Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth; how can He have a son when He has no consort? He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things
They say, ‘God has begotten a son.’ God forbid! Self-sufficient is He. His is all that the heavens and the earth contain. Surely for this, you have no sanction. Would you say of God what you know not?
Such was Jesus, the son of Mary. That is the whole truth, which they still doubt. God forbid that He Himself should beget a son! When He decrees a thing He need only say: ‘Be,’ and it is.
I don’t use these passages to pitch one religion against another, but only to illustrate that another Abrahamic religion, one which, when scrutinized, is extremely similar to Christianity (no, the Quran does not say anything about 73 virgins) can so contradict one of the most fundamental tenets of Christianity.
I’m trying to illustrate that not only Atheists have problems with the entire premise of God having a “son”, but that those belonging to the second largest religion on earth (1.4 billion members) can contradict the premise that the most powerful force the earth has ever known needed to impregnate a mere mortal to have his word spread throughout the earth, then die for some sin that God himself perpetuated.
This is a common thread with those who must anthropomorphize their fantasies in an effort to make them more palatable. God the Spirit needed some walking around flesh in order to make him copacetic to the unwashed masses. Whatever this purported God did to this purported Virgin to create this purported Second God who is, Himself, the only God seems to be so blindingly lacking in necessity and logic as to beg suspension of disbelief.
The premise that an all-powerful God needed the mere flesh of a mortal woman to create a son, whereas he, God, had already created man by the snap of a divine finger, is idiotic to say the least. Oh, right, that was the Old Testament, which we seem to have decided was written when God was young and naive. As Gilda Radner’s character Emily Litella used to say in the early days of SNL, “Never mind”.
Even Thomas Aquinas could only justify this extra-biologic occurrence by suggesting that since sex is so dirty (now we see where that came from) there is no way that God could have gone through history as having gotten a little nookie, so he invented virgin births for one-time use. He claims to have had nothing to do with it. He just laid it all on the bitch (and now we know where that came from too).
I’ve been thinking about the concept of free will, as relates to biblical teachings (aka excuses for the evil in a world ostensibly ruled by divinity) and decided to revisit something I read years ago, that being On The Choice of Free Will, written by Augustine of Hippo, who become known as St. Augustine, in 395 AD. They named a city in Florida after him, likely because he had a condo on the beach or turned water into Margaritas or something…
The question being addressed in this book, using the Socratic method, is whether God can control this free will. It seems, after re-reading that which I last read at least 20 years ago, that the simplistic and dishonest method he uses for explaining away this argument which would offer incontrovertible proof of God’s power is simply too transparent. It uses deliberate circular reasoning and a “student”, Evodius, who is obsequious to the degree of a hungry Beagle.
All wicked people, just like good people, desire to live without fear. The difference is that the good, in desiring this, turn their love away from things that cannot be possessed without the fear of losing them. The wicked, on the other hand, try to get rid of anything that prevents them from enjoying such things securely. Thus, they lead a wicked and criminal life, which would better be called death.
About one-third of the way through the book, Evodius asks the $60,000 question:
Now explain to me, if you can, why God gave human beings free choice of the will, since if we had not received it, we would not have been able to sin.
This is the issue that all religious people bring up when asked why God does not feed the hungry, heal the sick and end wars. They use the free will Get-Out-Of-Jail-Card.
Here is St Augustine’s answer to that question. Note the circularity of the argument.
If all of this is true, the question you posed has clearly been answered. If human beings are good things, and they cannot do right unless they so will, then they ought to have a free will, without which they cannot do right. True, they can also use free will to sin, but we should not, therefore, believe that God gave them free will so that they would be able to sin. The fact that human beings could not live rightly without it was sufficient reason for God to give it.
The very fact that anyone who uses free will to sin is divinely punished shows that free will was given to enable human beings to live rightly, for such punishment would be unjust if free will had been given both for living rightly and for sinning. After all, how could someone justly be punished for using the will for the very purpose for which it was given? When God punishes a sinner, don’t you think he is saying, “Why didn’t you use your free will for the purpose for which I gave it to you?”— that is, for living rightly?
So brothers and sisters, according to St Augustine, the PROOF that we have free will, which includes the ability to be evil, is that God told us not to use it for evil or else he’d punish us in Hell. So, in order to believe in God and Hell, one must believe that he gives us free will, and in order to believe in why he would give us free will to perpetuate such evil in our world, one must believe in God and Hell.
You must believe that God is all powerful, yet gives us free will to do evil things, for which you must believe that he will send you to Hell, which is a Godly construct, for which you must believe that God is all powerful. One must accept God as both the cause and the effect.
