Why are there so many Atheism Blogs?

Why are there so many atheism blogs? I saw recently how one guy collects them all in one place so you can “feed” on a life without God, literally hundreds of blog links, enough reading for several years.

My question is: Why? Why this persistent, diligent pursuit to prove or convince themselves and others that there is no God. Something I read some time ago seems to address this question.

Charles Colson tells about Irina Ratushinskaya, a young girl in the Soviet Union years ago. She was trained in Communist schools and indoctrinated in atheism. She said she could never figure out why her teachers all pitched such a furious battle against someone they said didn’t exist. “God doesn’t exist.” Irina began to question: “Can’t they tell they are giving themselves away? Adults tell you there are no gremlins or ghosts. They tell you once or twice, and that’s it. But with God, they tell you over and over again. So He must exist – and He must be very powerful for them to fear Him so greatly.”

You see, something inside is telling the atheistic bloggers – God really does exist. Rather than yield to his love, the atheist will convince himself/herself that God doesn’t exist and in so doing, proves that he in fact does exist, but that they are unwilling to acknowledge it. The sheer volume of atheistic blogs testify to the existence of one they refuse to acknowledge due to mulish pride.

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106 Comments

Filed under Agnosticism, Atheism, Christian Worldview, Fool, God, Pride, Rebellion, Religion, Spiritual Life

106 responses to “Why are there so many Atheism Blogs?

  1. The first little bit here is to show that claiming there are no true atheists is hypocritical for a Christian.

    Psalm 14:1 clearly states that there are people who really don’t believe in your god, genuine non-belief.

    There are a few reasons I personally blog. The first is the same reason you go to church, fellowship.

    Sure you go to church for worship, but also to enjoy the company of your fellow Christians. I blog to communicate with fellow atheists, we are far and few in between and the internet is a powerful way to interact with the rest of the atheist community.

    I also blog so that my voice can be heard. Every day there are theists trying to subvert the separation of church and state in my countries government. I can’t just up and fly 1000 miles to protest those things at D.C. so I write about it to let the community know what is going on, maybe if enough of us write letters or hire lawyers and so on and so forth we can keep this country secular, as it was designed to be. Freedom of speech baby.

    I blog to preach the good news. A lot of religion is based on fear, especially southern Baptists (hellfire and brimstone anyone?). However, people do not need to fear a god that doesn’t exist. I blog to spread reason and logic, because if I don’t, who will? If I don’t stand up for my own rights, who will? Will you stand up and fight to keep prayer out of schools for us atheists and their children? Will you fight to keep my taxes from being spent on religious programs such as abstinence only sex education?

    Just to clarify; I don’t hate your god. I just haven’t found any proof that he exists, for the same reason that I don’t believe in Allah, Odin, or Santa.

    Now my question for you: If we atheists blog because we are afraid of your god do you blog because you’re afraid of your god not existing?

  2. Pingback: Why Are There So Many Atheist Bloggers? « The Sisyphus Fragment

  3. The idiocy of your logic can be seen simply be reversing it. Why are there so many Christian blogs? You see, something inside is telling the Christian bloggers – God really does not exist. Rather than yield to the cold hard facts, the Christian will convince himself/herself that God does exist and in so doing, proves that He does in fact not exist, but that they are unwilling to acknowledge it. Wow, that was easy!

  4. DidYouThinkThisThroughAtAll

    So does this argument reverse and can one make the same assumptions about religion based on the number of pro-religion blogs out there? What an amazingly weak argument.

  5. The reason? Because many religious people, a lot of them Christian, want to impose their beliefs and opinions on everyone else by force.

    I don’t care what you believe. But if you start hurting others or forcing them to act the way you want them to, then I’ll speak up.

    That’s why I don’t have a blog about my non-belief in Santa Claus. However, if Clause followers tried to harm and force others, I’d be all over it.

    Otherwise, debate is fun and intellectually stimulating.

  6. onscrn

    I don’t know which Christians morsecode (post above) has encountered that are trying to impose beliefs on him by force, but I suggest he inform the police.

    I think part of the answer to your question is the one you gave: the Universe continues to cry out for an explanation. I wouldn’t assert that the proof of God’s existence is something that can be demonstrated beyond any doubt to someone with a closed heart though.

    I think there is also among atheists (based on my decades-long experience as one) the pride of belonging to what I called the Club of Truly Smart People in a couple of blog posts. I wrote some reflections on why I maintained an immature philosophical position for so long in a post called “On the Breaking of Bad Habits Acquired in One’s Youth: Smoking and Atheism.” That led to some interactions with a group of atheists that hung out at an atheist blog, which I recounted in “Conversations in the Clubhouse of Truly Smart People.” I’m not sure if you allow links in your comments, so I’ll just let anyone interested Google it or go to onscreen-scientist.com.

  7. “I don’t know which Christians morsecode (post above) has encountered that are trying to impose beliefs on him by force, but I suggest he inform the police.”

    Christians trying to keep homosexuals from getting married.

    Creationists trying to get their religion taught in public schools.

    Right wing Christians trying to get their religious paraphernalia displayed in government buildings.

    The religious right trying to stop freedom of speech at every turn.

    Shall I go on?

  8. Please share the link. I’d love to read it.

    Regarding the above: I personally enjoy interacting with atheists as well. They have so much to teach me and others. However, I also am very much aware that we live in a culture with a definate bias toward rejecting a belief in God. In addition, the secular-humanistic worldview is inadequate to answer the deeper questions of life: how and why am I here? what went wrong in the world? what is the larger story? what role am I to play?

    This is why I blog. This is also why I submit my thoughts to the scrutiny of a larger audience, even atheistic. Their insight, objections, and opinions grow me and allow me to see the logic of a belief-system that attempts to explain things without a God.

    Regarding those who have commented on my logic above – I am not trying to “catch-you” with an argument as a couple of you suppose. I am endeavoring to understand your viewpoints and your rationale. Rather, I want you to take a longer look at what you have bought into.

    I would also suggest that good philosophy exists to combat bad philosophy. The reason you see so many theistic blogs is that anti-theism is an inadequate view to explain life and the human experience.

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/why-people-do-not-believe-in-god

  9. Gawd

    The idiocy of this logic can be revealed (if it isn’t already painfully apparent) simply be reversing it. Why are there so many Christian blogs? You see, something inside is telling the Christian bloggers – God really does not exist. Rather than yield to the cold hard facts, the Christian will convince himself/herself that God does exist and in so doing, proves that He does in fact not exist, but that they are unwilling to acknowledge it.

    Wow, that was easy!

    Too bad this is one of the worst arguments against atheism – ever. Have you seen anything worse?

  10. “I am endeavoring to understand your viewpoints and your rationale.”

    If you want to understand our viewpoint or rationale then just ask. Don’t presume to know what thoughts every atheist blogger secretly harbors deep down. Man, that was presumptuous. Here is a good post explaining why an atheist should engage in religious debate:

    http://conversationalatheist.com/why-engage-in-religious-debates/

    “The reason you see so many theistic blogs is that anti-theism is an inadequate view to explain life and the human experience.”

    A-theism is not an explanation of anything. It is merely skepticism or a rejection of theism.

  11. pikatore

    “the deeper questions of life: how and why am I here? what went wrong in the world? what is the larger story? what role am I to play?”

    Some of us aren’t as desperate for a definitive answer to these questions as you are. And that is the difference. In fact, much atheism isn’t so much a fearful backlash against religious irrationality as it is a simple apathy towards such questions, due to their vague nature.

    Allow me to briefly examine these questions, one by one, to prove my point. And believe me, it didn’t take me very long to answer them. I didn’t feel the need to invoke a supernatural explanation. That is the difference between you and me.

    “how and why am I here?”

    This question could be answered in so many ways it hurts my head. But in the context of what you are asking, I see it being applied to a much more general sense, that is, the existence of humanity, and even life, itself.

    The how? Well, there are several theories put forward, and many religious people may choose to accept thier religious doctrine literally (much like Christian young earth creationists), or assimilate the strongest theory into thier belief system (like a Muslim who thinks that evolution is a good explanation of the history of Earth’s life, but Allah actually kickstarted this process).

    My answer to the ‘how’? To the best of my knowledge, I would say that life came about via abiogenesis, and evolved over incredibly long periods of time to what we see today. It is an answer subject to scientific theory, and I realise that. But here is the critical thing. It does nothing to shape my worldview, or affect what I would choose to believe in (which happens to be nothing). For me to base any moral views or values off a scientific theory would be committing a naturalistic fallacy, which I feel is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. Just because I’m convinced that in the natural world, the fittest survive, and therefore thier genes are selected, that doesn’t mean that I should kill and maim. Just because I think we are nothing more than intellectually advanced animals, that doesn’t cause me to behave like many others, and kill, steal, etc.

    Now for the ‘why’. To this I ask a few counter questions as food for thought: does there have to be a why? Why does humanity and all life in itself require a higher purpose to explain it’s existence?

    I think that the ultimate purpose of humanity ties directly to my values, and what I value. I would expect other people to disagree with my view, because they simply have slightly different ideas of what is important relative to something else. If there is a ‘reason’ for our existence, then I would argue it is a reason that we need to determine for ourselves as a collective. I don’t think there is an answer to this question.

    However, I could draw from my atheist perspective to say that life itself in fundamentally a series of chemical and physical reactions, much like a star that is constantly burning as long as it has enough of the right type of fuel, and therefore, if there was any ‘purpose’, it would be to propagate and prosper as much as possible, for as long as possible. For humanity, that for me would equal an almost utopian unified society that has mastered interstellar travel, and has secured it’s foothold in the universe for as long as it can. But please think about my counter-questions.

    “what went wrong in the world?”

    We are assuming that there was a time where, in human civilisation, things were ‘right’. Which is not an assumption I subscribe to at all. As horrible as this sounds, I think we have always been advancing forward from our animal and instict-driven tendencies to a higher state of intellect and morality.

    “what is the larger story? ”

    Larger story? Why assume there is a larger story, or at least one in the sense we are thinking of? A question like that is loaded, because while it’s perfectly valid to argue that perhaps there isn’t a large story, it would simply be misconstrued as an attempt to dodge the question itself. But believe me, it isn’t.

    “what role am I to play?”

    Similar to the ‘why’ of our existence, I think the role we play in our lives and the lives of the people around us is entirely up to us. And with my philosophy, like practically any individual philosophy (including those of various religions), there will be variants. My ‘role’ is to live long, have a comfortable, happy life, and ensure to the best of my ability that I leave behind a world that has been made a little bit better for the generations to come.

  12. Joey, I wrote a reply blog, in which I explain that your logic is both philosophically incorrect, as well as offensive. I hope you’ll take a look.

  13. Anonymous

    Oh dear, you’re really not too bright, are you, Joey? If you can’t see the fairly obviously gaping hole in your own logic, I suggest you don’t even attempt to understand the logic of a non-believer. You may injure yourself. In all seriousness, you should have thought this post through far, far better than you did. “Mulish pride”? Ouch. What did you expect, a dozen atheists in a dozen minutes, “Oh your god, he’s so right! I’m a believer!”?

    “…the deeper questions of life: how and why am I here? what went wrong in the world? what is the larger story? what role am I to play?”

    I’ll field these. How and why are we here? Sheer blind luck and coincidence. What went wrong in the world? Some damn fool invented religion, and, well, it’s just been sort of war after war since then. What is the larger story? There really isn’t one, something that you and your kind need to learn to accept. What role am I to play? Whichever role you wish to play.

    And now, one question for you: Do you really have such trouble in accepting that you will die, and that there is nothing afterwards, that you cling to this weak-minded and, quite frankly, puzzling belief of yours?

    Regards,
    Anonymous.

  14. it would be naive of anyone to assert that atheism is mere rejection and nothing more. when you say there is no God, you are establishing a framework by which you will answer many other questions; you are asserting that life can be explained some other way. you are embracing a worldview – a framework by which you see all the facts.

    how do you answer then the big questions of life: where did we come from? how did this (the cosmos) happen? what went wrong in the world? what can be done to fix it? is there life after death?

    my hunch is that you can’t explain it if you are true to your atheistic worldview. And evolution simply makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. That’s why its popular with atheist, even though evolution has been on its way out now for the last several years.

    i have no problem with skepticism. i have no problem with science. i have no problem with doubt. but you cannot live with the worldview that you are subscribing to if you follow your worldview to it’s logical ends.

    Atheism impacts how you see everything else; it will never be mere rejection of theism.

    G. K. Chesterton said that when people cease to believe in God, it is commonly supposed that they believe in nothing. But it actually is far worse than this, asserts Chesterton. “They believe in anything.”

  15. Anonymous

    “it would be naive of anyone to assert that atheism is mere rejection and nothing more. when you say there is no God, you are establishing a framework by which you will answer many other questions; you are asserting that life can be explained some other way. you are embracing a worldview – a framework by which you see all the facts.”

    I’m sorry, but how does my lack of belief “establish a framework”? By no means should any man’s thought process be tied to some meaningless restriction. He should analyse the situation to the best of his ability, and then, to this information, apply well-established fact, scientific knowledge, and cold, hard logic. How do you think, out of interest? I’m genuinely quite fascinated with the workings of the religious mind.

    “how do you answer then the big questions of life: where did we come from? how did this (the cosmos) happen? what went wrong in the world? what can be done to fix it? is there life after death?”

    We came from single-celled organisms, from way back in the day (For additional information, see theory of evolution). The cosmos? Big Bang theory. What went wrong? Religion. How do we fix it? Remove religion. Is there life after death? No, of course not.

