Home

Codex Reorganization and Revision

Over the next few weeks The Humanist Codex will be undergoing significant reorganization and revision. Some articles will be moved or be taken down for maintenance.

For the Codex itself, Apologies, Critiques, and Positions will be split and re-sorted more appropriately, and most of the essays will be updated and revised.

The references will be re-sorted and upgraded into a new index system allowing for easier sorting by tag.

We appreciate your patience during the change.

Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore…
To be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of Reason
~Martin Luther

 

 

Let’s start with a question.  It’s a simple yes or no question, but it’s a scary one; both frightening and yet breathtakingly simple. I’ve seen every kind of dodge to avoid answering it: it’s inconsequential, it won’t change anything, the premise behind it can never be known so why bother asking, even asking is a deep offence…  but stick with me, because this question immediately and definitively gets to the core of your moral and existential character.

The question is this: If God didn’t exist, would you want to know?

Now think about that honestly for a minute. Don’t worry, it’s not blasphemy, I’m not suggesting He doesn’t exist.  I’m simply asking you to reflect on your own values, both as a person and as a moral agent.  If He didn’t, would you want to know? What would be more important to you, comfort and emotional security, or the truth?

I, for one, would very much like to believe in God.  The world is filled with terrible injustices, and the idea that someday they will all be tallied and accounted for is really quite comforting.  I’m also lonely, in a spiritual sense; there’s nobody quite like me on the planet, and while that uniqueness is wonderful, it’s isolating too.  The existence of God would bring me joy and a sense of companionship.

But those aren’t even the best reasons.  The biggest reason I want to believe is that I really want to know that I’ll see my children, and my parents, when we’ve all passed away.

Oh, I want there to be a God.

So if He brings me comfort and joy, and it’s just my personal belief, maybe the truth of it doesn’t matter.  Indeed, if that was all there was to it, then it seems to me that we should leave all beliefs unbruised.

But when is a personal belief really just personal?

For the most part, you act on your beliefs (in fact, you’re really morally obligated to).  If you think that homosexuality is a sin, you’ll try to steer people from it.  Now that’s not unreasonable, but your beliefs certainly aren’t personal anymore, are they? Your beliefs actually affect a great many people (and the effect is cumulative.  When a gay teen is bullied, beaten, murdered, or shamed into suicide, it’s not the personal belief of one person to blame, but a choir of homophobic rhetoric from ministers, politicians, and good, everyday God-fearing people).

Since your belief in a theistic god (Yahweh, Adonai, Allah, Jehovah, if we were just to stay within within the Abrahamic religions) informs how you interact in the world—how you treat people—it becomes morally imperative that you have some justification for those beliefs.

No one in the KKK thinks that they are racist (after all, it’s not racist if it’s true).  But the world be a better place if they could ignore what they wanted to be true, what was gratifying to believe, and instead just examine their beliefs and how they came by them.  The world would be a better place if those who had used the bible to defend slavery, or practice forced conversion, or burned witches, had all come to their senses sooner.

Now there’s been a great deal of moral progress since the dark ages, but are we done? Are we at the height of it? Every generation has thought itself the apex of morality and progress, the final product of our moral evolution. But they’ve never been right. Ever. So what are the chances that we’ve gotten all the right answers to how we should treat our fellow man? There may be more, quite a lot more, that we need to do, but which we keep outside the realm of honest examination.

Unexamined belief, even with the best of intentions, has led to some of the worst suffering in history. You can say you don’t have to examine your beliefs because you know you’re right,  but that’s the defense of every klansman, slaver, and inquisitor.

“But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” –Jesus, Luke 19:27 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” –Jesus, Matthew 10:34
“But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” –Jesus, Luke 19:27 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” –Jesus, Matthew 10:34

The largest dogmatic organization in the world, the Catholic Church, does in fact examine its own beliefs.  They have changed positions quite a lot in the last 100 years, and they appear on the precipice of a significant shift in tone towards homosexuals, and maybe women too.  But if, 100 years from now, our treatment of homosexuals and of women are looked down upon with the same disgust we now have for slavery, we’re the ones responsible for not holding the church accountable. Every moral advancement has come from people challenging dogmatic beliefs, and has been opposed by those who felt we had reached the apex of morality already. That I can tell, the latter have never been right; there’s always room for improvement.

Truth is the moral bedrock of civilization.  You can’t convict the guilty or set the innocent free—you can not have justice—without truth.  In fact, it’s impossible for anyone unwilling to actively pursue truth (even when it conflicts with their beliefs or things they wish were true) to make any claim to morality. Simply put: if you’re going to believe in a higher power, particularly in a theistic god with specific commandments and injunctions that you’re going to impose in some way on others, you’ve a moral obligation to try to get the right one.

That’s a tall order.

There are several thousand sects of Christianity(1)The World Christian Encyclopedia lists 55,000 denominations of Christianity in 238 countries.  However, while many of these are indeed separate organizations, most do not differentiate belief in any meaningful way.  When including only those with salient differences in belief, the real number is far closer to 3,000. alone.  Most of these (Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Prosperity, Mormon, Baptist, Evangelical, etc) are exclusive; they excommunicate the other sects (and since none of these are a majority, it means that if you’re a Christian, you believe that even most Christians are going to hell(2)Christians sanitize this fact. You are either “saved” or “not saved”. If youàre a Christian, but of the wrong denomination, you are no more saved than a Jew, Hindu, or atheist.).  In fact Jews, Muslims, and Mormons can’t agree, even within themselves, which moral teachings can safely be ignored and which can’t, and that’s just the Abrahamic theologies; there are the three billion people who have never heard of Moses, Abraham, or Jesus.

