover something more than a life of mere materialism

I cannot explain how CSLewis concludes that I have a need to discover something more than a life of mere materialism. I’m actually pretty fucking happy with a materialism, monism, mechanical atheism, nihilism and so on. To me it explains how the world works, and so far I don’t need to invent anything to complete that explanation. Yes, I know that there are a lot of things that still need explained, but these things are so far beyond what religion and deities explain in the first place that to include them in such a discussion warrants being slapped very hard with a frozen fish.

CSLewis continues:

Even they seek to transcend the mundane world they find themselves in. While shaking their fists at God, they give the game away by imitating religion.

Apparently this geezer has never met me. I do not imitate religion, and won’t, until religion starts making fun of religion like I do then there might be cause for confusion. I do not seek to transcend the mundane world, as he calls it, because to transcend it is to ignore it and this world (mundane or not, your call) is all we have. If you talk to many of the popular speakers for astronomy etc. you’ll find there is plenty of reason to think this existence is not mundane at all.

Hubble Deep Field Photo

This is a picture of what exists in a very boring and mundane black section of the night sky. If you look long and hard enough at that black emptiness you will find millions of other worlds. Mundane? I think not. CSLewis was an idiot apologist. People who quote him are following in his footsteps. Nature abhors a vacuum I am told, but I am befuddled what is between the ears of those who quote CSLewis as if he has something useful to say.

To be fair, it’s not that bad of a quote mine for a response to the ‘atheist church’ thing… just not well thought out. It relies on the notion that religion invented social interaction and the social parts of religion come only from religion. Society existed long before religion as did atheism but you can’t convince a believer of that because it means they have nothing worth anything except their crusted and dusty beliefs that have no credible supporting evidence. It also relies on a characterization of atheists as all being the same. We’re not. Hell, we can’t even agree among ourselves what we’re supposed to be or do… other than the fact that we don’t believe in the supernatural.

Summary: Quoting CSLewis makes you look as stupid as CSLewis. Nuff said.


EDIT: Link to quoted blog

  1. You don’t find your atheism to be at all religious?

    • Not even a little bit…

      • How do you define religion?

        • In terms of the previous question, atheism is a conclusion while all religions have positive statements of belief in something that has no credible supporting evidence.
          I have seen the sloppy arguments about definitions of religion and I say that I have bowel movements religiously.. but taking a dump is not a religion. I conclude there is no evidence to support belief in gods and while there might be a very small possibility of the existence of a god, none of the gods described is even remotely probable. What is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. My lack of belief is not a statement of belief… it is a conclusion in much the same way that I conclude the sun will appear to rise in the east in several hours. It is possible that it won’t, but highly improbable.

          • I agree, the idea of assigning “religion” to mundane activities is a cop-out. There’s a difference between doing certain activities religiously and being a religious person.
            Religion, it seems to me, is the devotion of at least a portion of one’s thoughts toward a certain way of thinking. It appears that you have more than an ounce of devotion to your atheist viewpoint. Why not call it what it is?
            I’m curious, how do you reach the conclusion that there’s only a very small possibility that a god exists? Based on logic, I’ve come to the opposite conclusion. There is a very small possibility that no higher power exists, for the likelihood of life occurring by mere chance is so infinitesimal, so as to be essentially impossible. Certainly, the nature and scope of this higher power is a subject of greater debate, but as to the existence of a god, it seems to be the most reasonable conclusion that someone or something with a level of intelligence and will kicked this whole thing off.
            Thanks for taking the time to discuss!

            • The old ‘argument from incredulity’, Lucas. Thoughtful folks that conclude atheism just don’t accept this argument. You’ve jumped to the conclusion that ‘God did it’, because you cannot imagine such complexity in our universe without it being so.
              But the logic just falls flat. It is utterly unconvincing to those that understand that scientific observations of our world around us go hand in hand with parsimony.
              As to the suggestion that ‘devotion to atheism’ is somehow akin to a religious belief, either you didn’t read the explanation above, or you ignored. Either way, it looks like you just don’t get it.

