Over at the Pembroke Daily Observer there’s an article by one Reverend Eric Strachan in which he ponders how it’s possible that an atheist doesn’t believe in God. He starts his column by naming a number of prominent atheists such as billionaire Warren Buffet, Mick Jagger, Mark Zuckerburg, Bruce Lee, Gloria Steinem, and “Jim Gibson, the mayor of Head, Clara and Maria who sits on the Renfrew County council” who is apparently the person that started Strachan’s pondering in the first place.
It seems Strachan hasn’t bothered to find any atheists to answer his burning question, but he doesn’t let that stop him from telling us what he thinks are the reasons we don’t believe:
I’ve discovered throughout the years that there are many reasons why many men and women today align themselves with people like Mark Zuckerburg and Ron Reagan Jr. I think there are many people who are atheists today because they’ve experienced human tragedy, painful traumatic events in their lives, wars, rapes, a dysfunctional childhood, abuse, the tragic loss of a loved one and they’ve simply not been able to come to a satisfactory answer to the perennial perplexing question, “If there is a loving, all-powerful God, then why would He allow this to happen to me?”
Outside of their own personal traumas, many embrace atheism today because they read of the Jewish Holocaust, see and witness human tragedies on a widespread scale, famines, genocides, ethnic cleansings and they ask themselves despairingly, “If there is a God, why would He allow such atrocities?” Together with that, there are many who fly under the banner of atheism today because at some memorable junction in their lives they have been desperately hurt, wounded and scarred by someone who professed to be a believer. Tragically the messenger has discredited the message by his/her inappropriate behaviour and the wounded one has committed the classic error that all of us are inclined to do, of throwing out the baby with the bathwater!
If I had a dime for every time someone told me I’m only an atheist because something bad happened to me I’d be able to retire. Obviously I can’t speak for all atheists and it’s entirely possible that there are some out there for whom one or more of the reasons cited above is indeed why they are atheists, but for a lot of us the reason is simple: There’s no substantial evidence that any kind of God exists.
I’ve had my fair share of trauma and loss in my life. Moments of great despair when I felt hopeless and shattered, but none of that had any bearing on my beliefs in God. Back when I was a believer I attributed all sorts of things to God, but as I grew and learned I realized I had no real reasons for doing so. Near as I can tell God has never spoken to me even at the height of my belief and certainly not as I started to develop doubts.
In his article, Strachan talks of newborn twins as proof of God using the following argument:
I don’t know about you, but a few weeks ago I stood in the Maternity Ward of our local hospital and looked at a pair of newborn twins, and then the other day I held them. It was an awesome moment for me, I was in absolute awe, strangely and mutely silenced as I touched tiny fingers, beheld tiny eyes, felt skin as soft as velvet and pondered to think that what I now held in my arms, these beautiful babies, had their mysterious beginnings in a microscopic cell. Who, I ask you, but a Supreme Omnipotent Creator could engineer such a marvel? You simply cannot look into the face of a newborn and declare “There is no God!”
Sure I can. I’ve held plenty of babies in my time, not the least of which was my own daughter, and as amazing as they can be I don’t see in them any proof of God. In part because I understand how biological reproduction works and that there is no engineering involved in the process. Perhaps the Reverend would do better to study a few biology books from time to time.
I can recall someone once asking me how I could look at trees and not believe in God. I still don’t understand why they thought trees were a convincing proof. If it’s not trees then it’s rainbows or sunsets or the night sky or some other aspect of reality that they clearly don’t have a strong understanding of and thus have to resort to ‘Goddidit’ to explain the awe they feel about whatever random thing they’re awed by. The fact that you don’t understand something doesn’t mean the only answer to how it could exist is God.
If you really want to know why any particular atheist is an atheist, try asking them. Most will probably be happy to tell you and most won’t say it’s because something bad happened to them.
The Houston Fire Department said the ambulance was stolen from 2121 Main Street near West Gray Street around 10 a.m.
The ambulance was recovered about 30 minutes later at Waugh and Gray Street, where it crashed into a 3 Men Movers truck.
“I was upstairs working and I heard a loud bang,” said Randy Bingham, a witness. “I’ve never seen an ambulance involved in a collision like that, especially the way that it happened.”
