1/28/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Is a life without a god hopeless?

By Brian B.

What would you think of a person who came up to you, broke both your legs, and after you had wallowed in your misery for a little while, offered you a pair of crutches? Most of us would be confused and bewildered, (not to mention angry) at this behavior. Yet this is exactly what is being done to the minds of Christians everywhere.

One of the main things I've noticed about the Christians at my university is that they are utterly convinced that a life without God is a hopeless, pointless existence. They assume that people who lose their faith are wallowing in a pit of never-ending despair, that they have a hole in their hearts that they are trying to fill with 'the things of this world', but to no avail. Oh, if only those poor lost souls could know the tender mercy of our Lord and Savior!

I remember taking a writing class with a professor who loved to go off on tangents. One of the things he said struck me, because it showed me just how much Christians have this view entrenched in their minds. He said he walked by a shady masseuse parlor that promised clients "a real girlfriend experience" and that it filled him with sadness because he could see how lonely people with searching hearts might find respite there, and how it illustrated people's need for God.

That's right, people, if you don't have religion, you'd better start heading down to the masseuse parlor now. It's your only hope.

These are the type of people who think that every time you go out on Friday nights, you're not really just trying to have a good time, you're trying to fill your soul. That popping of the tab on your beer can is really the groaning of your aching heart.

Of course, like any other religious doctrine, the idea of life being pointless without a deity must be ingrained in you at a young age. Thus the crutch metaphor, and it goes something like this:

The parent is standing over his child holding the iron bar of religion over his prostrate child and begins.

"There is no hope in this squalid world!"

Wham!

"Ever material thing is empty and meaningless!"

Wham!

"You will never find what you are looking for down here!"

Wham!

"You are a wretched sinner not worthy of any grace!"

Wham!

And so on, until the child's legs are sufficiently crippled. Then, the parent sets the bar down and holds up a pair of crutches.

"But there is a big man in the sky who cares about you," he croons. "And since this world is so wicked and meaningless, you need to fix your eyes on him!" The child gratefully accepts the crutches. The parent continues, "This is the only way you can go on in this life. You part from these crutches, and you will drop dead in your tracks."

I really do believe that some people have an emotional NEED for there to be a god. But I believe that this need must be planted in them, that it is not naturally there. For a while, I believed I had that need. But when I tossed the crutches, I realized I could walk perfectly fine without them. And suddenly the world was wide-open and full of possibilities, and I needed not be frightened of them. I'm not saying that atheists are always happy, or that we never search for answers. But I will say this: A life without a god or religion is only hopeless if you DECIDE it is. If you decide that you can be a fulfilled person by having a naturalistic view of life, then it's absolutely possible. Hell, anything is.

51 comments:

skeptic griggsy said...

The analogy holds for placing people in Heaven after having undergone Hell on Earth!That is the implication otheodicy- the rationalization and special pleading to get God off the hook for the evils of this world. If God is a moral being and yet do no wrong , why not we in the first place here on Earth?No worthy parents place their children on purpose for tests in an intolerable situation.Wait! God is a moral being who does do wrong: the evil around us shows that!It is special pleading to aver that God needs to give us horrendous tests when in Heaven there would be no such tests. Wait! Theists allege that Satan and his cohorts rebelled against God, so He threw them out of Heaven. Thus , we could do wrong and thus, be moral beings there as on Earth. Theodicy fails period and the free will and soul-making arguments are just nonsense. To allege that we would be robots here and not there is special pleading. Is God a super robot? This is the Meslier-Martin-Lamberth dilemma for the theist.Check out Skeptic Society, a Christian and an atheist, IIDB and Center for Inquiry forums for more on this and other subjests peraining to atheism and such.

Anonymous said...

good article. not sure i agree with it all, but i will take time to reflect on it.

PopeJohnPaul.info

D Laurier said...

Thankyou.

"The parent is standing over his child holding the iron bar of religion over his prostrate child and begins.

"There is no hope in this squalid world!"

Wham!

"Ever material thing is empty and meaningless!"

Wham!

"You will never find what you are looking for down here!"

Wham!

"You are a wretched sinner not worthy of any grace!"

Wham!

And so on, until the child's legs are sufficiently crippled. Then, the parent sets the bar down and holds up a pair of crutches.

"But there is a big man in the sky who cares about you," he croons. "And since this world is so wicked and meaningless, you need to fix your eyes on him!" The child gratefully accepts the crutches. The parent continues, "This is the only way you can go on in this life. You part from these crutches, and you will drop dead in your tracks"
"

The truth about the christian cult is that it cripples you, and then offers you crutches.

Anonymous said...

Great article. The method of breaking a person down and then 'rebuilding' them is also used in gang initiation rituals. This fosters loyalty beyond any sound or logical reasoning. It is why the christian will continue to believe regardless of the lack of evidence to believe. Christianity is a sham that criples the mind of people and then pretends to liberate their minds by believing in a phantom god. Again, great article.

Epicurienne said...

This is one of the best descriptions of Christianity that I've ever read. Please write more!

SpaceMonk said...

Life is hopeless with or without a god.

D Laurier said...

Life is wonderfull thing without a god to spoil it.
Hope is what you get when you see children learning to read and wright

Lupis Noctum said...

Have to really wonder about that professor's personal life...

"God is my handjob."

newcult111 said...

I had a professor in college that always went off on tangents. It was hilarious to see Christians in the class body argue with him when he argued against religion. His laughed off their vicious comments and asked some of them if their parents were Christians. When a few responded yes, he asked if they believed that they were worthless sinners that were going to hell without God's saving grace. Most of them said yes. He smiled and said, "Do you really think everyone is born to feel completely worthless. If so, then sweet glory be to grandpa, our ancestors would have all been eaten by tigers. We would have no will to survive and I don't know about you, but damn it, I sure as hell don't want to die. Perhaps you would do well to dwell on your questions before you ask them." After class, I asked him if he was an atheist. He told me that he was a Christian and believed in God, but that he hates it when people try to argue with him about things that they know nothing about. He was a great man. He died a year ago. May he rest in peace.

Sarge said...

When I was a kid being frog marched to sunday school they told us a story about the 'good (?) shepherd' of the day who if he had a lamb which wouldn't stay with the flock, would break the lamb's leg, carry it, feed it by hand, and the lamb would love the shepherd, and never again stray. The shepherd did this out of love, for the good of the sheep. Seeming cruelty, actual kindness. Hmmm.

Some years later, I actually worked with herds/flocks of sheep, goats, cattle, and horses. The 'good shepherd' wasn't herding sheep because he really liked sheep (well, true: one HEARS things) but because one less sheep meant less money. The sheeps value wasn't chumship (we hope) but as wool and mutton.

As soon as it was discovered that my atheist cousin and I were really atheists, and that our christian but gay cousin was really gay, prayers were said on our behalf. Mainly for something terrible to happen in our lives to put us down low so that the 'good shepherd' would get us and we wouldn't 'leave the fold.

