I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'wouldn't it be much worse if life *were* fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?' So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe. – M. Cole
I’ve gained a fair number of new subscribers lately. I’d like to welcome them, and my old friends who have been so very kind, smart, funny, and wise over these years, and offer to answer any questions you’d like to pose.
You can find a fair amount about me in the Boss’s Office. You can also read why I am an atheist by reading my origin story (I’m a few years older now, and happily married for 25+ years now) Alas, no superpowers. I do think that I would like to be a superhero based on Sekhmet, with all sorts of energy projection powers. Alas, my weakness would be beer.
I’ve encountered a few very different Christians recently. We have Dave, a pastor, who believes in diversity, but also believes that Christianity supports violence as long as they benefit; Rina who says that she must take everything in the bible literally because if you don’t, what is to stop you from finding a resurrected dead guy to be ridiculous, but is sure that stars aren’t attached to a dome and can’t fall on the earth; and Scientific Christian (you can find his blog through clicking on his avatar in the comments here where he is *quite* prolific) who lies regularly , wants to physically harm those who disagree with him, insists that the bible and translators are wrong if they disagree with him and the very same ones right if they agree with him and very much wants my attention.
As you can see, Christians vary a *lot*, and this is only scratching the surface. I’m guessing that each of these three would have issues with what the other two claim to be true.
The following questions were asked at Dave’s church. On his blog, it seems to be the intent on giving the answers to them at some time in the future so you may wish to follow to see what answered are given. I’ll give my answers here. Unfortunately, Dave does not have comments open on his blog. I may be responsible for that, in asking too many questions that pointed out the problems in Christian claims. If you are a regular reader here, you’ve seen this information before.
If God wants us to believe in him, why doesn’t he make it obvious? Why does he seem to play hide and seek with us?
That’s a good observation. This god doesn’t make anything obvious, and if one is to believe that this god wrote or directly inspired the bible, one has to ask, why does this entity contradict itself repeatedly and make promises that are not fulfilled. Christians will claim that this god constantly does miracles as evidence, but when it is pointed out that lots of people who need these miracles don’t get them despite prayers e.g. when priests are raping children or when parents murder their children by not getting medical attention, then we get the excuses that this god doesn’t always do miracles, that this god will answer them only if that is the best answer according to it, or it may get around to doing the miracle later. However, if you read the bible, it doesn’t say this will happen. Prayers will be answered immediately (the mountain moves), positively, (a father would not give their child a snake if asked for a fish), and that any prayer will be answered as long as you ask it in JC’s name. Christians offer the caveat that the prayer must be what God intended anyway, which means a prayer is worthless.
There is also the problem that the essential events of the bible have no extra-biblical support for them. There are mentions of Christians in historical documents but not of the essential events in the bible. It is very hard to pin down when these events supposedly happened since even Christians disagree on what happened and when.
If God is the creator of all things, who or what created God?
Most Christians will try to claim that their god has always existed and thus does not need a creator. The first cause (cosmological) argument is based on the assumption that the Christian god is the only god, and that has always existed. Most, if not all, other religions make the same claim, which leaves us with a lot of competing gods and no evidence for any of them. There is also nothing that says that the laws of physics can’t simply have “always existed”.
If God made a good world, why are there things like volcanos, earthquakes and floods that cause so much suffering?
Most Christians will blame the “fall”, which depends on a literal belief in the bible’s claims, something that they don’t always agree on.
Why doesn’t God act to stop all suffering?
One would think that an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent being would do this, eliminate all suffering. Christians disagree on the reason that their god seems to have no problem allowing it and indeed reveling in it. Some Christians are sure that humans deserve to suffer, that we all bear some responsibility for the “fall”. Some Christians claim that if there was no suffering we would not know what good was, which is a bit of a problem for their claims about heaven. Still others claim that suffering can lead to good, which is fine to argue when the actors aren’t omnipotent, but doesn’t work quite so well with an omnipotent and supposedly omnibenevolent deity. If this god cannot get things to work without evil, it evidently isn’t all-powerful. By definition there should be nothing that this god can’t do. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – three different Christians and questions answered”→
Legend, and reality appears to agree, says during the Great Depression, itinerant workers e.g. hoboes, would let each other know about the conditions of the road and towns that they passed through by using a language of signs. If there was a chance of work, dangerous dogs, vigilant police, that could all be read in a sign left by scratching a nail, rock on metal, etc.
