My Response to Dr. Olson the "Atheist Hater from Baylor University
I am writing you concerning a recent article I read of yours titled “Atheism's moral philosophy not consistent with Baylor's mission”. In this article you make several claims that I think are not only irresponsible, but speak to a level of ignorance that make one ponder the pedigree of any organization that would bestow on you the title of PhD.
I am going to respond to several of the claims you made in defense of your mythology and show you how it is you the “theist” who is morally bankrupt. The first claim I would like to address is the following:
But when have you heard of an entire atheist organization serving the poor, the sick or the hungry?
Perhaps you missed the news story regarding the single largest donation (by a single citizen) to charity in U.S history. Warren Buffet (an Atheist), gave away 85% of his $40 billion dollar fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation, which is already worth $30 billion, was founded by Bill Gates who is an Atheist himself. This foundation is highly acclaimed, and is amongst the world’s leading charities. Notice, he didn’t give it to any religious foundations or churches of any kind.
This is to say nothing of the many other Atheist organizations which of but a few, are listed below:
But more importantly, atheism undermines values such as care for others because it cannot explain why anyone should care for others. If there is no God or anything at all above nature, then nature is all there is. The law of nature is survival of the fittest. Why help the less fit survive unless there is a God who loves them because they are created in his image?
What exactly are you saying by this deplorable statement? If you had no belief in god you would lose all care for human life? Are you really that shallow? You only care for other humans because the camera in the sky is watching. Allow me a minute to recount a story on the subject.
When I was a theist, I often saw the homeless and downtrodden begging on the streets at intersections and I’ll admit, passed them by on more than one occasion. As I drove past them, a striking sense of guilt would often accompany the departure. “What if that was god? “What if it was an angel testing me”? I would often return and guilt trip myself into offering up some modest change or few dollars I had lying about. It wasn’t until I was much older and found myself in a similar position (this time as an Atheist) that I realized the true insincerity of the transaction. Who was I helping back then on that intersection him or me? If I gave him money while under the impression that the eye in the sky was recording my every good deed was it sincere?
Surely, one could argue that I really did it for the sake of some future reward, which I felt would be reciprocated once I arrived at that place “whence no traveler returns.” However, if I did it to avoid eternal torment did my insincerity favor any worse? No, I am certain that either deed was done out of pure selfishness and was simply enacted to either seek reward or avoid punishment. All the while, not a single one of these actions was done for the homeless man’s sake.
When I once again arrived at this sequence of events after my de-conversion, I remember giving to the man, really giving to the man for his sake not mine. This is something which I could have had only done once I lost my faith. It was then, that I knew then what human compassion and genuine empathy for my fellow man was like.
So my question to you would be - who do you think is more righteous among the two examples listed in your eyes, the selfish believers or the selfless Atheist?
What argument can atheism marshal against "might makes right"?
This rhetorical blabbering I find especially arrogant and extremely shortsighted. Never mind your misrepresentation of Natural selection in your previous statement you actually believe that Atheist live their philosophy on a might makes right philosophy. If that is not the pot calling the kettle black, I don’t know what is! When I ask the theist to whom god is held accountable? They often reply that he is god and is righteous regardless of his judgments.
Suppose I put the question to you like this:
You come home one day to find your wife and children brutally murdered right before your eyes – would you consider that a bad or evil action? I would presume you would say yes, so I will proceed on with this in mind. Suppose that same situation played out, only this time you find out it was sanctioned by god. Impossible you say – I would have you read either of these to see the nasty side of this war mongering monster: 1 Samuel 6:19; Exodus 32:27; I Samuel 15:2,3,7,8; Numbers 15:36, etc…
So let’s say that god sanctioned the murder of your wife and children - is it still evil in your eyes or is he right in doing so? Does might make right? Most theists I meet say unanimously that yes god is right because god is incapable of committing evil. Now, lets think about this for a moment…what exactly are they saying? Their moral compass is dependent on the actions of the dictator. If god does something, no matter how terrible the action is - he is automatically justified in doing so because he is god (might makes right).
How is that any basis for personal morality? The moral compass shifts depending on the whims of the dictator! If god is incapable of committing evil, then what sense does it make to call him good? Both terms, lose all meaning since there is nothing left in which to relatively judge one in relation to the other.
Oh but I am not done on this point, for there is one arrow left in my quiver that will put your ignorant mouth to rest on this issue professor. Open your deplorable book of fairytales to Isaiah 45:7 would you?
(Isaiah 45:7, KJV) - "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
Lamentations 3:37-38 - Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both evil and good things come?
So it turns out your god is responsible for evil after all (yes its evil, not calamity). Look up the Hebrew word “Ra” which is hermeneutically correct for the following verses as mortal evil.
So I guess god would be righteous in killing your family even though he is evil and his actions are evil – Oh well, “might makes right”…right?
But what answer can an atheist give (that is consistent with atheism) to the question, "What if I figure out a way to be personally happy and fulfilled while oppressing other people?"
