Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Tangled Web we Weave.

Seems to me that theists are the one's with a story. Of course it's stories within stories but the point is that it is their story and the onus is on them to back it up.

Their main tactic is to simply repeat portions of the story which seem to fit the situation. For example, talking to atheists, there is a very short story dismissing them entirely with the, fool, who says, in his heart that there is no God.

I think that if we were talking about any other piece of literature, we'd all recognise that as a slogan. Actually I think that most people still do recognise it for what it is, but of course 'Bible-studiers' won't talk about what a great slogan that is, no, they are simply enlightening us as to the obvious 'truth' of the Scripture.(and 'happily' calling anyone who disagrees with it and them 'fools' in the process.)

Unhappily, if a person doesn't believe that the Bible is a special book with supernatural truths, he or she is unlikely to be impressed with this slogan and can see it is obviously just tit for tat, you call me a fool for being a magical thinker and I'll quote my magical book telling you that YOU are the fool! Ha!

Of course if you do 'study the Scriptures' you'll notice that it is chock full of characters having Godly experiences. I think that sooner or later you will have to come to the conclusion that it is drivel OR start wondering when YOU get to have some personal Godly experiences of your own.(not to mention seeking out Godly experiences of everyone else.)

The efficacy of prayer, the spiritual contact between a person and his/her God, is neatly circumvented by the idea that God has the option of fulfilling your wish, dismissing your wish or postponing(indefinitely) your wish.

In other words, if you believe that God is 'there', then he must answer prayers but(sadly) the answer comes in the form of a fulfilled wish, a 'hit' or an unfulfilled wish which is either an out and out miss(Grandma died) or perhaps not yet a hit(Grandma isn't getting better 'yet').

Pointing out that the efficacy of prayer would be the same no matter which God one prays to, or if prayer is directed at an inanimate object like an empty jam jar, is insulting.

Did you get that? The plain truth, the plain facts of the matter are an INSULT! Of course other Gods reference was insulting enough but the 'jam jar' thing was total sarcasm, insulting, demeaning and an attack on their spiritual/supernatural beliefs.

God is no better at answering prayers than an empty jam jar. The truth of this is lost in, and denied with, a hurricane of affront and loathing.

Seems to me that if an appeal to God is deemed necessary then 'things turning out alright' is deemed 'personal experience proof positive' that prayer IS effective. But the opposite isn't true. If things don't 'turn out alright' then God is forgiven. Did you get THAT one? God gets forgiven for not using his awesome powers to 'make things alright'!

The reality of God(in believers' minds) only depends on HIM occasionally 'making things alright' and the non-reality of God is exposed by 'things turning out alright' for people of differing faiths AND for non-believers too!

This obvious fact is COMPLETELY and WILLFULLY ignored by all true believers.


Anonymous said...

Well said. When I first saw the words 'forlorn' from Sartre's pen, I knew I agreed with him to a point.

It is a guessing game. If it is tempered with reason it keeps the mind occupied in such a way that it can be beneficial to the person who chooses it. But of course you read the account of my grandmother and there are too many cases like that.

Regardless, I think, in part thanks to you and others, I've been able to develop an atheistic hypothesis about the merits of theism.

My main assertion (not the whole hypothesis) is that science, religion, and philosophy come from or used to come from the same root place in the brain. In our history they used to be one. Then they split as our cognitive abilities developed.

The merits of science/philosophy now outweigh the merits of religion. But to dismiss religion, or prayer to whom or whatever (I back up the "unknown quality" of an invisible deity to a jar) in the form of the meaning and curiosity that the believer gives it seems unscientific.

And just like a bunch of conservative Christians or status quo-ites don't want to see the merits of agnosticism/atheism, so also others (ahem) don't want to see the merits of religion.

Your post is true but only partially true. It misses the point.

pboyfloyd said...

But, oneblood, I CAN see how religion was a benefit to the people who lived in those times.

God's law was 'the law', dealing with business, taxes, social interaction, charity etc. and although some of them seem primitive from our P.O.V., no doubt they were 'essential' for the cohesivenes of the Hebrews and later the Jews.

The fact that there still ARE Jews is a 'testament' to this.

The early stuff, the foundation that the Creationists want to hold on to, is the TRUTH as known by and 'evident to' all the ancients and it worked as a good starting point, a good explanation of 'why we're here'.

The LAW, I think, was meant to keep Hebrews, Hebrews, distinct from Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians etc.

But I think that this idea that there are absolute morals which God wrote on tablets, although perfect for the times, is being abused by Christians because the First Commandment specificly states that it is immoral to NOT be a magical thinker AND they seem to want to add on an unwritten litany of non-absolute 'values'.

mac said...

Your jar prayer remionds me of my days in AA(17 years ago, still sober). I didn't like the reliance on god, not even god as I understood him.

I don't understand any god, NONE. How was I to turn my life over to nothing?
They told me the group could be my higher power. What? A bunch of drunks are my god? No thanks.

I went to this thing for six months at the rate of two meetings a week.
What I didn't understand, is why would this all-powerful god allow us to become addicted in the first place??

pboyfloyd said...

Good for you on the no boozin'.

I just have a couple on Friday night/special occasion.

Bunch of drunks as your GOD, no thanks.. LMAO

Anonymous said...

"What I didn't understand, is why would this all-powerful god allow us to become addicted in the first place??"


I'm with pboy on the congrats mac, it's a long haul.

I have to ask did you mean an all-loving god or an all-powerful god?


pboy, I'm not talking about what they believed in, simply what gave the faculty for that belief.

pboyfloyd said...

Right oneblood, I read over what you said and realized that. I'm talking about the Christian/Jew?/Muxlim God and you're talking how it came to be natural to believe in the supernatural/spiritual.

Well I think that there are different aspects to religion.

Fear of authority. Love of the protection the authority gives. Love for the family and love for the group.

But judging from a show I saw about a village in Africa suffering from termites, it seemed that the shaman(or witch-doctor) held a position of authority stemming from his knowledge which he could only account for in terms of spirituality but he was also like a political counsellor to the chief who also put his authority in terms of spirituality.

Between them they were like yin-yang. The chief would say that he commanded obedience, less casual sex and such help reduce the anger of the gods while the shaman would explain how the gods look after the villagers.

The shaman knew when the rain fell by the signs, the birds and insects, other animals and they would exhort the villagers to 'smarten up' and 'fly right', pray and such, so that the rains would not fali.

It was interesting how the chief and the shaman were well aware that it was THEMSELVES who were controlling the villagers, not gods at all. The gods were just a convenience, a convient way to couch knowledge and a convient control tool.

GearHedEd said...

Prayer is the mechanism by which we attempt to gain some control over god. All prayer can be logically reduced to attempted coercion against the deity.

Anonymous said...

Just an interesting side note.

I saw a program where the shaman was exercising either evil spirits or bad juju (not meaning to be pejorative) out of a tribesman.

I was fascinated because he kept grabbing, pinching, and then slightly lifting the skin up, in various places all over the guy's body. It was very much like a massage. Well proto-massage, but the same principles were involved.

pboyfloyd said...

I liked that joke where the mother is waiting for her daughter and new husband to exit their plane for their first visit 'home'.

She sees the daughter come out and starts waving frantically at her so happy-happy until she notices that she is being followed by a man wearing nothing but feather anklets, a grass skirt, a fright-mask and he's carrying a rattle what looks like a human skull.

She stars screaming at her daughter, "I told you to go out and marry a rich doctor, a RRRRICH DOCTOR!"