Indeed, nearly every sect of every theistic religion in history has had two things in common: first, they believe that they hold the key to salvation and moral behavior to the exclusion of everyone else. Second, tenants of their faith oppress and marginalize some people, while revering others.

So how do you pick? How do you know who is right?

At this point, giving up and just choosing the one you like best seems as good a plan as any. Indeed, this is what almost everybody does. Despite the claim that religion makes you moral, you actually use your innate morality and judgement to choose a religion that makes sense to you. If that church begins to get a little radical for you, you convert to another faith(3)Indeed most religions don’t actually lead on moral issues. From anti-semitisim, slavery and forced conversion, to the protection of rapists, the burning of witches, and homosexuality, the church leads from behind, and is dragged, kicking and screaming, into more tolerant positions already claimed by civilized societies, and even then only when they are confronted with irrelevancy, obsolescence, and a dearth of parishioners. People use their own moral judgement to pick a religion. It’s much easier to say that it’s impossible to know, or to claim mystical intuition (that you “just know” the truth, that you feel it in your bones) and find a church that will re-enforce your currently held beliefs (and you can go ahead and pick any set of beliefs you want, somewhere out there is a church that agrees with you), than it is to do the unsettling work of consciously examining your beliefs and their consequences.

But if doing the right thing were easy, everybody would do it.  Failure to think about these things is simply the abdication of our greatest responsibility and our greatest faculty, that which allows us to make our way through the world and make good decisions: reason.

Most theistic religions approve of reasoning when it comes to supporting their faith, reasoning out what the faith of Abraham or Job can tell us, but strongly discourage reasoning when it comes to questioning the faith or the logic of it’s tenants.  They make it an a priori issue which impedes reflective thought: by definition, faith is belief in the absence of reason.  As soon as you have a reason to believe something, it’s no longer faith, it’s knowledge.  Faith cannot exist in the presence of reason; they are mutually exclusive.  Indeed, Christians have go so far as to make knowledge quite literally “the forbidden fruit”, the acquisition of which constitutes original sin(4)Bertrand Russel famously pointed out that there isn’t a single word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence).  The result: questioning your faith is a sin, and supplanting doubt with mystical certainty a virtue.

This is a recipe for disaster.

The the faith approach takes a heavy dose of denial to overcome one obvious fault: it’s phenomenally arrogant. Whatever your faith, most people alive today, with faith no less strong than your own, believe (and nearly all throughout history have believed) that you’re wrong. No matter how strong your faith, you cannot commit it to reality by a force of will.  If you could, then the right religions would be the most extreme ones; I doubt anyone reading this can claim faith stronger or more certain than that of say, the People’s Temple of Jim Jones, ISIS, Heaven’s Gate, or the 9/11 hijackers.

“Kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man”
–Moses, Numbers 31:17-18

The strength of your belief has no bearing on whether those beliefs are true.  And no matter how strong your faith, how devout your practice, how righteous your conviction, mystical certainty as exercised throughout the ages, from human sacrifices to the burning of witches, has always been a bad tool for making moral judgments.

Indeed, mystical certainty is perhaps the worst tool for decision making ever.

For the entirety of man’s 200,000-year history, in every civilization, in every tribe, we’ve invented gods which are said to intervene in our daily affairs.  I say “invented”, because even the most devout Catholic and the most hardened atheist have one thing in common—they believe that over 99.9% of these gods, which man has believed in, put his faith in, murdered and died for, from Anunnaki and Kukulcan, to Osiris and Poseidon, must be invented–fairy tales—man made myths. The theist is actually an atheist regarding nearly all of it, only a tiny point of contention between the two: the theist withholds from the list of conjured deities a single god, or set of gods, which he or she believes is quite obviously real (and that, surprisingly enough, he or she has identified the correct one).

If the Catholic can understand why he doesn’t believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, then that he can understand why the atheist doesn’t think Jesus was either.

Knowing in your heart that you’ve identified the correct theistic belief is intoxicating in its appeal to your ego.  After all, if you found the correct religion when the vast majority of humans ever to have lived missed it, one of three things must be true:

  1. You are smarter than (or more spiritually in tune, or in some other way superior to) most other people .
  2. You’re favored by God, in His grace such that he had you born in a country where the right religion is accessible, at a time it’s accessible, and steered you to it, and has empowered you to explain to others, on his behalf, how best to live their lives.
  3. You got the right one by dumb luck (which, if true, makes heaven and hell nothing more than a divine lottery game, and would appear to invalidate any point to theism—it’s all a crap shoot).

That kind of appeal to ego, conscious or not, is inextricable from theistic religion, and is a strong disincentive towards honestly examining the validity of your beliefs.

It’s been my experience that when I want something to be true, I have to double check any evidence, since I tend to give far less weight to counter evidence, and extra weight to confirming evidence (I don’t mean to, and it’s taken years of reflection to see that I am as guilty of this as anyone, but I am.  I bias my judgements).  The appeal to ego, the comfort of companionship, the escape from a near constant fear of death, the reassurance of a just world, even if I can’t understand it right now—these are among the most powerful influences a human being can experience.

These factors make genuinely questioning your faith one of the hardest, yet most most courageous things you can do.  It’s not easy, it’s not fun, but it is an act of humility and integrity, an attempt to make yourself a better moral agent.

Of the thousands of gods, hundreds of thousands of sects of worship, only one of two things can be true: Either one of them is right, or they’re all wrong.

