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Some Anti-Theist Religious Bits & Pieces: Round Fourteen: Part Two

14 min read
Some Anti-Theist Religious Bits & Pieces: Round Fourteen: Part Two

Of all of those Big Questions central to philosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, the realms of theology and religions and the nature of deities continue to fascinate. Opinions proliferate in books, articles, videos, conversations in bars and pubs, and in fact anywhere and everywhere two or more humans are in proximity. There’s the pro side; there’s the anti-side. There aren’t too many fence-sitters. I’m still in the anti-camp as the following bits and pieces illustrate.

Regarding God

*All of those traits normally associated with God – omniscient; omnipotent; omni-benevolent; omni-temporal; omnipresent – aren’t actually listed or given in the Bible. It’s all just pure speculation.

*Now I don’t personally give a rat’s behind about what True Believers believe and specifically the specific brand of deity Christians subscribe to – what they call God and what I call the invisible magic man in the sky – a magic man who Christians actually believes exists. What they believe is their business. But if they want to convince me about God’s reality, then they must provide actual evidence that I can verify all by myself. More to the point, they have to come up with something that constitutes evidence that their God, and only their God, and not some other brand of god(s), could or did do. That I’d suggest is ‘Mission: Impossible’ since they’ve yet to supply and hardcore evidence for any deity, far less their own deity.

*God (or any other deity) needs to be proven and not just asserted.

*Even proving the actual existence of a supernatural Jesus doesn’t in and of itself prove the Christian God exists or existed. Finding the grave-sites and tombstones of Adam and Eve doesn’t prove God either, and so on Biblically speaking. The Bible is not evidence for God. Your personal spiritual experience(s) -if any – are not of any value in proving to me that your God exists. Just imagining something is so – like God – doesn’t make it so. Theological arguments (i.e. – angels and pinheads) are just that – arguments. So I invite readers to get back to me when they can actually provide real evidence for their ‘True’ Beliefs, the sort of evidence that would be acceptable in a courtroom trial or in a published scientific paper.

*No one has ever given me sufficient evidence to adopt the position that God or any other deity actually exists. If they want to believe that God exists – fine. They say that there are sufficient rational bits and pieces that warrant that belief – fine. They say that gives them actual knowledge of God’s existence – fine. Now can they tell me what the evidence is that they have and which I can independently verify that convinces any of them that God exists and therefore should convince me that their ‘True’ Beliefs are actually true?

*I might draw the attention of True Believers to the TV show “MythBusters”. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of beliefs held by the great unwashed – modern day myths. You’ll note however in this program how all of these beliefs, all of these myths, are put to actual experimental tests in order to provide actual evidence which will confirm these myths as actual or plausible, or confirm that these myths are not possible and not plausible. Experiment and evidence; something you cannot actually provide when it comes to the God myth. So God remains in experimental limbo-land. Of course if God actually exists He could correct that quick-smart by providing His own evidence and proving His own existence. The fact that He doesn’t speaks volumes about the reality of His actual existence.

*If anyone should ever prove that God (of the Bible) actually exists, then He should be immediately arrested, put on trial, hence duly convicted of having committed numerous crimes against humanity, and executed.

*Now I realise that the world is a very terrifying place, therefore you feel very insecure and alone and small within this sea of humanity that’s totally cold and indifferent and uncaring about you. So, it’s no wonder that you choose to live as much as possible in a la-la-land wonderland inhabited by an invisible magic man in the sky, a Big Brother figure who will look after you.

*I propose that God is actually a magical flying pink elephant how farted the Universe into existence. Justification? We know that farting exists, even in the animal kingdom (my cats pass wind for example); we know that flying exists, from insects to pterosaurs to birds to bats to airplanes; we know that pink exists (quite apart from the entertainer); we know that elephants exist too. So a flying pink elephant that farted the Universe into existence is way more rational that presupposing any invisible magic man in the sky did the deed since we have no actual knowledge that such a creator deity actually even exists.

