Of all of those Big Questions central to philosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, the realms of theology and religions and the nature of deities continue to fascinate. Opinions proliferate in books, articles, videos, conversations in bars and pubs, and in fact anywhere and everywhere two or more humans are in proximity. There’s the pro side; there’s the anti-side. There aren’t too many fence-sitters. I’m still in the anti-camp as the following bits and pieces illustrate.
*The Bible just HAS to be true. God just HAS to exist and so does Jesus. How could so many people be so wrong for so long? Yet how could so many people be so wrong for so long about belief in other religions and deities? People get things wrong. Deal with it.
*How insecure are you about your religion if you get up in arms over other people refusing to say “Merry Christmas”? Like think about it. How much of a weak pathetic person you make yourself out to be when you get offended by something that stupid. (via Ana Kasparian – “The Young Turks”)
*Regarding Women: Ephesians 5: 22-23 22 (“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” and 1 Timothy 2: 11-12 (“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.). Now relate all of that to your mother, grandmother, sister, girlfriend, wife, or other female friend. Then run like hell.
*How is it that different religions can use the same variety of arguments for the existence of a god, yet believe in different gods?
*With a plethora of gods on offer, how actually do you choose one as THE god? And having chosen that single deity, how do you prove your deity is THE deity; how do you prove all the other gods are false deities?
*The True Believer’s position is that their position is the default position and anyone who doesn’t accept their position has the entire burden to disprove their default position.
*Even if any single religion could prove that all other religions were false; that all other holy books were fictional; and that all other gods were nonexistent, that still doesn’t make their religion true.
*Religions arose when the great unwashed held beliefs in omens and taboos, ghosts and goblins, magic and wizards, astrology and an earth-centred cosmos, here-be-dragons (and unicorns) and all things weird and maybe not-so-wonderful were prevalent. Somehow this is not surprising. The question arises, if religion had never to date existed, could it arise from scratch in this, the 21st Century?
*One reason religion has survived into modern times is that it tells the great unwashed in a one-size-fits-all fashion what to think and what to do and when to do it, thus saving the populace from having to think and act by themselves and for themselves.
*The authority of Scripture rests on the authority of the Church and the authority of the Church rests on the authority of Scripture. The argument is coherent but it is also circular and thus proves nothing.
*Religious Truth in Advertising: There are laws that require that advertising doesn’t proclaim falsehoods and gives out misleading information and promises that can’t be kept. The exception is of course religion. Religion can promise an actual eternal afterlife, a heaven or a hell, and so on. There are no laws that require religious ‘advertising’ to be spot-on and to produce the goods that they promise they can produce.
*Religious Hypocrisy: I’d wager that not one in a million Christians or True Believers follow without fail or without exception all (roughly) 613 Biblical Commandments as directed from On High. That’s including such things as supporting in part or in full, even participating in blasphemy, divorce, adultery, homosexuality, contraception, stem-cell research, and abortion. Further, you get extreme right-wing Christian evangelists and fundamentalists constantly going on and on and on about the evils of same-sex relations and marriage equality, giving the same tired old Biblical passages that reference marriage as between one man and one woman (never mind that polygamy is rampant in the Bible and within Biblical times). However these same individuals totally ignore the issue of violating those other Biblical commandments, say like what you should or shouldn’t eat, drink or wear. Not a peep. That’s probably because they themselves pay no attention to what their God wants with respect to eating, drinking and clothing. Religious hypocrisy is rampant! However, since God is also a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do hypocrite, a practitioner of the theological double standard, perhaps us mere mortals can be allowed a hypocrisy or two that can’t be held against us.
*Religious Morality 101: I don’t like it; therefore you won’t do it – or else!
*Religious Morality 101: Religion has all of the answers – and enforces them! Obey! Big Brother is watching you!
*Religious Morality 101: The 11th Commandment: Thou shall NOT mock God for God shall NOT be mocked; thou shall NOT ask questions of God’s nature; thou shall NOT think about God’s nature for yourself. Just Obey!
*More Religious Morality 101: Don’t worry about the state of world affairs next week (i.e. – like the environment) because the End of Days is tomorrow!
