WARNING: not nice atheist commentary coming up! Proceed at your own risk of mortality salience.
Safety Cat buffers the godlessness
This list is a perfect example of the kind of oblivious and often insulting projection that atheists have to deal with.
Here are five tips for my atheist friends to help them seem nicer and more reasonable.
“1. Stop being so smug.”
This gets thrown around a lot. Atheists don’t believe Christians deserve eternal torture for not sharing our perspective. We don’t believe we have access to anything except our own sensory information, and even that is inherently suspect. We don’t believe the entire universe was created for us to enjoy. Yet we are the smug ones.
“2. Don’t assume every piece of Christian evangelism is directed at you – we want the undecideds, not the decided-uns.”
Why atheists should stand politely and silently aside while Christians teach the next generation of kids to reject a scientific understanding of the universe and instead live in fear of the great cosmic peeping tom has never really been explained to me. If the ideas are true they will stand on their own. An evidence-based, skeptical perspective produces inarguably superior results to any exercise of “faith,” which is reason enough for atheists to speak up, and speak up loudly.
” 3. Admit that the debate about God’s existence is complex – and that it can, depending on your
presuppositions, be quite possible for intelligent and rational people to intelligently believe in an intervening deity who communicates through a book.”
Of course intelligent and rational people can set aside their hard-earned naturalistic understanding of the world which serves them well in every other aspect of their lives, and believe in ludicrous assertions for which there is no and could never be any evidence.
There is however absolutely no such thing as “intelligently believing in an intervening deity who communicates through a book,” if the concept of intelligence is to have any meaning. Just because you have the capacity for intelligent thought, it doesn’t mean that everything you do, you do “intelligently.”
To put it another way – is there way to un-intelligently believe in an intervening deity who communicates through a book? How would you tell the difference?
Oh, right: they believe in the wrong intervening deity who communicates through a book.
It is impossible to give true intellectual assent to religious ideas. What sustains them in the minds of believers is community reinforcement, cognitive dissonance, and rote recitation of crap like the Nicene Creed. The point is to have beliefs that are incomprehensible, to tell who is in-group versus out-group, and to condition in-group members to not question when something doesn’t make sense.
“4. Admit that the scientific method – which by its nature relies on induction rather than deduction (starting with a hypothesis and testing it rather than observing facts and forming a hypothesis) – is as open to abuse as any religious belief, and is neither objective nor infallible.”
How idiotic to separate induction and deduction, as if science could only use one. You observe facts, form a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, and then use the results as the next set of facts from which you form a hypothesis, which you then test, etc. And science doesn’t have a pope: it’s mad projection to accuse us of claiming objectivity or infallibility.
“5. Try to deal with the actual notions of God seriously believed in by millions of people rather than inventing strawmen (or spaghetti monsters) to dismiss the concepts of God – and deal with the Bible paying attention to context and the broader Christological narrative rather than quoting obscure Old Testament laws. By all means quote the laws when they are applied incorrectly by “Christians” – but understand how they’re meant to work before dealing with the Christians described in point 3.”
It is impossible to deal with “the actual notions of God seriously believed in by millions of people.” Those millions of people attach whatever qualities they want to the completely empty concept of “God.” This frequently includes various beliefs from both institutionalized sources and their own emotional experiences. Their “God” slot is excepted from the application of the standard “does this fit with how I know the world to work” algorithm so that it doesn’t even have to be internally consistent.
On top of that, god-belief is strongly tied to a person’s fear of death, making them even more reluctant to try to come up with a definition of “God” that is even internally consistent, much less testable, and much less still, REAL, and more willing to make it up as they go along in the conversation with the atheist. They may put on their super serious face when they think about God, but it doesn’t make “God” a meaningful signifier. How is one supposed to “deal” with this ever-changing notion? Why would I want to waste my time?
Try to deal with the actual notions of science seriously understood by millions of scientists and scholars over the last couple centuries and ditch the impulse to see a smiling face in the clouds.
That is all.