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THE EYES OF AN ATHEISTA Collection of Responses to Common Theistic Arguments
By M. A. NEEPER
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2012 M. A. Neeper
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMeaning of Life
"Do you sleep better at night knowing that you are not accountable for your actions?"
"Do you feel better thinking that there is no God, and you have no purpose?"
THEISTS BELIEVE THAT GOD PROVIDES purpose in their lives. This purpose is to worship, adore, thank, and praise their God. Also they are to bring other people to the revelation of the "one, true God", and in turn will also worship and praise him. This purpose is supposedly their one-way ticket to heaven when they die.
An atheist is more accountable for his or her actions than a person who believes in a higher power. Jesus was not sent to die on a cross for an atheist. My sins are MY sins. Christians place all their wrongdoings on that cross that held their (alleged) Lord almost 2000 years ago. According to their beliefs, they really have no reason to be accountable for their sins, because they were forgiven 2 millennia ago. Atheists do not have that. I live every day with my own guilt (for a bad action or choice) or pleasure (for a good action or choice). I have no power above to forgive me, I can only forgive myself by not making the same choice or doing the same act later. I sleep better at night, but for the fact that the fate of my choices rests on no one else's shoulders except my own, and, if I want to be forgiven, I have to work to make better choices, so that I can live with myself. That is the only type of forgiveness that matters. If you cannot live with yourself, how can you be expected to live in a world with others?
I also think that an atheist appreciates life more than a theist. A believer has all eternity to look forward to (or to worry about depending on where they might end up). When their "earthly bodies" expire, believers still have their "souls" that ascend to heaven (or descend to hell) where they spend eternity in paradise (or, God forbid, eternal torture). Most men have 70+ possible years to look forward to. It is similar to the fact that when you have a shorter or known end of an activity (i.e. reading time, video game time, or playing outside time) you enjoy that activity more than if it just stops suddenly or you can do that activity forever. When you consider the age of the universe (somewhere between 13 and 14 billion years) our lives are an insignificant "blip" on the timeline of things that could—and likely will—occur. In Stenger's book, God: The Failed Hypothesis, he states a great analogy to keep from being depressed by this fact. He discusses a disagreement that some children are having about a t-ball game. They are fighting and screaming (as children do) and the umpire comes up to them and asks "do you think that in 20 years, it will matter who won this game?" When thinking about it later on, the umpire realizes a proper response would have been, "do you think it matters right now what matters to us in 20 years?" Thinking in terms of only the future will lead to nothing but depression. We should live in the moment (which is not done by theists, who live their lives according to what might happen to them in the future) and plan for the future, not live in it.
I personally think that we (people) should prepare and deal with our futures by gaining as much knowledge as we can by studying nature, by trying to progress our knowledge of the world, and by passing our knowledge down for future generations to build upon. This is how knowledge progresses. A fun example: first came the revolutionary idea of the Atari gaming system, then Nintendo came about by building upon the Atari, then Sega, then eventually the Xbox, and now the Xbox 360, etc. The Xbox 360 did not come from one idea; it was built upon by people using the same idea/ information as the Atari. This is how all technology advances, which leads to the enrichment of our lives. This is demonstrated by the medical industry. Oddly enough, theists will take drugs and take advantage of the all the research that was conducted by the medical community, so that they can heal their "earthly bodies" and lengthen their lives here on Earth, which keeps them from Heaven for a longer amount of time, to their advantage instead of praying and letting God work in "mysterious ways". It appears that theists lose their faith when they themselves are in harm's way and take advantage of the earthly cures. Without this "evolution" of knowledge, small pox, polio, and tuberculosis would all still be the fear of atheist, theist, deists, and agnostics alike. Interesting how these groups support the evolution of knowledge, but not evolution of the ability to gain that knowledge. Some people stay away from health care that benefits the human race, and rely on "miracle cures," but since there is not one documented case of a unexplainable miracle to date, without proper medical care, those people die which, ironically seems like the ultimate desire of all people who believe they are ascending to a higher, and more beautiful, plane of existence.
Atheists (secular humanists) may also appreciate their relatives more as well. Theists do not feel the need to connect with their elders as much as non-believers do, because they "believe" that they have all eternity in Heaven to be with their elders, so this life is just a small fragment of their possible time together. One can comprehend a world where Heaven more than likely does not exist; I, and some fellow non-believers, can connect with other people, (mainly people who are older, whose extended years are closer to expiring) and understand who I am, by who they were (once again, the evolution of knowledge that is necessary for advancement in our brief existence).
