A Quick Study in Comparative Religion

by Luke Muehlhauser on January 31, 2009 in Buddhism,Christian Theology,Funny,General Atheism,Islam

Christianity (2.1 billion people1): A cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father will torture you forever if you don’t make him your invisible friend and master so he can save your soul from an evil force unleashed on the world when a woman made from a rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

Islam (1.5 billion): Allah sent an angel to an ancient desert shepherd to tell him that thousands of angels keep lists of every good and bad thing each human does, and that when Allah sees fit he will magically reanimate all the dead bodies everywhere and judge them, sending to hell all those who lied, didn’t worship him, or charged interest on loans.

Nonbelief (1.1 billion): You shouldn’t believe weird shit unless there’s evidence for it, so magic powers, magic incantations, magic wishes, magical realms, and magical invisible persons probably don’t exist.

Hinduism (900 million): There is an invisible, cosmic force that rewards goodness by bringing good people back from the dead more privleged than before, and punishes badness by bringing bad people back from the dead as lower lifeforms. Thousands of invisible gods just fuck around for eternity and demand occasional sacrifices, and the ultimate reward for enduring good behavior is the annihilation of your soul.

Buddhism (376 million): Life is full of suffering, so the only escape is to stop wanting to avoid suffering.

Sikhism (23 million): The impersonal god Vahiguru is everywhere at the same time and  will save you if you mumble his name to yourself enough times.

Scientology (0.5 million): 75 million years ago, Xenu, dictator of the Galactic Confederacy, brought billions of his people to Earth, stacked them around volcanoes, and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls flew off into the sky, but these alien souls were sucked up into vaccuum zones in Hawaii and the Canary Islands and forced to watch a 36-hour 3D movie which implanted in them all the false ideas that led to Earth’s current religions. After this, these billions of alien souls squeezed themselves into the few bodies that survived the bombs (who are today’s humans), and cause disease and other problems until trained Scientologists can exorcise them. Xenu was later overthrown, and is now imprisoned on Mars behind a force field powered by an eternal battery.

  1. All statistics taken from the surely inaccurate but widely respected Adherents.com. I didn’t include all major religions. Some are hard to make fun of (Buddhism), while others are very easy to make fun of (Christianity and Scientology). []

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 107 comments… read them below or add one }

Flowercat February 4, 2009 at 4:04 am

Damn. We Jews contol all the banks, control Hollywood, yet cannot get a mention in this blog. I think I’m gonna go cry diamonds.

  (Quote)

A Real Atheist February 10, 2009 at 6:07 am

I was enjoying your blog, until I read this post. I realize that these are supposed to be funny, but they’re not. Shit like this kinda discredits your whole blog. I was expecting better… I guess I was wrong.

  (Quote)

lukeprog February 10, 2009 at 11:22 am

Hmmm… I’d be interested to hear how you think this post “discredits” my blog. And, this post wasn’t particularly meant to be funny, either. What I’ve written above is not a caricature – it is what the mainstream adherents of these religions actually believe.

  (Quote)

ChristianJR4 February 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm

I have to agree with A Real Atheist on this one. When I first came to this blog I read your story in the For New Visitors Section. I was fascinated by your story and how you acquainted yourself with important books in Historical Jesus studies as well as philosophy of Religion. Many aspects of your story were similar to my own journey through these issues, and still are, to an extent. The impression I got from this story as well as your other posts and comments on this blog was of someone who genuinely cared about these issues and wasn’t just trying to bash Theism and Theists at all costs. The tone here seemed to be of respectful dialogue. When I read the post above, however, it just seemed to be the type of post opposite to the qualities mentioned above. I didn’t expect it. It was simplistic and seemed clearly meant to be a caricature of religion.

You said it’s not meant to be funny…or a caricature but then I read statements below like:

Some are hard to make fun of (Buddhism), while others are very easy to make fun of (Christianity and Scientology).

So by your own admission, you’re attentions are to be comical here.

Another one in your article is:

Thousands of invisible gods just fuck around for eternity

No doubt you’re obviously trying to elicit some sort of emotional response in your readers by using profanity here and elsewhere. And I don’t think you’re particularly justified by appealing to the fact that these adherents may happen to actually believe these things. There’s different ways to put forward people’s beliefs. You can put forward a respectful and thoughtful general assessment of a group’s beliefs that is true, or like you, one could could put forward a mockery and caricature of a group’s beliefs, even if still fundamentally true.

Still, even then, I don’t agree that the mainstream adherents believe some of the things you said you attributed to them. For example, you said that Jesus was his own Father. Almost every Christian believes that Jesus is a separate person from the Father, so it’s not the case that they espouse some form of unitarianism as you implied. In fact it’s considered heresy to hold to such a belief.

So for these reasons above mainly, I think this post does a disservice to the reputation of this blog. But perhaps I may be wrong. Maybe this post is perfectly fine here and I just had the wrong expectations. Perhaps I wrongly expected too much. If so, then I apologize.

  (Quote)

lukeprog February 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm

ChristianJR4,

I think you’re right that some of the effect is meant to be comical, but there is also a serious lesson here, as millions of people REALLY DO believe what I’ve said above about their religion.

And yes, I want to elicit emotions (though obviously we have different ideas about what constitutes “profanity”). I use varied strategies to “wake people up.” One is reasoned discourse. Another is rhetoric. Another is comedy. Another is mocking.

I’ll write a post about this, shortly.

  (Quote)

Ajay July 6, 2009 at 3:32 am

My fantasy…

Here is a fantasy i have about religions ….

There is a huge global event (broadcast on TV as well) held in Jerusalem where once and for all, the humanity will try to confront God about his existence and the religion that he endorses.

It will be a hundred+ day event and about 100 religions will be tested here. Here is what happens:

On day 1, the event is explained to all. It is basically a contest between all religions to determine which is the true religion. Every day a religion is selected (maybe at random or in a descending order of the most popular religions). The religion is explained to everyone by a representative of that religion.

Then, the representative is asked to select any number between 0 and 9999999999 which reprsents that religion. The idea is that we have a lottery machine which will generate a random number between 0 and 9999999999.

Once a number is selected by a religion, all believers of that religion all over the world are asked to pray to the god to use all his power to have the machine generate the same number. This will prove to everyone in the world that God does indeed exist and endorses that particular religion. If that number isnt generated, then it surely must mean that either God doesnt exist or that it is a false religion.

The same process is repeated every day for every religion.

Finally, once all religions fail, an atheist is asked to pick a number. The idea here is that we are asking God to generate that number if he really does exist and if he wants us to lead our life believing he exists.

Since God has bothered a lot to pave the way for the bible or the quran etc. i am sure that he does want us to know that he exists and how to lead our life etc for salvation. Why then will he deny to give us a sign of his existence and his endorsement of what religion to follow?
 
I would love to hear any Christian or a religous person’s objection to this concept or if they think that God wouldnt approve of this concept and if so why.
 

  (Quote)

lukeprog July 6, 2009 at 7:32 am

Ajay,

Nice!

  (Quote)

Anon February 16, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Luke.. I found this interesting. I don’t care about what they said.

It’s pretty damn accurate, and the fact that it is is what makes it funny.

  (Quote)

johnny February 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

i dont care if you choose to delete this but i just have to say it … scientologists are fucking insane!!!

  (Quote)

Cheero February 16, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Randomly found this via StumbleUpon! Very popular article.
In any case, I enjoyed it and found it humorous at parts. I’m a Muslim with a sense of humor so there you go. My Christian brothers above should not be so quick to judge someone so quickly, then again, some of them are okay with believing that babies are born as sinners. Absurd. :)

Once again, cool article! You gained a new visitor.

  (Quote)

lukeprog February 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Thanks.

  (Quote)

Nick February 16, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Ajay,
It may seem arrogant to say that a 1 in a billion chance is not good enough for me, but I must say… if a supreme being can’t create a miracle that has Zero Chance of happening without him, I wouldn’t believe. Even a 1 in a billion chance could happen without divine intervention.

A miracle needs to be better than chance. Even if it’s a chance with very small probability.

  (Quote)

Arctor February 18, 2010 at 7:28 pm

@Ajay

Atheists shouldn’t pick a number all the left over numbers are Atheist numbers.

