Friday, March 31, 2017

God & The Devil: The Anthropomorphisis of Abstractions

God and the Devil are ideas that work like training wheels on our understanding, by allowing us to reduce vague abstractions to personifications. Like Santa Clause who lives in the North Pole and the Bogey Man who hides under our bed or in our closet, we characterize our abstract hopes and fears about life and death, and good and evil, in terms that very much look like exaggerated personifications of ourselves. And in the same way religion convinces us we must subscribe to its stories to have any hope or find any meaning in life, so it has convinced us that we must believe these personifications are actual "beings," so that we will continually run to it for every problem under the sun.

 We rely on such personifications because it's a hell of a lot easier for us to think of a friend or an enemy named Dick or Jane, than it is to think about disembodied abstractions about everything we hope and fear. By personifying such abstract ideas into humanistic form, we "anthropomorphize" them from mere ideas into actual "beings" that we can either depend on or oppose and overcome.

As it say sin Ephesians 6:12: 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

But notice that the descriptions in this passage all relate to "forces" in ways that are all too familiar to our human condition, including "rulers," "authorities," and "cosmic powers." Humanity, in these terms, can see itself as defenders of the galaxy, by opposing those forces that operate in exactly the kinds of terms that any human being can understand, no matter how intelligent or unintelligent a person may be. 

These forces are infinitely more clever and complex than we are, by the way, if for no other reason than that they have been around since the beginning of time. Just imagine how smart you'd be if you'd been around since the beginning of time, and we are merely human beings. But despite their superiority to us, they have nothing better to do than fret about us and us alone. 

More than that, however, the "cosmic powers" and "spiritual forces in heavenly places" that the Bible wants us to believe in, are far more than we could ever hope to be. One is an Omnipotent, omniscient, God, who is eternal and infinite in every way, and who is therefore infinitely more superior to humanity or any artificial intelligence we could ever hope to design. The other is God's arch nemesis Satan,  a devilish rascal responsible for all of the evil that has ever befallen mankind, and who indeed seems a far better strategist at luring souls to hell than God is at seducing them with the pleasures of heaven. (God, it should be noted, is apparently indifferent to the suffering of animals, of course, especially at the hands of that superior class of species who may just happen to be reading this.)  

 Yet none of this ever causes the "believer" to doubt that anyone, no matter how addled in their thinking they may be, can understand such complex "beings" as easily as they can understand right from wrong, regardless of how superior in intelligence and opposite in physical composition such "beings" may be from ourselves. How ironic, then, that the same people who claim to know so very much about such "beings" who are so very different from ourselves, and with near infallible certainly at that, have such difficulty understanding their own spouses or family, their own friends and even fellow "believers," or even other members of their same human species, with whom they so often violently disagree over the most trivial of differences. 

 None of this ever suggests to the true "believer" that God and the Devil are only as clever as we are, because they are only projections of ourselves, and our hopes and fears, in spiritual forms. It does not occur to the Christian or the Muslim, that we are the demons and the angles, who see others as "devils" out to prevent us from aspiring to be like God.  God and the Devil, in other words, are simply an incorporation of the holy "us" and the evil "them."

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mad About Abortion? Blame God

If you are one of those people who get hellfire angry about abortion, maybe you should blame God. Why?  Because God is directly contributing to abortion by giving the "gift of life" to people he already knows are going to have an abortion anyway.

On the one hand, Christians believe that all life is a "gift from God." On the other hand, they also believe that abortion is the murder of a baby, even if that "abortion" happens  immediately after conception, like with the RU486 "morning after" pill. But since God is omniscient, giving a gift to people who He knows don't want it, especially in instances of rape (what kind of "father" responds to hearing his daughter was raped by giving her a "gift of life" from her rapist?!), He is at least complicit in the "murder of children," as Christians claim. In short, God is guilty of entrapment.

Arguing that God allows people to get pregnant who He "knows" are going to have an abortion because they have free will, by the way, is like arguing that someone who is stone drunk should still be allowed to drive home even though you know they may very will die and/or kill someone, because it's their free choice. It's also like politicians who start a bogus war knowing full well that people are going to die, but then take no responsibility for the war they started by claiming that everyone who engages in it does so of their own free will.

What's more, the fact that plenty of Christians actually increase the number of abortions by denying contraceptives and birth control as "unnatural and sinful" -  even though there is nothing "natural" about forcing people to abstain from something as "natural" as sex until a Church says it's okay for them to have sex, according to certain rules defined by men who have decided to abstain from sex for the rest of their life -  is only one of the plethora of hypocrisies such Christians choose to simply ignore, or course.

So even though Christians believe that all life is a "gift from God," they can't explain why God keeps giving that gift to so many people who he knows will have an abortion, as well as those who not only don't want or can't afford children, but to people God knows are truly horrible "parents" as well, who He knows better than ANYONE should simply never be allowed to have kids in the first place. Nor can Christians explain why God keeps giving "the gift of life" to people who have far too many kids already.

Just look at Octomom, for example, the woman who gave birth to 8 kids at once, who already had 6 others to begin with. And Desmond Hatchett, a guy who at 33 had thirty children from 11 different women. How do Christians rationalize this as simply "part of God's plan"? And given all of the sterile people out there who are now spending fortunes trying to have children or adopt, why does God keep giving the "gift of life" to all of the wrong people? God is shipping out the "gift of life" like a maniac at a pizzeria who doesn't bother with the names or addresses of people ordering the pizzas.