    “my hunch is that you can’t explain it if you are true to your atheistic worldview. And evolution simply makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

    I just did. I proved you horribly wrong, didn’t I? Oh, and this, this made me laugh so hard: “That’s why its popular with atheist, even though evolution has been on its way out now for the last several years.” Come, now. Are you serious? I’m frankly speechless. Look around. Do you have a pet? Are there any particularly nice trees around? A squirrel, even? The evidence for evolution is all around you. Just because your precious book makes no mention of it, does not mean it is not real. Expand your ‘worldview’, shake up your ‘framework’, abandon your false hopes of redemption after death.

    “i have no problem with skepticism. i have no problem with science. i have no problem with doubt. but you cannot live with the worldview that you are subscribing to if you follow your worldview to it’s logical ends.”

    You, quite clearly, do have a problem with science, if you think that the theory of evolution has “been on it’s way out for years”. The logical ends of my worldview are that I will die, I will not have an after life of any sort, and nothing anyone has ever done will matter in a few billion or so years, anyway.

    “Atheism impacts how you see everything else; it will never be mere rejection of theism.”

    True to an extent, although I cannot remember a time when I was not an atheist, so I really cannot compare.

    “G. K. Chesterton said that when people cease to believe in God, it is commonly supposed that they believe in nothing. But it actually is far worse than this, asserts Chesterton. “They believe in anything.””

    No. Not at all. We believe in nothing. You will find that it is the people of a religious mindset that will believe in anything. Hell, I could probably go and start a religion tomorrow, based on a piece of toast. My point being, someone, some fool, would believe.

    From a personal standpoint, belief in any sort of deity is a weakness, of sorts. Is it really necessary to place your life in the hands of something that you cannot see, cannot touch, cannot feel? Just for the sake of feeling… fulfilled at the end of it all, when you’ve lived a life free of sin? Why live by the writings in an ancient book of lies? Your kind mystifies me.

  16. you assume many things about my belief system – almost as if you are labeling me in order to dismiss my observations. stop being “offended” long enough to think about what you are in fact saying when you claim that you do not believe in God.

    Obviously, you are working from a set of assumptions (a worldview), and the data is going to be filtered through that. If you assert that contrary to the evidence of what we do know, that God does not exist, then your worldview will reflect this. Since the Bible is a questionable document in your view, I argue from a different standpoint (as i have done elsewhere).

    Here’s how I would like to respond. I’m not going to try to convince you of God’s existence. Why? Because you already know that God exists (but it may have been repressed). And you know it in the following three ways:

    Conscience. He’s written it into our world and into your conscience and self-awareness. There’s a voice inside the center of your soul that says it’s not morally right to push a little lady into the path of oncoming traffic, but to help her across the street instead (Romans 2:14-15 if you care to). If there is no God and everyone just evolved from animals, why would it be wrong to give her a shove? Biological machines don’t have conscience – made in the image of God people do. No one had to teach you this. You just know injustice when you see it; you’re self-aware and introspective. You reveal this in the comments you made about religion and oppression,etc…

    Desire. And there’s a voice inside that says I am designed for something more than just an overbuilt “banana-picker” (please excuse my phrase, but true to post-modern idealogy, it works for me) Over-built banana pickers don’t paint sunsets and capture the colors of an arboretum. The incandescent colors of sea life. The golden daybreak. The mountain vistas and glistening lakes. The human body with complex organs and eyeballs, and skin. The cellular information found in a single cell. Human beings who have personality and the capacity to recognize, write about, and photograph scenes of beauty argue against the Banana-Picker theories. Banana-Pickers don’t write stories about courage and hope and purpose and romance; all they need is grass and bananas. They don’t long for home and family. They don’t appreciate the arts and sciences. They don’t hunger for love and lose themselves in music. They just eat bananas. Someone gave you an ability to create, shape, and appreciate beauty and to long for purpose and home. We pay attention to what’s going on inside us. We seek to piece together all that happens into some larger picture of meaning. “Would it not be strange if a universe without purpose accidentally created humans who are so obsessed with purpose? (John Templeton)” All we needed was basic “banana-pickers” but what we have is Steven Spielberg, etc., etc.

    Nature. If you will listen to the inner voice and read the Book of Nature, God has already convinced you of his existence; what we see and feel is not mere chance. The science of common sense says that it couldn’t just have happened. Chance doesn’t adequately explain it. Laws don’t adequately explain it. Design does. And there’s a message of love embedded in the design.

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/intelligent-design-and-evolution-how-did-it-all-begin/

  17. Claiming to know what someone believes is beyond arrogance. Furthermore, you cannot be indoctrinated in atheism. Atheism has no dogma, no doctrine. It’s a rejection of the claim of God. Communism is not the political belief of atheists.

    Lastly, if you want to know why there is so many atheists blogs maybe consider the fact that atheists are growing in number. Furthermore, a lot of atheists blog to help promote positive atheism. (As in, to get rid of crazy notions like yours.) Did you ever consider that?

  18. “Conscience.”

    Then why is my conscience so much different than yours? Does your god give atheists one conscience and Christians another and Muslims another?

    “Desire. ”

    Not really. It wouldn’t bother me either way if there was or wasn’t a god. The fact that there isn’t is fine with me.

    “Nature.”

    Nope. Design fails, again and again, against the might hand of natural selection.

    Nice try, though. Ignoring the evidence and just repeating what you believe convinces a lot of people, sad to say.

    Happy Halloween!

  19. Shane

    “the secular-humanistic worldview is inadequate to answer the deeper questions of life”

    Wrong. You just don’t like the answers. It is much easier to just believe whatever you want–magic healing miracles, angels, demons, a loving God hand-crafting you inside the womb, eternal life, or whatever fanciful mythology you subscribe to. Maybe there is no universal patriarch looking out for you and waiting to shower you with glory once you die. The ultimate ground “truth” of the universe is a necessary mystery (and it would be good for you to understand why), but simply making up answers is not an improvement.

    “I am endeavoring to understand your viewpoints and your rationale”

    Wrong again. You are trying to process, label, an file atheists away in a way that is consistent with your worldview (atheists know God but succumb to pride). This blog post indicates you obviously don’t give a flying #%!@ what our viewpoint or rationale is.

  20. Les

    That has to be one of the more amusingly bad arguments on why atheists “deep down know God exists” I’ve ever read.

    Contrary to your assertions, atheism is nothing more than the rejection of theism. Beyond not believing in God(s) you can’t base any other assumptions on what a particular atheist believes on the fact that he/she is an atheist.

    Rare as they may be there are atheists who don’t accept Evolution as the best explanation for the development of the species and who reject any of a number of other commonly accepted scientific theories such as the Big Bang or even a round earth. Yes, I’ve met an atheist flat Earther.

    Unlike most theist belief systems, atheism doesn’t make any claims as to where the universe came from or how we got here or what purpose, if any, life has. It’s simply a lack of belief in God(s) and nothing more. Your claim that so many atheists blogging about atheism proves there’s a God is based on faulty assumptions on what it means to be an atheist.

  21. Your answers are weak at best, a very haphazard approach to something that you feel you believe so strongly. I’ve yet to see your case for the non-existence of God. Please share with me when you have done that.

    In addition, we haven’t even talked about the Bible yet. Once this is established as a reliable guide for truth (there’s plenty of evidence to substantiate the reliability of biblical data), we can graduate to some exciting new discoveries.

    Repetition unfortunately is necessary, because I see the same old arguments all of the time. Keep pursuing truth though and in reality I feel that you will find the truth is embodied in a Person who said “I am the Truth.” He pursues and refuses to give up on a planet in mutiny.

  22. You know what then, by that argument I can say “I am truth” and that would make you a fool for disbelieving me. Because look, I said I’m truth, why would you doubt it?

    I don’t have to make a case for the nonexistence of God. You have to make the case for God because you are making the claim, therefore you have the burden of truth.

    And I would love to see the evidence of the reliability of the Bible. From what I’ve seen the Bible is riddled with contradictions and absurdities. So please, where is this data that the bible is truth?

  23. “Your answers are weak at best, a very haphazard approach to something that you feel you believe so strongly.”

    What do you mean, I believe it strongly? I don’t believe YOUR claims. And you’ve done nothing to prove them. That isn’t a strong belief. It’s the lack of belief.

    “I’ve yet to see your case for the non-existence of God.”

    The lack of any good evidence. At least we have footprints supposedly coming from Bigfoot. Your god doesn’t even have that.

    “Once this is established as a reliable guide for truth (there’s plenty of evidence to substantiate the reliability of biblical data), we can graduate to some exciting new discoveries.”

    The bible is no more a reliable guide for truth than “The Cat in the Hat.”

    “He pursues and refuses to give up on a planet in mutiny.”

    Strange. For someone who is refusing to give up, he doesn’t make many appearances.

    Except, perhaps, in the occasional potato chip.

  24. Shelley

    No. Atheism blogs don’t exist because god exists. They exist because religion exists.

  25. Richard Wade

    Joey,
    The gist of your argument seems to be that my lack of belief in your god is proof that your god exists.
    If that is so, then your lack of belief in thousands of gods other than your favorite is proof that they all exist too.

    As others here have tried to explain, atheist blogs and atheist activists spend most of their time trying to resist the things that actual, living believers try to impose upon us. The conflicts are more often about civil rights and public policy than about theology. Most of us know that arguments about the existence of gods are futile because the definitions that most modern theists offer include that their gods can only be perceived if they want to be perceived, and for less than clear reasons, they seldom want to be.

    Joey, let me echo the sentiments of some others here and suggest that if you want to understand someone who is different from you, ASK them about their thoughts, feelings and actions, rather than TELL them. Do your own research, and leave the amateur psychoanalysis out of it. Get to know several atheists on an on-going, intimate level. If you do this you will have to be willing to see that you have been wrong about them. That requires humility and courage. Don’t worry, you’ll not have to decide that you’ve been wrong about your god, but you will have to admit that when it comes to actual, living, individuals who don’t share your beliefs, you have been operating with stereotypes and you don’t really know what you are talking about.

  26. It certainly is arrogant of you to make the blanket claim that we all KNOW that God exists. I understand why you’re making that claim, as I assume that you’re viewing those without your religious bent as fallen or having strayed from the path, and if we are simply misguided, if we have simply not looked hard enough at what you consider to be proper evidence, then you can show us the way and we can be saved.

    Joey, the problem with that is that some of us HAVE looked at the evidence, very hard, and find it to be as lacking in merit as any and all other religions that have existed in the history of humanity.

    I understand that you believe. I do. And I understand that that belief permeates every moment of your life. I understand, too, why so many people would more willingly vote into office people of a different faith than they would vote for someone without faith: a muslim may not believe the same things you do, but they at least have the good sense to believe in something, right? I get the sense that it’s unfathomable to you that there might be people who sincerely don’t believe, who have no use for faith in their lives. There is perhaps a cognitive dissonance there — everyone is one of god’s children, everyone must be saved, but we don’t think there’s anything to be saved FROM, and to resolve that basic conflict, you can either question the core notion (“DO we need to be saved?” or decide that we’re simply wrong about our own feelings).

    I won’t repeat the obvious logical flaw in your argument, as it has been done several times in the comments to your posting, but what I WILL say is this:

    You seem to view atheists as recovering alcoholics. You SEEM to think that we sit beside faith, trembling before it, wanting to drink deep of it but deciding, out of some misguided notion of sobriety, not to. We choose not to drink even though we want to, even though we want to get deliciously drunk off of god’s love. Are we punishing ourselves, perhaps? Do we simply not think we’re worthy of drinking? Do we feel we need to give our drinks to someone else? Are we worried there’s not enough to go around?

    Joey, I can tell you that for me, and for a large number of other people out there, we’re not simply resisting the urge to drink; we simply don’t desire it. I don’t drink alcohol, and I avoid it purely and only because I have no interest in it. When out for dinner, I don’t weigh the pros and cons of ordering a beer before timidly ordering a coke or a coffee, the concept of beer honestly and sincerely never enters my mind: it’s not an option I consider, and so to is it with religion. I don’t reject faith; I simply don’t consider it as a valid or interesting option.

    That’s what atheism IS, Joey.

    Now, the specific reasons I’m non-theistic are based on many things; I’ve read the books, seen the old books, and I understand the historical influences of them. I understand the way that religions — even yours — evolve over time, and in that change, in that ironic proof of a thing the bible doesn’t really acknowledge, I see a construct of man. This I see in all religions, because THAT’S what religion is. Religion is an attempt to explain the world around us. Religion is, in a sense, science, with the bible being a textbook. Unlike a real scientific book, though, unlike the honest discipline of science, religion declares itself perfect and doesn’t change. The bible is an outdated scientific textbook, and I turn to newer textbooks for my view of the world, and when they are outdated and shown to no longer be the best description of the universe that we have, I will seek out those new books, those better opinions, and know better.

    You say that science doesn’t offer answers to the deeper questions? Perhaps, but science is the pursuit of answers to all the questions we can possibly ask, and even though you may frame your decision as one between certitude and nihilism, you fail to see the true scope of your decision: you aren’t choosing between knowing the world and admitting we’ll never know. You’re choosing between the claim of knowledge, and the sincere attempt to seek it out.

  27. Candice

    Case for the non-existence of God? We’ll share that with you just as soon as you come up with a convincing case for the non-existence of the Invisible Pink Unicorn. Google “burden of proof” and “negative proof”. Actually, you may want to do an in-depth study of logical fallacies in general. It seems that your knowledge is lacking in that area.

  28. Sophia Guagenti

    “I’ve yet to see your case for the non-existence of God. Please share with me when you have done that.”

    People here are responding to your assertion that atheists must believe in their heart of hearts that God exists in their heart of hearts. (Instead of the more logical answer that a group of people who feel that they arent respected and fear religious extremism are usin’g a medium to communicate and interact with eachother). It’s not their responsibility to set forth a list of reasons that a god does not exists at this point. By the same token, we could say, “Instead of telling us what we ‘really’ believe, why don’t you give us some actual proof that God exists?”

