Ten Contradictions Theists Just Can’t Stop Making

Image via parade.com

Image via parade.com

Talking with theists about religion sometimes – and by sometimes I mean almost always – feels like Groundhog Day,  a painful and monotonous slog that simply travels the same territory over and over and over.  I get weary of both hearing and repeating the same arguments so frequently, so I decided to compile the most tired (not to mention the most tiresome) themes that I encounter, so that going forward I can simply point people here when they trot out these inevitable gems.

1. Explaining what god is or wants, then saying humans cannot understand god.

The conversation goes like this:

Theist: “God loves us and wants us to be saved. God is just and merciful. God will provide. God always gives us what we need, not just what we want.”

Atheist: “If god loves us, is merciful, provides, and always gives us what we need, why do children starve to death?”

Theist: “We are mere mortals and can’t expect to understand His ways. You can’t apply human standards to god.”

Uh . . . If we can’t apply human standards to god when it comes to figuring out why he lets children starve, why can we apply human standards to establish that he loves us, is just and merciful, and will provide?  By what means do you ascertain these attributes in the first place if not by human standards?  God is either knowable or he isn’t; you either understand him or you don’t. If his reasons for allowing innocent children to suffer and die are inscrutable, so too must be his reasons for everything else, and to claim otherwise is to admit that you in fact know nothing of god, but have opted to believe what is most comforting to you – something that is manifestly apparent to atheists already, but which most theists would not confess in so many words.

2. Claiming that god loves us all, then rationalizing human suffering.

Theists most often dismiss human suffering by victim-blaming – declaring that our own free will causes us to make bad choices, which cause us to suffer as a result. Once we get past the inherent privilege of a claim that assumes everyone has an array of both good and bad options from which to choose (or has a choice at all), we are still left with the problem of suffering that is not the direct result of our own actions. “Free will,” they repeat. “Some people use theirs to hurt others.” Ah, okay – so god is willing to stand idly by and watch innocents be tortured and murdered because he prioritizes the free will of evil people to do harm over that of their victims? That’s not much of a resume-builder for god, but for the sake of argument I’ll give you that one too. What about illness and natural disasters then? Even the most nefarious of minds cannot will a tumor or an earthquake or a tsunami into being. That’s when, if we don’t hear “Oh, free will causes climate change which causes those disasters,” we hear (again), “We are mere mortals and can’t expect to understand god’s ways.”

In this world, deliberately inflicting pain and hardship on someone we claim to love is called abuse. In religion, it’s called grace. When we regard human suffering as not only inevitable but as an expression of love by an omnipotent being, we trivialize the experience of those who must endure it and stifle the otherwise natural human impulse to alleviate it.

3. Pretending that free will and a divine plan are not mutually exclusive.

When asked once if he believed we all have free will, Christopher Hitchens ironically replied, “Of course I have free will; I don’t have a choice.” In other words, an omnipotent god endowing humans with free will and commanding that they use it negates the very notion of free will in the first place – with or without it, we are still exactly as god made us, choosing exactly as he already knows we will. Conveniently, free will seems to only ever cause humans to behave badly; when they are charitable, kind, generous, selfless, humble, honest, and virtuous, it is always because they were following the example set by god, but when they are selfish, cruel, and violent their actions are the result of their own frailty, thus ensuring that god continues to reap the credit when we choose well and remain blameless when we don’t.

As if this weren’t bad enough, many of the same folks who talk about free will also claim that god has a plan. Take a common trope on prayer, for example, that says when you pray, “God answers in one of three ways: 1. Yes; 2. No; 3. I have something even better in store.” All three of those responses entail a god who is actively shaping your life, and who is giving or withholding things based on what he either intends or knows will happen. So which is it? Because it can’t be both.

4. Behaving hatefully, then saying “god bless.”

I recently had the pleasure of conversing with a theist on my Facebook page who called me “ignorant;” a “liar;” a “child;” “dense;” “trash;” laughed that I was “probably not” in a stable relationship and therefore infected with “the latest STD;” that my jokes aren’t funny (O, the humanity!); and, predictably, that she wished she could be there when I stand before god after death to see me receive my eternal sentence for disbelief. She topped off this love-fest by saying, “May God bless you and keep you in the New Year and many more to come.” Wait, I thought you were being an arrogant ass, but you want god to bless me? Well, in that case, right back atcha! Hugs and kisses!

These people seem to think that no matter how nasty they act or how mean-spirited their words,  it is all permissible and forgiven as long as they conclude with an insincere blessing.  Some of them will further justify their unpleasantness by claiming they were only fulfilling their godly responsibility to love their enemies by pointing out the error of their ways.  Hence we end up with comments like, “Your ignorance and your unfunny jokes make baby Jesus cry, you slutty, disease-infested piece of trash! I’ll be laughing while you burn in hell! God bless!”

5. Declaring god as the source of objective morality, then interpreting scripture.

It is frustrating and disheartening that the myth that one needs to believe in the supernatural to live ethically persists in the face of thousands of years of evidence to the contrary. Beyond this obvious fallacy, however, lies the transparent manner in which theists lay claim to the objective correctness of their morals while simultaneously applying their own contemporary cultural morality to the world. “Look here,” you say, pointing at the words on the page, “it says to murder your loved ones if they worship any other god.” “You’re taking that out of context,” comes the reply. Or maybe it’s, “You have to consider the culture at the time this was written.” Or perhaps, “That isn’t meant to be taken literally.”

If objective morality comes from god, then the only way to determine that morality is through scripture.  If you are not going to take scripture at face value, then you are admitting that your morals are inherent within you and influenced by the society around you, not handed down from the outside.

6. Labeling god as omnipotent, then blaming evil on the devil.

Is it that god cannot defeat the devil, or is it that he chooses not to? Not that anyone could blame him if it was the latter, seeing as how the devil makes such an outstanding scapegoat. But seriously – if you believe god is omnipotent and you also believe in the devil, then you have to believe that god has made a decision to let the devil do his thing. If god cannot in fact defeat the devil then he is not omnipotent, in which case it makes little sense to worship and pray to him at all. In either case, though, god sure as shit has both the power and inclination to get involved once you’re dead – by sending you straight to hell for doing whatever it was the devil talked you into while god stood by and watched.

7. Seizing upon minuscule inconsistencies in highly specialized scientific disciplines as a failure of science to explain the universe while accepting supernatural explanations for which there is no evidence.

There are mountains of evidence in support of evolution by natural selection and the Big Bang. Virtually all of modern biology and cosmology are predicated upon these theories; the elegance of their explanations and success of their predictions continually reaffirm their validity. Furthermore, there is no small amount of evidence to suggest that under the right conditions, complex molecules can become self-replicating – the first step towards the creation of life. Meanwhile, there is no evidence for god. As in, zero. Zilch. None.

It has always struck me as odd that an institution that not only extols the virtue of faith but requires it as a matter of course and as a prerequisite of salvation would turn to science at all to justify its claims; after all, if the religious are so certain they are correct, shouldn’t faith be sufficient to maintain belief?  The answer is, of course it isn’t, and their desire to claim the legitimacy of science betrays their understanding (and fear) of this fact.  Furthermore, you cannot pretend to be concerned about the quality or weight of the evidence for a natural explanation of the universe while simultaneously advancing a hypothesis for which thousands of years of inquiry have failed to produce a single shred of evidence.

8. Subscribing to religion, then labeling the religious beliefs of others as “crazy.”

Protestants say Catholics aren’t really Christians. Baptists say Pentecostalism is a cult. Mormons say creationists are nutty. And yet all of these people believe more or less the same thing: That an invisible, omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving deity created the entire universe and was subsequently so displeased with his own creation that he made a virgin pregnant with himself in human form; condemned himself to be tortured and sacrificed to atone for the sins of his creation; rose from the dead and ascended bodily into the sky; and now presides over the affairs of all humans and keeps track of where they put their car keys and whether they masturbate so that he knows who to help while they are alive and who to torture for all eternity after they die.

Anyone who thinks this is plausible forfeits the right to comment on the sanity of anyone else’s ideas.

9. Accusing atheists of cherry-picking scripture to make it look bad.

This one always makes me laugh.  For one thing, no one needs to try to make scripture look bad; it does that all by itself with its genocide and rape and slavery and conquest and general bloodthirsty, vengeful douchebaggery.  For another thing, scripture is packed with so many mutually exclusive commands and prohibitions that cherry-picking is required if one is to follow or even just discuss it.  The only question is which cherries one will pick.  Some will pick the ones about love and kindness and charity and claim these are the “real” version of their religion, leaving the others – the ones about torture and violence and cruelty – on the branch, hoping no one will notice them.  Perhaps cherry-picking isn’t even the right metaphor.  I think a better one is the Tree of 40 Fruit:  Some of what it has to offer is sweet, some is bitter, and some may even be poisonous, but it all grows from the same plant.

10.  Claiming membership in one of thousands of sects of religion as authority for telling non-believers why our interpretation of religion is wrong.

How often do we hear from theists that we misunderstand, misrepresent, misinterpret, or are ignorant of their scriptures? “What the bible (Qur’an / Torah / etc.) really says is X,” they say, or “When god said that he meant Y.” Setting aside for the moment the fact that many atheists are former believers who are intimately familiar with scripture, what do we make of the fact that other people who also identify as belonging to that religion claim that actually, god didn’t mean Y either, but Z? And what of the ones who say not Z, but A? Theists themselves cannot agree with one another on what god really meant or wants and none of them can produce a single valid reason why their interpretation is more likely to be right than anyone else’s. Why then is the interpretation of a non-believer any less credible – or to be more precise, any more incredible?