NOTE: Just to be clear, many of the very same Christians who indirectly add to the number of abortions they complain about every year, by opposing contraceptives because they interfere with the natural means by which God decides to create life, are also spending  a fortune on fertility drugs and procedures to overcome the same "natural means" by which their same "God" may wish to limit the creation of life as well. But like the rich buying their way into heaven through indulgences prior to the Reformation, so the rich can always justify buying their way around "God's will."

 Certainly an all powerful and loving God would want to "save" children, and yet God not only does nothing to stop it, He actually contributes to it directly! This is like someone sending you spam in the mail that they know damn well is headed for the trash bin. But rather than taking any responsibility for the trash they are adding to and the trees they are cutting down to create it, they blame the people who keep throwing all of their spam in the trash for contributing to ever growing amount of trash in the world as a whole!

Like the children who were all killed by the Biblical King Herod in his blood quest to kill all the boys two years or younger in Bethlehem, in his attempt to squash out a potential political rival in the baby Jesus, God could just as easily stop abortions as He could've avoided the "massacre of innocence" by shifting the "dream" from Mary and Joseph to escape, to Herod himself. Had God done so, He could've deterred Herod from carrying out the massacre by either making him too afraid to (why does he only ever allow Saints to see what Hell looks like, for example?) or at least shown Herod that his fears of Jesus were  unfounded. After all, since Jesus said 'render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, he clearly posed no threat to a Roman king, unlike Barabbas.

But rather than using dreams to deter Herod from his cruelty, or even to alert any of the other victims, God choose to save himself instead, by slipping away in the dead of night, and without mentioning a word to anyone else, He let all of the "innocent" children of Bethlehem be brutally massacred.  And he did all of this, apparently, for no other reason that they he wanted to prove how important it was not to interfere with Herod's "free will," (unless it was to protect his own son, of course).

And what's really ironic about that is that God could've saved all of those children by allowing Herod do to do to the baby Jesus alone,  the very thing God intended to have the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate do to him some 30 years later.

So, why did God NOT tell anyone about what Herod was about to do? Would it really have been that hard, or against the rules of "free will," for God to tell even just one other person, besides Mary and Joseph, that old King Herod was about to turn Bethlehem into Rwanda?  Hell!, even Oscar Schindler and Nicholas Winton saved more children than that during the reign of King Hitler, and they were both atheists!

Indeed, many Christians simply ignore all of this and even argue that all of the children who God ruthlessly murdered in the great flood of Noah deserved to die!

And "poof!" just like that, the entire argument that "only with God can we have any objective basis for morality" disappears in the utterance of "believers" who get just as angry at women who are "pro-choice" as they get at anyone who questions their belief in God because they fail "to see the need or the morality of ruthlessly drowning toddlers in their cribs."

In short, if you are angry about abortion, then the one you should be trying to convince to change His ways, is not women who are as flawed and human as God created us all to be, but the very God who could freely choose NOT to let people get pregnant when he knows they are only going to get an abortion anyway.

But of course Christians would never do that, because they only care about being angry for God, not at him.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Anthony Flew: Servant of an Idea or a Seeker of Truth?

There is no intellectual honesty in deciding that something is true to begin with, and then engaging in herculean efforts to only ever affirm that "belief" must necessarily be true, as if one's eternal soul depends upon it. Indeed, such an approach is the very opposite of seeking "truth" or trying to remain "objective."

In fact, there is perhaps no greater act of dishonesty than to claim that a "God" must have placed all the infinite complexity and beauty everywhere in the universe for us to find, as Anthony Flew argues, and all so we would "know" it was God trying to let us know he is behind it all.

But to conclude that complexity and beauty prove the existence of God is not to "follow where the argument" leads, as Flew said Socrates admonished him to do, but to be led around by the nose by a "belief" we have either already decided must be true, or one from which who's gravity we are unable to escape.

Why, for example, do people like Flew who come to the conclusion that there must be an "intelligence" behind it all never notice how much that "intelligence" must necessarily be very much like their own?  And why do they conclude that it must necessarily be ONE intelligence, acting alone, which not only reflects our all too human desire/habit for always wanting ONE solution for every question, but likewise reflects the modern obsession, prevalent among mostly Western thinkers, with always wanting to reduce our religions down to monotheism of one flavor or another?

Those who reach such conclusions simply ignore how "divine" they therefore assume their own intelligence must be, if it is so capable of "knowing" the mind of a deity that they claim to be so "infinitely" superior to our own.

Is there anything more arrogant than to assume that we have been "given" (which implies it came from someone or thing) the capacity to fathom all of the complexity in the universe, even if we can not understand it,  from a God who wants us to know his own mind?

But worst of all, Christians never think it is relevant for them to exercise their own REASONING in their blind acceptance of anything that simply affirms a belief that they want or need to be true. That there are plenty of other explanations for understanding both our own mind and the universe, does not prove that there is NO God, but it certainly proves that those who want to believe in God clearly have no interest in exercising the very "intelligence" they claim was given to them from God, to find anything but the God they insist gave them that intelligence in the first place.

When Nietzsche said God is dead, he meant to say that objectivity and the ability to reason outside of a "belief" is dead.

Atheism vs Theism: Which is More Dynamic in Understanding the World?