We have been a big disappointment to them. We've been injured physically, suffered reverses, and yet we refuse to 'eat from the master's hand'. My youngest son was wounded in Iraq, and I was told this was a sign their prayers were answered. I asked, what about HIS life? He is a believer, he has a wife and children, what about them? What if he died? If they honestly thought their prayers brought this about, how could they justify the hardship and pain their action (as they believed it) caused those people? I was informed that "god will look after them' (since when has THAT ever happened?) and that it would be worth it to save one soul. Sick. Just sick.

They figured they were responsible for my stroke and the car that ran me down last year, too. It's for my own good.

Thoreau was right: "if you see someone advancing on you with the intention of doing you good...RUN!"

Anonymous said...

If I was a child, of course I could not answer back those indoctrinations of Christianity too, but now as an adult I can.

Below is my “adult” comment on those indoctrinations (LOL).

“There is no hope in this squalid world!"
How about clean little home and a sweet girl to fill it with love and affection?

"Every material thing is empty and meaningless!"
What do you think about making love? The greatest pleasure for me is to see my wife lying tired on the bad after we had great sex. I think her vagina or her orgasm is not empty and meaningless. Well, the sexy body of my wife is my only heaven on earth.

"You will never find what you are looking for down here!"
Really? I was looking for love and pleasure and I found it down here.

"You are a wretched sinner not worthy of any grace!"
Do you think sex is sin? Sex is great grace in my life! And my wife is worthy to get that grace too.

"But there is a big man in the sky who cares about you."
Hey, let me tell you, guys. I am heterosexual man. I don’t need a big man’s care. I only need my wife’s care.

LOL.

10Matt39 said...

It is perfectly possible to get through life believing that an invented purpose is real and important. You can find happiness in self delusion. The truth is the enemy of that happiness.

In the universe, what difference does it make if the Colts or the Bears won the Superbowl? Absolutely none, yet people psyched themselves into happiness (or depression) over the outcome of that game. We are perfectly capable of psyching ourselves into believing that our invented purpose is something for which we ought to live.

Without God, our only purpose will be to gather good feelings so we can make it through to death.

.:webmaster:. said...

So in other words, Matt,

With God, our only purpose will be to totally immerse ourselves in delusional religion so we can pretend we will never die.

10Matt39 said...

>>So in other words, Matt,

>>With God, our only purpose will be to totally immerse ourselves in delusional religion so we can pretend we will never die.

If you could show that God doesn't exist, then we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Without proof either way, it boils down to hope. We can seek our Creator in the hope that He exists or not in the hope He doesn't.

.:webmaster:. said...

Matt,

Please prove that Allah, Zeus, Ra, The Great Spirit, and the Great Pink Unicorns of Alpha Centauri don't exist.

That's not the way evidence works, especially when you are talking about fantastic things. Those who are making fantastic claims, such as a religionist, are the ones with the burden to present evidence supporting their fantastic claims.

Does this make sense to you?

When I hear that some televangelist is raising the dead in Africa, I say, "Show me the evidence." Isn't that what you would do? Or would you immediately believe everything you heard and then demand others to "prove" that the claims are false?

Most people have a healthy amount of skepticism, unless they are planning on being victimized by scammers at every turn.

How about this claim: "You've won a million dollars. All you need do is send $1,000 cash by mail to cover processing fees."

Do you believe this claim, or do you have skepticism toward this claim? Does this claim default to TRUE if I cannot "PROVE" that this claim is false?

Anyway, it's not about proof, it's about evidence. You are making the claim there is a god -- therefore present the evidence that indicates such a creature exists. I have seen no evidence of an un-dead, flying god-man named Jesus.

I hope you understand this concept. Christian teachers are always saying things like "The atheist is living by faith too, because he cannot PROVE there is no god."

Well, that's like saying people who doubt the existence of UFOs or Big Foot monsters roaming the countryside are just denying reality with a false anti-big-foot/ufo faith.

Evidence is a one-way road. Those making fantastic, amazing claims need to provide a some fantastic, amazing evidence. Until then, the wisest default position on those claims is, "Uhm, yeah, well I don't think so."

10Matt39 said...

>>Please prove that Allah, Zeus, Ra, The Great Spirit, and the Great Pink Unicorns of Alpha Centauri don't exist.

If the Flying Spaghetti monster exists or doesn’t exist, makes no important difference to me. The only thing that really matters is whether my Creator exists or not. That I exist and something or someone caused me to exist is not a fantastic claim.

If my Creator exists, then He is the only One who knows why I exist. He is the only One who can give real purpose to my life so I don’t have to deceive myself into believing that my invented purpose is real.

It seems to me that we all have a basic choice to make. I can seek the One who created me, even though I am not sure that He even exists, or I can reject Him even though I suspect that maybe He does exist. There are good reasons for either choice. If He exists, then only He can give real purpose and meaning to my life but at the same time, if my Creator exists, He is superior to me and I will forever have to be concerned about living my life under His gaze. (Sort of like inviting my parents along when I went off to college).

Matt

.:webmaster:. said...

Matt, what about Allah?

If he is your creator, you're in some hot water.

You believe in the Christian version of a creator because...

Why was that again?

That you exists is obvious. That you have a magical creator named Jesus, or Yahweh, or whatever, that has a personal interest in you is a fantastic claim that needs some evidence.

The only honest answer to unanswered questions about the whys of existence is "I don't know" or "I believe."

You believe in your religion, because... That's right, you haven't said yet.

I appreciate you believe in a magical god. What I'm saying is, show me the evidence.

Simple.

10Matt39 said...

>>Matt, what about Allah?

>>If he is your creator, you're in some hot water.

If I make that choice to seek God even if I don’t know for sure whether He exists, then there are some ideas I should be able to pursue. For one thing, if I seek Him and He exists, I probably seek Him because He put that idea in me. If He exists, then He probably put the need for real purpose and meaning into my being. If He exists, then all those things that we see as most noble, e.g. compassion, justice, honor, etc, He probably put into us.

As a matter of compassion and justice, I know that I ought to forgive honest mistakes and certainly I as a creation, am not more compassionate and just than my Creator. So if I seek my Creator but get something wrong about who He is, I have reason to hope that he will also be compassionate and forgiving.

If our Creator exists, then it’s apparent that He has given us a choice as to whether to seek Him or not. That is the real choice, not whether His name is God or Allah.

>> The only honest answer to unanswered questions about the whys of existence is "I don't know" or "I believe."

I seek my Creator because only He can answer those questions.

>> I appreciate you believe in a magical god. What I'm saying is, show me the evidence.

I think we have the ability to reject our Creator, blaming Him for not giving us enough evidence but if we really wanted to seek Him, that wouldn’t stop us.

Matt

.:webmaster:. said...

"I probably seek Him because He put that idea in me."

OK. In that case, I no longer seek him because He took the idea out of my head. Right?

"He probably put the need for real purpose and meaning into my being."

I already have real purpose and meaning, therefore I guess I don't need Him. I'm sorry to hear that your life is so meaningless to you. That must be depressing.

"All those things that we see as most noble, e.g. compassion, justice, honor, etc, He probably put into us."

Really? Does He also get credit for all those things that are not noble? Or do only people get credit for the bad stuff while He gets credit for all the good stuff?