What most believers refuse to see, or at least to admit, is that there is no wrong interpretation of scripture. What is “known” about god resides inside people’s heads; there is no objective, external yardstick by which it can be measured, nothing that can be observed, and no source to clarify what was truly intended by any given chapter or verse. Furthermore, even if we could eliminate the ambiguity of scripture we would still be left with the contradictions: For virtually every instruction, elsewhere in the text is its prohibition or the command to do the opposite, and since no one can ring up Yahweh or Allah to ask which one is the right one it is left to the individual to decide. Said another way, scripture is sufficiently ambiguous and contradictory that all interpretations are justifiable – in which case we are left with nothing more than a free-for-all in which religion is whatever any given believer says it is.

 

In defense of theists, contradictions are the inevitable consequence of belief in monotheistic religion, given its outlandish claims and its incoherence. It is hard not to wonder, though, to what degree these contradictions are the result of intellectual dishonesty and what can be attributed to a mere extreme absence of self-awareness.  Whatever the case, now that I have (hopefully) saved myself some time in future discussions, maybe I can at least spend less of the next Groundhog Day trapped in tedious debates and more of it sipping Mai-tais with Punxutawney Phil.

About Godless Mama

Godless Mama is a liberal, atheist, anti-theist writer and parent seeking to make the world a better place through the spread of secularism and the exposing of the harms of religion. In addition to GodlessMama.com, she contributes to a number of other political and atheist pages and blogs.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Islam, Morality and Ethics, Quran, Scripture, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

90 Responses to Ten Contradictions Theists Just Can’t Stop Making

  1. Pingback: The Contradictions Rarely End When We’re Talking About Religion - Krugerable

  2. Marc Morrow says:

    Excellent observations, I marvelled over the virtual gold mine of memes that can be farmed from this piece. Shine on sister.

    Liked by 2 people

    • John Clark says:

      This article is bogus for the simple fact that it leads impressionable atheists to believe that the so-called answers given by theists in this article are the best or only answers available. Trust me, these are definitely not. As a matter of fact, many of the objections cited are based on misconceptions that atheists have. For example…Nobody ever said you can’t lead an ethical life without without belief in the supernatural. The Bible clearly teaches that you cannot be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ without sincere belief in Him, and this is The Only Way a human can be redeemed in The Most High’s sight. So yes…..you can be ethical, but your ethics could never get you eternal life because you’re not perfect. The Most High requires perfection. Since we can’t attain it ourselves He ordained that we make it in on Jesus’ credentials. Another objection you screw up on is that it is not a contradiction at all for us to be able to tell you what The Most High wants on the one hand, and say that we don’t know all there is to know about Him on the other hand. It’s called “Revelation Knowledge”. We know of Him only what He has revealed to us. Thus, what we assert of Him stems from that He has revealed. There are mysteries which remain. Knowledge He has not revealed. That’s no contradiction at all. Just ignorance on your behalf. Plus, your arguments on human suffering are simple and misconstrued also. The Bible contains coherent answers to all of these ovjections. I would enjoy going over each of these 10 points with you. It can be in a respectable manner without hostility and insult.

      Like

      • Joe Green says:

        OMG, what incomprehensible babble John Clark, stated with such righteous certitude! As Edward Abbey said about the southwest, not only stranger than a dream, stranger than we CAN dream, or at least stranger than I can dream.

        Liked by 1 person

      • John Clark says:

        @Joe Green…..You saying my post was “incomprehensible babble” was very aptly put. On the one hand, what I wrote in the post you responded to is elementary Christian doctrine which I used to expose Godless Mama’s poverty of understanding of what it is she attacks (our beliefs). If she had even a beginner’s understanding of it she wouldn’t have included those so called contradictions in her article, and so many of these ignorant atheists wouldn’t be praising her for it. It just goes to show that the typical atheist’s rejection of The Most High and His The Word is predisposed, not based on any true understanding. “Incomprehensible babble”, indeed!
        Then too, your own ignorance and inability to comprehend The Gospel validates Scripture:
        “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of The Most High.”-1 Corinthians 1:18.
        “But the natural man receiveth not the things of The Spirit of The Most High: For they are foolishness unto him: Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14.
        See, Joe….You’re SUPPOSED to think of Divine Revelation as “incomprehensible babble”. You’re perishing. And it’s because your heart and mind are hardened, causing you to reject something you Do not and Cannot understand. Thank you for further bolstering my faith in The Most High and His Word with your ignorance and inability to comprehend. The Most High is good!!!!

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      • Wayne says:

        When the religious ask why I don’t believe in their or any god, I can go on and on about doesn’t make sense, it’s illogical, no evidence, etc. Or I can give a one word answer.

        ALZHEIMER’S!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • John Clark wrote:

        “Nobody ever said you can’t lead an ethical life without without belief in the supernatural.”

        Nobody? Ever? Mr. Clark, your omniscience is broken. Better have someone take a look at it. As an atheist I can say from experience that we get this all. the. time. “If there’s no God, why be moral? What’s to stop you from just running around raping and murdering at will? Without God to provide moral absolutes, it’s anything goes!” All. The. Time. Don’t believe me? Test my claim. Find a blog or forum where theists and atheists debate each other, to which you are not already registered. Create an account with the username “MoralAtheist” and post there pretending to be an atheist. If there’s enough theists for them to encounter your posts, and they’re not all Quakers or some other sort of outlier group, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll get the No Morality Without God argument in no time.

        John Clark wrote:

        “The Bible clearly teaches that you cannot be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ without sincere belief in Him, and this is The Only Way a human can be redeemed in The Most High’s sight.”

        Granting for the sake of discussion that this is so (some Christians, e.g. Rob Bell, would disagree), I can think of two possibilities: 1) These “rules” are something Yahweh had no choice about–he’s as trapped in this particular salvation-drama narrative as we are, and could not have done anything differently; or 2) Yahweh arbitrarily made up and instituted this particular rule set as opposed to any other (say, the Buddhist path to enlightenment or the ancient Egyptian way of entering the Fields of the Blessed as a glorified Akh in the next life).

        If (1), then Yahweh is not omnipotent, or even very powerful at all. He has to watch helplessly as most of the children he loves are damned for eternity because he couldn’t come up with a better way to communicate than a set of books written by human beings living in one little corner of the Middle East. Satan and “free will” have his hands tied, etc., and he did the best he could with the whole Jesus-died-for-your-sins thing. Omnipotence, by definition, cannot be limited to “Only One Way” to accomplish something. If (2), then he created a regime of everlasting torture for billions when he did not have to, and is therefore malevolent.

        Of course there’s a third option–not to grant for the sake of discussion that this is so, in which case it becomes obvious that the narrative is incompatible with the existence of a deity that is both omnipotent and perfectly good (or even “good” in a “decent next-door neighbor” sense).

        Liked by 3 people

      • thegodless says:

        You are mistakenly thinking that the article is responding to the best Christian arguments and reasons for such issues, when in fact it’s responding to the most common contradictions atheists run into when discussing atheism and religion with Christians. You might have more reasoning and logic than other Christians, but it doesn’t change the fact that many Christians believe in and try to use these common contradictions.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Peter says:

        “We know of Him only what He has revealed to us. Thus, what we assert of Him stems from that He has revealed. There are mysteries which remain. Knowledge He has not revealed. That’s no contradiction at all. Just ignorance on your behalf.”

        What nonsense. Nothing has been revealed to me. Maybe because there is nothing to reveal. What about people who have never heard of Jesus or the God of Abraham? Clearly it’s their fault that this God of yours never revealed himself to them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ‘Nobody ever said you can’t lead an ethical life without without (sic) belief in the supernatural.’ You mean apart from Ken Ham, who says it all the time? https://answersingenesis.org/search/?csrfmiddlewaretoken=nrndaK6rwGL0BAdU6fTQUhaKkVkD6PU0&site=AiGall&q=atheists+have+no+morals
        Wait, let me guess; the Hamsters not a real Christian (on account of his not agreeing with you).

        Like

    • John Clark says:

      @lordprivyseal……First of all, my apologies for not being as clear as I could have been. When I said that “nobody ever said a person could not have ethics without belief in the supernatural” I didn’t mean that those particular words, or that particular notion was never expressed by a theist before in all history. That’s my fault for assuming that everyone has the common sense and skill necessary for interpreting another person’s words. But what I mean by “Nobody ever said…..” is that that particular statement is not asserted authoritatively or dogmatically in Scripture. I mean…..if you read my post you’ll notice that what is written in Scripture is the basis on which I refuted Godless Mama’s alleged contradictions, not what other believers have said. The typical Christian doesn’t base his life on what other Christians say or think, but on what The Scriptures teach.

      And as far as your second statement, it only proves what I’ve been saying all along. You cannot legitimately attack The Bible without a solid understanding of it. What I mean is that when you make claims ABOUT The Bible that are contrary to what it actually says it aptly demonstrates your own ignorance and illiteracy of it. How can you refute something that you haven’t taken the time to fully understand? It proves that your rejection of it is predetermined. And on a side note, quoting to me what another professed believer said or thinks doesn’t count because many professed believers also believe and teach things that are contrary to what is written in Scripture. The Apostle Paul said that anyone who preaches a message that is different than the Mesaage he and the other apostles preached is an anathema.

      You classified what Scripture says about being conformed to the image of Jesus being the only way a person can be saved as “a rule”. WRONG!! It’s not a “rule” at all. What it’s called is “Divine Grace”. Like I said, in and of ourselves, we’re not good enough to meet His standard of morality. Jesus is. Therefore, our way to redemption is FOUND IN and PAVED THROUGH Jesus Christ. That’s generosity…..not a rule. Either you consciously accept it, or you consciously reject it. It’s Your decision. The reason you see it as being “a rule” in your mind is because you don’t like the idea of having to choose one or the other and being tethered to the consequence of choosing to reject it.