The difference between American Capitalism and Kremlin Communism is that the former was far more dynamic than the latter, and it was precisely that dynamism that allowed one to reign victorious over the other in November 1989.  Today, we see that same difference between Atheism and Theism, with one seeking to enlighten our understanding with what it discovers (like a child rushing home to show his Dad the cool stuff he learned in science class) while the other seeks only to see the world through the past (like the boy's Dad beating the child for daring to think differently than God allows). 

Like Wikipedia vs Microsoft's Encarta, or Open Source code Operating Systems like Linux vs Microsoft's Windows, however, atheism has no centralized hierarchy of power, or dogmas or sacred cows to bow down to, and allows anyone who counts themselves an atheist the freedom to change their opinion and beliefs about anything, regardless of what the evidence has to say on the matter.  And for doing as they please, atheists are quite willing to accept anyone's opinion about anything, except those opinions that one person uses to hold dominion over another.

Theism, however, is forced everywhere to defend its slippery premise that God exists and that justice and morality only have meaning if he does, and we also have free will. And as such, theism wars with natural human skepticism by imposing its "beliefs" on anyone who is devilish enough to doubt them, and treating like Christ anyone who dares to disagree with its authority to speak for God oh high.

To force people to accept ideas of God and "free will," theists nail themselves to the cross of their ideas with God on the one hand, and free will on the other. Atheists, on the other hand (is that too many hands?), are free to believe whatever they wish about such ideas. No Atheist Inquisition is appointed to make sure that all atheists are adhering to proper atheistic dogma, concerning free will or determinism, and no one will be tortured to death for honestly having no opinion about either one. 

Christians, however, like to condemn “atheism” as simply a “religion” (because apparently dragging atheism down to their own level of uncritical thinking makes “theists” feel intellectually superior), but then deny that “atheism” can ever do what Christians so proudly proclaim they do whenever they cast stones at anyone who fails to live up to their Christian ideas of morality. For when the Christian condemns anyone, especially an atheist or a “sinner,” they claim to only condemn the sin, not the sinner (unless you live in Texas, of course).

But if an atheist ever dares to exercise their own “religion” in the very same way as Christians, by pointing out that an atheist who converts to “theism” – like C.S. Lewis – may never have been a true“atheist” to begin with, Christians attack those atheists who dare to engage in such a "defense of the faith" for acting like the Spanish Inquisition.

Those same Christians then go on to proclaim that all ‘atheists’ everywhere, demand absolute dogmatic devotion to Darwin and the supremacy of doubt over everything else, even though it is the “theist” who prefers martyrdom to admitting they may be only human. In fact, Christians have very often tortured and killed anyone who dares to show a mere fraction of the amount of doubt toward their own Christian beliefs as those same Christians show to every other belief there is or has ever been – regardless of how much evidence undermines the one and supports the other.

In short, the theist mercilessly condemns anyone who dares to be as skeptical of them as they are of science and practically everyone else.   

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Best reply to Atheist, Evolutionist and Agnostic Part 2: Unmasking The Magic Show of Manipluation by Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias is an "apologist" (i.e. propagandist/logical magician) for the rising tide of Christian Fascism that swept into the political temple the most blatantly anti-Christ figure the Religious Right has ever championed as their own money-making-messiah and bloated golden calf: Donald Drumpf.

 In true Christian fashion, Zacharias offers "the best reply to atheists" about God. But if you look at his reasoning, you see clearly how he manipulates people to rob from the poor and make himself rich, by fooling people into believing that they can ONLY ever have happiness, morality, meaning, and hope, by necessarily "believing" in his God and a "prosperity" religion.

As Ravi claims....

"Take the physical universe and you end up with a physical quantity that does not have a reason for existence in itself. It cannot explain it's own origin, which means the physical universe as we see it has to have something that is nonphysical as the "first cause" which must be non-physical."

Like a seasoned magician, Zacharias subtly seduces his audience of "believers" with his 'reasoning',  even though he is really only using their unconscious biases to both overlook and accept his "assumptions" as unquestionably true. He does this by using the habit we have for finding "meaning," one that is 'natural' only to human beings (as far as we know), and pretending that we must have been 'given' such a habit - as opposed to having 'developed' it for the purpose of learning how to stay alive - from a "God," so it would eventually lead us back to him. Zacharias wants us to believe that our constant search for "meaning," in other words, is really just a homing beacon that God has implanted in us. And in this way, he artfully he pulls the rabbit of God out of the hat of his argument.

Take this exert for example:

:  "the physical universe" or a "physical quantity" ... "does not have a reason for existence in itself."

But where does the idea that everything must "have a reason for existence in itself" come from? Like philosophy's endless attempt to find "order" or patterns to everything we can conceive, so "religion" uses god to likewise give "meaning" to everything. And without this meaning, so religion wants us to believe, our minds, hearts, and souls would all fall headlong into the void of despair and meaninglessness that leads to suicide and immorality. Only it doesn't.  

He likewise assumes that the "reason" for everything will necessarily be one that will be plainly discernible to all human beings. And even more, he assumes that that meaning will lead everyone to know that God is ultimately the cause of, and thus the "meaning" behind, all of "existence." For Ravi, the only reason this has not already happened, apparently, is simply because people are too stubborn to accept what is so painfully obvious to him and everyone who "believes" what he does (although I suspect that, like most preachers, he doesn't actually believe a word he's saying). If only the rest of the world would "open up their hearts," they would see how his "truth" (i.e. lie) would set them free.

