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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

God concepts - Part 2

God the ruler

The concept of God we all have has started with the same seed our parents have planted in us.
We have inherited God the same way we have inherited our name, language and culture.
If you are living in the Western world chances are that you are following one of the offshoots of the Judaic based religions. And all of them have the same basic premise:
God is the absolute ruler, the supreme judge and the creator of all things. – Not necessarily in that order.

God is a wise and kind ruler. He gives us the laws of righteous conduct and he makes sure that everybody plays by the rules. If rules are broken he swiftly dispatches the proper punishments. Some time the punishment is harsh – think of the biblical flood – but it is always just.
For the most part of human history we have accepted this concept of God and with the exception of few heretics and some pissed off individuals, this was the absolute, unchallengeable truth.

By the 19th century something revolutionary happened in the human evolution.
We have entered the era of technology.
Machines are starting the mass production of things. The steam engine and the telegraph are making the world shrink before our eyes.
Another aspect of human existence that is changed forever is the way we wage wars.
Suddenly the machine gun, the canon and the poison gases turn the war from a gentlemen’s play into mass murder.
The First World War leaves behind millions of dead and mutilated.
The world is in shock and horror. How could this happen? Where is God and why he didn’t intervene?
The answer came from a then young philosopher Nietzsche:
“God is dead!”

It looks like Nietzsche was quite right. Not long after WW I was over WW II started.
Not only that the killing went up ten fold, but this time the grip of death extended to the civilian population.
The most horrific of all being the genocide of the Jewish population.
6 million Jews died in concentration camps in such horrific manner that defies the human character.
How do you explain holocaust to a Jewish child?
God loves us so much that he let us been butchered like animals?

I am not asking much of God. I am not asking for armies of angels and partying of the seas but just a little gesture, like killing Hitler, Stalin, Mao and a couple more assholes.
Remember Hitler assassination attempt. Everybody in the room dies, he escapes without a scratch. Nice Going Jehovah!

So my question to God’s loyal subjects is:
What kind of ruler is your God?

57 comments:

Psiplex said...

God as my parents taught me ended up being an illusion. god as revealed through direct experience later in life is more real than you.

god as a concept may as well be as Nietzsche stated — dead, useless too. god as a historical figure is questionable. God as the I Am, connected and not separated from your true Self is what is to be discovered, Buddha. Facing cancer's march to the sea, there is no time, no misjudgment to playing with your relationship with god as a concept. useless. What I have found is love in tis life, where does it come from? Within? Where is that? The universe is based on love and whatever you call it, the Being of human being fame knows it, the human looks for it, If sought with the human aspect of love, it will fail as it is conceptualized, when lived with direct experience and knowledge form the True Self, the Being, it is known.

Being faced with leaving the planet, there is no playing or toying with a comfortable personal view of god. Either God is living and the ultimate, Absolute Source, love, or this cancer patient is without all hope, and I am not. Consciousness as energy goes on without and beyond time. Inquire for yourself-Who Am I? What Am I? What is my purpose to life? What is the purpose of life in my consciousness? Discover your True Self, beyond a concept of yourself. Have some courage and push through your walking dream and the role you believe your self to be.

Here is a poem from my 'Phrase' series for you:
Emptiness — a part and another part
of what defines this awareness
the next breath, the functional breathing
the space of the universe containing 
a being of wholeness — complete and finished
functioning in emptiness
as emptiness
Infinite consciousness
Your part— a part and another part
timeless Self that sees 
what existence brings about

SandyCarlson said...

My god is the love, and the wisdom born of love, in each of our hearts.

Tamara said...

I believe that God is all knowing. Yes it would be hard to explain to a child in a concentration camp why God has allowed that, but I don't think that it is my responsibility. When I was a kid my mom tried to explain why she punished me but I did not understand how my actions would hurt myself or others. Can a Mathematical Genius teach his new theory to a two year old who has not learned how to count past 5.

Whenever I've need God he has been there, sometimes even when I thought that I did not need him he was there. He did not always do everything that I asked of him and i still have had to endure hardships that I feel I don't deserve. You were right to say earlier that you are unworthy of praise, but I see the good in you (or the God in you). He has blessed us all and he has been present when we have gone through traumatic events that we did not deserve. All I know is that hindsight has allowed me to be grateful for the challenges I've faced that has allowed me to become stronger, more compassionate, forgiving and wiser.

Sometimes I'm jealous of the sheltered 2 year old I use to be, happy and naive. I would never trade that for the wealth of experiences, love and discernment that I gained in my life. That you for another thought provoking post.

NAVAL LANGA said...

The greatest gift from the God to us is the permanent thirst to see the God or feel the God.

Naval Langa
HUDSON RIVER VALLEY PAINTINGS

Chatty Crone said...

