Thank you, #RandyBridgeman, for your response to my response to your response to #ToriParker’s de-conversion story!

I was pretty amused when Randy returned to this site. Our last exchange seemed, frankly, concluded. And the fact that he pretty much repeats and regurgitates what he said last time shows me that I did a terrible job of communicating my issues and objections.

No matter.

Here we go again!  (Me = Italics, Randy = bold.)

Hey Randy (assuming this is Randy again),

Thanks for dropping by again. Here’s my response…

> Pity you. All the ranting and raving get you mowhere. You need to ask the Almighty to remove the spiritual scales from your eyes so He can reveal the truth to you,

In case you haven’t noticed, the ranting and raving has predominantly been about how the religious attempt to shove their bullshit down everyone’s throats through legislation. And in case you didn’t notice, it’s not working. New York recently passed legislation permitting gays to marry. Scream Leviticus 18:22 (or 20:13) all you want, but it is, as demonstrated, a losing battle.

Now, if you’re considering my “ranting” as getting nowhere with the devoutly religious, I’d have to agree with you. But that isn’t necessarily my goal. My goal is to add a voice to the rational community, and if while doing so I catch a few fence-sitters along the way, all the better.

But let’s get back to your undemonstrated premises. You claim there is an Almighty, that there are “spiritual scales” on my eyes, that they need to be removed, and that He can reveal the “truth.” In case you missed it last time, Randy, I was a Christian. Yes I was. I believed in God, prayer, and a bunch of other made-up crap. If you don’t believe me, or you feel the need to accuse me of not being a “true” Christian, fine, go ahead. Just define exactly and specifically what a “true” Christian is and what I did wrong in my pursuits of “true” Christianity for I did pray and speak to God with all sincerity. Contrary to what the religious always claim of me, I did not have a “hard heart.” I truly and sincerely believed. And yet in answer to all my pleading and questioning of whatever of Christianity that I didn’t understand, I heard nothing. Zilch. Not one word from God. Not in any sense. I never heard Him speak to me, nor show me signs of any kind ever.

Now let’s consider what you call “truth.” My understanding is that what you call “truth” amounts to the following:

1. There is a God.
2. God had a Son.
3. The Son, a man-god, said a lot of great stuff, not the least of which was to believe in Him and everything He says and this belief will lead the believer to eternal life in Heaven with God and the Son. 4. To prove his point, Son chose not to use any divine power, let himself be judged and executed, then, three days after His death, rose from the dead to prove to everyone that they could do the same if they believed in Him.
5. But if anyone didn’t believe in Him, or even dared to question anything that either He allegedly ever said or anything anyone else said about Him, the questioner would, upon death, go straight to Hell, where he would be punished eternally for having doubted in the first place.

If I have any of the above wrong, please correct me. If not, looks like I’m aware of what you claim to be the “truth.” Only problem is, with no evidence at all to support any of the above, I don’t see why I should believe it. Moreover, the above makes assumptions (which I didn’t list) which would also have to be independently demonstrated, namely the existence of the soul and of sin. Yes, I’ve had sin loosely defined for me, but I have not encountered evidence that it actually exists or that any religious’ interpretation of it is valid. In fact, most of the answers the religious have offered in regards to my questions on sin have essentially amounted to circular reasoning or some other fallacy (bad things happen: sin causes them).

>And another thing, I’m assuming you’re an adult; why the foul language then? Carry yourself with dignity and class befitting a human being. Don’t descend to the gutter with that filth. Of course you know better.

If your assertion is that swearing can be of lower class, I agree, but if your assertion is that human being adults with dignity and class never swear, then I disagree and cite individuals such as presidents, monarchs, academics, scientists, and my favorite, stand-up comics who have all earned the respect of their peers and the public. And who all swear. Many publicly. You may not agree with every last word they say or of every stance they hold, but the idea that swearing by itself is undignified is clearly not true.

Furthermore, you are of course more than welcome to have the opinion that my swearing is de classe, but the great thing about the US specifically and the internet in general is that I’m free to say exactly what I like without having to concern myself with your opinion.

>Perhaps something which I wrote struck you because it is the truth?

You can think that all you want. By all means. Go ahead. But telling yourself that won’t make your undemonstrated premises any more true. The fact remains that you have no evidence whatsoever that any of the claims that you’ve made are true. You’ll rely on logical fallacies (such as lots of people believe what you believe, therefore it must be true), emotional appeals (such as you feel it in your heart that you speak the truth, therefore it must be true), but you will have not one shred of objectively verifiable evidence of your claims. Not one. Moreover, any evidence that you do claim, such as eyewitness accounts or the secular confirmation of people, places, and events from your holy book, also applies to every other religious system in the world. Therefore, any conclusions you draw about your own faith will also apply to every other. And yet you don’t believe them to be the truth. Why not? Because they’re not.

>You can’t fight GOD so cease trying.

Have you actually read this site, or do you simply see the word “atheist” and throw a sanctmonious fit? I ask because if you knew much about us rationalists, then you’d understand that in order for us to believe that we’re fighting something, we have to believe in that something we endeavor to fight.