*Some Godly Oops:

– God is hidden from our sight. Why? God doesn’t actually exist, IMHO.

– God only appeared in one tiny geographical region of the Earth. Why? The humans who invented God in their own image weren’t aware of any other geographies.

– God allows evil to happen. Why? This isn’t really the problem it is reported to be since God is Himself a totally evil being, with more than adequate testimony given in the Old Testament.

– God isn’t an all-loving, omni-benevolent, all-just and all-merciful deity. Why? See the issue with evil immediately above.

– God isn’t all-knowing. Why? God asks questions in the Bible (i.e. – of Adam & Eve for starters). In any event, if you’re an all-knowing being then that alone robs you of your free will.

– God isn’t all powerful since it took Him an entire six ‘days’ to create life, the Universe and everything when He could have done the same in just six nanoseconds. Further, that poor tuckered out and tired old soul had to rest on the seventh ‘day’.

Regarding God’s Creation & The First Cause Argument

*God’s Alleged Creation of the World: There is no scientific mystery about how the Earth came to be formed into existence, nor how the Sun and the rest of the solar system arose. Ditto for the formation and evolution of the Milky Way Galaxy and galaxies in general. The origin of our Universe happened within the wider cosmic context, so in other words there was a before the Big Bang. What the exact circumstances were we don’t (yet) know, but the answer is “we don’t know”, not “God done it”. God is not the default position anytime you come across a scientific unknown. The concept of the ‘God of the gaps’ has been so debunked that no one really takes that argument seriously anymore.

And again, and for the seemingly millionth time I’ve stated this, from nothing, nothing comes; only from something does something come. You can’t create, not even in theory, something from nothing. Therefore something has always existed and therefore there is no need for a creator. Even if there was a creator there’s no requirement that it has to be the Christian God. Perhaps it was some other god(s) who is top dog in some other religious theology. No one has ever explained why is has to be the Christian version of a deity.

*I’m told that “[S]howing the logical impossibility of an infinite past, does NOT require that I pinpoint the moment when it all began. As long as I can show that it had to all begin at some point, my argument for a First Cause stands.” My response is, if you want to actually prove the First Cause argument then actually create something from nothing. That’s actual science. Theoretical philosophical arguments aren’t worth a bucket of spit as actual proof of anything.

*But I’m told that creation can be pinpointed in time. “In any case, every shred of evidence we have indicates that the Universe began to exist 13.7 billion years ago, and we have not a single speck of evidence that anything physical existed prior to that.” My response is, if you have a stick of dynamite and you light the fuse and it goes boom, there clearly was a before-the-boom. If you have a Big Bang that kick-started off our Universe, there clearly had to have been a before-the-bang. Something has to exist first that can go bang before it actually goes bang. This is what is known in the trade as logic.

*Regarding the alleged First Cause, that is the creation of something from nothing, you might, as others have, be tempted to quote physicist / cosmologist Lawrence Krauss’s book “A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing”. Firstly, it’s actually the subtitle that is his main theme, and secondly, there are lots of definitions of “nothing” and Krauss’s definition doesn’t fit the First Cause premise. By the by, Krauss is a confirmed atheist and a rather vocal one at that. Anyway, Krauss’s definition of nothing – and his book title was more likely as not chosen by the publishers, not the author – would be along the following lines.

Go out halfway into space between the Earth and the Moon. Select some random cubic metre of that space. Now perform the following Thought Experiment” and remove all particles (i.e. – electrons, quarks, neutrinos, etc., including all dark matter – whatever that actually is if it really is and is anything of substance with structure) from your chosen cubic metre. Then ditto that by removing all associated radiation (i.e. – photons) and fields (like magnetic fields) and even the gravity contained therein (i.e. – gravitons). What’s left is nothing, but not an absolute nothing, rather a scientific nothing. There is still a something left behind – the Cosmological Constant, Quintessence, Dark Energy, the Vacuum Energy, the Quantum Jitters, or Quantum Fluctuations – call it what you will, but the key word is “energy”. Out of this energy, ‘virtual’ particles, a pair of matter – antimatter particles, can pop into and out of existence. So, something from nothing, yes? No. These ‘virtual’ particles are only ‘virtual’ because they exist so very briefly since they immediately annihilate back into energy, back into the actual energy they arose from in the first place. This is just an example of the energy that can produce matter consistent with Einstein’s famous equation relating mass and energy. Energy, by whatever name you choose to call it, is not nothing in the scientific sense. So that’s Krauss’s version of ‘nothing’. However the ‘nothingness’ of the space containing therein the Vacuum Energy or Quantum Fluctuations can spiral out of control and create out of that energy a Universe from seemingly ‘nothing’.