Well, that is the wonderful thing about life, especially here in the US. We can all have different beliefs and we are free to choose what we believe and to share them - with others - even if they are different.

I'm a Christian. One of my best friends is Jewish.

And your Blog I enjoy and a lot of it I understand and agree with - from a spiritual/psychological viewpoint.

I don't agree with your view of God here, but I defend your right to feel and say it.

I don't have the answers you ask specifically. I do know that through suffering and saddness comes knowledge and stength.

There are two books out that try to explain it - one is called The WIll of God and the other one is on the best sellers list now, called The Shack.

I have had so much tragedy in my own life and have questioned why myself many times, I may never know the why. But what I do know is that I have turned out to be a very strong and loving person in spite of it.

Sincerely,
Chatty

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I really like your blog. We think alike about many things. I'm a devout beliver in meditation. I don't know where I'd be without my meditation and finding my center.
I'm also a Reiki queen.
Take care and I'll be back to visit.....

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Talon said...

I always think in terms of balance...if there is good in the world, there will be bad. The balance shifts and changes.

AngelBaby said...

God is everywhere and all knowing so did he just let this happen or was it man's choice to have this happen? God is Love and so are we. We choose how we see God and what we did that we need to blame on him.

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

Anne Partain said...

When I thought as a child I saw God outside me. With each step of maturity this God becomes me.

It's always been about me. Me is all I really have to work with, what I want and how I feel.

And then me becomes All.

However I see God is how I see myself, even if I'm hiding this truth from myself.

How do you see God?

Aggie said...

Human kind tends to play the blame game with God ... but I say, again, that it was the choice of man to turn the teachings of life and love aside. All those evil men lived by their own (twisted) rules and other (weak minded) people followed. The basic rule (and choose any religion here) is thou shalt not kill. Hmm, who made the choice for Hitler? Why I think he did. There were many others who refused to partake in these heinous crimes of humanity against humanity. They practised God's love in their hearts.
It's a choice we all make daily. Our choice.

RennyBA said...

Its kind of difficult for me to answer this; I believe there is a higher power, but from there, I'm not all that sure.

Mark said...

Interesting thoughts, you will find the answer to your question in your own heart.

When Nietzsche proclaimed that god is dead, he was not being literal in that a God was dead. He was saying that man had killed God off that man had evolved beyond God in the sense of man's needs.
We are forever linked to our source, for we are part of source.

Liara COvert said...

Another perspective is that God is not a concept to be found outside the self, but rather, within through reconnecting with pure joy and bliss. You know it when you feel it--inner knowing--consciousness--it defies words.

C. Om said...

Ha ha ha! I love it! I am loving how you are bringing the discussion straight to us and provoking real mind expanding concepts.

God is dead! But when I say that, I'm saying the old image of God that the powers that be promoted and the mainstream followed.

An awakening of mass proportions is at hand. Mankind is maturing and many of us are realizing that 'God' is but a word and a false concept. We are realizing that there really is a very real Universal Intelligence (or whatever you prefer to call it) that we are all connected to. We are all part of it, and yet it is complete within us.

Science, philosophy, and spirituality are converging on the same conclusion. We can say the old 'God' is dead. And we are making more clear and widely recognized the attributes of the Divine that have been spoken about by sages and mystics for thousands of years.

Buddha said...

A concept is what we think about things. A concept is not the thing.
A concept of the universe is not the universe and a concept of God is not God.
As you can see at the very beginning of my post the concept of God as Ruler, Judge and Creator is not mine. I did not invent it, I got it from the bible as I was growing up.
I am a Zen Buddhist, well at least I am trying, so I do not believe in the concept of God as ruler at all, but there are a lot of people that do. I know, I did believe in it for a long time. But all that time I had a nagging question. If God is the ruler, why then does he allow bad things to happen? Don’t you think that is a fair question from a subject to his ruler? On that note:

@ Psiplex – You are a very passionate loving human being. It is a joy to have you as a friend. Thank you for the wonderful poem!

@ Sandy – God is love and wisdom, I totally agree!

@ Tamara – I do not understand God. I can’t :)

@ Naval – And this is the expression of that thirst!

@ Chatty – I do not see God as a ruler :)

@ Midlife – Thank you for stopping by! I meditate daily too :)

@ Talon – I like the way you think!

@ Angel – It is true God did not do anything.
The question was is that what a loving and just God should do?

@ Anne – I will let you know at the end of the series :)

@ Aggie – Same as what I said to Angel :)

@ Renny – That is a very honest and therefore excellent answer!

@ Mark – That I agree!

@ Liara – And I agree with that too!