    “Keep pursuing truth though and in reality I feel that you will find the truth is embodied in a Person who said “I am the Truth.” He pursues and refuses to give up on a planet in mutiny.”
    For an all powerful universe creating super being, he’s doing a really, really pathetic job.

    You’ll notice that most atheistic blogs aren’t focused on constantly declaring that gods do not exist. They discuss political stuff, like the religious right, science, and other things. They’re not just desperate attempts to convince ourselves that we’re not wrong.

  29. I sincerely appreciate your comments. I like honest debate and I really appreciate each of you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

    And lest you stereotype and misread my disposition, please see my apology written several days ago. I am not like all the Christians that you have encountered in your past. Don’t label me as such. Several of you presume that you know what I believe about many other things besides theism.

    I have to humbly admit that many Christians are some of the greatest arguments against the existence of God that I know of. But, please don’t loop and group me as such. I’m not writing here to please them.

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/10/09/my-apology-will-you-forgive-me/

    My point here is to begin to open up a new way for you to think about your belief system that you are buying into. Atheism is never just merely not believing in God; it is in fact, much, much more. It is a worldview. By this, you will see everything else. It’s OK if you’re upset with me, but the truth must be spoken.

    There are many posts that I offer here at this blog – which is dedicated to exploring life’s deeper questions (shared earlier in comments in this thread). I have never seen these questions seriously addressed by an atheist. They don’t know what to do with them. The answers that are given by those claiming atheism as a worldview are shallow, superficial, and supposedly, don’t matter to them. Rubish! All of humanity is consumed with purpose; it’s written into who we are. Anyone who denies a craving for purpose is not being honest with you. Come on friends…honesty please.

    I invite you to read some of my answers to begin to understand how I would answer the deeper questions of life. I also challenge the atheists to do the same.

    I have a hunch though, that this will not occur because atheism is not “existentially repugnant” – you cannot live with the outcome; without moral absolutes, without justice and mercy, and grace and meaning and purpose, reward and accountability. Life without God is an absurdity. Before you label me as narrow-minded for making such a claim, think through where your views will logically lead you if you persist in atheism.

    If there is no God, there are no moral absolutes, no source of absolute truth. We are free to improvise our own parts and construct our own truth – which incidentally is an absolute (contrary to those who assert the same). You can’t live with the results of such a view.

    Society falls apart and our lives fall apart when we steal each others things, cheat on each others wives/husbands, murder each others family members, and in pure self-will deny anyone the authority to tell us differently (Christians are included here!).

    No, no my atheist friends. You can be sure. There is a God and He will hold humanity accountable. While there is extreme grace offered (that’s another blog), there is also accountability. We will give an answer to a someone who will reward those who seek and surrender to Him. And he will also give, to those who want it, total separation from Him, those who want to barricade Him out.

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/restoration-refused/

    You are loved incredibly. God hangs on to a fallen planet in Christ. He works to salvage from the wreckage a new creation. You and I are invited to be a part of it. I’d love to journey with you!

  30. Christian

    By that logic, the number of churches is evidence for the non-existence of God.

  31. Hi, this is Mojoey. I manage The Atheist Blogroll. I am afraid I do not understand your logic. From what I can tell, nobody understands.

    I can personally attest to why I have a blog and promote other atheist blogs. I fight a never ending battle against the forces of theocracy who want to dictate how I live my life. I do my small part to make sure there is a dissenting voice. I also do what I can to counter Christian misconceptions.Like the one you are propagating here. Atheist doe not believe in god. We blog because we can.

  32. Love the name!

    I have no problem with a “dissenting voice.” I have no problem with anyone who wants to build a sense of community with others of like mind. I have no problem with those who want to present their case for something they believe.

    I appreciate the insights shared by those who would feel at home in your blogging family. My issue is this: atheism is a worldview. It impacts how you see everything else. I offer a “dissenting view” for their consideration. No one can live with where the atheistic worldview takes you, especially answering the deeper questions of life.

  33. Richard

    Joey- Hi, jumping into this conversation.

    It’s hard to know where to dive in, but a couple of things come to mind.

    1. I can agree with you that atheism is at least in part a worldview, or at least worldview-shaped, but you are expecting too much uniformity from it, as though it were itself a particular religion. It isn’t. Atheists only have one real thing in common. Other than that, they can be conservatives or liberals, science-types or artsy-types, you name it. You can even be spiritual and not believe in god. 😉

    Thus, you aren’t going to get a single set of “answers” to all of Life’s Big Questions from atheism qua atheism. Atheism only says that the conservative religious answer to these question is wrong, because there is no god. Other than that, the answers to these sorts of questions come from the individual. IN other words, you are applying the wrong “model.” Views about meaning and purpose do not flow from atheism itself, for the atheist (in contrast to your relationship to your worldview). They may flow from many other things, but not the *atheism*, because there is no creed or dogma there.

    2. I entirely agree with others that it is not conducive to discussion to tell us atheists what we “really” think and then tell us what’s wrong with it. If you are really, honest-and-for-true serious about learning what we think and why, you are going to have to accept our own self-report.

    This means, for example, you are obliged to accept what I say if I were to say I am not concerned with having a sense of purpose as you are. You will have to accept that many people out there feel differently about basic things than you do. I have met many evangelicals who have trouble with this. They are mystified at the thought that others might not “miss” god in the way they themselves would. It baffles them; they literally do not seem to even be able to imagine it. They think it can’t possibly be true. So they conclude that it isn’t true, and thus (what other conclusion could there be?) the person must not be being honest. So, although I know your worldview requires you to believe in some form of sensus divinitatus, but perhaps you could temper that somehow at least for the sake of a discussion. Indeed, letting the other person tell *you* what he thinks is pretty much a prerequisite for discussion.

    Otherwise (I mean, really) why blog? Just send yourself emails. No one is for long going to be interested in talking to you if you are starting from the presumption that you know better than we do what’s in our own heads.

    How would you react if (and I assume for this example you are a McCain supporter, but just reverse the names if you’re not) someone claimed that they honestly wanted to know what you thought about the presidential race. But when you told them, they kept insisting that you “really” think that Obama is the better candidate, if you would just be honest with yourself about it. “I know you **think** you’re a McCain supporter, but deep down you know you **really** know you want Obama to win. You just resist admitting it because you would have to lay down your foolish pride.” Rough analogy, but you get the point. If someone kept at you with that, it would get old fast, wouldn’t it?

    3. You seem to employ a vaguely presuppositionalistic, atheism-collapses-under-its-own-contradictions approach, but you don’t really get a free pass with that. If you think it is internally contradictory and necessarily unlivable, you will have to demonstrate that. But the fact that *you* feel an overwhelming need for, e.g., absolutist morality, does not mean everyone does. If you’re really interested, I have a series of articles over at de-conversion.com. It’s a web site for people who are former evangelical Christians. Look under contributor “richard” – that’s me – and especially the series on existentialism. You will find Life’s Deepest Mysteries addressed in depth. Advance warning: I doubt you will like the answers, but perhaps you can distinguish not personally finding them compelling from some alleged contradiction. (P.S. – You’ll also find the atheists-have-no-basis-for-morality issue addressed too.)

  34. Hmm, impeccable logic. Since atheists spend some of their time arguing against religion and gods, they both must be true. Interesting. I suppose, then, that I can apply this same impeccable logic against Christians who are from religion and gods (trinity=3=1=3)?

    There are far more Christian blogs; can I take that as evidence God doesn’t exist? That you guys are just trying to keep yourselves convinced to persist in a delusion?

    Something inside you Christian bloggers is telling you there is no God. Rather than yield to reason, you Christians create countless blogs, attend countless services, and hit your knees to pray that you don’t yield to what you already know.

  35. Life is an absurdity if atheism is your worldview. I argue along these lines:

    1. If the existence of God is denied, then one is landed in moral relativism, such that no act, regardless of how dreadful or heinous can be condemned by the true atheist. With no moral absolutes, someone could refuse to pay you your money or could hit your car and leave, but it’s not wrong for them. Even an atheist would believe in absolutes in those scenarios. Atheistic worldview is not livable.

    2. It is impossible to live consistently with such a view. Once God is denied, human life becomes worthless (Just read Camus and Satre for a sampling of existential atheism and the meaninglessness of human existence).

    3. Only a theistic worldview can preserve the human race from itself. If there is no God, then man and the universe are doomed. Life then becomes absurd.

    One clear area that illustrates my point is in the area of justice. We all have a sense of justice (please don’t pretend you don’t – it’s a universal reality, validated by centuries of human experience). In atheism, there can be no justice. Here’s why. There are no absolutes without God; no basis of right or wrong; no guiding principles; no universal truths. Someone in power can kidnap your spouse, steal your property, destroy your life – and do this on a mass scale for a lifetime – and in an atheistic system, there is never accountability, judgment, or moral responsibility.

    Conversely, one can give a lifetime to good deeds and living a good life; to building hospitals (by the way, how many hospitals have the atheists built?); to beginning colleges and universities (how many colleges and universities have the atheists established – think early American history here?); to feeding the hungry (how many atheist missions have been established to help the least, the forgotten, the marginalized in society) – all of this, and in the atheistic system, there is never reward. In the atheistic system of belief, it makes no difference if one has lived as Stalin or Mother Teresa. Who is to judge that the values of Adolph Hitler are inferior to Billy Graham in an atheistic system? Life then becomes absurd – there is never true justice nor is there reward. And human society would crumble if such a worldview was adhered to. No, no friends. The guy that mistreated you as a child will have to give an account. The dude that ran off with your spouse will have to give an account. The people who abused your children will have their day in court. The unfair deals of life will be evaluated and the scales balanced by a just and faithful God. In addition, those who invest their life for the good of mankind will find a just reward. (I will not talk here about what has been called “the Gospel” and how this factors into this – that’s another post). Atheism does not allow for true justice. Life is absurd then.

    But there’s more…Without God, the universe is a mere accident, a chance explosion. Atheists assert this despite the overwhelming evidence for Intelligent Design. Without God, no one has value. As W. L. Craig as observed, only if God exists can a person consistently support women’s rights. For if God does not exist, then natural selection dictates that the male species is the dominant and aggressive one. In an atheistic system women would have no rights, any more than a female goat or a chicken. Theism asserts that a personal Creator is behind the creation and source of human personality; we are created as image bearers with inestimable worth, both male and female. Atheism does not understand human personality, merely comparing human beings to primates or fossil man. In atheism, this misunderstood human personality becomes the center of a faulty worldview, one driven by self-will and a refusal to follow where the evidence leads. In atheism, there is no larger story; there is no purpose for living; there is no explanation for evil and suffering in the world; there is no basis for justice; there is no hope beyond life as we know it; we become our own gods. In short, life becomes absurd.

    The atheistic worldview does not ring true to “existential repugnance” – it is not livable, believable, logical. You cannot live with the system that you create when you assert that there is no God. In this single assertion, you make a statement about our origins, our personality, our planet, our reason for living, our sense of right and wrong. This worldview has been tried and found wanting.

    Theism asserts that our planet has been invaded by God. Some have chosen to rebel, to refuse the role as image-bearer, and instead create a God in human-image, or to even deny there is a God at all. We are a planet in mutiny, in rebellion, and we have collapsed under the weight of a flawed worldview that offers no true hope to a broken world.

    Singer/songwriter Randy Stonehill in the late 70’s, early 80’s, portrayed rebellion as a marionette who, hoping to be free, cuts its own strings. The song is “Puppet Strings.” We all know that such action doesn’t result in freedom – rather it leaves just a pile on the floor. Like the marionettes who reach up and cut the strings that enable and direct them, we lay crumpled and broken on the stage of life. Rebellion is like that. Rebellion doesn’t want to be dependent on anyone, be superior to everyone, and accountable to no one.

    Believing that we are unloved, that there is no larger story, that life is a bunch of random events strewn together, we refuse to engage a rationalistic life in an atheistic system. Nothing can truly be understood; nothing really matters in the end. All human activity is about a quest for power over others, we believe. Conceding these points, we then free ourselves of any responsibility to do something with our lives. Since life doesn’t really matter and God doesn’t really seem to care, I’ll light a joint, or pour a shot of whiskey, or go have a fling, or sleep away my life, or make myself dizzy on video games – whatever it takes to escape all the meaninglessness that I feel. Life is absurd in an atheistic system.

    A famous atheist was Madelyn Murray O’Hare. Her son William quotes her as saying…“I’m an atheist, not because I’ve searched behind every star and looked under every rock to prove there’s no God. I’m an atheist because I want to live my life as if there’s no God.” Atheism is not a person who cannot believe in God as much as it’s a person who will not believe in God!

    We must not turn our backs on the One who is romancing us. He’s a hidden God (Romans 1:20), but He’s given us clues and these clues are breathtaking. He didn’t have to make our universe and earth as beautiful as He did. He gave us something beautiful to look at because He loves us and woos us. The problem is not that God hasn’t spoken about how to experience fullness of joy; it’s that we haven’t listened. God has given us just enough evidence so that those who want Him can have him. Those who want to reject Him can do that as well. Think about it. It’s the only way a relationship with God could not be forced. If He was here in visible form, ruling with great power, would anybody choose differently? God gives everyone the room to either choose or reject. He’s a hidden God. Now some exploit his “hiddeness.” Freud and other atheists have asserted that Christians have created the idea of God because we need something that helps to explain life. Colson asserts that in reality it is the non-believers who have de-invented God because something deep inside them tells them that He exists and that He has a claim over their life.