If there were no God, would you want to know?

Given that we compulsively make gods, that so many in history have been false, given the inability of any religion to make accurate claims about the natural world, given the overwhelming moral failures these theistic beliefs throughout history, and given the dynamic nature of these beliefs, inability to form any lasting consensus around them (today’s Catholic would have been heretical just 200 years ago) all suggest one thing:

We made it all up.

We’re wired to make it up.  We’ve done it since before we could write.

There are unanswered questions, to be sure.  But inventing a fake answer, while more satisfying, is worse than admitting we don’t know.

It is cruel and heartless not to realize that this is one of the hardest questions one can struggle with.  But the only moral answer to the question “If there wasn’t a God, would you want to know” must be that you have to know.  If there’s no God, moral inquiry can’t even truly begin until we know—there has never been a more divisive force than belief in God.

"We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case." --Christopher Hitchens
“We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case.”

Let us, for a moment, forget all of the suffering caused by those who believed they had a personal connection with, or understood the wishes of, God.  So we’ll ignore the long and disgusting history of the use of the Bible, Torah and Koran as a means to further the practice of slavery and warrants for genocide.  Drop, too, acts of terrorism and slaughter between Protestants and Catholics, Shia and Suni, Muslim and Christian, Israelis and Palestinians, and so on.  We’ll ignore the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the burning of heretics and witches, and the Catholic Church’s official policy of anti-Semitism towards Jews and its direct contribution to the Holocaust.  Let’s drop homophobia and misogynisim.  We’ll forgive superstitions like circumcision(5)Circumcision is a medieval and brutal practice. It is mutilation, practiced without consent of the child, which, while having spurious medical justification, inarguably removes the most sensitive and pleasurable part of the penis. Its practice would certainly be illegal if it didn’t have religious warrant. and genital mutilation.  The hypocrisy of the Catholic church (lining their churches with stained glass, gilding Vatican toilet handles in gold, remolding Bishops’ homes for tens of millions, and acquiring million dollar estates—including the church’s gorgeous $30 million Madison Avenue mansion) can all safely be ignored.  Let’s ignore the institutionalized and active covering up the rape(6)I’m sorry, but I must insist we not sanitize this and call it abuse. It was rape. That the church won’t call it by its proper name, and instead tries to mitigate their crimes by manipulating the language and referring to rape simply as “abuse,” marginalizes their victims, and should tell you everything you need to know about their contrition in these matters of (in some cases hundreds) of young boys (and girls, too)(7)Some people seem to think that the new pope is addressing this, but I see little evidence of it. My home town’s own Cardinal Bernard Law, a man I was quite familiar with in my youth, fled Boston ahead of a warrant, and now lives a lavish life in the Vatican, from where, thanks to the wisdom of the Holy See, he is both immune to consequence and cannot be extradited. Indeed, the church continues to defy all efforts to shed light on the depth of the problem, and to shelter the perpetrators on the grounds that protecting the institution is more important than justice, another untenable moral position for which they will one day have to apologize, though not till long after their victims are buried..  The forced conversion of people to Christianity and Islam, Rwandan Christian ministers inciting genocide, American ministers contributing to legislation making homosexuality a capital crime, the hypocritical offering of indulgences—trading money for divinity…

Let’s ignore it all, pretend it didn’t happen.  They’re not the real crime when it comes to theistic religion.

The real crime?

“It is no credit to the orthodox that they do not now believe all the absurdities that were believed 150 years ago. The gradual emasculation of the Christian doctrine has been effected in spite of the most vigorous resistance, and solely as the result of the onslaughts of freethinkers” –Bertrand Russell
“It is no credit to the orthodox that they do not now believe all the absurdities that were believed 150 years ago. The gradual emasculation of the Christian doctrine has been effected in spite of the most vigorous resistance, and solely as the result of the onslaughts of freethinkers” –Bertrand Russell

All theistic religions must, and do, oppose human progress; they attack the process of, and the people who engage in, reasoning.

The power of reason is the most powerful tool we as a species possess, it is the sole source of our success on this planet.  Religion not only does not allow for this success, but actively opposes it.

While religion has been forced back, forced to cede the point that perhaps burning people at the stake for unfavorable weather or crop failure, getting confessions of heretical behavior by forcing rats to burrow into a person’s stomach, and murdering those who engage in open inquiry, aren’t good ideas, it continues its unrelenting opposition both to progress, and to the fruits of that progress (from open heart surgery, to sterilization and antibiotics, to vaccines—all opposed in the name of God).  And despite the universal–I mean complete and total–failure rate of theistic books as guides to the natural world, people still rely on them, both for answers to the natural universe and for moral guidance.  Anyone can easily name five or ten biblical accounts of the world which science has utterly shattered, but I’ve yet to hear a single, just one, account of the natural world where science and the bible have disagreed, and the bible was right.

For two hundred thousand years we had only the smallest of technological advancements (the discovery of fire, agriculture, and basic engineering).  If you survived the first five years of life, you were most likely to die of an abscess of the teeth (when was the last time you worried a tooth was going to kill you?).  The average life expectancy was 32 years old.

That all started to change about 300 years ago.  With the refinement of the scientific method, our understanding of the natural world and our ability to modify it to suit our needs, predict future events, and protect ourselves from disease and extreme conditions, blossomed.  We more than doubled life expectancy, while simultaneously making life easier, longer, more productive, and safer than it’s ever been, curing disease and cutting the infant mortality rate more than a hundred fold.  In that short 300 years we’ve accomplished more in than in the 10,000 years before that, and today’s high school student knows more about history, medicine, physics, gravity, biology, chemistry, the atom, the galaxy, and the nature of space and time itself, than the smartest man alive 200 years ago knew about any of those subjects.