The only problem is that such an assumption may itself be fashioned out nothing but purely human "hope." And no matter how much we wish and pray to our "god" for it to be true that life "has a meaning" from God, that does not prove the existence of either one. For if Ravi's reasoning were true, there would NOT be the need for Ravi and company to rely on the kind of circular reasoning and emotional manipulation he so continually and shamelessly employs. 

By assuming that life must have a reason,  Ravi only presupposes that there must be a God who gives it that reason. Because to assume there must be a necessary "meaning" to everything is to also assume that there must therefore be a God that gives that meaning to the existence of everything.  Hence, Ravi's "belief" is not so much in God, as in his own "meaning," which he worships as if it were both God and proof of God.

He is not "proving" that God exists with this reasoning, but simply manipulating his audience into believing he has proven "God" by getting them to accept that their "belief" that there must be a meaning for everything, comes from God. This, however, is a classic Christian circular snake oil syllogism.

After all, since "believers" already start with the underlying "need" to believe that life "must have a meaning," Ravi simply uses their underlying confirmation bias to lead them all to the very answer they want so desperately to be true - life has "meaning" because it comes necessarily from God. Otherwise, why else would murder be wrong?

In truth, life may only have intrinsic value if it does not come from God, and is not predicated on an assumption of eternity in heaven or hell. Indeed, why would murder be wrong, if killing someone carried the price tag of eternal damnation, on the one hand, and was no different than letting a person out of an earthly prison of suffering and death, and into an everlasting paradise, on the other?

This, in fact, was the same reasoning used to justify burning "witches" at the stake, for example, since
releasing them from their flesh in a painful way might expiate the persons sins enough for their soul to reach heaven. This is why a belief in God can so easily make murder seem like a perfectly moral, and indeed even mandatory, thing to do. (And if a person can always obtain forgiveness for murdering people, no matter how many millions it might be, than how does the idea of hell serve as any real threat or hope for cosmic "justice" in the end? And while Christians argue that "without God, murder is no longer immoral," which is an argument not entirely without some merit, that does not mean that with God we do not run into the exact same problem.)

 But rather than accept that the "meaning" to life is one that we must give it, since doing so clearly requires a much harder kind of "freedom" than one that allows us to depend on a Father Figure who will always take care of us, no matter what, people naturally prefer to believe in God instead. And for no other reason than that defining that meaning for themselves is far too heavy of a cross for most people to bear; especially when such people have been conditioned most, if not all, of their lives to "believe" that life only has worth and meaning IF we "believe" in God. Hence, the manipulation of religion is self reinforcing, as the conditioning done to us as children is latter used to manipulate us into accepting the kind of reasoning being offered by Ravi. 

This bit of charlatanism is an example of the snake oil syllogisms that Christians use in ALL of their arguments for the existence of (their own special brand of) God. They presuppose a number of things MUST be true, basically, and then use those assumptions as "undeniable proof" that God must therefore exist as well.

They simply ignore the fact that the very assumptions they are starting with - assumptions that always presuppose God as the answer - are what the atheist is ultimately asking the Christian to prove in the first place. In this sense, debating with Christians about these questions is a lot like watching the conversational carousel between Abbott & Costello, in their baseball routine, Who's On First? Ironically, all such assumptions are anything but "humble," as "believers" claim.

In fact, I can think of nothing more arrogant than to assume that we have the ability to "know"the mind of God," especially when you consider that men can't even understand the mind of women! Hell, us claiming to know the mind of God is like a single cell organism running around trying to convince all the other single cell organisms that it understands that complex life form called "human."

The assumption that humans can "know" the mind of an infinite, omniscient "God" (even though humans admit they cannot fully comprehend either "infinity" or "omniscience" ironically enough), is not only perhaps the most narcissistic of all human assumptions by far, but is clearly the byproduct of the "anthropic principle," which is the idea that "the universe was created for human beings" specifically, and not, say, space aliens or other species of "beings" that may be more advanced than humans, or bacteria, aardvarks, or even something we have yet to discover or are incapable of discovering, thanks to our fallible nature and finite understanding. If you look at the claims of Zacharias, however, all of this escapes ANY consideration of those who already want to believe everything Zacharias is saying, even before he bothers to say it.

His audience is clearly NOT listening for the purpose of determining if his reasoning is completely unassailable, and iron clad, but whether what he says makes them feel better about an idea that requires one to focus an inordinate amount of time and energy to continually affirm, lest we begin to suspect it is nothing but a story that empowers and employs the story tellers, and nothing more. We do not want to "know," we want only to be told we are right in what we "believe."

Zacharias further "roofies" his audience into their "beliefs" ("roofie" is slang for the date rape drug referenced in The Hangover called "rohypnol") by offering yet another veiled yet unproven assumption, when he continues..

 : Since the universe cannot explain itself (why does it need to?), this therefore "means the physical universe as we see it has to have something that is nonphysical as the "first cause" which must be non-physical."

Really? That's what that means? Would we not necessarily need to already know what preceded our universe, before we can definitively conclude that it MUST have been  something that was necessarily a non-physical "being" that caused it all? Perhaps our universe is just an outgrowth of another universe in a multiverse, for example, that popped out of the other end of a black hole. Or perhaps our understanding of the difference between the physical and non-physical matter, like matter and anti-matter and dark matter, is either an illusion itself, or the by product of our woefully limited range of perceptions and understanding.Who knows?