@ C. Om – In order to free a mind you have to break the bondage of the past concepts and sometime you have to use dynamite! You got it pal :)

surjit said...

God is ONE.We are no one to judge HIM.We are all HIS part.So we must love each other.
God bless you all.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Of course the Old Testament God was all in favour of smiting the unbeliever - he famously threw us out of paradise, destroyed us with water and i suppose the religious would argue that the WWs were him smiting us with fire

To misquote a famous british comedy series "It says in the Bible that God created man in his own image, but it would be a sad outlook for Christians around the globe if he looked anything like most of the people I know"

God created us with free will, then said "But hey, don't you dare go use it and eat that apple" - so whoever said that God was fair?

Lydia said...

God is my higher power who gently directed me to sobriety. I have a strong sense that God needs my love as much as I need God's love. So I love God.

matthew said...

Why would you come to an atheist blog site and ask us to come give our opinions on your site, then call us all heretics in your blog? I believe we all have the right to choose what we want to believe, that is a birth right as human beings. I have a simple question for you. Think about all of the bad things you noted in your blog....now, remove god and religion from the equation, would these horrible things still have happened?

Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

It was very interesting to read this posts and the others before, because I believe many people feel that way, because they just can't understand why God would allow bad things to happen.

I personally went through some really, really nasty experiences in life, that kind of thing that people usually don't survive or at least they crack up completely, but funny enough, I am fine, nobody was really able to do any harm to me at all. And you know why?

After all I think, because I have had a vision of God all along and this is very, very ironic indeed! because when i grew up i was always told by my parents that there was no god and allpeople who believed were mislead idiots.
(Now you can probably imageine what nice people my parents were...!)

But eventhough i first believed them, when I was a child, I somehow ened up with a vision of both love and God which I found within myself and that was the light at the end of the tunnel, that was and is what I believe in.

It's not a specific religion and I don't pray it's just that I thought about what the term "God" would cover and the same with "love". So even if you don't see love anywhere or if there doesn't seem to be any God visuable to you, you can still yourself live in the image of it and both will become real.

You can make love excist everywhere and you can power the excistance of God.

i don't believe God is an old man in heaven. God to me is a synonym for goodness, infinite love and understanding and this is my only home and the only "thing" that I guides me.

Life can be quite some crappy challenge, but that doesn't have anything to do with God, it only has to do with what we ourselves create and attract.

But the vision of a higher state can easily carry us unharmed through the worste challenges you can imagine.

much love, sarah sofia
Here's some inspiration:
http://ahealthierwayofliving.blogspot.com/
-look under "the wings that fly us home"! and there's another one of my posts which might interest you as well: http://livinginscandinavia.blogspot.com/2009/02/how-not-to-make-wrong-decision.html

Intergalactic Hussy said...

Growing up, I was more of a deist or pantheist. I never prayed to any god because it felt wrong. I felt like I was being crazy; I actually used to talk to the stars because I could at least see that they were watching over me.

I was raised Jewish (reform), so Jesus/Christian God was a foreign idea to me for quite some time. My parents have their beliefs, but never drilled them into me (as if to say I was going to "Hell" for not-- like some do). But Jews don't believe in Heaven and Hell the same way Christians and Muslims do. It's only described as closeness or distance to or from God.

Now, I consider myself an atheist and/or humanist, but terms don't always convey how you feel. I'm into Zen Buddhism ideals as a life philosophy but not religion (many opinions differ on where Buddhism really stands). But, yes, I can't bring myself to believe those fantastic stories. I see some religious stories as good messages while many are quite brutal and violent.

How creationists feels about creation is sort of how I feel about evolution. Though, there is no belief to speak of, no doubt I feel apart of this wondrous bigger picture that's inspiring and beautiful. Nature and the universe are amazingly beautiful and that's my inspiration. Some people may call that "god" but I don't feel the need to. Everything's complete without the word.

BEAST FCD said...

I think my answer is in this post:


http://atheisthaven.blogspot.com/2007/12/dreadfulness-of-death-unhealthy.html

Regards
Beast FCD

OJ said...

That all the tragic events that you mentioned in the original post happened becomes slightly less surprising when you realize that maybe there is no puppeteer in the heavens controlling any of what goes on on earth. Thus there is no expectation of justice or fairness or the idea of some "larger plan."

You wrote, "If rules are broken [God] swiftly dispatches the proper punishments. Some times the punishment is harsh – think of the biblical flood – but it is always just." (My emphasis added.)

Clearly you haven't read too much of the bible. There are numerous occasions in biblical stories where God is sick and disgusting and anything but just. For instance, 2 Kings 2, verses 22 to 24, regarding Elisha:

"2:22 So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.
2:23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
2:24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them."

So God had 2 bears eat 42 children for mocking a man's baldness? That doesn't sound very just to me.