              • No argument on that front – you’re right; I don’t get it. Though I do submit that an atheist is doing no less “jumping” when they conclude that there is not at least some sort of God. In fact, it appears to be a much greater jump, once you get that far down the line in the history of the universe.
                Thanks for your thoughts!

                • Non-believers are not making a jump. A conclusion is based on available evidence. while there is a very tiny possibility that a god exists, the probability of such a being is zero. You reject any number of gods for the very same reasons yet refuse to see this about your own chosen deity and still insist that it is others who are making a leap….

                  No matter how small you think the chance of life occuring, it did. It has a probability of 1. If you think it would only happen once in a billion times, well, we have billions of billions of planets in the universe… and arguably infinite numbers of universes. With such a big set of values to choose from, you’ll find that the seemingly rare happens all the time somewhere in the universe… and given the possibility of infinite universes, the fact that life seems statistically improbable is a notion that does not take into account the sheer number of attempts possibly being made every second.

                  • I’m actually quite open to the prospect that a deity other than the one I’ve become familiar with may exist.
                    I’m also open to the idea that everything just happened due to the proper arrangement of elements. Again, this appears unlikely to me. The case you outline above is very similar to the one I’ve read from evolutions that states, “If you line up an infinite number of untrained chimps in front of an infinite numbers of pianos for an infinite amount of time, eventually, one of them will plink out something akin to Mozart.” I think an infinite number of chimps would manage an incredible amount of pooh flinging, but Mozart?

                    I respectfully suggest that many atheists are guilty of precisely the same thing they accuse creationists of. Creationists make the error of starting their analysis with the assumption that, not only is there a God, but this God just happens to be the traditional Christian God. Most evolutionists and atheists RULE OUT the existence of a higher power before they even start. This seems to me to be just as closed-minded as the most fanatical, right-wing evangelicals.

                    Hey, I just want to say that I appreciate you being able to have a rational conversation about this stuff. Despite what you may assume about me, I consider myself a true seeker. I’ve fancied everything from atheism to Buddhism in my life, studied dozens of philosophies and religions. I’ve reached a set of conclusions based on what makes the most sense to me, but I’ll never settle. I’ll always be seeking.
                    Thanks again, and I hope you have an enjoyable holiday season, in whatever way you choose to enjoy it.

                    • Given your reply, perhaps you’d be interested in reading my somewhat lengthy position on free will (four parts https://myatheistlife.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/my-world-view-free-will-a-revisit-part-4/) and I would be most interested in your opinion on the idea I present about a simulation in our heads.

                    • Lucas, you suggest atheists start with an assumption – there is no god – and work from there in the same way religious folks start with an assumption there is.

                      So, true seeker, is this suggestion you make true? How do you know?

                      Well, rather than look afield and try to come up with numbers, how about we look to ourselves and consider some non belief we probably share and see what we’ve done… whether we’ve started with non belief or arrived at non belief.

                      Let’s take the Aztec god of self reflection: the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl and ask ourselves do we believe He exists as a creative, interactive, intervening causal agency in the world?

                      Let’s be honest here: what are our initial thoughts before reaching any conclusion? In my case, I immediately seek reasons for thinking this may or may not be true. What do I find?

                      I find no compelling reasons easy to reach to presume the claim is true. Already I’m sliding towards non belief because of this lack. But is the lack of finding compelling reasons because my reach is too short?

                      So I check into it and find this critter very active in Aztec myths. Ah. I understand myths. I understand the role supernatural critters play in them as symbolic themes about human aspects. My slide continues. Is there any compelling evidence to suggest this critter itself as a literal and historical figure ever existed? No. There is a role for this critter to play as a representative of how self-reflection is a slippery trait we share as people as likely to be used to fool ourselves as it is a way to improve our understanding. I can definitely see a place in the mythical pantheon for such a wee beastie to be active and can see how self-reflection can lead people to causing effect in the world and I can understand the confusion between a metaphorical critter who represents this human trait and a literal critter who causes it. I also understand the important difference between owning or borrowing our self-reflection: owning is being responsible, whereas borrowing is not. The idea of Quetzalcoatl serves as a symbolic representative of a part of me. There is no evidence nor reasonable mechanism nor compelling reasons to support the proposition how such a critter could exist and cause effect in the world. The claim is he does is highly unlikely. My slide is complete. I have no good reasons to think Quetzalcoatl does exist.

