God on Trial

god on trial

God on Trial

 

Should we question the things we have been told to believe or should we just believe them without evidence out of fear of punishment from some cosmic cloud deity? In the legal world evidence is required to support all claims, why do we give religion a free pass?

What evidence could be presented to validate this claim? Many would say the Bible, but the Bible is not proof of anything.  A book that was written by a few men based on the writings of a handful of people from thousands of years ago that was translated hundreds of times into many different languages should not be considered as anything more than a book of fables. Do you know anyone that actually witnessed God or Jesus? As far as we know there are four main people that can testify on behalf of these stories, but they are nothing more than anonymous fictional characters with no last names. The entire story relies upon four men who all we know are named Matthew, Luke, John, and Mark. I say they are anonymous because nothing else is known about them.

Imagine a police officer filing a police report about a crime and naming four people named Matthew, Luke, John, and Mark … no last names, no addresses, no phone numbers … nothing more than just first names.  Then to make it worse, these 4 anonymous people cannot be called upon to even testify because no one knows where or who they are. Would this case hold up in court? Would this case even be charged by a competent district attorney?

If this case were brought to trial, who would we call as witnesses? What evidence could be presented other than the written testimony of 4 anonymous men that no one knows anything about or how to locate them? Could God Himself be called to testify on His own behalf?

If we were to examine and treat this as we would any standard judicial proceeding this would be thrown out of court, so why is this any different? All other things in life we require evidence for except in this one area where we are expected to accept it on mere faith alone.

If we were to treat faith and religion in the same manner as we do with matters of the legal world and our justice system, what would happen if using those same rules of evidence that we do in any other judicial matter we put God On Trial?

Imagine if you will a court setting with a judge, jury, prosecutor, and defense attorney. To get in the right frame of mind, imagine this as a Monty Python skit.

God on Trial-

Judge: Mr. Prosecutor you may call your first witness.

Prosecutor: Your Honor, the State would like to enter the testimony of Mathew into the record.

Judge: Is Mathew in the courtroom?

Prosecutor: No Your Honor, Mathew could not be here today.

Judge: Then how will he testify if he is not present?

Prosecutor: Your Honor, I have his testimony written down.

Judge: Is this a sworn testimony?

Prosecutor: Well, not exactly Your Honor we were not able to get his testimony directly from him.

Judge: Well why not?

Prosecutor: Because he has been dead for many hundreds of years Your Honor.

Defense Attorney: Your Honor I object! The State can’t use the testimony of a non-sworn witness that has been dead for hundreds of years.

Judge: Objection sustained. Mr. Prosecutor do you have any other witnesses?

Prosecutor: Well, yes Your Honor I do. I would like to enter the testimony of Luke into the record.

Judge: Luke, please take the stand.

Prosecutor: Your Honor, Luke also could not be here today.

Judge: So how is he going to testify?

Prosecutor: I have his testimony written down Your Honor.

Judge: Is this Luke of the living Mr. Prosecutor?

Prosecutor: No, Your Honor, he is deceased as well.

Defense Attorney: Your Honor, once again I object on the same grounds!

Judge: Objection sustained! Mr. Prosecutor, do you have any actual witnesses that are alive and here today that can take the stand?

Prosecutor: Your Honor, I do have two other witnesses, but unfortunately they are also deceased and all I have is their testimony written down on paper from hundreds of years ago. May I enter into the record the testimony of John and Mark Your Honor?

Defense Attorney: Your Honor this is an outrage and I object!

Judge: OBJECTION SUSTAINED! Mr. Prosecutor, do you have any evidence at all to support your case other than the writings of 4 anonymous men from hundreds of years ago that no one knows anything about other than their first names?

Prosecutor: Yes Your Honor I do, as luck would have it all four of these men happen to have their testimony entered into this book called the Bible. I also have great faith that all of this is true.

Defense Attorney: Your Honor, I call for an immediate dismissal of this case with prejudice!

Judge: Case dismissed with prejudice, and I will be drafting a formal complaint to the Bar for wasting my time with this matter Mr. Prosecutor!

In the legal world, this would end something like this. In the faith world, we are supposed to ignore all of the rules of evidence and blindly accept and promote this nonsense.