Ted Bagley said...

I'm sorry,
OJ, if you're the Ruler then everything you do is just. It doesn't matter what it is. A real subject does not question! If rules are broken and you get caught, you die, one way or another.
Anonymous,
Your first sentence was about what Buddha o' Hollywood used to think. How can that offend anyone? Those were his thoughts at one time.
What does offending anyone have to do with the Middle Way anyway? The Middle Way is between one Self and another Self that is not that Self but wants to be a different Self.
And at least I'm not anonymous, by the way! I can can hide behind as many dead Buddhas I need to say the things I need to say.
That last was for you, Buddha.

PhillyChief said...

Hmmm, allow me to paraphrase these illustrious comments...


Imagination - a part and another part of what entertains
my mind
the next dream, the functional dreaming
the space of the universe containing a being of
coolness - both mac and daddy
functioning in imagination
as imagination
Your part - a part and another part
timeless dreams that imagine what existence brings about

----------------------

My god is a bbq brisket, and the yummy taste born of it, in each of our mouths

-------------------

It can be hard to explain to an abused child why he's being abused, but that's not my responsibility. Hey, I got smacked around from time to time too, but I deserved it. I know whenever I needed this kid's abuser, he was there for me and he's there for everyone really, despite the abuse. I think it best to look at those abuses as challenges. I do, and today I feel stronger and wiser for having been abused.

-------------------

The greatest gift from heroin is the permanent hunger to get more heroin and to feel heroin in our veins.

--------------------

That's cool and all that you have your opinions, but mine are better and you'll see that if you read these two books which pimp my opinions.

--------------------

Ohm

------------

I love lamp

-------------

God is mustard and we choose how to spread him, but we shouldn't blame him for heartburn.

----------------

As I matured, my ego grew large enough to absorb my invisible friend, and now he looks like me

----------------

Guns are cool, unless you shoot people with them. Some refuse to shoot people with their guns, but it's a choice we make every day. Our choice.

--------------

Its kind of difficult for me to answer this; I believe there is a monster under my bed, but from there, I'm not all that sure.

--------------

I read Nietzsche. Nietzsche's hard. I didn't get any of it, but I can fake it. Kumbaya

----------------

I like to cum. I call cumming "god"

---------

Michael Jackson is the King of Pop. We are no one to judge HIM. We must love each other, and share Jesus Juice.
HEE-hee (crotch grab) (moonwaaaaaaaaaaaaalk)

--------------

I couldn't shake my addiction, so I substituted it for one of my own imagination. Cool.

--------------

You're irrational and to show that to you, I'm going to be rational. Now do you see the error of your ways?

----------------

Life often sucks, but I think of happy things and randomly call them god. It's nice. Here are some links...

-----------

I'm so convinced I'm right, I'm posting anonymously

-----------

yadda yadda

----------

Check out my blog

-----------------

You silly Buddhist, you haven't read the Christian Bible to see how much of a dick god is. I don't believe there is a god, but definitely that god that doesn't exist is the Abrahamic one, you silly Buddhist.

---------------

Some of you guys are idiots. How can you not see that My Way is between the Milky Way and the highway which is not a byway, but would love to be a skyway, or at least have an overpass.

-------------

FrodoSaves said...

Philly,

I think you have accurately summarized some of the exemplary non-thinking displayed for us today.

*Applause*

FS

Christian Apologist said...

Isn't it interesting to note that Stalin and Mao both denied the existence of God, and Hitler based a lot of his personal philosophy around Neitzche. All the atrocities commited by misguided christians pale in comparison to those of the three you mentioned above.

PhillyChief said...

Isn't it interesting how Christians blindly assign the atrocities of Stalin and Mao on being atheists, when there's nothing to connect the dots between atheism and their policies?

Isn't it interesting how Christians try to also do this with Hitler, when Hitler wasn't even an atheist, invoking god in most of his speeches?

Isn't it interesting how Christians who know nothing about Nietzsche other than that he was an atheist lay Nazi atrocities at his feet (and therefore, at atheism's feet)? Ever wonder how embarrassed they feel when it's pointed out to them that Nietzsche's sister rewrote her brother's works, invoking it with rampant anti-semitism and German nationalism (two things he openly opposed and condemned in his work), and that it was this crap that Hitler took a liking to as a soldier in WWI (at which time it was handed out to soldiers, and might I remind you, the Kaiser's reign was assuredly not atheistic) and later used for his Nazis? Perhaps we can ask 'Christian Apologist'.

But as hard as it is to ignore such nonsense, let's do so for a moment and simply take it at face value and examine what the argument is. It's essentially 'you think we're bad, check them out', which as far as promoting moral superiority, well, that's really weak.