Say one of the religion’s numbers are picked. That would mean everyone will covert except for those in “denial” creating a juggernaut of a religion.

  (Quote)

Aeiluindae February 18, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Just gonna point out that quantum mechanics or general relativity sound just as ridiculous depending on how well they are explained. For example the fact that particles might be in multiple places at once or exist as a wave, rather than a particle, unless you look at them (or that you can’t know a particle’s position and velocity perfectly, not because the act of measuring changes it, but because you just can’t) sounds as ridiculous as most religions, until you understand the reasoning.
You know, even if that hypothetical test did happen and the number for some religion happened to come, up, it wouldn’t change anything. People who liked the result would call it divine intervention, and people who didn’t would call it probability and nothing would change.

  (Quote)

lukeprog February 19, 2010 at 5:37 am

Aeilunidae,

Yup. The only reason we accept relativity and quantum theory is the truckloads of evidence behind them.

  (Quote)

Evelyn February 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Lighten up, I thought it was hilarious. You have got another visitor.

  (Quote)

Dusty Smith February 19, 2010 at 9:47 pm

I was a Christian for 32 years and your description of Christianity is completely accurate. Fuck all these fairy tale believing idiots hating on you.

  (Quote)

Flail February 20, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Just stumbled upon this post, and enjoyed it. I’ve heard a very similar description of Christianity elsewhere, but I hadn’t seen the other religions mocked in quite the same way. I’d like to see Mormonism added to the list, because it is another delicious flavor of crazy :).

  (Quote)

Maven February 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm

lukeprog,

I must admit the fact that you elicited a laugh or two when I read this post, but in one of your comments you said that you use varied strategies to “wake people up.” This question is not a jab but rather serious intrigue as to your reasoning: what gives you the right?
I think we all agree that the Jehovah’s Witness on one’s doorstep is a burden, and should not have plagued the world by ringing our doorbell. Similarly, (I assume, possibly faslely) that you have decided that your faith is truth and that all other belief systems are false, you have made this decision publicly known, and you have then made the attempt to force your beliefs on others with various “strategies to ‘wake people up.’” If ignorance truly is bliss, and the 4.8995 billion people in that set of statistics are happy with their delusion, why does it matter if they dont understand the world like you do?

If you could help me understand, that would be great. The way I see it, if there is no afterlife and this is it, if when I die all that will come about is decay and grief, and if there truly is no purpose to it all, then I have nothing to live for, because in the end all my endeavors result in nothing. I live without meaning, while the blind follower lives knowing that he will soon be met with rainbows and puppies. As much as it pains me to say it, I think he is the more happy man. Or, is happiness a dellusion too?

  (Quote)

lukeprog February 21, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Maven,

You asked what gives me the right to make jokes about religion and ‘wake people up.’

Freedom of speech, that’s what.

Why does it matter that 5 billion people believe in magical spirits? Because truth matters. Religious wars, ancient barbaric religious ethics, religious opposition to science, religious epistemology – they all do damage and should go away.

  (Quote)

Maven February 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm

A freedom granted to you by a government based in the ideals and moral system of a certain especially problematic religion (that’s not an argument just an observation.)

I suppose “right” was not the best word to use. I’m not really interested in why you feel you have the privilege to scream at the top of your lungs, but rather why you feel that a sarcastic blog is going to stop damage to society. Furthermore, I would like to examine the reasons against religion that you have provided a little closer.

Religious wars, religious opposition to science, and religious epistemology are all excellent reasons to want to rid the world of religion. However, wars, opposition to science, and epistemology would still exist without today’s religions. These problems arise not from the guidelines of any sort of belief system, but belief in general. Any amount of faith breeds argument and opposition to opposing ideas. It simply comes down to thinking that “I” am right and “you” are wrong.

My question can be rephrased- and I apologize for my lack of clarity originally- as this:
Would you consider your atheistic and utilitarian perspective as faith? Religion can be loosely defined as “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” Do you know without the slightest doubt that life and matter began from nothing spontaneously without cause, or that it has always been, or that life began on the backs of crystals as a simple process of mutation and advancement in complexity? How could you possibly govern yourself with any kind of moral principles if you did not form a system in which you dictate right from wrong, and how could you form a system of right and wrong if you did not have faith in your own reason and judgment?

If you are asked what 2 + 2 equals, you would be able to give an answer because you could logically reason the addition of two to itself, and more importantly you have FAITH in your reasoning. You have been taught throughout your life what two plus two equals, and more convincingly that knowledge has been tested and proved correct when four M&Ms are seen on a table. However, you cannot prove truth when it comes to questions of philosophy. You cannot prove or disprove the existence of a supernatural being, or even the existence of yourself, if the argument here is to be taken to an extreme. The only reason you have come to an atheist perspective is because you have put your faith in a different basket than the Christian or the “barbarous” pagan.

Faith is essential in any decision on morality or truth made by a man, woman, government, or semi-sovereign body, and regardless of where that faith is placed- in God, the tree spirits, logic, reason, or the flip of a coin- it will breed war, opposition, and epistemology.

Of course, you shouldn’t believe any of this. I’ve found no proof for it. :)

Edit: By the way, please don’t misconstrue my comments as negative or argumentative, I’d just like to pick your brain… I haven’t been in the philosophy business long and appreciate the input of someone a little more well read.

  (Quote)

Big J February 22, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Why do we need religion? because people are scared! Scared of life after death, which none of us can forsee until the day comes. So deal with it.

  (Quote)

anti_supernaturalist February 22, 2010 at 6:57 pm

** Want to do apologetics? Do your homework first.

1. Faith is ‘belief-in’ based on hearsay –

‘Belief in’ or ‘Faith’ needs to be traced back to New Testament Greek before making sense of it.

‘Faith’ in English translates ‘fides’ in Latin. Early translators used ‘fides’ for ‘pistis’ in koiné Greek, “common Greek” of canonic xian texts.

A direct translation of ‘pistis’ into English is ‘trust.’ For skeptical ancient Greeks, pistis was lowest on a scale of trustworthiness for claiming a statement to be true.

My ‘believing in’ means my ‘trusting that some belief is true’. I trust not because I have any reliable evidence for that statement (of belief).

I trust because I am someone who regards as authoritative some other person or written source which has claimed that the statement is true.

And, we know that even so-called “eyewitness reports” are often quite untrue, even if the speaker intends to be honest about what was perceived. (So much for the Paul’s misinterpretation of his mental illnesses and the fictional account of Jesus in the xian narrative texts.)

In other words, faith is hearsay. Your ‘belief-in’ based on hearsay cannot possibly be evidence for me. Simply because what you heard from someone else (or read) cannot be evidence for you either.

2. The “God” of the big-3 theisms can easily be refuted

You’re just going to have to do a better job of researching before making a claim which has long been part of xian apologetics, but which is false.

A “God” with the supposed attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, and omni-benevolence cannot exist since that alleged concept of God is (logically) incoherent.

3. It is no criticism of philosophy to point out its inconclusiveness

Whenever, a philosophical question does (rarely) get answered — it thereby ceases to be part of philosophy. Part of the charm of philosophy resides in the “openness” of its claims. Any settled question puts a stop to the game — the game lives on uncertainty, unclarity, and psychological discomfort.

Religion, of course, has completely lost any aspect of playfulness. It is serious, righteous, and completely authoritarian.

-— you, I assume, are certain, clear, and comfortable about the reliability of your faith claims.

You certainly aren’t shy about overstepping the bounds of religious discourse to criticize what you obviously know nothing about: philosophy, history of xianity, or whether you entertain a coherent concept of “God”.

If you must engage in xian apologetics, read some philosophers of religion or even some philosophically minded theologians. They are nonsense…but don’t take my word for it. I have no interest in being trusted.

the anti_supernaturalist

  (Quote)

jake February 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Maven,
If a nation happens to exist that is predominantly peopled by individuals who have a religious faith that contains apocalyptic prophecies, and if polls indicate that the majority of said individuals believe that the apocalypse will come in their lifetime, and if individuals at the highest level of government, military, and the media also hold these beliefs, and if this nation has access to enough energy to permanently burn even the memory of life on their planet to dust, and all the while not being overly concerned with their own deaths because the individuals believe that they will be raised to paradise in the next world, then it matters what the next man’s religious beliefs are.