This progress didn’t come from priests, but from people who challenged dogmatic thinking, and was opposed, often violently, by religion.  The discovery that disease in a medieval castle came from throwing human waste into the moat, the sole source of drinking water, flew in the face of those who claimed it was the wrath of an angry God (and who claimed to have the cure, often in the form of a few Hail Marys and some donation to God almighty, which the church would happily accept in his name).

And while secularism has made it harder for religions to impose death on those who challenge them, churches still fiercely oppose progress to the suffering of millions, if not billions, of people: Global Warming is real and its man-made, but like virtually every other scientific discovery in human history, these facts have been deliberately opposed by many theists (most of whom of whom won’t trouble themselves to try to understand how we know this), impeding our response to what may well be one of the greatest challenges mankind has ever faced.  They challenge evolution as “Just a theory”(8)You have to be willfully ignorant of science to not know that a “Theory,” like the theory of gravity, is stronger than a “law”, and considered the highest form of knowledge.  That this level of ignorance exists is a direct result of assaults on science by theists opposed to its findings.), and waste public time and money trying to force a dark age methodology of natural inquiry into classrooms, to roll back progress and square their texts with reality.  We know for a fact that condoms are the best protection against AIDS, overpopulation, and poverty(9)Contraception is one of the most underrated scientific accomplishments of all time. By decoupling procreation from sex, women can wait until they are emotionally and financially ready before having a child, and can limit the size of that family. It is the most powerful tool we have in combating poverty and famine. The Catholic Church, a wasteland of failed moral policy behind it, equivocates on this point, saying it’s okay to prevent births by using math, but not by using chemistry or physics, once again claiming special knowledge of God’s wishes, but this simple tool is barred by the Catholic Church in favor of “abstinence only” programs, conclusively proven to increase transmission of disease and poverty, highlights a staggering hypocrisy: the Catholic Church, which, to be blunt, can’t seem to restrain its own priests—men with vows of celibacy and committed to the service of god—from raping little boys in their parishes, but expects that a married man with AIDS will never have sex with his wife.  There are people, men of power, hoping for war in the middle east, so that biblical prophecy can be fulfilled, and the end times (which have been just around the corner for the last 2,000 years or so) can commence.  And Matthew 6:34, which commands that you “Take no thought for the morrow,” has been used to defend ignoring environmental concerns of any kind (if Jesus is coming back tomorrow, what does it matter?); children need education, workers need retirement programs, and diseases need to be arrested; “Take no thought for the morrow” is inherently immoral when taken to nearly any degree (and while he may disagree, I hope that the pope himself can see that I’m not kidding when I say that I don’t feel safer with nuclear launch codes in the hands of anyone who believes any of this).

Theism is our first attempt at understanding the world, but as astrology gave way to astronomy and alchemy to chemistry, religion must give way to science.  Under no set of circumstances is faith a substitute for reason.

I was raised Protestant (loosely), but was always agnostic (which is a mild form of atheism—agnostics don’t practice theistic beliefs or religious teachings)—so I held firm to a just afterlife, even if 2,000-year-old tales of Jesus did not impress me.  But I’d always had doubts, and after years of thought and debate, reached the conclusion that it was wish thinking.  The truth is that nobody knows what happens when you die, nobody.  If there is something, I suspect it’s nothing we’re even capable of comprehending; imagine the difference between how the ant views the world and a human.  If there’s an afterlife it’s likely to be whole orders of magnitude more different than that… I can’t fathom my concerns about justice would remain intact.

Perhaps it’s a good thing.  I have to kiss my children extra, connect with them emotionally, tell my wife I love her, and be courteous to people on the street—this is my only shot, I had better make it count.

I have no issue with theism, save in the cases where it emboldens reckless and irrational behavior, turns suffering into virtue, denies science and progress, enables rape, murder, and torture, all in the name metaphysical dogma which we all agree must be and has historically been dead wrong at least 99% of the time.

That theism still enjoys such popularity in the face of all of this is actually quite breathtaking.

But not only is there no evidence for theistic claims, not only have they had a staggering failure rate, but they are in fact immoral, commanding us to use clearly fallible faith over our far superior faculties of reason.  As weapons of mass destruction get smaller and easier to make, we get closer and closer to death on a massive scale at the hands of people with only one defense for their actions: faith.

Reasoning is frowned upon in theism because faith cannot withstand the scrutiny of reason.  Nearly all theistic “proofs” for God (or gods) are reducible to two central arguments—the God of the Gaps argument, and a Prime Mover argument.  These arguments are actually two sides of the same coin, they beget each other (Prime Mover is actually a disguised Gaps argument, and Gaps relies on the same fallacious premises as Prime Mover).  The destruction of the Gaps argument is actually quite easy—it’s literally the most employed argument in the history of human discourse, and it’s never been right.  Ever.  Not once.  With the fall of Gaps, 90% of arguments (including Prime Mover) for the existence of any god of any kind are irrecoverable.  Most theists, in order to prove god, rely on deistic arguments (you can’t prove that Jesus was the son of God because, well, something had to start the universe rolling)—a proper understanding of the difference between Theistic and Deistic arguments renders a second lethal blow to Gaps and Mover (at least where theism is concerned) and to the vast majority of the remaining arguments.  What’s left is a reliance on faith (which can’t be employed in a rational discussion) or syllogistic fallacies (like insisting that failure to prove God does not exist means that He does).