Augustine (1993-10-01). On Free Choice of the Will (Hackett Classics) (pp. 7-8). Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. Translated by Thomas Williams
There are those of us who feel the need to comment when we see inaccuracies, injustices, inequities and incoherence. We feel it our obligation to engage in the chaotic wonderment that is modern political, social and cultural disquisition, with its vulgarity, ad hominem rejoinders and sometimes grade-school level rhetoric. I call it the “I don’t care if you’re right. Your mother’s a whore” syndrome.
We feel the need to address those securely swaddled in the cushy bedding of mediocrity and minimal information decision-making in an effort to reveal their philistinism, if not to themselves, but rather to those who cast an errant eye on the proceedings, curious, but not yet willing engage for fear of tripping over their own words. We know you’re there, and we want you to stick a toe in the pool because sometimes it feels as if it is we alone who are fighting this fight.
In investing, when the stock market drops, there is often a movement of money away from equities to commodities like gold, silver, and other more stable investments like real estate, etc. It is typically referred to as a “flight to quality”. It is an acknowledgement that one’s investment strategy is wrong, or that the market has changed and one must alter one’s method of investing as well.
We rarely see this in the political arena. We rarely hear anyone admit that their particular candidate has not measured up to one’s strategies for investment in the future and, therefore, must engage in a flight to quality, by embracing a new candidate. We stick with our guy because he or she “speaks the truth” or some other such dime-store pedestrian twaddle, no better scrutinized than the modern-day version of a bumper sticker, the Facebook meme.
If foolish ideas go unchallenged, even for a short time, they become platitudes and start to appear as truisms (the Second Amendment was written to help citizens combat tyranny) that people forget were never true, just repeated more than the arguments that counter them. For every single public comment that is untrue, there must be multiple countermanding comments to prove its falseness.
To those who say that we should “give it a rest” and “not be so angry all the time”, I will respond that I’m glad your argument didn’t prevail when we were fighting slavery, women’s suffrage or the anti-war movement and civil rights legislation of the 1960s. And I’m grateful that those who protested kept yelling at the top of their lungs until justice was served.
I am proud to include myself within their ranks…
When I was learning to fly some years ago, the ability to stop a plane in a very short distance when landing on a runway was a badge of honor. We would practice short-field landings and brag about how few feet we needed to get the plane on the ground and stopped. Sort of like what naval airmen do to practice carrier landings.
Well, the son of the owner of our flight school would brag that he could bring a Cessna 172 to a stop in under 1000 feet at our home airport, which had a 5000 ft runway. (that’s the part to remember in this story). His bragging would be quite irritating at times so we decided to put him to the test. We all got in our planes and flew to a local field that had a 1500 ft runway and gave him a chance to show us all how it was done. Every time he tried, he had to go around, (pilot speak for not being able to stop in time and having to apply the throttle to take off and try again). After numerous attempts he finally gave up and we all started for home. Upon our arrival, we all sat around the pilot’s lounge and ribbed him about it and asked why the short-field king had done so badly. His response was classic. He said, “I’m still the short field landing king…just not on short fields!”
That experience reminds me of the way many Conservatives view the world. To wit:
Remember when we became very concerned with the birthplace of our President?
Then came Ted Cruz, born in Canada.
Remember when cheating on your wife was grounds for impeachment?
Then came Donald Trump with multiple cheating scandals on his various wives. And David Vitter with his hookers.
Remember when first ladies were supposed to be the moral equivalent of librarians?
Then came Melania Trump posing nude.
Remember when having children out of wedlock was shameful?
Then came Sarah Palin defending Bristol’s two out-of-wedlock love-children.
Remember when Richard Nixon bragged that his wife wore a “Republican cloth coat”, to indicate what a humble man he was? (in the 1950s)
Then came Donald Trump bragging about his mansions and jets.
Remember when having errant family members was an embarrassment for a President (Roger Clinton selling drugs, Billy Carter and his beer drinking, Neil Bush losing $1 billion in the bank he ran)?
Then comes Ted Cruz bragging that his father ran out on his mother, defended Castro, then found Jesus.
The point to all this is not that Progressives are any better than Conservatives. They’re not. We’ve had more than our share of scandals. The point is that Conservatives constantly claim the moral high ground. They claim to be the most patriotic and ready to defend the country, but not a single Repub candidate has served in the military. They claim to be the party of morals, but they have had an equal amount of sex scandals as Progressives.
Has anyone ever taken a poll outside a Planned Parenthood office and ask how many of the women seeking birth control are Conservatives? How about abortion clinics? Does anyone want to bet that just as many Conservatives are “baby killers” as Progressives? Go down to the Food Stamp center and see if they’re all Progressives since good Conservatives ostensibly “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”.
I talked to a died-in-the-wool, lifelong Conservative the other day who had his lower leg in a cast. I asked him what was wrong and he said that he’d been injured and that the doctors had injected stem-cells into the muscles to facilitate healing. I asked him how he could reconcile his party’s stance against stem-cell research while he as benefitting from it.