I’m not trying of fight God just like I’m not trying to fight Zeus, Thor, Ra, or Quetzalcoatl. Presumably, an omnipotent being would be impossible to fight. What I’m fighting is delusional people influencing public policy based on made-up bullshit.

>He’s going to do what He wants to do whether or not you like it.

I completely agree with you. As is to be expected from an omnipotent being.

> Here are some atheist jokes for you:

You may be surprised to read that I found those jokes quite funny. My only issue with them is they’re either based on undemonstrated premises, false premises, logical fallacies, emotional appeals, or some combination thereof.

Allow me to demonstrate.

> God is sitting in Heaven when a scientist says to Him, ‘Lord, we don’t need you anymore. Science has finally figured out a way to create life out of nothing. In other words, we can now do what you did in the ‘beginning’.’

This is a blatant misrepresentation of science, and therefore dishonest. The only reason it isn’t an outright lie is that I can’t prove the intention of the speaker, joke writer, or you. But a misrepresentation it remains. Science doesn’t claim to create life out of “nothing.” All current theories of abiogenesis, or life from non-living matter, depend on certain chemicals, environments, and chemical processes being present. This is not “from nothing.” Moreover, science has demonstrated the theoretical conditions of an early Earth in the lab. Check out the Miller-Urey Experiment. And please note that I’m not claiming that this is absolute proof of abiogenesis. It is absolute proof of the possibility which alone proves the absolute claim of creation of life to be unnecessary (and, therefore, not absolute).

> An atheist was taking a walk through the woods, admiring all that evolution had created.

This isn’t as much of a blatant misrepresentation, but it’s leaning towards one. No one has ever claimed the evolution “created” anything. The process of evolution by natural selection describes lifeforms adapting to their environments over time. This isn’t “creation” nor does it claim to be.

> At that moment, the Atheist cried out “Oh my God!….” Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. Even the river stopped moving.

I realize the tone of the joke is a joke, but this is a bit of a silly suggestion. It’s true that I use expressions such as “Oh God.” The reason I do so is the same reason I call myself “me.” I was raised in a culture in which that was the common practice and it ultimately takes more effort than it’s worth to call myself something other than “me.”

> As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky, “You deny my existence for all of these years; teach others I don”t exist; and even credit creation to a cosmic . Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?”

I’ve never understood the Christian notion of God. We are told that God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent, and yet it’s abundantly demonstrable that both in the holy books and in the words of believers who describe Him that He’s very little more than a mean, impudent child. Certainly, a child might trouble himself over whether someone follows or believes in him, but would an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God truly feel that way? And if so, how omniscient and omnibenevolent can anyone truly claim Him to be? Furthermore, wouldn’t an omniscient God understand how an atheist might feel given the lack of evidence supporting God’s existence and yet the abundance of evidence supporting scientific explanations of previously religiously dominated ideas such as the origins of the universe and of species?

> And then the bear dropped his right paw ….. brought both paws together…bowed his head and spoke: “Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful.”

Is this joke suggesting then, that this omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God is such a petty asshole that He violates free will enough to make the bear sentient and Christian in order to eat the atheist in order to prove an ultimately fatal point to the atheist?

Yes, it’s funny, but it’s ultimately very disturbing. If you truly find wisdom or validity in the joke’s viewpoint, I have to question your own sense of compassion. I would never want a believer to be slaughtered by a bear. And yet I frequently hear believers tell me that they’ll be laughing their heads off when they’re in Heaven witnessing me roasting in hell. How kind and compassionate can one claim to be if this truly is one’s desire? I would never want to know that anyone, even my worst enemy, were being eternally punished. I couldn’t possibly enjoy eternal paradise knowing, especially, that my non-believing loved ones were being punished eternally. And yet the religious so frequently make this claim.

Do you, Randy, find validity in the notion of a punishing God? And if so, why? Does it trouble you at all the notion that God punishes those whom He knows will violate His commandments? That’s the thing about the doctrine of omniscience that confuses me. If God is omniscient, knows everything, wouldn’t He know all that humans would do for their entire lives millions of years before they even exist? And if so, how can He justify punishing them for things He knows they’re going to do? And in fact, how does that doctrine work with free will? How can I, a feeble human, truly have free will, if every last thought, feeling, and action I will ever make is already known to God? How is that not predetermination?

> Atheists are afraid of the truth. May the Lord have mercy on your sin-racked soul. Bye.

How do you know that I’m afraid? To claim so is to claim to know my thoughts and feelings. But how can you know them without speaking to me? You could say that you read them on this site, but then I’d challenge you to cite specifically where I ever admitted I was afraid.

What reason would I have to be afraid of the “truth” as you claim it? As far as I understand it, all I have to do is make a sincere deathbed confession and I’m home free. Am I incorrect in that assessment? I’ve had believers tell me that I could slaughter millions of people in cold blood, rape a thousand women, abuse a thousand children, and as long as I sincerely ask for Jesus’ forgiveness, I’m welcome in the kingdom of Heaven. So what, truly is stopping me from committing every last evil act conceivable and simply repent right before it’s too late?

Until next time, Randy.

Anton.

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