Monday, November 30, 2009

Is There a God? pt. 3

Today we'll complete the Official ATAT response to "Is There a God?" by Marilyn Adamson. (Hint: I reached different conclusions than Marilyn did.) (You might wanna start with Part 1 and Part 2. I'll wait for you.)

Done with those? Okay. Just as a reminder, let's go back to Marilyn's opening and what she originally said:
Just once wouldn't you love for someone to simply show you the evidence for God's existence? No arm-twisting. No statements of, "You just have to believe." Well, here is an attempt to candidly offer some of the reasons which suggest that God exists.
Okay, so she's offering real evidence, right? Yet so far all she's given us has been
  • Complexity equals intelligent designer. (Didn't work in Dover. Intelligent design isn't science; it's myth.)
  • Also, life is suited to its environment.
  • First cause argument. *Yawn!*
  • Natural laws are cool
  • DNA is a code and Marilyn thinks that means someone with intelligence authored it for a purpose (huge leap, huh?)
So what does Marilyn have in store for us today?
Does God exist? We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.
Notice how we jumped from "Earth exists" to "We know a God exists" without any of that evidence Marilyn promised us? Yeah, so did I. And if a god wanted to communicate with us, surely its existence wouldn't be so unbelievable to so many of us. A god would be able to convince us.
I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don't believe even exists?! What causes us to do that? When I was an atheist, I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional help them realize their hope was completely ill-founded.
Ah, the "I was an atheist" approach, or as I like to call it, the Kirk Cameron. And of course there's the lumping of "most atheists" when we know there is nothing uniform about atheism. Little Man is a default atheist, because he hasn't been taught religion. I'm a vocal and passionate anti-theist, because I despise religion for what it does to people. Boyfriend Dave is a bemused atheist, because other people's beliefs don't influence him personally very often, and he's happy to coexist with lunatics (which is good for me, I suppose, since I'm not exactly sane.) But Marilyn is trying to suggest that "most atheists" hold a certain view. I'm not even sure there are numbers that could back this up, because of course the atheists you notice more are the ones who are out there talking about religion and atheism and invisible pink unicorns.

Of course, I'm not spending time refuting god. I'm spending it refuting the claims of believers like Marilyn here. Also, I don't think Marilyn's motives or tactics have changed much, even if she's decided to believe something without sufficient evidence.
To be honest, I also had another motive. As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life.
Okay, well this is sounding more and more like someone who was an atheist for bad reasons. I don't in any way think that god is disproven by me deconverting another theist. How many other people believe or don't believe doesn't affect the validity of the truth claims religions and scriptures makes, so I throw out the bandwagon fallacy when determining whether or not something seems likely to be true. (Being an atheist doesn't automatically lead to skepticism, critical thinking, or logic so there's no need for me to go with a "true atheist" fallacy: atheists are all different, and some of us are morons ripe for conversion.)
I didn't realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us. It was as if I couldn't escape thinking about the possibility of God. In fact, the day I chose to acknowledge God's existence, my prayer began with, "Ok, you win..." It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.
Marilyn here had a very specific atheist experience of being what I would call a seeker: she wanted to find a convincing enough argument to persuade herself to believe. She does not sound like someone who was comfortable or confident in her atheism, and she is projecting that onto all the rest of us. If God wants to be known so much, why isn't he? I mean, you think he's all-powerful, right? And dont' give me that "free will" nonsense, because the Bible says Lucifer had absolute knowledge of God's existence, yet still chose to go against him. Clearly knowledge does not negate free will.
I am not the only one who has experienced this. Malcolm Muggeridge, socialist and philosophical author, wrote, "I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued."
Ah, St. Mugg, who was once a great satirist and then become a "concerned citizen" of the type who railed against birth control and the blasphemy of Monty Python. If you don't think Monty Python is funny, I really must taunt you.*

C.S. Lewis said he remembered, "...night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England."
Stalker God? I have no objection to meeting any god that is real. I reserve the right to withhold worship of course, but I have no desire to remain ignorant of a god that was real. All these former atheists are believers in the same religion. But Marilyn just as easily could have found converts to Islam or deconverts of Christianity.
Lewis went on to write a book titled, "Surprised by Joy" as a result of knowing God. I too had no expectations other than rightfully admitting God's existence. Yet over the following several months, I became amazed by his love for me.
If god exists and there's sufficient evidence, I'll gladly admit it. I'll be embarrassed as hell, but I'll share the evidence with others. The problem is that in the last several millenia, no god has revealed itself unquestionably to mankind (hence all the different religions). But as a former Christian, let me say I felt "God's love" at one time. But emotions aren't the best way of discerning reality from fantasy. Sometimes I'm scared, when there is no present threat, and sometimes I feel happy, even when things aren't going well. The "love" I felt was an internal emotion: no god was actually loving me, because no gods exist. Lewis wrote about his emotional experience of conversion and of being a Christian, but he had no great evidence for Christ's divinity or God's existence. ("Mere Christianity" used to be a favorite book of mine, but now it's laughably easy to debunk.)
Does God exist? Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.
*snort* First of all, if the question is "Does God exist?" how the hell is "This one time out of all the times God said 'Yo, humanity, wassup?' is the best" an answer? You haven't demonstrated that a god exists, just that religions do (and the natural world), which none of us are denying. (Atheists believe in theists, just not their gods.)
Why Jesus? Look throughout the major world religions and you'll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Surprisingly, Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you're looking at him. Though he talked about his Father in heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union, unique to all humankind. Jesus said that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father, anyone who believed in him, believed in the Father.
Well, why only look at the major religions? More bandwagon fallacy, I suspect. There are quite a few people who have claimed to be both prophets and god, or the son of god: Sathya Sai Baba, Hindu Kamaris, or the sword-wielding maniac from Albuquerque. Here's a whole list of people who have claimed to be Jesus, including such noted thinkers as Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite. Claiming to be god and actually being god aren't the same at all, and your religion isn't exclusive in this respect at all.