Matt. I was a die-hard fundie believer for 30 years. You aren't saying anything I didn't say a thousand times myself. Thankfully, I finally woke up. I hope you do too one day. All your "beliefs" are just ideas in your head. The only evidence supporting your "beliefs" is in your imagination. Good luck with your fantasy life. I tried fantasy. I think from now one I'll cling to reality.

10Matt39 said...

>>OK. In that case, I no longer seek him because He took the idea out of my head. Right?

If you're being honest and don't have any desire to seek Him, I don't think you have anything to worry about even if my God does exist. But I don't think we have any chance of deceiving the one who created us.

Here is a thought experiment. What if you knew without doubt that your Creator was in the next room. Would you get up and go into that room? And if so, what would you say to Him?

>>I already have real purpose and meaning, therefore I guess I don't need Him.

Your world view doesn't allow for any noble source from which to get a noble purpose. I think your source is either a feeling or self-interest.

Where do you think your real purpose and meaning came from?


>>Really? Does He also get credit for all those things that are not noble?

Your comment doesn't quite apply. I think my Creator built into me the ability to know right from wrong; not that he causes me to act on that knowledge.

>>Matt. I was a die-hard fundie believer for 30 years.

I don't consider myself a fundamentalist; I'm a Lutheran.

.:webmaster:. said...

"If you're being honest and don't have any desire to seek Him, I don't think you have anything to worry about even if my God does exist."

Well, that settles that, then. However, your thinly-veiled implication that I'm lying is offensive. Care to apologize?

Your world view doesn't allow for any noble source from which to get a noble purpose.

Really? So if I perform acts of self-sacrifice, give my time and resources to others without expecting anything in return, and show as much love as possible to others, then those acts mean nothing? The source for any and all of our actions (noble or otherwise) is rooted in our own humanity.

Consider this: Is noble defined by god or something else? In other words, if a god commands an act of genocide, is that act of genocide rendered noble because it is commanded by a god? Or is genocide never a noble act, no matter what a god says? If a god does not define the meaning of noble, then a god is unnecessary to this conversation, because the source of nobility is not a god, but something much more mundane.

Your “judgment” that any noble act I perform is based on feelings is interesting to me. Why do you perform noble acts? Is it only in obedience to your god? If you abandoned belief in your god would you immediately cast off all nobility in your life? Are you only committed to noble acts because your god is lurking about? The questions are meant rhetorically. The answers are obvious.

My purpose and meaning comes from within me. I find purpose and meaning in my family, my work, exercising and exploring my talents and abilities… basically the same kinds of things, I would guess, that give your life purpose and meaning. Singing hymns, praying, reading the Bible, going to church, witnessing to unbelievers, tithing, etc., are quite time and resource consuming, but I fail to see how religious activities provide any more meaning to anyone’s life than any other activities. By your way of thinking, there is not a single life form on this planet that has any meaning, except, of course, for a few religiously-minded people. That seems a bit silly.

”Your comment doesn't quite apply. I think my Creator built into me the ability to know right from wrong; not that he causes me to act on that knowledge.”

Oh yeah? Well, let me quote you again: “All those things that we see as most noble, e.g. compassion, justice, honor, etc, He probably put into us.”

So, again I ask you, with slightly different phraseology: If your god “probably” put those things that we see as most noble into us, did he also “probably” put those things into us that we see as most ignoble? It seems unfair to only credit your god with half of humanity’s traits.

“I don't consider myself a fundamentalist.”

I suggest purchasing a good mirror.

10Matt39 said...

>>All your "beliefs" are just ideas in your head.

>>your thinly-veiled implication that I'm lying is offensive. Care to apologize?

You're not that thin skinned. Let's get past the "care to apologize" debating ploy.

>>Really? So if I perform acts of self-sacrifice, give my time and resources to others without expecting anything in return, and show as much love as possible to others, then those acts mean nothing?

But you do get something in return. Your voice drips with pride, You do this and you do that. It's completely obvious that you derive pleasure from praising yourself. You believe those acts give you reason to praise yourself.


>>My purpose and meaning comes from within me. I find purpose and meaning in my family, my work, exercising and exploring my talents and abilities…

Yes, they come from within you; they are your emotions. Within your world view, those things you mention, family, work, exercising, exploring, etc. merely give you good feelings. Your purpose in life is to gather good feelings of pride, worth, self-esteem, etc. Aside from the good feelings you gain from them, you have no reason to pay any attention to those things.

>>basically the same kinds of things, I would guess, that give your life purpose and meaning.

No. The chief purpose of man is to enter into a mystical fellowship with his Creator. It is a relationship and not activities that give purpose and meaning.

.:webmaster:. said...

"You're not that thin skinned. Let's get past the "care to apologize" debating ploy."

Well, in reality do you really think you know me? You are making some pretty wide assumptions here. Regardless, I take it that you did intend to call me a liar and you have no intention of apologizing or retracting the sentiment. Is that one of the special "noble" virtues you’ve been mentioning?

”Your voice drips with pride, You do this and you do that. It's completely obvious that you derive pleasure from praising yourself. You believe those acts give you reason to praise yourself.”

You got all that from my comment? Wow, you really do make wide assumptions. In fact, now you're making some pretty judgemental statements to boot! First I'm a liar, and now I'm, well, I'm not a nice person at all, especially, apparently, if I do anything good, which is ironic.

Anyway, as I wrote above, you really don’t know me at all.

”The chief purpose of man is to enter into a mystical fellowship with his Creator. It is a relationship and not activities that give purpose and meaning.

Hmm, the way I heard it, the chief end of man was to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Well, whichever confession of faith you’re following, I suppose it’s basically the same thing.

So, what does one do in this mystical relationship? I mean, in my relationships with other human beings, we generally get together for activities of one kind or another. Am I to suppose you don’t have activities in your god relationship? No church meetings? No prayer vigils? No men's bridge club?

So what do you do? Sit around and feel stuff all by yourself? No, I'm sorry, that couldn’t be it. That’d be feeling emotions, and you just said emotions are meaningless.

Hmm.

So what’s the point of the mystical relationship where no one does anything and no one feels anything?

I really don’t get it.

Oh, and for real – get yourself a good mirror.

TruthWarrior said...

Everyone fills life with something or another. I don't see all atheists throwing themselves off cliffs out of depression or boredom. Neither do Christians, much. They all find something fulfilling in life, be it God or beer. And it's not always evil vices unbelievers fill their life with. Non-believers can lead the same good humble and moral lives as Christians ought to and be just as happy serving others' benefit all the same, even without a god belief.

I think it was the book of Ecclesiastes in the bible that mainly says life is "meaningless" without god. Other then that the bible generally say it's foolish to live god free. From my experience I did feel a bit bored as atheist, I think mainly because my insatiable curiosity of all things supernatural. :) But others, apparently the more logically minded, left brain types (I'm really right brained) can lead most content lives without the wacky lack of logic of Faith tends to have.