[…] “Lord Jesus Christ told me to steal the ambulance,” he told a KHOU 11 News photographer.
The article is brief and doesn’t mention where Jesus told the man to take the ambulance or what he was supposed to do with it once he got there, but when the Son of God tells you to do something then, by God, you do it.
No word on who the suspect was or what they’re doing with him, but I suspect he’s probably undergoing psychiatric evaluation right about now and therein lies the point I’m about to make for the upteenth time: Why would anyone who believes in God automatically assume this guy must be crazy to think Jesus would tell him to steal an ambulance?
The Bible contains several examples of God instructing his followers to do some pretty crazy things like drag your kid up the mountain and slit his throat and build a big fucking boat and load up two of every kind of animal because I’m about to piss all over humanity’s parade like you’ve never seen before. Sure, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for God to ask some random dude to steal an ambulance, but it probably didn’t make a lot of sense to folks watching Noah at the time either. Who are you to say God didn’t command him to steal an ambulance? How would you know God didn’t demand it? What kind of divine punishment will you be bringing about by stopping this guy from stealing that ambulance?
That’s the problem with saying you buy into the nonsense in the Bible. You lose all credibility in situations like this where someone lays claim to acting on divine instructions. You can’t prove that his isn’t. You can’t know for certain that whatever stupid thing he claims God demands he do isn’t something God wanted him to do. If an action dictated by God is good by the very nature of the source then punishing him for stealing the ambulance would be wrong. How can you justify it given the nature of the stuff that God has asked people to do in the past?
Well, we had a good run my fellow atheists, but there comes a point when you have to admit you’ve been beaten and that moment is now. You see, Republican Louie Gohmert has come up with the ultimate proof of the existence of God. What fools we’ve been!
OK, so technically this isn’t really Louie’s argument, but something he heard from some dude named Bob Murphy out of Texas. In case you didn’t watch the video clip — you should, it’s short and stunning in its stupidity logic — here’s what old Bob had to say:
“Ya know, I feel so sorry for atheists. I do. You know, think about it. No matter how smart they think they are, an atheist has to admit that he believes the equation ‘nobody plus nothing equals everything.’ How embarrassing for an intellectual to have to say, ‘Ya, I believe that. Nobody plus nothing equals everything.’
“Well, you couldn’t get everything unless there was something that was the creator of everything, and that’s the Lord we know”
I think neither Mr. Murphy nor Rep. Gohmert have talked to very many atheists. Perhaps there’s a few out there who might make such a statement, but I can’t think of any off top of my head. It’s certainly not what I believe because it shows a fundamental lack of understanding of some of the better known theories on how the Universe came to be.
How many times does it have to be said that the Big Bang theory does not say there was nothing prior to the big bang? Everything that is in the universe now was there at the beginning all scrunched up into a very tiny point called a singularity. There is no need to assume that everything came from nothing because, according to the theory, there wasn’t nothing. We still don’t know everything there is to know about the start of the universe because the closer you get to the moment of expansion the more general relativity and quantum mechanics start to fall apart in their ability to describe what things were like, but the theory overall has a lot of evidence backing it up such that accepting the idea of everything has always been there all smooshed up until it exploded into the universe we see today isn’t any more far-fetched than accepting the idea some all-powerful being willed it into existence.
If you’re going to insist on the idea that there was “nothing” prior to the universe then we can turn to theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss who has argued that it’s quite possible to get something from nothing and wrote a whole book about it calledA Universe From Nothing. In it he explains exactly how such a thing is not only possible, but probably inevitable. I’ve written about Krauss and his lecture about this several times in the past and if you want to watch a video of his lecture you’ll find it in this previous entry.
There’s also the option to just admit that we don’t know how the universe came to be and that the evidence it was willed into being by a creator is unconvincing. Just because we don’t know the answer to the question that isn’t a good reason to presume that God(s) had a hand in it.
But the thing I really want to point out about Rep. Gohmert’s little anecdote is how shallow the thinking he’s using is. Some blowhard puts forth a strawman argument that doesn’t actually represent anything I’ve ever heard any atheist say and Gohmert acts like it’s wisdom carved on stone tablets from on high. It doesn’t make an argument in support of the idea of a creator God, it just tries to paint atheists as illogical hypocrites. It ignores all of the other possible explanations for the existence of the universe for a cheap shot at a despised group of people. Of course, he’s preaching to the choir who don’t need any convincing that a God popped everything into existence because reasons we’re too puny to comprehend. Ha ha! Those dumb atheists think they’re so smart when really they’re super stoopid! Ha ha!