*Modern Christians, especially evangelists and fundamentalists go on and on about how Christianity and Christians are now being verbally and legislatively persecuted by humanists, free thinkers, atheists and by the courts. That’s pretty rich considering that they – Christians – physically dished out persecutions in droves once upon a time via all manner of tortures, burning heretics at the stake, etc. A Christian today is near infinitely better off than a heretic during the Inquisition era.
*Why don’t Christians who constantly froth at the mouth and rail against people who violate God’s commandments against say LGBT activities, abortion, the practice of witchcraft, adultery, etc. and who want to personally deal with these people – and not in a loving Jesus / Christian sort of way either – just leave such “dealings with” instead to God Himself. After all, it’s God who is pissed off and what God’s pissed off about when it comes to the dealing of other people are none of your business.
*While religion might be comforting to the individual, religion has not proved to be so comforting to societies and cultures as a whole (i.e. – think Northern Ireland, Iraq, Syria, Israel-Palestine, 9/11, the Crusades, etc.), and even many individuals have suffered grievously at the hands of religious fanatics and True Believers (like the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, etc.).
*One of those things that religions like to find are mysteries or unknowns which they can then put a religious spin on.
*The mental gymnastics that people go through to make excuses for their religious beliefs aren’t just bad, they’re sad, and they’re dangerous. Somehow religions manage to get people to sacrifice their humanity, their dignity, their self-respect and their self-worth on that religion’s alter, making them slaves to an ideology. (Matt Dillahunty)
*It is claimed that religion gives comfort to people, but then too so does any community of like-minded people. A teddy bear gives comfort to a young child, but the child eventually grows out of it.
Regarding Religion vs. Science
*No matter how many unknowns you have, that doesn’t lead you to a known, as in God done it.
*If you’re a theist, then conclusion first – then try to come up with arguments that support that conclusion.
*Theists don’t have evidence; atheists don’t have faith.
*You’re not supposed to be sceptical of supernatural events as related in a holy text written over thousands of years ago by unknown authors, yet, you are supposed to be sceptical of supernatural (or paranormal or anomalous) events that happen during your own lifetime. Really? Clearly if extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence today, the extraordinary claims of the Biblical era also require extraordinary evidence. There is no such extraordinary evidence.
*A claim is just a claim. A claim is not actual evidence for that claim.
*Arguments are all well and good, but ultimately you need to provide demonstrable evidence.
*Scepticism is not the same thing as cynicism.
*Religion is static; science is dynamic.
*The supernatural is the bucket you toss everything unexplained into and hence thereby explain all previously unexplained phenomena as being of supernatural origin!
*This is my theological explanation. If your non-theological explanation isn’t better than mine, then I am right!
*My lack of a scientific answer doesn’t make your theological answer correct.
*Be willing to say “I don’t know” when you really don’t know.
*Even if the entirety of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection were proven totally wrong tomorrow, that still wouldn’t say anything about the actual existence of God (or any other god for that matter).
*Ridiculous ideas are deserving of ridicule.
*Theists tend to run around claiming to be expect detectors of all things theological supernatural.
*Assume nothing; question everything; start thinking.
*One needs to teach children how to think instead of what to think.
*If I tell you that the Greek Goddess Aphrodite is (for example) my girlfriend, wife, next door neighbour, barmaid, or school teacher, you’re going to demand some actual evidence be coughed up. But if Mr. Clergy or Mr. Priest or Mr. Rabbi tells you that there’s an invisible magic man in the sky, well that’s somehow different. No evidence required from Mr. Clergy or Mr. Priest or Mr. Rabbi.
*Truth has nothing to do with the strength of your conviction that your truth is actually true.
*The failure to disprove something doesn’t mean that the contrary is somehow true.
*It’s not a question of does evolution agree with the Bible but rather does the Bible agree with evolution? If not, so much for Biblical ‘truth’. The Bible is NOT a science text by any stretch of the imagination.
Regarding Faith & Belief
*The very fact that somebody doesn’t believe what others believe can literally freak out those other people. Why? Because all of a sudden they are being forced to literally confront and defend their position; their belief. That’s uncomfortable.
*From the perspective of the True Believer, they are the enlightened one and you, on the other hand, the non-believer, are an idiot!
