Friday, August 26, 2011

Veritas Vos Liberabit

   Would any Christian that you know be alright with the idea of a Muslim telling them that they will suffer an eternal punishment when they die simply because they did not worship the Islamic god Allah or recognize Mohammad as a holy profit? When I ask this question in debate it is almost always met with the answer of “no”.  I always follow with asking if any Muslim should feel alright with being told they will suffer an eternal punishment when they die simply because they did not recognize the Christian god Yahweh or recognize Jesus(Yeshua) as the lord and savior.  What is interesting is that the answer is not affirmed so starkly. Most will respond with, “well I am not saying they will go to hell, the Bible says it” which to me is an instant defensive position. Sadly, they don’t seem to recognize that the door swings both ways and that although this idea of Hell is ingrained into their minds as a real place, neither side has more evidence of it than the other, which is none!

    Why do you suppose that people of faith get so upset when you suggest or even affirm that their faith harbors logical fallacies, moral inconsistencies & textual as well as historical biblical contradictions? In my experience most of the religious adherents of Christianity, the faith in which I practiced and studied for many years, don’t seem to have a clue what is in their Bible. This would not be a problem if they all didn’t claim to get their concept of god from the Bible.  Most have memorized a few passages that their priests, pastors or ministers read to them such as John 3:16. Most have never taken it upon themselves to be intellectually honest enough to read in between their small selection of scribbles.  For me this brings us to a few major problems. How do you call yourself a Christian if you have not read the Bible? How do you divine a personality trait such as “god is love” to a being in which you have no evidence for and too, in fact, have never studied about? How can any description be given by one who has no basis in making such claims? Finally, why would someone still make such a claim, knowing that they are far from qualified to do so?

    For me there is always a prerequisite question I ask of all debaters I come in contact with. Are you able to, willing to, or allowed to admit that you may be wrong? I myself must affirm yes to these questions but with the addition that there is insufficient evidence to convince me that a deity or deities exist, but that I am open to listening to someone who believes they have such evidence. This brings me to the logical fallacies. It is no secret to any rational person that religious adherents must use logical fallacies in order to support their faith. The following are a few of the more popular improper arguments:

1:    Argumentum ad ignorantium - Fallacy that something must be true because it has not been, or can't be, proven false.
"If you can't prove that god doesn't exist, that means he must exist."

2:    Argumentum ad novitatem - Fallacy that something is right because it's new.
“Of course Islam is the true religion, Mohammad is the most recent prophet.” or  “Of course Christianity is the true religion, Jesus came before Mohammad.”

3:    Argumentum ad populum - Fallacy that something is correct based on the amount of people who believe it.
“Look how many people believe in Jesus, they can't all be wrong.”

4:    Bifurcation - Fallacy of presenting a situation as having only two answers.
“Evolution is wrong or doesn’t explain everything, so that means creationism is right.”

5:    Circular Logic - The premise that what you are trying to prove is evidence of its self.
“The Bible is the word of god because it says it is, and it can't be wrong, because after all, it is the word of god.”

6:    Argumentum ad hominum - An attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person advocating it (personal attack).
“You are too ignorant to understand the point” or “He/she is just a liar.”


    As you can see, a logical fallacy is an element of an argument that is flawed, essentially rendering the line of reasoning, if not the entire argument, invalid. This is one of the things which lead me to holding the position of an A-Theist (non-theist). I have yet to come across any argument for a gods existence which does not rely on the use of a logical fallacy.
    More could likely be said on the subject but I have no interest in writing a book here, just covering a few points and moving on is good enough for me. If any reader wishes to engage the topic further, feel free to do so as I am open to discussion and/or debate on the subject.

    Moving along we have the moral inconsistencies of the Bible. For most topics I do not enjoy using Bible texts as I feel it holds no more factual information than that of the book of Peter Pan, however morality is one of my few exceptions.

    So we have this claim of a sky fairy who sees fit to place rules and restrictions on its creations. Where I have problems is when we discuss the morality of this supposed deity’s actions. When I bring into account the fact that the bible depicts god as a tyrant compared to the so called Satan, I begin to wonder where god got this attribute of being all just and all loving. The deaths in the Bible attributed to God equals 2,017,956 - 2,476,633. This does not include the victims of Noah's flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, or the many plagues, famines, fiery serpents, etc because no specific numbers were given. For Satan we only have 10.

    Now that I have called into question the morality of Christianity’s  evil and moral beings, lets discuss the other issues. I feel tempted to borrow a quote from Christopher Hitchens from his book “God is not Great; How Religion Poisons Everything.” “Organized religion is violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children.”

    The fact is that within the bible, god commands the deaths of millions of innocent men woman and children with such brutal insanity, such as ordering that babies be cut out of pregnant mothers stomachs and dashed against the rocks. A feeling that was later shared by Pope John III when he threatened to hunt down, torture and kill all heretics. So even though we have a commandment telling us not to kill, we still have murder & genocide which is condoned and ordered by the same god.

    Rape is another popular activity for this supposed god who on many occasions ordered entire cities and all of its life to be destroyed, except for the virgins which were to be kept as spoils of war. Those woman would then be subjected to rape and forced marriage. To quote Richard Dawkins from his book “The God Delusion”, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." I feel Dr. Dawkins covered it pretty well and quite honestly put it mildly only due to what Hitchens calls the “poverty of the English language.”

    Of course I will be providing links for much of what I cover on here but being that this is not a collegiate paper I do not feel obligated to reference every single detail. As I said before if someone wishes to continue down the path of  any of these subjects I will be more than happy to discuss and/or debate all of my points.

    As far as textual inconsistencies I am afraid I just don’t have the space or time to list even a quarter of the contradictions. What I will say is that referencing a historical figure in a book does not validate the rest of its claims. For example, the book of Peter Pan says that England exists but this does not mean that fairies, flying people or Never Never Land exist. I will provide a link to list many of the inconsistencies found within the Bible. I would make one more point on the subject of historical accuracy in that there is not one single contemporary historian who had anything to say about Jesus. 

    So Jesus was supposedly born in the first century and died somewhere around the year 33AD. The gospels all came later, Mark was the first one written, and the other 3, Matthew, Luke & John were clearly derived from Mark. Mark mentions the destruction of the Jewish temple which occurred in the year 70AD. Therefore the gospels all probably came much later than that. There is a gap of four decades or more between the supposed death of Jesus and the first gospel.

    The only other writings from this time comes from a man who says he saw Jesus Christ come to him in a vision. He was the apostle Paul who was formally know as Saul of Tarsus who apparently forgot to mention Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, Herod, John the Baptist, any one single quote from Jesus, ministry of Jesus, entrance into Jerusalem, Pontius Pilot, Jewish Mob or even a trial. All he speaks of is the death, resurrection & ascension. Just like other savior gods of the time such as Mithras, Dionysus, Horus and many, many more. Paul doesn’t even believe that Jesus was a real man according to Hebrews 8:4.

    There are even contradictions such as the gospel of Peter claiming that Herod is who put Jesus to death when Herod had died before Jesus was supposed to have been born. Once you look at the facts of the historicity of Jesus it all crumbles in front of you. I would go as far as to say that Jesus never existed.    

    My problems with religion stem far and beyond what I have mentioned to the intolerance it teaches and the child abuse it uses to indoctrinate its followers. For me organized religion is a blight on mankind deserving of no respect and the highest level of criticism. I close with one more quote from Christopher Hitchens.

"Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you."


And much, much more upon request…

Thank You for reading.