The Bible

 

 

The Burden of Proof

 

proof

The Burden of Proof

 

In legal matters, as well as most other things in the real world, the burden of proof is always on the one making the claim. If someone accused you of murdering someone and you were charged with the crime of murder, during your trial it would be up to the State to “prove” beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the murder that you have been accused of. Indeed as it should be the ‘burden of proof’ would be on the person or entity making the claim. It would not be up to you to prove you did not commit the murder, and this, of course, is how it should be.

Most things in life operate this way … except in the area known as religion. I have been asked before to prove there is no God, and although I believe the evidence weighs heavily in my favor, I can’t prove a negative. I also do not have to because the burden of proof in this lies with the one making the claim, the theist. Someone could not claim to be an atheist had there not been a theist first. I could not claim to not be something without knowing what it is that I am claiming not to be.  It stands to reason the theist made the claim and has the burden of proof in this matter.

If I were to make the claim that I have little green men living under my bed, and at night they come out and talk to me, most people would assume that the burden of proof lies with me to substantiate this claim. It would not be up to others to prove I do not have little green men hiding under my bed; because it would be impossible for them to do so, you can’t prove a negative. I might say they only talk to me or that only I can see them making it impossible for anyone to prove that I am wrong. But since I am not able to prove my statement, most sane and rational people would discount my claim as the ramblings of a mad man.

Should we give any more credibility to someone making the claim for a God without first demanding they give proof to their claim?  Why do we not demand the same proof for this claim as we do everything else in life?

God On Trial

 

 

Lack of Evidence

Lack Evidence

Lack of Evidence

 

“Philosophy gives us unanswered questions; religion gives us unquestioned answers.”

Theists will often claim they have proof of God.  They will usually ask you to consider the intricacies of a tree, an animal or an insect. They will then ask how could these things have come into existence without a Creator or a God? This, of course, does not prove God anymore than it might prove The Flying Spaghetti Monster created these things. It never occurred to them that all they had done was replace one unknown for another equally unknown.

God is not an answer, it’s another question. Think of God as ‘X’ in a mathematical equation. If you were given an equation to find out what ‘X’ is and you simply made up a random number as your answer, would you have solved the equation? Of course not, all you have done is replace one unknown for another.  Actually, their math is even worse than this example, because they are claiming ‘X’ equals ‘Y’… okay, so what is ‘Y’ then? They have answered the question with another question.

I do not like to use the word “proof” because it is used in so many ways and by so many people who really have no proof at all; and for the fact that nothing can be really proven. Theists will claim they have proof of God, but of course, they do not. Although I would say though that there is more evidence that there is no God simply by the lack of evidence. Of course, everyone will have their own definition of what evidence is and is not, and people of faith would most likely dismiss anything that would challenge their beliefs without even considering it … as it would destroy their beliefs if they did.

Yes, there are things for which we do not know the answers to, but making up answers to fill in for this lack of knowledge is not an intelligent way to try and understand and define these things. Would it not be better to just admit there are things we do not have enough knowledge to understand yet, rather than try to replace this lack of knowledge with equally unknown answers?

The Burden of Proof

 

 

Blind Faith

 

blind faith

Blind Faith

 

Fear of the unknown can be a frightening thing. So people believe because they want to have hope that there is something more beyond this life. No one likes to believe that this could be all there is. Even I will admit that I would rather be wrong and a place exist that would be like heaven because their heaven (in some ways) certainly sounds like a nice place to be, but I cannot accept this on faith alone, I require proof.

I have had people of faith ask me if I do not believe in God, then what do I think will happen to us after we die? I answer this question the same as I would answer any question that I do not have enough knowledge to answer, I say, “I don’t know”. Of course, I wait in anticipation for their reply, which is usually something like, “see you just admitted you don’t know!” It is true, I don’t know, but neither do they. They have fooled themselves into believing they do, and that when they die they are going to a much better place where there is no pain and suffering, a place of complete happiness…a place called heaven. Of course, they do not really know what happens after we die anymore than I do, they simply believe in something that they were convinced of, and they have convinced themselves it’s a fact.

