Tag Archives: atheism

Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Before Swine

Faith is a barrier to understanding. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it many times again, but until the average person realizes that faith is not a virtue but rather a hurdle to learning, I’ll keep saying it.

Let’s say that you’re training me how to do your job. You spend several hours, probably 40 a week, doing your job. You have manuals that explain how your job is done, and you’ve been trained. There are good reasons for you to believe that you do your job correctly. And your only desire is to pass on that knowledge and experience to me so that I will also be capable of doing your job. Do you think it’s worth your time to train me if I respond to you with “I know for a fact that you’re training me wrong”???

Maybe I’m right. Maybe I’ve spotted a way to do your job more efficiently, or perhaps I already have relevant experience that doesn’t line up with your instructions. But you’d expect me to demonstrate the difference between my methods and yours and prove that my method is better. If I’m simply acting close-minded and unwilling to accept the information that you’re providing, then I’m wasting your time. To say with conviction and certainty “I know you’re wrong” doesn’t prove anything or resolve the difference of opinion. You’d be presenting me with useful information, but I’ve rendered it useless because I refuse to use it – or as the bible puts it, your wisdom is like “pearls before swine”.

I’m trying to put you in my shoes. I want you to know what it’s like to spend the time on a lesson, but to have it rejected offhand just because the person you’re instructing doesn’t accept that you could possibly know what you’re talking about. I want you to feel the frustration of trying to train someone, only to be told “people that I trust told me that you’re wrong.” Or “you’d be happier and more fulfilled doing it my way”. Or “you think you know everything”.

Can you picture this? Do you understand how it feels to be ridiculed, slandered, or dismissed when you try to pass on your wisdom to someone who doesn’t want it? It’s like trying to explain to a child why they have to eat their peas. You wish that the child would trust you, but the child is immune to reason. You can only keep feeding that child peas and hoping for the best.

Now I’m not saying for certain that you know how to do your job (or in the obvious parallel, that my blogs are always correct). But the proper response is to explain why it’s wrong, and that explanation involves evidence. Personal certainty isn’t convincing to anyone. To say “I know it’s true because I believe it’s true” is the ultimate circular argument, and even kids know “because I said so” is a stupid explanation. This is the absurd logic behind faith. Faith is nothing more than admitting that your belief is based on nothing more than belief and being satisfied with that. It may satisfy you, but to everyone else it just sounds stubborn. “You can’t train me. I know everything I’ll ever need to know.”

I don’t care as much about what you believe as why you believe it. People believe they’ve been abducted by aliens, or that they’ve seen Bigfoot, or that they remember past lives. There are people who have been to seances and they have faith that they’ve spoken to the dead. It doesn’t mean they’ve talked to dead people, it just means they’ve been deceived. People are, by nature, easily deceived. The only protection against this is reason based on evidence.

Imagine a world where religious belief wasn’t based on faith. Wouldn’t it be satisfying if religion worked as easily as your toaster? You put bread in, push down the handle, and in a few minutes you get toast. There’s little room for argument about whether or not toasters make toast – the answer comes in a reliable fashion and with reliable timing. Imagine if you could pray “God, give that atheist Supernova proof of your existence” and I suddenly received a stone tablet with God’s phone number and email address on it. Wouldn’t that be satisfying? And yet it doesn’t happen.

There are Muslims praying to Allah right now. They have faith in their religion’s truth. They believe that their prayers are answered, and not because they see actual results, but because they have faith that their prayers are answered. It should be obvious that their prayers are ineffective – after all, they aren’t really praying to anyone – and yet they don’t see the lack of results. Faith is a barrier to understanding, and a hurdle to learning. Do you get “toaster” answers to your prayers, or do you interpret the answers through faith? Does faith keep you from seeing the answer right in front of your eyes? The Muslims are blinded by faith. Are you? Yes, you. Don’t excuse it, don’t deny it, and don’t put your faith in me. You can think for yourself. Test it for real and trust the results.



Christians Live Like There Is No God

I’m ashamed of Christians for not replying to my posts, and even more ashamed that they don’t confront me with efforts to convert. After all, doesn’t the bible say that its believers are to do exactly that, preach to the unbelieving? Time and time again I’ve expressed both a lack of belief in the bible as well as a willingness to discuss whether God exists with anyone who disagrees with me. And time and time again nobody bothers to take me up on this challenge.

In a new video by TheThinkingAtheist entitled “The Dinner Party”, a man falls over with a heart attack and the rest of the people at the party gather around him to pray for his health. This is a satire aimed at the fact that such a thing doesn’t happen… when Christians are pressed to depend on either God or medical science, they depend on science and give the credit to God. Isn’t prayer supposed to be more dependable and cheaper? Why would a believer ever go to the hospital when they have the power of prayer? Because, when they’re honest, they don’t believe that prayer has power.

In the same way, Christians don’t challenge me to debate because they’ll be embarrassed and (worse) they won’t change my mind. It’s true, they’re not likely to change my mind. I’ve heard all the arguments before, and I know the replies. The Christians I know aren’t even aware of the atheist arguments (even though I post them here repeatedly) and never have a ready answer for them. I do more research and study than my opponents, and that’s why I debate better. Not having God on my side doesn’t hinder my success, and having God “working through them” makes me think that God isn’t so great at debate, either.