Ah, but CA did say "misguided christians", which implies Christianity isn't at fault, but rather then doesn't that also mean that Christianity was powerless to prevent them from performing their evil? I think that's perhaps more damning than 'you think we're bad, check them out'.

Proof of the last tidbit is CA him/herself, for despite Christian teachings of turn the other cheek and not to bear false witness, what do we have? A bitter lashing out at atheists and bearing false witness to do so.

Christian morality - nothing like it.

Christian Apologist said...

PhillyChief said...
Isn't it interesting how Christians blindly assign the atrocities of Stalin and Mao on being atheists, when there's nothing to connect the dots between atheism and their policies?


Read the book 'Gulag Archipelago' by Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn. As a survivor of 20 years in the soviet gulags his experience and insight are amazing. He does a really good job of connecting the dots.

As for Hitler, the whole holocaust was the result of his desire to create a race of 'ubermenshen' by social darwinism. breading those he deemed 'ubermenshen' (Arians) and exterminating those he deemed 'untermenshen' (Jews, Gypsies, and Gays). This may not be explicitly Atheistic but there is nothing in Atheist philosophy that I know of that would say this is wrong since morality tends to be subjective in most brands of atheism.

I did not post as a bitter lash out against anyone but as a counterpoint to the original post.

PhillyChief said...

First, no he doesn't. His tale is sad, but he doesn't connect the dots. He instead simply asserts the need for god belief as if that would magically prevent evil, which you yourself have admitted isn't true.

Second, it's intellectually shameful to give as an argument "go read..." instead of presenting an argument yourself.

Your Hitler/Nazi history is on par with your Nietzsche knowledge.
• Hitler never used the term "social Darwinism" and never gave such a reason for killing Jews, but he did say:
"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.." - Hitler, Mein Kampf

• "Social Darwinism" is a term coined by business and economy types to justify exploiting the weak, which grew out of earlier concepts of racism and Imperialism. It has nothing to do with Darwin and evolution, it just exploits the idea of natural selection, just as the racism of Imperialism exploited the Bible for justification (see Malthus). The racial purity goal was a sentiment shared by many nations at the time, either officially or unofficially. You can look no further than the UK or America for examples. Speaking of which, Hitler was inspired by what we did to Native Americans here.

• There is no such thing as "Atheist philosophy". Atheism is a position, not a set of beliefs, so to say "there is nothing in Atheist philosophy that I know of that would say this is wrong" is like saying "there is nothing in chocolate loving philosophy that I know of that would say this is wrong". It's nonsensical.


Oh, and my mistake for taking a claim that not believing in your god leads people to commit atrocities comparable to Stalin, Mao and Hitler as being a bitter lashing out, when I suppose it was merely a cold and calculated comment made without emotion.

Christian Apologist said...

I'm sorry if I've offended you in any way Philly chief. If you are upset about me bringing up the holocaust and the gulags you should be upset with Buddha as he is the one who initially broached the subject. All I was trying to point out is that these men who did these things were explicitly not christians. I dont care what Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf. His actions are very much against the whole biblical message and gospel of Christ which is new life through a rebirth of our spirits. We cannot blame God for the actions of men. He has given us free will and if we choose to do evil he will not always stop us as that would violate our free will.

matthew said...

Hey CA, you should check out a book called "Liberal Fascism" the title does not imply what it is really about. You will find alot of information on exactly what these men, Hitler, Il Duce and Stalin actually believed and taught to others. It is an interesting read, eye opening as well.

PhillyChief said...

Clearly no, I'm not upset about you bringing up the Holocaust or gulags, but rather your attempt to pin such things on atheism. That's crap.

What's also crap is invoking the No True Scotsman fallacy.

We cannot blame God for the actions of men.

The actions of humans has no bearing on whether god belief is warranted.

Those actions are relevant, however, when you make claims about the effect and value of that belief or lack thereof. Belief is no guarantee for good, and no belief is no guarantee for bad. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous, and it's telling that your attempts to show otherwise have included logical fallacies, misinformation and attempts to change the subject.

FrodoSaves said...

CA,

All I was trying to point out is that these men who did these things were explicitly not christians.

What you need to take away from this conversation is an awareness that Hitler et al did not act the way they did because they weren't Christians. Many believers seem to be hung up on this notion that disbelief causes immorality, when in fact there is no such relationship. As Philly pointed out, Hitler was titularly a Christian. Stalin, Mao were ideologues to the extent that they were almost deities in their own religions. Pol Pot never had a personally cult, but he fostered a similar pseudo-religious myth about the State in the minds of Cambodians. The point is that in all these cases, atheism was incidental to their extreme immorality. Pretending that religion causes people to be good is willful naivety, nothing more.