One of those signs was the cat. This signified that a kind hearted woman lived at a home or farm. A hobo might hope to get at least bread and butter and perhaps a cup of milk. Being that I like cats quite a lot, it always appealed to me that a cat would signify someone who cared for others. The people wearing the pinky pussy hats at the very successful marches around the world also got me thinking about this.
I think this sign would make a good thing to let people know that kindness still exists, a kindness with claws behind it.
Here are some images I made up. Please use, but do not abuse, if you’d like. Larger/hi res/different format ones are available. Leave me a note in comments.
Rather than putting up the usual pictures of pits full of starved, shot and tortured people. I thought this was more fitting. The people who were murdered in concentration camps were being harvested.
This is what those who support America First wanted to allow to keep happening.
There are some things that are always wrong and do not deserve to be protected or repeated. I have once supported the idea that I would support to the death that people have the right to say what they want. No longer. I am happy to punch Nazis. And I’ll be happy to die to make sure that they don’t do again what they did before. It’s not punch who you think is a Nazi, punch who *shows* you he, or she, is a Nazi.
If we don’t punch the Nazi, then there will be no free speech of any kind to defend. There are Nazi wannabees in the Trump White House, who don’t think we remember that their kind said to turn away the refugees just like their forebearers who also touted “America First”, turned away the MS St. Louis, to hate anyone who is different, and who do their best to fracture the facts of the Holocaust so it doesn’t sound so bad. It’s too bad that not one Republican seems to be willing to stand up to these people, and lead the conservative Americans away from being supporters of Nazis.
The current meme often has “motherfucker” appended to it. I find that entertaining but watering down the point. I’d suggest adding “Yippee ki-yay motherfucker” if one wishes after a suitable pause after the quote above.
I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. I had a Jewish man, a survivor of the Holocaust, take the time to find my contact information and thank me for a letter I wrote to the editor of the local newspaper standing against the attempts of some Christians to force their religion on students in public school in an attempt to create an “us” and “them”. I’m going guess he has probably died by now but in his memory, it will always be “Not today.”. Never think that you can’t do something, even if it is just a blog post or a letter to the editor. Enough of these and the evil retreats.
I recently watched the movie Conspiracy with Kenneth Branagh and Stanley Tucci, playing Reinhard Heydrick and Adolph Eichmann, respectively plus many other excellent character actors. This movie shows how such “gentlemen” conspired to annihilate people during the Wannsee Conference, mostly the Jews but their hate extended to others, Romany, homosexuals, the disabled, etc. One copy of the notes of this meeting survived and this is what the movie is based on. The one of the movie’s last lines is “”It is night in Moscow already. Soon it will be dark here. Do you think we will ever see the dawn in our lifetime?” It’s up to us to prevent the dark from coming.
And those of you who are about to type and call me a hater, or some such, for daring question you and not tolerating your nonsense, please do. You might want to consider why you’re defending such things and why you believe in a liar who claims that he’ll take care of everything. Many supporters of hatred and ignorance haven’t quite got the idea that their rights stop when they infringe on others. These rights are shared.
Here’s a quote often attributed to George Orwell, “Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” The quote is a shortened version of the opinion of the state, Oceania, in Nineteen Eighty Four (1984). (support Project Gutenberg if you can)
“There are three stages in your reintegration,’ said O’Brien. ‘There is
learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance. It is time for
you to enter upon the second stage.”
“A world of victory after victory, triumph after triumph after triumph: an endless pressing, pressing, pressing upon the nerve of power. You are beginning, I can see, to realize what that world will be like. But in the end you will do more than understand it. You will accept it, welcome it, becomepart of it.’”
“Forty years it had taken him to learnwhat kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needlessmisunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast!Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was allright, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had wonthe victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”