*Beliefs are NOT a choice. You have no actual control over what you believe, so you can’t really fake-it-till-you-make-it.
*Do you actually believe or do you just believe in the very act of pure believing?
*Is there any reason I should be convinced just because you are convinced?
*I’m okay with believing that you had a personal experience relevant to your religion / theology but that doesn’t mean that I believe in your supernatural explanation.
*Believe first, then try to retrospectively cherry-pick evidence that fits that belief. Alternatively, conclusions first, then come up with assertions what point to your conclusions. In other words, if you start with a belief then you’ll find (or make up) evidence to support that belief.
*If you can’t give me any good reason to believe you then I won’t believe you.
*The wise man (or woman) prepositions his / her belief to the evidence that’s presented.
*Faith is a good way to be wrong.
*Faith can be an excuse to believe anything and everything; whatever you want.
*You can have faith that the Bible is true. You can have faith that the Bible is not true. Therefore, it is obvious that faith is not a pathway to truth.
*Just because a concept (like Santa Claus) is coherent doesn’t make it true.
*Religious faith does not rest upon human rationality but upon human emotions. We speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for actual evidence.
*It’s not that I’m comfortable not knowing, it’s that I’m more uncomfortable pretending that I know.
*If you believe that it is possible that a God exists and has done X, Y & Z, how did you exactly arrive at that conclusion that a God who did X, Y & Z is actually possible and actually exists? Cite your evidence.
*My beliefs are based on evidence (i.e. – the Sun will rise tomorrow morning), not on faith.
*If you can’t show it, you don’t know it.
*A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. (David Hume)
*Faith is the excuse people give when they believe something and don’t have a good reason. (via Matt Dillahunty)
Regarding Prayer & Miracles
*If you believe in prayer, then why would you bother with health insurance and visits to the doctor?
*Miracles are the required ways and means on the assumption that God works at cross purposes to natural causality (which He Himself established) rather than through natural causation – which under the circumstances is a rather irrational thing to do.
*Take two aspirin and then pray that your headache goes away!
*If there is an all-powerful God then there is no need for miracles on the grounds that prevention is better than cure. And if there is an all-knowing God then there is no need for your prayers.
*Even if your prayer is answered, that doesn’t mean of necessity that God answered it. Perhaps it was a magical pixie – how could you tell?
*The theist argument that you can’t be moral AND be an atheist is just an exercise in pure bigotry. The same applies to some laws that prohibit atheists from standing as candidates for public office.
*Sin, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and if there should be enough beholders then such sin is legislated against and becomes against the law of the land. But what a sin is to one person might not be a sin according to their next door neighbour. Something might be considered in this context but not in some other context. What’s considered a sin today might not have been so considered yesterday and might not be so considered tomorrow. What constitutes a sin in one culture is not of necessity a sin in another’s culture. So sin has absolutely nothing to do with deities pontificating absolutes from on high.
Regarding Heaven & Hell
*If you’re in heaven you’re happy. But if your loved ones are in hell, then you are unhappy. There’s a contradiction inherent in this observation.
*How can you verify that any Biblical prophecy was made before-the-fact; before the event prophesized? People aren’t always honest in their claims and Biblical dating is less than an exact science.
*Are prophecies extraordinary or mundane? If you predict a tornado in Tornado Alley – no big deal. If you predict one in Antarctica – well that’s different.
*How long do you have to wait before a prophecy loses its validity? If you predict something but leave the end date open and the prophecy eventually happens, does it count as a “hit”? So, no open-ended predictions allowed.
*Prophecies have to be public but such that someone can’t deliberately act to bring that prophecy to fruition. Prophecies aren’t allowed to be manipulated.
*Prophecies have to be falsifiable.
*Coincidences happen. Deal with it.
*Proposing God as the best explanation for a fulfilled prophecy requires you to demonstrate that, starting with a demonstration that God actually exists. Even if a prophecy does come true it doesn’t mean that there is a God or that a God is actually responsible.
*Make enough prophecies and some will come true, especially if they are vague and open to interpretation. Also, to elevate your status as a prophet, record all of the “hits” and don’t mention the “misses”.