    J. Budziszewski, now a Christian professor at the University in Texas, shares his story. At the age of ten, he committed his life to Jesus Christ and was baptized. As a teenager, he was not a mature believer, but he was enthusiastic about his faith. But he fell away from faith while in college. He said, “My politics became a kind of substitute religion. During my student years I had also committed certain sins that I didn’t want to repent of. Because the presence of God made me more and more uncomfortable, I began looking for reasons to believe that He didn’t exist. Then again, once I lost hold of God, things started going wrong in my life, and disbelieving in Him seemed a good way to get back at Him…. All of this gives you a clue to the main reason I lost faith in God: sheer, mulish pride. I didn’t want God to be God; I wanted J. Budziszewski to be God…. I now believe that without God, everything goes wrong…. How then did God bring me back? I came, over time, to feel a greater and greater horror about myself – an overpowering sense that my condition was terribly wrong…. The next few years after my conversion were like being in a dark attic – one I had been in for a long time, but in which shutter after shutter was being thrown back to that great shafts of light began to stream in and illuminate the dusty corners. I recovered whole memories, whole feelings, whole way of understanding that I had blocked out. As I look back, I am in awe that God has permitted me to make any contribution to His kingdom at all. But He promises that if only the rebel turns to Jesus Christ in repentant faith, giving up claims of self-ownership and allowing this Jesus, the Christ, the run of the house, He will redeem everything there is in it. And he did.”

    “We are all foolish puppets who are desiring to be kings; now lie bended, fully crippled after cutting all our strings.” In verse three of Puppet Strings, Stonehill sings “But God said I’ll forgive you; I will face you man-to-man and win your love again. O how could there be possibly a greater gift of love than dying for a friend.” God loves atheists, whether practical or intellectual, closet skeptics or outspoken critics, God loves and so should we. I love atheists, but life as an atheist is absurd.

  36. Richard

    I could spend three hours writing a reply listing all the ways your reasoning is flawed. But for simplicity’s sake, I will simply ask you two questions (corresponding with your #1 and #2). If you can give a satisfactory answer to these questions, you’ll have a convert:
    1. Explain to me why I should care what god thinks about ethics.
    2. “Worthless” to whom?
    Thanks-

  37. I answer simply as well. Without ethics, the human race and our personal lives self-destruct. And, quite simply the atheistic worldview devalues human life by reducing it to “a complex machine” -an over-built banana-picker. Theism teaches imago dei – you are made in God’s image and therein lies your worth. Pages upon pages could be written about this as well. Atheism, when pushed to it’s logical ends, will not permit this special role. Thereby, life is devalued, expendable. When the Life-Giver is denied, life itself is expendable.

    I appreciate you taking the time to read and think about these things. Please don’t misunderstand. i am not looking to win an argument. i am not wanting to “convert” you. The greatest argument in the world will never be enough. my hope is that on this spiritual journey that we are all making, we encounter truth that, at first may make us mad, but eventually sets us free.

  38. J. J. Ramsey

    joeynelson: “1. If the existence of God is denied, then one is landed in moral relativism,”

    You just landed smack into the Euthyphro dilemma: Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?

    If morality is simply whatever God commands, then anything that God commands, no matter how arbitrary, is moral, even if the command is to kill women and children. If you accept this, then your morality is little more than might-makes-right, with God being the biggest strongman.

    If you want to argue that God wouldn’t command any arbitrary thing, because, say, that goodness is part of his essential nature, then you’ve conceded that what is moral is supposedly commanded by God because it is moral–which implies that what makes something moral is not that it is divinely commanded. If morality is not a matter of divine command, then it is something that is intelligible even without God in the picture.

    joeynelson: “With no moral absolutes, someone could refuse to pay you your money or could hit your car and leave, but it’s not wrong for them.”

    And here, you’ve just hinted at how morality is intelligible without God. Without at the very least some consensus about what is moral and what is not, our lives would be nasty, brutish, and short, to borrow Hobbes’ turn of phrase. Each of us would have to keep watching one’s back, constantly vigilant against those who would steal or kill one of us. That is not only a good intellectual reason to adopt morality, but also a selection pressure that can favor instinctive social cooperation as well.

    joeynelson: “natural selection dictates that the male species is the dominant and aggressive one.”

    Except when it doesn’t. Female dominance is common in the insect world. Among the fishes, there appears to be no dominance one way or the other. Even among the mammals, presence or absence of male dominance varies amongst species. You forget, or perhaps never knew, that natural selection can favor cooperation as well as competition.

    “A famous atheist was Madelyn Murray O’Hare.”

    So? She does not speak for all atheists, not even close. (I’d also be as cautious about the supposed quote that you gave from Ms. O’Hair as I would about quotes from any famous or infamous person. There are too many false quotes making the rounds.)

    “God has given us just enough evidence so that those who want Him can have him.”

    If the evidence is just enough, why then does it look as if it is can easily be the product of the same processes that produce urban myths? Why are kludgey explanations necessary to explain away what look suspiciously like errors in the Bible?

  39. The Tofu

    I`m just responding to these points as I see them, so this post may jump around a little bit.

    1. Moral Relativism
    -Morality exists because moral societies function better than immoral ones. The individuals in a moral society will have better lives, because they can draw on the resources of others. Think about it- how much of your daily life depends on other people? And how much would your life be diminished without those other people? When everyone contributes to a society, we all get ahead.

    -Secondly, the god of the Bible is a horrible moral role model. We`re talking about a being who has no problem killing innocent children or drowning the entire world. Even if this weren`t the case, why would his word dictate morality? Because he`s more powerful than us?

    2. Worthlessness
    -Why do we need god to have worth? Can`t we be worth something to each other?

    3. Justice
    -If there were moral absolutes, you would expect that everyone would follow them. Ideas of justice range wildly between different people.

    If you can name an act that is always, absolutely wrong, I`d like to hear it. A lie can save a life. A single killing can prevent a war. Things aren`t just black and white.

    About rewards: yes, one can live their entire life doing only good for others, and not be rewarded for it. I think this is fairly self-evident, and just because you don`t like it, doesn`t mean it isn`t true.

    Again, it all comes back to society- People who are generous and giving will tend to be well-liked. By enriching others lives, they enrich their own.

    Other people will hold you accountable for your actions. God has nothing to do with it.

    The marionette analogy just doesn`t work for me. Do you believe that our only options are puppet or mess? Seems pretty sad to me.

    And frankly, I don`t believe in your god. Rebelling against him makes as much sense as rebelling against Odin. You may as well say that children have no reason to behave because Santa doesn`t exist.

  40. Richard

    Joey, I certainly appreciate your frankness and your appeal to simlicity. I agree, simplicity is a virtue and honest seeking is always the best policy. Please be assured, I am not at all mad. I invite this discussion with cordiality and openness. And we can also be agreed that when grasped, the truth will set you free. I hope that for you and I both.

    However I must point out you did not answer either of my questions.

    1. I didn’t ask why I should care about ethics. I asked why I should care what *god* thinks about ethics. Can you please address for me why god’s view should settle anything?

    2. Again I ask, on the atheist’s view, life is “worthless”, “devalued” and “expendable” to whom?

  41. Question 1: Why does your child (assuming you have one) care about what you think about how he/she should live their lives? The apologetic of common sense here is helpful. Love, Richard, true love. God is love. It’s his nature to be good (Any biblical theologian worth his salt can refute OT critiques of “holy war”; any apologist worth his salt can demonstrate that religion is not the cause of evil in the world). God is good, that’s why you and I should listen to Him. Let’s not exploit his “Hiddeness” by saying otherwise. A good God should be listened to. By the way: Your “de-cons” have missed one vital ingredient – a love relationship (Spirituality was reduced to mere religious exercise to please a wrathful God – even I would rebel against that! The problem is not with God – it’s with the perception of the one looking). I will be posting some things in this regard soon. Thanks for the link to the de-conversion site – it’s very revealing and helpful.

    Question 2: To you and me. If we believe (really believe) that there is no punishment for evil or reward for good, there is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil which is in man. We can do what we wish. Because we end in nothing, nothing matters in between. There is no good and evil (an absurd concept). There is no God and life is absurd and all we have is despair (as Camus suggested – suicide is our best option in such a world).

    Lest you and I think that we are good? I ask you “Who say’s we’re good?” On what authority do you base your answer? By what standard do you measure your own goodness Richard? Are you good? Is your every motive pure? Have you ever taken credit for work that wasn’t yours? Have you ever mislead with a lie? Who says we’re good?

    Theism (as a worldview) clearly teaches that we are not good; that you and I are capable of heinous acts, and play dumb before God as if we didn’t know what we were doing. No one is truly good, no one – no Christian nor atheist is truly good. The difference is that the Christian (if true to his worldview) will admit this presence of evil within himself; the atheist will not (if he is consistent with his worldview.)

    I illustrate. In 1960, Israeli undercover agents orchestrated the daring kidnapping of one of the worst of the Holocaust masterminds, Adolf Eichmann. After capturing him in his South American hideout, they transported him to Israel to stand trial. There, prosecutors called a string of former concentration camp prisoners as witnesses. One was a small haggard man name Yehiel Dinur, who had miraculously escaped death in Auschwitz. On his day to testify, Dinur entered the courtroom and stared at the man in the bulletproof glass booth – the man who had murdered Dinur’s friends, personally executed a number of Jews, and presided over the slaughter of millions more. As the eyes of the two men met – victim and murderous tyrant – the courtroom fell silent, filled with the tension of the confrontation. But no one was prepared for what happened next. Yehiel Dinur began to shout and sob, collapsing to the floor. Was he overcome by hatred…by the horrifying memories…by the evil incarnate in Eichmann’s face? No. As he later explained in a riveting “60 Minutes” interview, it was because Eichmann was not the demonic personification of evil Dinur had expected. Rather, he was an ordinary man, just like anyone else. And in that instant, Dinur came to the stunning realization that sin and evil are the human condition. “I was afraid about myself,” Dinur said. “I saw that I am capable to do this…exactly like he… Eichmann is in all of us” (Colson, Body).” There’s an Eichmann in all of us. And life becomes an Auschwitz in a world without God. We have reached up and “cut the strings” and lie crumpled on the stage.

    The answer to question number 2 Richard: you and me.

    But the good news is that in Theism, we “cosmic orphans” to borrow a phrase, can come home to life and meaning and hope because God hangs on to fallen creation and works to salvage it (badness and all) in the person of Christ. Evil has not made us worthless, but only lost and ruined. Yet, God has refused to scrap us. In Jesus, He hangs on to his original fallen creation and begins to work to salvage it. “God doesn’t make junk and He will not junk what He has made (Wolters).” To the theist, life is worth something, valued, and highly treasured.

    I close with words from William Lane Craig:

    “If death stands with open arms at the end of life’s trail, then what is the goal of life? To what end has life been lived? Is it all for nothing? Is there no reason for life? And what of the universe? Is it utterly pointless? If its destiny is a cold grave in the recesses of outer space, the answer must be yes–it is pointless. There is no goal, no purpose, for the universe. The litter of a dead universe will just go on expanding and expanding–forever.”

  42. The Tofu

    I challenge your assertion that your god is good. If that were true, and if he was the all-knowing, all-powerful being you believe him to be, then why does he allow evil and suffering to exist in the world? Why does he threaten those who don’t believe in him with eternal torture and pain? Why does he reportedly kill or order the killings of innocents in the old testament?

    Don’t give me the free-will argument either. Suffering can be caused by nature just as easily as by humans. Just read up on diseases or parasites.

    If your god is so loving, why does he allow these things to happen? Why would you follow such a god?

  43. Each of your points have intellectually sound and practical explanations. But, these are not easy questions to answer, especially in light of the cruelty of life.

    I’ll take just one of them for now. The issue of “eternal torture and pain” that you reference. This is something that is misrepresented by many people, even Christians unfortunately. Hell is something we choose; we are not “sent” there. Love can be refused; it will not be forced or cohearsed by God. To allow for that choice, there has to be a place where God is not. So we choose hell when we refuse God’s love and want separation from all the He is about.

    See my post… https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/restoration-refused/

    Also, when you construct a view of God, think comprehensively. Much of the Bible is isolated highlights, with much love and mercy in between the periods of judgment and accountablity.

  44. Actually you have it backwards. Christians blog because deep down they know their beliefs are fairy tales and they’re just trying to convince themselves that it’s all true. The sheer volume of Christian blogs is evidence of this.

    Funny how that works, isn’t it?

    Wanna know why Christians blog? This girl will tell you exactly why:

  45. Richard

    joey- thank you for your thoughtful and impassioned answer. You clearly draw much strength and inspiration from your faith.

    I read your answer carefully, and I still have some questions.

    1. You said we should listen to God because he is good. What I cant figure out is, how do you know he is good? What standard are you using, and where did you get that standard from? You say it is God’s nature to be good. But again — how do you know whatever his nature is, is good?

    If you get the standard from God, then couldnt anyone just do the same thing? “Im good — by my own standard!” That doesnt seem a very good answer to me.

    Some Christians of whom I have asked this question, say we know he is good because he sent his son for us. But again — how do we know that sort of thing is a good act? What standard are we using, and where did we get it?

    2. Im very sorry to hear that for you, life without God is valueless, worthless, full of absurdity and despair. At the same time, Im equally glad that you have found a faith-system that works for you and fills your life with a sense of purpose.

    Please be assured, though, that I do not at all feel the same way. Im sure you just spoke hastily, including me in your answer! But thats not at all the case.

    My life is rich and — to me — sublime, without belief in God at all. My family, friends, and those I help in my work provide me with all the sense of meaning, purpose, and reward any ten lives could hold! Each day I find new reasons to be glad to be alive, and I never feel the need for some other, second world to validate why *this* one matters to me.

    So, hopefully, believers and nonbelievers like you and I can learn from each other. I have found meaning and beauty and worth without belief in God, you have found it with (or through) belief in God. Kudos all around!

  46. Honestly, I have enjoyed this conversation and I really do enjoy dialog with atheists. In fact, I would be honored to be considered a friend. You will always have a place at my table.

    What I think is happening much of the time is that we decide on a worldview and then we fit the data to that, rather than looking at the data and using it to construct a worldview.