I don’t know what happens after we die or what it will be like, no one does. If I had to guess though I would imagine it will be a lot like what it was before I was born, and I don’t remember that either. It makes more sense though that we might go back to the same state of non-existence that we were in prior to our birth.

No, theists have no greater knowledge of what happens after death than do atheists, we just choose not to replace one unknown for another one…or said another way, we do not make up fairy tales to take the place of our lack of knowledge. There are things for which we do not know and understand, we may one day, but as for now we do not, and atheists accept this fact.

Lack Of Evidence →

 

 

What is Faith?

faith

What is Faith?

 

Why is it considered a virtue to have faith? Faith by definition is believing in something for which there is no proof of.  Would it also be considered virtuous to believe in other things without proof or is faith the only thing that lacks proof that it is considered virtuous to believe in?

If someone were to claim to have an invisible friend hiding under their bed that only they can see, would this be a virtuous belief as well or would this be considered a delusional person?  What exactly is the defining factor that separates ordinary delusion, “I have an invisible man under my bed” from that of faith, “God is talking to me” and could they both be delusional?

The Webster Dictionary defines faith as:

1
a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2
a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

3
: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

So if we were to combine the meanings given in the second definition it would mean faith is: a belief and loyalty to a God, which is the traditional doctrines of a religion, and a belief in something for which there is no proof, but that you have a complete trust in.

When a theist says they have ‘faith’ in God, they are really saying they have a belief and complete trust in something for which there is no proof of.  Faith by definition is a belief in something that cannot be proven, so when a theist claims to have complete faith in a God, they are admitting they believe in a fictional being.  How then could they claim to have proof of something that is not real?  Faith is just that, faith.  If it was anything else it would be called something other than faith such as a truth or a law.

When we have determined that something is a fact we call it a law, as in “The Law of Physics.”  Until then is known as a theory, as in “The Theory of Evolution.”  I would like to point out that The Theory of Evolution is widely accepted as fact now, but is still referred to as a theory. For more on this see:

Is Evolution a Theory or a Fact?

To say “you have faith” is not a law, it is not even a theory, it’s a belief.  Beliefs do not rise to the same level as do laws and theories which is why it’s called faith.  People of faith should stop trying to claim they have faith, while also trying to attach some credible basis to that faith because faith has no basis … it’s faith.

If you have faith in your God, that’s all you have as a claim, you have nothing in the rational world of laws and theories to use, so why would you insist on trying to use the laws of the rational world to try and describe your faith?  You reside in the land of faith … the belief in things for which there is no evidence or proof of, this is your world, and you accepted it.  Please don’t try to attach the world of logic and reason to this world, the two cannot coexist…

Blind Faith

 

 

Agnosticism

 

agnostic

Agnosticism

I have heard it said before that an agnostic is an atheist with an insurance policy. This would be true if it were possible to be agnostic towards the possibility of Gods. I don’t believe it is possible to take an agnostic view towards this position anymore than it would be to the possible existence of, Unicorns, Santa Claus or The Tooth Fairy.

What does it mean when someone claims they are an ‘agnostic?’ Some claim that agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims-especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims are unknown or unknowable.

I would ask anyone who claims to be agnostic towards God … more precisely the theistic God of the Bible if they are also equally agnostic towards other mythical beliefs such as Zeus, Apollo or any other past Gods. If the position of agnosticism is, “the view that the truth value of certain claims-especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims are unknown or unknowable “ then how could the belief in other Gods or myths of any kind be known or knowable? I am sure they do not hold an agnostic view towards Zeus, I am sure it’s an atheistic view. So why does the God of theism get special treatment? There were just as many stories told of ancient Gods as there were the God of Theism. Why would someone claim to be agnostic towards one God, but not of all others?

You are either a theist or you are an atheist, those are the only two options, there is no middle ground. If you dismiss the belief in most myths based on the evidence, you must do that with all myths as well. It is not logical to take a position of agnosticism towards theism, yet take an atheistic position towards all other things for which there is no evidence or proof of.