Jonathan posted this comic last year and I’ve had it bookmarked forever waiting for the proper post to use it on and then I decided it deserved its own post. It’s eerily similar to actual conversations I’ve had with True Believers™. You should go read Scenes From A Multiverse a lot. It’s quite good. Though there are some comics I don’t quite grasp. Probably because I’m not as smart as Jonathan is. Still, it’s worth reading even those.
One of the more interesting things about God is his tendency to ask people to do very strange things. Sometimes he asks them to haul their kid up the side of a mountain and slit his throat and other times he asks them to take all their clothes off and go for a walk in public:
A woman in her 20s was walking with her 40-something-year-old mother and her toddler while carrying her newborn baby in her arms. Everyone was smiling and enjoying the spring weather.
The only thing missing? Their clothes.
[…] “Like freshly-born baby naked,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Capt. Rod Farley said. “This was Adam and Eve stuff, not even a loincloth.”
The sight “blew my mind,” said resident Jill Mead, who was driving on Providence Road at the time.
When police stopped the women, they said “the Lord told them to get naked and walk down the street,” Farley said.
Police transported all four of them to Presbyterian Matthews, where the adults were physically and mentally evaluated.
“It didn’t appear that they had any problems short of that they didn’t have any clothes on,” Farley said.
Given God’s track record of asking people to do strange things I can’t begin to imagine why the police would think these women might need to have their mental state evaluated. Surely in the grand number of things God has demanded his followers to do — many of them involving the wholesale slaughter of people who don’t believe in him — this has to be a fairly innocuous request. It’s almost as if these officers don’t believe God talks to his followers and tell them to do things.
Perhaps you’re wondering what possible reason God would have for such a command, but according to the Bible you’re not supposed to question God. You’re just supposed to do it like a good little sycophant. Mysterious ways and all that nonsense. If God asks you to do it then surely he has Very Good Reasons® for doing so. After all, you can’t prove that God didn’t ask these women to walk around naked with their kids, right? Of course you can’t.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A woman claiming to be God doused her car with gasoline and lit it on fire at a BP gas station in Daytona Beach, police said.
Employee Clerk Edna Sandrus said Barnes Alexandra Barnes, 29, went behind the counter, grabbed a lighter and then ran out the door.
Surveillance video shows another clerk, Craig Walker, run after Barnes and tussle with her to get the lighter.
“I could smell gas on my hand from wrestling with her,” Walker said.
Walker said he realized there was fuel on the back of the car and on the ground, and that’s how he realized what she meant when Barnes said, “Don’t move, I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.”
Barnes grabbed another lighter from her car. She flicked the lighter and the car went up in flames.
Apparently God forgot that she had dogs in her car, but fortunately they were rescued by a bystander before they became hot dogs.
SEB posts this as a reminder of the importance of taking your medication each and every day.
It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten an email from a True Believer™, but that drought has come to an end in a most spectacular fashion.
I received an email earlier today from a Janet Wittek who had an urgent message for me. So urgent that it required full use of caps lock.
