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Ask an Atheist

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Why do you hate God?

I remember watching “God’s Not Dead” with my father.  The entire film Kevin Sorbo’s character acted like the stereotypical atheist I had brought up in my mind.  Complete jerk and dismissive of any information given to him.  The protagonist though was super hard to root for.  The arguments he put up for his stance that god was alive were uncompelling and weak at best.   The climax of the movie is when the student gets Kevin Sorbo to admit that he’s angry at god.  Even as a Christian I cringed very hard at this.

After my deconversion I’ve seen that this is something that some theologians believe.  They think that we all have an built in belief in god and we all believe it’s there all the time.  They think that atheists just deny that part of themselves, mainly because this god has failed to live of to their expectations.  The question I would have for them is which god are we born with an innate belief of?  There are literally thousands.

The point I’m trying to make by saying all of this is that, no I don’t hate god.  I don’t hate god in much the same way I don’t hate unicorns, or fairies, or Santa Clause.  I can’t hate something I don’t believe.  Sure I’ve had some messed up stuff happen in my life.  All that did was to help me see through the religion.  I don’t hold some kind of grudge.  I’ve found more peace in my lack of belief than I did in my belief.

Side Note: I’ve noticed a lot more readers lately (yay!) So I’m going to put it out there again that if you have any questions you’d like to see me answer on here please let me know!

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Deeper Story Pt. 4

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Continued from Part 3

As we were settling in our new home, my step-mother’s mother had been housing some of our belongings during the transition.  While mulling around the basement of her house one day I came across a guitar.  I had never held a guitar before nor did I have any idea of how to play it but I knew that I needed to learn it so I could join the worship team.  I asked my dad about it and he said that if I could save of up enough money to get it fixed it was mine and he would teach me.  I was so excited!  Mostly because it was the first time in my life that I had found something that I had an interest in that my father did too.

Over the next few months I saved every penny I could.  I did extra chores, hunted in couch cushions, collected bottles and cans.  And at last I had the money I needed!  We brought it down to the local music store and had them fix it up.  A week later I brought it home and then eagerly awaited instruction from my dad.  And waited. I had purchased a couple of song books along with the repair so I opened them seeing if I could read the music.  Not so much.  But on the tops of the music there were musical notes with little diagrams that looked like guitar strings.  I put my fingers on the appropriate dots and gave it a strum.

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Music!  It made a pretty noise!  I continued to follow along as it was a song I was very familiar with (Hotel California by The Eagles). Before I knew it I had “played” the song…Very slowly transitioning between the chords but it was there.  I was ecstatic, but it was short lived.  I brought my new marvel to my father and he was just disappointed.  He told me I was doing my fingering wrong and that I should have waited for him.  It was a crushing blow to my spirits but I pushed on.  This time waiting for his instruction.

I picked up the basics pretty quickly and soon I was to the point where I had learned everything my dad could teach.  I began taking private lessons from the worship leaders at church.  After much discussion with them I decide to sell my acoustic guitar and purchase an electric one.  I found it much easier to play, however I wasn’t much of a lead guitarist.  I could play the notes they wrote down for me but couldn’t improvise well. But I continued to work.

A few months went by and there was an announcement at the church that they would be holding open auditions for the worship team.  We had grown as a church and had purchased our own building in this time.  They were set to go to multiple services on Sunday morning and needed more musicians.  I eagerly submitted my application (which was about 5 pages long) and marked my calendar for the day of the instrumental audition.

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When the time came I was more than nervous.  I had practiced my songs for weeks and knew everything like the back of my hand but just the fact that I knew I was being judged was a scary proposition.  The band started and I played my heart out.  Well as best I could.  I felt every wrong note with a deep agony thinking that would be what cut me.  I pressed forward though, knowing the song wouldn’t stop for me.  We finished the two audition songs and all I got was a thank you, and was on my way.

The days that followed were pure agony.  I waited by the phone and was the first to the mailbox every day.  When the phone rang and someone else some how got to it before me I waited to hear my name called from across the house and was usually met with silence.  The call finally did come.  It was the guy in charge of the worship team asking if I’d like to join the main sanctuary team!  I was elated!  I thought that I might be added to the children’s wing team but never thought I’d be there!

This is where began to think, “Maybe I could do this for a job some day!”