Rather than restrict people to a linear argument as one might find in an essay or book, this codex allows you to browse and explore arguments at your leisure and in an order that makes sense to you.  I hope that you can find something useful to you in these pages.

The Humanist Codex

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. The World Christian Encyclopedia lists 55,000 denominations of Christianity in 238 countries.  However, while many of these are indeed separate organizations, most do not differentiate belief in any meaningful way.  When including only those with salient differences in belief, the real number is far closer to 3,000.
2. Christians sanitize this fact. You are either “saved” or “not saved”. If youàre a Christian, but of the wrong denomination, you are no more saved than a Jew, Hindu, or atheist.
3. Indeed most religions don’t actually lead on moral issues. From anti-semitisim, slavery and forced conversion, to the protection of rapists, the burning of witches, and homosexuality, the church leads from behind, and is dragged, kicking and screaming, into more tolerant positions already claimed by civilized societies, and even then only when they are confronted with irrelevancy, obsolescence, and a dearth of parishioners
4. Bertrand Russel famously pointed out that there isn’t a single word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence
5. Circumcision is a medieval and brutal practice. It is mutilation, practiced without consent of the child, which, while having spurious medical justification, inarguably removes the most sensitive and pleasurable part of the penis. Its practice would certainly be illegal if it didn’t have religious warrant.
6. I’m sorry, but I must insist we not sanitize this and call it abuse. It was rape. That the church won’t call it by its proper name, and instead tries to mitigate their crimes by manipulating the language and referring to rape simply as “abuse,” marginalizes their victims, and should tell you everything you need to know about their contrition in these matters
7. Some people seem to think that the new pope is addressing this, but I see little evidence of it. My home town’s own Cardinal Bernard Law, a man I was quite familiar with in my youth, fled Boston ahead of a warrant, and now lives a lavish life in the Vatican, from where, thanks to the wisdom of the Holy See, he is both immune to consequence and cannot be extradited. Indeed, the church continues to defy all efforts to shed light on the depth of the problem, and to shelter the perpetrators on the grounds that protecting the institution is more important than justice, another untenable moral position for which they will one day have to apologize, though not till long after their victims are buried.
8. You have to be willfully ignorant of science to not know that a “Theory,” like the theory of gravity, is stronger than a “law”, and considered the highest form of knowledge.  That this level of ignorance exists is a direct result of assaults on science by theists opposed to its findings.
9. Contraception is one of the most underrated scientific accomplishments of all time. By decoupling procreation from sex, women can wait until they are emotionally and financially ready before having a child, and can limit the size of that family. It is the most powerful tool we have in combating poverty and famine. The Catholic Church, a wasteland of failed moral policy behind it, equivocates on this point, saying it’s okay to prevent births by using math, but not by using chemistry or physics, once again claiming special knowledge of God’s wishes

720
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
177 Comment threads
543 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
The Humanist CodexGilbert Stewart LayEdwin Deady Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Gilbert Stewart Lay
Commenter
Member

WE LIKE THE RAELIANS ARE STUCK WALKING THE LINE BETWEEN TWO ENEMIES- THE HARDCORE ATHEISTS ON ONE SIDE AND THE HARDCORE CREATIONISTS ON THE OTHER. WE ACCEPT BIG BANG AND LIKEWISE WE ACCEPT THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. IT’S NO OXYMORON THERE REALLY IS A MIDDLE GROUND, AND MILLIONS ARE ALREADY STANDING ON IT.

Gilbert Stewart Lay
Commenter
Member

A POST I MADE ON A HARDCORE ATHEIST WEBSITE–God “After” Evolution and Big Bang is growing exponentially in groups like the Raelians. I know the old cheap shot metaphor or “Tin foil hats” BUT their own atheist bias reminds us that in reality, never in all time, nor in any true fashion of science will anyone ever validate whether or not the universe is “Infinite” nor time “Eternal”. Even the Best of the Best Scientists will always have to resort to the same logic as creationists – that is by Faith and/or assumed logic we believe the universe is infinite and time is eternal. Prejudice is the judging a book by its’ cover, and ATHEISTS HAVE LUMPED EVEN THE RAELIANS INTO THE SAME PACKAGE as CREATIONIST RELIGIONS. Sure we believe an Astronaut God/King has reached Earth and has given us a message. Now don’t try and say that the little figure 8 symbol used to represent Infinite is the validity. True Science means being able to measure and prove the exact dimensions, and never will that happen with the Infinite Universe or Eternal Time. Tens of Thousands of Years of Religious Testimony bearing Witness of all manner of Paranormal/ Supernatural, Spiritual and UFO and experienced by at least hundreds of millions of people over centuries is not to be quickly judged as “Delusions and Swamp Gas”. How petty and cheap… Read more »

James
Member
Member

“Knowing in your heart that you’ve identified the correct theistic belief is almost intoxicating in its appeal to your ego.” “That kind of appeal to ego, conscious or not, is a requisite assumption for all theistic religions,” In Christianity at least knowing that you’ve identified the correct religion can only feed your ego if it is a merely intellectual and theological discovery. Intellectual discoveries don’t make Christians. Repentance of sin and faith in Christ have the real effect of humbling the supplicant. We realise we have no merit of our own. We fall short of the holiness of God. We realise we are under condemnation for our sin. If Christianity is true these happen. From my own experience they happen. Biblically they happen. Notice the words of Job when at the end of his suffering he is confronted with God. “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” The hearing is his belief the seeing brings in the reality! Repenting in dust and ashes is not an ego trip. Try Isaiah; In Isaiah 6 we read of a good man who meets with God and his response is overwhelming; “And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in… Read more »