  (Quote)

Tom February 22, 2010 at 7:21 pm

@Maven

Nice post. Well thought out, intelligent argument. I like it.

Unfortunately religion tells you 2 + 2 = 5 and asks you to accept this as faith.

Is that the same as accepting that 2 + 2 = 4?

  (Quote)

Shay February 22, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Lack of belief is not a belief. If someone tells me there are invisible fairies in my house who sprinkle invisible glitter on me when I sleep to give me lovely dreams and I turn to them and say “I really don’t think that is true. Prove it.” I am simply not believing. I am not believing in the lack of fairies.

Judeo-Christians are atheists as well, I just believe in one less God than them.

  (Quote)

brad February 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I prefer “doesn’t exist”

  (Quote)

christos_orestis February 22, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Maven,

You seem to have a different definition of the term FAITH/BELIEVE than I do. In my perspective there is a major difference between the term ‘believe’ and the term ‘know’. This difference lays on the absence of rational reasoning behind a statement. When the ‘facts’ in a theory can be easily replaced with other facts without destroying the theory itself then you have got a believe, not a theory.

E.g. in Christianity:
===================================================
God created everything in 7 days.
There is no reason to why 7 days and not 823479 days.
Do people who believe this know something we don’t? :)
This absence of reason makes the above statement a believe.

E.g. in physics:
===================================================
The estimated age of the universe is 14 billion years or more.
There are REASONS why astronomers estimated this specific number.

Some techniques involve:
- Estimating the age of the oldest known star clusters.
- Estimating the age of the heavy chemical elements.
- Estimating the temperature (age) of the coolest white dwarfs.
- Estimating the expansion rate of the universe and extrapolating back to the Big Bang.
- Measuring the gamma-ray burst.

This estimation can be absolutely wrong but it is calculated based on our current understanding of the universe, based on rational thinking and it’s not a random statement. This is called reasoning. If you don’t agree with the ‘14 billion years’ statement then find some more convincing REASONS and argue. This is what scientists do all day!

===================================================
Asking WHY on any kind of bullshit-statement you hear will help you distinguish the bullshit-statements due to lack of reasoning from the bullshit-statements due to lack of knowledge.

c_o

  (Quote)

Kelsi February 22, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Hey, I just Stumbled on this and thought it was hilarious. I call myself a Christian, though I am still not so sure. Even so, I think it’s important to be able to laugh at your beliefs. I agree that the idea of a zombie carpenter could start a movement by accident or however people believe that Christianity was started sounds absurd. But it’s what I and my religious community believe in. One just needs to know to stand back and not take everything so seriously.

  (Quote)

pielouka February 22, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Let’s cut to the chase here: if you believe in miracles you’re a fool.

  (Quote)

Kelsi February 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm

@ Pielouka-

Why? What is your proof for that? Is not the birth of a child a miracle? Is not the growing of a tree a miracle? Is not the fact that this world exists a miracle?

  (Quote)

Kelsi February 22, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Btw…I really wanted an answer from those of you who don’t believe in miracles…Lol

  (Quote)

lukeprog February 22, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Kelsi,

By ‘miracle’ you apparently mean ‘something nice’? That’s probably different than what pielouka means by ‘miracle’.

  (Quote)

Kelsi February 22, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Wait…why is that what I mean? You see a living being and the world around you as “something nice”?

  (Quote)

Kelsi February 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm

You make it sound like the life you were given was a tacky birthday present given by your late-Aunt Gertrude. Lol

  (Quote)

eric February 22, 2010 at 11:10 pm

@kelsi

“Why? What is your proof for that? Is not the birth of a child a miracle? Is not the growing of a tree a miracle? Is not the fact that this world exists a miracle? ”

no these things are not miracles…they are naturally occurring events understood and described by scientific methods.

a miracle is an occurance whose only explanation is divine intervention.

  (Quote)

eric February 22, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Kelsi: Why? What is your proof for that? Is not the birth of a child a miracle? Is not the growing of a tree a miracle? Is not the fact that this world exists a miracle?  

no, these things are not miracles…they are naturally occurring events understood and described by scientific methods.

a miracle is an occurance whose only explanation is divine intervention.

  (Quote)

eric February 22, 2010 at 11:16 pm

furthermore, since you are making the claim that miracles exist (and by proxy; a divine power), the burden of proof lies with you (not the disbeliever) to prove that claim.

so instead of snarky comments, why dont you start coughing up some of evidence of your claims?

  (Quote)

Jim February 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm

75 million years ago, Xenu, dictator of the Galactic
Confederacy, brought billions of his people to Earth, stacked them around volcanoes, and blew them up with hydrogen bombs.

So NOW we know how the dinosaurs died. Huzzah!

  (Quote)

Kelsi February 23, 2010 at 6:43 am

First of all, I in no one intended my comments to be “snarky.” I genuinely wanted answers. I believe in what I do, and I understand that you don’t. I’m not trying to convert you, I’m just sincerely curious. So if I came off that way, I apologize.

Second of all, I’ll use my example on birth. According to LiveScience, there are 250 million sperm released during sex. The point that the specific sperm fertilized to the specific egg to create the human being you are today is what I consider a miracle. Science tells us how it can happen, I believe it’s a miracle that causes one occurrence to. You didn’t have to be created- there were 249,999,999 other sperms to create another human being. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty darn glad that I was made. Unless you just see that as another “something nice?” If this is the case, there lies our disagreement.

Continually, according to American Heritage Dictionary, a miracle is “One that excites admiring awe” and “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment” according to Websters. This means that a miracle is not immediately attributed to the divine.

  (Quote)

eric February 23, 2010 at 8:02 am

yes, we definitely disagree that chance occurrences are the same as miracles.

lets use your fertilization example again. there were likely many reasons why one sperm manages to fertalize an egg while others didnt. sperm aren’t all the same; some will naturally be faster than others, some will be heartier than others, some get released before others,and some will naturally be able to locate and penetrate the egg faster than others.

in effect, it is akin to a marathon…sure, there are thousands of people running, but the person who is the most fit and most equipped to finish the run will likely win (particularly if they are given a positional advantage). what exactly is so miraculous about that?

lastly, lets not get into a semantic discussion here. in a religious context (which is what the discussion, and in fact, the whole blog is about), miracle means divine intervention (and im not going to be so trite as to start listing all the dictionaries that support the definition i used).

  (Quote)

Kelsi February 23, 2010 at 8:15 am

I’m sorry, but I fail to see life as a chance occurrence. And according to what you’re saying, you could just as easily have been born another person, so in the broader picture, you’re no big deal? Is that what I’m understanding to say? You were born. You are different from others. You didn’t have to be, but you were. I see you as a miracle yourself, because you were born. I stand in awe because the beauty around me didn’t have to be created, but by some work of something we don’t understand, it was. I guess I just see the beauty and wonder in the world around me.

As for the semantics argument, the above quote said that any that believe in miracles is a fool. I was merely stating that I believe in miracles, even if not strictly a divine belief. There are many definitions for many words- doesn’t mean that all of them pertain to the word all the time.

  (Quote)

eric February 23, 2010 at 8:49 am

yes, if another sperm had been faster, or stronger, or heartier, or had a better sense of direction, or had a better positional advantage, or some combination thereof, then that sperm would have probably fertilized the egg instead of the sperm that created me.

i still fail to see the miracle there.

lets use my marathon example again. the runner that wins will likely be a superior runner that has physical attributes like being stronger, faster, and having more endurance than the other competitors. the fact that the superior runner won the race is not a miracle, it just shows that they were better equipped to win the race.

i dont think we are going to come to an agreement on this. i think there are plenty of beautiful, amazing, wonderful things that happen in this universe, but i yet to see anything i would consider a miracle.

but good discussion nonetheless.

  (Quote)

Kelsi February 23, 2010 at 9:00 am

But why did that person have the superior attributes to begin with? Why were they so…must I say, blessed, to be born with the strength and agility they were? What makes you you? What makes the differences between us? I suppose that’s where I see the miracle.

I suppose I am just simple and find miracles in the smallest things. I can look at the world, and wonder, could that object or person or idea just as easily not been there? I say yes, and that’s the miracle. That it is.