      Then you claimed that The Most High “instituted that rule” either because He had no other choice, or He did it just to be doing it. Wow! See, The Scriptures is The Foundation for what we Disciples of Christ believe, and I know for a fact that you didn’t get these two choices from anything found in the Scriptures. YOU made them up in a feeble attempt to advance a feeble point. You framed your argument within those two choices in order to make it more convenient for you to reject what I said, and in attempting to do so you’ve demonstrated your own ignorance on the matter. Just like Godless Mama did in her article. Just like many atheists have done time and time again.

      How about He demonstrated His generosity towards mankind in that manner because That’s what He consciously chose to do? How about He demonstrated His generosity towards mankind in that manner because that was the best and most fair course of action to take? I find it interesting that you would omit this “possibility” as an option that The Most High chose. No other choice? Arbitrarily? That’s unfounded!!!!!

      You need to understand this…..Yes, The Most High DOES love His creatures. That’s why He created them, that’s why He made the ultimate sacrifice to give them a chance at redemption, and that’s why He patiently endures all of the suffering and evil that happens day in and day out in this world. To give all people more time to come to a knowledge of Divine Truth that can transform them and save them from eternal damnation. He has gone WAY above and beyond to demonstrate that love He has for EVERYONE.

      However, those who persist in rejecting His love, His truth and His way are His sworn enemies. His hatred and wrath are stored up towards Those enemies (because of what they persist to do), and WILL BE unleashed undiluted! And it is not a contradiction at all for Him to love you enough to offer you an escape from His coming wrath, but hate you enough to fully and thoroughly administer it on you once you reject it once and for all. YOU DECIDE WHETHER YOU WANT THE GRACE…..OR THE WRATH. Once YOU make the decision to accept the wrath He’s not going to hesitate or hold back on giving it to you. Also, He’s not going to go off somewhere and suffer, feel remorse, or sob uncontrollably for doing what He did. He’s going to give you asked for. What you deserve. And after that He’s going to move on and lavish His presence and everlasting love on those who accepted His Grace and Generosity. This may not be what is taught in the “seeker-friendly” churches in America and the Western Hemisphere today, but it’s exactly what is taught in The Bible. And like I said…..The Bible is the true believer’s ONLY point of reference.

      Like

      • Colin says:

        And there we have it folks. You see John, I don’y see you as my sworn enemy and I’m not smacking my lips at your impending eternal torture. I just see you as some deluded guy who has choosen to subscribe to a magic man in the sky cult.

        The scriptures this, the scriptures that…Maybe you could enlighten us as to who wrote the sciptures, when they were written, when the bible was put together and who decided which scriptues made the grade and which were left out.

        Seems to me, if your god wanted to create a perfect account of his word, he’d have snapped his fingers and made it apppear.

        I feel you would have fared better in the dark ages John. The information age is upon us, people are educated, and the idea that an all powerful, all knowing god created a world that it knew was flawed and preceded to punish its creations for its own failing leads to the conclusion that these are the scribblings of iron age farmers trying to make some sense of the largly hostile and unexplained world in which they existed.

        Liked by 3 people

      • John Clark wrote:
        “When I said that “nobody ever said a person could not have ethics without belief in the supernatural” I didn’t mean that those particular words, or that particular notion was never expressed by a theist before in all history. That’s my fault for assuming that everyone has the common sense and skill necessary for interpreting another person’s words. But what I mean by “Nobody ever said…..” is that that particular statement is not asserted authoritatively or dogmatically in Scripture.”

        I congratulate you on your possession of telepathic superpowers. That must be nice. However, for us mere humans lacking such powers, it is impossible to read a phrase like ‘Nobody ever said’ and understand that its author really meant ‘It is not written anywhere in the Pyramid Texts.’ Especially in the context of the OP and this thread, which are about claims a particular set of people (monotheists) make, rather than the specific ‘authoritatively asserted dogmatic’ contents of any particular body of religious writings. So, when one of us mere human beings reads the phrase ‘nobody ever said’ in this context, our best available understanding is that it refers to the context in which your comment is found, i.e., ‘no theist ever said,’ rather than ‘it is not specifically written out anywhere in the text of canonical Christian Scripture.’

        John Clark wrote:
        “How about He demonstrated His generosity towards mankind in that manner because That’s what He consciously chose to do?”

        Here you’re suggesting that this particular creation/salvation/damnation scenario is exactly what he wanted, what he “consciously chose.” If he chose this particular creation scenario as his way to “demonstrate his generosity toward” [a tiny fraction of] humankind, then he had options. Could he have chosen an option that, for example, insures that all of his beloved children reach Heaven one way or another (say, people get reincarnated until they get it right), so he could have a 0% failure rate?

        “How about He demonstrated His generosity towards mankind in that manner because that was the best and most fair course of action to take?”

        OK, now you’re saying Yahweh was limited to this one particular option by the circumstances with which he was presented, that no better option existed despite his supposed perfect foreknowledge and omnipotence. He is bound by a kind of physics that makes it impossible for him to avoid the everlasting torture of billions of people he loves by, say, saving everyone somehow, choosing not to create destined-for-damnation people in the first place, or just not creating, period. Or any of an infinite number of other possibilities that omnipotence would present him with, by definition. Or does your sect of Christianity reject the whole “omnimax God” doctrine? We outsiders never can tell what unique doctrines any given Christian might present us with until they explain their particular One True Understanding of the One True Faith…

        “I find it interesting that you would omit this “possibility” as an option that The Most High chose. No other choice? Arbitrarily? That’s unfounded!!!!!”

        You don’t seem to be understanding my argument. You say that this is a “fallen, broken” world. Either Yahweh wanted it to be that way, or he didn’t, or he’s indifferent to its fallen/brokenness (I’ll take it as read that you reject the indifference option). That’s it, there are no other possibilities. On the one hand, you emphasize that he “consciously chose” for things to be as they are, implying that he wanted a fallen, broken world so he could “demonstrate his generosity” and exercise his “Divine Grace” in a particular way. In which case, it’s arbitrary; he could just as easily have chosen to make Buddhism true, or chosen to show his generosity in a way that didn’t require a fallen, broken world or everlasting damnation of anyone. On the other, you say that he made the best choice he could under the circumstances–and was thus incapable of doing better. He may not want the world to be fallen and broken or for billions of people to suffer in everlasting torment, but he doesn’t have a choice in the matter, he just plays the best hand he can with the cards he’s dealt.

        You’re straddling two contradictory positions. One the one hand, you want to emphasize that Yahweh is In Control, he’s got absolute power over everything, so its his choice. On the other hand, you don’t want him to be responsible for how screwed-up things are, so you present him as a hero struggling to make the best of a bad situation. But it’s one or the other. Gandalf can’t be both omnipotent and unable to defeat Sauron so that ‘send Frodo on a perilous journey to Mt. Doom while thousands die fighting legions of Orcs’ is his best possible option.

        “However, those who persist in rejecting His love, His truth and His way are His sworn enemies. His hatred and wrath are stored up towards Those enemies (because of what they persist to do), and WILL BE unleashed undiluted!”

        Really? Say, have you ever had romantic feelings for a girl or woman who did not reciprocate? If she said ‘no’ when you asked her out, did you declare her to be your sworn enemy, and set out to capture her and burn her to death slowly so that your wrath could be unleashed undiluted? Why not? Isn’t that the most holy, righteous, and pure way to respond when one doesn’t get one’s way?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Brien Doyle says:

        Here is the problem – You are making the usual erroneous ‘presumption’ that there is something which you have yet to prove exists, and then you make argument based on that false premise.
        I personally find that to be insulting to human intelligence and to the proper conduct of a debate.

        Like

      • Anne Obrian says:

        And right there is the contradiction, “his hatred and wrath are stored up toward those enemies” “you decide which you want the grace or the wrath”
        So on the one hand we have a loving God and on the other we have a hateful, wrathful God……which is it?

        Like

  3. Gerald Moore says:

    Oh my god! Such an excellent post. It’s hardly any wonder why you’ve not seen any theist objections yet. I came to the comments to see what the hell anyone could possibly say to refute you. Nada.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dennis Rains says:

    Well done Godless Mama! I found you through Hement’s site. I think you should do a podcast with him on this very subject. I too feel like its Ground Hog Day when an acquaintance learns of my atheism. Don’t you hate it when, to wrestle with the cognitive dissonance of realizing such a friendly and helpful neighbor is an atheist, they say something like, “Oh we all struggle with faith sometimes. I can see Jesus is working through you. You’ll come around”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. davebromage says:

    Love this. Excellently written – and I’ll be directing many theists towards it when experiencing my own Groundhog Days! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ben_jamin says:

    This is a fantastic article. I have had many of the same issues when confronting theists. Or rather they hear that I’m an atheist then try to “pray for me” then soon find out that I know their religion better than they do.

    Unsurprisingly I also seem to always get the stereotypical “are you angry at god?” Or the “it’s a phase but you’ll find your way back to jesus” and my favourite one “what happened to turn you away from god?”. They seem rather incredulous when I point out that I just came to the realisation myself and the more I thought of it, the more sense it makes. Just have to look at all religion from an objective point of view and it starts to become comical what the beliefs and traditions are….and of course how corrupt it all is and the sad truth that indoctrination has made otherwise intelligent people blindly follow what they’ve been told to. My parents were sad when I stopped believing in santa clause but you should have seen them when I stopped believing in jesus!!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great article. Absolutely right on all counts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Religious Contradictions Theists Just Can’t Stop Making | On Reddit

  9. Rasta Man says:

    I too found this through the Friendly Atheist site, and love, love the blog. Please keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for putting these points in a way that will comfort the atheists and discomfit the believers. And I hope it will get the theists sitting on the fence thinking about how they truly view the Universe and humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Fizbanic says:

    The one that gets me is when they state that the big bang cannot have happened as you cannot have something made from nothing. I then ask where god got everything to make the heavens and the earth and they either stammer to try to come up with an answer or the most popular answer is they say god made it appear (something made from nothing).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Loved this post, Hement directed me here as well. The main thing that bugs me the most often is when they try to use science to legitimize the power of prayer and use contradictory results. The result of the proof for prayer is either something extremely outlandish and is subject to interpretation, simply coincidental, or it’s told in a story that cannot be verified. The result of the failure of prayer also leads to God and they simply say it’s not part of His plan” etc. To quote Ricky Gervais “Random God or no God, what’s the difference?”