James
Member
Member

I can’t find your reply to my comment on this site but I have it in my inbox. In your reply, for which I thank you, you finished by referrring to my comment that if God didn’t exist I could never know by saying: “As top being unable to answer the question, I’m sorry, but I see that as a dodge (and as I’ve said, people dodge it all the time). You can do a thought experiment. I’ve never been in an elevator moving at the speed of light, nor will I ever be, but that hypothetical, impossible as it is, is useful when trying to understand relativity. So it could be competently true that you couldn’t possibly know if he didn’t exist, but that wasn’t the question. You’ve dodged it. Lets assume he exists, and it were impossible for him not to. Great. Now, IF it were possible, would you want to know. It doesn’t matter if you can or can not imagine how it might be possible. I don’t care. But answering that question, as I said, is a moral hypothetical. There’s no need to pretend you can’t imagine an answer–that’s what your imagination is for.” In answer to this I would say that it doesn’t take into account the fundamental connection between God and His creation. If I was to rephrase it you might see where I… Read more »

James
Member
Member

The issue that I would like to focus on is encapsulated in the text, “by definition, faith is belief in the absence of reason. As soon as you have a reason to believe something, it’s no longer faith, it’s knowledge. Faith cannot exist in the presence of reason; they are mutually exclusive. Indeed, faith must stem from a lack of reason or knowledge”. I often come across atheists who say the same and it is a fundamental error. Biblical faith is always evidenced based, ie knowledge based. Peter urged Christians to be “ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). Paul reasoned with the Greeks ‘And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. ‘ (Acts 17:22ff;18:4) Faith is defined as being ‘certain’ being ‘sure’. We are constantly urged to ‘know’ the Lord. We must understand that experience biblically is the supernatural equivalent of observation and testing – the foundation of scientific method. I know of no believer who thinks that faith is separate from reason and knowledge. If you define ‘faith’ as a mystical feeling and only a mystical feeling then there may be a point in separating faith from reason. But faith biblically, is always faith in someone, and what that someone… Read more »

Edwin Deady
Commenter
Member

No but I would to a fully qualified doctor in consultation with the woman. Viable includes able to live a reasonably independent life.

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

Edwin Deady And the word “viable” is a deadly ploy that avoids logic and reason in order to justify the elimination of human life. Would you give me the power to determine what is “viable” in this case?

Edwin Deady
Commenter
Member

The Humanist Codex It is black and white. A women has the complete control and disposal of her own body. A viable foetus is a challenge and I would not favour abortion in that case. The state has no right to dictate up to that point.

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

The Humanist Codex What would you accept as evidence?

Edwin Deady
Commenter
Member

Concept

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

The Humanist Codex Actually… nature does bend to your will. But only in a limited fashion. Also… Atheism will not protect you from some of the worst suffering you’ve ever seen. It’s easy to abuse others when ultimate principles can be so easily manipulated.

Edwin Deady
Commenter
Member

Warren Kincaid Have you noticed the manipulation and change of principles by the religious of all religions?

Marianne Ono
Member
Member

That’s nothing new. I can’t think of a religion, or even a popular philosophy, that has remained static since inception. Can you?

In some cases the changes take a religion way off track; e.g., Anselm’s doctrine of substitutionary atonement became the dominant theme of Christianity and is so to this day. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satisfaction_theory_of_atonement

I think Jesus would be horrified by that. It’s not consistent with the themes common to the synoptic gospels (e.g., social justice, teaching by parable). And so I (and so-called ‘progressive’ Christians in general) don’t consider it a change of principles to toss out atonement and all of the baggage that comes with it. We consider it to be RESTORING the original intent of Jesus.

Marianne Ono
Member
Member

I imagine that most other religions have adherents who are on the same mission to restore ‘original’ teachings. And then there are others claiming to be restoring competing or even opposite ‘original’ teachings. It gets very messy! But ultimately I think we’re all striving for truth.

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

Edwin Deady I have. And all that proves is that man-kind is equally flawed.

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

The Humanist Codex ” But nature does not bend to my will, and the greatest suffering I’ve ever seen has been at the hands of those who believe otherwise.”. Funny, I could have sworn you said “nature”.

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

The Humanist Codex How is reason and rational thought helping you to determine what the elimination of an innocent person is called?

Edwin Deady
Commenter
Member

Mother has the right to choose with her body, you do not.

Edwin Deady
Commenter
Member

If so-called then you reckon they are theist but having a belief then won’t they be saved? Or you are stupid and an atheist is an atheist as no gods exist and there is no after-life. A conept that doesn’t frighten us in the least.

Hudson Bartley
Commenter
Member

If God didn’t exist i have nothing to lose.I will simply be dead when I am dead, turned to dust. But a so-called Atheist on the other hand.

Edwin Deady
Commenter
Member

The Humanist Codex What on Earth has reputation to do with atheism? Liking or not liking Dawkins, for example, is irrelevant. No belief in gods is it. Arguing against religion is just for fun with the hope that more people will give up religion.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Robert Hughes, I’m not sure why a super smart scientist atheist wouldn’t want to engage in dialogue with a person who operated nuclear power plants for 20 years and teaches science.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Robert Hughes, you missed the point. The point was if you want the benefits of marriage, you must first have the relationship. The same is true with God.

Each person has a choice. Do we want a relationship with God. The bible tells us how we can have that relationship. If we choose to reject God now, he will reject us for eternity.