                      If asked about my state of belief in Quetzalcoatl, I can quite reasonably tell someone I’m an atheist. I do not believe it exists because I have no compelling reasons to think it does. I also suspect you share exactly the same reasons for your non belief in Quetzalcoatl that I do and for exactly the same reasons: you have no reasons you find convincing to do so. That’s it. That’s the sum total of our shared atheism applied a million times over to claims about reality that we do not find compelling or convincing.

                      Now when we look to other religious beliefs in supernatural causal agencies, we find we share non belief about specific gods and godlets almost across the spectrum. But here’s where we part ways. What I do on the ‘micro’ scale (per individual gods claimed to exist) I also apply to the macro (more general and vague deistic notions) and for exactly the same reasons. You don’t. You suspend the lack of compelling reasons to allow room for some general and vague god-like agency to cause complexity you don’t understand. This has a consequence that transfers the responsibility for understanding complexity and difficult notions away from yourself with a hand-wave towards some deity having caused it. I’m not free in my mind to go along with this tactic because I want to own my ignorance and have good reasons earned through knowledge to empower my beliefs. You don’t seem to suffer from this affliction but are satisfied to replace and honest “I don’t know so I don’t believe” with an “I don’t know but I am willing to believe anyway.” I think only the former has intellectual integrity while the latter is a rejection of it.

                    • Do I interpret your argument correctly that the reason you find the “no god” conclusion most reasonable is because you’ve effectively disproven any of mankind’s current or historic interpretations of god?
                      This seems backward to me. Why not start with the basic question of the existence of A god and go from there? When I take the question back that far, I find it is more likely than not – it makes more sense – that there is a god. Whether this god resembles anything represented by any man honored religion, whether this god is still somehow involved in the world, etc – these are all additional questions.

                    • Wow, that’s a huge jump. To posit a god from nothing requires a reason. It’s not really something you think of when you are eating some berries on the edge of the forest.

                      to say there must be a man in the sky that watches us and punishes us when he is angry takes reason – cause and effect reason. This requires explanation of the cause unless you’re willing to start off with the stipulation that god just is,without explanation, without reason and then use that god to explain anything that can’t otherwise be explained.

                      As soon as you ask the question of ‘why do you posit that?’ it all falls apart. No evidence means no reason to believe. None. Not even a little bit. To posit the existence of a god is just making stuff up without a reason to think it true. What would have been the reasons to think it true back in the stone age?

                    • Again, I think you’re looking too far ahead. Who says the creator “must be” watching and punishing or rewarding? That’s a different question.

                      Let’s face it – huge jumps are unavoidable when thinking on this subject. I opine that your jump is larger.

                    • My ‘jump’ as you call it is to simply require evidence for ideas before understanding them as true. Anything else is truly a leap of faith. In my world, a leap of faith is risky behavior and not a virtue.

                    • Ironically, I’ve reached the conclusion I have because I haven’t nearly enough faith to think otherwise. Your faith greatly out-distances anything I’m capable of.

                    • Let me recap for clarity: you don’t have enough faith to believe there is no god for which there is no evidence. For you it is much less risky to believe in something that can’t be proven to be true. Living your life by the creed of an invisible being makes more sense than to live your life well without the creed and belief in this invisible being for which there is no credible evidence. That for you, to accept the unproven as truth and all the untruth that might go with it is less of a leap than living a good life based on knowledge and truth. Is that correct?

                    • You’re jumping too far ahead. What I am saying is that I don’t have enough faith to assume that, at some point in time, something came of nothing.
                      That said, I do believe there’s evidence that a higher power exists and is still involved in peoples’ lives, but the faith necessary to believe this is nothing, in my opinion, compared to the faith necessary to figure all matter formed out of nothing.