Professor, although your credentials are in the field of “theology” (a field which is hardly even a subject at all as far as I am concerned) surely you remember the plight of many Americans in the bible sanctioned institution of slavery.
Were not the plantation owners of yester year “personally happy and fulfilled while oppressing other people?” Not only were they fat dumb and happy, they were justified according to their (and your) holy texts. The bible condones slavery, one of the most deplorable institutions to ever touch the face of the earth.
44 " 'Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
What did gentle jesus have to say about slavery- almost nothing, except that there are some slaves that ought not be beaten as much as other slaves! (Luke 12:45-48).
In fact, the bible was used as one of the biggest justifications for slavery by the South. Here is what a few “giddy oppressors” had to say about the subject:
"[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God...it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation...it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts." Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America.
"There is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral." Rev. Alexander Campbell
"The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example." Rev. R. Furman, D.D., Baptist, of South Carolina
History supports the undeniable fact, that it was theism who was this “happy oppressor” you arrogantly use in defense of your position.
And atheism has no answer to social Darwinism -- the idea that society should not help the weak because it's nature's way to weed out the less fit.
This retarded retort my good professor, almost does not warrant a response due to its imbecility. It is a tired example of the theists employment of both the naturalistic and appeal to consequences fallacies. Why just this week I read an article stating that a lioness had nursed an antelope to adulthood. May I ask kind sir, by your own reasoning which religious denomination do you presume the lioness to be a member of?
(I recommend you read a thing or two on Feral children).
Not only does atheism undermine values; it also undermines meaning. I'm talking about meaningful reality -- life with meaning and purpose.
Damn! You certainly continue to surprise, just when I thought you couldn’t possibly say anything more gaumless than the last you ameliorate your stupidity. Meaningful reality you say? So that I have this right…an all powerful, all knowing god sacrifices himself to himself so that he might satisfy his own omniscient decree, by putting a Jew on a stick in the middle of ancient Palestine. This provides the ultimate and meaningful morality you speak of? Well damn that seems plausible doesn’t it? Very in touch with reality I see.
I contend that that sort of lunacy is anything but meaningful or true in the real world. Theist like yourself usually get all hot and bothered anytime anyone mentions the messiah or end of days. You lust for it like a dog in heat, waiting for the day in which you will be playing the Pachelbel cannon in D with a harp quartet lead by Jerry Falwell and Adolph Hitler. We on the other hand embrace this life as the only one we have and strive to live it to the fullest. That does not mean we go out and act out every hedonistic thrill that comes to mind or that we commit acts of violence against our neighbors due to this realization. For if you are certain this is the only life you get, surely you do not want to act in ways which would have you spend that precious time in jail! In fact, it may be because of this realization that Atheist comprise the smallest percentage of the prison population. (I’ll give you one guess as to who is the largest)
On that, why do you suppose Christians not only comprise 98% of the prison population, but are the most likely to end their marriage in divorce? Atheist actually a lower divorce rate than you guys! If jesus makes such a difference, shouldn’t his glory be apparent amongst the life of his followers? Well it isn’t and I would send you here for more details.
What makes something evil or unjust if nothing like God exists -- if nature is all there is? Only subjective choice either by an individual or a society. But that can change and it often does. Without God, the social prophet has no way out of relativism.
Does your hypocrisy know no bounds? You contend that without an absolute authority like god or the (magical book of fairytales) morality is subjective, well YES that is true. ALL morality is subjective and I will prove it using your own “holy” book.
If what you say is true you shall have no room to put aside or not comply with the numerous edicts set forth in your inspired book of absolutism. Shall we test where your absolute morality lies?
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 says the following regarding disobedient and rebellious children:
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.
I say if your children are living, they are either are anesthetized or you sir are a hypocrite! Using some of that subjective morality are we?
Ah let me guess what you are thinking…”that verse in Deuteronomy does not apply to me since I am a Christian”. Well interesting enough, as barbaric as this verse is, it’s one of the abhorrent decrees that jesus himself uses in the new testament.
In the 15th chapter of Matthew, the Pharisees are chastising jesus because his followers break from the Jewish tradition of washing their hands before they eat. jesus replies with the following:
Matthew 15 3
Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death!
In this verse, jesus is using the requirement of killing rebellious children as leverage over the Pharisees. Apparently, they were using too much of their own subjective morality by deciding not to kill disobedient children.
This just the tip of the iceberg my good professor, I can show you time and again why your own stance on the absolutism of the bible is grounded in your own subjective interpretation. For more on the subject, I will direct you to Mr. Dan Barker and his many writings on the subject of Atheism and morality here.
Your remarkably disillusioned diatribe was certainly off the mark and read like the same old regurgitated argument which has now been allowed to permeate the halls of a prestigious university. Don’t feel too bad, this is sadly par for the course. Despite the enormous amount of material available on the subject, Christians are still largely unaware that there exists informed criticism of their faith.