    Regarding those many good gifts that you are enjoying – they are from the Giver of all good gifts. Theologians call that common grace. God has freely given them and many other things for all of us to enjoy. He’s not at all upset when He sees you having a great time with your family and friends. In fact, it delights Him! You should be enjoying them, but they were never meant to replace God in your life.

    You need someone to thank Richard – Someone that transcends you and your gifts. That’s the problem with atheism; you have no one to thank.

    The reason you have all these gifts to enjoy is that you might ultimately enjoy the greatest gift – a personal Creator-God. Common grace leads to saving grace. Saved from what? from ourselves.

    I know you assert that there is no God and that one is not needed for you to do life – that you have escaped God. But I contend that He will pursue you and in fact has already found us down here on this planet. True love…true love.

  47. The Tofu

    Joey,

    Thanks for your reply. I would be very interested in hearing your explanation for the problem of suffering. I’ve taken part in a fair amount of conversations on religion/atheism, and I’ve never really heard an answer that’s satisfied me.

    I’d like to talk about the Hell thing some more. You say that Hell is something we choose- are you saying that may only choices are to serve god or to suffer eternally? It doesn’t seem like much of a choice to me.

    If someone’s pointing a gun at your head, you do have a choice to not do what they say, but you’d hardly call it a “free” or “fair” choice.

    Secondly, if we assume that god is both all-knowing and the creator of everything, then that means he knows the consequences of his creation. Why would he create atheists, or people likely to become atheists, if he knows they will be tortured forever? Again, it doesn’t seem like this would be the actions of a loving god.

    Finally, I just want to say that I appreciate you taking time out of your day to participate in this discussion- you’ve got a lot of responses to this post, and I’m glad you’ve decided to discuss the issue rather than just blowing it off.

  48. I will answer with an Old Testament story in a moment.

    The question – Why”?” The question mark is turned like a fishhook and is pulled up into the human heart when we talk about suffering. So I speak tenderly here. All creation has been sabotaged; it longs (we long) for restoration. That’s what resurrection is a foretaste of – the renewal of all things, the reversal of the Fall.

    Evil and suffering is somewhat of a mystery though; we humans can see only one side of the tapestry – our side. The closest we get to a direct treatment of it in the Bible is the Old Testament book of Job.

    Simply put, we have to trust God – that He knows what He’s doing in allowing suffering. That’s where Job eventually landed.

    I’m going to explain what happened when Job got an opportunity to ask God about suffering (this is also going to be in a new post – it’s a critical question).

    It plays out like this. Job loses everything – family, property, servants, crops, livestock and even his own health. Job is surrounded by his friends who try to figure out why God has allowed this to happen to him. It was so bad that when his friends came to see him sitting in an ash heap, they couldn’t speak a word for seven days.

    Virtually all of the things said by Job’s friends reduce down to this basic argument: Job, you must have sinned. And throughout the book, Job maintains his innocence and we question, “Why would God allow this to such a godly man?”

    If He is all powerful, then He must not be good. Because He had the power to stop it, but didn’t. Or, maybe God is good, but not all powerful.

    Like theological kryptonite, these questions render us powerless to answer; we along with Job’s friends are rendered powerless in the face pain. Job seems trapped in a cosmic battle between God and Satan, where God stacks the odds against himself, yet still believes his servant will be loyal to Him. Satan suggests that you take away all of Jobs blessings and his faith and loyalty to God will crumble.

    As the plot unfolds, we keep watching for cracks in Jobs integrity. The best man on earth is suffering the worst calamites, and yet Job continues to believe somehow that God still loves him, though all evidence points against it.

    Job goes through a cycle of speeches, loses his temper with God and accuses Him of injustice (I would too!), but later repents of it. Finally in desperation Job reduces his demands to one request: he asks for a personal explanation from God himself (13:3; 31:35). He wants God to explain to him the gross injustice of life and pain. He wanted to sue God (Job 10).

    Job’s friends get angry at him: “Who are you to demand a private audience with God?” God stunned everybody by showing up. He gives this five chapter speech (38-42) where instead of being cross-examined by Job, God is the one cross-examining Job, asking him about 70 unanswereable questions (Storms, Pleasures Evermore, 260).

    For over 30 chapters, Job cried out “God put yourself in my place for a while!” God finally replied: “No Job, you put yourself in my place.”

    In the last five chapters, God begins to ask questions of Job – scientific questions. “Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightening flash (37:15)?” “Where were you when I laid the earths foundations (38:4, see verse 21 for sarcasm)?” “Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high (39:27)?”

    Instead of Job questioning God, it was God who questioned. Who put the stars in place Job? Who created the world with its resources? Who created the gigantic whales and elephants, and tiny spiders and ants? Who created you? Who watches over you in such a way that not a hair can fall from your head without his knowing about it? Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? 39:1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? And on and on God questions.

    God’s message, expressed in gorgeous poetry, can be summarized something like this: Job, until you know a little more about running the physical universe, don’t tell me how to run the moral universe (with help from Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read). The implication is this: “Job, how do you expect to understand the complexities of My dealings with mankind when you can’t even understand the simplicity of My dealings with nature?”

    One is tempted to think, “What does all of this have to do with suffering?” Job didn’t have answers for God. The implication is that if God is this completely in control of seemingly insignificant aspects of nature – aspects about which Job knows almost nothing – He can surely be trusted to care for humans. Job ends up in total silence.

    Job finally says in 42:5: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”

    Frederich Buechner suggests that what Job was really after was not God’s answer, but God’s presence (Secrets, 167). That’s what Job needed and what we need above all else – not so much an explanation for our pain, but even more the revelation that even in the midst of suffering, we are not alone. It’s not so much answers that we need as it is the One who is the answer to all our quandaries. We want answers, but God says, “I am the Answer.” In the words of C. S. Lewis, Job speaks: “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away.”

    All of us will wrestle at some point with the absence of God. Usually that time is characterized by some kind of pain. In those times, we realize that we are not running the world after all. We get very clear that we are not God. And God gets very clear: “I am here. You are not alone.”

    You have to trust what the Bible tells you about God, even when He doesn’t answer your questions or make the story come out like you wanted it too. He who has the “Who” of life settled, can tolerate almost any “Why?”

  49. Oh yes… the hell question…

    Hell is not something that’s easy to go to. I personally believe that everyone that is born, is born with an objective standing before God (by virtue of what Christ has done for mankind) that moves them toward heaven. We are opted-in through Christ. (Of course, I also believe that subjectively, we can experience new birth and that this reveals choices that we are making about this “standing” before God – but that’s another post)

    Here’s the issue however. If one persists throughout an entire lifetime – that they want nothing to do with God, refuse to acknowledge God, and totally reject God’s provision for life – then God honors the “opt-out” choice. God is like “Are you sure this is what you want?” And some of us and atheists are like “You bet.” And this goes on throughout an entire lifetime. Eventually, God gives you what you want.

    Love cannot be forced. If you want to reject love, you can and God will honor your choice – life without Him in hell. Jesus is like, “You can go to hell, but it will be over my dead body.”

    This is not a gun to my head; it’s a gun in my hand to do with as I choose.

  50. The Tofu

    Neither of those answers are working for me.

    If you call destroying someone’s life just to make a point “loving” you obviously have a far different definition of the word than I do.

    And after all that, God’s only comment is “trust me guys, I know what I’m doing.” He claims to have created everything, offering no explanation for the apparent flaws (such as suffering) and then just asks to be trusted?

    You wouldn’t trust a genocidal leader just because he asks you to.

  51. The Tofu

    My point on Hell was that god already knows someone is going there when he creates them. It’s not free choice- he creates you in a certain way, knowing every consequence of that creation. Every decision is known in advance.

  52. Am I not allowed to destroy my own life if I want? Again, we’re not “sent” to hell; we choose it.

    And who says God chooses to know who will and who will not choose hell? Is He not allowed to choose to not know things if He wants?

    You make some assumptions here about God’s foreknowledge.

    And God didn’t destroy Job’s life. Read Job, chapter 1 and 2. Evil is embodied in a personality, who was behind the destruction. Remember God is good, but bad things are allowed in a Fallen world, because again, we chose it.

  53. I disagree Joey, you decide to end your own life, God chooses to punish you for it by sending you to hell. God has the free will to decide whether you burn or not..

  54. You just made my day! So you’re saying there is a God then?

    What must be understood by all is that sin (including suicide) has been covered, atoned for, removed through the death of JC.

    Sin cannot send someone to hell. That’s why the gospel is good news – sins’ power has been robbed. The way you go to hell is to refuse to believe in God’s provision or covering for your sin. A rejection of the “sin-bearer”, in effect, makes a choice for hell. It says, “I don’t need a Savior. I’m just fine on my own. I can do death (and life) by myself…thank you very much.”

    That’s why I have such an issue with atheism! It refuses God’s free provision.

  55. Joey,
    I’m hoping that was sarcasm.
    Some people need training wheels when speaking with atheists so that they understand that we are speaking in their language so that they can comprehend what we are saying. Using a hypothetical situation where “god is real”.

    I have a high opinion of your cognitive abilities, but you if are going to say things like that, you’re going erode that opinion. We both know that a statement like that is designed to annoy the recipiant (me) and not do any good.

    I still disagree with you. My decision to deny a god is not a decision to go to hell. I would be going to hell because God chooses to send me to hell. He could just as easily understand that his followers couldn’t provide me with enough evidence, that his publishers did a shoddy job promoting/proofreading his book, and that my non-swayed state is his own fault.

    The point I’m trying to make is this:
    God CAN decide to send me to heaven instead of hell. If not, then he is not a god by the standard definition. God is either all powerful or not.

  56. The Tofu

    Maybe god didn’t personally do it, but he allowed it to happen (just to make a point) even though Job was an innocent man.

    Also, don’t forget that if god created everything, he also created Satan (and evil, and floods, and river blindness, and ebola, and starvation, and on and on).

    “And who says God chooses to know who will and who will not choose hell? Is He not allowed to choose to not know things if He wants?”

    If you had a child, and you knew that they were going to be kidnapped and tortured because of a mistake they had made, you have a responsibility to do something. To not do so is immoral. Sure, god could choose not to know, but it would be irresponsible.

    And obviously no one is going to choose to be tortured for eternity. Just because I’m an atheist doesn’t mean I want to burn. That’s not the choice I’m making. Hell is a punishment thought up by religion to scare people into obedience.

  57. Here’s my point. God is not a chess-player God, moving my pieces and His pieces too. There is free-will. He responds to my responses; and I respond to His responses. It’s a love relationship, not prescripted, etched in stone destiny.

    There are broad purposes that God will fulfill (not necessarily contingent upon human decision – eschatology makes this very clear), but within that, there are umpteen-million decisions that are possiblities. That’s why our choices matter. We can begin from now and make a new ending. Its not predetermined. You and I can shape the future. It was a risk to create a world this way, but love knows no other way.

    We also chose to rebel (see the Adam/Eve Story). This is how the theist goes about explaining the presence of evil in our world.

    Again, we are not sent anywhere; we choose our destiny and God gives us to the choices we’ve made. For the one who believes in / places his trust in God’s provision, there is life – eternal life, and death a mere doorway to another world that atheists assert does not exist.

    For the non-believer who rejects God; they too are given what they have decided – a life without God.

    You have assumed that this “punishing” is something that is ongoing. That is debatable. But the point is that it is eternal, irrevocable – whatever the form or means. (I do have some issues with cosmological dualism – a hell that exists forever) But make no mistake…hell is a place where you have barricaded yourself in to keep God out.

    PS SysFrag…no offense intended…yes, i was smiling when i wrote that…

  58. The Tofu

    2 Thessalonians “2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning CHOSEN you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”

    Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to HIS OWN PURPOSE and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”

    Timothy “1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I HAVE DELIVERED unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

    Peter “4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
    4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to THE WILL OF GOD commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

    Revelation 19:20 “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were CAST alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

    Luke 12 “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has AUTHORITY TO CAST INTO HELL. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”

    Mark 9 “And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to BE THROWN into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to BE THROWN into hell, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire.”

    Matthew 23 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being SENTENCED to hell?”

  59. Richard

    joey- hi again, sorry for the delay in responding. Regarding your comment to me on Nov 4th:

    Perhaps all the wonderful things I find in my life are from God or some god, perhaps they aren’t. But that wasn’t really the issue at hand. The issue under discussion was whether life is intrinsically and necessarily meaningless for atheists.

    Can I presume, now, that we can set aside as mistaken your suggestion that life, for atheists, is meaningless and despairing? I think its pretty clear now that thats just untrue. Whether such meaning as nonbelievers find in life is from God or not may be up for discussion, but the question of whether it has meaning or not is something I think we can now agree is settled.

    Also, I would still love to hear your thoughts on the question about ethics I posed: how do you know God (or his nature) is good? What standard are you using?

  60. Tofu…

    You are into the Word… appreciate you using the source document…

    We are chosen…chosen in Him….Such that, when we place our trust in Christ, he is the elect One and we are elect in Him. Christ is the One chosen and all who believe are chosen in Him.

    All of these passages indicate what happens after one has made his choice known.

    Again, hell is something we choose. Having chosen it (a life of total separation from God), and persisting in our atheism throughout an entire lifetime, then God eventually gives us over to what we’ve wanted all along.

    When we refuse God’s provision, there is no more covering for us when He holds the world accountable – and this HE will do (our sense of justice demands it). We willingly expose ourselves to divine eschatological wrath; not because we were ignorant of its coming – but by shear choice. I refused to believe and appropriate God’s provision. Therefore, I’m exposing myself to the severe accountability to come. His wrath meant for all unrighteousness, comes to rest on me because I have chosen a life without God.

    Now then… what do you make of this one…

    Revelation 16:8-10
    8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. 10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

    I don’t mean to sensationalize this… But it’s not that we can’t repent, or we can’t make a choice… hear me carefully here – it’s that we WONT make a choice. Again, hell is something we choose.

