Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quote of the Week- Red Jacket in his address of the "White Man"

Pictured- Natives totally not being white.  FRUSTRATING!
Red Jacket was about as badass as they came back then.  After all of the evil that was put upon them by the Europeans, he had the strength to speak out against them when they came among their chiefs council to speak of the works that their missionaries meant to work in their communities.  Even though he was himself religious, he completely deconstructed any real argument for Christianity (or Islam, Judaism and most religions for that matter) in a speech that should be a model of eloquence and courage for all who followed.

"You have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us. Brother, continue to listen. You say that you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to His mind; and, if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right and we are lost. How do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a Book. If it was intended for us, as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given to us, and not only to us, but why did He not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that Book, with the means of understanding it rightly. We only know what you tell us about it. How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people? Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book?" -Sogoyewapha

He hit the nail on the head almost 2 hundred years ago. 

If there is "but one way to worship" why do we differ so much about it?

There are a few answers that apologists love to give, but they are all unsatisfying to me.  I can't believe that a loving god, (or even just an intelligent one) would give us a set of instructions that was so open to interpretation. 

Because it's way more fun to punish than to instruct clearly...

Either God isn't able to give us clear instruction, or it isn't God's instruction. 

Ever notice how no one ever disagrees with the book to which they adhere?  No one ever reads the bible and says;

"Jeez, I wish that I COULD do all this stuff, but the bible says that it is bad, so I won't"

No one ever says that...

Ok, maybe this guy does... 

That is because they are only using the book to confirm whatever they already believe.  It has little or no bearing on their system of morals.  Their parents have more effect.  People seem to interpret their books to mean whatever would support their previously held convictions. 

They are looking for righteous permission.

A way to appear moral for immoral judgments and acts.

But I digress..

How is it that if there is only one way to worship, that all men don't have this upon their hearts and minds instead of in the pages of a book?

How is it that there are some areas of the earth who have never even SEEN this book?

Seems like Red Jacket captured the elephant in the room quite eloquently.

If there was but one way and one god, we would all agree on it.

Unless he was a completely incompetent God.

I will break "Quote of the Week" rules and give you a second quote by Red jacket.

"It teaches us to be thankful for all the favors we receive, to love each other, and to be united. We never quarrel about religion."

Be thankful, love and to be united?  I think that is a "religion" that we can all back.

Let's give it a try!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reasons God isn't real- #1- Prayer

This will be a new ongoing series that concerns itself with deconstructing the various central claims to religions around the world.  None of them individually could, or even should, be considered proof of the nonexistence of a god, but the cumulative effect should result in doubt of the claims of any divine artificer.

This month, we will talk about prayer.

I am constantly asked "What is my proof that God isn't real?" and normally I give the only answers that I should have to give.

I'm kidding! (I'm totally not kidding)

I answer either that the burden of proof is not on the one responding to a claim, it is on the claimant.  Or I answer that I have seen no evidence to support the god claim.  (The middle finger comes in only when Theists don't understand the "burden of proof" argument.  Logic isn't really hard, but reading is even easier...)

But I have decided to start putting forward positive reasons why God isn't real.  Or at least deconstructing claims to truth that are intrinsic in the god claim.

Like, I am pretty sure this is how Jesus did it.

So in tackling this subject I thought I would go big first.


This was one of the things that stuck out to me even when I was a Christian.

Prayer is nonsense, and it is a nonsense that is completely inconsistent with all the other teachings of religion.

                         God works in mysterious ways.

God is omniscient.                          
                        God only helps those who help themselves.                      

                                               God favours the meek.

When God doesn't answer my prayers, he "Works in Mysterious ways" so why bother praying at all if he is just going to do as he wants anyway?

God knows ahead of time everything that will ever happen, in fact he designed us to do exactly as we will do.

So prayer isn't really going to change anything is it?

If I was able to help myself, then I wouldn't need the prayer would I?

It isn't exactly meek to ask for supernatural help to just GIVE you what you want instead of humbly working for it yourself.  Praying seems more like enacting your sense of entitlement.  So again, it contradicts what the preachers tell me.

So I just never prayed.

Well sometimes I did....

Now of course this isn't the only reason that I think that prayer is a reasonable indicator that God isn't real.  There are many others....

Like the fact that it has been studied in double blind tests over and over again and shown to be ineffective every single time. (and please don't say that God didn't fulfill their prayers just because he was being watched.  That would make him a total jackass)

Or how about that prayer is morally reprehensible?

For someone to sit in his room, and speak to someone (or no one) that he HOPES might effect change (IF he feels like it, and IF it is in his plan), is lazy, self aggrandizing, and socially irresponsible.   It is lazy because instead of spending the time being productive or actually trying to effect a solution to the problem, he is pretending that he (or she) is calling in a favour from the supreme creator of the universe (pretty self important) instead of doing something for the person or persons in need.

Who does that help?

Ok, it MIGHT help him. (or so he says)

It only helps the person who is praying to feel better about what is going on without actually having to DO anything, you know....hard.  It makes that person feel righteous, and humane, and socially responsible, without ever having to do the things that social animals have to do in order to be seen in that light.

I have said it many times, PLEASE don't pray for me.  DO something to help.

Bake me a cake.  It is FAR more helpful than talking to yourself.

Ok, maybe it isn't always helpful. (Someone please take my fork from me!)

If you think that my being an Atheist is wrong, then try to convince me.  You are morally obligated to do so if you feel that I am in danger because of my choice.  But to wash your hands of it after you've prayed, thinking that you have done everything that you can is disgusting.

In your mind, I am going to the worst place imaginable, and all you are required to do is "pray" and hope that God hadn't noticed the predicament that I was in (or, in fact created me to be as I am if he were actually real).

Prayer only helps YOU and even then it only helps superficially.

No one else will see how "good" you are.

No one else will feel the effects of  your "Good works".

And most importantly, you are leaving it to chance that what you are so concerned about will resolve itself but yet get to walk away feeling as though you have done your part as a moral human being.


Now let me say, the inefficiency of prayer does not prove nor disprove the existence of a God.  But it certainly doesn't provide evidence or support to the idea that God IS real.

Ever notice how nothing that was ever "achieved" by prayer was anything that couldn't have happened on it's own, no matter how unlikely?

Unlikely things happen all the time.

I know that I have noticed it.

It's time that you do too.

Get off your knees,
                              and get those hands dirty to help someone in need!


Atheist Haiku of the Month- God given morality?

No God?  Of course I wouldn't murder......but I might look at boobs more.

If God was not real
Would you rape, kill, or torture?
No. We'd act the same