This is a really ham-handed approach at CS Lewis' classic "Lunatic, liar, or lord" idea that since Jesus claimed to be god, either he was crazy, he was lying, or he really was god. (I don't see why option C: Magic is the one that most people believe.) There's also the fourth L of course, Legend.
He said, "I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."14 He claimed attributes belonging only to God: to be able to forgive people of their sin, free them from habits of sin, give people a more abundant life and give them eternal life in heaven. Unlike other teachers who focused people on their words, Jesus pointed people to himself. He did not say, "follow my words and you will find truth." He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me."
So Jesus' egoticism is evidence that he's God? Never mind the fact that Marilyn hasn't yet actually shown that *anyone* is god, this is just stupid logic. A claim is not the thing. The Church of Scientology claims they have 8 million members. That doesn't mean they actually do. (They don't.)
What proof did Jesus give for claiming to be divine? He did what people can't do. Jesus performed miracles. He healed people...blind, crippled, deaf, even raised a couple of people from the dead. He had power over objects...created food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand people. He performed miracles over nature...walked on top of a lake, commanding a raging storm to stop for some friends. People everywhere followed Jesus, because he constantly met their needs, doing the miraculous. He said if you do not want to believe what I'm telling you, you should at least believe in me based on the miracles you're seeing.
There are claims of psychic healing. Edward Crawford says he does telepathy. Criss Angel walked on water. We know that people can be deceived through illusion into believing something miraculous has occurred. (James Randi and Derren Brown are my favorites.)
Jesus Christ showed God to be gentle, loving, aware of our self-centeredness and shortcomings, yet deeply wanting a relationship with us. Jesus revealed that although God views us as sinners, worthy of his punishment, his love for us ruled and God came up with a different plan.
Because his first plan sucked, right? Go ahead, admit it. You're not a huge fan of the Old Testament, are you Marilyn? Because in the OT, God isn't gentle. He's wrathful and jealous and petty.
God himself took on the form of man and accepted the punishment for our sin on our behalf. Sounds ludicrous? Perhaps, but many loving fathers would gladly trade places with their child in a cancer ward if they could. The Bible says that the reason we would love God is because he first loved us.
That "first loved me" thing sounds great, till you think of stalkers. (I've had a stalker. It's just not fun or flattering at all.) And sure, lots of parents (moms too, ya know) would gladly take on the suffering of their children, and most of us parents try to protect our children from the worst harms. But God's not that kind of parent, is He? He created hell, according to Christian theology** What kind of parents devise a torture chamber to send their children to? Bad parents (often religious).
Jesus died in our place so we could be forgiven. Of all the religions known to humanity, only through Jesus will you see God reaching toward humanity, providing a way for us to have a relationship with him. Jesus proves a divine heart of love, meeting our needs, drawing us to himself. Because of Jesus' death and resurrection, he offers us a new life today. We can be forgiven, fully accepted by God and genuinely loved by God. He says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." This is God, in action.
Wrong! Muslims believe Allah has reached toward humanity and provided them with a path to relationship and paradise. (There are far more examples, but one is enough to disprove her statement.) Also, let's talk about this everlasting love and what it's really like. If God loved us, he did so while creating hell, casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden, flooding the whole earth, raining down fire and brimstone on those he didn't like (but also loved?), and just generally being a mass-murdering genocidal prick. God in action, eh?
Does God exist? If you want to know, investigate Jesus Christ. We're told that "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Wait a second, I thought you were supposed to give me real evidence, not just "have faith" nonsense! Marilyn, I'm so disappointed in you. You've done nothing to show that any gods exist, much less yours, and you've done nothing to establish the validity of the Bible's truth claims or of Jesus' words (if he even said them.) "We're told" a lot of things that aren't true, like that there were WMDs in Iraq.
God does not force us to believe in him, though he could. Instead, he has provided sufficient proof of his existence for us to willingly respond to him. The earth's perfect distance from the sun, the unique chemical properties of water, the human brain, DNA, the number of people who attest to knowing God, the gnawing in our hearts and minds to determine if God is there, the willingness for God to be known through Jesus Christ. If you need to know more about Jesus and reasons to believe in him, please see: Beyond Blind Faith.
Well, I guess I'll doing the Beyond Blind Faith article next, because this one is bogus. This isn't "sufficient proof of his existence" it's warped data and begged questions and a blind adherence to the tenants of one particular set of scriptures. I've already explained why the earth is not a "perfect" distance from the sun, although it's a distance that is beneficial for us. The properties of water don't prove the existence of god; the human brain is obviously evolved; DNA is not authored by an intelligent mind; bandwagon fallacies are a crock of poop; I have no such gnawing; and lots of people have forth claiming to be god or a messiah. None of this is even good evidence for the existence of god, much less proof. What disappointing, anticlimactic horse hooey.
If you want to begin a relationship with God now, you can. This is your decision, no coercion here. But if you want to be forgiven by God and come into a relationship with him, you can do so right now by asking him to forgive you and come into your life.
Where's all this forgiveness nonsense coming from? I have nothing to repent of. Humans make mistakes as we learn. We are born this way not because we are fallen from some great height, but because we are evolved from humble origins. Also, by this same logic I could invite the Tooth Fairy and the Invisible Pink Unicorn into my life.
Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. He who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him [or her]." If you want to do this, but aren't sure how to put it into words, this may help: "Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. You know my life and that I need to be forgiven. I ask you to forgive me right now and come into my life. I want to know you in a real way. Come into my life now. Thank you that you wanted a relationship with me. Amen."
If there is a real god, I'd really love to know it in a real way, not this suggestive illogical nonsense. Also, I would never worship the Christian god because I find the character morally detestable. (Bible god is evil.)
God views your relationship with him as permanent. Referring to all those who believe in him, Jesus Christ said of us, "I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand."
Wow, now we've jumped from not even having established that a god exists, to presuming we know his views! Marilyn, this is not a properly constructed syllogism. Start over and do it again, only this time use logic and don't make things up like "no other religion has relationship". You never built a proper foundation, so your conclusions are resting on nothing. (Also, does this mean I'm still going to heaven even though I blaspheme the Holy Spirit?)
So, does God exist? Looking at all these facts, one can conclude that a loving God does exist and can be known in an intimate, personal way. If you need more information about Jesus' claim to divinity, or about God's existence, or if you have similar important questions, please email us.
Well, obviously one can conclude a loving god exists (wow, now we've jumped from "a god" to naming his character), but there's no good reason to. I guess I'll have to email a link to this post and my questions to EveryStudent and Marilyn and see what they have to say.