  61. The Tofu

    I think you missed the part where god sent lies to people so that he could damn them. Or where salvation is described as predetermined. Or where it says sinners and unbelievers will suffer according to the will of god (NOT their own will). Is there anywhere in the Bible that your free choice theory is actually stated?

    Keep in mind that no-one chooses to die by disease, parasites or natural disasters, so even if hell is a choice, god is still inflicting these things on us.

    I don’t know the exact context of the Revelation passage, but it’s pretty ridiculous. Here, we see an angry and violent god horribly killing people who have defied him. This is the act of a tyrant. Of course they aren’t going to “glorify” him, he’s their oppressor. It’s like a dictator breaking out the nerve gas on someone and being surprised when they aren’t suddenly loved.

    How does this passage possibly support your idea of a loving god? It’s absurd.

  62. There are umpteen Biblical passages to prove the love of God. Your point is that God sends us to hell; my point is that it’s a choice we make which God honors. This is what I’m addressing. I’m not trying to prove the love of God. There are hundreds of passages to do this. Don’t make a “straw-man” of this.

    Yet, even hell is an act of love. I have the freedom to reject if I want; I can choose a life without God in it – that life will be hell.

    God shows us in the Bible that a time of extreme accountability is coming – judgment. He also says there is safety from it all – believe in me and receive my provision, my covering. If you do, you will be sheltered from the eschatological wrath to come.

    If I choose to ignore and reject his salvation, then it’s not God’s problem; it’s my own stubborn will. I will not believe in God; I will not prepare myself in any way for the time of accountability; I will live as if He doesn’t exist, even though it’s clear that He does exist, but I refuse to heed Him or what He reveals about the future.

    Regarding free will, I offer a classic (John 3:16):

    For God so love the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth…that whosover believeth…that whosover believeth…that whosover believeth….should not perish…should not perish…should not perish….but have everlasting life.

    Sounds like “free-will” to me…

  63. The Tofu

    a loving god is what we were discussing in the first place- remember the problem of suffering?

    Your whole point is that “allowing us to choose hell” is somehow an act of love, so no, it’s not a straw-man.

    The passage from John says belief a lot, but doesn’t say that belief is a choice. You’re really missing the point here- god has supposedly created me in such a way that I require verifiable evidence to believe in something, but then sends me to hell for not believing in something for which there is no verifiable evidence for?

    It’s not like I wake up every morning and go “Oh hey, I think I’ll believe in Odin today, for no reason whatsoever.” Belief doesn’t work that way.

  64. Belief is placing one’s trust in; a conviction that something is true. Therefore, I make a choice to believe it.

    **********************

    This ties to Richards comment earlier. I believe that God has revealed Himself; He has self-disclosed. He has done so in three ways. When these ways are carefully examined, the goodness of God is self-evident.

    God has spoken a creative Word. He (and his goodness) is revealed in what He has made. Just look at how the world works (it’s intelligently designed).

    God has spoken a written Word. He has revealed Himself in recorded history.

    God has spoken a living Word. He came down here, lived, died, and rose again in the person of Christ.

    In all of this, we get insight into the goodness of God. Holy in every way, yet touchable; standing against evil and providing for a way to defeat it, yet merciful and gracious.

    On top of all this, we could revert back to a previous point made – a moral argument for the goodness of God.

    You and i can conceive goodness. in addition, all people have a moral obligation to do good and avoid evil. Someone has put this there.

    All mankind has devised (with a few exceptions of course) almost identical moral standards. We innately know right from wrong, regardless of who, where, or when we lived in history. And we feel obligated to do right (to love our families for example, rather than abandon them); to tell the truth; to keep promises and we make excuses when we don’t.

    C.S. Lewis nails it when he suggest that an objective moral law requires an objective law giver. This moral law giver must be absolutely good – the moral efforts would be futile otherwise.

    “Conscience” says Peter Kreeft is “the voice of God in the Soul.” The fact that you are thinking about God, his existence and His goodness already indicates that you know God exists and that He’s good.

  65. The Tofu

    “I believe that God has revealed Himself; He has self-disclosed. He has done so in three ways. When these ways are carefully examined, the goodness of God is self-evident.”

    You were saying earlier he was a hidden god. Either he’s hidden, and there’s no evidence for him, or he’s self evident, and we have no choice but to believe in him. You can’t have it both ways.

    “He (and his goodness) is revealed in what He has made. Just look at how the world works (it’s intelligently designed).”

    Earthquakes, floods, disease, global warming, the appendix, overpopulation… The “design” flaws of the world are numerous. You can’t have god take credit for the good without taking credit for the bad.

    “God has spoken a written Word. He has revealed Himself in recorded history.”

    One book, of which there are hundreds of versions and millions of interpretations. A book with no more validity than any other holy book. A book with authors we know almost nothing about (except what they write about themselves) not even their names.

    “God has spoken a living Word. He came down here, lived, died, and rose again in the person of Christ.”

    According to said book, and unsupported by any additional evidence.

    “You and i can conceive goodness. in addition, all people have a moral obligation to do good and avoid evil. Someone has put this there.”

    Why do you assume somebody put it there? Societies where everyone stabs each other in the back can hardly be expected to last very long, so it’s not surprising that the only ones around are ones where people behave in a way we consider to be moral. They’ve stuck around, because they’re more successful.

    “All mankind has devised (with a few exceptions of course) almost identical moral standards.”

    Except that morality varies wildly between different time periods and geographic areas. It wasn’t that long ago that slavery was considered acceptable. In some areas, people think nothing of having multiple spouses. Obviously there are similarities, because people are people, but the idea that moral standards are identical everywhere is pretty silly.

    In fact, your morality probably doesn’t even match that of the Bible (which contains instructions on when it is acceptable to beat your slaves, or on how to properly stone disobedient sons to death). You have a set of morals that are developed independently from the Bible, and just interpreted the book in a way that matches. Otherwise you’d still be going around burning witches and stoning adulterers.

  66. The Tofu

    “The fact that you are thinking about God, his existence and His goodness already indicates that you know God exists and that He’s good.”

    Let’s apply this logic to something else:

    The fact that you are thinking about vampires and their drinking of blood indicates you know vampires exist and drink blood.

    The fact that you are thinking about leprechauns and their gold indicates you know leprechauns exist and collect gold.

    The fact that you are thinking about Odin and his wisdom indicates that you know Odin exists and is wise.

    I’m sorry, but this kind of reasoning just makes absolutely no sense to me. It’s totally bizarre.

  67. But I’m not thinking about all those things. That’s my point. Its about a Someone that transcends me, who has spoken, and though hidden on one hand, He has revealed enough of himself so that those who want to respond can. God is a self-revealer AND and self-concealor.

    Why are you not blogging on vampire blogs or leprechaun blogs, or Odin (who is that by the way?) blogs. The internal moral guide says, this is far-fetched. Not one of these things can even come close to explaining how things came to be and reveals enough about truth to build an entire worldview on what they have revealed. Authority is lacking, substantation of truth claims, reliable documentation – it’s all missing. Have you read documentation where vampires created the world? My point precisely.

    No, embedded in human consciencness, is a moral guide which necessitates a Moral Guider. And all of humanity worships something, we look to something besides ourselves to explain things.

    Here me carefully. If there was no God, we wouldn’t know that this was the case. We wouldn’t even be talking about it. But for some reason, we do. It’s not as bizarre as you think.

    give this a chance. there’s merit to the moral argument for the existence of God.

  68. The Tofu

    “But I’m not thinking about all those things.”

    You’ve never thought about vampires or leprechauns?

    “Its about a Someone that transcends me, who has spoken, and though hidden on one hand, He has revealed enough of himself so that those who want to respond can. God is a self-revealer AND and self-concealor.”

    You’re being very inconsistent with this argument. If he reveals himself to those who want to respond, he’s still removing their free choice to believe in him or not. If he’s hidden, then there’s no evidence for him. You can’t have it both ways.

    “Why are you not blogging on vampire blogs or leprechaun blogs, or Odin (who is that by the way?) blogs.”

    I don’t actually blog about god or atheism either. Generally it’s about music or what I did during the day. Using your logic from the original post we could then come to the conclusion that I don’t think music exists and am simply and pitifully trying to maintain my own belief in it, but thankfully most people realize that this is a stupid conclusion.

    Other posters have already explained why many atheists blog, and why it’s a good idea. Obviously you ignored them. I’m not going to reiterate them here, go re-read the thread.

    As for Odin, he’s the All-Father of the Norse pantheon-the Aesir. He’s the inspiration for and origin of poetry, which is proven because we can think about and write poetry, which obviously came from a higher power. He’s also the source of wisdom and died, hung from a tree for nine days and returned to life as a sacrifice to his own divine power. We know this because it is documented and the documentation says there were eye-witnesses.

    Oh yeah, and no-one believes in him anymore because there’s no evidence that he actually exists.

    “The internal moral guide says, this is far-fetched. Not one of these things can even come close to explaining how things came to be and reveals enough about truth to build an entire worldview on what they have revealed. Authority is lacking, substantation of truth claims, reliable documentation…”

    So because your mythical being is claimed to be the source of morality he must exist? As I showed with the Odin example, just because a myth is claimed to be the source of something doesn’t mean it actually is.

    Furthermore, the argument isn’t even for your specific god. It’s more of an argument for deism. Even if it were true that morals existed outside of humanity (which it doesn’t, you don’t expect trees or stars to act morally) it’s not proof for the existence of your specific deity.

    You’ve been asked this question before: Is what is good good because god says so (if so, morality is arbitrary), or does god say it’s good because it’s ultimately good (meaning that goodness exists without requiring god)?

    I want to ask you a question about your morals- do you believe that killing children is wrong?

  69. The Tofu

    Also- do you think that god is capable of committing evil?

    And yes, these questions are very loaded.

  70. God will never commit evil. He is good. He may not exercise His goodness in a way that you approve of, but He’s good at all times, though we, his creation, fail to be so.

    Human life at all stages is sacred and should be honored, but due to sinful human choices, we have sabotaged a “good creation.” Unfortunately, innocent people die in a fallen world. Free-choice, a personality of Satan, a world system, and “fallen” human hearts can account for the evil in our world. The Fall was felt cosmically; and it is felt personally, especially when children die. But this does not make God “not good.”

    Since you obviously don’t believe in the Bible as a special book of reliable truth, please don’t use it to refute me when it’s convenient for you to do so. By your own admission, the Bible should not have a place in this argument. So please, be consistent, and don’t use it to point out the “errors of my logic” or how bad God is. It’s not reliable – right? So don’t use it then. It’s off limits. You can’t use it in your “loaded question” scenario. Turn about is fair play.

    Atheists are quick to smell a “bad biblical egg” but they lay very few good ones of their own. It’s always amazing to me how atheist use the Bible to strengthen their argument but the theist is not allowed to.

    Oh, and now for your loaded questions…

    Are you good? Can you prove it? How? Was the Holocaust wrong? Is abortion wrong? What is right about the world? What is good? How do you define it?

    What is a true atheist? Are you a true atheist? If so, why? If not, what do you think God is like? Who told you? How many hospitals have atheists built? How many missions have they started to feed and cloth people?

    Do you have a desire for justice? Do you hunger for love? Have you ever forgiven anyone? Do you need to be forgiven? Have you ever felt guilty about something? Has someone every stolen from you or committed a crime against you? Are you happy?

    What is idolatry? Are you God? Are there moral absolutes? How do you suggest the world should be run? Are you disturbed by the evil you see inside you?

    Are you playing dumb? Are you avoiding the God question by hiding behind your logic and carefully constructed arguments? Are you self-deceived – persuading yourself to believe contrary to the evidence in order to evade, somehow, the unpleasant truth that the evidence points to? Are you supressing the truth?

  71. The Tofu

    I’m using the Bible to show that the god portrayed within it is inconsistent with your own morality.

    My usage of Bible passages is simply to point out the inconsistencies and problems within it, not to actual rely on it as a source of information on the nature of god or goodness. The fact that I can find an opposing passage to anything you quote from it speaks volumes about its value as a source of absolute truth.

    But, as you wish, I will not post examples from the Bible of god directly killing children. I’m sure you’ve read them and can find them yourself. Why you feel that these acts somehow represent “goodness” being exercised I will never understand.

    You’ve still failed to address the problem of suffering- not all of it is caused by “sinful human choices”- much of it is caused by natural disasters, diseases and the like, which should be easily preventable for a being like god.

    This suffering continues, leading me to believe that there is no god. Or at least, no god in the sense that modern Christianity defines it.

    Now for your questions:

    Are you good?
    I have performed some good acts and some bad acts as well. I certainly try to be more good than bad. I make mistakes, but I’m a work in progress.

    Can you prove it?
    Not really. It’s up to the observer to determine whether they think my actions are correct or not. I’m certain that there would be disagreements.

    Was the Holocaust wrong?
    Yes, in the sense that it was actively harmful to humanity. War and genocide certainly do not help us create stronger and more productive societies.

    Is abortion wrong?
    I’m actually currently on the fence about this. Both sides have convincing arguments.

    What is right about the world?
    Music. Ice-cream sundaes. The feeling of rolling dice. Rum and coke. Parties. Family. Spaghetti. Games. Feeling. Emotion. Windy days. Soccer. Martial arts. Posters. A good book.

    What is good? How do you define it?
    I see good as any action which causes people to be more productive/creative/happy, and does not reduce other people’s productivity/creativity/happiness.

    What is a true atheist?
    An atheist is merely someone who lacks belief in a deity. Nothing more.

    Are you a true atheist? If so, why?
    Yes, because I lack belief in a deity. It is possible that I would stop being an atheist if evidence for a deity arose or was discovered.