    Liked by 2 people

  13. #7 is among my favorites.

    I especially love the delicious irony of theists using their microcomputers to instantly send messages to the entire world via fiber optics and satellites telling us how science is bullsh*t…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wendy Ivers says:

    There are so many flaws in the reasoning of your essay that it is hard to know where to begin but I shall try with the first one and may come back to the others another day when I am less busy. 1) Explaining what god is or wants, then saying humans cannot understand god.
    Explaining what God is (i.e. the creator) or wants (us to live by the ten commandments and other moral practices) come from people/prophets who claim to have experienced divine revelation i.e. from a god who told them what he wanted – it is a completely separate issue from understanding God. You can know what people want or need from you without understanding them – the same goes for God. Even the example you use shows how shoddy your reasoning is – the earth is abundant with resources that can meet everyone’s physical needs. Man has the capacity to create a fair and just world where no one starves to death – it is therefore man and not God that is to blame for children starving to death.

    Like

    • Godless Mama says:

      If you claim to believe what those people/prophets say about god, and those people/prophets claim to understand god, then you are claiming to understand god. As far as children starving, how lovely of your god to stand by and let it happen. Thank you for being Exhibit A of my commentary on how religion causes people to rationalize human suffering.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tired of this argument says:

        I’m Christian, I’ve been on many trips to foreign countries delivering food and supplies to the poor. Have you? No need to answer, just something to think about.

        Like

      • Godless Mama says:

        And that proves the existence of god how, precisely? Guess it’s good that there are people who will work to undo what your god could’ve prevented in the first place.

        Liked by 1 person

      • wolfonakayak says:

        Well, here I was hoping that it would stay clean of people trying to come in and prove your points for you by way of presenting absurd logic. But no: of course not!

        So “Tired of this argument” had enough money and/or access to resources to take food to people in other countries. That’s awesome. I take food to people in my own community. I take tarps and socks to the homeless men who live across the street from me. God doesn’t care. I doubt my neighbors approve. I don’t care about the opinions of either–I just see that there are men trying to make it through a Wisconsin winter in the small woods of my park, and they are my neighbors, too.

        If I had money to travel to another country, which I do not, I would consult with some reputable NGO’s to see if they had access to better resources than I do, so that I could maximize the impact of my financial largess. When religions send missionaries or religious do-gooders to other countries to disperse food, they always seem to do it contingent on that potential to influence religiosity among the recipients. Why not cut costs on missionaries and instead spend that money on helping people who have no religious agenda, but who are highly trained in specialties desperately needed? Such as Doctors Without Borders during the Ebola crisis–my medically ignorant self would be of no use there, but contributing toward the maintenance and upkeep of a doctor or a nurse who is willing to go would be very, very useful. Great place to put that “missionary fund.” Then, alas, I would have no bragging rights on having traveled to other countries to do good … so sad.

        “Tired of this argument,” I do NOT mean to say you did no good in the world. I do mean to say, the method you used in doing so was largely influenced, not by the most efficient way to deliver compassionate aid, but by your conceptions of what YOU want in YOUR life. How was your mission viewed by your neighbors? “He’s awesome, he went to Africa to feed the poor!” How did your mission benefit you? You got to see sights and learn things you would never have learned or seen any other way. That is NOT a bad thing. But altruism is rarely fully altruistic. It takes DEEP honesty to admit this. Usually we do kind things for others partly because it makes us feel good–which is about *US,* not them; and there is also that component of favor-economy, where your good deeds are stacked up within your community, making it more likely that you can gain similar favors if ever you are in dire straits; and then there’s the social status that comes from committing good deeds. The greater your apparent sacrifice to commit those good deeds, the greater the increase in status–thus your self-aggrandizement and hubris in asking “Have you … been on trips to foreign countries delivering food and supplies to the poor …?”

        By the way, when I take stuff to the homeless dudes, I’m fully aware that I’m mostly just soothing the part of me that feels outrage and powerlessness at the unfairness in both their lives and mine. It’s a good thing to do, but it’s done primarily out of self-interest–“saving my soul” means that *I* go home to my warm bed and feel okay about *my* day.

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      • sheadtree says:

        GM, So you seem to have a natural tolerance, for people who agree with you. Is this blog space meant to be a place for friendly discussion or is simply meant to throw all Christians to the Lions? Please rest assured, I personally have no interest or ability to prove my god exists to anyone who has the door so tightly shut. However, when a Christian or another fellow human being takes it upon themselves to lesson someone eases suffering, I don’t expect applause but, because I value this behavior I offer respect, rather than condescension, unless this site is in fact meant to to be a metaphoric Coliseum of antiquity.

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      • Godless Mama says:

        I have no idea what you just said.

        Liked by 1 person

      • sheadtree says:

        really.
        I took the time to read all your dissertation, I am sure you can make sense out of something I said; but I think you answered my question. Selah.

        Like

    • That’s theoretically true in the modern world. What about antiquity? When crops failed across large swaths of land in the era before refrigeration, people starved, and there was nothing they or anyone else did directly to cause that. Occasionally it was the result of volcanic ash blocking out the light of the sun for a year or more, creating years with no summer. Sometimes it was as simple as a landslide diverting a river. By the same token, how do you explain disease? The last great smallpox epidemic happened in Montreal in the 1880’s, at least a hundred years after someone developed a rudimentary vaccine from cowpox; but before that, a large percentage of people who contracted smallpox died. Are they, or other humans, to blame for a virus that was particularly effective at killing people?

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Man has the capacity to create a fair and just world where no one starves to death.” Um—so does God. With a snap of his almighty finger.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Wendy Ivers wrote: “Explaining what God is (i.e. the creator) or wants (us to live by the ten commandments and other moral practices) come from people/prophets who claim to have experienced divine revelation i.e. from a god who told them what he wanted – it is a completely separate issue from understanding God.” (emphasis added)

      No it isn’t. Let’s unpack this a little. Let’s say you’re walking through the park one day, and somebody walks up to you. They say that they have received a communication from a deity commanding that you come with them to the top of a mountain, where you will sacrifice your child (or beloved pet, if you don’t have kids) to the deity. This person is claiming to understand a number of things about their alleged deity: 1) Deities talk to people, in particular, “special” “anointed” prophets such as him/herself, but not equally to everybody. 2) The deity says what it means. It it says “Go tell that woman to sacrifice her child/pet to me,” it actually wants the Prophet/-ess to go tell you to sacrifice your child/pet, and it actually means for you to obey (whether or not it intends to say “just kidding!” at the last moment). This, as opposed to the message being some kind of esoteric mystical allegory meant to encourage the Prophet/-ess to spend more time in meditation, or “really meaning” that you (or the Prophet/-ess) ought to give more to charity or some other “real meaning.” 3) There is no language or conceptual barrier between deity-mind and human-mind that could garble communications and make the deity’s message incomprehensible or misunderstood by the Prophet/-ess. 4) The “deity” is actually a deity, and not a demon or sprite or djinn or other sort of spirit-critter or schizophrenic hallucination. 5) the deity should actually be obeyed.

      If any one of those five things is false, the whole scenario of “deity reveals things about itself and/or its desires through special people” collapses. And here’s the thing: No theist has ever demonstrated that any one, much less all, of those things are true. Furthermore, the “method” (people hearing voices/seeing visions/whatever and saying they’re from deities) can’t work to demonstrate its own validity. Let’s say #4 is false: actual deities don’t talk to people (they’ve got god-stuff to do), but mischievous Fey do. There’d be no way for the poor Fey-deluded “Prophets and Prophetesses” to know that their “special revelations” aren’t coming from deities. They’d have to understand deities first, to know how deities would communicate with humans (if they would), what sort of things they would and wouldn’t say, and so on.

      GM’s argument stands.

      Like

  15. Wendy Ivers says:

    Can you explain to me how I have rationalised human suffering? In what way have I suggested that people starving to death is rational? It is you who is irrational for your are asking God to step in and fix something that man is perfectly able to fix themselves. It’s like asking a world class international football player to come in and play for a nursery school team. I’d also suggest it is entirely irrational to blame a god you don’t believe in for human suffering.

    Like

    • Godless Mama says:

      I don’t blame god because there is no god. I blame you, and people like you, for trivializing it with a shrug and a “meh, what are you gonna do?” And no, it’s not like football – we aren’t talking about a silly game, we are talking about children living and dying in agony. The fact that you’d use such an analogy only further demonstrates my point. You also forget that the god you think is all-powerful could have created humans so that they didn’t need to eat, or the planet so that there is never a shortage of food anywhere. Finally, it’s only in very recent history that people have, in fact, been able to produce food in such vast quantities or ship it to distant locations. Starvation precedes modern agriculture.

      Like

    • 1) It’s the omni triad: omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omniscient. Christians try to claim that God is all three. Jews, more logically, say, “Pick any two,” which still leads to a lot of problems but at least doesn’t paint them into the corner the Christians are in when they claim God has the power to stop evil, but doesn’t use it, and is somehow still perfectly good.
      2) We’re not blaming a god we don’t believe in for human suffering. We’re saying that, since there is human suffering and your god does not stop it, it’s a reason for disbelieving your particular version of god.