* LOL "k-nig-its" cracks me up every time.

** Or allowed hell to be created and did nothing to stop it, so he's still culpable.

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You Suck

I've got no power in my apartment right now (whoops) so I have no internet. And apparently I have to empty out below my bathroom sink, kitchen sink, and *my entire walk-in closet* so the plumbers can replace all the pipes in my walls.

Here's what I wrote on a freaking paper notebook today until I remembered the computer at the apartment clubhouse.

I shouldn't have gotten away with half of what I did. It shouldn't have been so easy to get in and out of the house by my bedroom window. My mother should have noticed I never ate anything but diet pills. I wasn't that sneaky. I remember at the time thinking, "She must know" - that I was skipping school more often than I was attending; that I was sexually active; that I was experimenting with drugs; that I had a secret love affair with a razor blade.

She's told me in the years since that she knew about far more than what she confronted me on. She said it was because of how nasty our fights were, thus neatly burdening me with the responsibility for her failure to act on my behalf. At the time, I thought the difference between the times when I got caught and when I didn't was whether or not I had prayed to get away with it, on my way out the window. I thought Jesus was helping me keep things from my mom, but in reality, she embraced conscious denial. Like a Word of Faith adherent worried about negative confessions, she heard no, saw no, spoke no evil.

My mom left me to the wolves. I was raped three separate times by three separate boys between the ages of 14 and 16. She should have known. She should have paid attention, but the year I turned 14 and my brother turned 18, she decided she was done raising children. My sister was the only one of my mother's three children to live at home till adulthood. My brother she kicked out at 12, for calling in an abuse report to HRS, and she kicked me out shortly after my 17th birthday, for bad behavior she did nothing to prevent. How the hell else was I supposed to get her attention?

Saturday night I screamed, "You SUCK!!!" to my mother's face, at the top of my voice. It was a long time coming.

From a high school journal, 2/8/2000
I'm so scared of myself, my life, everything right now. I don't know what I'm doing or how I'm supposed to handle it. I spent about ten solid minutes earlier bawling "I don't know what I'm doing. I'm so scared!" (repeat) It's all just really rough right now. I don't want to be bad, but I keep doing bad things! I skip school, I drink, I starve myself, I played with a Ouija board today and I tried to kiss my friend Kerri. God please help me. I'm so confused, so lost. I feel so utterly helpless and 14 again.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is There a Godt? pt. 2

Continuing the debunkment of's article by Marilyn Adamson "Is There a God?" (Part 1 is here.)
2. Does God exist? The universe had a start - what caused it?
Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.
Big Bang, okay gotcha. (For scientific information on this for non-scientists, I recommend
Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion...The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen."
I smell quote-mining. Oh look - Jastrow has been quote-mined by creationists before. Also, you can't get from "we cannot find out" what was before the BB to "We know what caused it. Magic Man done it." "I don't know" doesn't mean "Here's the answer." It just simply doesn't.
Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade...and the universe was filled with light."
Ha, nice try. Marilyn are you suggesting that was a "Let there be light" moment?

The universe has not always existed. It had a start...what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.
So what makes you think you do have an explanation? Oh, arrogance and an anonymously written book of dubious origins, I see. Well then, that trumps evidence and reason every time, doesn't it? Oh wait, it doesn't. We figured that out with Scopes back in 1926 or much, much earlier, when spectral evidence was determined invalid in a court of law, following the Salem witch trials in the 1600s.
3. Does God exist? The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?
I don't personally know, although I would say the uniform rigidity of the universe to these laws of nature (named laws by us) points to a universe which has no supernatural being violating the laws of nature to perform miracles.
Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn't change -- on earth or in galaxies far from us.
Notice also that those are all things we can measure and verify, which is how we know that they are consistent over time. God, on the other hand, can't be measured or verified. To one person god is loving, to another harsh, and to another he is sleeping. There is no objective data supporting the claim that a god exists, much less that such a god is immutable.
How is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?
Well, we can identify them because a whole lot of biologists, geologists, astophysicists, naturalists, and botanists have made observations, recorded them, and learned from the data, over hundreds of years. And I don't know how reliable Marilyn requires something to be to call it "reliable". Does the varied intensity of gravity on different planetary bodies concern her, or is this part of her "orderly" unchanging (actually expanding) universe?
"The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn't have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence."
And just who is Marilyn quoting? None other than Dinesh D'Souza, who is in no way a scientist or expert on the rules of mathematics or nature, but rather a Christian apologist. (That would be why his quote has no in text citation, just a footnote.)
Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle."
That (mined) quote seems to suggest Feynman believes in miracles of the supernatural variety, doesn't it? Here's another Feynman quote, more in line with his clearly stated atheist position: "God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand" (I'll see your quote, and raise with blasphemy.)
4. Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell's behavior.
All instruction, all teaching, all training comes with intent. Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with purpose.
So far, so good. Two true sentences in a row.
Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: 110010101011000. The way they are arranged tell the computer program what to do. The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It's made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!!
ZOMG! Like, that's a really huge number! Lulz!
Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual.
Ha, no. Word shystery (this seems to be what every theist argument boils down to in the end.) Marilyn has given us a definition of an instruction manual (written with a purpose) and has mentioned that DNA codes cells. She now makes the untrue statement "[DNA] is a full instruction manual." so that she can claim DNA must have been "written" with intent. But see, DNA isn't an instruction manual. It's a code, mostly for making protein, but there's no evidence intention is behind it.
Why is this so amazing? One has to did this information program wind up in each human cell? These are not just chemicals. These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how the person's body should develop.
*facepalm* I'm just gonna let cdk007 do the talking, Marilyn. You just shouldn't try talking about the genetic code like you understand it.

Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved.
No, they really aren't. Didn't you watch the video?
You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.
Sure you can. I know one place - the human genome! Haha, suck it.

Okay, so maybe that wasn't my best come back ever. I'll get to part 3 tomorrow, which is the part I'm really looking forward to (including the "I used to be an atheist" argument.)