Robert Hughes
Commenter
Member

if god did exist would you want to knopw?

Robert Hughes
Commenter
Member

would they want to know that there wasnt? and would you believe it if you saw it

Robert Hughes
Commenter
Member

if it was a wisper would you believe it

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

I’ve come to the point where I believe that God exists. Not only that, but He is “there” as opposed to some nebulous theory or theology. Can I prove it to you? Unfortunately no, but I could try. But it’s probably better in the long run that I can’t. Because it doesn’t work that way and you’d only believe based on what I say, not what you’ve found. It’s an individual thing that has to work from the inside out (but it can be done). He is behind all…. in the largest sense that the word “all” can bear. An Atheist can deny it, but that has little impact on how I’ve come to this point. The denials actually work to strengthen my view on the subject. What we think of the world around us and how we integrate into it all starts on this very question. Different internal beliefs bring different inevitable results. Understand that I am not talking about “religions” here. I’m talking about a God who is there…. and self.

Ian Macnaught
Commenter
Member

Name one thing science has invented.

Ronald Scott Colson
Commenter
Member

That is the stupidest question I have ever read!

Ian Macnaught
Commenter
Member

Ronald Scott Colson Why not just answer the question, instead of proving your dumb.

Ian Macnaught
Commenter
Member

The Humanist Codex You’re right. Science only discovers things that were placed there before, as the result of a cause. We need intelligence to find what a Superior One has already provided.

Ronald Scott Colson
Commenter
Member

Teflon.

Robert Hughes
Commenter
Member

Ian Macnaught even without intelligence… ok… the things that were placed there before?,,, do you mean the things that existed before … or what was provided/ what already existed? just because something existed before your intelligence doesnt mean it was placed or provided ( that you would need to proove) your preaching the appocolypse of the gaps

Robert Hughes
Commenter
Member

ian are you NOT brainwashed also, just as badley as these liberals

Ian Macnaught
Commenter
Member

Robert Hughes Science discovered that the Universe had a ‘beginning’. It therefore didn’t exist before. It will also have an end. If we had believed God’s word, as told in the Bible, we’d have discovered all this thousands of years ago.

Warren Kincaid
Commenter
Member

Let’s ask science to find something (anything) that wasn’t placed there first.

Ian Macnaught
Commenter
Member

Yes I’m still waiting for an answer to something that ‘science’ invented.

Ian Macnaught
Commenter
Member

The Humanist Codex No, I was just laughing at the sheer arrogance of the sinful creation that God made, who thinks he is something.

Ronald Scott Colson
Commenter
Member

Prove that God made him!

Ian Macnaught
Commenter
Member
Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Humanist Codex,
I commend you for the manner you engage people with respect and appreciate your efforts to have others respond in the same way.

I will leave your forum with a parting thought for you. The bible uses the marriage metaphor many times to describe our relationship with God. Marriage has many benefits however, those benefits only come after the relationship is established. From what you have written here, both in your article and your responses, it appears to me you want the benefits without having a relationship with God the provider of those blessings. What I can gather from what I read in your responses is pride ( the church shouldn’t concern itself with whom a person has sex with, I should be able to do what I want) and a resistance to the authority of God( whose instruction the church is trying to teach). I would ask you to consider whether these observations are correct or I have miss read your intent. The evidence makes no difference if you have no desire for a relationship with God.

I wish you well and my invitation for private dialogue still stands.

John M. Wells
Commenter
Member

Joe Rover and Humanist Codex you both make some very good points. Both of you could be right.

Bobby Gwinn
Commenter
Member

Didn’t read. Too much bull. You guys still worrying about Creator? Is that sum total of your worries? Hmmm. Not much of a life. No excitement here but lots of excrement!

Bobby Gwinn
Commenter
Member

The Humanist Codex why do U fret about that? Does it take any taters ouuta your soup?

Bobby Gwinn
Commenter
Member

Maybe U need an Allah study. Or a “Her” study. How about a “Transgender” god.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

You make a good point about people who do evil things under the pretext of religion. One thing about people who do evil in the name of Christianity, a person can go to the bible and clearly point.out where they are violating biblical principles. To apply biblical principles correctly a person must understand the whole bible and its context. People have pointed to Old Testament punishment and wrongfully applied them to the modern era.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Humanist Codex you assertion that Abrahamic religions relegate women to second class citizens is wrong. It is men who wrongfully apply biblical teaching that doesn’t this. The Proverbs 31 woman is a highly industrious business woman, the ideal woman. The New Testament say declares there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female in the site of God. This means they all have differences but those differences do not change an individual’s worth to God.

As far as the wife submitting to her husband, this sets up the authority.structure for the home. This is not a license for a husband to be a dictator. The best leaders are those who serve the people under their authority.

It is the wrongful application that is in err.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Humanist Codex, that is a mischaracterizaton of my thought. The Old Testament contains three categories of law. Civil, ceremonial, and.moral law. The civil law (like dietary restrictions) were for the Jews to set them apart from the other people groups and deal with civil matters. The ceremonial law was God’s prescribed method for the Jews to approach him and foreshadow the coming messiah. And then there is the moral law which still applies to everyone. What I said is it is wrong to apply Old Testament punishment is the modern era. This does not mean Old Testament principles are no longer valid.

Consider a naval captain. He is responsible for everything that happens on his ship. Everyone on that ship must submit to his authority. Does this mean everyone under his authority is a second class citizen? No. On that ship there are people who are not allowed to perform particular jobs. Are those sailors second class citizens? No. Is it in the captain’s, as well as the entire ship’s best interest, to listen to all those under his authority? Yes.