But the all too "human" limits of 'finite human understanding' or perception are never ever seen as an obstacle in discerning an infinite God by "believers" like Zacharias. While the "faithful" will be the first to tell you just how flawed we are in every other way, none of those flaws are ever enough to prevent us from knowing that an omnipotent and omniscient God exists, who has given us all the powers of reasoning and discernment to "know" this is true (which is why we can all be sent to hell if anyone dares to question his Church the same way Christ questioned the Sanhedrin). In fact, despite our addled sinful minds, we are all infallible enough to still know exactly what sort of God "he" is exactly, right down to knowing exactly what such a non-material yet temperamental "he" likes and dislikes.

Then again, even if we accept Zacharias's unproven and un-provable assumptions, there is nothing about those assumptions that then leads us to the conclusion that the universe must therefore be the result of a "first causer" and not a "first cause," or even 'first causers" or "first causes." Nor does it tell us anything about whether any of these possible "causes" was physical, non-physical, or some combination of both; or even something altogether as inaccessible to our finite understanding as Christians so often claim God to be. 

Nor is there anything that leads us to necessarily conclude that "the non-physcial" he wants his audience to accept was even a conscious "being" like ourselves, that may have had ANY intent in what it (or they) was doing, or is (was) even aware of what it (they) had done, or even if it (or they) cared about it all one way or another, after the fact.

We do not even know if this "being" (or "beings") survived the creation it (they) may have made, or if that being or beings were more good than bad or vice versa, since there is just as much life in the universe as there is death.

Zacharias only continues to convince his followers of exactly what they already believe, however, by preying upon their human vanity even further, by arguing..

The question about the universe is "Not from design but to design."

This argument that the universe is "designed" is yet again, Zacharias falling in love with his own god-like ability to plainly see the graffiti of 'god' all over the walls of existence.  He does this by confusing his own brain with a crystal ball, that was necessarily designed to be able to discern that God is subtly but unmistakably trying to communicate to humanity, not just through a blood drench Bible or Quran, but by creating a universe that would take thousands of years for humanity to even begin to figure out (remember Galileo and the Pope?) just so we could discover how "designed" for us it is. And for no other reason than that we could lighten the cross of pure "faith" that God exists, by finally being able to point to some real "proof" that he does. 

The "design" that Zacharias and other Christians harp on as their "evidence" that God must exist, however, amounts to the unmistakable breadcrumbs that God has left in the forest (i.e. the universe) for a Hansel and Gretel humanity to escape a witch (i.e. Satan) who lures children with her gingerbread house (i.e. sin) so she can cook them in her oven (i.e. hell). And in this same way, the bible amounts to a fairy tale to teach God's children to behave.

 For example, no one in Zacharias's audience dares to ask "what would an un-desegined universe look like, and how would it compare to one that was "designed"?" And "how can we tell the difference between a universe that "looks designed" but wasn't - especially since our human brains are always trying to find patterns in random chaos for the sole purpose (as far as we know) of keeping us alive - and one that looks designed because it was? And lastly, how do we know it was designed by one designer and not a committee of designers, like the American Constitution?  And how do we know what it or they may have been designing it all for, exactly?"

We could go on and on with similar questions, but you get the point. No one even thinks to ask any of these questions, because they are not interested in finding "truth," but in finding reasons for why they are "right" to continue to  simply believe their "beliefs" are true, even if they are not.

Zacharias continues to polish the apple of lies he seduces his audience with by lathering it with even more snake oil when he says..

By looking at all of this, "you immediately know that there is information there and logic tells you that where you see information, prior to that information is a mind"

But, again, this is pure circular reasoning, because by calling something "information" he is simply describing what we perceive with our human minds to begin with. If we break this "information" idea down to smaller chunks, we see that this is like saying "where you see color," prior to that color there is a painter who painted that color," or "where we hear sound, logic tells us there is a composer who composed that sound," or even "where we see numbers, logic tells us there must be an eternal mathematician behind it all." Again, this is an extension of the anthropic principle to assume that anything that we "perceive" must come from something that is like us, that is trying to communicate to us, the same way we send out signals into the universe in an attempt to determine if there is any intelligent life out there, beside ourselves.  (And given these kinds of "beliefs," we may not even qualify as "intelligent life.")

Ravi then gives us examples of things that are PURELY MAN MADE, ironically enough, by saying:

"If you walk onto a planet and see a McDonald wrapper with letters of an alphabet, you immediately know that there is information there"

...But here he is giving us MAN MADE inventions, things like letters, alphabets and wrappers, and we are the HUMANS who are then interpreting all of this as 'information." "Information," of course, is simply the human way of describing our interpretation of what we perceive through our senses and try to make sense of - and nothing more, (as far as we know). That he wishes to conclude that any "information" is God trying to communicate his existence to us from the inside out, the way Reagan MacNeil wrote "help me" from within her own stomach in The Exorcist, doesn't mean that the "design" he perceives is simply God trying to let us know he's embedded in every atom, and he needs us to free him through our "faith," like a genii in a bottle.

 For Zacharias, however, "information" is the means by which God is communicating both proof of his existence and ultimately "his" will and moral laws, apparently. And like the Little Orphan Annie radio show in a Christmas Story, the Bible is our Orphan Annie Secret Society decoder ring that does nothing but remind us to "drink our Ovaltine! (i.e. read our bible, go to Church, and give 10% of your income to people who claim to speak for God. Amen!)