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Is There a God?

Today I'm taking on again (the last one was "Why Pick the God of the Bible?") Today we have "Does God Exist? Six straight-forward reasons to believe that God is really there" written by Marilyn Adamson.
Just once wouldn't you love for someone to simply show you the evidence for God's existence? No arm-twisting. No statements of, "You just have to believe." Well, here is an attempt to candidly offer some of the reasons which suggest that God exists.
Honestly, I don't know of a single atheist who wouldn't love to see the evidence, if it really existed. I can hardly think of a more important question than whether or not a deity is out there (though of course, if it did exist, then numerous questions about its nature and character would follow.) And Marilyn, did you think I wouldn't notice that you immediately substituted "evidence" with "reasons which suggest"? I recognize word shystery when I see it.
But first consider this. If a person opposes even the possibility of there being a God, then any evidence can be rationalized or explained away. It is like if someone refuses to believe that people have walked on the moon, then no amount of information is going to change their thinking. Photographs of astronauts walking on the moon, interviews with the astronauts, moon rocks...all the evidence would be worthless, because the person has already concluded that people cannot go to the moon.
I'll concede that point. Of course, I do allow for the possibility of a god or gods existing, in equal measure to allowing for the possibility of fairies, unicorns, centaurs, and pod people. As soon as there is good evidence, evidence up to the scale and depth of the evidence for the moon landing at a bare minimum, I'll no longer be a nonbeliever. So, don't worry that I'm prejudging the data. I looked at the data, then drew my conclusion.
When it comes to the possibility of God's existence, the Bible says that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God.1 On the other hand, for those who want to know God if he is there, he says, "You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you."2 Before you look at the facts surrounding God's existence, ask yourself, If God does exist, would I want to know him? Here then, are some reasons to consider...
The Bible is a ridiculous book. You cannot start a conversation with a nonbeliever with the Bible as your support: the nonbeliever does not accept the truth claims of the Bible. That's why they're not a Christian. I know of several loud and outspoken atheists, Matt Dilahunty of Atheist Experience, Pat Condell of YouTube infamy (he rocks), and myself who all searched far and wide and desperately for God to reveal himself. He didn't (probably because there was no "He" there to begin with.) As for whether or not I would want to know a god, I certainly want to know if one (or several) exists. Knowledge of a god's existence would not, however, necessarily lead to worship. For example, the Christian God is a prick.
1. Does God exist? The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.
Oh, no. We're going the faux science route, aren't we? Tsk, Marilyn, this is disappointing. Because of course, if all this scientific data really did point to a god, you would think that the vast majority of biologists, physicists, and other scientists would be believers. They're not. The complexity of our planet points to the complexity of our planet; it doesn't suggest a god. In fact, the (in)famous "blind watchmaker" ID/creationist analogy has been nicely debunked here by the eminent and very cool cdk007. (If you're not already a subscriber, do yourself a favor and become one now. I promise, you won't regret it.)

Alright, let's go ahead and see what Marilyn has to say on the subject of complexity.
Many examples showing God's design could be given (*cough* invented *cough), possibly with no end. But here are a few: The Earth...its size is perfect. The Earth's size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth's surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter.3 Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.
Gee, the life that formed (and survived) on this planet is well suited to the environment. Wow, who'd have thought? Oh wait, everybody, that's who.
The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth's position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.
All of this "our planet works out well for us" stuff is supposed to indicate that the earth was clearly designed for us. The way the evidence is presented begs the question. The Earth isn't the "right" distance from the sun; it's the distance it happens to be. Calling it "right" suggests purpose or intention. Likewise saying the earth is "properly warmed and cooled" is begging the question, planting in the sentence the idea that there is a "proper" way for the Earth to behave.
And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.
Again, the moon isn't the "perfect size and distance"; it happens to be this way. If it were some other way, this planet would be different. So what? If you don't believe that the sun, Earth, and moon were created for mankind, it really doesn't make a difference. I mean, I like the moon. I'm glad our planet does sustain life and I'm glad to be alive, but I don't imagine that the entire cosmos is here for my benefit or so that my life might exist in a barren sky. I'm not that egotistical.
Water...colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water)... It has an unusually high boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees. Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that thousands of chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels. Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body. Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees. Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.
*facepalm* Sigh, water freezes from the top down and floats. Fish can live in the winter. Two correct statements. The problem lies in the "so". There is absolutely no reason based on evidence to suppose that water freezes the way it does for the express purpose of letting fish live through winter. Our planet is extremely hostile! Most of it does not support life without technology, and the vast reaches of space don't support either. What kind of measly god can only create sentient life on one planet, out of all the planets we're aware of, and only one a fraction of that planet?*
Ninety-seven percent of the Earth's water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.
The hydrological cycle is cool. I think probably everyone of us enjoyed that graphic in our science textbooks, whether we thought a god was behind it or not. It's just a cool process, and one that's fairly easy to illustrate and understand. However, it doesn't point to an intentional design for human life. After all, only 30% of the planet is dry land; the rest is under water. Why would God give us such a tiny fraction of a planet, if all this is for us?
The human brain...simultaneously processes an amazing amount of information. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see, the temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of your keyboard. Your brain holds and processes all your emotions, thoughts and memories. At the same time your brain keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your hands.
I love neurology. Seeing pictures of brain scans of other people with OCD really helped me to recognize that so much of what I thought was the "soul" really resides in our brains. For me, it was incredibly healing information: I have a sick brain, and treating it will improve my life, my decision making skills, my impulse control, and my ability to relate constructively with other members of my species. The activity in my brain will change. The insides of our skulls are sharp, and any concussion or serious blow to the head can result in a permanent loss of personality, intelligence and capability, or motor functions. The very fact that brains are so easily damaged suggests to me that we aren't designed by some all-knowing all-perfect god. Surely such a god could create brains with better protection.
The human brain processes more than a million messages a second. Your brain weighs the importance of all this data, filtering out the relatively unimportant. This screening function is what allows you to focus and operate effectively in your world. The brain functions differently than other organs. There is an intelligence to it, the ability to reason, to produce feelings, to dream and plan, to take action, and relate to other people.
I worked for awhile as a typist in a psychiatrist's office. He tested and met with people of the lowest precentiles of intelligence, and with the highest incidents of comorbid mental illnesses. None of them were focusing and operating effectively in their worlds, which is why they came to see him. He determined how severely they were disabled, and his recommendation would determine whether or not they got government assistance, because their inability to function was so great. The brain is very cool when working well, but it is just not true that all brains (or even most) are healthy and working well.
The eye...can distinguish among seven million colors. It has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1.5 million messages -- simultaneously.8 Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain -- the start of living organisms from nonliving matter.
The eye is really poorly made, if it's designed. It's backwards and upside down. And evolution is not supposed to answer the question of where the first life came from. There are a couple possibilities being considered by learned men and women of science right now. One of these is abiogenesis, which seems very cool to me.