Christian Apologist said...

What's also crap is invoking the No True Scotsman fallacy.

Its not crap because the standard for what a true christian is have been written down in the New Testament for close to 2000 years. Therefore I am not using a falacy.

The actions of humans has no bearing on whether god belief is warranted.

Tell that to Buddha who used it as justification for said: "I am not asking much of God. I am not asking for armies of angels and partying of the seas but just a little gesture, like killing Hitler, Stalin, Mao and a couple more assholes.
Remember Hitler assassination attempt. Everybody in the room dies, he escapes without a scratch. Nice Going Jehovah!

So my question to God’s loyal subjects is:
What kind of ruler is your God?
"

Those actions are relevant, however, when you make claims about the effect and value of that belief or lack thereof. Belief is no guarantee for good, and no belief is no guarantee for bad. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous, and it's telling that your attempts to show otherwise have included logical fallacies, misinformation and attempts to change the subject.

I have not been attempting to show any such thing. You misread into my statement about Hitler et. all that I think all Athiests are immoral. I do not think any such thing. I was once an athiest myself and know this is not true.

Neither have I presented any misinformation. You have contested that my information is incorrect but have failed to cite any authority on the matter. I cited Solzynitzyn as an authority for my argument. As for falacy I have adressed that above. And in what way have I attempted to change the subject?

Christian Apologist said...

Matthew,

I appreciate the reference but unfortunately I have a whole stack of books on my to read list, and this subject is not really of great interest to me. I am sufficiently satisfied that these were evil men and in the end they will be judged by a just God, and most likely be annihilated in the fires of hell.

PhillyChief said...

Solzynitzyn isn't an authority, he's merely a novelist, and good thing for you he isn't considered an authority since his position was that Jews were to blame for the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917! Not someone you want to be citing.

Since you've asked for authorities, a good read is Was atheism the cause of 20th century atrocities? Here's a brief excerpt, where he responds to the accusation that atheism was responsible for the atrocities you cited:

As a student of Soviet history and communist ideology (MA in Russian Studies, Georgetown University), I was surprised to encounter such accusations when I first heard them. Never in my studies had I come across this view, neither in the scholarly literature nor in the classroom. Some might dismiss this as simply evidence of the university’s deeply liberal and secular bias, yet scholars of a conservative bent, such as Hannah Arendt and Richard Pipes (with whom I tended to agree), were a core part of my curriculum. My graduate studies were also completed at a university founded and run by Jesuits, not exactly proponents of skepticism.


There's no clear right or wrong interpretation of the Bible. If there was, there wouldn't be over 1000 branches of Christianity; therefore, yes, claiming another self-professed Christian is not a true Christian because his interpretation doesn't jive with yours is an example of NTS. Plus, inspiration for Hitler is found in none other than Martin Luther, so I'm afraid if you go looking for motivations for the Holocaust, what you'll find probably won't sit too well with you.


And in case you forgot, yes, you have presented misinformation concerning social Darwinism, Nietzsche, the existence of so-called "atheist philosophy", and the motivations for Stalin, Mao and Hitler.


"I was once an athiest myself..."

Which is precisely why I find the word "atheist" inadequate, for it merely represents one's position, but not how or why they hold it, which I find far more important than the position itself. How you or CS Lewis was an atheist and how I'm an atheist are VERY different.

matthew said...

Fair enough CA, I was merely trying to help. You were attempting to explain Hitlers motivations, or the beliefs that they were founded in, "Liberal Fascism" is a great source for the information you were looking for. According to "Liberal Fascism" these men actually meshed their beliefs with popular riligious beliefs of the time. Hitler used the writings of Martin Luther for example. Though they may not have been true christians, according to you, they still based their radical ideas on religious, often christian, beliefs. It is unfortunate, but it is the truth and its all there in writing for anyone to see.

Bullwinkle Muse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bullwinkle Muse said...

The contention that the presence or absence of morality in a person is directly determined by the presence or absence of religiosity or faith in them, is disputed by the Christian Bible itself:
"Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature (emphasis mine) things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law" Rom.2:14

Clearly, there lies within people a moral compass of sorts independent of any organized religion or written tenets.

Conversely, one's lack of, or lapse in, morality can no more justly be blamed on one's professed religion than the speed limit can be blamed for the speeder.
If you require a God who makes it impossible to violate his laws, in order to believe he exists, then you would already have no choice but to believe if such a God did exist.
If on the other hand, you're inclined not to believe any god exists, then it hardly matters how faithfully anyone else follows theirs.

February 25, 2009 10:42 PM


Posted to God concepts - Part 2
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PhillyChief said...

"Conversely, one's lack of, or lapse in, morality can no more justly be blamed on one's professed religion than the speed limit can be blamed for the speeder."