But just because something looks designed does not mean it was, nor does it mean that a God is trying to get us to believe in a particular religion by embedding in the DNA of existence evidence that could lead us to the possible interpretation that maybe, just maybe, the universe was all 'designed" - and specifically for us, no less.

For Zacharias, the "design" is obvious because it is intended by God to prove the existence of another mind, other than our own, that must have created it in such a way that our human mind would be able to clearly understand what it is communicating.  Of course, this idea that the universe looks designed so we would know there was a God is no different than arguing that the image of Mary or Jesus in a burnt piece of French Toast or a leaky sewer line under a bridge, were both designed so that we would know Christianity is the "one true faith."

Zacharias then proceeds to compare even MORE human inventions:

"You don't just think that handles Messiah hallelujah chorus just came together, or that the dictionary developed because of an explosion in a printing press..there is sequence in these things.. .Take the composition of the enzyme in the human component which is the building block of the gene and the gene the building block of the cell.. the possibility of the enzyme coming together by random ... the possibility of that happening by chance is 10 to the power of 40,000! That's more than the number of atoms in this universe!"

Whoa! Such an astronomical calculation leaves us reeling! And dizzy from the sheer size of such a calculations, atheists are expected to stumble, punch-drunk from so lofty a calculation, straight into the inescapable conclusion that God did it all in the conservatory with a candlestick. This then leaves the atheist to figure out which one of the more than 40,000 different versions of Christianity that exist in America alone they should immediately start handing over 10% of their income to in order to avoid eternal damnation, of course. I'm sure Zacharias would assure us that we should naturally join his own.

Using this reasoning, humanity would have first had to evolve to the point that it had the ability to calculate such estimations in the first place, before we could ever hope to have to discovered that it was so improbable that God was NOT the reason behind everything!

As Douglas Hofstadter explained in Gödel, Escher, Bach, however:

[O]ne can never give an ultimate, absolute proof that a proof
in some system is correct. Of course, one can give a proof of
a proof, or a proof of a proof of a proof—but the validity of
the outermost system always remains an unproven
assumption, accepted on faith.

 Zacharias concludes that the argument for God is sealed by pointing out that:

1. Physical quantity cannot explain itself (but why does it have to?) which points to something non physical (not necessarily).
2. Intelligibility which assumes a prior mind points to something intellectual (Hence, whenever something is "intelligible," it must have come from "a prior mind," which is why we can see the image of the virgin Mary on a piece of  burnt toast and feel safe in assuming it was placed there by "something intellectual"). 
3. That human interaction demands the existence of a moral reality (Hence, the fact that human beings are willing to act like such total shits to each other, according to this reasoning, means we are right to "demand" there must be a God, which is to say the more genocide we commit, the more confidence we can have in the existence of a God who will exact justice for it all. Genocide, in other words, is as strong a proof for the existence of God as probability and the mere appearance of design. This only leaves us to wonder what Zacharias is NOT willing to use as "proof" that God exists. Indeed, even pedophile priests, by this reasoning, only prove God exists. How convenient.)

Zacharias then sums it up this way:

A first cause that is spiritual
A first cause that is mind
A first cause that needs to explain morality

There are 4 fundamental questions in life:
1. origins
2. meaning
3. morality
4 destiny

Then he says, "combine those questions with the 3 explanations, and only God is big enough to explain it." Only God is big enough to make a pizza that big, in other words, which is why it is so apparent we are all living inside of God's empty pizza box, right under the remote control he was using to play World of Warcraft.

But notice that ALL of the things on this list conform to things a HUMAN MIND wants and demands. They do NOT necessarily conform to anything any other kind of mind may want, need, or demand, regardless if that "mind" is less or more advanced than our own. This, then, is the epitome of using the 'anthropic principle' as a magic wand to seduce his audience with the apple of his reasoning. And by doing so, he promises that, by "believing in God," they can all "be like God, knowing right from wrong." He just happens to be the one who gets to define which is which. Amen.


Monday, March 27, 2017

How God Is a Sadistic Serial Killer if Christianity Is True

Christians love, love, love to act as if they have the only moral leg to stand on by declaring that all morality comes from God, and that without God, or at least a belief in God, there is no objective standard for morality whatsoever. They even claim that atheists have agreed with this proposition, even though the vast majority have not. The problem with this argument, therefore, is that it is not only wrong, but the exact opposite is true: Christianity and a belief in God are not the basis of all morality, but are instead far more often the very impetuous of all immorality.

Most Christians who mistakenly believe that any form of objective morality must be anchored in an idea of a God who can dole out perfectly calibrated quantities of justice in the afterlife via heaven and hell - even though an inability to comprehend either infinity or "God" necessarily negates our ability to be responsible for "offending" either one - never notice that such ideas have only the opposite effect here on Earth.

 Not only do the threat of eternal punishment and the bribe of eternal paradise always fail as incentives to those who who have a fear of eternity - known as apeirophobia - in general, but our human inability to fathom or relate to the concept of "eternity" itself, in any meaningful way at least, negates the efficacy of such concepts almost entirely. And if we have a hard enough time relating to our own neighbors, let alone a poor man relating to the life of a rich man and vice versa, then how much more impossible is it for a finite material person to be able to relate to an infinite immaterial afterlife?