Part 2 is for tomorrow, kiddies. But don't worry, I'll write another post today. It's great to be back in town and back at my (boyfriend's) laptop :)

*I'm not saying there's no alien life, just saying we haven't found it yet. I'm way too ignorant on this stuff to have formed an opinion yet. Except on Area 51, there I have formed an opinion.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Slick Apologetic 2

Hey, Anteaters, readers, and visitors. I hope you all survived the holiday (US readers) and survived the American-centric holiday greetings (everyone else). I skipped the holiday by heading out of town with Boyfriend Dave, and am writing this from the world's most comfortable bed, in the Hilton of Savannah, Georgia.

Let's do another Matt Slick, because, after all, he asks for it. (No, really. If you start a Christian apologetic site, you are asking for counter-apologetics, from both atheists and the non-Christian religious.) Today let's take a look at one of my serious concerns with Christian theology: a god who sends people to hell. Here we go.
Denying it or not liking it doesn't mean it isn't real.
Matt, Matt, Matt. Let's look at this sentence another way, "Affirming it or liking it doesn't mean it IS real." This is what atheists have been saying for milennia. How you feel about the data has no affect on its truth claims.
Hell was originally created for Satan and his angels. In the future it will contain those who join Satan in rejecting God. If you reject God's provision for the forgiveness of your sins, then you will join the Devil who rejected God from the beginning. Is that what you want?
Okay, so god creates hell (thanks for that, sometimes people want to pin it on Satan) with a different original purpose. He could have of course just annihilated or killed Satan and his angels, but instead he creates a home for them, which they are allowed to leave when they come to earth to tempt God's followers. O-kay... So why do people go there? For rejecting God's provision? Hmm, let's think about this and break it down. God requires perfection, and creates laws man is incapable of following. For the crime of being born human, God plans to send *all* of us to hell, and only by believing crazy propositions involving virgin births, zombies, and cannibalistic rituals can we be spared from hell. This isn't really addressing the whole, "I can't believe in a god who would send people to hell" thing, it's just a thinly veiled threat. "Do as god says, or go to the hot place." Basically, God is a tyrant and might makes right, according to Slick's theology.
Could you believe in a God who would become a human, suffer at the hands of humans, and be killed by them, all so that His death could be the payment for their sins? That is extremely loving.
No, that's not loving. That's barbaric needless suffering, which I'm all opposed to. Also, the implication that I'm a sinner who owes god (and the only way he can forgive my debt is to be tortured to death himself) is insulting. And seriously - why would getting people to torture him to death make or allow him to forgive us? Wouldn't that make him more pissed off at people?
God is saving people who deserve to go to Hell - and we all deserve that. Remember that the same God that sends people to Hell also died for them.
I don't deserve it. Little Man doesn't deserve it. Boyfriend Dave doesn't deserve it. Hell, even Carol Balizet my cult-leading baby-killing grandmother doesn't deserve to be tortured for eternity. No one does, not even Hitler. Forever is just way too long. And of course, Matt's not reserving hell just for the Stalins or the world - he says we *all* deserve to go to hell. Is anyone else insulted? And even if we did "deserve" hell, it would only be a result of the crappy system God supposedly set up.
If they reject what God has provided, then what is God left to do? He would have to judge them.
Ah yes, of course, because an infinite, omnipotent God would be contrained in his choices, so of course the *only* course of action he has if we "reject" (disbelieve) the gospel fairy tales is to "judge" us (aka send us to hell for-ev-er.)
Whether you believe in something or not does not change the fact of its existence.
Um, yeah. I know, I just don't think you do. (Pssst, God is imaginary!)

Jesus spoke often of hell (Matt. 25:41-46; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 16:19-31), and warned us so we would not go there. Would you say Jesus didn't know what He was talking about?
Actually, I'd say Jesus was a cult leader. (Narcissistic, claimed to be god, told his followers to reject the world and their families, claimed to do miracles, was kkilled for being a heretical troublemaker... Yup. Cult leader it is.) Also, he didn't just mention hell - he invented it.
Are you implying that it is unjust for God to send people to hell?
Yes! I'm not just implying it, I am saying it explicitly: Sending people to hell is unjust. Torturing anyone forever is wrong. It's immoral and its not loving or good parenting. (It's no surprise when you look at a religion that glorifies Abraham for nearly killing his son, to see such harshness and injustice in its god.)
If so, then you accuse God of injustice.
Yup, kind of my point. A god that would send people to hell is unjust. Got it in one, Matt.
Sin is wrong and it must be punished.
Is sin wrong in and of itself, or is it only wrong because God says so? Also, punishment or discipline can have different goals. One goal would be to correct or train someone not to repeat an undesired action. This isn't the same as being punitive and "making someone pay" which seems to God's goal.
What would you have God do to those who oppose Him and do evil? Do you want Him to ignore that which is wrong? Do you want Him to turn His head and not be holy and righteous?
First, let's clear things up. Not believing something is not evil. It just.. isn't. And you can't knowingly oppose a god you don't believe exists. (I can't oppose Santa, either.) Second, this whole "Do you want him to ignore that which is wrong?" question is so heavily loaded. Remember, Christian theology doesn't just say that the Hitlers and Stalins and Mother Theresas of the world are going to hell. It's that everybody's going (minus some exceptions.) Disbelief gets you a ticket to hell, but disbelief isn't a wrong action that harms others. (In fact, belief in deities does by far the greatest harm.) Third, Yahweh isn't holy or righteous. He's a power-hungry jealous prick who wants to send the vast majority of humanity to be tortured forever. You have to twist yourself in knots to believe that is righteousness or holiness.