The truth is what many religious people fear because it relates to certain beliefs that they have had since childhood, and is completely necessary for the progression of knowledge and mankind. I am not sure whether I can affect knowledge the way that many people before me have, like Charles Darwin, Galileo, and Albert Einstein, but I hope to at least be able to contribute to the sharing of knowledge with others who are willing to listen.
God, the Bible, and Morality
"How can you explain people having an innate knowledge of morality?"
"How do you explain how everyone has the same morals?"
"The Bible is the best/only teacher of morality."
"You need God (or Jesus) in your life to be a moral person."
MANY CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE'S morals develop as a result as a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They think that reading and living their lives by the Bible will bring about good morals and basically makes them good people, which allows them to be successful in their walk with the Lord. They will quote such verses as "love thy neighbor," "turn the other cheek," or state that the 10 commandments, if followed, will lead to a moral and all around good life. All their arguments come from the Bible, so why don't we read some other verses in the Bible?
Two of my favorite morality quotes:
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction" Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), French Mathematician, Philosopher, and Physicist
"As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." Voltaire (1694-1778), French Philosopher
The Old Testament
Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19)
At what point in time is it EVER morally acceptable for genocide to be committed? I am going to assume, since we all have the same innate morals provided from God, (extreme sarcasm) then "never" would be the appropriate answer. Why is God, and his actions, outside of his own laws? Is that to say that God can commit evil and He is allowed to sin, but He can remain in heaven, and still be treated as an omnibenevolent being, worthy of worship and admiration?
Genocide, defined as "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group," has an extremely negative connotation. When the word itself comes up, one cannot help but think of the holocaust. That was one of the most horrifying, inhumane, and depressing events to ever happen in modern times. Adolf Hitler is viewed as an evil man, not because he wanted to take over the world, and not because he was experimenting with eugenics and trying to create the perfect Aryan race, but because of how he treated the Jewish people. To be more specific, because of how Hitler attempted to exterminate the Jewish people. He had them sent to concentration camps, put in gas chambers, and even had them shot on sight. Were his methods evil, or was the act of murdering innocent people evil? One would argue that both were horrible things, but the act itself is the real horror. Genocide is never acceptable.
God is not viewed as an evil being; far from it, actually. Yet the thing that made a mortal person an evil being, God is allowed, and actually acts upon, this with no regrets or second thoughts. Sodom and Gomorrah were both cultural groups, whole cities. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were both deliberate and that is not a difficult conclusion to arrive at. It was a planned destruction, and there was an obvious method to the annihilation, therefore it was systematic. The people of both cities, which include those innocent children, were obviously exterminated. When you can show, line for line, that the definition of a word or act completely fits, then that example is considered a textbook example. God (that all-loving, all-good God) committed a textbook example of genocide on his "children." Yet why is Hitler evil, but God is good? Would Hitler be considered a good person if he just warned the Jewish people to get out of his country? Would he be their savior if instead of an initial wave of death, had he sent a few warnings, and then commenced with the systematic extermination of the Jews?
It is argued that the people in Sodom and Gomorrah deserved to be exterminated and that there were attempts to save them. How many attempts should God give before he sends a person, or group of people, to a fiery death, followed by a torturing afterlife, which is MUCH more horrifying than anything that Hitler could have done? Theists believe that God attempts every day of their lives to save their souls, so why did he give up on the people of those two unfortunate cities? It would appear that God was unable to save them, and maybe became upset. After all, He is a vengeful, jealous God and they were defying His will, so He acted emotionally—and just eradicated them all. Does that not seem like an act that would be committed by a spoiled, whiny child as opposed to one that is committed by an all-powerful, all-loving God?