      Liked by 3 people

      • John Clark says:

        The problem with you atheists is that you don’t understand the will of The Most High. His purpose. You speak out of sheer ignorance. If you werent you wouldn’t make these ignorant arguments about Him ending human suffering. I’m going to say this one time, and one time only, so pay close attention and read my entire post carefully before you begin to try and refute what I am saying. Here goes…..We live in a fallen, broken world. Human suffering exists BECAUSE of this fallen broken world we live in. And unfortunately, it always will (that is, until Jesus returns and totally overthrows it). The Most High has no interest, I repeat…NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in trying to redeem or fix this broken world. He is ONLY interested in redeeming and fixing the people who live in it so we won’t suffer for eternity. So some suffering He allows for the sake of giving people more time to be spared this eternal damnation. This world will ultimately perish. The question you have to ask yourself is, If you’re going to perish along with it, or are you going to allow The Most High to redeem and fix YOU? Simple question.
        We have each been given the responsibility of caring for our fellow man who is suffering. The Most High has given us this responsibility. You can somehow blame those who suffer, you can blame politicians and governments, or you can blame The Most High Himself, but the reality is that if you’re not doing all you can do to help suffering people then YOU are guilty, and have no right to blame anyone else. Your blaming The Most High only shows you don’t really care SQUAT about those who are suffering, and that you are just exploiting them in your endeavor to condemn the idea of His existence, to condemn those who exercise faith in Him, and to justify your own disbelief. You’re a fraud who just uses suffering people to win an argument.
        But rest assured that at the appointed time The Most High will step in and intervene once and for all. He will reveal His Son to Each and every one of us. This present world will finally be destroyed, and all of those who rejected salvation and caused so much human suffering will be destroyed along with it. At that time human suffering will end and a new pristine world will be established with no sin, no sinners, and no human suffering. How does that make you feel?

        Like

      • John Clark wrote:

        “We live in a fallen, broken world. Human suffering exists BECAUSE of this fallen broken world we live in.”

        So, either: 1) Yahweh wanted the world to be “fallen and broken,” 2) Yahweh did not want the world to be “fallen and broken,” but could not prevent it, or 3) the existence of characteristics of reality you label as “fallen and broken” show that an entity with Yahweh’s alleged attributes (the “omni-triad”) does not exist.

        If (1), then Yahweh cannot escape responsibility for suffering. If (2), then Yahweh is not omnipotent. He could not craft a rule-set that would allow “free will” to exist without childhood leukemia, tornadoes, genocide (sometimes taking place allegedly at his own command, see Numbers 31) and everlasting torture also existing. He could not simply choose not to create given the horrific results of his own limitations (the more ethical option, if creation inevitably requires everlasting torment for billions).

        Therefore, Yahweh is either 1) malevolent, 2) helpless and trapped in a cruel reality not of his making, or 3) non-existent. Pick one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • John Clark says:

        @lordprivyseal……Smh. You do a terrible job of trying to frame an argument on your limited understanding of Who The Most High is, What He has done, and What He requires. In doing so you show that you feel His existence and His will should conform to YOUR BRAND OF LOGIC……as half-baked and lacking as it is. He isnt obligated to conform to your logic, it’s the other way around. That shows how arrogant you are.
        There is a 4th line of “reasoning” that either you conveniently omitted, or that has never even crossed your mind. That The Most High created mankind with a specific purpose in mind and with full responsibility, not only of his own actions, but also over his home…..the earth. He was created to rule the earth and exercise dominion over all other creatures. The Most High carefully explained to him the benefit of obeying His instructions, and the detriment of disobeying His instructions. He was thoroughly forewarned. And man’s conscious choice to disobey His instructions and go his own way resulted in the world being fallen and broken. Hence the conditions we live in til this day on this earth.
        You want a scenario where The Most High is guilty so you can justify your persistent rejection and unbelief. Therefore you limit your brain to arguments that yield only such a conclusion. I will not “pick one” of your rigged, half baked “conclusions”.
        It’s like I said before, The Most High isn’t the least bit interested in repairing this fallen and broken world. He’s only interested in repairing fallen and broken people to inhabit the new world that He’s promised to create. In this world there will be no sickness, no crime, no government corruption, no poverty and moral perversion. It’s not a matter of Him being able to repair this world or not, as you foolishly keep arguing. If He wanted to He could, but that wouldn’t stop unreformed, fallen and broken people from causing it to fall and break all over again. Or over and over again for that matter, would it? You’d put a bull in a China shop and let him run free. After he’s done immeasurable damage you’d restrain him just long enough to clean up the broken pieces and replace all of the lost China, then you’d untie him and give the same freedom to run amuck as he had before. Can’t you wrap your mind around just how ILLOGICAL that idea is? I wish you could.
        The Most High has people, resources and agencies in place to tend to human beings in need throughout the world. But because of the selfishness and depravity that persists to exist many people still continue to suffer. One day The Most High will intervene once and for all and rid the universe of this selfishness and depravity. Suffering will no longer exist, and untold millions of those people who suffered and died during their time on earth will be resurrected and will live forever in perfectly healthy bodies. Never again will there be any worries. They will be perfectly content. This is how The Most High has chosen to deal with human suffering. Doesn’t that give you hope for the future? It should. That is…..if you really are concerned about human suffering as you claim to be.

        Like

      • Godless Mama says:

        “One day The Most High will intervene once and for all and rid the universe of this selfishness and depravity. Suffering will no longer exist, and untold millions of those people who suffered and died during their time on earth will be resurrected and will live forever in perfectly healthy bodies. Never again will there be any worries. They will be perfectly content. This is how The Most High has chosen to deal with human suffering. Doesn’t that give you hope for the future?” This may be the best summary I have yet seen of what makes the theistic worldview so appallingly unethical and immoral. “God could stop suffering right now if he wanted to, but he prefers to allow it. One day he will kill us all, and the ones he deems worthy will finally be free of suffering while the rest of you burn for eternity in hell. Doesn’t that give you hope for the future?”

        Liked by 1 person

      • This is actually a reply to John Clark.

        You make a lot of assumptions in your post. For starters, you assume I don’t know enough about Christianity to know what the Christian’s reply would be to my argument. On the contrary, I grew up in the Church, with minister parents, and studied for the ministry myself.

        Second, you’re assuming that you have the right interpretation. For every person who has the same view of God’s will that you have, there are thousands upon thousands of others, living or stretching back into history, who believed differently. What evidence do you have that your interpretation is correct? The Bible can be used to support dozens of those interpretations, including yours but certainly not limited to it. If you can’t provide evidence that doesn’t boil down to you making a choice based on the beliefs you were raised with and/or studied, then your interpretation has no more validity than any other.

        Third, I don’t need to justify my disbelief. Unlike you, I’m not any kind of evangelist. I don’t care what you believe, so long as you’re not trying to make me live by it or curtailing my rights in light of your morality. You say your god doesn’t care about alleviating suffering in this world. I say that makes me more moral than your god, because I do, without reference to the beliefs of the people I help.

        Lastly, lose the patronizing tone, please. You might think I’m an idiot, but believe me, I return the favour and still manage not to insult you with every word.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mitch Mills says:

      she didn’t blame god for human suffering, she said how good of your god to prevent it. How would asking god to prevent starvatyion be like asking a world reknown soccer player to play little league? Are you saying that there are other, better forms of life that god has created, that are good enough for him to play for? While at the same time saying that we are the center of the universe? God created everything for us, but not really?/ You are so close all you can see is the trees and not the forest. And with everything you say you make her arguments for her.

      Like

    • Wendy Ivers wrote:

      “It is you who is irrational for your are asking God to step in and fix something that man is perfectly able to fix themselves. It’s like asking a world class international football player to come in and play for a nursery school team.”

      This presupposes a finite deity. “S/he’s too busy, too lofty, too far away. Run along now, little human, and find your own solutions to childhood leukemia and climate change.” Except, that’s not the sort of deity you guys are advertising, is it? You’re claiming that Yahweh is omnipotent and omnipresent, right here, right now, and cares deeply about every individual person’s every thought. For awhile at least, he was intensely interested in policing what kinds of fabric people wore, what the males did with their beards, that they not eat shrimp wrapped in bacon (“an abomination unto the LORD!”), and what they did on Saturdays. He supposedly lost interest in most of that, but still has great interest in regulating human mating habits (while letting the black widow spiders and bonobo chimps do as they please).

      If the famous football player spends all his time complaining about how badly the nursery school kids play, and beats them up when they can’t play on a world-class international level after pitting them against a world-class international team (analogous to Yahweh supposedly pitting us humans against Satan and his army of immortal supervillains), then yeah, he damn well ought to get out there and play.

      “I’d also suggest it is entirely irrational to blame a god you don’t believe in for human suffering.”

      That’s not what we’re doing. If someone claims they’ve got a woolly mammoth in their living room, we would expect to observe certain things if we went into their living room. In particular, that most of the space is being taken up by a gigantic beast of a particular type. If we go in, and see no mammoth, we’re not “blaming” the mammoth for not taking up space, we’re rejecting the person’s claim.

      In like manner, if an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omni-benevolent deity existed, such a thing would be too big and powerful and knowledgeable to leave room for suffering to exist. It couldn’t want people and animals to suffer (that would make it malevolent), and it couldn’t fail to prevent suffering because it couldn’t fail, period. Thus: suffering, therefore no omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omni-benevolent deity.

      Note: the existence of suffering does not preclude the existence of smaller, weaker, and/or less benevolent deities. They could all be living on the far side of Arcturus and we’d never know. OTOH, we’d still have no legitimate reason to believe in them.