I agree, as well. I believe we’ve come to a stand still. I can agree to disagree, even if you think my beliefs to be fantasies, etc. I greatly enjoyed your insight. Thank you for sharing it with me. :)

  (Quote)

eric February 23, 2010 at 9:02 am

i want to use one last example..

i have twins. they were born despite the fact that my wife was on the depro provera shot at the time (which has a 99.7% efficacy rate).

now you may see this as a miracle, however i dont. my viewpoint is simply that this happened to be the .3% of times that the shot fails.

and i think thats where our disagreement lies..we have fundamentally different ideas on what qualifies as a miricle and what is simply a statistical anomaly.

  (Quote)

eric February 23, 2010 at 9:03 am

absolutely. thank you for the discussion. :)

  (Quote)

Maven February 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Anti-supernaturalist,

You tell me to do my homework by reading the work of others, but then tell me to ignore hearsay. By reading the philosophy of another who I do not recognize as an authority on the subject, am I not listening to hearsay? Your argument is a paradox.

Let me explain. According to your definition (if I understand it correctly), the only thing that changes a belief in a concept from faith to truth is the authority of the source. However, this argument has a problem. If I believe in the authority of the bible, then to me it is truth and to you it is hearsay. Similarly, if you believe in the authority of your own logic and reason, as anyone who attempts to practice apologetics does, then you recognize your deductive reasoning as truth. I, however, propose that one’s logic and reason is no more truthful than that of some other insane individual (or book). I do not believe in my own logic, and it is, therefore, according to your definition, hearsay.

If we take that concept one step further, the truth– commonly recognized as unchanging– dos not exist. There is no truth if that truth is conditional based on a person’s perspective on what does or does not have authority. And, if I believe that everyone in the world that is or ever was, including me, is wrong about philosophy– and I trust the authority of my own logic– then a universal truth cannot possibly exist. If you accept truth to be not true in some cases, then your definition of faith can still be applied, but if you are truly are trying to tell me you believe that truth can be untrue, I question the truth of your statement. :)

If what you are claiming is in fact apologetics, then I do not pretend to want to “do apologetics.” ( and I am quite proud of my incoherent concept of the almighty tree spirits and fairies thank you very much.)

  (Quote)

Maven February 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Tom,

I disagree. Religion does not tell you that 2 + 2 = 5, religion tells you that Sinrf + jagr = imoflabin. It doesn’t matter what you say, you cannot conclusively prove them wrong.

Granted, this doesn’t extend to some of the fables in religions about a cosmic egg or a flood, I’m really only talking about the god thing.

  (Quote)

Maven February 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Jake,

I completely agree with you, and I’m sorry for not picking up on it, but I fail to see how that is in conflict with what I said.

  (Quote)

Maven February 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Shay,

I recently read somewhere that atheism is not a belief system because atheists simply respond in the negative when asked, “do you affirm this statement as true: there is a god.” An atheist says that just because he/she doest not believe in one thing doesn’t mean he/she believes in an alternative. However, I would like to ask a different question: do you affirm this statement as true: there is no god. By responding yes, aren’t you affirming and recognizing your belief?

You believe in your own opinion as right. You believe that your logic and reasoning and solution is one that make sense. You believe that “they” are wrong. That IS faith, just as much as any theism is.

  (Quote)

Maven February 23, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Christos_oresis,

I agree with everything you have put forth, but I would like to pick at a few details. How can you “know” anything? You admit that scientific estimation could be wrong and I appreciate that, but it doesn’t really apply to what I’m talking about. I am not a Christian, and laugh at any idiot that thinks that the world was created in seven days. However, the reason for my “faith” argument has nothing to do with Christianity. I am asking how an atheist can “know” there is no god. We can’t really test a philosophical theory like we can a scientific one because we can’t really even know that the tools with which we measure truth or morality or justice are accurate.

Just because Christians who take the Bible literally deserve to be hit over the head with a baseball bat does not prove that the atheist is right. Just because the universe and every detail in it can be explain (even though it can’t) does not prove the atheist is right.

  (Quote)

Maven February 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm

And last but by no stretch the the imagination least…

Jim,

Quite right!

  (Quote)

Carrie February 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Being from Ireland where our religous leaders tortured both children and adults for generations, without questions from the masses,I am glad to see your blog. Anyone with a good heart would walk away from a group who used it’s power to do such terrible crimes. Whatever about the ludicrousness of the belief there is a lot more here to criticise. I saw someone mention something about if there is no heaven or reward what’s the point. When asked that by my son I said ‘life’ is the point, live it to the best of your ability, appreciate and enjoy it, most likely that’s all there is. Why look for a reward for living it, isn’t it enough that you get to do it at all. I’m sorry that I cannot say it more eloquently.

  (Quote)

Seeking February 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Maven,

I too am very new to these comptemplations; therefore, I seek to only observe and question that in which I perceive discrepancy (regardless of whether or not it actually “exists”). While I find the premise of your expressed logic coherent with that of my own,which I acknowledge my understanding to be ever limited by, I have produced one question. We seem to agree that our persepectives shape our beliefs. How does one truly revoke his limitations? Perhaps the human mind is finite and matters such as creation, development, purpose, morality simply cannot be fully understood. Perhaps the more literal Christian of which you speak perceives that his God is greater than the world He created, and thus, is not limited by the “rationalities” of the world and human mind.Can we merely proclaim him “wrong”? For lack of eloquence, I suppose my true question is: what gives us the right to conclude that humankind is the greatest intellectual power? Why must the world “make sense” in man’s mind?

I recognize that the words above posses incoherency, fallacy, and probably type-os.I in no way consider myself knowledgeable, merely confused. And the only way I see myself gaining a better understanding of any idea or even of my lack of idea is to question that which I am, quite honestly,far too ignorant to piece together on my own. I hope you and others will allow your perspectives to expand my own.

  (Quote)

Seeking February 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Maven,

I would like to clarify that I in no way sought to speak on the behalf of Christianity or any other religion. I was simply confused by what appeared to be an abrupt switch in philosophy. It seemed as though you thought no human or book to be undeniable evidence of any particular view, but that a sector of Christianity could in no possible way possess any form of truth, whether they understand it or not. Must a universal truth be fully understood by every individual? Could it be by even one?

:)

  (Quote)

Ian February 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Carrie

I enjoyed your comment very much.

Maven

To defend Shay, I don’t think Shay mentioned whether or not he was an atheist. I also hate to bring this to semantics but perhaps he is agnostic.

  (Quote)

Maven February 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Seeking,

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m going to try to sum up what I think you are trying to say. Your first question takes my statement about “truth” as it pertains to faith and carries it out to cover all aspects of the universe. You wonder why, if man cannot possibly know the answer to questions like “Is there a god?”, then why do we assume we know the answer to questions like “Where does daylight come from?”

The reason I differentiate between questions of philosophy and questions of a more material nature is precisely because the latter is objective, is quantifiable, and can be tested. I poked at Christians who take the bible literally because they believe light existed before any possible source of light. I would also poke fun at an atheist that says because a source of light must have come before light, the existence of god has been disproven.

To be honest, you could respond by saying that we don’t really know that science is right, that we can’t prove without a doubt that it isn’t invisible creatures pulling things toward the ground instead of gravity, or that the laws of the universe are simply to complex for organisms to comprehend. That is the ultimate trump card. I can’t argue against it, because according to you my argument is based on an incomplete understanding. And hell, you could be right.

However, and this is just my opinion and not really an argument, philosophy is a game. Saying “humans aren’t smart enough to understand their surroundings” is like taking the board and pieces, throwing them against the wall, and yelling “I WIN!” Nobody can tell you that you didn’t, but then you don’t really get to the end goal: a more complete knowledge of existence.

I do not hold the belief that humans are incapable of understanding truth, just that we are incapable of proving it (truth on a philosophical level, at least).

As for your second question, I think you are referring to what I said to Anti-supernaturalist. The logic stated in that post was to show a weakness in his definition of faith, and I do not in fact believe that truth is conditional or that it is dependant on an individual’s trust in the source. If you were still taking about my Christianity comment, it is not that Christianity cannot possess truth- by chance they could have stumbled upon something- it is rather that an unquestioning faith in that truth is foolhardy.