After all, the death penalty and life in prison, for example, do little to dissuade the criminal or the addict from engaging in crimes that, sometimes unintentionally, warrant such penalties. Not only do such ideas of Heaven and Hell fail to work simply because they involve concepts too alien and abstract for us to relate to in any meaningful way, but also because many of the criminals who engage in the kind of crimes that warrant the death penalty or life in prison, or heaven and hell by extension, are often operating under either the effects of their addiction (on a given drug or under the symptoms of withdrawal), or the flood of emotions and adrenaline that come from the stress of the crime they are engaged in.
Known as an amygdala hijacking, a persons emotions can completely override their ability to think rationally or calmly when in particularly stressful circumstances. We see versions of this, for example, when Christians become flushed with emotions when their "beliefs" and thus their very  identity, feel threatened or are too strongly challenged. Hence, at the moment many if not all serious "sins" or crimes take place, the person is often on a kind of adrenaline autopilot, which renders the "belief" that ideas of God and eternal justice may help us to control ourselves, utterly meaningless.

If such concepts do indeed have any effect on helping people "control" themselves, it is probably very little. And given the overall costs people associate with such eternal punishments and rewards, any positive effects that may stem from such "beliefs" are probably negligible at best, while the negative effects such "beliefs" produces are likely incalculable.

In the same way people are willing to engage in any degree of cheating or immorality to secure riches here on earth, so it is logical too conclude that they would only be willing to engage in similar such actions to secures the "riches" promised in heaven. Conversely, the fact that the death penalty actually often incentivizes petty criminals to engage in far worse crimes because they mistakenly think they are facing a death sentence for what they've done (see The Onion Field, In Cold Blood, and Alpha Dog, as examples), so the threat of hell and the insecurity of heaven (we tend to believe the worst is more likely than the best, after all) often only contributes to thinking "Fuck it! We're all probably going to hell anyway!"

Worse than this, however, is that those for whom such ideas really DO have an emotional effect, like Christian and Muslim extremists, they are often so truly terrified by the idea of eternal damnation that they are willing to engage in crusades, pogroms, inquisitions, beheading, burning and torturing heretics, and countless other such horrors, just to safeguard their own souls from their own fear of eternal torments.

In this sense, if the Christian and Muslim concepts of Heaven and Hell are true, then we are all living necessarily in the movie Saw, where a psychopathic serial killer forces his victims to often kill someone else in order to survive gruesome tortures and death themselves. God, then, is the serial killer, and hell is the gruesome tortures we all wish to avoid, because those tortures will never end, because we never die in hell. And any amount of death and suffering in this life would be, by comparison, always nothing more than a drop in the bucket of eternal suffering one one could expect in hell.

Who then would not kill Christ a million times, who then would not be willing to murder everyone on the planet, if need be, just to avoid such a fate for themselves?

And lastly, for the Christians who always respond to such criticisms with, "Well, if there is no God, nor heaven or hell, then why not just rape and murder and kill people all we want?" Such a rebuttal is truly disturbing, for it only implies that, but for their own irrational fear of God, such crimes are precisely what they would rather be doing on Sunday instead of going to Church.    

Friday, March 24, 2017

God Proves We Do NOT Have Free Will

Christians love to argue that only if there is a God can we have free will, and that all atheists are determinists. The only problem with this argument is that its not true.

We are controlled by what we need, so the saying goes, and if we "need" God to be "happy" or find meaning or to believe in morality and justice, etc, than we are controlled by this "need." Hence, we are not truly "free" to chose what we want to believe if there is a God, and a hell, and so on.

In fact, God threatening us with an eternity in Hell if we fail to "believe" in him is far worse than ISIS threatening to cut off our heads if we do not "believe" in Islam, or Christians burning us at the stake for failing to admit we may be in league with their imaginary villain called Satan; because the former is torture for eternity while the latter two are over as soon as we are dead.

How then can a person who is threatened with an eternity in hell EVER be said to have the ability to choose to "believe" something or not?

Why Ben Shapiro is Wrong About Transgenderism

"Professing themselves wise they have become FOOLS."
Romans 1:22

Here's why the Conservative flame thrower Ben Shapiro is wrong about Transgenderism

The former Brietbart News columnist, who later turned on the pro-Trump line the publication had taken under Steve Bannon, warned against “humoring the delusions” of transgender people, because by doing that “you are exacerbating their mental illness.”

SHAPIRO: "No. Gender is not disconnected from sex" and "I’m not going to modify basic biology because it threatens your subjective sense of what you are. The idea that sex or gender is malleable is not true."

ANSWER: False.  The idea that gender is disconnected from sex can go either way. First, because both the "mind-body" problem posed in philosophy and the "free will" concept of religion establishes the fact that we cannot know for certain what the connection is between our gender and our genetics on the one hand, nor is there any basis for supporting the claim that a person's idea of "gender" must necessarily always be dictated by the external appearance of their genitals, even if on an internal and biological level, they are more of the opposite sex.

SHAPIRO: “Biology is biology; men can’t magically become women, and women can’t magically become men.”

ANSWER: False. Here, Shapiro engages in the Omniscience Fallacy where he presents himself as being "omniscient" about the biology of every single person who has, or ever will, identify as transgendered. In truth, Shapiro is only preying on the ignorance of his audience by hiding from them (and perhaps even himself) the fact that "intersexed people" (who are born with both male and female genitalia) as well as those born are a result of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome,  Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Ovotestis, and Klinefelter Syndrome, are all examples of how "biology" proves that neither sex nor gender is simply as binary as Shapiro pretends they are.