Regarding the Bible
*There are multiple versions of the Bible in multiple translations. Which version is THE version, especially when we don’t have the originals?
*Many theists say that the original form of the Bible is THE perfect version. Alas, that’s just an assertion since such theists have no access to THE original since there are no original versions.
*But in the Bible it says… Why can’t you prove your point without using the Bible?
*But in the Bible it says… Yes, and in “Gone with the Wind” it says, and in the “Egyptian Book of the Dead” it says and in every book in existence it says. So what?
*Why does the Bible have such lengthy sections on who begat who? Why should anyone care? Boring!
*Contrary to popular opinion, the New Testament doesn’t negate or argue against any of the nasties in the Old Testament (i.e. – like slavery).
*So you read this ‘holy’ book written thousands of years ago and therefore because of that book, you can now denigrate a group of people (LGBT’s, women, atheists, etc.) and treat them as even having less worth than even second class citizens.
*The greatest story ever told: The goat-herders guide to the Universe. (via Lawrence Krauss)
*The Bible is true because the Bible says it is true: 2 Timothy 3: 16.
*You need way more justification for the supernatural than stories told in the Bible.
*If you read Jonah, chapter 2, you will note a lot of things that Jonah said while inside the ‘whale’ or great fish. Jonah was alone inside the ‘whale’ or great fish. Who the hell was therefore writing down what Jonah said inside the ‘whale’ or great fish?
Regarding the Exodus
*God tells Moses (who in turn enlists Aaron) to go to the Egyptian Pharaoh to let His people (the Israelites) leave Egypt and out of the bondage / slavery that they were subjected to (Exodus 3: 10), which they do (Exodus 5: 1). Pharaoh gives them the middle finger, so God gives the Egyptians (note: not just Pharaoh) a few plagues to deal with. When Pharaoh says to Moses and Aaron – piss off – God hardens Pharaoh’s heart in order to ensure that Pharaoh will never let His people go, in direct contradiction to what He wanted in the first damn place. God’s obviously been smoking the good stuff.
*(A) Cats exist. (B) Pixies Exist. (C) Zeus exists. (D) God exists. Question: Is (D) more akin to (A) or to (B) or to (C) and what is the evidence for your conclusion?
*I do not have sufficient reason or evidence to believe that Pixies exist translates into my saying that Pixies don’t exist. You’ll not get an argument. I do not have sufficient reason or evidence to believe that God exists translates into my stating that God doesn’t exist. You’ll now get an argument. But what’s different in principle between the two translated statements?
*If you talk to God you’re religious. If God talks to you, you’re psychotic.
*What are the odds that God exists and exactly how do you calculate that?
*God did it. Therefore there’s no need to look any further for an explanation.
*How can you claim or say that you have a personal relationship with God when you can’t provide any evidence for the actual existence of that God?
*Why don’t people who allegedly get personal messages from God get messages that actually reveal some sort of new piece of knowledge that nobody knew before but which can now be verified?
*How come Hindus don’t get personal messages from the Christian God?
*If God is immaterial and invisible, that’s a God who is indistinguishable from a God that doesn’t actually exist. If your God doesn’t manifest Himself in reality in a detectable way that ties directly to that God then His existence is logically equivalent to His non-existence. (via Matt Dillahunty)
*I don’t know exactly what might convince me that God exists, but God should know. So why doesn’t God strut His stuff and convince me? So either God doesn’t exist or God doesn’t want me to know He exists. In either case, that’s not my problem. The buck stops with God.
*God done it! That just codifies an explanation for the actual explanation.
*Postulating that God done it is just a synonym for ignorance.
*Either there isn’t any God or there is a God who doesn’t really want us to know that there is a God because if God really wanted us to know He exists He would have provided us with indisputable evidence of His existence.
*If there is no actual evidence that God exists (and there’s not), and yet God exists, then clearly God is absolutely A-OK with not providing actual evidence for His existence.
*Even if God exists that does not of necessity translate into a God that’s actually worthy of being worshipped.
*If God wants to be worshipped then He will stop pussyfooting around and cease playing hide-and-seek. You can’t worship a phantom.
*No rational being would accept at face value the standard arguments for the existence of God unless they were already predisposed to be of the opinion that the conclusion was true. In other words, conclusion first; arguments in support of second.