I became an atheist when I realized that God’s power didn’t change a thing. There was a time when I desperately wanted to be sin-free, and despite my best efforts, coupled with prayer and strong will, I couldn’t accomplish it. If it’s clearly God’s will that I should be free from sin, and if my free will isn’t hindering God’s attempts to rid me of sin, then why would I still sin? Because God’s power wasn’t even part of the equation.

If Christians lived like there was a God, as I did, they’d quickly become disappointed with life and filled with doubt. And that, I suppose, is why they don’t.


P.S. Really, I’m always open for debate, even if you just want to test an argument for “This is Why God Exists”.  By testing it on me, I can tell you the weaknesses of the argument and you can become better at debating your case. Just put your ego aside, the one that tells you personally “there’s no response to such a strong argument”, and give it a try. If you want to debate me privately, my email address is starcrash6984@gmail.com. I can always make the time to reply to a reader.

Spare the Children

I was a Christian when I was a child.  Wait, let me take that back.  I was raised in a Christian home, indoctrinated in the Christian faith, and told to do what the bible says.  I didn’t question any of it – I was a child in a Christian environment.  But children are too ill-equipped to become a follower of any religion.

Most of us don’t shop around for religions.  Whatever your parents believed, you probably also believe.  If your government mandates a religion, that is probably what you believe.  If your friends all share a faith, that is probably what you believe.  If you were born in a different country, to different parents, you would probably have a different faith.  Your God didn’t find you.  You are a victim of circumstance.  Probably.  We’ll get to converts in a moment.

First, let’s look at an example of indoctrinating children.  In countries that celebrate Christmas, a lot of children are taught the myth of Santa Claus.  It’s presented to them as fact, even though we know it’s a lie.  The story of Santa Claus is fantastic and full of inerrancy that even children easily pick up on (“So how does a fat guy fit through the chimney?  What if we don’t have a chimney?”) but we continue to lie.  We tell them that Santa has magical powers that allow him to pull off the unbelievable things he does like visiting the entire world in a night and building their toys with a legion of elves.  We tell him that he has to be believed with faith because you can’t visit his home (it’s in the unreachable North Pole) or see him while he delivers his goods (otherwise you won’t get any).  And it works.  Children believe it, because we present it as unquestionable truth.

Eventually, the magic wears off.  As kids grow older we stop lying to them, and they see the reality of mall Santas and Christmas sales.  Their peers don’t believe in Santa.  They realize it was all a lie.  But what if they didn’t?  What if we continued to teach them about Santa and his magic on a weekly basis…  perhaps in a Church of Santa?  What if all their friends were told to respect their faith, because it was sacred and holy?  What if children were raised to believe the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was complete fact?  What if children were told that anyone who confronted their Santa belief was merely testing their faith?

Children are impressionable.  They are programmed to listen and learn, otherwise they’d have a much tougher time surviving.  Anything we teach them will be learned and repeated.  They don’t try to figure out a political affiliation – they share their parents’ views on politics.  They don’t gain racism unless it is taught to them.  And kids will follow the leader when it comes to religion, too.

Religious parents don’t see this as harmful – indeed, if they are to be missionaries to their faith, why not start at home?  Because your children will buy it blindly.  If you are religious and don’t care about children learning your faith, remember that there are many different faiths and children being raised in all of them, being led in a direction you don’t agree with either.  And it’s hard to unlearn.  Kids are lucky enough to disbelieve Santa because we stop peddling it once they hit a certain age.

Now to converts.  It is possible to undo this learning.  When a child reaches maturity (around 18 or so) they can be taught contrary opinions.  It’s common for college professors to “reteach” students’ opinions and even undo propaganda (or teach new propaganda).  College students are impressionable on another level…  they can balance 2 beliefs and find their own.  And I know that they can even come to conclusions without being prodded, as I did.  Nobody taught me to be an atheist – it was just the natural path after my questions about the bible led to doubt and finally to disbelief.  Why believe in a different God when the one I had worshiped my entire life no longer existed to me?  I knew it was possible, even likely, to get fooled a second time.  And I believed I’d been fooled without a single person pointing it out to me.  I was very, very fortunate.

So now I challenge you, the reader, to do the unthinkable – pretend your faith is optional.  Did you know you can actually choose a different religion, or give it up entirely?  There is no faith that has you for life.  I was told “once saved, always saved” but that simply isn’t true…  it’s just a method for trying to retain membership (like the Catholic christening of babies, which I can’t even discuss with a modicum of kindness).

I chose to be an atheist. Once I stopped chasing false hope, stopped trying to cultivate a one-sided long-distance relationship, and stopped feeling guilty about stupid things like private thoughts I found I can enjoy life for what it actually offers.  Real freedom comes with making your own choices.  And if you choose to keep believing what you’ve always believed – that’s okay too.  Just make sure it’s your decision.*

-S Nova

*I know I’m offering an easy way out.  Changing your faith means changing your morals, your routines, your opinions, your life.  It can make you a pariah among your family and friends.  It’s not easy to make a life change.  I hope you don’t just blow this off with a quick “Nope, I’m fine, thank you” just because it’s easy, and actually take the time to consider who chose your belief system.