    How many hospitals have atheists built? How many missions have they started to feed and cloth people?
    Hard to tell, because atheists don’t generally organize themselves into labeled groups to do things. Atheism is independent of other beliefs. If you’re trying to argue that religious people are more moral than atheists, I could point out that atheism is proportionally much less represented in prisons than religion.

    Do you have a desire for justice? Do you hunger for love? Have you ever forgiven anyone? Do you need to be forgiven? Have you ever felt guilty about something? Has someone every stolen from you or committed a crime against you? Are you happy?

    Yes. But these feelings were not placed there by a higher power. They arose through my experiences and interactions with others.

    What is idolatry?
    Not relevant.

    Are you God?
    I’m not an all powerful and all knowing creator of the universe, no.

    Are there moral absolutes?
    I doubt it. There’s always a chance some sort of situation could arise in which a traditionally amoral action would be the only moral one.

    For example, if you happened to be hiding Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, it would be more moral to lie to searching Nazi soldiers about it, even though lying is usually considered amoral.

    How do you suggest the world should be run?
    That’s a pretty complicated question. I don’t think I’m the man for the job. Religion certainly hasn’t been doing it very well though.

    Are you disturbed by the evil you see inside you?
    I generally don’t find it to my benefit to commit evil acts. If I occasionally act in a greedy or foolish way, I take it as a learning experience rather than letting it keep me up at night.

    Are you playing dumb? Are you avoiding the God question by hiding behind your logic and carefully constructed arguments? Are you self-deceived – persuading yourself to believe contrary to the evidence in order to evade, somehow, the unpleasant truth that the evidence points to? Are you suppressing the truth?

    No. This is the part everyone’s been trying to get through to you, that you can’t seem to get a hold of. I’m not afraid that god exists. I’m not concerned with what he’s supposed to have said. I simply don’t think a god of any sort exists.

  72. Thanks for answering the questions. Here’s what I see. No disrespect intended, but you are in denial.

    You are refusing to believe in God in spite of the evidence, not for a lack of evidence. You refuse to admit the admissable, therefore you are blind to the possible. This is an act of your will. “I’m not going to believe. God has not given me enough evidence.” The evidence of design in nature, the human conscience, and the desires embedded in the human heart indicate that there is a God (read all my posts where I argue these things). This you refuse to accept, yet your life betrays your worldview. You demonstrate all of these in your life, yet you pretend that you’ve been conditioned. You are in denial.

    You show morality, yet you refuse to acknowledge there are morals that are innate. Most of us know not to push an older lady into oncoming traffic. But not you. You had to learn this from others. Come on Tofu. And there are no moral absolutes for you. Which in itself is an absolute. When you say there are no absolutes, you’ve just made one. You are in denial. When God decides to do something for purposes known only to Him, he is immoral; yet when you or I decide who we allow to live or let die, it is our moral right.

    You keep a safe distance from evil in theory, but yet you practice it. You merely do “bad acts” or “good acts.” You’re careful to keep evil outside of your nature. Somehow admitting that my human nature is evil (which it is for you and all human-beings) implies that I need saved from myself; something you are unwilling to admit. Something is wrong in a world where they will take the most innocent human-being to ever live and crucify him. Our hearts are messed up. Yet you pretend that nothing is wrong of this sort, and anything bad that happens in the world is God’s fault or a poor human decision. You are in denial.

    You say you’re happy, and yet you can’t even answer one of the deeper questions of life. You are clueless; totally lost. It’s like you’ve shown up late to the movie and have no idea what’s going on. Who the characters are, where the setting is, and what the plot is. And the very sources that could help explain it, you deny as being admissable. You’re cutting off the answers Tofu. They’re there but you refuse to hear them, because you want to focus on all the reasons why you should never allow an old book written by people long ago to speak truth into your life. You are in denial.

    You refuse to embrace the answers offered to you about the larger story and you pick the one question – suffering – and use that as a reason to argue against a good God who is at work behind the larger story. Says Tofu: “I challenge your assertion that your god is good. If that were true, and if he was the all-knowing, all-powerful being you believe him to be, then why does he allow evil and suffering to exist in the world? Why does he threaten those who don’t believe in him with eternal torture and pain?” Here is Tofu’s logic:
    1. There is evil in the world.
    2. If there was a God, he would have done something about it.
    3. Nothing has been done about it.
    4. Therefore, there is no God.

    Your problem is in step 3. You assume that God hasn’t done something about suffering and natural catastrophe. It may not be to your liking, but He has done something. You are insisting that God does things “Tofu’s way.”

    I now can see why you would refuse to answer the idolatry question. Tofu, you are your own god. It’s not irrelevant.

    I borrow from an apologist named Ravi Zacharias in sharing these points:
    1. There is evil in the world.
    2.There is also the reality of freedom to choose; and where there is freedom to choose, evil will always be a possibility.
    3. In fact, concepts of love and goodness are unexplainable unless there is freedom to choose.
    4. Since love is the supreme ethic, its possibility necessitates freedom.
    5. Where there is freedom, there will be the possibility of evil.
    6. This is precisely the paradigm of creation by God in the Bible.
    7. Therefore the biblical model of a loving God, who creates for the possibility of supreme good, may be defended on reasonable and existentially persuasive grounds.

    You are in denial Tofu. You are your own “ism.” While somewhat docile, you are a radical individualist in denial. Yes, you are calm, cool, and collected. But in the center of all that is this: I will be god of my life and beliefs. God has to answer to me.

    It’s Neitzsche’s philosophy “Why should God rule and I serve?” I’ll make my own moral standards. I may not be able to live with the results, but I’m in control and can do what I want to do. Self becomes the god-substitute and becomes our center for existence with many self-centered expressions. Besides, if there is a God, he should be asking me for forgiveness for placing me in this mess. This attitude causes us to seek a new center or reason for life.

    Personally, I would love to hang out with you (even though I don’t know you beyond this blog). You seem to love life and living. “Music. Ice-cream sundaes. The feeling of rolling dice. Rum and coke. Parties. Family. Spaghetti. Games. Feeling. Emotion. Windy days. Soccer. Martial arts. Posters. A good book.” That’s almost poetic! Who gave you that ability by the way? It’s the simple pleasures of life lived fully in the present moment that adds so much joy to living. But these things that you enjoy will never answer the deeper questions.

    You are totally lost, like a ship without a worldview rudder, you aimlessly float, while you remain the center of a meaningless existence.

    If you center your life and identity on your spouse or partner, you will be emotionally dependent, jealous, and controlling. The other person’s problems will overwhelm you. If you center your life and identity on your family and children, you will try to live your life through your children until they resent you or have no self of their own. At worst, you may abuse them when they displease you. If you center your life and identity on your work and career, you will be a driven workaholic and a boring, shallow person. At worst, you will lose family and friends and, if your career goes poorly, develop deep depression. If you center your life and identity on money and possessions, you’ll be eaten up by worry or jealousy about money. You’ll be willing to do unethical things to maintain your lifestyle, which will eventually blow up your life. If you center your life and identity on pleasure, gratification, and comfort, you will find yourself getting addicted to something. You will become chained to “escape strategies” by which you avoid the hardness of life. If you center your life and identity on relationships and approval, you will be constantly hurt by criticism and thus always losing friends. You will fear confronting others and therefore be a useless friend. If you center your life and identity on a “noble cause,” you will divide the world into “good” and “bad” and demonize your opponents. Ironically, you will be controlled by your enemies. Without them, you have no purpose. If you center your life and identity on religion and morality, you will, if you are living up to your moral standards, be proud, self-righteous, and cruel. If you don’t live up to your standards, your guilt will be utterly devastating (Keller, Reason…275-276). When all of these gods prove inadequate, we run to anything that will provide a diversion.

    That diversion is a life in denial. If you ever become a theist, I have a sense that you will be a mighty voice for the one true God.

  73. The Tofu

    “You are refusing to believe in God in spite of the evidence, not for a lack of evidence.”

    “The evidence of design in nature, the human conscience, and the desires embedded in the human heart indicate that there is a God”

    First of all, even if these were good arguments for A god, which they are not, they wouldn’t be arguments for YOUR SPECIFIC GOD. At best you’d convince someone to be a deist.

    The only evidence you have for YOUR SPECIFIC GOD is the Bible, which is not a reliable enough resource to back up the extraordinary claims contained within it.

    “You show morality, yet you refuse to acknowledge there are morals that are innate. Most of us know not to push an older lady into oncoming traffic. But not you. You had to learn this from others.”

    And you had to learn it from an invisible man in the sky. I’m not saying morals are not part of human nature, I’m just saying that they don’t come from your religion, as evidenced by the fact that you don’t condone stoning disobedient children or burning heretics to death (you don’t, right?).

    “And there are no moral absolutes for you. Which in itself is an absolute. When you say there are no absolutes, you’ve just made one.”

    I didn’t say there are no absolutes. I said that I didn’t think there are moral absolutes.

    However, perhaps what I should have said is that morality is incredibly complex and can’t be reduced down to a set of simple rules in a book. What is moral in one situation may be immoral in another- it’s context sensitive.

    “You’re cutting off the answers Tofu.”

    Your answers are nothing but a shallow appeal to authority. You have no way of knowing if your answers are even correct, you just take them on “faith.” The god of the gaps argument is hardly convincing.

    “You assume that God hasn’t done something about suffering and natural catastrophe. It may not be to your liking, but He has done something.”

    Then tell me what he’s done! So far your entire argument has been that suffering is cause by free choice when that is clearly not always the case. This is the ONLY thing you have said. Don’t blame me for your failure to answer my argument.

    “Tofu, you are your own god. It’s not irrelevant.”

    I don’t worship myself, or anything for that matter.

    I do use my mind and reason to figure things out and decide on the best course of action, yes, but I fully recognize that it is a flawed tool, and thus I must also rely on the wisdom of others and the evidence around me.

    And frankly, how can you ask more of me? The only other tool I have for making decisions is “faith” which is believing in something just because I feel like it. It’s not a useful tool for making decisions because it fails to take reality into account.

    “It’s Neitzsche’s philosophy “Why should God rule and I serve?” I’ll make my own moral standards.”

    Religious people don’t get there morals from god, as evidenced by the fact that religions change over time. If you got your morals from the Bible, you’d still be going on crusades and inquisitions.

    “That’s almost poetic! Who gave you that ability by the way?”

    Must have been Odin. After all, it’s impossible I got it by learning from literature or experience.

    “But these things that you enjoy will never answer the deeper questions.”

    They don’t have to. Your question was “What is right with the world?” so I listed some things that I find to be good. Don’t set it up to mean more than it is.

    “You are totally lost, like a ship without a worldview rudder, you aimlessly float, while you remain the center of a meaningless existence.”

    Please stop assuming I’m some sort of depressed nihilist. Just because you think life is meaningless if you don’t get rewarded at the end of it, doesn’t mean everyone else will.

    As for all your hypothetical situations there, it’s equally possible to be depressed if you centre your life on religion. Being reliant on only one thing for your happiness is BAD. Obsession is BAD. I realize this, because I’m not stupid. I can focus on more than one thing in my life at a time. Balance is a good thing.

    Look, I realize that because there is no immortal god that my actions will not have meaning everywhere in the universe for all time. That doesn’t mean they don’t have meaning here and now.

    I don’t need something external to me to validate my existence. I’m sorry that you feel that life is meaningless unless the good guys get eternally rewarded and the bad guys get eternally punished, but it’s just not true that things happen that way.

    Here’s a quote from a song I enjoy: “The meaning of life is to give life meaning.”

    I’m alive, and I like doing and learning things. For me that’s enough reason to continue to be alive.

  74. The Tofu

    Also, thanks for continuing this discussion. It’s very useful to me to be able to write my thoughts out in this way- some of this stuff I’ve thought about but haven’t verbalized in any way. You, too, seem like a guy I wouldn’t mind hanging out with, even if I find many of your arguments incomprehensible.

    That being said, please stop trying to prove that atheism is “not-nice” and start trying to prove that it is “not-true.” Most of your arguments so far have hinged on the fact that atheism doesn’t provide answers to certain questions, or doesn’t allow for moral action (which I would disagree with). These things have no bearing on the actual truth of the subject.

  75. It’s the simple pleasures of life lived fully in the present moment that adds so much joy to living. But these things that you enjoy will never answer the deeper questions.

    Right. The same way salt will never sweeten anything.

  76. I haven’t said anything about atheism being “not nice” or atheists not being nice for that matter. My point is that atheism as a worldview is bankrupt. It does not position an adherent to answer the deeper questions of life. But somehow, you don’t seem to see this.

    There was a guy back in the 4th or 5th Century who said that people should parade the arguments before the people and let the arguments stand and speak.

    If an atheist and a theist would do this (and it’s been done many times before), what you will find is that the atheistic worldview is not existentially repugnant – that is, it’s not livable. The theistic worldview is livable (not to perfection, but it’s conceivable and possible). Talk to an atheist on his deathbed, and you’ll see what I mean.

    I didn’t say that an atheist wouldn’t have joy and capture pockets of meaning along life’s way. But, “pockets” of meaning is exactly what you have in atheism. You have no larger story, no overall meaning that ties the meta-narrative together; no Story-teller.

    Atheism is bankrupt and even leads to a life of absurdity.

  77. By the way, this is not about religion. It’s a about a Person – true love…true love.

  78. It does not position an adherent to answer the deeper questions of life. But somehow, you don’t seem to see this.

    I’m atheist and I see it.

    Atheism doesn’t claim to answer “the deeper questions of life”, assuming there are deeper questions which must be answered anyway.

    Atheism is not a worldview. It is the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Nothing more, nothing less. It may contribute to or help form individual worldviews which can vary greatly among individual atheists, but it is not a world view in and of itself.

    What you don’t seem to understand is that you’re arguing against a strawman here.