There are plenty of examples of immoral behavior by people who interpret their holy books as dictating such behavior, and before I hear another "they're not interpreting it correctly", let's remember that they see their interpretations as clearly as you see yours, and, guided by faith, they KNOW they're right.


"If on the other hand, you're inclined not to believe any god exists, then it hardly matters how faithfully anyone else follows theirs."

Not exactly, because many religious people insist that their religion is necessary for morality and that their religion is the answer for immorality, then immoral behavior by religious people has high evidential value against such claims.

Christian Apologist said...

How is it that you can regard Solzynitzyn as a mere novelist when he spent a great part of his life in the soviet gulags and before and after that as a citizen of the USSR? To me this makes him an authority on the Soviet oppression. You however cite a blogger as your authority in opposition to Solzynitzyn. A blogger who does not even give his credentials. Your standards of authority are woefully lacking.

There are plenty of examples of immoral behavior by people who interpret their holy books as dictating such behavior, and before I hear another "they're not interpreting it correctly", let's remember that they see their interpretations as clearly as you see yours, and, guided by faith, they KNOW they're right.

This is the precise problem. Biblical interpretation does not use faith. Application and trusting that the bible is the inspired word of God take faith, but when it comes to interpretation reason is what is supposed to be used. We compare and contrast different scriptures with each other to try and understand what the author is actually saying instead of trying to read into it our own biases.

PhillyChief said...

Solzynitzyn witnessed oppression, but that doesn't make his theories as to what would motivate people to oppress any more credible than his theory that Jews were to blame for the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917.

Solzynitzyn also confused targeting religion with atheism, which is a mistake. The targeting of religion has nothing to do with atheism, but rather has to do with power, which is the same reason one religion targets another, it's about eliminating competition. The Russian church opposed the Communists because they lost their privileged position they had before with the Czars, and fomented rebellion, so naturally the Communists went after them.

If you read the link I provided you, the mere "blogger" stated that he never even heard of what you're asserting while pursuing his MA in Russian studies from Georgetown U, run by Jesuits and having as part of the core curriculum the works by accredited scholars Hanah Arendt and Richard Pipes. In fact, there is no credible scholar of Russian history, the Soviet Union, Communism or Socialism who supports your claim.

All of this, however, is off-topic since there is no "atheist philosophy" as you originally alleged; therefore, making atheism a motivator for one's actions is assigning responsibility for action on something which can do no such thing.

We compare and contrast different scriptures with each other to try and understand what the author is actually saying instead of trying to read into it our own biases.

Yet people's biases are unavoidable, so you get over 1000 Christian sects, and within that, countless personal interpretations which are unique. You're deluding yourself that your interpretation is the correct interpretation.

Bullwinkle Muse said...

CA, what's at issue here is not the interpretation of a book.

To an theist, what you're basically doing is handing him a hand-drawn sketch of Des Moines, Iowa and telling him he needs to live there in order to be happy; and that he hasn't found his way there because of his failure to make out your drawing for directions.

Christian Apologist said...

All of this, however, is off-topic since there is no "atheist philosophy" as you originally alleged; therefore, making atheism a motivator for one's actions is assigning responsibility for action on something which can do no such thing.

You cant honestly be trying to say that your beleif in the non-existence of God has not had any effect on the way you live or the decisions you make. Every human being tries to act in a way which is consistent with what they think is true. If you think that there is no God and hold this as truth then it does effect your actions.

Yet people's biases are unavoidable, so you get over 1000 Christian sects, and within that, countless personal interpretations which are unique. You're deluding yourself that your interpretation is the correct interpretation.

With all due respect you are wrong here. If we are properly introspective and open minded we can come to see our own biases and get over them. Just observe the strides that have happened over the last 50 years in America. A lot of people used to be biased against others based on the color of their skin. Now we have a president who is black. if that is not a defeat of biases I dont know what is. furthermore if we are unable to avoid our own biases then all the natural sciences are futile because there would be no objective observer possible.

Christian Apologist said...

bullwinkle.

While I find your analogy humurous I dont really understand where it comes from.

PhillyChief said...

You cant honestly be trying to say that your beleif in the non-existence of God has not had any effect on the way you live or the decisions you make.

First, atheism is the position that all god claims so far are unwarranted.

Second, the effect of a position is not a philosophy. It can lead to one, but it is not one. For instance, god belief is not a philosophy, but it can lead you to forming one or embracing an existing philosophy, like Christianity, Islam, etc.

With all due respect you are wrong here. If we are properly introspective and open minded we can come to see our own biases and get over them.

I could line up 100s of Christians who would agree with your statement yet disagree with your Biblical interpretations, and use your statement as proof that they're right and you're wrong.