Wait, that's it?? Just questions of, "Gee, how else could God handle sin?" Well, let me answer that then. God could make sinners annihilated at death, so that they simply stopped existing (what I and a lot of other atheists think happens). God could universally forgive people, without making that forgiveness contingent on belief in the face of conflicting evidence. God could create a third realm, neither heaven nor hell, where those who lived good lives but did not believe in him would reside for eternity (like the Mormons believe in, right Seth?) There are many ways to deal with inappropriate or undesirable behavior: eternal torture isn't a righteous one. It's inhumane, it's barbaric, and it's centered on substitutionary atonement.

This was almost disappointingly easy. Nothing is said to actually excuse God for creating hell or banishing the majority of humanity to it. The question of God's morality has been left unanswered and untouched. Here I thought you were a top apologist, Slick. What's up with that?

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Slick Apologetic

I don't know why it took me four days to remember that when I'm not feeling inspired, I do a counter-apologetic. Instead of taking on a weaker member of the herd, let's go after the well-known and well-funded Christian Apologetics Research Ministry (CARM). Today I'll be responding to Matt Slick's apologetic response to the question, "Why do Christians not obey the Old Testament commands to kill homosexuals and disobedient children?" (or as I like to think of it, Why are y'all such hypocrites?)
Critics of the Bible often cite Old Testament instances of slavery, violence against homosexuals, wiping out nations, etc., as evidence of a morally inadequate set of rules. They will also often ask why present-day Christians don't follow these "barbaric" teachings today. They complain that Christians are inconsistent, and say that if we really follow the Bible then why don't we advocate such things as killing both homosexuals (Lev. 20:13) and disobedient children (Deut. 21:18-21).
Things like slavery, violence against gays, lesbians and transsexuals, and genocide (let's by all means call a spade a spade, Matt) are morally inferior to some current and ancient cultures. Treating people as people - not property or abominations - and not slaughtering a whole bunch of them is generally considered better, and not just by atheists. Christians find genocide perfectly atrocious when it's in Darfur, or it's the Holocaust we're talking about (well, most Christians.)

We most certainly are pointing out that Christians are inconsistent in how they read their Bibles (and of course, there's very little agreement among yourselves as well.) We're also, more importantly, pointing out that your God is an immoral prick. It's not so much that we mind you not enforcing his crazy homicidal laws, it's that we mind you worshiping a god who would endorse such laws. And no he's going to make this all about cultural context and the New Covenant, because that's what apologists do next.
The reason we don't is because the Old Covenantal system, that involved such harsh punishments, has been done away with. We are under a new covenant. Jesus said in Luke 22:20, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood."
Ha, got it in one. Okay, for the sake of argument let's grant a whole bunch (god's existence, Jesus as his son, the two covenants). That still doesn't account for God creating the Old Covenant laws in the first place. And "harsh punishments" makes it sound like you'll be given lashes or laps to run or something. We're not talking about a penal system; we are talking about a death penalty system. And hey, I get it. Prisoners are expensive, resources were scarce, and the laws were created by men, not by god.
This new covenant was prophecied in the Old Testament in Jer. 31:31, “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." It is referenced in 1 Cor. 11:25, 2 Cor. 3:6, Heb. 8:8, 9:15; and 12:24.
Ah, I was really hoping we'd get into some Old Testament prophecy. Let's go look at Jeremiah 31 in context.

"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to [a] them, [b] " declares the LORD. 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
That might be the most ringing endorsement for never ever evangelizing I've ever read. Also, it is demonstrably false. God hasn't written his law and knowledge of his existence on every heart. How do I know that? Because atheists exist. Our very presence refutes the word of god and his new covenant right here. Thanks for pointing these verses out to me, Matt!

Of course, if you look closely you'll see that the verse in question, 31 actually specifies that the new covenant will be with Israel and Judah - not with the gentiles. Gentiles aren't mentioned. Just like the ten commandments are clearly written for that people and not the whole world, this prophecy (even if true) wouldn't apply to the rest of us, unless you use Israeli substitution theology (which is, unfortunately, often rather antisemitic.)
Of particular importance to our topic is Heb. 8:13 which says, "When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear." The Old Covenant with its harsh judicial judgments is no longer in effect because we are under a New Covenant.
We still have the problem of "Why was this whole stone your kid to death thing in the Old Covenant?!" But I'm sure you'll be getting to that soon. So okay, let's say the entire old laws are obsolete, and now we only live by the words of Jesus. Have you given all your money to the poor yet, Matt Slick? Do you take no care for tomorrow, or do you own life insurance or invest your money? Do you use a date book or a calendar? Jesus gave some of the worst financial advice ever (he's no Suze Orman). Christians don't follow the New Covenant either. Oh, and stoning to death isn't just a "harsh judicial judgment." It's barbaric. Don't believe me? If you've got the stomach for it, here's a video of a Muslim woman being stoned to death. If you can't stomach it, how can you stomach a God who commanded it?
Part of the reason the Old Testament covenantal system was so harsh is because first, the Old Testament law demonstrates the severity of righteousness and the requirement of perfection before a holy God. Galatians 3:24 says that the law is what points us to Christ. It does this by showing us that we are not able to keep the law and that the only way of obtaining righteousness before God is through the sacrifice of Jesus, who was God in flesh (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9).
Let me get this straight. God requires people to be perfect, or they'll be executed by bludgeoning to death; he created people incapable of following his perfect laws (therefore creating a system where the default state for people is due-for-a-stoning); and the only way that the all-powerful all-wise god could come up with for people to not be executed was to have his kid (who is himself) executed (by people, who were only able to be "forgiven" once they'd killed someone else in their place.) Also, notice how very much he avoids saying "death", "murder", "stoning", or "execution". It's all "harsh punishments" and "judicial judgments". Very slick, Matt, but I'm used to oily people and word shystery, so you'll have to do better than that to make me forget what we're talking about here.
Second, the Old Testament times were very difficult and there were many nations that warred against Israel. Also, the devil and his demonic horde was constantly working to destroy Israel in order to invalidate the prophecies of the coming Messiah, to therefore prevent the Messiah from being born and delivering his people. Therefore, God instituted laws, as difficult as they were, that were consistent with the culture of the times, that ensured the survival of the Jewish nation, that helped to maintain social structure, and also reflected the harshness of the law.
Many nations warred against Israel, but it was mutual. (The Israelites weren't fluffy bunnies.) As for the devil, I'd love some scriptural citations to back this up. Points for an excellent use of the word "horde", although it should be that they were working to destroy Israel, not "was" (so you lose some of your horde points.) If you break this down, what you're really saying Matt, is that your all-powerful God had to adjust because of the actions of men (warring nations) and demons. That does not sound all-powerful to me. And doesn't it make more sense that the laws which were so consistent with the culture were created by the people in that culture, rather than by an infinite deity? We know people create laws, and we know those change over time. We no longer have legal slavery in the US (although, shamefully, we do have illegal slavery.) Why would your endless god alter his plans because of human and demonic activity?