Let us go over one more interesting passage before we leave the horrifying destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. For one, we have to assume that these cities were real and were able to prosper. Meaning, they had enough resources to keep their descendants alive and healthy, and that there were enough people in the two cities for them to continue to grow, or at least stay at the same population through time. We can assume this fact because God felt it necessary for these two cities that "the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grievous," to completely and mercilessly destroy them, and if these two cities were just going to die out soon, then God would have had no need to show his true "loving nature" toward the people of those cities. What is necessary for groups of any organism to survive generations? Nourishment, of course, and shelter, and all of the physiological needs, but what is the MOST important thing? Offspring, progeny, children. We need CHILDREN for any culture to survive. Otherwise, it is pretty clear that a particular culture will most definitely die out without others to continue their way of life. So, in these two large cities, with thousands of people each, that continued to prosper, there had to be children. Let us take a look at a passage concerning a conversation between Abraham and Yahweh (the God of the Old Testament) ... It is quite interesting that Abraham appears to be arguing against God's decision.
In Genesis 18: 23-32, Abraham discusses with God the problem he has with what God is about to do to Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham, the founder of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, had a moral problem with what God was about to do,and he expressed this outrage to God. The problem that Abraham had was that God wants to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham concerns himself with the possible righteous people that are unfortunate enough to live in these two cities. "'What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for that sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge (or ruler) of all the earth do right?'" (Genesis 18:24-25, New International Version; NIV). What Abraham is saying is that he does not want God to destroy all of the people in each city if there are some good people that live there. Which is quite an honorable thing to worry about. "The Lord said, 'If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake'" (Genesis 18:26, NIV). What seems oddly reminiscent of negotiating, eventually arrives at God saying, "'For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it'" (18:32).
So now we have set the background. God will save Sodom if ten righteous people are found in them. Lot and his family have two visitors the night before the genocide. Two angels were sent down to Sodom to save Lot, his wife, and his two daughters (that is four people worthy of saving). Lot offered up his two virgin daughters to an angry mob that wanted to rape the two angels. "They [the mob] called to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them'" (Genesis 19:5, NIV). Now, what do YOU think would be an appropriate response? Would "No" be about right? I would think that would be enough, but that is not what was said. "Lot went outside to meet them [the mob] and shut the door behind him and said, 'No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them' (19:6-8). These were his own daughters! Can you imagine what is going through their minds hearing their father say these words to a crowd of men wanting to rape them? A purely patriarchical society that clearly existed in the times the Bible allegedly took place, would not have taken into account the feelings of these two innocent women; what women thought or felt was of no importance. This contributes to the offering of virginal daughters as being "moral." We are a society that promotes equality, not sexism. We promote individualism and prosperity, not extreme servitude and virginal sacrifice. Those are the people worthy of saving in God's eyes? People who offer their daughters up to mobs to be violated.
Now that four righteous people have been found, then all that we need are six more. We have discussed above that these cities were prospering, which means they have children in them. How old does a child have to be before he or she is responsible for its actions? Ten? Twelve? Eight? Dr. Jay Giedd, of the National Institute of Mental Health reports that, contrary to past belief, the brain does not cease to mature after the age of 10. He states that the human brain, specifically the frontal lobes (related to personality, rationality, decision making) does not fully develop until the early 20's. (http:// www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/interviews/ giedd.html) Children are products of their parents. They learn their morals and values from their parents. They are unable to distinguish between right and wrong for many of the beginning years of their lives. Is it logical to assume that in these two cities, with thousands of people, who have the ability to prosper, do not have at least SIX children unable to distinguish right from wrong within the city gates? It is not at all logical. So, since there are ten people worthy of saving (Lot and his family, and six children) then did God save the cities? No, he did the EXACT opposite. "Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens (Genesis 19:24). The Lord, not "then the Lord commanded," not "then the Lord sent someone else to do his dirty work," THE LORD HIMSELF. He murdered all of those people, against His word that he gave Abraham, and showed no remorse. Not much benevolence.
Excerpted from THE EYES OF AN ATHEIST by M. A. NEEPER Copyright © 2012 by M. A. Neeper. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
PART 1 SHIELD....................1
Meaning of Life....................3
God of the Gaps....................35
God and America....................39
PART 2 SWORD....................57
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Logical statements and thoughtlines to use which illustrate the positions of those of us who do not believe in any gods and do not fall for the inconsistent and cognitive fallacies of commom theistic arguments pro-god.
T, I'm sorry for the loss of your father. But your father believed in Christ and he wanted you to find him for yourself. Jeremiah 29:13 says " You will seek me (God) and find me when you seek me with all your heart". It is awesome to see that you have written a book. It is well written and you have done some research, but it's about faith. May you really find the truth