A lot of people used to be biased against others based on the color of their skin.

And still are, but being biased against gays and citing the Bible for justification of that bias is now the fashion. You could say gay is the new black. ;)

furthermore if we are unable to avoid our own biases then all the natural sciences are futile because there would be no objective observer possible.

Rather then stick their heads in the sand proclaiming bias is no more, scientists accept the potential for bias, which is why science requires corroboration. No claim is accepted without testing and re-testing and subsequent verification from others. If you knew anything about science, you wouldn't have made such a comment, but I figure your knowledge of science is up there with your knowledge of history, sociology, philosophy, and logic.

Bullwinkle Muse said...

CA,

My analogy is to illustrate this: From your position as an apologetic, you're faced with the dilemma of attempting to provide an avenue (the Bible as you understand it), leading to a destination (God as you understand Him) to someone (the atheist) who isn't interested in moving to Des Moines.

And to take my analogy further, you're pitching an itinerary to people who have met people from Des Moines who don't seem any better off for having moved there.

A better analogy might have been to sustitute Des Moines with, say, Blue Balls, Nebraska....someplace an atheist wouldn't already know exists.

Christian Apologist said...

Actually bullwinkle you are describing evangelism, not apologetics. Apologetics seeks to give a rational defense for why we believe what we believe.

Christian Apologist said...

Philly,

It has become clear to me that I am not communicating effectively with you for whatever reason. You are constantly misunderstanding what I am trying to say and accusing me of things I am not guilty of because of it. I take full responsibility for this, but it seems futile to continue this discussion with you any further, since I dont know where I am erring.
I hope you find satisfaction in life and maybe I will root for the chiefs to go all the way to the superbowl in your honor next year.

Bullwinkle Muse said...

CA,
I'm cognizant of the distinction, but the situation remains the same. Whether you're explaining how and why you got there, or why someone else ought to go, it boils down to a lack of commonality. Some frame of reference that can be agreed upon.

matthew said...

"You cant honestly be trying to say that your beleif in the non-existence of God has not had any effect on the way you live or the decisions you make. Every human being tries to act in a way which is consistent with what they think is true. If you think that there is no God and hold this as truth then it does effect your actions."

I completely agree with you. There are many "Philosophies" out there, We can have a "Soccer mom philosophy" or a "Cashier philosophy" and make them all work coherently with different lifestyles etc. That is the great thing about philosophy. You can throw the word "philosophy" at the end of almost any descriptive term and make it sound deep. I will admit that the fact I am an Atheist does determine how I handle certain situations but I wouldnt go as far as to call it a philosophy or even a belief "system", simply my belief.

"With all due respect you are wrong here. If we are properly introspective and open minded we can come to see our own biases and get over them. Just observe the strides that have happened over the last 50 years in America. A lot of people used to be biased against others based on the color of their skin. Now we have a president who is black. if that is not a defeat of biases I dont know what is. furthermore if we are unable to avoid our own biases then all the natural sciences are futile because there would be no objective observer possible."

Are you denying the fact that there ARE over 1000 christian sects based on different interpretations and personal biases? If that is the case a simple google search will bring you around. I like to think of it as two seperate perspectives with one reality. You have "How things should be in an ideal world" and you have "How things REALLY are." We are making strides, great strides, but we are far from perfect and biases do and will exist....Google it. it seems the only area where there have been no real "strides" made is the area of religion, hence having over 1000 christian sects and the sect wars still raging in the middle east and other countries between the Suni and Shite's.

PhillyChief said...

It has become clear to me that I am not communicating effectively with you for whatever reason.

On the contrary, you've communicated how mistaken you could be on a pretty broad range of things rather effectively.

Christian Apologist said...

Are you denying the fact that there ARE over 1000 christian sects based on different interpretations and personal biases? If that is the case a simple google search will bring you around. I like to think of it as two seperate perspectives with one reality. You have "How things should be in an ideal world" and you have "How things REALLY are." We are making strides, great strides, but we are far from perfect and biases do and will exist....Google it. it seems the only area where there have been no real "strides" made is the area of religion, hence having over 1000 christian sects and the sect wars still raging in the middle east and other countries between the Suni and Shite's.


No I was simply denying the assertion that we cannot overcome our biases.

Rob R said...

Here's my response to the problem of evil.

I don't know that it directly addressess all of the specific issues raised here, but it is very relevent.

Rob R said...

After looking over some of the recent discussion, I agree that atheism was not the cause of the attrocious actions of so many of the world's brutal tyrants who claimed it.

It's no more the cause of these attrocities than the lack of a seat belt is the cause of someone flying through their windshield in a car reck.

PhillyChief said...

I would say cup holder instead of seat belt.