      Like

    • jh says:

      But god did do that. According to the bible, your god provided food for his people while they were in the desert. (Remember 40 years in the desert?) Why didn’t he bother with all the other people,especially, if, as you say, he wants to have a special “relationship” with us?

      And for that matter, why didn’t your god demand that his people “the blacks in the US” be free and send plagues to ensure that the blacks were freed?

      there are verses that state that what you ask for, you will be granted. We have miracles of people coming back from the dead, the blind being able to see, the lame being able to walk, healing people from poisonous snakebites by looking at a snake replica affixed to a pole . If your god could get all close and personal then, why can’t he do it now?

      In the end, why do we need any god if the end result is that we have to fend for ourselves? God, as an idea, is a very bad idea because it negates responsibility and blames the victim.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Wendy Ivers says:

    And by the way I’m not a fan of institutionalized religion – it has long been corrupted by people who clearly have no belief in or fear of God.

    Like

  17. Wendy Ivers says:

    i@m outta here you have the most immense capacity to twist and turn and manipulate what other people have said to suit your own rage at the god you don’t believe in.

    Like

  18. Wendy Ivers says:

    when last did you feed someone who was starving?

    Like

    • Godless Mama says:

      And that is relevant how?

      Like

    • Actually, last week with a big donation to the food bank, and monthly with a cash donation. Your point?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Loqi says:

      Just today, in fact. My house guest lost her job and her apartment and struggles with mental illness. So I opened my home to her. She’s welcome to stay for as long as it takes for her to get back on her feet. And she’s not the first person I’ve taken in. The last one stayed for 3 years while I helped her go back to school and get a biology degree. I’ve paid peoples’ medical bills (unbeknownst to them), funded escapes from abusive relationships, and more. It has cost me tens of thousands of dollars over the years, but I couldn’t be happier doing it.

      Of course, as Godless Mama says, that’s all irrelevant to the question of whether there’s a god or not. Existence is determined by evidence, not by who donates the most money. If you don’t have empirical, verifiable evidence, then you have nothing and shouldn’t expect us to believe you.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Edan Burg says:

      so your response is the equivalent of “QUICK LOOK OVER THERE” while hastily making for the nearest exit

      Liked by 1 person

    • Why do you hold human beings (who have finite resources, knowledge, capabilities, etc.) to a higher standard of morality and care than you hold your supposedly perfect god to? IOW: “It’s OK for Yahweh to sit with folded arms and watch kids die of leukemia because Mysterious Ways, but you, puny human, really ought to try and do something for them.” Could it be because you already know that Yahweh can’t do anything more for them than Dumbledore can?

      Don’t you find it at least a little odd that Jesus (if he existed) could preach the Parable of the Good Samaritan…and then behave exactly like the Levite and the Priest he condemns in that parable–every single day for thousands of years?

      Liked by 2 people

  19. wolfonakayak says:

    Well, here I was hoping that it would stay clean of people trying to come in and prove your points for you by way of presenting absurd logic. But no: of course not!

    So “Tired of this argument” had enough money and/or access to resources to take food to people in other countries. That’s awesome. I take food to people in my own community. I take tarps and socks to the homeless men who live across the street from me. God doesn’t care. I doubt my neighbors approve. I don’t care about the opinions of either–I just see that there are men trying to make it through a Wisconsin winter in the small woods of my park, and they are my neighbors, too.

    If I had money to travel to another country, which I do not, I would consult with some reputable NGO’s to see if they had access to better resources than I do, so that I could maximize the impact of my financial largess. When religions send missionaries or religious do-gooders to other countries to disperse food, they always seem to do it contingent on that potential to influence religiosity among the recipients. Why not cut costs on missionaries and instead spend that money on helping people who have no religious agenda, but who are highly trained in specialties desperately needed? Such as Doctors Without Borders during the Ebola crisis–my medically ignorant self would be of no use there, but contributing toward the maintenance and upkeep of a doctor or a nurse who is willing to go would be very, very useful. Great place to put that “missionary fund.” Then, alas, I would have no bragging rights on having traveled to other countries to do good … so sad.

    “Tired of this argument,” I do NOT mean to say you did no good in the world. I do mean to say, the method you used in doing so was largely influenced, not by the most efficient way to deliver compassionate aid, but by your conceptions of what YOU want in YOUR life. How was your mission viewed by your neighbors? “He’s awesome, he went to Africa to feed the poor!” How did your mission benefit you? You got to see sights and learn things you would never have learned or seen any other way. That is NOT a bad thing. But altruism is rarely fully altruistic. It takes DEEP honesty to admit this. Usually we do kind things for others partly because it makes us feel good–which is about *US,* not them; and there is also that component of favor-economy, where your good deeds are stacked up within your community, making it more likely that you can gain similar favors if ever you are in dire straits; and then there’s the social status that comes from committing good deeds. The greater your apparent sacrifice to commit those good deeds, the greater the increase in status–thus your self-aggrandizement and hubris in asking “Have you … been on trips to foreign countries delivering food and supplies to the poor …?”

    By the way, when I take stuff to the homeless dudes, I’m fully aware that I’m mostly just soothing the part of me that feels outrage and powerlessness at the unfairness in both their lives and mine. It’s a good thing to do, but it’s done primarily out of self-interest–“saving my soul” means that *I* go home to my warm bed and feel okay about *my* day.

    Like

  20. RozMelitzana says:

    Although the theist arguments on this one are for sure confusing, the author’s counterarguments and observations are childish to say the least. The author is accusing theists of monotony and repetition but she is just pointing out her antithesis to their beliefs instead of offering a reasonable argument. Debating for the sake of debating is a waste of time for both parties.

    Like

    • Godless Mama says:

      What do you mean by offering a reasonable argument? An argument for what? The article isn’t intended to disprove god or to prove anything else; it’s to point out how theism requires inconsistency and contradiction.

      Like

  21. Dave Martin says:

    I won’t offer a point by point refutation of this article, but will simply offer two clarifications that make your arguments utterly ridiculous. On point one (and partially point two), I know of no theists who would say “We are mere mortals and can’t expect to understand His ways. You can’t apply human standards to god.” An appropriate and common answer would be that God indeed has provided all humanity 9and all created creatures) everything they need to survive. How we allocate those resources is up to us. That carries us to the point two (and three) part of rationalizing suffering, and further to free will. What would be the point of creating beings, and then deciding everything for them? One cannot interact with a creation that is totally and completely controlled by he creator. The results of free will are often suffering, but many times the results can be beautiful as well. Of course that is not to say that free will is the only cause of suffering. Some suffering is inescapable and part of what it means to be alive. evolutionists might argue that when we feel pain we learn from it, and try to avoid it, and so suffering is a necessary part of our existence. if we don’t suffer we don’t grow.
    On point 9 of cherry picking. Of course the Bible, or any sacred text should be read as a whole, and exegetically for the context within which it was written. Some passages taken out of context can completely change the meaning of what is being narrated. Could you pull a quote from “Huckleberry Finn” like:” It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a n***er”? And then conclude from that one line that Mark Twain was a racist? Only when reading it context can we understand Twain’s real motivations.

    I have no objections to atheists, you cannot force someone to believe something nor would I want to. I know many good and decent atheists. My objection is not with what you do or do not believe, but rather that your post is riddled with logical fallacies and appears to be written by a sophomoric liberal arts student with a chip on their shoulder.

    Like

    • Godless Mama says:

      You know of no theists who would say that? How odd, seeing as how I copied & pasted that from a comment by a theist, and it was one of many similar ones that I’ve personally experienced, almost verbatim. It’s typical of theists such as yourself who lay claim to “sophisticated theology” to deny that there are any among your ranks who are less sophisticated, but alas, data continues to show that there are more like the ones I describe than of the “sophisticated” stripe. And your Huck Finn analogy is apples to oranges – that’s a coherent story written by a single person and in which the characters are described consistently throughout the text; we aren’t told in one chapter that Huck is a poor orphan, for example, then told in another chapter that he had wealthy parents. Furthermore, context is irrelevant, or at least insufficient, to resolve all of the contradictions in scripture.

      The inevitable accusations that criticisms of religion are not sufficiently sophisticated never fail to amuse. “Sophistication” is required only because the claims of religion are so manifestly absurd, and so elaborate intellectual dishonesty is required to justify and rationalize belief. The more you attack objections as “sophomoric” the more you betray the absurdity of that which you defend.

      Like

      • Dave martin says:

        mmmm, no sorry, a few vocal and ignorant theists do not speak for the billions world wide. I didn’t say that no theist would say that, just that I don’t know any, and as a person actively involved in a faith community, I suspect I probably know a bit more about what we believe.

        As for the Huck Finn analogy, it stands, you have done nothing to diminish the argument. Each individual “book” in the Bible is written by a particular author. What you and many do not know is that many books (especially Old Testament) have been heavily redacted over the centuries, and should ….again… be read in the context of when it was written, and understood from the cultural perspective of its time, and as a whole in that light.

        What’s so “absurd” about the concept of a deity? Religion needs no false “sophistication” to bolster its claims. Religion has ben and continues to be the source of ethical thinking and underpinning of higher education. The greatest Universities in the world started out as schools of religion. The big bang theory was composed by a catholic priest trying to understand Universal origins. Has religion tried suppress science? of course, but “god” as you might say has never, in any world religion, encouraged the oppression and restriction of learning and understanding. Religious thinking is far more sophisticated than you might imagine, and yes there are very small minded people as well, I assure they are in the very vocal minority.

        Unlike many theists I feel no urgency to convince you that God exists. I have found that is a fruitless waste of time, and leaves both sides frustrated. I do however have a problem with hyperbole and ignorance. That kind of rhetoric diminishes everyone, and meanwhile Rome is burning. How is your blog, ranting about how you see religion as ridiculous and backward, helping to solve world hunger? How is the time you spend here complaining about us theists encouraging rational dialogue with other cultures and communities? Thesis aren’t the only ones you should be blaming for the worlds ills… look closely at your own suspect motives. Peace, and I wish you well in the future.