Warning, this is going to be lengthy:
From: Janet Wittek Subject: Letter from Janet Time: 7:18 AM
JESUS LOVES YOU. I AM A GIRL FROM THE FARM WHO HAS VISIONS OF MAJOR DISASTERS BEFORE THEY HAPPEN. LIKE 911. EARTHQUAKES. TSUNAMIS. FLOODS. FIRES. AND OTHER THINGS WHEN PEOPLES LIVES R IN DANGER. I AM COMMANDED BY GOD TO PRAY OVER THESE MATTERS AND TO SAVE THEM FROM DISTRUCTION. MY REV GORDON WILLIAMS IS A PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY GRADUATE. HE IS WELL KNOWN BY CANADA AM TV SHOW. HE IS ON ONE HUNDRED HUNTLEY CHRISTIAN TV SHOW. HE HAS A MIRACLE HEALING SERVICES WHERE PEOPLE GET HEALED OF ALCOHOLISM. AND OTHER ADDICTIONS AND OTHER PROBLEMS LIKE ATHIESM. SEX ADDICTIONS. FINANCIAL PROBLEMS. BACK PROBLEMS. ETC. I THINK THAT U SHOULD GIVE HIM A CALL AT [number redacted]. OR [number redacted]. MY BACK AND STOMACK AND BLEEDING PROBLEMS AND OTHER NUMEROUS PROBLEMS LIKE BAD KNEES SORE LIVER. DIABETES AND SORE LEGS AND ENTIRE BODY SICK AND CHEMICAL IMBALANCE IN BRAIN AND SKIN DISEASE AND BROKEN HEART HEALED CAUSE MEN ABUSED ME CAUSE THEY IN LOVE WITH MY ROOMATE SIZE THREE BLOND HOOKER AND I TOLD THEM NOT TO HURT HER CAUSE THEY GANG RAPE HER AND BEAT HER UP. AND I YELLED AT ALL OF THEM TO STOP HURTING HER. UNIMAGINABLE BASTARDS. REPENT OF YOUR SIN OF BEING ATHIEST. I AM A CHRISTIAN AND I WENT THRU HELL BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD AND DON’T FOLLOW HIS COMMANDEMENTS. YOU R A SINNER. THE FOOL SAYS IN HIS HEART THAT THERE IS NO GOD. B U T. T H E R E. IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU CANNOT DENY IT NOR CAN ANYONE ELSE. HOW COME WHEN 911 HAPPENNED EVERYONE WAS SCREAMING OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!! AND RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES. THE ATHIESTS SURE DO FIND GOD QUICKLY AND CRY OUT WHEN MAJOR DISASTERS HAPPEN AND THEIR LIVES ARE IN DANGER. HOW COME THEY REMEMBER HIM THEN. YOURS IN JESUS. JANET. GO AND GET YOURSELF A BIBLE AND START READING IT. AND START EXAMINING YOURSELF NOT ONLY EXAMINING OTHERS FAULTS AND FRAILITIES. DO YOU KNOW WHAT LOVE AND MERCY MEANS. AND STOP SWEARING. ITS KIND OF OBNOXIOUS BEHAVIOR AND SHOWS THAT YOU ARE A JERK.
What’s odd about this message is that it was one of two that came in around that time and not the one I saw first. The first one I saw omitted the use of all caps and was relatively brief:
Time: 7:28 AM
The woman who did that to her child obviously had something wrong with her. Any fool can see that. Yours in Jesus. Janet.
Being that I saw this second missive first and that it was somewhat vague (I assumed she was talking about something I’d written on SEB, but wasn’t sure what) I replied asking her to clarify what she was referencing. Being the jerk that I am I made a somewhat sarcastic statement that I’m not a psychic because, like God, they don’t exist.
Hours passed and I thought that was the end of it. She had said what she needed to say and had gotten on with her life. Boy, was I ever wrong about that:
Time: 2:26 PM
THE WOMAN WHO ABUSED HER CHILD FOR NOT SAYING AMEN AND WAS NOT GIVEN ANY MEALS AND STARVED THE 2 YEAR OLD TO DEATH. I HAD A VISION OF A SIMILAR OCCURANCE TO 2 CHILDREN WHO WERRE ABUSED IN TORONTO WHO WERE IN THE CARE OF CATHOLIC CHILDRENS AID SOCIETY AND A TORONTO POLICEMAN SAID THAT IN ALL OF HIS LIFE HE DID NOT SEE ANYBODY TREATED THAT BADLY ABUSED CHILDREN. IT WAS A BOY AND A GIRL WHO WERE SEVERLY ABUSED. THE BOY DIED BUT THE GIRL ESCAPED. I HAD VISIONS OF THEM DAYS BEFORE THE LITTLE BOY DIED IN A HOUSE IN TORONTO. THE HOUSE WAS AN OLD VICTORIAN HOUSE LIKE MINE RED BRICK WITH UGLY GREEN PORCH. THEN DAYS LATER I SAW THE CHILDREN ON TV ON W FIVE TV SHOW AND W FIVE TV PRODUCERS WERE EXTREMELY MAD AT CATHOLIC CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY FOR NOT TAKING CARE OF THESE CHILDREN. THE LITTLE GIRL WAS SAVED AND PUT IN ANOTHER HOME. THE LITTLE BOY DIED A HORRIBLE DEATH. POOR THING. I SHOULD OF ASKED GOD EXACTLY WHAT STREET HE WAS ON AND WENT THERE AND TAKEN HIM OUT OF THERE WITH THAT NICE POLICEMAN WHO WAS HORRIFIED WITH THAT CASE. IT WAS ON CANADIAN TV SHOW ON W5. REV GORD WILLIAMS KNOW THE PEOPLE ON W5 AND HE IS WELL KNOWN BY CANADA AM AND CTV NEWS AND ONCHRISTIAN RADIO TV STATIONS AND ALL OVER THE WORLD. HE IS FROM PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY. HE IS ON ONE HUNDRED HUNTLEY STREET TELEVISION CHRISTIAN SHOW. YOURS IN JESUS. JANET. HOW CAN YOU NOT BELIEVE IN GOD. I SEE THAT YOU HAVE SOME BRAINS AND FEEL BAD FOR THE LITTLE BOY CHILD WHO WAS ABUSED BY HIS MOTHER BECAUSE HE DIDN’T SAY AMEN AFTER PRAYERS AND WAS THOUGHT TO BE DEMON POSSESSED AND SHE STARVED HIM TO DEATH. AND THEN THE CHURCH PEOPLE SAID THAT THEY WOULD RESURRECTED HIM FROM THE DEAD. HE WAS 2 YEARS OLD. POOR LITTLE BOY. GOD HAVE MERCY ON THESE LITTLE CHILDREN AND SEND ANGELS TO SAVE THEM FROM THE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!!!!!! YOURS IN JESUS. JANET. THE PSYCHIC GIFT THAT I HAVE IS CALLED THE GIFT OF PROPHECY. IT IS EXPLAINED IN FULL DETAIL IN REV GORDON WILLIAMS BOOK. LIKE A MIGHTY RUSHING WIND. AND ALSO IN THE BIBLE. IST CORINTHIANS 12 AND 14.
Then a half hour later I got this:
Time: 3:05 PM
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT PEOPLE DID BAD THINGS TOO. IF EVIL EXISTS THEN SO DOES GOOD. YOU KNOW THAT BAD THINGS HAPPEN WELL SO DOES GOOD THINGS HAPPEN . YOU KNOW THAT WHAT HAD HAPPENNED TO THE LITTLE 2 YEAR OLD WAS BAD AND EVIL. DO YOU NOT. SATAN EXISTS BUT SO DOES GOD.GET A COPY OF THE BIBLE AND START READING IT. DO NOT SAY THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A GOOD KNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE. I BELIEVE IN GOD AND BEING GOOD LIKE HE TELLS US TOO. I BELIEVE IN WHAT HE WRITES AND SAYS IS TRUE. I HAVE LAID HANDS ON THE SICK AND THEY HAVE RECOVERED. MY FRIENDS BACK WAS COMPLETELY HEALED WHEN I PRAYED FOR HER AND SHE WAS SHOCKED THAT HER PAIN WENT IMMEDIATELY AWAY. SHE IS A HOUSECLEANER AT THE CHURCH. ANOTHER WOMAN GOT HER BACK HEALED AT THE CHURCH ON CHISTMAS EVE SERVICES WHEN I HUGGED HER. MY DEAR MAN. GOD DOES EXIST JESUS DOES EXIST. HE WILL PROVE IT TO YOU. MIRACLES DO HAPPEN EVERYDAY THROUGHT THE WHOLE WORLD. I BELIEVE THAT YOU EXIST THATS WHY I AM TALKING TO YOU. GET IT. YOU BELIEVE THAT I EXIST. THAT’S WHY YOU ARE TALKING TO ME. DO YOU UNDERSTAND. I KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT PSYCHIC. MAN. I AM TRYING TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE WHO EXISTS JUST LIKE GOD AND JESUS EXISTS. YOU EXIST !!!!!!!!THEN WHY DO YOU THINK THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST!!!! IF YOU EXIST. R U REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT THE FACT THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST.!!!!!!!!! A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU. EXIST IN THE WORLD. ATHIESTS. I MEAN. A LOT OF THEM. MANY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND THE BIBLE. THEY HAVE NO ACCESS TO THE BIBLE IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE IN NUMEROUS COUNTRIES. ALL OVER THE WORLD AND ARE NOT HOLY SPIRIT FILLED. I BELIEVE YOU EXIST EVEN THOUGH YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD. CALL REV GORDON WILLIAMS AND HE WILL PROVE TO YOU THAT GOD EXISTS. [number redacted] OR [number redacted]. GO AND GET A COPY OF THE BIBLE AND READ IT SEVERAL TIMES. AND YOU ARE NOT STUPID. BY THE WAY. STOP TELLING YOURSELF THAT. GOD GAVE YOU BRAINS FOR A REASON!!!!!!! YOURS IN JESUS. JANET.