His lack of introspection was revealed in his glib response. “Progress”, was what he said. Interesting choice of words, wouldn’t you say?
I’ve been asked to write a condensed, simplified version of the US Constitution for quick reference (yes, I actually do exciting things like that on Saturday nights) and happened to notice something in Article 1, Section 8, which reads, under the powers of the Legislature:
“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”
Hmm. Apparently, the Founders considered a Militia to be a group of, in those days, men, to “execute laws, suppress insurrections and repel invasions”. Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of protection from tyrannical governments.
In the 1700s, it was required for all able-bodied free men to own weapons for the purpose of joining their state militias. At the time, the Federal government did not have the funds to provide weapons for these men, so they were required, by law, to own their own guns which they would bring to any fight by any invader.
I’ll let you decide how that relates to the Second Amendment, to which ammosexuals are so fond of referring, which says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Kind of makes the odd wording of the Second Amendment a little clearer, wouldn’t you say?
That Militia part appears to actually have a meaning and a purpose, contrary to some modern interpretations.
Watch this space
To the many of my friends who are asking if I’ve gone off the deep end over the last few weeks, with respect to postings on Facebook, Twitter and my blog, regarding religion and Atheism, I feel as if I should offer a response.
The killings at San Bernardino had more of an influence upon my thinking than any mass shooting since Dylan Roof in Charleston, South Carolina, and here is why:
1. The killers are alleged to have been aligned or sympathetic toward ISIS.
2. As soon as this was discovered, the right wing went insane about Muslim killers and what all good Christians should do about them.
3. Christians were on television talking about killing Muslims
4. Donald Trump floated the idea of stopping Muslims from entering the US.
5. Christians everywhere were telling us to pray for the victims-after they were already dead, ignoring the fact that if prayer had any value at all, it might have been used to prevent the killings
6. The general consensus was: Christians=Good. Muslims=Bad (imagine the voice of Cookie Monster or Kevin on The Office saying that and you’ll get a better idea of how it sounded in my head).
The duplicity originating from the religious contingent is simply stunning. The time-worn, insincere, predictable and xenophobic verbal detritus that has spewed from these philistines was simply more than I could deal with quietly.
I am, apparently, becoming radicalized. Radicalized against the beliefs-as-practices that the religious among us defend with every fiber of their being. Against those who consider me and my ilk to be uninformed, misinformed or naïve to dare not believe in those ideas which have no basis in fact other than centuries of repetition by those who’ve anointed themselves as conduits for divine dogma.
Some years ago I determined that I shouldn’t call myself an Atheist because my feelings about religion were not limited to disbelief, but rather to the aggressive desire to see it relegated to places where people go to do other things not typically done in public, like masturbating. I wanted to see it go underground, to the same places where pedophiles keep their rancid desires and longings. I wanted it to be something that was confessed on Oprah, with the requisite audible gasps and tongue clucking of the audience. I thought it only proper that I, accordingly, called myself an Antitheist.
In recent years I have, however, moderated my feelings a bit after having come across some of the more thoughtful theists who seem to be willing to discuss their belief and show some respect for my lack of it. I also got tired of having to explain, to the more synaptically-challenged of my acquaintances, that the word with which I was describing myself was not in fact “Antichrist”. Dolts.
So, yes, these recent events have caused me to become, in the parlance of those who read or listen to news reports, “radicalized”.
But, not to worry. Radical Atheists lack the religious fervor that others in the same situation may embrace. We don’t burn down churches or murder priests. We don’t advocate that women get pregnant for the sole purpose of obtaining an abortion. We don’t interrupt religious services with cries of, “that’s a fucking wafer made in a fucking factory you feeble-minded, dim-witted lemmings!”
Nope. We just talk louder, more frequently and with greater stridence. And sometimes piss people off to the point that they ignore us.
Or at least they claim to…
“The bible will humble you, and a gun will tumble you”. That’s in quotations because it’s not original, but I can’t remember where I heard it, so there’s no attribution. Sorry.
I’ve concluded that religion and guns are opposite sides of the same coin. They both purport to protect those who fear the most fundamental aspects of life.
One pretends to protect you from the wrath of your fellow man. The other pretends to protect you from the wrath of that which you’ve been persuaded is your savior. How ironic that you’d feel the need for protection from either.
Both suggest that life is an entitlement. Neither has ever been able to prove it.
I’ve never checked, but I’d bet quite a sum that the overwhelming majority of the NRA membership self-identifies as Christian. On Facebook they can usually be found clicking away in pious outrage. I know. I am the recipient of more than my fair share of it.
To many of my Christian friends, that may reek of irrelevance. To me, well..