Many of these conditions do not automatically produce a person who is all one sex or the other. Even a fetus takes 6 weeks to "magically become" a man or woman. And for the conditions mentioned above, it can take until puberty or later before some "men" may discover that they are menstruating, because they have "magically" become a "woman," internally.
Hence Shapiro pretending to understand "biology" and transgenderism in this way, while ignoring these scientific facts about sex and gender, is like an atheist claiming to understand Judaism and Christianity by completely ignoring the Bible, both the Old and New Testament.

And although Dissociative Identity Disorder is not related to transgenderism, the fact that people suffering from DID - which is a disorder where people suffer from multiple personalities - have been known to change their basic physiology in accord with their beliefs, like their eye colors or whether they are color blind or not, or whether they have allergies or not. The point being that people with DID demonstrate that people can, in fact, change their biology to some degree at least, contrary to what Shapiro suggests. 

SHAPIRO:  "“Transgender people are unfortunately suffering from a delusion" and a "significant mental illness that is deeply harmful, and it’s not a solution to pretend that transgender people are the sex that they think they are in their head.”

ANSWER: False, but it wouldn't matter even if it were true. There is no proof that such people are necessarily suffering from "mental illness," especially when you consider the opioid epidemic currently plaguing the United States because of the proliferation of "mental illness" marketed by Big Pharma. And even if we accept the idea that such people are, in fact, suffering from "mental illness," it is not as if they are running around starting holy wars, flying planes into buildings, or engaging in genocide because their imaginary sky-dad tells them too in the same way the neighbors dog told the Son of Sam killer David Berkowtiz to go out and kill couples in cars.

And when you consider the amount of violence done to transgender people today by people who hold the exact same views about gender as Shapiro, often because of their "religious" convictions, it seems the world would be a far, far better place if more people where suffering from the "mental illness" of transgenderism than all of the perfectly 'normal' people who rely on religion as their guide for divining everything they need to know about gender to "love thy neighbor."

In the 18th century, for example, people who believed in an imaginary God concluded that people who believed they were covered in imaginary spiders needed to be institutionalized to protect society, even though the latter had never hurt a fly, while the former was burning thousands of people at the stake. 

Religion, therefore, is a much, much, deadlier "delusion" and "mental illness" if "by their fruits we shall know" the truth about an idea, considering the orgies of death and the amount of bloodshed spilled for the delusion of Shapiro's religion alone. He must forget Deuteronomy, when his own people boasted as if they were family members from Charles Manson after the murders they engaged in:

“I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” [ii]
And this..

“[I]n the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them — the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites — as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 20:16-18

“Transgender people are unfortunately suffering from a significant mental illness that is deeply harmful, and it’s not a solution to pretend that transgender people are the sex that they think they are in their head,” Shapiro said in the Monday speech. “Biology is biology; men can’t magically become women, and women can’t magically become men.”Read more:

And when you consider how Shapiro ignores the actual scientific evidence that proves he is wrong on the one hand, and that his own religion offers very little for his own religious ideas about "gender," it seems the world would be far better if more people suffered from the "delusion" of transgenderism than of religion.

SHAPIRO: No. Why aren’t you 60? Why aren’t you 60? Why can’t you identify as 60? What is the problem with you identifying as 60?
Shapiro: You can’t legally change your age, by the way.

ANSWER: Conflating apples and oranges. Here, Shapiro does with age the same thing he is doing with gender. For Shapiro, everything is discernible by it's external attributes, even though both gender and even "age" may have internal genetic properties that demonstrate how, on a microbiological level, we do not all fit perfectly into the boxes that Shapiro thinks the world can be neatly segregated.

In the same way that a person may have the genitals of one sex but the internal organs and/or genetics of the opposite sex (which would prove that, even if gender is tied directly to our biology, even our biology is not as black-and-white as Shapiro falsely claims), so people who may age by the same clock as everyone else externally, may age in "dog years" internally on a genetic level. Take the genetic disorder known as "progeria" for example.

According to Wikipedia:
Progeria is an extremely rare genetic disorder in which symptoms resembling aspects of aging are manifested at a very early age.[5] Progeria is one of several progeroid syndromes.[6] Those born with progeria typically live to their mid teens to early twenties.[7][8] It is a genetic condition that occurs as a new mutation, and is rarely inherited, as carriers usually do not live to reproduce. Although the term progeria applies strictly speaking to all diseases characterized by premature aging symptoms, and is often used as such, it is often applied specifically in reference to Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS).

Again, the fact that we can age more rapidly on a genetic level than we do as a measure of general time parallels the idea that our sex (and therefore gender) genetics internally may be the very opposite of what they appear to be to the world externally. Hence, even in his comparison with age, Shapiro FAILS.


The former Brietbart News columnist, who later turned on the pro-Trump line the publication had taken under Steve Bannon, warned against “humoring the delusions” of transgender people, because by doing that “you are exacerbating their mental illness.”Read more:
The former Brietbart News columnist, who later turned on the pro-Trump line the publication had taken under Steve Bannon, warned against “humoring the delusions” of transgender people, because by doing that “you are exacerbating their mental illness.”Read more:
The former Brietbart News columnist, who later turned on the pro-Trump line the publication had taken under Steve Bannon, warned against “humoring the delusions” of transgender people, because by doing that “you are exacerbating their mental illness.”Read more:

Songs of the True Believer

The reason it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, is because the ...