Not even Krauss explains where the Vacuum Energy (or related synonyms) comes from other than it would appear as if this energy were an intrinsic and not removable part or property of space itself. So to achieve a state of absolute nothingness you’d need to remove the ‘nothingness’ of space itself from our cubic metre of nothingness space.

My use of the word “nothing” eliminates even this energy from our cubic metre of space. Why there is no actual way of doing this, any more than you can remove gravity or magnetism from within that cubic metre, if there was a First Cause then there could not have existed at all within that cubic metre since there wasn’t any cubic meter for anything to have resided in prior to a First Cause. So Krauss is of no help in providing you with a First Cause scenario.

The only problem with this scenario is that the measured value of the Vacuum Energy (or related synonyms) is 120 orders of magnitude less than that which is calculated theoretically. That is the worst discrepancy between observation and theory ever recorded in the entire history of physics so something is screwy somewhere! Until this discrepancy is resolved, I’ll just reserve judgement on Krauss’s (and others) Universe from ‘nothing’ (which is still something).

Regarding God’s Intelligent Design

*God’s Alleged Intelligent Design and Fine-Tuning for Life: Firstly, 99.99999% of the Universe is not designed or fine-tuned for life (as we know it). Random chance might tell account for why just a tiny, tiny, tiny pocket of the Universe is bio-friendly. Post abiogenesis, Darwinian / biological evolution, natural selection and that old catchphrase ‘survival of the fittest’ more than adequately explains biological design. As for human physiology or anatomy, if God designed the human body then He messed it up Big Time. God obviously failed Bio-engineering 101.

In any event, since the wider cosmos has always existed, therefore the laws, principles and relationships part and parcel of the physical sciences and that cosmos has always existed and they just are what they are since after all they have to have some value or configuration. The hand you get dealt from a deck of well shuffled cards isn’t fine-tuned or designed. It just is what it is. Now whether or not the laws, principles and relationships part and parcel of the physical sciences could have been other than what they are, we don’t know. But the answer is, yet again, “we don’t know”, not “God designed and fine-tuned everything so that things turned out the way they did”.

Regarding Jesus

*According to some “[T]here is strong evidence for the existence of Jesus; NOT just in the Bible, as you claimed. Many non-Biblical sources from very near his time specifically mention him and his followers.” That’s of course a nice general sweeping statement without actually providing any specifics that I could independently verify. By the way, “very near his time” is not the same as ‘his time’ and mentioning his followers is not actual evidence of him any more than mentioning Lois Lane is evidence for Superman.

*”But Jesus is nothing like Superman (for which there is, obviously, zero evidence)” is the obvious counter. But neither is there any evidence for a supernatural Jesus. The Bible is just a book and anyone can write words in a book about whatever they like.

*Further, some say that “[T]here is evidence that the Gospel writers were contemporaries both chronologically and geographically to the events they wrote about.” Alas, most Biblical scholars would not agree with you at least about the time frame. The gospels were written many decades after the fact. Just do a Google search. I’ve already confirmed this on Wikipedia and elsewhere. Further, nowhere in the gospels will you find any narrative that the authors of the gospels ever met or talked to Jesus.

*Can True Christian believers cite for me at least one inscription or document – NOT the Bible – that has been dated and authenticated to the era between 1 AD and say 50 AD, an inscription or document that mentions Jesus, especially a supernatural Jesus, one who performed miracles and who was resurrected from the dead? Can they do that? If not then they should just keep quiet about the existence of contemporary evidence for the actual existence of Jesus.