        Like

  22. Godless Mama says:

    I know at least as much about the history of the bible as you do (why do Chrustians always assume people criticize scripture because they’re ignorant?). You make my argument for me when you admit the bible was written and rewritten by numerous authors over centuries and repeatedly redacted by those with their own agendas and no first-hand knowledge of the events about which they wrote. These facts make scripture less legitimate, not more. Further, you straw-man my argument by claiming I’m saying the existence of a deity is absurd. My claim is that the existence of YOUR deity is absurd. There’s a huge difference between theism and deism, so your attempt to misrepresent my position does not work.

    With regard to helping the world, the eradication of religion is the single most effective means of improving the problems you lament. Religion is a poison that causes far more suffering than it alleviates.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Freed says:

    There is a lot to take issue with in this article but I will just address the first couple of points. But before that, there is a difficulty with the title: none of the ten points made by the author are contradictions, at best, they would be inconsistencies. A contradiction occurs when two logically incompatible propositions are held to be true. For example, God exists and God does not exist are mutually exclusive beliefs, they are logically incompatible. But we’ll let this slide as just a matter of colourful language.

    1. Explaining what god is or wants, then saying humans cannot understand god.

    The fundamental error here is that having some knowledge of God implies having all knowledge of God. Why think that because we may know some things about God that we should know all things? We would never take this sort of approach with a fellow human being let alone God. For example, I might know what my wife wants to have for dinner (because, say, she has revealed it to me), but I may not have any idea what she would like for breakfast the next day.

    So why make such an obvious error in thinking? The reason seems to be found here:

    “If we can’t apply human standards to god when it comes to figuring out why he lets children starve, why can we apply human standards to establish that he loves us, is just and merciful, and will provide? By what means do you ascertain these attributes in the first place if not by human standards? God is either knowable or he isn’t; you either understand him or you don’t.”

    Aside from the lack of clarity for what it means to “apply human standards” to establish some piece of knowledge about God, there seems to be an accusation of inconsistent use of our reasoning. Apparently if we can deduce some piece of knowledge about God, then we can deduce *all* knowledge about God. Obviously, there’s no reason to think this is true. Perhaps this is due to the ignorance the author demonstrates of how theists have built their understanding of God.

    Firstly there is a compete neglect of the role that special revelation plays in the development of christian doctrine. Christians believe that God has spoken and revealed something of himself to us, such as his desire that all people would be saved. The atheist might raise all sorts of objections to this, but that would be to miss the point: just because God reveals something of himself, there is no reason to think that he would reveal all things to us.

    Secondly, philosophers and theologians have supplemented God’s special revelation rough conceptual analysis of what it means for a being to be maximally great. Again, this may allow us to know *some* additional aspects of God’s nature but there’s no reason to suppose we should be able to deduce *everything* about God.

    2. Claiming that god loves us all, then rationalizing human suffering.

    The amount of theistic thought that has been poured into understanding evil and suffering is enormous. Yet how is this immense corpus of thought summarised? “Theists most often dismiss human suffering by victim-blaming – declaring that our own free will causes us to make bad choices, which cause us to suffer as a result.” This is such an inept, warped interpretation of what theists traditionally *have* said in response to evil and suffering that it hardly warrants a response. But I will give the author the benefit of the doubt that they genuinely have heard such a thing said by theist before.

    Let’s clarify the issue. The claim that evil and suffering somehow serve as evidence against the existence of God is an atheistic argument. This means it is up to the atheist to carry the argument through, all the theist needs to do to defeat the argument is show that a) it’s either false or b) there’s no good reason to accept the premises as true. Appealing to human free will takes the latter approach. The response would typically go as follows: given God’s desire to create beings that would freely enter into a loving relationship with him, it may not be feasible to create a world with such creatures in it, who would not freely choose to do evil and cause suffering. If such an account is possible, then there is no reason to think that the existence of evil and suffering is incompatible with the existence of a loving God, he simply may have sufficient reason for allowing such evil to exist.

    This last alleged “contradiction” illuminates the problem with majority of the article: a lack of understanding of what classical theists actually believe. It is a lame approach to tear down straw men, but there’s not much more to see here than that.

    Like

    • Freed wrote: “The response would typically go as follows: given God’s desire to create beings that would freely enter into a loving relationship with him, it may not be feasible to create a world with such creatures in it, who would not freely choose to do evil and cause suffering.”

      Therefore, “Heaven” is impossible, right? Unless Yahweh takes away the “free will” of the “saved,” thereby defeating his alleged purpose in “saving” them in the first place. In “Heaven,” you’ll just be a drone chanting “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord who was and is and is to come” over and over and oooovvverrrrr again, like those poor Lovecraftian monsters in Revelation Chapter 4. Sounds kinda like Hell to me, but hey, it’s your fantasy afterlife.

      One big problem you guys have is that you try to claim that Yahweh is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent (I’ll shorten this to “omnimax”)–and then posit him as the hero of a dramatic story, fighting against a supervillain (Satan) over the salvation/damnation of human beings. An omnimax automatically, by definition, destroys any story it’s in. Imagine, for example, Star Wars, if Obi-Wan Kenobi was an omnimax. Why would Leia need to bring the Death Star plans to him? He already knows everything. If he wants to rescue her, or render the Death Star harmless, why not just snap his fingers? And if he deliberately lets Grand Moff Tarkin blow up Alderaan, and Darth Vader “kill” him (he respawns 3 days later, naturally), and all those Rebel pilots die blowing up the Death Star (killing countless janitors, cafeteria workers, and technicians who had no choice over whether the superlaser would be fired or not, and may not even have known that it existed as part of the station they worked on)–then how does he have no responsibility for the death and carnage he chose to permit in the service of his Great Big Plan?

      Yahweh is the anti-Spiderman. With infinite power, comes zero responsibility.

      Like

  24. trippyeggos says:

    The things is you can’t have justice and have mercy both. It’s either one or the other.

    Like

  25. john clark says:

    This article is bogus because it gives impressionable atheists the false idea that the answers cited within are the only (or best) answers that believers have to give. Trust me….they aren’t. Another thing that makes this article so bogus is the false assumptions and misconceptions that are housed within the atheistic objections themselves. For example, nobody ever said that its impossible to live an ethical life without belief in the supernatural. Drug dealers have SOME ethics. Hit men have SOME ethics. Hitler had SOME ethics. We’re taught in Scripture that its impossible TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF JESUS CHRIST WITHOUT SINCERE BELIEF IN HIM AND THE ONE WHO SENT HIM. This is what The Most High requires for salvation. Your ethics, however sincere they are, aren’t good enough to get you eternal life in The Most High’s Kingdom because you’re not perfect. None of us are. You have a propensity for moral depravity within you just like the rest of us do. Thats why He has ordained that we qualify via Jesus’ credentials. If you reject Jesus you have no chance. This is succinctly what our faith teaches us. Another misconception is the one where you say Theists assert what The Most High wants on the one hand, then on the other hand we say we don’t know all there is to know about Him. This is not a contradiction at all! Its the truth, 100%. All we know of Him is what He has revealed to us. Anything He hasn’t revealed to us remains unknown to us. I mean….thats just common sense. So as long as we speak from the well of what He has revealed to us WE CAN assert what He wants and requires. Anything outside of what He has revealed remains a mystery, and there are many, many mysteries. The objections pertaining to human suffering, however, are not a mystery. The Bible answers these objections in a clear and coherent manner. You’ve probably discussed these topics with Theists who just aren’t very experienced apologists. As a matter of fact, your objections on human suffering show that you know absolutely nothing about The Most High, or His will for mankind and the earth. If you’re going to attack something you should at least take the time to learn more about what it is you’re attacking. Your article doesn’t condemn The Most High or Theists (Well….in your mind and the minds of other atheists it does) so much as it does you, because it exposes your ignorance. And I don’t use “ignorance” as an insult, you just don’t really know. I would love to discuss each and every one of these objections with you personally, in a respectable manner.

    Like

    • Godless Mama says:

      Every single theist who has objected to this article has said some variation of this: That I just don’t understand, that I am ignorant of scripture or apologetics or theology, that I have only ever been exposed to shoddy atheistic reasoning, that I make claims about what theists say that no theist actually says. Indeed, this ad hominem is perhaps the single most common response I see to all criticisms of monotheistic religion, including criticisms by people who have advanced degrees in religious studies, who spent most of their lives as devout believers, even of people who went to seminary and served as clergy. And thus it is without irony that you say, “You’ve probably discussed these topics with Theists who just aren’t very experienced apologists,” not realizing that in saying so you betray the very weakness of your own argument by admitting that one must be an “experienced apologist” to make Christian doctrine (or any monotheistic doctrine, for that matter) appear coherent. The claims of theism are manifestly preposterous. The more one learns about the origins of these doctrines and the more one studies their inconsistencies and contradictions, the more preposterous they appear, not the less. If they cannot stand on their own without elaborate rationalization, that should tell you something.