Continued in Part 5

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Definition Friday!

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Just as a heads up the next few weeks of Definition Friday are going to be dealing with logical fallicies. I’ve been somewhat studying them in my spare time. There is a great resource here if your interested in reading more. I’ll spend a little time defining the fallicies and then give examples from how they’ve had an effect on my life. Anyway on with the show!

Special Pleading

Special pleading, sometimes referred to as “moving the goalposts”, is when one puts out a specific set of rules, or premises that apply to everything inside a set and then saying that something inside that same set has a different set of rules.  A good real world example of this is nepotism.  A company has a set of standards that every applicant must go through in order to be hired.  The company’s owner wants his son to work at the company even though he isn’t qualified.  The owner tells HR to put him in the job anyway, circumventing the rule that applies to everyone.

Bringing this back around to my atheism, I never realized how much special pleading is used in defense of god.  The first that comes to mind is “killing people is wrong, unless god does it.  Then it’s ok because it’s his will.” I’ve heard people say that “he created us so he can destroy us.”  Really?  I created my son does that make it ok for me to kill him?  Me thinks no.  What kind of mental gymnastics did I go through to think that this was in anyway ok?

Kalam

I’ve recently come across a bunch of theist vs atheist debates on the youtubes.  One of the arguments that I hear time and time again is what’s know as the Kalam Cosmological Argument.  In a nut shell it states that everything that has a beginning has a cause, the universe has a beginning, therefor the universe has a cause…which must be god.  The first time I heard this argument I was lead to follow it.  It seemed to make sense.  Then I thought, well if the universe had to have a cause, and that cause was god, what caused god.  It leads to an infinite regress of “well then who created that?”

Typically the defense that I hear back is where this logical fallacy comes into play.  It goes something to the effect of “well god lives out of space and time so this doesn’t apply to him.”  There is the special pleading.  You can’t have a set of constants and then say that these constants don’t apply to something within that set.

 

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The God Delusion

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I went to the library for the first time in a long time this weekend.  While there I found the “required atheist reading” and decided to pick it up.  I haven’t read a book for pleasure since probably high school.  I’ve been in and out of college for the last few years so it’s not like I haven’t read, just not for leisure.

I picked up the book and it was a bit daunting.  It’s really big. Like way bigger than anything I’ve read in a long time.  But I was up for the challenge.  I’m currently on Chapter 3 and I find myself having a hard time putting it down.  I don’t read at an amazing speed but I’m doing about 40 pages a night.  It’s been amazing.

I plan to do a full review once I finish the book but I very much appreciate how it is laid out so far.  Definitions followed by what he is defining as the hypothesis, the arguments for (which I’ve come across previously in my own research, mainly thanks to The Atheist Experience).

I think I did start reading this once as a believer,  I wonder if it would have changed my point of view then had I finished it…

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Skeptical Bible Study

Skeptical Bible Study Week 3

pexels-photo-564093Mark Chapter 3

Last Weeks Study

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

Ok so again we see Jesus doing things just to piss off the religious leaders.  I understand what is trying to be conveyed here, that it’s better to do good on a holy day than do nothing and thus changing their paradigm.  However, perhaps it would have been better to change other social ideas.  Maybe denounce slavery, or incest, or rape?

Crowds Follow Jesus

Another example of Jesus being mysterious.  He’s got people falling down and saying “You are the son of god” and he shushes them.  I still don’t understand this whole “don’t tell anyone who I am” thing.  Seems like he’d be in his prime to say who he was, if that’s who he was, in order to spread the message of it’s validity.  The one thing that comes to mind is that this wasn’t really his end game originally.

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Jesus Accused by His Family and by Teachers of the Law

This opens with Jesus’ family wanting to go collect him because they thought he was crazy.  Perhaps they were right lol.  It goes on to the religious leaders accusing him of being the devil.  Jesus refutes this saying that the devil couldn’t cast out demons because that would be him fighting against himself.  I thought about this even when I was a believer.  Wouldn’t that actually be a great tactic for the devil to do?  “Look at me getting rid of all this evil!  Aren’t I doing good things?”  It seems that even though he’s driving out theses “evil spirits” they don’t seem to be “killed”.  Can you kill a spirit?  Could you prove that?  Even if that were the case, killing a few pawns to further your end game seems to be worth it.