Then 20 minutes later:
IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE THAT I EXIST THEN WHY DO YOU BOTHER TO TALK TO ME AND OTHER PEOPLE . AM I A FIGMENT OF YOUR IMAGINATION. ARE OTHER PEOPLE? I DON’T EXIST OR GOD DOESN’T EXIST. HE SURE DOES JUST LIKE YOU KNOE THAT I EXIST THAT’S WHY YOU ARE BOTHERING TO TALK TO ME. MY DEAR MAN. YOU MADE MY DAY. I KNOW THAT YOU EXIST. YOU MADE ME LAUGH ALL DAY EVEN THOUGH YOU AR. AN ATHIEST. I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE AMAZING. ONE MINUTE YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE AMAZING AND THE NEXT MINUTE YOU CALL YOURSELF STUPID. YOU KNOW THAT YOU EXIST. YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE AMAZING AND THEN SOMETIMES YOU R STUPID. IF YOU EXIST AND OTHER PEOPLE EXIST THEN WHY DON’T YOU BELIEVE THAT GOD EXISTS. WHY. YOU TELL ME ONE GOOD REASON THAT TELLS ME THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST THAT MSKED SENSE TO ME.. IT IS TRUE THAT IN MANY PEOPLES MIND GOD DOES NOT EXIST BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF HIM. IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS. YOURS IN JESUS. JANET
Then 33 minutes after that:
Time: 4:58 PM
I BELIEVE IN GOD AND YOU ARE TALKING TO ME AND YOU BELIEVE IN ME. YOU BELIEVE THAT I EXIST THAT’S WHY YOU ARE TALKING TO ME AND I BELIEVE IN GOD. SO THEREFORE YOU AN ATHIEST REALLY DOES BELIEVE IN GOD BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE IN ME AND YOU ARE. TALKING TO ME BECAUSE I EXIST
And, finally, 22 minutes ago:
Time: 5:16 PM
I BELIEVE IN GOD. YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE TALKING TO ME BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE THAT I EXIST. AND I BELIEVE THAT GOD EXISTS AND I AM CONNECTED TO HIM SO THEREFORE YOU AN ATHIEST BELIEVES THAT I EXIST BECAUSE YOU ARE TALKING TO ME A BELIEVER IN GOD AND YOU ARE AN UNBELIEVER IN GOD AND I KNOW THAT YOU ATHIESTS EXISTS THAT IS WHY I AM TALKING TO TO YOU. TO PROVE TO YOU THAT HE DOES EXIST. BECAUSE IF HE DOESN’T EXIST THEN WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT HIS NON EXISTENCE? YOU ARE RIGHT. IN YOUR MIND AND MANY OTHERS GOD DOES NOT EXIST EVEN THOUGH YOU ATHIESTS ARE TALKING ABOUT HIS NON EXISTENCE. WHY R U TALKING ABOUT HIS NON EXISTENCE. IF HE EXISTS AT ALL YOU SHOULDN’T BE TALKING ABOUT HIM. YOU ARE RIGHT. YOU ARE AMAZINGLY STUPID BUT GOD STILL LOVES YOU EVEN THOUGH YOU ATHIESTS DON’T EXIST. YOU ARE NON EXISTANT JUST LIJE GOD. YOU HAVE NO SIGNIFICANCE AND YOU DON’T EXIST EVEN THOUGH YOU KNIW THAT YOU DO EXIST. DON’T YOU. YOURS IN JESUS. JANET.