You are the first person to ask because I might be wrong instead of the thought that you are right, and I think that’s another wonderful similarity between us. And just because I’m curious, how old are you? Sorry if I’m wrong but I’ve gotta be honest, I doubt you are older than a freshman in college.

  (Quote)

Maven February 24, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Ian,

I went back and read what I wrote, and I can see how I could have come off as aggressive and I apologize. As for whether Shay is an atheist or an agnostic… she is an atheist.

“Judeo-Christians are atheists as well, I just believe in one less God than them.”

The way I see it, Atheists are agnostics as well, I just believe in one less nongod then them.

  (Quote)

Seeking February 24, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Maven,

I laughed when I read your analogy to the board game because I completely agree. I suppose my point was to propose that perhaps the reason we cannot “prove” any philosophical idea is not only a variance in perspective creating a seemingly impossible “overall truth”, but also because of something greater. I would also like to reiterate that Christianity was not the purpose of my post, merely the angle chosen.

And in regards to your question, I am seventeen. :)

  (Quote)

alerick February 25, 2010 at 2:34 am

i have read all of the comments with great interest..and amusement..
god and i have an understanding .. he dont come to my house.. i dont go to his..

  (Quote)

James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil February 25, 2010 at 3:54 am

First, I like what you’re doing here and always enjoy reading it. Let’s face it, though. You’re “preaching to the choir”. Very few “true believers” of any kind will venture here. Of the few that do, they are only here to “save your soul” and there is no chance at all that you will “deconvert” them by force of logic and facts.

As I read somewhere else, “If you could reason with theists, there wouldn’t be any theists.” That makes sense to be because the first thing a theist must do is reject all semblance of reality. Then goes logic, facts, and rational thinking for oneself.

So keep up the good work of entertaining rationalists.

  (Quote)

Kelsi February 25, 2010 at 4:40 am

@ James Smith Joao Pessoa, Brazil-

I myself am a true believer in God (although many of the details are sketchy to me still). I am here, enjoyed the article, and in no way want to “save anyone’s soul.” Not because people here don’t deserve it, but because I don’t have any right to. I’m tired of many of the masses being afraid to talk to and being aggressive to Christians because of those who feel the need to convert others.

I think that before you put all of us believers into a category saying that none of us can rationally think for ourselves, you need to get more evidence that backs up your comment. Because I’ve known many Theists that have a good backbone when it comes to knowledge, facts, and individualism. It’s just the crazy people who follow “Christ” or people who claim to be “Christ’s followers” blindly that are dangerous and annoying.

  (Quote)

lukeprog February 25, 2010 at 6:40 am

Thanks, Kelsi.

  (Quote)

Grifter February 25, 2010 at 10:04 am

The only logical philosophy with regards to theism is agnostic atheism. We have no proof of there being a god, and no proof of there not being one.

To use a famous example, Russel’s Teapot, there COULD be a teapot orbiting Jupiter. It’s too small to see, and Jupiter’s a huge surface for me to be looking at, so therefore, although I really don’t believe there is one, if someone tells me there is, I must at least admit the possibility of such.

That being said, every religion that I’ve ever heard of is provably false. The bible, after all, defines pi as 3. As such, if one precept is falsified, the whole thing becomes questionable. The bible also defines god (and someone else mentioned this) as all knowing, all powerful, and all loving. That is retarded. Anything with the ‘omniscience’ tag belies free will; knowing what someone will do means they have no choice in the matter. And omnipotence means free will. Though you may quibble with the specifics I have here, the point is that every actual religion makes claims. Once you make a claim, then your theory can be falsified. And every religion I know of has falsified claims (usually relating to prayer), and as such has invalidated itself as a theory.

And example, in science, would be ‘the aether’, which was an idea proposed to negate the idea of a real vacuum, with the thought that light waves couldn’t propogate in a vacuum (I’m vastly oversimplifying). It was invalidated as a theory as soon as its claims were looked at seriously, and we realized that it was not true. This doesn’t mean there isn’t something we don’t know about, only that the aether, as described, doesn’t exist. I would say the same about every religion. God, as THEY DESCRIBE, does not exist. God as a concept, however, is a different matter.

God alone, existence versus non, is like String Theory. Makes things prettier in your head, but makes no predictions and no specific claims that can be refuted. The religious frequently fall back on “you can’t prove he doesn’t exist” claims. And they are right. The problem is they usually try to parlay that into their own specific religion, which as I’ve said, then starts to make claims, which then invariably are falsified. The less claims a religion makes, the closer to the simple idea of god’s existence, the more difficult it is to falsify. I mean, perhaps god just doesn’t like us, and that’s why he’s hidden himself from us. Perhaps he’s ‘just fucking with us’ with dinosaur bones and the appearance of age. I always make room for that possibility.

But on a day to day basis, I must have a working theory. Just as I assume there are no invisible unicorns in my underwear drawer, despite the fact that, like with the idea of god, I can’t rove there aren’t, I assume there is no god. But again, this doesn’t mean I say for sure he doesn’t exist, only that there are an infinity of things that are possible, and I cannot believe them all, nor can I live a day to day life making room for them all. After all, perhaps god needs me to walk backwards or I’ll go to hell, or perhaps sideways or I’ll go hell, thus ensuring that no matter what, I might be going to hell. I cannot work with conflicting theories like that, and so have to pick one. I will pick the most likely, and as there is 0 evidence of god, then, like with anything else there is 0 evidence of, I will assume it does not exist until something comes along to shake that fact.

You can choose to believe what you want, but if you believe in god, then you are, by definition, being irrational. There is no need to gather ‘evidence’ to back that claim up, the only thing necessary is an analysis of the position, to see how it is logically incoherent, and thus irrational, and thus, if you care clearly being irrational, then idea that you ‘cannot rationally think for yourself’ is a fair one to put forward. I’m sorry you don’t LIKE that; unfortunately, reality doesn’t bend to our wills. To quote Philip K. Dick, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

And in response to the idea that “just you” being born is a miracle, because you could just as easily not be, that is a ridiculous argument. The same argument would have you call every coin flip, REGARDLESS OF OUTCOME, a miracle, thus making the term meaningless. (“My god it’s heads, I can’t believe it’s heads. And this time it’s tails! Wow!”) It’s just statistics. If the conditions are right for pregnancy, it will occur. That is biology. If pregnancy is going to occur, only one sperm can get in (normally, I believe there are exceptions but they are irrelevant to the dicussion at hand), this is also biology. If only one can get in, and there are millions, then yes, you are a one in a million chance. But to refer back a bit to a previous person’s idea of a religion lottery, if you have a set defined set of numbers (let’s say you’ve numbered each sperm), and you know one will be ‘chosen’, then there is absolutely nothing to the fact that any specific one was chosen. This takes into account equality of likelihood. Now, it has been noted that some sperm are more fit than others. This follows its own causal chain: a leads to be leads to c leads to a sluggish individual sperm. To say this is a miracle is to say that literally everything that happens, literally all the time, is a miracle. Thus miracle would lose all meaning, and THAT’S why some took issue with your use of it in that way. It is a known logical fallacy to look at a statistically unlikely outcome and infer meaning to it, when in fact AN outcome is certain, and the purpose of statistics is to quantify how often any particular outcome is likely to come up, and so therefore that often that outcome WILL come up. After all, in the marathon example, SOMEONE WILL WIN. We can analyze WHY whoever won, won, but SOMEONE would. We can’t say that therefore it’s a miracle someone specific won… it had to be somebody. (Also, as in an earlier example, with the 99.7 percent effectiveness leading to a .3 percent chance of pregnancy despite. Therefore, if 1000 people are on it, 3 WILL get pregnant, and it is foolishness to infer anything beyond that, since we already knew it was going to happen…it would be like saying “whoa, I stubbed my toe, then felt pain! What a miracle! … I took that pill, and 997 people who also took it didn’t get pregnant, but me and two others did get pregnant, what a miracle!)

I guess the final thought about that would be, that you’re saying I’m here is a miracle…but you’d also say that if a different sperm had fertilized and a different ‘me’ was here. Or if I wasn’t here at al, and someone else’s kid was in my place. so how is it a miracle?