The term “atheist” (‘a’ theist) means non-theist. When an ‘a’ is placed in front of a word it means “non” or “not.” So if you are not a theist, then you are a non-theist … or said another way you are an atheist. Just as we use the term “asymmetrical” to describe something that is not symmetrical or non-symmetrical, the same is true of atheism. Something is either symmetrical or it isn’t. If it isn’t, then we say it’s asymmetrical. By adding the ‘a’ we are saying it is not a symmetrical shape. We know nothing more about this shape, just that it’s not symmetrical. It could be a square, triangle, octagon, rectangle or any countless number of shapes, but it’s not symmetrical. This is all we know based on the definition we were given. We do not have enough information to determine what it is, just what it is not.

So, if you define yourself as a non-theist, you are by default an atheist. You may have different reasons why you are not a theist, but this does not matter, the fact is you are an atheist. You are free to be anything else; it just means you are not a theist. Everyone who claims to be an agnostic is also an atheist; it just makes them feel better to label themselves an agnostic.

This does not mean you cannot believe in any other spiritual or religious view, just not theism. It would even be possible to be a Buddhist and an atheist since all atheism means is not a theist. So when someone says they are an agnostic they are usually unknowingly saying they are an atheist. For an “agnostic” to say I don’t really know, so I am not willing to say for sure, is admitting they are not a theist (someone that does claim to know) so by default this makes them an atheist.

People who refer to themselves as agnostic do so because it sounds warm and fuzzy and the word agnostic is not as looked down on by people of faith as is the word atheist. To most people of faith the word atheist is a vile and offensive word, so some people would rather use a less offensive term to describe themselves, as not to offend anyone.

Agnosticism just seems a little intellectually void to me as the term relates to theism, because the person is claiming they are having a hard time deciding if the belief of theism seems plausible or not, but are completely sure they are atheistic towards Zeus, Apollo, Unicorns, Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy and other myths of equal standing. You are either a theist or you are not a theist, and if you are not a theist, then you are an atheist. I would like to take this time to welcome all those who have defined themselves as agnostic to the world of atheism…

What Is Faith? →

 

 

What is an Atheist?

atheism

What is an Atheist?

 

Atheists are amongst some of the most hated people in the world, but why?  Many people misunderstand the term “atheist” and associate it with Devil worshiping or people that sacrifice small farm animals.  This, of course, is completely ridiculous.  Theists do not have a higher moral code than do atheists.  Indeed no one has ever killed in the name of “no God” yet many have killed in the name of a “God.”

Theists will argue that someone like Stalin was an atheist and that he killed in the name of atheism, but this is false, Stalin killed in the name of communism.  In fact, Stalin actually rejected Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.  In short, Stalin opposed Darwin’s theory in favor of Trofim Lysenko’s Lamarckianism

Atheism is not a belief system, it’s a rejection of theism … nothing more.  Atheists do not worship Satan anymore than we would any other God or demon.  Indeed an atheist rejects God and Satan as well. Because an Atheist does not believe in God, this does not mean that we do not believe in anything as some theists will claim.  A belief in nothing is known as “nihilism.”  Nihilism is a philosophy of an extreme form of skepticism: The denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth; nothingness or nonexistence.  I am not a nihilist … I know I exist.

In the discussion of theism, you either are a theist or you are an atheist, there are no other options. Think of it this way, a thing is either symmetrical or it isn’t.  If it isn’t, then we say it’s asymmetrical. Adding the “a” simply means “not.”  Since no other definition has been given to describe something that is not symmetrical in shape, other than it is asymmetrical, we cannot know what it is, only what it is not.

The same thing applies to Atheism, either you believe in the theist God or you don’t.  Just as nudity is not just another form of clothing; it’s no clothes.  Not believing in the theist God isn’t another religion; it’s not believing in the theist God … and that’s all it means.

Other than a non-belief in the theist God, atheists are free to believe in whatever they choose.  For example, you can be male or female, white, black or any other race, gay or straight, a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or an Anarchist.  You can literally have any other philosophy you like and still be an atheist.  The only thing that is required to be an atheist is the rejection of theism … period.

Atheism is not a belief, nor is it a belief in nothing.  Atheism is simply a rejection of the God of theism based on the lack of evidence. This does not mean that atheists can’t believe in a lot of other things, including things that cannot be seen like, air and gravity. Although air and gravity cannot be seen, they can both be measured and proven to exist.