Also, what on earth are you saying with "God created laws that... reflected the harshness of the law." Aren't you just saying that God came up with the whole "thou shalt stone" thing? Not really answering to either God's morality or Christianity's non-adherence to a smiting God's laws. (If you really think he can strike you dead where you stand, don't you suppose you should treat his every word as law?)
The New Testament covenantal system says that we are to "be at peace with one another," (Mark 9:50) and "with all men," (Rom. 12:18). Rom. 14:18 says, "pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another." After all, "God has called us to peace," (1 Cor. 7:15).
Aw, it's hippie free love Jesus! You know he also said that anyone who doesn't hate his mother is no follower of his. How's your relationship with your mom? Mine's not so great. And if Christians are supposed to be so peaceful, how do you explain the Crusades or the Inquisition, the Salem With Trials or the Iraq War? (The second one, that definitely had strong religious motivation and imagery.)

And here's the interesting thing. Christians believe that everything Jesus says is backed up by the Jewish God. But their messages are very different (hence the need for the whole "oh we don't mean that OLD testament stuff"). Old Testament God is hard-nosed tyrant. "Do as I say or get stoned to death," fits right in with the likes of Stalin, Mao, and Saddam Hussein. There is an entire religion of people who follow the Old Testament god and recognize that Jesus was not like him. They aren't compelled by Christians forcing their prophecies to fit Jesus' story, and they don't find the message of the gospel convincing. The presence of Jews, like atheists, shows that the prophecies aren't obvious, and that Jeremiah 31:31 hasn't happened. Just think about it, Matt. Even supposing everything in the Old Testament really happened, what if Jesus wasn't really his son, and God didn't want you doing the new covenant? What if it was really just for the people of Judah? What if he was just the local god of a tribe of a people who somehow still lives in the minds of men, when thousands of other gods have been born and died in the history of humanity? What if we made him up, like every other god?
However, this does not mean that we are to approve of such sins as homosexuality, adultery, lying, and stealing. We are to not participate in the sins of the world. Instead, we are to avoid them. We are not to be violent to anyone since the old theonomic, covenantal system has been done away with (Heb. 8:13). Instead, we are to be kind to them (2 Tim. 2:24-25) and show them love (1 Cor. 16:14; 2 Cor. 5:14). But the moral condemnation of immorality still stands -- as is clearly taught in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Rom. 1:26-28.
O-kay... So the stuff God called sin in the first part of the book is still sin, and you shouldn't do it, but you no longer have to punish people by execution; instead this god with a major hard-on for genocide, smiting, and the smell of burning flesh tells his people to be nice and kind? And if we're using the Old Testament to support our views on, say, homosexuality, shouldn't it also inform your views on working on the Sabbath? How about your views on how we should respond to instances of rape? (I think our secular, "Lock the bastard up" approach is far better than the "Have him buy the girl from her father" solution. I say this as a woman and rape survivor.) Is the old convenant system done away with or not? If it's done away with, why the prohibition against homosexuality? If it's not done away with, why are you being inconsistent and hypocritical?
So, the reason Christians are not obligated to stone homosexuals, disobedient children, and adulterers, is because we're no longer underneath the Old Testament covenantal system. It has been fulfilled and done away with (Heb. 8:13).
Oh, I get it. The old covenant doesn't apply to Christians anymore. You're free to not brutally kill people, which I'm sure would really upset you and you wouldn't like to do. I don't actually imagine you get your morality from God. You probably get it from the people around you, like the rest of us. And the people around us now generally condemn slavery (as I assume you also do.) So, you're freed of the burden of executing your fellow man, but your fellow man is still bound to the covenant laws on homosexuality. It's "the rules don't apply to me, they do apply to you." Wow. How utterly irresponsible, nonsensical, and prickish.
In order for someone to raise a valid objection against the moral statutes of the Old Testament, he or she must provide a standard by which such judgments can be made. While people may not agree with the moral judgments of the Old Testament, not agreeing does not invalidate them or mean they are wrong; nor does simply saying "they were obviously barbaric rules" mean that they were. Likewise, saying that "society has evolved" is a meaningless statement. By what standard does the critic offer morally objective criteria by which he or she can judge another culture's morals?
Whatever does the most good and the least harm is generally the best choice. That's my morality in a nutshell. I don't claim morality is objective, nor do I claim to have an objective standard. Morality is necessarily picking among the options for the best one available. Since God is supposedly all-powerful, all options would be available to him. Out of an infinite number of possibilities, you believe he designed a system whereby people were killed for minor crimes, and genocide was a way of life. And yet you call him "good".
We have to ask what right does a person in a present-day culture have to judge any ancient culture which existed in a completely different economic, militaristic, judicial, and geographical configuration? Of course, people are entitled to their opinions and they don't have like what the Bible teaches, but not liking it has no bearing on whether or not it is good. So, those critics who insist that the Old Testament laws were wrong need to provide an objective standard (not their own opinions) by which they can make moral judgments.
Ah, but that's the thing, Matt. It's not the culture I'm judging, it's the god. I recognize that imprisoning people would have been infeasible for a nomadic warring tribal culture centuries ago. What I don't get is how you can think that's the best an all-perfect god could come up with. And while I'm sure you'd like it if the only way to analyze God's behavior was by some (nonexistant) objective standard, because you don't believe that an objective standard outside of God exists, and neither do I. Fortunately, that's not the situation we have here. You're the one making a claim, "These laws are good." You need to demonstrate that. You can't. They are barbaric and there's a reason we don't do these things anymore, and we look down on people who do. If you haven't already, go watch the stoning video now, and tell me that I need anything other than that video to judge God's morality on.