Sorry to be so verbose. To end on another quote, just for fun, I’ll leave you with Mark Twain: “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

  (Quote)

tablogloid February 25, 2010 at 11:09 am

Re your take on Hinduism: There is no “d” in privilege.

  (Quote)

Maven February 25, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Grifter,

You spent all that time saying that “We have no proof of there being a god, and no proof of there not being one”, then you say “I will pick the most likely, and as there is 0 evidence of god, then, like with anything else there is 0 evidence of, I will assume it does not exist until something comes along to shake that fact.”

Care to explain why the zero evidence against god is better than the zero evidence for it?

  (Quote)

katie February 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm

you have coexist at the top of this page, yet are dissing every religion other than atheism. by doing so, you are being just as ignorant as those who follow the “cosmic jewish zombie who was his own father” and the like.
and you’re right, buddhism is tough to make fun of. because the only message is the one which other religions have tried to convey – be kind to one another, don’t dwell on your sufferings because we all suffer one in the same. The problem with the other religions is that the myths they tell to show morals have been taken as fact. when looking at religions, it is not the story that is important. it is the moral to be taken from it.

  (Quote)

lukeprog February 25, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Thanks, tablogloid.

  (Quote)

annon February 25, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Maven: lukeprog,I must admit the fact that you elicited a laugh or two when I read this post, but in one of your comments you said that you use varied strategies to “wake people up.”This question is not a jab but rather serious intrigue as to your reasoning: what gives you the right? I think we all agree that the Jehovah’s Witness on one’s doorstep is a burden, and should not have plagued the world by ringing our doorbell.Similarly, (I assume, possibly faslely) that you have decided that your faith is truth and that all other belief systems are false, you have made this decision publicly known, and you have then made the attempt to force your beliefs on others with various “strategies to ‘wake people up.’”If ignorance truly is bliss, and the 4.8995 billion people in that set of statistics are happy with their delusion, why does it matter if they dont understand the world like you do?If you could help me understand, that would be great.The way I see it, if there is no afterlife and this is it, if when I die all that will come about is decay and grief, and if there truly is no purpose to it all, then I have nothing to live for, because in the end all my endeavors result in nothing. I live without meaning, while the blind follower lives knowing that he will soon be met with rainbows and puppies. As much as it pains me to say it, I think he is the more happy man.Or, is happiness a dellusion too?  

Why do I have the feeling you laughed at all cracks on the religions you don’t believe in, and are only upset because Christianity was thrown into the same group as them?

I have a very christian background. Born into a christian family I was completely brainwashed until about 16 I was christian but thought it all sounded a bit silly. 17-24 I was agnostic, and after 24 atheist, mostly because of having access to so much information and articles like this helped put into perspective how silly religion is and give me a better understanding of why scientist theories are what they are. It was such a relief to be free of what I now view as a mental virus. I remember in sitting in classes up through high school and any time something came up that contradicted what I was taught I’d think “this is bullshit, they dont know what they’re talking about” and “lol plate tectonics my ass”. Things like carbon dating, evolution, genetics, I remember learning all these things and discounting them at the same time. It’s so easy to believe something that’s off the wall when that’s all you’re exposed to.

You ask what gives him the right to “wake people up”… yet the christian faith tells you to be “fishers of men”. It’s not just Jehovah’s witnesses that go door to door, and I’m sure at one time you’ve attended a church that’s funded or sent missionaries. All lukeprog did was write this and put on on an ATHEIST website. FFS

Atheism is not a faith. No matter how much you say it is, no matter how much you want it to be, no matter what you’ve heard misguided christian leaders say, it’s not a faith. I’m starting to wonder if I’m getting trolled.

What’s wrong with someone believing something as long as it makes them happy? So the more ignorant you are the more happy you are? And on being misguided, doesn’t it bother you to know you’re living in a false dream world? and the fact that you can say that thinking of life without an afterlife/god wouldn’t be worth living says a lot of why people believe these ludicrous beliefs in the first place. “Religion. A really complicated and illogical way of saying ‘I’m scared of death’”\

Side note, I saw the invention of lying and loved it.

  (Quote)

hmmmm February 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Snooze to everyone getting so worked up about this. I think it’s kinda funny. Surely the point of this is just a bit of fun. It’s swings and roundabouts. No matter what you say now days, you are going to annoy someone.
I choose not to believe in any religion because I don’t know what happens after death (personally I think we just become worm food. Worms feed birds that feed cats/dogs that humans love and look after and bring them JOY! yup warped circle of life) and I think no one can. Not for sure anyway. We should live this life we are given (by our mother may I add) to the fullest and have no regrets. Who’s to say who’s right.
People can say what they want, freedom of speech.
That is all. :-)

  (Quote)

Grifter February 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Maven, the reason was included in the quote you gave: because there are an infinity of things that COULD exist, for which we have no evidence. For example, unicorns in the underwear drawer. Or leprechauns. Or ANYTHING. Therefore, we ALL work off the assumption day to day that there AREN’T unicorns in our sock drawers, unless something comes along to change that. Same with god.

0 evidence = nonexistence until proven otherwise (or at least until there’s SOMETHING like evidence, something that makes the possibility stand out). I would think that would be an obvious logical point.

Now, people can believe whatever makes them happy. I don’t care. I have a friend who’s a creationist. But he doesn’t try to defend it logically, he just says that’s what makes him happy. (to quote him, “I know my entire philosophy sounds like the fantasy trope of ‘wizard did it’”). I start caring when people try to make themselves sound logical or rational when they are not.

Oh, and I would argue that atheism is often a faith. Not for everyone; some people are just taking their agnosticism very far towards the direction of non-belief, and I don’t blame them (Again, it is the more logical conclusion to conclude that there is no god than that there is one, so the strength of that conviction is a matter of choice), but when an atheist refuses to allow for the possibility of god, then he steps into the same territory of the religious. (I’m not saying Anon, or anyone else here is doing that, merely pointing out that it occurs).

After all, a god similar to the one of the hebrews COULD exist, if you remove the logical inconsistencies and factual inaccuracies. Could have come down and told them to mutilate the genitals of all little boys. Heck, could be the same god that went to Mohammed, who was a pedophile (his 9 year old wife, Aisha, whom he supposedly consummated the marriage with, because I’m sure I’ll get attacked for mentioning it). And that strange, evil god COULD have created us. I wouldn’t serve him, even if he did, but it is not outside the realm of possibility. But without SOME KIND OF EVIDENCE, I’m not goign to belive, because htere’s no reason to believe. To believe is an affirmative, an affirmative needs a basis.

  (Quote)

Grifter February 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm

oh, and hmmm, I agree that getting worked up over a joke is a bit much. At the same time, I hate sitting by while people say things thinking they make sense when they do not.In the end, there is an actual truth, and that’s the problem… “Who’s to say who’s right” implies multiple answers, which is a possibility, but is itself an answer, only one of which is ultimately correct.

  (Quote)

Shane February 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I love it!

  (Quote)

Maven February 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Aight Grifter I can go with that.

… and Annon…. I really don’t know why you “have the feeling you laughed at all cracks on the religions you don’t believe in, and are only upset because Christianity was thrown into the same group as them?”

I’ve already stated that I’m agnostic, and just fyi I was raised muslim but everybody else here is christian or atheist.

  (Quote)

Jon March 5, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I like the using of these symbols to spell TOXIC

  (Quote)

gloriousbastard March 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm

This was funny. People who didn’t like it need to get over it, or express their feelings in medium to large groups which convene in church basements just for such an indignant reason.

I’ve got to say, though, putting in scientology and not Judaism is strange. We might be small, but we definitely have more people than scientology, and certainly have more influence in Hollywood. Not to mention there are enough qualitative differences between us and Christianity or Islam to deserve your scorn on our own. The Christian god wanted everyone to turn their frikken cheeks. It was Yaweh, our badass psychotic adonai that flooded the earth because he was… ummmm….. jealous? Don’t get me started on the book of Job.

I mean, don’t the funny sideburns and hats deserve some mention?