                    • Where do you get the idea that it came from nothing?

                    • What do you suppose the record is for longest comment string on WordPress? 🙂
                      Where do you suppose it came from?

                    • You are saying that all matter came from nothing. It is presumed then that you know what happened before the singularity (big bang) and further that there was no existence whatsoever before then. How do you know this?

                    • Nobody knows. Isn’t that the point of the discussion?
                      What’s more likely – the “Big Bang” happened spontaneously, or someone caused it?

                    • You should listen to Lawrence Krauss’ talk about a universe from nothing. Space is not nothing in the absolute. String theory tells us more.

                      The universe from nothing is an idea formed long before modern sciences and ignoring what they have to say is like putting your head in the sand…

                      You can stick with the 2000+ year old story but I like to incorporate new evidence when it is found and shown to be likely or true.

                      Your choice… stone age thinking or join us here in the 21st century.

                    • Lucas asks Do I interpret your argument correctly that the reason you find the “no god” conclusion most reasonable is because you’ve effectively disproven any of mankind’s current or historic interpretations of god?

                      No. I’ve ‘disproven’ nothing. Like you use for all kinds of notions you don’t believe in, I also see no compelling reasons to believe in a creative god. Unlike you, I find much compelling evidence against the hypothesis. Where there should be evidence for a creative god, there isn’t any. Why is this the case? There’s just the universe as it is. Where is the evidence for some – any – kind of meaningful or purposeful or intentional creation? Where is the evidence where we can justifiably say, “Aha! There’s the spot where intervention occurred and here are the reasons to say that”? Why does the universe look exactly like we would presume it to be with only gravity working over time? Where’s the anomaly that indicates intervention? Where is there evidence for ‘creative design’? I”ll tell you: it appears to be missing. Everywhere we look. Yet you think it is more reasonable to presume a creative agency at work. Why?

                    • I suppose it comes to a difference in the way you and I see things. I see nothing but complexity and boundless creativity. Even if all I focus on is the complexity of a single cell, and suppose I assume that this creative being stopped his creating there, allowing evolution to take over at that point, his existence is still far more likely to me than not.
                      If you’re looking for an anamoly, I think the need of atheism to overlook the third tenet of cell theory is as good a one as any.

                    • No, it’s not a difference in how we ‘see’ things; it’s a difference in wanting to understand. I don;t know how the first replicating cell came about and I’m not going to pretend an explanation of some supernatural causation is therefore likely. It’s not. In fact, pretending an agency of OogityBoogity ‘explains’ the first cell division precludes you from ‘seeing’ that proposing such a complex agency would have to also have been designed first, which make the claim exponentially more complex and therefore less likely in any probability calculation. But you don’t use this ‘explanation’ for trying to establish probabilities honestly, nor to improve your understanding of these processes at work in cell division: you use it as an evasion tactic from having to either pursue a greater understanding or admit ignorance. To then build on this dishonest tactic by claiming it takes more faith to not believe in this much more unlikely scenario of a design-free designer to explain the appearance of complex design compounds the dishonesty and erodes intellectual integrity..

                    • The only rational explanation for the complexity of your explanation is that some designer is responsible for designing YOU, my friend. 🙂

                      Have a good week, and thanks for the invigorating argument.

                    • And you.

  2. I’m guessing this was Prayson’s blog, right? I saw it, but ignored it. You should link to it.

    • That would make sense if there were anything but a quote mine there to read. I think I would have remembered if it were Prayson’s. I don’t think it was.

    • That was the first thought I had, too. Mind you, Prayson’s done only Part I so far and doesn’t really say anything about it… yet. (It’s about CS Lewis – the master apologist, according to tonyroberts64 – commenting about why the problem of evil is really no problem at all… knowing so much about the Grand Designer, of course.) I’m waiting for that before I jump into anything.

      • I updated my post with a link at the bottom. I don’t think that is Prayson?