On the "fool" matter atheists are probably the least foolish people are around. Although I have some fools to fall into the same sort of fundamentalism, ignorance and hate Christians have. I think that's just a human fallibility though. :) There seems to be great enjoyment among nonbelievers in bashing their straw man Christian. Likewise Christians love to bash their own straw man atheists.

I don't think there's anything really too wrong with filling a the god void with, god. What matters is what you do with your god belief or lack thereof. ;) I think we're all really just guessing weather there be gods or not. Some more educated guesses then others, and some make wacky assumptions. But you really never know till some real evidence materializes in front of you, and even then you really never know! I just filter what's good and what's bad, and try to do good (god forbid!). :)

.:webmaster:. said...

Hi TW,

I think I mostly agree with you, except that I don' find belief in magic to be on equal footing with real life, and there is no such thing as a "god void."

Oh, and it is not the Christian that is being argued against here, it is Christianity, the religion.

10Matt39 said...

>>I mean, in my relationships with other human beings, we generally get together for activities of one kind or another.

In my relationship with my wife, we do things together. But the relationship is the focus and not what we do. There is nothing wrong with enjoying activities together but the activity is not the focus. I may feel good about the activity but the relationship, not the feeling, is what is truly important.


>>So what’s the point of the mystical relationship where no one does anything and no one feels anything?

As a former Christian you must know that Christians believe that our Creator places circumstances before us. I don't think that this conversation is an accident, for example. Since you were a Christian for 30 years, I wouldn't think I would need explain any further.

>>Oh, and for real – get yourself a good mirror.

Those jabs you put at the end; make you feel good?

.:webmaster:. said...

Those jabs, as you call them, and your jabs toward me, are simply part of the dynamics of the mutual relationship we're building. How does our relationship make you feel? Oh that’s right, emotions are meaningless. I forgot.

Anyway, you're absolutely right about one thing: The primary emphasis of a love relationship is the love in the relationship, or to use your thought, the relationship itself. “Do you still love me?” my wife asked yesterday. I told her yes, and it made her feel good.

Whoops. Wait a minute. There I am with the feelings again, you insist that feelings are only emotions and they have no meaning.

Hmm. Well, I told my wife I loved her, it made her feel good, and our relationship is based on love, which is basically a meaningless emotion…

OK, let’s go this direction: Work relationships are usually centered on work. Other kinds of relationships are centered on this or that. Right?

My point is all relationships imply activities between the people in the relationship and all relationship involve feelings. Our mutual relationship involves exchanging typewritten notes on an Internet page. There are also feelings attached to this relationship. What sort of a love relationship do you think I'd have with my wife if I was camping in the woods of South America without any way to communicate with her for the rest of my life? Would her intimate conversations with her memory of me constitute a relationship? That'd be an odd sort of relationship, wouldn't it?

Well, in a way, that’s what having a relationship with your god is like. He is invisible, immaterial, doesn't talk, doesn't walk, can't be touched, smelled, seen, heard or felt, and except for engaging an active imagination, having a relationship with this god is the same as having a relationship with someone who isn’t there or doesn't exist.

Oh, you don’t need to explain any of what you are trying to say to me. I get it. However, I don’t think you get it. I’ve heard all these pro-Christian arguments a thousand times and found them lacking. But, we have an audience that hasn’t necessarily been in Christianity for three decades. Reading our exchange and witnessing the development of our budding relationship may benefit someone out there.

10Matt39 said...

>>Hmm. Well, I told my wife I loved her, it made her feel good, and our relationship is based on love, which is basically a meaningless emotion…

If your love is based upon mere feelings, then that kind of love is basically trivial. You wake up one day and you've lost those loving feelings and the love is gone. There's no accounting for having or not having feelings. What a pathetic concept of love but I think we've all seen that kind of love.

Would your wife stop loving you if you stopped making her feel good? Would you stop loving her if she no longer made you feel good? If not, then the real basis of your love is not feelings. Feelings may very well flow from that "real basis" but feelings are not that basis.

>>Well, in a way, that’s what having a relationship with your god is like. He is invisible, immaterial, doesn't talk, doesn't walk, can't be touched, smelled, seen, heard or felt, and except for engaging an active imagination, having a relationship with this god is the same as having a relationship with someone who isn’t there or doesn't exist.

The presupposition in your analysis is that your Creator doesn't exist. With that presupposition, any one would conclude that a relationship with an imaginary person is imaginary. But if you are going to honestly try and follow the logic, you cannot begin with that presupposition.

Let's presuppose that your Creator exists and wants you to come to know Him within a relationship. The most immediate and profound question is do you want that relationship?


Matt

.:webmaster:. said...

Matt, you presume your creator does exist. You make that presumption without any evidence whatsoever that this thing does exist. You are the one presuming magical, invisible, immaterial personages that you are having mystical relationships based on not emotion, not feelings, not sight, not taste, not smell, not any of the senses, not evidence, not anything of this world, not anything at all!

You claim to have an intimate relationship with something and that relationship is based on...?

Well, you haven't said. All you have said that your relationship is not based on anything so mundane or pathetic as irrelevant human love.

Would my wife stop loving me if I stopped making her feel good?

Hmm. Interesting question.

Frankly, if I turn into a complete drunken ass: scream, yell, break things, hit her, quit work, etc., I do think that in time she'd be hard pressed to continue loving me.

Matt, you seem pretty angry and harshly judgmental about my relationship with my wife. No matter your emotional display of disgust, love is an emotion, too. I don't know too many people that simply get married, sleep together and start a family without a bit of emotion attached to it. That's be a bit mechanistic and dull, don't you think? Do you have that much loathing for the joys of human emotion, especially human love? Did someone hurt you?

Matt, love can grow to become deeper as time grows on, but it never stops being an emotion. Divorce rates, even in Christian homes, shows that not all love affairs are able to reach that deeper level.

If what you are trying to say is that human love is mortal, just like the humans expressing the love, well than that's true. We are all mortal, and our loves die with us.

Now, you want me to join the ranks of presuppositional Christians and imagine that some creator exists ( specifically the Lutheran Christian version of a creator), and that he is all powerful, all knowing, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and wants to have a loving relationship with me that is not based on any emotion, but something much deeper, something for which there is no human word or comprehension, something that Matt knows all about.

And, if I simply think that Matt is a religious cultist in na-na-land, then this all loving, merciful, magical man/god is going to fry my ass for all eternity in the most heinously sadistic way imaginable to mankind.

So, human love is a pathetically weak and shallow emotion. But wrath, when it comes from Bible-God is the highest of traits.

Hmm.


Matt, let's presuppose evidence is required when it comes to making fantastic claims of gods, angels, demons, unicorns, UFOs, leprechauns, flying fiery chariots, floating ax heads, talking bushes, giants, etc., etc., etc. Let's presuppose that myths and stories from ancient people are not adequate evidence that magic is real. Let's presuppose that myth and legend make for fun entertainment around the camp fire, but the characters in the stories are not walking with us and talking with us, except in our imaginations.

Dave8 said...

Matt: "Feelings may very well flow from that "real basis" but feelings are not that basis."

Interesting... and... what would be that "real" basis from which "all" love flows?

Is this place, the same place where all "true belief" resides?

10Matt39 said...