  (Quote)

DoAtheistsExist? March 16, 2010 at 10:12 am

Hmm I have to agree this was a bit of a disappointment. This is the kind of post that relegates this blog to the level of all the other religion-bashing blogs, when really you’re capable of so much more. I much prefer it when you contribute stimulating, interesting and fully reasoned points and arguments to the debate.

You claim to be a freethinker, open minded etc, but I think in this post your bias is starting to show quite blatantly. Funny how each religion is named and described very specifically, yet you lump your own beliefs with “unbelief”. Now that is an incredibly vague category. That could be someone who’s never even thought about God, or who couldn’t care less about whether he existed or not, or is an agnostic or gnostic atheist. And I think you know full well that many atheists- though certainly not all- do actually have a belief that God does not exist.

And I think that that can be shown by asking them the question, “Does God exist?” Now of couse if they simply had a non-belief about God, they would say “I don’t have a belief”, whereas most atheists would give actively negative answer, “No.” Which is fair enough, but its not a non-belief.

And so with that in mind, you could have described the atheist worldview something like this,”Atheism- the belief that there was nothing and then nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything. Then for no reason some things on earth magically made themselves to start living, which then accidently made themselves into unbelievably complex animals for no reason.” “You cretin, you clearly have no capacity in your puny little half-evolved brain to understand atheism AT ALL!!”, I hear you say! And I agree that this is not a fair representation of atheism, but this is just the same kind of representation that Luke has given these other worldviews here. Either reject them all as inadequate representations, or accept them all- including the one for atheism.

  (Quote)

Kaiser March 20, 2010 at 4:20 am

Been reading for a while but I did not enjoy this post. I agree with many of the opinions posted above regarding the immaturity, lack of respect, and general religion-bashing tone of this post, but you seem to be satisfied with the incomplete responses you fabricated, so I won’t bring those up. Instead, I’ll mention the fact that you said “people REALLY DO believe what I’ve said above about their religion.” No. They don’t. I could take just about any belief you have about any subject and make it sound ridiculous by over-simplifying it. It’s not clever, it’s not hard, and it doesn’t make ANY point other than the point that in this post you’re being the kind of atheist that gives atheists a bad name.

  (Quote)

Mark P March 21, 2010 at 7:27 am

@ Pielouka-Why? What is your proof for that? Is not the birth of a child a miracle? Is not the growing of a tree a miracle? Is not the fact that this world exists a miracle?  

It’s science.
The things you have mentioned are wonderful and support us as humans.

And if Earth is knocked out its current tracked orbit by a very large meteor and all existing life ceases….is that a miracle also?

  (Quote)

Robin March 21, 2010 at 8:47 pm

I don’t know why everyone is getting so sensitive! i laughed out loud. good job!

  (Quote)

lukeprog March 21, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Thanks, Robin!

  (Quote)

DoAtheistsExist? March 23, 2010 at 11:09 am

Tbh my main point is this: being a young “evangelical” Christian I find you way, way more persuasive when you don’t try and do the generic religion-bashing and instead honestly engage the arguments. I find doubts forming a whole lot more when I see that you are honestly trying to understand. So just saying you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Anyone can ridicule something, espesh when singing to the choir. Of course I’m not saying the choir won’t enjoy it, and if that’s all you want to do then that’s fine. =)

  (Quote)

Konraden April 13, 2010 at 8:02 pm

What’s frightening is that Scientology is the least straw-manned of those religions.

  (Quote)

Adrian June 14, 2010 at 6:24 am

Can I add you on facebook Luke? LOL you’re the kind of person that there needs to be more of! Haha you probably think I’m a douchebag stalker! But nope, just a normal guy with the same views as you so I thought I’d ask, but I bet you’re too busy fighting nonsense for facebook huh? Hahaha

  (Quote)

lukeprog June 14, 2010 at 6:55 am

Yes, Luke Muehlhauser is on Facebook.

  (Quote)

Inkblot Sally July 19, 2010 at 5:50 am

Heh. I’d read a description of Christianity like that before but never the other ones (well the Xenu stuff sure) I would love to see more. I am an atheist now, but have a huge soft spot for the Paganism that was my last religion. It’s not specific enough for this treatment, but I’d still be amused what you’d come up with.

  (Quote)

Yara July 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm

… i thought it was kind of funny.. a good way to make clear how ridiculous (sorry but it is) these beliefs all sound when broken down to their base points.

but you were right, for the Islam, Christianity and Buddhism parts. that IS exactly what we are taught..

  (Quote)

Kelsi September 19, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Oh, yes…I’m back…ish.

@ Mark-

I don’t see why one couldn’t see a meteor bashing into Earth as a miracle. Perhaps…just perhaps, science and miracles can possibly go hand in hand. I know it’s a strange concept for people of different faiths and beliefs to understand, but we don’t have to be polar opposites about things. I understand the scientific process of child being created, but in the very essence, it didn’t HAVE to happen. But it did. The occurrence itself may be a normal thing, but the end result is not. Birth is an everyday thing, but the miracle is you and me and in the end us talking together here. I don’t know- call me making life a little too simple, but I like the idea that we don’t all have to fight about whose right and wrong when in the end, we really don’t know.

I believe, you don’t. That’s cool with me. I truly did enjoy the conversation held here. Thank you all for letting me see the insight other beliefs have. :)

  (Quote)

Camus Dude October 6, 2010 at 9:53 pm

The “Nonbelief” link is to the Wikipedia article on “Christianity.” Perhaps you’re making a coy Nietzschean statement about Christianity’s nihilism?

  (Quote)

lukeprog October 6, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Oops, fixed.

  (Quote)

JustPassingThrough November 6, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I get the play on most religions there, and I take it all in good humor of course. But the one I don’t really get is the one pertaining to Buddhism.
(I’m Atheist/Buddhist)
And never in anything I’ve read/learned have I gotten the message: “Life is full of suffering, so the only escape is to stop wanting to avoid suffering.”
It makes more of a point that you should be aware that there is suffering, and there are steps to remove suffering.. And how to do so.. Not so much that ‘there is suffering.. so close your eyes and hope it goes away without doing anything about it.’.. Just sayin’.

  (Quote)

Ehh November 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I get the humor, and I get what your trying to say. But I still can’t get over how annoying these sort of posts are. Just an endless cycle of reused bashing against various religions to try to make oneself feel superior to an entire group of people. Your choice to not believe in a god does not instantly make you more intelligent. Your grasp of the universe and reality is no where near perfected (and neither is theirs of course), so we would all be a lot less annoyed if you chose not to flaunt your atheism in our faces.

The only religious people I have issues with are the ones who force their teachings on other people, which is the vast minority of the population. And I have this same issue with fellow atheists. In the end it doesn’t really matter what you believe in, trying to prove it one way or the other is impossible (at least with our current science).

  (Quote)

derrick April 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm

would have been way better if you were humble enough to make fun of your self as well.

  (Quote)

Roxana April 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm

I just stumbled upon this and I though it was pretty funny! I have to say that reading the comments is what caught most of my interest and it was one of the most meaningful conversation/debate i’ve come across in a while. And it makes me happy to know people can question and make fun of religion in a decent conversation!

I do agree with one of the comments above and that is the only problem I have with religion is when it is pushed upon someone, that I don’t like or agree with!

  (Quote)

nick April 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Religion is evil’s greatest disguise.

  (Quote)

Dango April 19, 2011 at 11:23 am

I’ve read the post and every single comment here. I initially had a laugh, then was intrigued, then frustrated, enlightened, amused, and after it all… I just wish one of these Apocalypses finally get here already. A total population purge would be a refreshing change.