        • The article is by Prayson but the phrase ‘master apologist’ to describe Lewis is by another commentator

          • Thanks for that. I did not know it was Prayson originally

            • And now Part II is up here. It’s the same old trope: an entire biosystem based on predation and starvation causing global pain and suffering is necessary for people to have free will to love the christian schizophrenic god. So saith the christian apologist who sees not a shred of human-centrism is such a colossally arrogant and selfish rationalized excuse… as if it makes perfect sense that you, your family, and all the critters you care for must starve to death so that I may choose whipped cream or sprinkles on my latte. It’s so unreasonable an explanation that it crosses the border into insanity.

    • No it is not from me 😉

      • I realised that 🙂

  3. I intend to write an essay on the relation rationalism/fantasy/conservatism and empiricism/science fiction/progressivism, because I believe that people inclined to rationalism (as opposed to empericism) tend to more interested in fantasy (litery genre) as well more inclined toward political conservatism. And CS Lewis is a clear example of my hypothesis.

    • I’m looking forward to that essay.

    • That would definitely be interesting.

  4. The people who quote CS Lewis also quote Lee Strobel as an authority on the historicity of Jesus. People need to wake up!

    • blue pill, red pill? sigh

    • lanceleuven
    • November 29th, 2013

    “Men feel sexual desire”

    And women don’t?

    • Exactly, the whole bit from CSL is outdated and bs

  5. Thank you for a thought provoking article. I wished there was less polemic and more careful address of the argument from desire. Here I my thought:

    1. You failed to grasp Lewis’ argument. If you the rhetorical questions that mass killings existing to fulfill the desire of mass murders and “building” for desire of arsonists is a rebuttal then I would say, it is not. What Lewis argued is that human’s desire for X means their is something as X. Example our desire to eat when hungry means there is something to be eaten. From this he deduce that man desire for more than this, materialism, meaninglessness &c., means there is something that that.

    Is this a good argument? I think not. Brushing “believers” in a single brush is polemically good but in careful address, it is not. Since there are believers who do not believe Lewis is correct.

    2. I would love less polemics and more careful address because by stating that “Quoting CSLewis makes you look as stupid as CSLewis” and ironically you have quoted him in this article, that includes you, thus logically following you own words it also make you look as you described. I think what you meant is echoing Lewis’ position as truth

    My take is that we ought to understand first, before we agree or disagree. This would help reduce polemics which does not bring light but heat that could be avoided. I disagree with Lewis on this point and many others, but simply because I disagree with him, I would be an idiot to think that he was an idiot. I have not done anything English literature, which will see receive Gollancz Memorial Prize for Literature, I do not have the ability to speak, read, and write over four languages, I have not even dream off lecturing at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Yes, we disagree with Lewis, but tagging him an idiot simply does not show who Lewis was but who we are.

    • Prayson, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      In point one, we can summarize Lewis by saying that all of human knowledge rests within the realm of what we can experience, further he adds that we cannot desire what does not exist. We agree he is wrong on that, but that is my summary. Is my understanding correct?

      In point two, you are correct, I should quote because echoing Lewis’ position as truth makes a person as ignorant as Lewis, not simply quoting him.

      I think that you and I might disagree on the value of using the word ‘idiot’ in this and other situations. Except for its brief stardom in medical circles, I believe that I used the word correctly as it is understood in modern terms. Lewis _IS_ and idiot… or was. That is a personal opinion and not a diagnosis as the term is no longer in use for medical definitions. It is little different than the use of the word polemic in regard to sentence structure and the efficiency of conveyance of meaning.

      In my view, he is foolish and probably dishonest as he makes assertions to support a presupposition. His logic is famous because it beguiles those who are not wont to figure it all out on their own. If you are predisposed to believing that there is a god, without question, his writings make sense. When you stop to question that one presupposition his writings become the kind of gibberish that you are most likely to hear from the lips of idiots and those engaged in the making of profit from behind a lectern on Sunday mornings.

      • Thank you for a powerful response that showed careful thinking that I know finds its home in your beautiful mind.