      Like

      • John Clark says:

        There is yet another flawed assumption in your reasoning, and that is that just because a person has degrees he is an expert theologian and Bible scholar. That’s really a silly assumption to make seeing that all scientists don’t have the same skill and talent. All teachers don’t have the same skill and talent. All Quarterbacks out of college don’t have the same skill and talent. Etc. Etc. All I’m saying to you, Godless Mama, is that these 10 points you deem “theistic contradictions” are, to me, apologetics 101, and I’m just a typical believer with no seminary education or training. I have read the responses by other theists, and they have done a very solid job of refuting your article. Therefore, I would find it hard to respect any educated theolgian who woukd struggle answering these elementary objections. The only people you impress are other atheists who are equally ignorant. Look…..If you knew Just an inkling of Scripture you wouldn’t have listed the so called contradiction about us knowing what The Most High requires on some things, but not knowing other things about Him. Deuteronomy 29:29 says,

        “The secret things belong The LORD our Elohim, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”

        And this is a well known Bible verse. Yet, you show by listing your so called contradiction that you really don’t know. YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY KNOW. An informed critic claiming that Theistic beliefs are preposterous would hold significantly more weight than an uninformed critic making that same claim. You’ve aptly demonstrated that you are in that uninformed category. It’s also silly that you would say that because elaboration is needed for Scripture it takes away from its validity somehow. Smh. I can’t believe you said that. How many great pieces of literature have been dissected and elaborated upon by scholars? How many published scientific theories have been dissected and elaborated upon? How many historical events have been analyzed and elaborated upon? Politics, Law, Sports, News Stories, etc, etc, all find room for in-depth analysis and elaboration. Like I said, I would like for us to go through these objections one by one.

        Like

      • Godless Mama says:

        “Just because a person has degrees he is an expert theologian and Bible scholar. An informed critic claiming that Theistic beliefs are preposterous would hold significantly more weight than an uninformed critic making that same claim.” Behold, another contradiction.

        Like

      • John Clark says:

        @Godless Mama……Sorry, but there is no contradiction in what I wrote. You clearly misinterpreted what I said, which doesn’t suprise or offend me at all. It’s typical of the atheist. Plus it coincides with the content of your article. The second quote of mine which you cited was clearly meant to demonstrate that YOU (Godless Mama) ARE NOT an informed critic, but are an UNINFORMED CRITIC. I say this based on the misconceptions and the uninformed conclusions you have drawn in your article. Being as uninformed as you are your arguments (and your status as a critic) lacks merit. The fact that Theists have come and offered solid refutations to your alleged contradictions only prove how uninformed you really are. I have debated with atheists (critics) and agnostics who are far more informed when it comes to Scripture than you are, that have come up with weightier alleged contradictions than you, and have provided weightier arguments than yours. You’re So obviously Biblically Illiterate, but you reject The Bible as Divinely Inspired. How can that be?

        Like

      • John Clark wrote:

        ‘“The secret things belong The LORD our Elohim, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”’ (emphasis added)

        Except…you don’t actually “follow all the words” of that law, do you? Because Yahweh supposedly changed his mind on that. Apparently, he didn’t really mean “forever” when he said “forever.” No doubt you can conjure an elaborate set of theological loop-o-planes and spaghetti logic to bob and weave and Matrix-dodge your way around your own “scripture,” but that just goes to demonstrate one of GM’s points, that there is no correct interpretation of “scripture”–it’s whatever each individual theist wants it to be. Thus allowing each individual theist to enjoy the feeling of having their own, personal, idiosyncratic beliefs be Perfect, Infallible Divine Revelation. Being a perfect infallible Deity must feel nice; too bad it’s only in your head.

        Like

  26. john clark says:

    I would love to discuss these so called contradictions with you one by one.

    Like

  27. johnnyvoxx says:

    Meh. Strawman after strawman.

    Like

  28. teej01 says:

    LOL

    All of those are so true. I like how the person claiming you DON’T need a belief in the supernatural as you claimed, then goes on to say how you have to believe in Jesus, (a supernatural being)…instead.

    Those who are not biblical experts, but who were GIVEN “the correct interpretation” then argue as if only the interpretation they were given is incorrect, and any one who disagrees is biblically illiterate.

    If they read the bible, consulted concordia, etc…they may think of themselves as experts, or at least literate…but, their readings, in my experience, tend to be simple confirmation of what they were told. They rarely if ever find a new meaning or interpretation that is in conflict with what they were taught…typically, mere reinforcement. (IE: Confirmation bias)

    The ones who DO study the most, and DO find conflicting interpretations, tend to be the ones who then drop out of seminary school, etc.

    As far as christians, the most amusing thing to me at least, is that they commonly (IE: Not all, just many of the ones who are not catholics for example) will say that they don’t believe that the Pope is god’s representative here on earth.

    That might make them a protestant for example…

    The meat of the issue is that the ONLY party that said the new testament was the word of god…is the catholic church.

    They claimed that god essentially whispered the words into the scribes ears, so, it was all devinely inspired, etc.

    So, none of the bible was written during the times the events were alleged to transpire…with even the earliest writings being from almost 100 years AD.

    If you don’t trust the Catholic Church, and believe THEM to BE god’s representatives here on earth…wtf makes you think the book they sold you is trust worthy?

    Because they SAID it is? IN the book? 😀

    So you believe the BOOK they sold you is 100% right, but don’t believe the source is who they claim to be?

    If they are NOT who they claim to be, then, who whispered to whom?

    Why was there no town of Nazareth back when Jesus needed to be born there? Wouldn’t god have known that?

    The town DID exist by the time they were writing the bible though…so, as a story being written, the town was in a good spot to have things happen in…by the WRITERS didn’t know it wasn’t there yet…and, well, a good continuity editor would have been nice, instead of a fabricated omniscient author who wasn’t.

    And so forth…The bible is considered holy because people you didn’t trust said it was….and you bought it hook like and sinker.
    😀

    ETC.

    Like

  29. theidi0t says:

    I decided to take a stab at it, ignoring probably 2 questions, that didn’t really interest me.

    //1. Explaining what god is or wants, then saying humans cannot understand god.//

    Not really a contradiction, because pretty much every believer would point out that we can understand certain things about God through his revelation, while maintaining that some aspects that are not revealed to us can remain unknown. We can only know what God has made us privy to through his revelations.

    //2. Claiming that god loves us all, then rationalizing human suffering.[/quote//

    Not a contradiction, unless you believe that allowing suffering negates love. While many liberal secularist may believe that, most theist likely don’t. Nor does it seem that the self-identfying humanist is an emblem of what it mean to love. You might look at Dawkins as what it means to be Loving human being, while the believer would see that in Christ.

    //3. Pretending that free will and a divine plan are not mutually exclusive.//

    If atheists like Dennett and others can be compatibilist, then theist can believe in a divine plan and free will.

    //4. Behaving hatefully, then saying “god bless.”//

    Well, that probably could be true, but depends on whether your assessment that a person was behaving out of hatred was accurate, and that if the reason for him saying “god bless” you was to rile you up. The tendency among people is to see their own actions as based on love, and the opposing parties as based on hatred, and vice versa.

    All of of this would be about truly understanding the intentions behind a person’s behavior, which is easier said than done, a bastion for misrepresentations and prejudices.

    //5. Declaring god as the source of objective morality, then interpreting scripture.//

    You don’t understand objective morality. Nor does objective morality imply a deontological frame of reference. Virtue Ethics is a form of objective morality. Nor does knowing what is right and wrong require a person to be a believer. As the bible itself claims, the moral law is intrinsic, written in our hearts. In fact Paul observes that gentiles who had no book, were behaving morally, because of the intrinsic nature of morality. We have a sort of core morality, that often serves as the basis of everything else, what we accept as given, so much so that we rarely if ever dispute it, in which our moral claims are built upon.

    //10. Claiming membership in one of thousands of sects of religion as authority for telling non-believers why our interpretation of religion is wrong.//

    You can read a book a hundred times, but that doesn’t mean you understand it. Hearing most atheists talk of religion, not just christianity, but pretty much any religion, is often face-palm inducing. While many self identifying atheists were former believers primarily when they where younger, they tend to also belong to particular socio-economic background, predominately western, predominately white, more male than female. Religion primarily was a dress thrown on top of them that was never really a good fit. You’re likely not going to be illuminating much in regards to religion, as your own singular set of experiences. You could tell us next nothing about the folks you label as bronze age goat herders, because their sense of life, shared by many past and present, are the sort you are unable to relate or empathize with to understand.

    Like

    • Colin says:

      1. Very convenient. On the one hand your god wants you to obey him laws as interpreted by the theocratic hierarchy i.e. the clergy, on the other hand ask a question like ‘why do so many people die in floods?’ and the answer is ‘you cannot know god’s will.’

      2. ‘Not a contradiction, unless you believe that allowing suffering negates love. While many liberal secularists may believe that, most theists likely don’t.’ – very true, just ask mother Teresa.🙂

      3. Bad argument, my reply is one that all children will have heard – if Dennett jumped of a bridge would you do the same?

      4. Yeah, I’m sure everyone that’s got into a debate with a theist has at some point got the – just you wait, my all loving god has got a place for you, and I’m going to watch you burn – treatment. I always find it really hard to decipher their intentions🙂

      5. I think you did the job for me on this one – people have an intrinsic sense of morality, no need for god.

      10. You can read Harry Potter a thousand times, that doesn’t mean you understand it, I think that’s the gist of your argument. ‘many self identifying atheists were former believers primarily when they where younger’ – no, they were born into a religion, based on geography, grow up, got an education, and started asking questions.

      And you finish with the basis of religion – apparently you know how people who had no knowledge of physics or chemistry viewed life back then, and it is us who cannot understand or relate to what you know to be fact.

      The facts as I see them are this, 2000 years ago, it might had made sense to think there was a magic man is the sky that was destroying crops because he was angry, slaughtering people with floods and volcanoes because they displeased him – I don’t’ blame them, back then, with no education or understanding of natures laws I probably would have been a believer too. But to hold on to such archaic believes in the face of scientific progress and understanding takes breathtaking ignorance.

      Like

  30. Brent says:

    Very well written and incisive article! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Pingback: Ten Contradictions Theists Just Can’t Stop Making | Godless Mama | Rationally Thinking Out Loud

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