*Does God actually exist is a yes-or-no question. Yes-or-no questions are decided by actual evidence. What’s the actual evidence that God actually exists?
*What kind of screwed up deity requires faith instead of evidence? Perhaps a human-invented deity, a deity created in the image of humans, a deity for which no actual evidence exists.
*If we have a natural problem, let’s solve that problem by postulating that a supernatural being has the required characteristics to solve said natural problem. For example, lightning. Thor done it.
*How can you distinguish between your God actually, albeit it mentally ‘talking’ to you versus just thinking (or hallucinating) that God is ‘talking’ to you?
*Why does an all-powerful God need His mortal human middlemen to raise money on His behalf?
*God is flawed since He created humans which were so flawed that God had to wipe them nearly all out, except for Noah and family and start over again from nearly scratch.
Regarding God’s Creation & the First Cause Argument
*Just as an architect may design a house doesn’t of necessity mean that the architect will actually build the house. In like fashion, the designer of the Universe (assuming such a designer exists in the first place) doesn’t of necessity mean that the designer actually then went on to create the Universe (assuming of course an actual creator).
*Theists are the ones making the positive assertion that God done it. The burden of proof rests on their shoulders. If God done it, they need to show: 1) that God actually exists; 2) that God could do it; 3) that God wanted to do it; and 4) that God indeed done it.
*Regarding God done it, consider this analogy. A character in one of our (human-generated) video / computer games, or even one of our software-generated artificial ‘life’ forms would have to conclude that there was a finite beginning to their virtual world; its creation apparently from nothing at all. They would attribute this to supernatural deities (or a deity), but they would be wrong. Humans (computer software programmers) aren’t supernatural and aren’t bona-fide deities (though some emperors, pharaohs, etc. were considered to be gods). Their virtual landscape wasn’t the beginning – there was a before their beginning – and their virtual landscape wasn’t created out of absolutely nothing, although there’s no way for them to know that.
Regarding God Being Omnipotent
*If God is so damn powerful, why didn’t He get rid of Satan at the get-go?
Regarding the God of the Gaps
*You cannot explain a mystery, an unknown, by appealing to an even bigger mystery, an even bigger unknown, by something that is in itself unexplained.
Regarding God’s ‘Morality’
*Premise: If God does not exist then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Amended to: If God does, or does not exist then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Premise: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
Amended to: Objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Conclusion: Therefore God exists.
Amended to: Therefore whether or not God exists is totally irrelevant to the concept of moral values and duties.
*Premise: If Pixies do not exist then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Premise: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
Conclusion: Therefore Pixies exist.
P.S. This makes reasonable theological sense to me!
*God can’t be wrong. Why? Because we assume that God can’t be wrong.
*Forgiveness by someone you have wronged is apparently way less important than being forgiven by your God.
*The average person is morally superior to God based on readings from the Old Testament.
*If you look at the stuff in scripture and you see a loving God, then you have a broken sense of morality.
*Sins are sins just because the Bible (i.e. – God) says so and not because a sin is of necessity going to harm anyone or society at large.
*If you believe that God is absolutely moral, would you be willing to subject yourself to God’s morality?
*God is morally inferior to not only me, but to 99.9% of all humans. The average human is decent. God’s an immoral thug.
*Morality relates to human well-being (or for that matter the well-being of all other animals). God has demonstrated that He does not have either human or animal well-being at the top of His agenda as frequently demonstrated in Old Testament texts.
*Jesus loves you – right? Well shouldn’t you prove that Jesus actually existed first and then speculate on what Jesus does?
- There is no evidence, other than the Bible, that Jesus and his 12 buddies are any more real than Robin Hood and his merry men.
Regarding Atheists & Atheism
*Atheism is just a single position on a single issue.
*The reason atheists don’t believe in the Bible is because atheists have read the Bible.
*Religious freedom includes freedom for those who don’t have a religion.
*If marriages are sanctified by God, what does that say about marriages between two atheists?
*A proper application of scepticism to religion and religious claims usually leads to atheism.
*If you hate God (or Jesus or Satan or angels, etc.) then you are not an atheist.
*Everyone is actually born an atheist.