        Yes, that summary would be close to understand what Lewis was after. It is different from earlier rhetorical question because the former got things backward(object-subject), namely the existence of what is to be eaten is there because of eaters ( in your words, mass killing for the desire of mass murders) while Lewis is (subject-object) namely existence of eaters shows that there is something to be eaten ( in your words but in Lewis flow, mass murder for desire of mass killing)

        Thank you for expounding more on your use of idiot. Though I disagree with Lewis in many areas, I always keep in mind Lewis’ audience. Lewis was writing to layperson and reducing heavy philosophical topics to level understood to them. Lewis prepared me for future works of Plantinga, and Hick on the problem of evil, when I was still an atheist. I was captivated by Lewis thoughts because the reasons he became an atheist, were also the reasons I became an atheist, viz., the problem of evil, and problem of morality. His passion to read the classics, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, &c. and Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Descartes, Spinoza &c. was also mine. I wanted to know why he changed his position in his earlier thirties.

        Though I disagree with him, I think, from my opinion, that he is the starting point for many fallout Christians, like me. The forks who destroyed my atheism, where neo-atheists. My hunger to read original sources in order to understand led me to works that within two years left me a moral relativist deist, and then, well, here I am. A stupid classical theist 🙂

  6. Wow! You really are an angry little atheist, aren’t you? If theism is so idiotic, why do you rant like a raving lunatic over it. If all there is of us is a glob of molecules, who cares that some believe in God. Who cares about anything? You seem to care about materialism. Why ?

    • Wow! You really are a smarmy little theist, aren’t you?

      Look what religion has done for us lately: http://youtu.be/evOsANlXo2k

      Christianity is not immune from promoting absolutely insane behaviors in humans. The fact that Christians in my country are busy trying to force their religion and morals on everyone else is reason enough to make any non-christian angry. Christians are trying to enshrine their morals and doctrine in law so that all citizens have to abide the rules of their religion. This is typically called oppression and tyranny so you can take your smarmy better than thou attitude and keep it to yourself.

      It does not matter if you are actively seeking to oppress others, your religion is and as a member of that religion you qualify as a deluded individual whose aim it is to oppress anyone not of your faith. That makes you a danger to society. Your faith, any religious faith and most especially the big three monotheistic religions are stupid and dangerous ideas. Your little outburst here demonstrates that you don’t have any compassion for those you would watch oppressed by your religion. This _IS_ the evil that religion spreads and the Abrahamic faiths all have a mandate to spread it… it’s a doctrine that violates many of the precepts that it pretends to support. That you can’t see this is evidence that you don’t think for yourself much, at least not on topics which you appear to hold as very important.

      That’s why I can’t just let people do as they please. By the way, we as a society also try to stop those who would promote slavery, animal cruelty, inequality, discrimination and other things detrimental to a healthy society – religion is just one of them. Voices of reason must be raised and kept loud till all such tyrannies are extinct or modified so as to not be harmful to society.

    • Because, Eric, belief in whatever form of faith-based belief you care to name – especially all the forms of theism currently popular – is in desperate need of loud, sustained criticism, you angry little theist.

      Acting on unjustified faith-based beliefs causes real effects that harm real people in real life. That you wish to categorize these people as nothing more than a glob of molecules is a failure on your part to understand why the real suffering of other people matters a very great to atheists. But don’t project your failure to understand into blaming atheists for it; it is you who needs to reevaluate why we insist – with compelling evidence adduced from reality – that respecting faith-based is both pernicious and even deadly to people and continues to promote dysfunction and delusion called theism.

      • Thank you tildeb, well put.

        • I wrote this not knowing you already responded. Sorry for the overlap but this kind of stupidity trotted out by the credible and gullible is so bereft of even any attempt to understand that it deserves nothing more than contempt.

      • I would say the millions who died at the hands of atheists like Stalin and Pol Pot might not think that atheism has a right to call theism dangerous.

        • hmmm then lets talk about those that died at the hands of Constantine, the Inquisition, witch hunts, stonings and so on… shall we? These people are killed in the name of religion and for religious values. Then there is the whole Joshua story, the flood story and many more. The most blood thirsty character in any human story is the god of Abraham. Christianity itself is a death cult with blood sacrifice elements.