He then goes on to completely ignore his family and say that everyone there is his family.  I’m pretty sure one of those commandments says to honor your mother and father, saying that everyone is your “mother” seems to be a bit disrespectful to your actual mother.

 

 

 

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Ask an Atheist

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Why do you care if other people believe in God?

I’ve heard this asked a few times around the internet and I’ve struggled with this question.  I don’t consider my self an anti-theist (someone who thinks religion everywhere should be abolished) but I do have some thoughts on the matter.

I honestly don’t care if you believe in a god.  The problem is what you do with that belief and how it forms your actions.  Sort of like the saying “Your right to swing your fist ends at my face.”  When your holy book tells you to go out an convert everyone, or you hear god telling you to bomb an abortion clinic, yeah that I have a problem with.

There is also the problem of trying to legislate the laws of your holy book.  Sure it has some good points in there, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t own slaves….wait that one’s not in there…also it doesn’t say anything about not raping.  Oh yes it does…you have have to marry the person you rape is all….yeah please don’t make that a law.  Also I’d like to keep my poly-cotton blends so if you could skip that one too.

Sorry this ended up being sort of a rant and I’m going to apologize for the crudeness of the last line of text here but “Religions are like dicks, it’s ok to have one. You can even be proud of it.  But don’t whip it out and public and don’t try to shove it down my throat.”

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Deeper Story Part 3

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Continued from Part 2

So I’d been hooked.  I was all in.  Let’s do this church thing.  It was relevant, I could understand the messages, it had good music.  We started going every week, and I looked forward to it.  During this time we moved to a new town much closer to the church.  This meant a new school, a loss of friends, social isolation.  I found adjusting to the new situation very difficult.  Up until this point had I had done very well in school but the new school didn’t have the advanced classes I was slated to be in.  I quickly became bored and my grades began to slip.  This is about the time my depression started creeping in.

Desperate for friends it came as a pleasant surprise when someone that went to my school happened to go to my church.  He invited me one Sunday to a mid-week kinship (the church’s word for a small group or bible study).  I eagerly accepted.  Finally a chance to make some friends and learn more about church stuff! Looking back a 14 year old seeking community….yeah I was a perfect mark for indoctrination.  Young enough to be impressionable but old enough to think I was making my own choices.

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I stayed a steady B student in school, doing the bare minimum worth of work.  Not because I wanted to but for fear of how my father would react otherwise.  I had a knack for not studying or doing homework but doing well enough on tests that would carry my grades.  It was good enough for me.  It kept me out of the wrath of my father, but at a cost.  I essentially gave up my love of learning, which in tow killed my critical thinking ability.

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Going back a little I had a huge love of science.  In 8th grade I had a science teacher that would tell us things and I would go home and test them.  She told us once about super-saturated solutions.  Essentially if you boil water and add salt and then allow the water to evaporate over time you’d end up with large salt crystals.  I went home and tried this and I didn’t get the salt crystals.  I reported back with my findings and she told me to try it with sugar.  This time it worked and had a pretty cool looking sugar formation (I happened to win the outstanding science student that year, not to toot my own horn).  The point of the story is to illustrate that at one time in my life I didn’t just take peoples word for things and actually tested and researched things.  This died in high school.  Looking back at all of this I realize this made me even more impressionable towards religious beliefs.  I just took people’s word for it and didn’t bother thinking about things for myself.  I believed because “well this guy is an authority and he wouldn’t lie to me.”  I now know this as a logical fallacy known as the argument form authority.

I feel that I would have picked back up on critical thinking had I not been so into the church.  If I didn’t have that feeling of having all the answers.  Hindsight is 20/20, I’d have a very different life right now had I not gone all in, if I had kept my questioning hat on.  I don’t know where that would have lead me but I’d have nearly a twenty year head start from where I am now.

 Continued in Part 4

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Sorry

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I know it’s been a while since I’ve last written.  I do plan on getting back into the habit but life has been a bit hectic lately.  I’m back on my anti-depressant which helps with the day to day however one unfortunate side effect of that is it calms the angry narrator in my head that needs to yell at the world.  It’s easier to be apathetic to things.  It’s easier to say “well it is what it is” and move on.  I’m hoping to be back in the full swing next week as well as going forward.