>>You are the one presuming magical, invisible, ...

You exist and you were either created or not. Are you absolutely sure that you weren't created? If so, then what is your evidence? How can you be sure unless you have evidence?

If there is the smallest of chances that you were created, then what value is it to you to pursue that small chance?

>>Matt, you seem pretty angry and harshly judgmental about my relationship with my wife.

I looked back and it looks like you're the one who brought your wife into the discussion.

>>Matt, love can grow to become deeper as time grows on, but it never stops being an emotion.

That is certainly true based upon your presupposition that your Creator does not exist. You had stated earlier that love was one of your purposes for living. But if love is just an emotion then your purpose for living is then to have this feeling/emotion that you call love.

>>And, if I simply think that Matt is a religious cultist in na-na-land, then this all loving, merciful, magical man/god is going to fry my ass for all eternity in the most heinously sadistic way imaginable to mankind.

The greatest difficulty in having a dialog like this is that neither party can discuss it without bias or anger. I am a cultist, live in an imaginary world and want to send you to hell while you have no morals and no reason for living.


>>Matt, let's presuppose evidence is required when it comes to making fantastic claims of gods, angels, demons, unicorns, UFOs, leprechauns, flying fiery chariots, floating ax heads, talking bushes, giants, etc., etc., etc.

Either your Creator exists or not and listing more and more things that don't exist does not change probabilities in any way. What probability do you give, if any, that your Creator exists? And my question stands independent of any other concern about leprechauns or flying unicorns.


Matt

10Matt39 said...

Dave:Interesting... and... what would be that "real" basis from which "all" love flows?

At our most base depiction of love, we call love: Infatuation, puppy love, just a feeling, lust, "got married in a fever", etc. At our highest depiction of love, we say, "she was meant for me" "we belong together", "I am complete with him", "a marriage made in heaven", "I feel like she was always part of me", etc. At our best, love for our beloved is like a memory of a time and place where we were so closely knit that we were not two separate entities but one single person.


Matt

.:webmaster:. said...

Matt, this is entirely circular, and a complete waste of time.

If you want to presuppose invisible demons, angels and magical staffs, pots that never run out of flour and other nonsense, then by all means believe away.

No one is telling you to stop believing in myth and fantasy. Not me, at least.

However, if you really want someone else to accept your fantastic version of reality, you're going to have to come up with a better argument than "What if?"

I'm sorry, I just don't believe in your god. I just don't. I don't believe in Allah, Ra, Santa, UFOs, or Sasquatch. And no matter how many wacked out believers preach to me that all these wonderful things are "true," I'll continue to dis-believe until some real live evidence can be produced.

I appreciate your stated concern for my welfare, but my life is quite full and I don't need an invisible friend. I just don't. That may hard for you to comprehend, being as how you apparently have a co-dependent need to suck on the metaphorical teat of a god, but I had enough religious teat sucking. I've given up those childish things.

Oh, and Matt. I attended a presuppositional church for several years, read Cornelius Van Till and Rushdooney, and recognize your apologetic technique to keep the conversation on one or two tiny aspects of your religious rhetoric that almost sounds sane. The problem is, that that approach is more of a religious wedge mentality than anything else, and a disingenuous one at that. Eventually, in order to really dine at the table of your cult, I will, in time, have to cut up and swallow an entire metaphysical cow.

I realize that you simply can't comprehend that reality exists outside of your religion, but that's OK with me. Like I said, stay in your delusion if it makes you happy. That's your choice!

The only big issue I have with religion is that it trains its adherents to evangelize and promote its own meme while condemning, denigrating and arguing with all who say, "I don't believe you. I think your religion is wacky, and my life is really, pretty good without your cult."

Well, Matt. I don't believe you. I am convinced that your mind is a shut door to real conversation of any kind on this topic. You are a completely sold-out fundamentalist campaigner and your only desire is to convert others to your cult.

You are a cultist. A complete brainwashed cultist.

And, honestly, I don't want anything to do with your cult. Been there, done that, not doing it ever again.

Take care.

.:webmaster:. said...

I see I did overlook one question you asked.

Yes, Matt, I exist.

Now, as to questions of how life began, if that's your question, then my answer is "I DON'T KNOW."

And Matt, neither do you.

There are many things we don't know. Until there is evidence for making a decision, "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer.

And even if you retreat into an answer such as "GOD DID IT," then you are no closer to answer the question than I am. Because "HOW did GOD DID IT?"

If you're honest, you'll have to answer, "I don't know."

So, neither the cultist nor the unbeliever knows the answer to exactly how life began. All either of us can say for sure is that we exist and somehow life began. You add in your god to the mix, but you still have no idea how life began.

Anyway, take care. And better luck with your next infidel.

10Matt39 said...

You seem angry that I'm trying to convert you. Be assured that I couldn't care less about trying to convert you.

>>Now, as to questions of how life began, if that's your question, then my answer is "I DON'T KNOW."

If you admit that you don't know how life began, surely that means that you don't know if God created you or not.

>>And even if you retreat into an answer such as "GOD DID IT," then you are no closer to answer the question than I am. Because "HOW did GOD DID IT?"

If you created something, I could ask you about its purpose; why it was created and its meaning. How you created it is of secondary importance.


>>Like I said, stay in your delusion if it makes you happy. That's your choice!

I would not accept a delusion just because it may gave me a happy feeling. That is because I think truth, like love and honor and justice and mercy are somehow higher than mere feelings.

>> ...but my life is quite full and I don't need ...

Yes, exactly. You just stated your bias for rejecting the very idea of a Creator, i.e. you have sufficient happy feelings without Him.

>>Anyway, take care. And better luck with your next infidel.

What happened to "But, we have an audience that hasn’t necessarily been in Christianity for three decades." that I just read this morning?

Matt

.:webmaster:. said...

Yes, exactly. You just stated your bias for rejecting the very idea of a Creator, i.e. you have sufficient happy feelings without Him.

No, Matt, though I appreciate your need to twist my comments to your purpose, I simply reject your myth because there is no evidence supporting the "truth" of your myth.

You have yet to provide any real explanation for why you believe what you believe or explain in any succinct way what it means to have a feeling-less relationship with an invisible, immaterial being whom you have yet to provide even the slightest evidence of existing anywhere outside your imagination.

Again, best of luck converting the world to believing in your particular flavor of the Christian myth, based, apparently, entirely on the fact that you have personally decided that your favorite myth is the one and only satisfying basis (without reference to any feelings, evidence, or anything else) for living your life.

When you provide some evidence that your "creator" thing exists, then a discussion can ensue. Until then, I just don't see any point in going round and round and round and round.

Once again, I acknowledge that you feel a deep need for believing this myth. (Excuse me, you feel nothing about this at all, I forgot.) I appreciate your conviction? for this belief, but I don't share it. I doubt your ability to demonstrate that what you believe is real. I challenge you to scientifically examine your beliefs in this area, for your own sake, and you don't have to report on your findings. You are mentally stuck in a religious loop, which I recognize as a loop I once defended with zeal.

I was wrong in defending that myth.

So are you.