          So, yeah, lets talk about death and blood and massacres, shall we? We can start with the ‘christian’ kill the gays bill on the African continent along with burning supposed witches alive… ahhh, good ole christianity.

          • Let’s talk about a merciful God, who allows us to behave and live like animals without wiping us off the planet. One who gives you sunshine, rain, family, friends, love, and joy, in spite of the breaking of a moral code that you deny exists. One who tolerates sinful men and women, who can’t even live up to their own standards, much less the standards of a perfect Being.

            Have you ever bothered to read the Gospel of John, and see this bloodthirsty God you despise so? Have you watched Him take on human flesh, suffer through life like the rest of us? Have you seen Him heal, and feed, and love the people you ignore? Have you seen Him suffer and die for the sins that burden your heart? Have you seen Him offer forgiveness to all?

            The fact that sinful men misuse religion for their own ends should not surprise us.

            By the way, I will concede that over 2000 years, at most 3 million lives were lost in the name of Christianity. I think that number is high. That pales in comparison to the hundreds of millions who died by atheist totalitarians.

            • It takes about 2 seconds to find information on the Internet… your 3 million is just a small portion of the number killed in the name of religion. People this very day are being murdered in the name of religion… in the name of your god YHWH.

              Yes, yes I have read your holy text, several times. It was my fathers profession to teach it.

              To set things straight, if we are going to talk about a god who does this or that we need to first sit down and show that this god exists because if he doesn’t all your argument is less than useless.

              I seen no credible evidence for the existence of any god or the supernatural. Unless you have some new evidence that nobody else has been sharing things will remain that way. So, come on, lets hear your inarguable proof of the existence of your god… then we can talk about what it does or does not do, what it will or will not allow. Okay?

              Your turn, show and tell time. Lets see this evidence that can’t be argued with.

              • I could no more inarguably prove the existence of God, than you can inarguably prove there isn’t one. I can give you arguments that at least allow the possibility of a Personal Necessary Being, maybe even a high probability that He exists, but that will require your own arguments against theism beyond red herrings and inflammatory polemics.

                First, what would you consider credible evidence?

                Second, I would inquire how you came to have such a divergent view of your father’s religion.

                If you read some of my posts on my own experience in the Word of Faith movement, you know I have my own issues with certain segments of Christianity. It has been difficult to forgive and forget what I consider dangerous extremes in my own faith.

                Frankly, I have been severely tempted to simply discard Christianity because of my experiences. But it’s precisely because I find good, objective evidence in metaphysic philosophy, and in the material universe itself, that I still put my trust in Christ Jesus.

                If you are game, so am I. Understand this will be an extended conversation, and I’m not great on an iPhone, so I apologize ahead of time if my spelling is off-lol.

                • I accept your offer and I will start with a new post entitled “Eric Defends” and we can continue the protracted conversation there

                  • Okey-dokey. Can we continue from this comment thread, or will I need to go to your site?

                    • I’ll post a reply to this when the other post is ready… just got internet back after a couple of days loss…

        • Surely you mean the danger comes from men with facial hair.

          Don’t you get tired of pulling out these tropes? Stalin trained as a priest and learned how to become a tyrant. But I don’t blame ‘religion’ for what he did; I blame Stalin. The same for Pol Pot, guilty of being another mass murderer. So, too, was Hitler… who just so happened to be a good little catholic. So far I see religion coming into this picture far more than atheism, but you don;t want to see this fact. You want to cherry pick atheism and then attribute it to be a causal factor for some other reason than figuring out what is true. This sis a character flaw you really must fix.

          You are trying to argue that non belief caused mass murder by totalitarian leaders. This is as idiot as attributing the cause to facial hair. These atrocities were caused by men who wanted to consolidate political power and were willing to kill untold numbers of people to achieve their ends. Do you blame political power for this? I doubt it. Have you considered that all these leaders wore shoes. Do you blame shoes? Why not?

