There is a reason I at times characterize Christians as, well, Nuts.
I mean aside from the whole belief in someone Rising from the Dead [cue 'Dark Shadows' style organ rift...]. But a kind of built in, deep seated neurosis based on opposing concurrent beliefs.
They hold the concept of "Original Sin", in which we are all BORN vile, evil and totally deserving burning for eternity, or at the least, for those liberal christers who don't read or don't agree with the bible, an unavoidable inborn predilection for being naughty. The bible says that 'none are righteous, no, not one" and that all our righteousness is as "filthy rags" (that would be the rags used to wipe ones ass) In other words, all our attempts at BEING good are shit.
Now couple this esteem lowering bit of self loathing with the incredible Egotism and Narcissism of those who think the Universe and everything in it was made Just For Them. And the cool part is, they believe by following a prescribed ritual of debasement, atonement and general celestial ass kissing, they are due a Golden Ticket to ETERNAL bliss, happiness and a type of Mind Wipe that precludes any possibility of guilt or regret over past actions.
This part is where I point out the LACK of anything resembling a 'moral compass' being involved. One does not have to be good, in fact, as pointed out, one can not BE good enough to get in the gate. One must perform the mandatory ass kissing, which in and of itself is the sum total of Christian Morality.
How Does A Materialist Account for Logic?
"How can you account for axioms in a materialistic universe? What part of your brain are axioms located in? Can you actually point to some neurons and say 'these are what the axioms really are'? Also, since the axioms of math are carried around in people's heads, are there really millions of little axioms of math running around? Finally, how come you also call an axiom written on the page the axiom' and the axiom in your head 'the axiom'? After all, paper isn't a bunch of neurons, and you are a materialist after all..."
Let's take this apart, piece by piece:
How do you account for the 'laws of logic' in a materialistic universe?
Some Guy on the Street: "Hey, you got a minute?"
You: "Sure, what do you need?"
Guy: "Well I'm just here to let you know, that because at some point in ancient history, one of your ancestors pissed off my Dad, (who's immortal and invisible), I must kick your ass daily at say, 4:00 PM for the rest of your life."
You: "That seems rather harsh..."
Guy: "Well yes, but Dad's word is law."
You: "Any way I can talk you out of this butt kicking?"
Guy: "Yes, but it will require you to hit me in the face with this shovel."
Guy: "Yes, seriously, it's the only way to get Dad to forgive you."
You: "But, in spite of the threat of a daily pummeling, you seem to be a nice enough guy, I don't WANT to hit you in the face with a shovel."
Guy: "It's Ok, you won't REALLY hit me in the face, I'll stand behind this light pole, and you close your eyes and swing."
You: "But, isn't that sort of cheating?"
Guy: "Nah, your eyes will be closed, who knows, you may get in a lucky shot."
You: "And that will do it, I mean, make your Dad forget about it?"
Guy: "Yes, that and you have to kiss my ass."
Guy: "Yep, I'll just drop trou' right here, and you plant a smooch on whichever cheek suits you."
The basis for Western religion is magic, pure and simple.
The believers never couch it in such terms of course, that would be silly.
The Magic of bronze age savages, slinging blood from the severed throats of birds to cure disease, talking to flaming shrubbery, stopping the sun in its march across the sky so an army can slaughter a few more people.
Their prophet spoke to angels in a cave, flew around on a winged woman-beast and visited hell and heaven. He spoke to ants. Magic.
Their savior got a room full of drunks more intoxicated at the behest of his mom. Spit in the eyes of blind people to cure them, fed a stadium full of people with a loaf of wonderbread and some tuna... In the end, he raised himself from the dead, haunted his followers for a bit then flew off to the skies. Magic.
You would think we'd have grown past it by now...
Let's be honest...
ALL of you Theistically Challenged people that haunt these boards are liars.
You lie to us, your families, friends, co-workers and most of all, you lie to Yourself.
You KNOW you don't really believe in MAGIC.
You KNOW you don't believe people can rise
from the dead, bugger around a bit then fly off to the skies. You KNOW you don't.
Just as you KNOW you don't believe in talking snakes and magical gardens with cursed fruit given to little naked rib-women...