  (Quote)

xanderqixter April 27, 2011 at 10:00 am

i am a agnostic turned Christian, i did not do this because i blindly follow the populous view, or even necessarily because i think its right, i did it, because i think everyone needs something to believe in, and the bible said GOD was love and vice versa and that kinda hit home so i went along with it. i am a very very very loose follower, and not offended by any remarks made by your blog or by the following comments, and instead feel more informed and enlightened by them.

that being said, i dont think belief is a bad thing. i want to put religion instead of belief but i have a feeling i will get quite a few atheists commenting if i do. anyways, as i said, i dont think belief is a bad thing. we all believe things everyday. if we make plans for tomorrow, we believe or have faith in the fact that we will survive the night. otherwise there is little or no reason to plan for something we would not experience . when we flip a light switch to the ON position, we have faith it will turn the lights on( not all the time, i know there are the odd cases in which we dont, please no trolls on simplistic things like that). if and or when, the lights do not come on, we are generally confused or surprised for a moment, why? because our belief has been proved wrong. in school they teach us many things. lets use english class as an example here. they teach us that; house, dog, computer, and chair are all nouns. our parents and other students and teachers may agree with that, but what if once we left school, we went to a different country, and that country taught that those words were verbs, and that jump,walk, and skip are all nouns. then our education becomes a belief. now it should be common knowledge to all here that there doesn’t need to be other religions, for Christianity to be a religion. its a religion because it is a belief. with that in mind, is not all education a form of religion? are not all questions on any subject merely a theological one in origin? and all answers merely someone stating their belief as truth? in my eyes, this marks all knowledge, as religion, one that is believed by all, more blindly than any other.

  (Quote)

nick May 6, 2011 at 8:01 am

No. Everything in our society yes is simply a product of human ideas and created knowledge but not everything is religion. Religion was created 7 thousand or so years ago to control people. Most well known in Egypt and Rome. By implementing a higher authority, with all that comes with a god (heaven, punishment, morals, blah blah) people had a reason to do good and stay with a nation. This created states (because religion helped implement borders) and then powerful nation states. There are many good and bad aspects of religion but in the end it is a delusion. It is not religion because science and other things can be proven.
You said we are surprised when a light does not come on because our belief was proven wrong. Yes, people are surprised over a simple light but imagine what it would be like if a belief (more-so a delusion) that was so ingrained and intertwined within one (religion) was proven wrong. Its hard to let go of faith but when you do, it is that purge, that refreshing change in life. Live for yourself, don’t live for a 7thousand year old delusion. You are smarter than a 5000B.C. slave. You understand ethics, you don’t need a ruler to lie to you to keep you working. Live for yourself, life, the human race, its all you have, you only get one shot.

i am a agnostic turned Christian, i did not do this because i blindly follow the populous view, or even necessarily because i think its right, i did it, because i think everyone needs something to believe in, and the bible said GOD was love and vice versa and that kinda hit home so i went along with it. i am a very very very loose follower, and not offended by any remarks made by your blog or by the following comments, and instead feel more informed and enlightened by them.

that being said, i dont think belief is a bad thing. i want to put religion instead of belief but i have a feeling i will get quite a few atheists commenting if i do. anyways, as i said, i dont think belief is a bad thing. we all believe things everyday. if we make plans for tomorrow, we believe or have faith in the fact that we will survive the night. otherwise there is little or no reason to plan for something we would not experience . when we flip a light switch to the ON position, we have faith it will turn the lights on( not all the time, i know there are the odd cases in which we dont, please no trolls on simplistic things like that). if and or when, the lights do not come on, we are generally confused or surprisedfor a moment, why? because our belief has been proved wrong. in school they teach us many things. lets use english class as an example here. they teach us that; house, dog, computer, and chair are all nouns. our parents and other students and teachers may agree with that, but what if once we left school, we went to a different country, and that country taught that those words were verbs, and that jump,walk, and skip are all nouns. then our education becomes a belief. now it should be common knowledge to all here that there doesn’t need to be other religions, for Christianity to be a religion. its a religion because it is a belief. with that in mind, is not all education a form of religion? are not all questions on any subject merely a theological one in origin? and all answers merely someone stating their belief as truth? in my eyes, this marks all knowledge, as religion, one that is believed by all, more blindly than any other.

  (Quote)

nick May 6, 2011 at 8:03 am

Would have never guessed that a religious person would wish for a purge and death for all people just because not everyone believes in the same delusion as you.

You have worse morals than atheists

I’ve read the post and every single comment here. I initially had a laugh, then was intrigued, then frustrated, enlightened, amused, and after it all… I just wish one of these Apocalypses finally get here already.A total population purge would be a refreshing change.

  (Quote)

not an idiot May 19, 2011 at 1:13 am

Hmmm… I’d be interested to hear how you think this post “discredits” my blog. And, this post wasn’t particularly meant to be funny, either. What I’ve written above is not a caricature – it is what the mainstream adherents of these religions actually believe.

you apparently have done no research into the deep meanings behind these religions. ps. buddhism isnt a religion. you can be a christian buddhist, hindu buddhist, ect. it simply wishes to stop suffering in the word through peace. fucking idiot who apparently has beliefs of his own but discredits everyone elses because they arent his. dumbass do some research, and think, thats what athiest do right?

  (Quote)

Jamal May 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm

i am agnostic and some of you Atheist can be worst the christian when it comes to shoving beliefs down peoples throat

  (Quote)

Rigoberto Jarrar June 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm

totally concur with this. I’m attempting to figure out which running a blog application to use, and its awareness to google is vital to me. Leading a known tumblr blog, I attempted hunting which the Name of the blog is, AND direct rates from the blog’s articles. Didn’t appear up in the first 5 research outcomes webpages!

  (Quote)

Jake September 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Nonbelief: 14 billion years ago, a tiny little dot smaller than a period randomly exploded, creating a vast universe which houses millions of organisms (and we don’t even know how many other planets are out there!). Man somehow came from a single-celled organism and now lives on a planet perfectly suited for all of his needs. All sorts of cool stuff is used everyday that can do anything from giving us the ability to blow up entire countries to going up to 4700 mph (future maglev train).
But we think it’s stupid to believe that an entity created us. We’d rather believe that it all just happened by chance.

  (Quote)

Jake September 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm

No. Everything in our society yes is simply a product of human ideas and created knowledge but not everything is religion. Religion was created 7 thousand or so years ago to control people. Most well known in Egypt and Rome. By implementing a higher authority, with all that comes with a god (heaven, punishment, morals, blah blah) people had a reason to do good and stay with a nation. This created states (because religion helped implement borders) and then powerful nation states. There are many good and bad aspects of religion but in the end it is a delusion. It is not religion because science and other things can be proven.You said we are surprised when a light does not come on because our belief was proven wrong. Yes, people are surprised over a simple light but imagine what it would be like if a belief (more-so a delusion) that was so ingrained and intertwined within one (religion) was proven wrong. Its hard to let go of faith but when you do, it is that purge, that refreshing change in life. Live for yourself, don’t live for a 7thousand year old delusion. You are smarter than a 5000B.C. slave. You understand ethics, you don’t need a ruler to lie to you to keep you working. Live for yourself, life, the human race, its all you have, you only get one shot.

Oh, so you went back in time and conferred with the people there and they admitted to you that they indeed just invented religion to control people?
I don’t believe in any of those religions, however I do believe that we are too smart and too advanced to just be here by chance.

  (Quote)

Jake September 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm

ChristianJR4,I think you’re right that some of the effect is meant to be comical, but there is also a serious lesson here, as millions of people REALLY DO believe what I’ve said above about their religion.And yes, I want to elicit emotions (though obviously we have different ideas about what constitutes “profanity”). I use varied strategies to “wake people up.” One is reasoned discourse. Another is rhetoric. Another is comedy. Another is mocking.I’ll write a post about this, shortly.

That’s very sad that you wish to set out and insult people for their beliefs. Many Atheists complain about how Christians try to shove their beliefs down other’s throats. You’re taking that to a whole new level. Your mission of “waking people up” will never happen because many people think that you are the one that needs to be woken up. Me, I’m not sure who is right, so I don’t take sides. I don’t mock people for how they perceive the world. I’m not really sure what is possessing people to set out to break up people’s religious fiber just for the hell of it.

  (Quote)

Clint January 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

Actually they are quite sane in quite a few respects. The Xenu thing has tons of stuff that you have to understand before the story is presented. It could not be understood by non adherents any more than a 5 year old could understand calculus. I am not a Scientologist by the way but have read most of their works and worked on staff like 20 years ago. The technology was a positive for my life. Some of the people are nuts. :)

i dont care if you choose to delete this but i just have to say it … scientologists are fucking insane!!!

  (Quote)

Dwenna January 18, 2012 at 12:49 am

Hey, what about us pagans? What’s a Wiccan gotta do to get slammed around here?

  (Quote)

Leave a Comment