Okay Anteaters. I'm going out of town for a weekend with Boyfriend (Little Man will be staying behind - woohoo!) I'll be posting again on Monday. Hope you survive your families and dinners.

EDIT: The awesome Matt Dillahunty (who debated Matt Slick on TAG awhile back) has replied with this

There's only one spot where I think he needs to be hit harder and that is his weak safety net that asserts that in order to object to the OT morality, one must provide some other moral standard and justify it. I reject that he has done anymore than flatly assert a justification for Biblical morality.

Slick: The Bible represents God's morality.
Me: Well, I find that immoral.
Slick: Aha! But you have no moral authority to make such a claim.
Me: I have the same moral authority you do.
Slick: No, I have no moral authority, I just accept God's morality.
Me: And where is your justification for that morality? How can you support your claim that your morality - whether attributed to a god or not - is superior to mine.
Slick: It is, because it's Gods.
Me: I would ask "How do you know?" but since you've demonstrated that you like giving non-answers...I'll just say that I don't accept your assertion and that it is my moral view that slavery is immoral - and that anyone who ever said otherwise was wrong. Let's put our moral principles up before society and see which one is more compelling.
Slick: Yes, but that's because we're flawed humans who love to sin, our moral compasses are corrupt!
Me: I reject your assertion, but I will say that I'd rather have a broken moral compass that rejects slavery than to blindly accept the edict of a book or being that promotes slavery.

But...that's just me. ;)

-Matt Dillahunty

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I always had at least two or three knives on me, but usually I carried all six. After Josh had forced himself on me on the screened porch in front of his mom's trailer, I wanted to know I could keep myself safe. I worked at the mall and there was a Cutlery & More there that sold knives, daggers, boot knives, nunchucks, and swords. It was just the kind of place goth kids and D&D kids would hang out, especially since it was just across the concourse from the Hot Topic they'd just put in.

I had a small silver handled 3" blade with a single hand open lock and release, a 5" black semi-serated single hand open lock, a set of three, beautiful, perfectly balanced throwing knives, and a boot knife tucked into my purple Doc Martins. They went with me to work in the mall,they went with me on dates and to the club, and they went with me to church. The only place I didn't bring the knives was school. There, I'd leave them all in the glove box of my car. Every day after school, I'd drive a little bit aways and then start the process of rearming myself to face the cold, hard world.

I thought the knives would make me feel safe, but instead they made me reckless. Suddenly I thought I was badass, and there was no situation I couldn't handle. I was packing some serious steel, and I knew how to use it. Instead of keeping me out of bad situations, the knives led me into worse ones, convinced I could handle it.

(I feel like I'm ripping the words out of me. It's not like inspiration, more like dentistry. Hopefully as the medicines adjust my writing will come back to me. This is more for keeping in practice than anything else.)

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Pointless Numbers

(Wrote this years ago, but seeing as how I feel as creative as the lint trap of a public dryer right now, I figure it's better than skipping a day of posting.)

I've got a secret
And you're dying to know
I'm not as pretty as you think
Would you love me if you knew me,
All my ugly, dirty parts?
Thirty by twenty-three
Figures you won't understand
And poetry you won't know how to read
Two hundred to eight hundred
One hundred twenty-nine
All the pointless numbers
All my desperate lies
Trying to love myself
Trying to destroy myself
I've got a secret
And you're just dying to know
I'm shaking with nerves
Quaking with caffeine
And it's all I can do to lie to you
To tell you that it's okay
I've got a little secret
And I know you wanna know
But no one told you which questions to ask
Or what signs to look out for
I'm happy cause I moved from three to four
from seven to five
I'm still alive
I'm hanging on
It's all okay
Tomorrow's another story
And you're not sure why you worry
You can't put your finger on it
And my finger is the problem
I've got a little secret
And I'm dying for you to know
I've got a little secret
And I'm dying cause no one knows

And that, boys and girls, is why I don't do secrets anymore. Obviously not *everything* is fit for public consumption (like if it involves someone else, and they're not quite as cool with spilling their insides out in a public forum.)

(I love Daily Motion because they give embed codes that YouTube has blocked.)

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Take Your Pills

Know how I know I'm not the only person worrying about mental illness and funky chemicals in my body? Cause I listen to pop music, or at least I did in the 90s.

The thing is the meds are making me feel all the negative consequences of my former recreational drug use, without the, you know, recreational part of it.

It's not that I don't think I ever had a problem with drugs; it's just not how I define myself. It's not even in my Top Ten of personal demons to vanquish, lol. I feel like I dodged a bullet really. Just around the time things were really getting out of hand, I found out I was pregnant and straightened up and grew up pretty much right away. (Except for all that growing up I'm yet to do.)

Icky played this song for me when we were coming down from pina colada flavored mushroom juice one night. It has always had a calming effect on me since, even though I don't, uh, go out for awhile anymore.

I used to scream the lyrics of this while driving around town, contemplating running away. I just liked the idea of not being home today.

I've loved this whole album since it was released, but this song was one of the reasons I bought a guitar. The lyrics sound like they're about me, or at least the girl I used to be (who is someone I think of a lot while writing a memoir, heh.)

And a look back at my teen years wouldn't be complete without the song that I thought defined me best.

Somehow I feel like this girl and the girl in Lithium all at once. Bah. Thanks for listening to the music with me. I swear these songs kept me alive in high school. Just knowing someone out there could express it better for me was like finding water in the desert. It made it bearable.

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