Further, you know damned well you've never had a 'personal experience' with any supernatural entity.
Oh, you may have felt giddy once or twice, but most of your claims are so that you can be part of the cool kids and be accepted because THEY all claim to have had personal experiences too.
They are lying, just like you...
Pascal's Gambit or Pascal's Wager, is a rather famous rhetorical ploy. It is not an argument for 'god', instead, it attempts to outline the pragmatic benefits of believing in a god. As such, it is intriguing because it is intended to gain believers without having to solve the impossible problem of offering proof of God's existence. Therefore, Pascal's wager is alluring in its simplicity. It's really an attack on doubt, for it states that the requirement of certainty in belief is a false one. Either 'God' exists or 'he' does not. If 'he' exists and you are a beliver, you "win". If 'he' does not exist and you believe, nothing is lost. However, If 'he' does exist and you are not a believer, you lose out on eternal life. Of the four possible permutations:
Belief and God exists = believer is saved
Non Belief and God exists = non believer suffers hellfire
Belief and God does not exist = believer does not suffer more than non believer
Non Belief and God does not exist = non believer does as well as believer
Christians tell us that "jesus' died for us, and that he was a sacrifice.
I have two simple questions for our christian friends:
The first: What did this 'jesus' sacrifice? Is this jesus dead?
No. We are told: "He has risen."
Don't you hold that this jesus is now in eternal bliss, in heaven, where he receives the undying love and gratitude from a multitude?
Sacrifice means loss. Sacrificing doesn't involve gain. It certainly doesn't involve infinite gain. Yet this 'jesus' loses nothing, and gains everything.
Some theists respond by saying that he lost his physical body. But what does Paul say about the nature of flesh?
"For I know that in me that is in my flesh dwelleth no good thing...." (Rom 7:18)
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption" (1 Cor. 15:50)
So where's the sacrifice?
There is none. "Jesus" sheds something worthless. And we are told that he rises again - even this worthless shedding is only temporary.
Some theists then announce "But he suffered pain!"
I wrote some of this years many ago. I'm going to edit it a bit and post it here... with one addition: while heresy is a religious concept, atheists could fall prey to thinking in terms of heresy too.... so let's all be on the lookout for this type of thinking when it creeps up in our own thoughts.
"The act of asking one's pastor or priest a question he can't answer."
Ok, officially, "heresy" is an opinion or a doctrine at variance with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from or denial of dogma by a professed believer or baptized church member.
The concept of heresy ought to arouse any theist's critical thinking skills....in fact it should serve as an indicator of the falsity of a religion, as any system that was undeniably true would hardly need to fear and punish doubters. Undeniable truth would defend itself - denying it would lead to self contradiction.
I was wondering if the words 'holy crap' came from Jesus. Maybe that is the proof we need to prove Jesus was real? I mean where else would a term like that come from? Holy shit!
Also, if Jesus was so amazing, would like one bowel movement fertilize hundreds of acres of crops? For that matter, was his pee holy too? Imagine all the clothes you could clean with just one drop of his pee.
You hear it from theists all the time: "Maybe I do take my beliefs on faith, but so do you!"
Leaving aside the theist's admission of what he really thinks of faith (not much, apparently!), is it true that everyone must take some beliefs on faith?
Well, here's the problem with that question: It contains a fallacy of equivocation.
A fallacy of equivocation occurs when an argument uses a word in two distinct senses. And the word "faith" has at least two very distinct meanings. One has a theological sense, and the other, a colloquial sense.
And we can best understand these two general meanings by using the terms Contingent and Non Contingent faith.
Trust is experiential - theistic faith is not.
Contingent faith - is trust. It originates as an instinctual connection to our mothers in infancy, and develops as the basic blueprint for how we interpret new situations. It is wholly experiential and open to revision.
So this sort of 'faith' is is based on some experience, an instinct, and then, a memory, an expectation. It is also open to falsification. If events occur that lead me to doubt the 'faith', I will discard my faith. If the stranger I have trusted harms me, then my willingness to trust the stranger (and perhaps other strangers) decreases.