Atheists do not have a special day once a week that requires they get dressed up, and then gather for meetings with their friends to compare fashion, and discuss magic, folklore, Gods, Demons and the existence of things outside the natural universe.  They do not have a handbook with special rules to obey, talk to imaginary friends or worship idols … those people are known as theists.

Atheists do not disagree on atheism.  Many will confuse what I just said to mean atheists do not ever disagree. Atheists, of course, are free to disagree on almost anything except atheism itself.  As I said in the beginning, atheism is not a belief system; it’s a rejection of theism … nothing more.  If you disagree with atheism, then you are not an atheist period.

Now let’s contrast that with theism, which is a belief system.  You can be a theist and disagree on many points about theism itself and what it means to be a theist.  A Catholic and a Baptist, for example, are both theists but disagree on exactly what that means. This is why there are so many different sects of the same religion.  With atheism, this is not a problem as all atheists agree they reject theism.  This makes our position one that is not only more definable but agreeable as well.  Just trying to define theism and what it means is hard enough, finding two theists that agree on what it actually means is next to impossible, even within the exact same sect…

Agnosticism →

 

 

A Quest for Knowledge

cavemen

A Quest for Knowledge

Since man first crawled from the cave he has been on a quest for knowledge. Not having the ability to understand the universe early man invented Gods to explain their world. There were Gods for everything, from water and fire, to Earth and the cosmos. Thunder and lightning meant that the Gods must be angry and if it rained they were sad.

This would all seem to make perfect sense for the mind of a caveman since they were not capable of conceptual and rational thought. They simply replaced one unknown for another in their world. Rain = Gods sad, Thunder and lightning = Gods angry. This ‘caveman logic’ explained everything they needed to know and because of their limited logic and reason worked fine for them.

Just as in the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy,” when a native in the Kalahari Desert encounters technology for the first time–in the shape of a Coke bottle. I found this to be very amusing, but I also began to see parallels between his thought process, and that of the modern day Theist. Both are using caveman logic to explain their world. The native using caveman logic thinks, “bottle fall from the sky, must be a gift from the Gods” and the modern day theist thinks, “see that tree, that proves God.” Both of them simply have replaced one unknown for another, but still, have not answered where these things came from.

It is easy to understand how this method of replacing one unknown for another was passed down through the generations as a means by which to describe our world. It is also easy to see how someone of such limited capacity could accept this line of reasoning to define their world.

As mankind evolved, man’s logic and reason evolved as well. This ‘caveman logic’ did not seem to work as well as it once did. Science and math had now replaced ‘caveman logic’ and we demanded proof for the things we believed in. Through using logic and reason, and applying science and math we replaced caveman logic and learned that:

Rain = ‘Gods sad’, was replaced with science and we learned that rain is caused by; “Precipitation that forms when cloud droplets (or ice particles) in clouds grow and combine to become so large that their fall speed exceeds the updraft speed in the cloud; and they then fall out of the cloud. If these large water drops or ice particles do not re-evaporate as they fall farther below the cloud, they reach the ground as precipitation.”

Thunder = ‘Gods angry’, was replaced and learned to be caused by; “The sudden expansion of the air around a lightning bolt’s path. The deep rumbling and sharp cracks of thunder are produced as the air around the lightning bolts are superheated – up to about 54,000° Fahrenheit (about 33,000° Celsius) – and rapidly expands. This rapid expansion creates an acoustic shock wave that manifests itself as thunder.”

Through science and math and by using logic and reason, mankind had replaced ‘caveman logic’ and was able to explain his world in more rational and sensible ways. Man now relied on the rules of evidence to validate a claim and demanded proof for things he was willing to say he believed in … except in one area.

Where faith was concerned ‘caveman logic’ seemed to still be the method of which to explain our world. God was proven in the mind of a theist simply by pointing to a tree, flower or an insect. This ‘caveman logic’ was more than enough proof in their mind and it did not matter that all they had done was to replace one unknown for another, to them the question had been answered and it was not up for debate or challenge.

It is sad that with all of the mankind’s greatest achievements that we have still not crawled that far beyond the cave…and ‘caveman logic.’

The quest continues …

What Is An Atheist? →