Life without a god is not hopeless. Life with a god is deluded.

Peace.

10Matt39 said...

Yesterday I watched a segment about meteorites on the History Channel. There is an enormous big deal about the find of what appears to be one that originated from Mars. In addition, some examiners think they see evidence of life within that rock. We continue to look for life on Mars with great hope despite any real evidence. Hope isn't evidence, but hope fuels the quest.

Scientists don't need much evidence to continue looking for extra-terrestrial life or cold-fusion, as examples, because the potential reward is so great. We seek those things that have the greatest potential reward.

I exist and I don't have any idea how to compute the probability that I was created or just happened by accident. If I have hope that my Creator exists, I will pursue that possibility. If I don't want to find my Creator, then I have hope He doesn't exist and I would then not pursue that possibility. After all, why would I seek something I don't want to find?

There is a great freedom if there is no Creator. I just do everyday what I feel like doing. There is no one to whom I need be accountable. There is no "ought" to be sought out; just do what I feel like doing. The pursuit of good feelings replaces the search for objective truth.

Matt

.:webmaster:. said...

There is a great freedom if there is no Creator. I just do everyday what I feel like doing. There is no one to whom I need be accountable. There is no "ought" to be sought out; just do what I feel like doing. The pursuit of good feelings replaces the search for objective truth.

Really? And this statement of yours is true because...?

Am I to understand that you BELIEVE that people who don't BELIEVE in your god are without morals?

Matt, you have a very, very, very narrow and pessimistic view of your fellow human beings.

Most of humanity throughout history has not BELIEVED in your god, and yet have somehow managed to create orderly societies.

Do you honestly BELIEVE that if you were to lose your BELIEF that you'd suddenly turn into some sort of depraved animal?

Ridiculous.

I've been reading Daniel Dennet's "Breaking the Spell." It's an excellent book. It's about finding truth.

Here's an excerpt from the introduction: "Breaking the Spell is not an antireligious screed but rather an eyeopening exploration of the role that belief plays in our lives, our interactions, and our country. With the gulf between rationalists and adherents of 'intelligent design' widening daily, Dennett has written a timely and provocative book that will be read and passionately debated by believers and nonbelievers alike."

If your religion is the ultimate truth, then surely it will withstand a bit of scrutiny. You just might want to give Dennet's book a shot.

dano said...

10Matt39 wrote:
"There is a great freedom if there is no Creator. I just do everyday what I feel like doing. There is no one to whom I need be accountable. There is no "ought" to be sought out; just do what I feel like doing. The pursuit of good feelings replaces the search for objective truth.
Matt "

Dan:
You are accountable to society, society's laws, your conscience, your biological makeup, your instincts, your family etc....

What you are not accountable to, is anything in a collection of oral and written stories that were put together seventeen hundred years ago, by the decree of a Roman emperor for the purpose of solidifying his grip on power, and for the same reason that you don't have to be good because "Santa" is watching.
Dano (This is a test!)

10Matt39 said...

Dan:
You are accountable to society, society's laws, your conscience, your biological makeup, your instincts, your family etc....

Matt: Have you ever felt a societal norm or law to be unfair? If so, you have judged that norm or law by a higher authority, i.e. your feeling. Have you ever felt a family decision to be unfair? Same thing. What is conscience to you but a feeling? Why would you give moral authority to an instinct that had an unknown origin millions of years ago under entirely different circumstances?

10Matt39 said...

>>Do you honestly BELIEVE that if you were to lose your BELIEF that you'd suddenly turn into some sort of depraved animal?

No, of course not. Society uses our feelings to control our behavior. We feel sympathy/empathy; we feel fear. But what happens if we take those feelings away? We would like to think we would still not rob a bank, but we would under the right circumstances. So we're held in bondage to our feelings which are manipulated by society and somehow we count that as being good.

Matt

Dave8 said...

Matt: "At our most base depiction of love, we call love: Infatuation, puppy love, just a feeling, lust, "got married in a fever", etc. At our highest depiction of love, we say, "she was meant for me" "we belong together", "I am complete with him", "a marriage made in heaven", "I feel like she was always part of me", etc. At our best, love for our beloved is like a memory of a time and place where we were so closely knit that we were not two separate entities but one single person."

I see a lot of "best explanation" used to declare with words what "love" is... should we consider "love" to be somehow "above" the value of rhetoric?

If you were in love with a lady, who felt compelled to cheat on you, would you consider the lady to be in love with you? How could you tell or not?

Now, before getting into agape love, or some other word used to define the "degrees" of love, can we agree that ultimately "love" is useless, unless there is an act associated with the "word" that "validates" the individual "degrees"?

In other words (no pun), to say one has puppy love, but does not "act" upon their belief, and to say one has "ultimate" love for another, but never "acts" upon their belief, is sort of a stalemate using words... there is nothing but words to support the distinction for both... to the level minded observer, there is no distinction perceivable "at all"...

There are no valuable indicators to the one being "loved" and the one "presenting" love that could be used to indicate to either of them or a disinterested party the distinction between levels of "love"... The "Faith" in "words" without "Works", seems to be useless when discriminating between varied levels of a single "idea" like "love".

Lets suppose, a lady wants love, do you suppose words will be enough, or perhaps, some type of physical action will have to take place to "support" the rhetorical notion of love?

If a parent physically abuses their child, and that is the only action a child perceives that comes from the parent... do you or the child have enough information to suggest they are "loved"?

How would you make that distinction? How would the law or a moral society make the distinction?

I have found that many people are great as postulating what "may" consist of greater love levels, yet... am disappointed when I attempt to use that information in application... Is the love for a mother different than the love for a wife? Why? Perhaps, its the acts that will be exchanged that make the difference? Are all actions equal... what is used to distinguish between a better act than another if compassion is the equal or underlying theme for all of love?

If love requires an act, and some people are incapable of acting in accord with their words, then could we suggest that some people are incapable of "love"?

As a Christian at an early age, it was hard to determine the “true” value of the word “love” when presented to me, because I was not capable of “weighing” the value of one word from another… If you were a mentor to a child, what advice would you give them to distinguish between the value of a single word that could be considered to have “multiple” meanings… from the position of friendship to the position of where love compels two people to marry and have children? Thanks for any insights.

.:webmaster:. said...

Matt, you have still failed to provide any evidence for your feeling that there is a god.

Yes, all you have is some "gut feeling" that there must be a god, because I don't know what else you'd call it.

First, you implied to Dano that your god provides the higher authority for morals.

Really?

So, if your god were to order genocide, would that be good or bad? If your god ordained slavery as a reasonable practice, would slavery be good or bad? If your god ordered you to murder someone, would that murder be good or bad?

Of course, your god did order those things in the Old Testament, but that's not my point here. I'm supposing that you believe genocide is despicable, that slavery is unjust and that murder is a no-no. I'd agree with you on these things. And hopefully, your god would also agree. If your god were to order the killing of innocent children, then we would both be appalled, I hope. So, your god cannot arbitrarily deem something morally reprehensible to be morally good. And therefore, your god answers to a morality outside of himself.