    Again, atheism doesn’t answer the “deeper questions of life” just like salt doesn’t sweeten anything. It’s not supposed to.

    Talk to an atheist on his deathbed, and you’ll see what I mean.

    Never mind the uncountable atheists who have died very much still atheist.

    This whole argument (no atheists on deathbeds) is a juvenile non-argument that amounts to nothing more than a cheap slur.

  79. When one says “God does not exist,” it is not a flippant comment. Even your fellow atheist will admit that this in fact IS a worldview, that by this belief you see everything else.

  80. No Joey, it’s not a worldview. Part of any huge number of potential worldviews? Sure. But a worldview, no.

    Just like ” Ghosts do not exist” isn’t a worldview, but can easily be a part of any number of religious or non-religious worldviews.

  81. The Tofu…deism is the first step in this context. From there, we can work toward Christianity. Remember its about love…true love. But obstacles have to be removed for the romance to thrive.

  82. Oh…and by the way Tofu…God has done something about suffering…He made you and me to do something about it.

  83. The Tofu

    “I haven’t said anything about atheism being “not nice” or atheists not being nice for that matter.”

    This statement is extremely ironic, as the rest of your post attempts to point out how unpleasant atheism is.

    Oh woe to the atheist! His shallow “worldview” does not answer the deep questions of life! It is bankrupt! He has no reason to act morally! For him the universe is scary and empty!

    Luckily, I believe that, someday in the future, puppies and rainbows will rain from the sky! Wars will end, and everyone will be loved unconditionally by a magical bearded man on a cloud! My version of the world is so much nicer. How could it not be true?

    Thank you, Lottie and morsec0de for pointing out that atheism is not a worldview and is not meant to answer any questions or explain anything. This is what I should have been arguing all along, rather than saying that you can find meaning without god.

    “Oh…and by the way Tofu…God has done something about suffering…He made you and me to do something about it.”

    Isn’t it simpler to simply conclude that some people will work to alleviate suffering? Why do you feel the need to add another entity in there? Apply a little Occam’s Razor now and then.

    Also, the idea that the best thing an all powerful being could do to combat suffering is send incredibly limited, lesser beings to do it for him instead is laughable.

    Either he’s less powerful than you claim (in which case, why call him god?), doesn’t care (in which case, why follow him?), or he doesn’t exist.

  84. When one says “God does not exist,” it is not a flippant comment.

    “I pay my taxes every year” is not a flippant comment either, but it’s hardly a worldview. A serious statement does not constitute a worldview.

    Besides, very few atheist take the position that “God does not exist”, but rather do not believe in God because there is no evidence to support claims that it does exists. There’s a difference.

    Even your fellow atheist will admit that this in fact IS a worldview, that by this belief you see everything else.

    And that atheist is perfectly free to speak for himself, but not for me. Perhaps you’re familiar with the idiom: “herding cats”?

    There is no atheist creed or doctrine to which we must adhere in order to be atheists. The one and only characteristic common to all atheists is the absence of belief in deities. From there, we all sort of wander off in our own directions. It’s called individual thought.

    So, basically, you’re still arguing against strawmen.

  85. Thank you, Lottie and morsec0de for pointing out that atheism is not a worldview and is not meant to answer any questions or explain anything. This is what I should have been arguing all along, rather than saying that you can find meaning without god.

    You’ve been doing a fine job arguing your point and I’ve enjoyed following along.

  86. What I’m discovering is that atheists themselves have not thought through the ramifications of their own statement: There is no God. It’s amazing to me that such a statement would have been made without any consideration for how this would necessitate all the other questions of life would have to be answered. What I’m finding is that atheism is more of a social group that’s worried about a “strawman” having power in a public forum. Think this through. If you will push your beliefs to their logical ends, you will find that you cannot live with your belief; it is not existentially repugnant.

    Worldview:

    1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.

    2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.

    (Yahoo! Dictionary)

    Now, let’s work this a little:

    A Theistic World View says that God is the Author of our universe, that we are accountable to Him, and that we have hope of being a part of His grand story to restore a broken world through Christ.

    An Atheistic World View says that we have no Author, that we are not accountable to anyone, and there are no ideals or grand story’s of redemption, no meta-narratives behind all that we see. Since we are our own, accountable to no one, we should seek all the gratification and satisfaction we can now. The attitude toward important unseen values or deeper life questions is usually “Whatever?” (true to post-modernism) Each individual is free to create a belief system that works for them.”

    Now, here’s how the atheistic worldview plays out:

    If there is no God, then we have moral relativism – there is no set standard of right or wrong. Someone can take your things and it’s OK.

    If there is no God, then the temporal drives life – this world is all there is. When you say goodbye to your family for the last time, you never see them again.

    If there is no God, then history has to be deconstructed and reinterpreted without God in it (a virtual impossibility).

    If there is no God, then nature is all that is.

    If there is no God, then all religions are morally equivalent (this is absurd one claim cannot be true and false at the same time).

    If there is no God, I will do what is convenient for me because I have made myself God. I am free to narrate my own drama and do what’s right for me.

    If there is no God, there is no hope for life beyond this world.

    If there is no God, plants and animal-life are equally as important as humans (we are no longer made in God’s image). It’s our moral right to do with life what we want.

    Learn to think in worldviews and you will find that this impacts the statements you make, such as, “There is no God.”

    And remember, true love… true love…

  87. The Tofu

    hate to quote myself here but: “please stop trying to prove that atheism is “not-nice” and start trying to prove that it is “not-true.” Most of your arguments so far have hinged on the fact that atheism doesn’t provide answers to certain questions, or doesn’t allow for moral action (which I would disagree with). These things have no bearing on the actual truth of the subject.”

    “You’ve been doing a fine job arguing your point and I’ve enjoyed following along.”

    Thanks! I always have trouble knowing if what I’m typing out will be understandable to others. Written communication can be tricky.

  88. What I’m discovering is that atheists themselves have not thought through the ramifications of their own statement: There is no God.

    Wrong. That’s the statement that you keep putting in all our mouths. Just because your entire worldview revolves around God and whether or not he exists, doesn’t mean that’s true for everyone.

    Your entire perception of atheism is based on a enormous pile of bogus preconceived ideas. Perhaps someday you’ll grow up and realize that maybe — just maybe — other people are more familiar with their own worldviews and the sources of them than you are, and that you don’t know everything about everything and everyone else.

    Until you accept the fact that you don’t know other people’s minds better than they do, and stop trying to force people into neat little categories just because doing so is more comfortable for you than facing reality, I see no point in continuing this discussion with you.

  89. As we all pursue answers, remember the answer that came at Christmas. Merry Christmas to all.

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/the-unblinking-cosmic-stare-smiled-at-christmas/

  90. Pingback: Why Are There So Many Atheist Blogs? | All Reason

  91. Anomie

    Also, keep in mind, that this kind of baseless conjecturing (you know, where you pretend to understand our motives as if we are all a single person without variable drives and goals), is a reason in itself to keep a blog. Apparently we must keep blogs solely to not be misunderstood, or in this case misrepresented, by others. Good job.

    Now, observe how silly I seem.
    “Why are there so many Christian blogs? Is it that deep down, people dont believe in Christ, and they must convince themselves with constant posturing?”

    Couldn’t the simple answer be that people blog about what is important to them? Some people pursue truth and reason. Others pursue enlightenment through meditation, or religious understanding. It is human nature to seek relationship with those with which we have something in common. The idea that only YOU are capable of spreading a worthwhile message to like minded individuals is insulting.

    Finally, Id like to address the following logic:
    “So He must exist – and He must be very powerful for them to fear Him so greatly.”
    I cant be the only reader to find this absurd. If I lived in the time of the Mayans, I would surely oppose the religion based purely on the fact that it controlled political affairs and took rights away from the people (human sacrifice anyone?).This opposition, however, would obviously not constitute the existence of the Mayan gods, or in any way legitimate their beliefs. There is something real to be feared from these institutions, and something real to be lost in the form of progress ,knowledge, and freedoms. What religion can we think of today, in our own society, that takes away the rights of people? You get one shot.

    You got it!

  92. You get one shot. What belief system is responsible for the mass killings of history? What worldview dominated the thinking of Lenin, Pol Pot, Ceausescu, Castro, Kim Jong, Stalin, and even a Hitler (whose political motivations led him to claim otherwise)? You get one shot. You got it!

  93. Anomie

    Guess what Joey, you have absolutely no evidence that a belief system was responsible for those killings. They were not done in the name of atheism, but in the name of brutal dictators.

    Now lets look at the crimes caused in the name of christianity. Do you really want to make this argument?

    Do you want to talk about the subjugation of Indians by Christian conquers because their religion was “inferior”. Do you want to talk about the crusades, a war fought directly and absolutely for religion. Do you want to talk about the inquisition? You need to be careful where you take this conversation.

    Furthermore, you did nothing to refute my arguments, merely sidestepped them with a strawman. Bravo sir, but you’ve responded to nothing (as you’ve done with most of your responses. Who is a slow witted blogger? You get one shot? You got it!

  94. Anomie

    Hey Joey, why are you attacking Atheism so vehemently. Is it because you know, deep down, that there is no god, but you are too afraid to cope with not having all the answers served to you on a platter?

  95. I have done much to answer your arguments in many, many other posts. The atheistic worldview is absurd. (I did not say ‘atheists’ but atheism)

    Thomas Merton, the Trappist Monk, sums up the atheistic worldview precisely: “Having nothing to say they concentrated on the art of saying nothing with exactness.”

    Your atheistic worldview cannot answer the deeper questions of life. So, you along with so many want to choose your issues, and say it with exactness. But the only problem is that you still haven’t answered the deeper questions of life. Atheism has no answers. Abandon it as soon as possible.

  96. Anomie

    I just wanted to make a final note

    You wont see any further responses from me, and Im sure you wont change your mind about athiests. Soon Ill head home from my job at a homeless shelter, where I get paid less than is required to survive. I do this not because an entity in the sky wants me to, but because I really do care about people, about their welfare.

    Im going home to my loving wife, the one that I didnt marry in a church. We will have a nice dinner that is as environmentally friendly as practical on our budget. I dont save the planet because a man in the sky wants me to. I do it because I care about the planet.

    I am not stumbling through pockets of meaning. I am indulging to the fullest in the company of my family and friends, with whom I know I only have one life time to spend. I am not going to waste that time. We dont sit around plotting the downfall of christianity and moral thinking. We dont have devil horns as far as I can tell.

    We are your neighbors, community members, friends and family. We’re the folks that held the door for you when you were carrying that box, and resuscitated your relative after that heart attack. We care about many of the same things, and are troubled by many of the same issues.

    Pleause, dont think you know us all intimately as a single entity. We are as varied as you, from every culture and region.

    Maybe I havent found the same answer to questions of life that you have, but I think the point of a worldview is that we arent looking for the same answers.

    Goodnight sir.

  97. Who told you that people matter? Who designed the institution of marriage? Who gave us the gift of food? Who intelligently designed all that we see and enjoy in nature? Who came up with the idea of family? Who created friends? Who placed in you the desire to do good? Who loves it when we appreciate and enjoy the good gifts that He has given.
    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/why-are-there-so-many-atheism-blogs/#comment-113

    Anomie, you haven’t gone far enough. There’s one other person that you need to thank. There is only One, a Someone…and He’s been after you for a long, long time.

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/11/25/atheists-have-no-one-to-thank-this-thanksgiving/

    Keep living counter-culturally, but forsake atheism, the greatest lie of all.

  98. Oh, I have one: Who is repeatedly begging the question?

    I will say this, though: If someone has to believe in the existence of God in order to know that other people matter, then by all means, keep believing! I shudder to think what people like that would do if they ever lost their faith. I certainly wouldn’t want them walking the streets if they did.

  99. And also imagine how much more love and service could be rendered by atheists (or anyone for that matter) who are doing good meeting the needs of people AND who are also able to answer the deeper questions of life…what a combination that would be!

  100. Oh, I missed this:

    Your atheistic worldview cannot answer the deeper questions of life.

    Atheism is the absence of belief in deities. That’s all. It doesn’t answer the “deeper questions of life” the same way salt doesn’t sweeten things: It’s not supposed to.

    Your strawman has no answers! Abandon it immediately!

  101. AND who are also able to answer the deeper questions of life…

    Yeah, because Christians are answering these so-called “deeper questions” every single day. Right. Gotcha.

  102. Christian Theism explains how we got here, why we are here, what went wrong in the world, whats wrong with human nature, what God is doing to fix it and all of creation, and what our part is in all this. Christian Theism resolves suffering eventually (how does atheism resolve suffering Lottie?), teaches life after death, acknowledges the spiritual aspect of man, and the existence of a living soul. It is consistent with what we know and expect regarding justice and accountability and it is also consistent with Natural Law, conscience and nature. All of this in a context of an incredible love story, where God reached man and lifts him out of endless striving via world religions, wins our hearts again, and we fulfill the purposes for which we were originally intended. And the interjection of Jesus into actual time and history verifies it all.

    I think I’ll stick with a Christian Theistic worldview. And as I serve the broken and lonely in my own community, I will do more than just fill a belly or provide a blanket – I will offer to those who thirst spiritually – answers – authoritative, clear, articulate explanations as to how and why Christianity is true and invite them into the mystery that feeds their soul-craving.

  103. You’re begging question upon question, arguing against a strawman version of atheism and talking in circles. If you’re not going to read or comprehend all the words, I’m not going to waste my time trying to reason with you.

    You know, I watched a film last night called Jesus Camp. It shed a completely new light on why so many Christians lack good reasoning and critical thinking skills. It was really sad. I cried most of the way through it.

    Happy New Year!

  104. Daymion

    Joey, make yourself believe that a circle has 90 degree angles. Tell me when you’re done with that.

  105. Roberto

    Thanks for the laugh, man. 🙂

  106. and the number is going to keep going up

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