          What you are lacking is evidence that atheism caused mass murder. This evidence is missing but its absence doesn’t stop you from asserting such nonsense. In fact, contrary evidence to the claim you make is plentiful but you don;t care. Of course, if you were the least but concerned with what’s true, you would care and then you’d already know just how stupid is the trope from a cursory investigation into the causal factors of totalitarian atrocities. Atheism isn’t among them.

          • Your same argument can be used against you. You claim religion is responsible for atrocities, and I would argue that politics and economics were more to blame than religion, except in the case of Islam.

            It is true that ruthless men have used Christianity to commit crimes against humanity…that I do not deny. But if you are arguing that Christianity is an intrinsically violent religion, you don’t understand it, nor it’s founder.

            Christians have fought against slavery, infanticide, poverty, illiteracy, and disease. They are responsible for universities, hospitals, orphanages, and disaster relief. Much of the science you take for granted was discovered by men with a Christian worldview, who believed a Rational Being created a rational universe.

            War and violence is a trait shared by all of humanity, irregardless of its religious convictions.

            Christianity is the only worldview that adequately answers the problem of evil through the fall of man, and Original Sin.

            Christianity is also responsible for attempting to curtail war through St. Augustine’s Just War Theory.

            Stalin became an atheist. Hitler was never a sincere Roman Catholic or Lutheran, and Pol Pot never claimed to be a Christian.

            Atheism is dangerous for the simple fact that it has no objective grounding for any moral system, beyond preference, or majority vote.

            I am not saying atheists can’t be moral, but I am saying that atheists have to abscond moral codes from religion to be moral. They borrow from other worldviews.

            • There’s a lot here to comment on.

              First up, there is a fatal difference between atheism and religion: none of your examples of genocide were motivated by atheism. It is not a causal factor. The same cannot be said of religious motivation, which very often IS a causal factor. I do no attribute this cause to any particular religion like christianity but any religious doctrine. And the main reason for doing so is because religion is inherently a tyranny – a top down authority – where people carrying out its central tenets often use violence to do so. Unlike atheism, religion has a huge historical record of doing just this. Atheism has none as a causal historical factor. This is a trope pushed by the religious without compelling evidence.

              Skipping ahead slightly, this raises the second point about morality. You claim it derives from an believing in an objective ‘grounding’ – whatever that may be. Is this claim true? Can people without such a belief be moral – equivalently moral, let’s be clear – if they utilize a subjective moral system? Let’s turn to reality to arbitrate, where the news isn’t good for you, I’m afraid: atheists are under-represented across the board in negative social behaviours. In fact, there is a direct correlation between dysfunction in a society and how religious it is. If your claim were true, then these stats make no sense; in fact this dysfunction should be populated by non believers lacking – as you claim – any moral ‘grounding’. So how do you explain this contrary evidence? I’d be interested to know.

              Thirdly, yes, many catholic priests raped children. In fact, we have compelling evidence that the catholic church has acted as an international pedophile ring, making it a transnational criminal organization. Does this mean catholicism is compatible with child rape? In the same way, do the actions of christian believers in any way make compatible their religious beliefs with their secular achievements in science, education, and healthcare? Think on that.

              Finally, you bring your morality to the reading of your scripture and upon that basis decide which bits you accept as moral and which bits you reject as immoral (no doubt you call this rejection by many names and many explanations on behalf of the god you assume it represents). Where did this a priori moral sense come from? Well, again, let us turn to reality to offer up evidence for such behaviours we deem as moral and see if your claim holds up: we find similar moral preferences in infants, in other species, even across all the usual human identity boundaries like gender and age and religion and language and culture and ethnicity, and so on. This indicates that our moral sense does not come from somewhere out there but seems to be inherited by almost all people… and that means when we talk about morality, we’d better be talking about biology and not religion or theism or metaphysics or philosophy. Because thou and I are human – theist and non theist alike – we share the same grounding for our moral sense and so the argument that the atheist can still be as moral as any sainted theist only if he or she borrows morality from religion is simply unsupported by reality. In fact, the evidence seems to indicate that the less religious a person is (regardless of the specific religious sect), the more autonomous and responsible a moral agent that person is. Again, think on that.

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