Our moral sense has been honed by thousands of years of evolution. We are social beings who want to survive and raise families, and we are dependent on each other for that survival. Our codes and laws reflect those basic needs. Yet, our moral sense has changed over the years. Burning witches is a heinous crime today. It wasn’t always that way. Killing homosexuals was once practiced as was enslaving others. In fact, in some parts of the world, slavery is still considered AOK.

There is a considerable amount of debate today on the morality of stem cell research. In the past, it was considered reprehensible to dissect a human corpse.

Now, for the sake of argument, I’m going to agree with your assessment that all our natural motivations are based on feelings – how something makes us feel. Generally, humans do try to avoid pain and enhance pleasure. I fail to see how that lessens us as a species. I don’t see a single thing shallow about that. I see no particular advantage to seeking pain and spurring pleasure. I doubt you do either.

And, your decision to believe in myth is based on your feeling that there must be a god. You feel incredulous that you might exist without a creator; you’ve grown up in a culture that says there is a creator, and that that creator is the Christian god. You feel it must be true, it’s written in your holy book, and based on that feeling of incredulity you’ve accepted your religion as true. And you feel somehow that your decision to believe in this cultural god makes your motivations in life superior to those who don’t believe in your myth. You feel superior. You feel righteous. You feel that you are RIGHT and everyone who disagrees with you is WRONG. You feel pride, or perhaps arrogance, or worse… And you feel compelled to bring everyone into conformity with your belief. You feel it is your duty to educate the poor, ignorant, heathen masses.

The feelings you denigrate as low, worthless, and lacking (shall I add, human?) are below your lofty religious thinking, and that all who do not see it your way are almost sub-human, living well below their potential as humans.

And so, because your feelings compel you, you try to peddle your religion to us here. You imply that our lives are not worth living without your brand of religion, that we are shallow, fleshy, dirty, and motivated only by the basest sort of lusts and desires.

Well, if it makes you feel good to think these things, and so long as you don’t force your odd opinions on me, I’m not too concerned about your personal bias. I believe in freedom of thought. I simply don’t believe in your god.

It is a mystery to me why fundamentalist believers like you simply cannot accept a polite “no thank you” and just accept that there are vast hordes of humanity that find your religion to be silly.

boomSLANG said...

Theist guest: There is a great freedom if there is no Creator.

Okay, so there IS a great freedom, then. SOLD! But don't get too excited, because for those people who abuse/misuse this "freedom", we have laws, and subsequent punishment when these laws are broken. Moreover, we certainly shouldn't be expected to believe that the religious right determines what these laws should be, because the religious right can't even decide amongst themselves what's "right" and what's "wrong". So?... who does that leave to decide? It leaves humanity, that's who. And if we take a cross-section of humanity, we see people of ALL faiths, sects, denominations, creeds, etc.... and yes, even non-theists. This speaks volumes. If you want to call it a "collective consciousness", then fine, but there is nothing "higher" about this consciousness.

Theist guest: I just do everyday what I feel like doing.[if there is no "creator"]

Oh reaLLY? Well I'm curious.... what is it you "feel" like doing that your God "prevents" you from doing? Do you "feel" like raping? Do you "feel" like stealing? Do you "feel" like killing? I'll bet not. And anyway, the truth is, your "God" doesn't prevent these heinous acts; they happen every minute of every day.

Now--the belief in "God" may act as a deterrent, yet, we can see that millions of law-abiding Muslims are "deterred" by "Allah". So? So this pretty much KILLS the hypothesis that the Christian biblegod dictates the "objective" moral "Truth". BaNg!

R.I.P. Jebus.

Theist guest: There is no one to whom I need be accountable. There is no "ought" to be sought out; just do what I feel like doing.

'Still waiting on what kinds of things you have the urge to do, minus your God-belief. In the mean time, I guess you could hang out at Walmart and throw stones at the employees who work on Sunday. After all, such a "transgression" is a "sin", according to your "objective truth".

Theist guest: The pursuit of good feelings replaces the search for objective truth.

Searching for what is objectively true means putting your feelings aside. Clearly, your assertion that the Christian biblegod dictates "objective truth" has been dismantled. Abort theist agenda. Vacate.

Dave8 said...

BoomSLANG: "Abort theist agenda. Vacate."

Okay, count me in :-) Where is the "any" button? :-) Have a great one.

10Matt39 said...

Hi Dave,

You have a lot of good questions about love. I certainly don't know that much.

I think the love we seek in the ideal is not just a higher degree of love than, let's say, philos. I'll call the ideal to be agape so it has a name. Agape is not a feeling, rather it is more like a place. It is not a place where we can experience the beloved but rather a place to be transformed by the encounter. It is not a metaphorical place but a real supernatural place.

I don't know whether a disinterested third party could make any determination about love. It's a good question for which I have no answer.

It is probably obvious to you that my views of love has been influenced by Martin Buber.

Matt

10Matt39 said...

>>Yes, all you have is some "gut feeling" that there must be a god, because I don't know what else you'd call it.

Remember Data on Star Trek? He was an android who was always seeking his creator. Viewers seemed to readily accept his quest, at least I never read any comment that suggested that his quest was anything other than normal. It is similar to adoptees seeking their biological parents.

I have the same desire as Data to find my Creator. If I remember the story line from Star Trek, Data sought his creator in the hope that his creator was still alive. I seek my Creator in the hope that He exists.

>>So, your god cannot arbitrarily deem something morally reprehensible to be morally good. And therefore, your god answers to a morality outside of himself.

I don't think God and the character of God are separable. We humans live in a world where it is normal to have our morality imposed upon us either by culture or by genetics. It is difficult for us to picture any other way it could be.

>>Our moral sense has been honed by thousands of years of evolution. We are social beings who want to survive and raise families, and we are dependent on each other for that survival.

I often see a confusion between morality and cooperation. Do you really see moral virtue in not robbing a store? Every time you don't commit some atrocity, you count it as moral good? It is certainly an easier standard to meet.

Here is what Dawkins says about the honing of evolution, "Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish."

>> Generally, humans do try to avoid pain and enhance pleasure. I fail to see how that lessens us as a species. I don’t see a single thing shallow about that. I see no particular advantage to seeking pain and spurring pleasure. I doubt you do either.

Of course we don't seek out pain and spurn pleasure but don't we ordinarily expect a person of character to do the right thing despite rewards and punishments? It would be far worse than shallow if we should base right and wrong on our seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. It would be corrupt and cowardly.

Matt

10Matt39 said...

Hi BoomSLANG,

>>Okay, so there IS a great freedom, then. SOLD! But don't get too excited, because for those people who abuse/misuse this "freedom", we have laws, and subsequent punishment when these laws are broken.

We have great freedom, apart from legal issues, in our everyday lives. I can choose to help my neighbor or not get involved, for example.

>>Oh reaLLY? Well I'm curious.... what is it you "feel" like doing that your God "prevents" you from doing?

Perhaps not getting to know my neighbor.


Matt

.:webmaster:. said...

Remember Data on Star Trek? He was an android who was always seeking his creator. Viewers seemed to readily accept his quest, at least I never read any comment that suggested that his quest was anything other than normal. It is similar to adoptees seeking their biological parents.