Just as the captain is responsible for everything that happens on the ship, God holds the husband responsible for.what happens in his home.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

A part you miss is women are only required to submit to their husband not men in general. Any other application of the submission mandate is outside of what the bible teaches.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Humanist Codex,
I finally read the attached document on your original post. It is not sinful to ask the question you pose. The bible says to test all things and hold fast to the truth. My question for you is, are you and honest skeptic? Are you willing to follow the truth where it leads? And if that truth leads to God are you ready to humble yourself and follow Him?

A point I was trying to make on the response to David Parr is believing in God is useless if a person isn’t willing to submit to his authority. The demons believe and tremble.

If you were serious in your article and you truly want to know that God exists, send me a friend request and we can talk in private.

Ronald Scott Colson
Commenter
Member

Hahaha! As if you would know whether or not God exists! Replace “God” with “Flying Spaghetti Monster” to hear just how ridiculous you sound!

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Ronald Scott Colson, you obviously are not an honest skeptic.

Ronald Scott Colson
Commenter
Member

You are correct that making fun of someone does not make it easier to change their opinion, though I suspect that there are few believers who would change their mind even when presented with indisputable evidence that their beliefs have no basis in fact. Perhaps I should rely on my knowledge as an applied mathematician: There is certainly a possibility that God exists. But the probability that God exists is so infinitesimally small that it can be dismissed out of hand.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Humanist Codex, you claim faith in the bible rejects reason and science. Consider population growth mathematics and Noah’s flood.
Do you consider population mathematics a reasonable science.based idea?
An interesting article

https://biblescienceguy.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/1-population-growth-could-noah-fill-the-earth/

Ronald Scott Colson
Commenter
Member

Classic case of “figures don’t lie but liars figure!” This entire article is based upon the wild assumption that the Noah myth is true and then points to modern population data as proof. Any serious scientist knows that there is zero evidence supporting the myth of the Great Flood. (One only has to look at the geological records outside of the Middle East to realize that no corroborating evidence exists, anywhere.) There are so many other human population growth scenarios that would also result in our arriving at our current population size that to promote just the Abrahamic Great Flood myth as the cause is ludicrous. Science doesn’t work that way. Science first looks at the data and draws conclusions from that. This article begins with the hoped-for conclusions and searches for only the data that supports those conclusions, ignoring all data that refutes the conclusions. My own personal participation in National Geographic’s Human Genome Project traces my own ancestors’ migrations back 70,000 years. I doubt any of them were named Noah!

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Humanist Codex, If there is a god capable of creating everything we see in nature, that ability to create everything from nothing, that god would be beyond a materialistic explanation, i.e. supernatural. We cannot pull an infinite being out of a finite materialistic box. If we limit our explanation to materialistic explanations alone we bias our investigation’s answer. We are looking into the wrong places to find an infinite being. What are we.to do? We must.look in places where the only explanation is supernatural. The bible is filled with examples of God interacting in the affairs of men. When viewed through the eyes of a skeptic many of the prophecies are attributed to retro documentation. So let me ask you to consider Daniel’s prophecy about the coming messiah. This prophecy cannot have been filled in after the fact because all the Jewish scriptures were translated to Greek 300 years before Christ was born. Daniel gives a historical marker that can be verified outside the bible. What we can say is if this prophecy did not come true as put forth, Daniel did not receive his information from a sovereign GOD acting in human history. The credibility of GOD of both the Jews and Christians comes into question if this prophecy is not fulfilled. So what is this prophecy. The messiah king of the Jews will be presented 69 weeks after… Read more »

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

To validate your claim I would have to examine context and credibility of your claim. Are you willing to die for your claim about hanuman. Are the others who saw this willing to die, when all they need to do is recant. This is what the early Christians did at the hands of the cruel Romans. Would you die for something you knew was a lie when there is nothing to gain from the lie?
Context gives credibility to the eyewitness accounts.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

A modern equivalent would be preaching your hanuman story in Iran.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

I noticed you didn’t address the supernatural prediction of Jesus Christ riding into Jerusalem on the day it was predicted to happen over 500 years earlier. The prediction also said he would be executed.

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Humanist Codex, you are correct in people being committed to a religion, however we are comparing two different categories of believers. I am talking about those individuals who had first hand experience and would know whether they were promoting truth or a lie. You are comparing these individuals to people who are far removed from the actual events and can.be persuaded by a charismatic leader.

Joe Ruf
Commenter
Member

This long garbled mission statement of atheists is highly reliant on a Christian history and a Catholic dogma. Irony anyone? Gotta think harder and read the religious texts of you wish in the future not to sound so stupid. There’s a reason the greatest atheists came from the seminary. They knew what they were up against.

Jason Carper
Commenter
Member

Joe Roever you really couldnt be more wrong. Modern medicine started in Egypt and all biblical were stolen from sumarian myths. Just because science has yet to find an answer doesnt mean one doesnt exist

Joe Roever
Commenter
Member

Jason Carpet, what you either don’t know or choose to ignore is the medicine practiced by the Egyptians included such things as animal dung and various other appealing things that would contaminate wounds.
Moses was raised as part of Egyptian royal family. He would have have been aware of Egypt’s medical procedures. So where did he come up with the hygienic practices prescribed by the bible, since they are contrary to the Egyptian practices?

As a side note, the reason more Egyptians didn’t die is unknown to them their beer making practices resulted in the production of tetracycline.

Jason Carper
Commenter
Member

Whatever man you are wrong and ignorant of knowledge

1 4 5 6