About three emails back I had started in on a reply to answer a couple of her questions and make a point or two about the assumptions she was making about me (which is an odd thing for someone gifted with Divine Visions to do), but as I typed away these additional responses came in and I was no longer sure there was much point in bothering. It’s really hard to argue against the logic she’s using because there’s no logic to it. It’s just a bunch of wild claims and silly circular arguments.
Now for all I know this is just someone trying to pull a Poe in hopes I’ll write about it. If so, mission accomplished. It could also be someone who’s not entirely playing with a full deck through no fault of their own due to illness or injury in which case it would be bad form to make fun of them. Then there’s always the chance that this is someone who has so much faith that it’s made them just a little bit crazy. As too much faith is often wont to do.
Being as it’s difficult to distinguish which of the three this is, or if there’s much of a point in the messages to discuss, I’ll just leave it here without my usual snarky comments. If nothing else, it’s an interesting example of the sorts of emails I get from time to time.
Every day as I commute into work I pass by a church sign next to the freeway. Like many other church signs, it has a spot for witticisms and wisdom to be dispensed in small bites that can be read easily while zooming by at 70 mph. Most of the time they’re fairly innocuous, but occasionally they manage to annoy the shit out of me.
The latest message, for example, is about friends and it reads:
FRIENDS – GOD’S WAY OF
TAKING CARE OF YOU
I couldn’t help but chuckle at how Christian the logic of that statement is. Friends are a wonderful thing to have and the lengths some of them will go to help you out when you’re troubled is simply amazing, there’s not doubt about any of that. I cherish each and every one of the people I consider to be my friends even though some of them I’ve never met in person.
The problem I have with this statement is that it takes all the credit for the love and assistance provided to you by your friends and hands it over to God, who is apparently too damned busy making crude drawings of his mom or his “son” in random inanimate objects to bother helping you directly when you could really use it. It also suggests that the only reason you have any friends at all is because God cared enough to manipulate them into your life instead of, say, you being a decent enough person that people might actually like you for who you are. The whole sentiment just rubs me the wrong way.
Give credit where credit is due. If your friends stick by you in tough times and help out where they can then it’s because they are awesome friends, not because God has manipulated them into doing his work for him. To me this is just another lame attempt to excuse the lack of evidence for God(s) interacting in day to day affairs by misattributing credit to something that doesn’t exist.
You can’t beat Christian television programs aimed at kids for unintentional hilarity. Take for example this clip about how you shouldn’t cuss or use God’s name in vain. In particular the song plays hell with a corrupt mind like mine:
Setting aside the unintentional humor of it all, I was especially struck by the woman’s statement that we should be respectful of God when speaking of him because “our mouths were made to give him honor and praise.”
Really? Any other uses we might have for it, say eating food to keep us alive or breathing or having meaningful conversations with other humans, all of that is incidental and not really what God was worried about when he slapped our pie holes on our faces? No, our mouths were designed specifically to masturbate God’s ego because he’s so fucking insecure that he has to whip up all of creation just to have some pathetically flawed creatures tell him how amazingly wonderfully amazing he is regularly in hopes he won’t throw them into a fiery pit for all of eternity. Talk about having an inferiority complex…
But beyond that the other overriding thought while watching this video is: Wow, could these people be any more… struggling to come up with the right word… I kinda want to say “white”, but not sure that’s what I really mean.
It’s like they’re trying so hard to appear squeaky clean that my skepticism sense goes into overdrive. I don’t know of anyone who behaves like any of those people in real life and I’m instantly distrustful of anyone who seems to be trying convince others that they really are that way all the time. I know a few people who are somewhat close to that most of the time, but even they have their bad days where cussing is not only not out of the question, but engaged in liberally.
The really odd thing about this clip is that I don’t really disagree with the idea that little kids should probably avoid cussing until their old enough to do it effectively. At the same time there are times when a kid might cuss that I would totally understand and tolerate because it’s the sort of situation I’d probably cuss in as well. Yeah, that’s pretty vague and arbitrary and is probably a result of my own upbringing more so than any well-thought out moral principle. Still, while I agree with the message, the presentation is just awful.
I suppose it could just be my natural cynicism. I’ve said more than once that motivational posters don’t really work on me because they cause my cynicism to flare up. Perhaps that’s what’s happening when I watch this video clip.
Though you have to admit, it is pretty damned funny.