Because here’s the point. Did any of the alleged (500 or so) witnesses (1 Corinthians 15: 6) to the resurrected Jesus, or any of the women or any of the disciples who saw an animated version of him post-crucifixion ever pen their own first person account of this miracle? The answer is an absolute “no”.

*What about Josephus? Josephus wasn’t born until after-the-fact (37 AD – 100 AD). He makes no mention of Jesus until around 93-94 AD in his “Antiquities of the Jews”, failing to mention Jesus in earlier works, and then gives only two brief mentions which have merited much scholarly debate (i.e. – not everyone is convinced of the authenticity of what Josephus allegedly wrote. Further, there are no originals – of course. The earliest copies date to the 11th Century, so we’re dealing with copies of copies of copies; translations of translations of translations. Who can really say what alterations were or might have been made by those Christian monks into whose care was placed the relevant Josephus manuscript?

Even if despite all of the copies and all of the translations and all of the opportunities for those with vested interests to add and/or subtract from what Josephus wrote, what Josephus wrote only gives historical credibility to Jesus the mortal person, not Jesus the supernatural being.

So Christians can rant and rave all they wish but to date no one has ever proven that Jesus ever existed via a contemporary with – but not in – any actual Biblical source.

*Despite the above, some claim that ‘[T]here is strong historical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.” Again we have a sweeping statement without specifics. Even if that’s the case, I’d think that the evidence was in the form of science fantasy or historical fiction. You underestimate the power of the human imagination and of our need for storytelling. How you can distinguish fact from fiction in any written account from 2000 years ago that relates supernatural events is beyond me. You can’t go back and question the witnesses, and cameras and tape recorders and other scientific instrumentation didn’t exist back then. It’s all rather unreliable eyewitness testimony which no longer can be put on trial for cross-examination. And I duly note that Hercules was also resurrected, but I don’t see you promoting that resurrection. Picking and choosing are we? Sorry, there’s the same lack of reliable evidence for Jesus as there is for Hercules.

*More About the Alleged Resurrection of Jesus: I don’t know how many times I have to point this out but there is no other independent source(s) of any kind that dates back to when Jesus allegedly existed and was strutting his stuff that actually mentions him. The Bible and only the Bible mentions him and gives him ‘reality’ and even Biblical texts weren’t contemporary with the actual time of Jesus. And if Jesus existed just because the Bible says so, then by analogy Big Brother must exist (or have existed) just because George Orwell’s “1984” says he did. It is therefore reasonable to be sceptical about the actual existence of Jesus. Further, all of those “Jesus said” quotes are bogus unless Christians can name the scribes who wrote down his words, sermons and conversations.

*The alleged resurrection of Jesus is a scientific impossibility – once you’re dead, you’re dead – unless you’re a science fiction or fantasy or horror writer / author. Oh, by the way, are all those zombies still walking around Jerusalem as related in the New Testament? Of course we’d all know all about the reality of Jesus if only he’d return – as promised – what Christians call the Second Coming. Alas, it appears he must have forgotten to set his alarm clock for he’s now many, many centuries late for his encore.

*A real Jesus, even a real resurrected Jesus still says nothing about the reality of God’s existence. God’s existence and the existence of Jesus are two separate and apart topics and the reality of one has no causal bearing on the reality of the other. In conclusion, Jesus is not someone who is independently verifiable and thus Jesus is not evidence for anything.

*Christian theists do go on, and on, and on, and on, and on about all of this evidence for the existence of a supernatural Jesus and a resurrected Jesus. Yet two of the three major monotheistic religions give the concept of a supernatural / resurrected Jesus the absolute thumbs down. So why doesn’t the Christian theist’s alleged evidence for Jesus cut any ice with the True Believers part and parcel of these two other major faiths? Methinks something is downright screwy with alleged evidence as given by Christian theists – like it doesn’t actually even exist.

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