Yes, I understand trying to find biological parents. However, I don't see what wanting to know your parents has to do with seeking imaginary deities. And what, exactly, is normal for an android? What is "other than normal" for an android?

Data was seeking his father. But the entire discussion is idiotic because Data is a pretend character in a fictional storyline (much like your deity). Do you by any chance suffer from challenges in separating reality from fantasy?

I don't think God and the character of God are separable.

I don't think your god exists, so I guess we're even in that department. Your god think certain things are good because that is his character and He can't go against His own character, therefore he answers to His character. He doesn't DECIDE to do good, He simply blindly obeys His character. So, in a way, this god of yours doesn't really have free will, he is only free so far as his character allows him to be free.

Sounds confusing.

I often see a confusion between morality and cooperation.

No, you are confused that people would help other people and in that they help themselves. For instance, I gladly pay taxes to support the fire department, to ensure that the elderly have Social Security, so there are roads, an army, etc. Those are modern cooperative efforts for the common good of all as well as the individual. In ancient times, it was called working together to hunt large animals and sharing the meat with the tribe. I see great moral benefit in working together unselfishly in this way.

Do I think every time I don't murder or steal I have done something morally good? Well, I'm certainly glad when no one murders or steals from me, so I think that's a fairly good standard. Besides, isn't that what the 10 Commandments are all about? Thou shalt not...? And didn't your man-god Jesus say that loving your neighbor as yourself embodied the 10 Commandments? So, not stealing and murdering and raping is loving your neighbor as yourself, right?

I agree we are born selfish. Since your god's character determines his every movement, I wonder how he came up with selfish creations.

Anyway, yes we are selfish. And by working together unselfishly, we end up selfishly providing ourselves a secure, prosperous society. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Christianity is the supreme selfishness. It's all about "me" living forever in heaven, no matter what happens to the rest of humanity. Family be damned, job be damned, society be damned, "I'm" going to heaven and every one and every thing else can go to hell. As you said, "Be assured that I couldn't care less about trying to convert you.".

You ended your latest rebuttal with an allusion to heroic actions which you equate with character. OK, I can go with that. So, how many times this week did you risk your life to spare someone from suffering? Since you eschew all human behavior that is less than self-sacrificially heroic, I think it's a fair question.

Lastly, you say you are seeking your creator. Why? You have continually said intimated that all human emotion is shallow, worthless, or valueless. Your “desire” for your god is every bit human, right? Or is only Matt’s one desire above reproach, whereas all other desires by everyone else are bad. Surely your lust to relate with a god is nothing short of a human emotion. You don’t think your emotions are super-human, or supernatural, do you? Your desires, your lusts, your wants, are no better and no worse than anyone else’s on the planet. The arrogance and pride behind someone who thinks his life is in any way superior to anyone else’s is… well, it’s ugly.

10Matt39 said...

>>So, in a way, this god of yours doesn't really have free will, he is only free so far as his character allows him to be free.

I think that's approximately true. Unlike you and me, I don't think He can do evil because it would be contrary to His character. But I don't think God and the character of God are two seperate things.

>>Yes, I understand trying to find biological parents.

Good, then forget the Data analogy.

>>However, I don't see what wanting to know your parents has to do with seeking imaginary deities.

How do you know that your creator is imaginary? I've asked before what probability you give to the existance of your Creator. Even Dawkins said that on a scale from 1 to 7 that he is only at a 6 so even Dawkins thinks there is some probability.

>>I see great moral benefit in working together unselfishly in this way.

You had to add the word 'unselfishly' because cooperation can be used in both good and evil enterprise. It is the unselfish part that makes it moral, not the cooperation part.

>>Do I think every time I don't murder or steal I have done something morally good? Well, I'm certainly glad when no one murders or steals from me, so I think that's a fairly good standard.

I think we've gone through this before. What if the only reason you don't murder or steal is that you're afraid of punishment? Should you think yourself as moral or as an immoral coward? I think motive matters when it comes to moral character.

>>Since you eschew all human behavior that is less than self-sacrificially heroic, ...

Where did you get that?

>>Lastly, you say you are seeking your creator. Why? You have continually said intimated that all human emotion is shallow, worthless, or valueless.

I never said that. I think a life lived for the purpose of gathering good feelings is unworthy. But human emotions have value in many other contexts.

>>Your “desire” for your god is every bit human, right?

It's my reasoning that if my Creator exists, then He put that desire within me. So perhaps it is not every bit human. I have hope that this desire leads to a higher truth. I cannot see how an atheist could say that the pursuit of good feelings will lead to some higher truth.

You have concluded that there is no truth out there so that those who do seek truth must be arrogant.

>>Christianity is the supreme selfishness. It's all about "me" living forever in heaven, no matter what happens to the rest of humanity.

You complained in your previous post: "It is a mystery to me why fundamentalist believers like you simply cannot accept a polite “no thank you” and just accept that there are vast hordes of humanity that find your religion to be silly."

If you've said "no thank you", then that has to be enough. That is why I said I was not trying to convert you.

Matt

.:webmaster:. said...

How do you know that your creator is imaginary?

I don't "know" that your god is imaginary. I don't "know" that any of the thousands of gods believed in by humans are imaginary. I also don't "know" that there are no microscopic magical pink unicorns living on Uranus. (Think phonetics here). I don't "know," but I strongly suspect that all those things are imaginary. Why people are enamored with the imaginary is an interesting study.

You claim that you are seeking a god, but you are disingenuous. You really believe you have found a god. Great! Show me your god!

You claim you are not here to evangelize and couldn't care less if anyone converts. Then you are here obeying your god and condemning the infidels with your the word of your god, or something. It all comes down to the same thing. You are preaching.

"I think that's approximately true."

So, we have approximately more freewill than the all-powerful God, and although God is not separable from HIS character, apparently we are separable from our characters or something?

This really is confusing. And none of it is in the Bible.

"It is the unselfish part that makes it moral, not the cooperation part."

I suppose you have some references or documentation to back up that absolute statement? None of that is in the Bible either. Perhaps your god is revealing things directly to your mind? WOW!

I think you'd come off more accurate and less disingenuous if you'd be honest with yourself and say, "I believe it is the unselfish part that makes it moral." Wouldn't you agree?

What if the only reason you don't murder or steal is that you're afraid of punishment?

Fear of punishment has never been my motivation. Is it yours? Still, I see by your response that you concede the point that Christian morality is based on a "don't" mentality.

Where did you get that? I never said that.

Here: "Your world view doesn't allow for any noble source from which to get a noble purpose. I think your source is either a feeling or self-interest."

And here: "So we're held in bondage to our feelings which are manipulated by society and somehow we count that as being good."

Matt, this has been interesting(?), but I've grown weary of verbal ping-pong. However, going back over your posts I found something you said with which, surprisingly, I am in complete agreement. So, I've decided to give you the last word, and close this thread here. Peace.

Matt said: "It is perfectly possible to get through life believing that an invented purpose is real and important. You can find happiness in self delusion. The truth is the enemy of that happiness."

Amen.