WTF?

This

is irritating. Not to mention a lie, a form of propaganda, and clearly ironic. I saw this over at the Friendly Atheist, felt my blood boil, and had to reply. It needs a little deconstruction.

First, a digression. Many theists who feel their beliefs are being threatened have this nasty little tendency to make things up. It’s a memetic defense mechanism, but it’s true. It’s called, “Lying for Jesus“. Even though most Christians (OK, I’m picking on Christians here because they are the worst offenders) believe that lying is a sin, and a violation of one of the Ten Commandments (they call it bearing false witness), apparently, there is an unwritten rule that, if you lie in furtherance of the glory of god, or his son, then it’s OK to do so. You won’t find it in the Bible, (I said it was unwritten) but you also won’t find many Christians disclaiming it. In fact, many of the more outspoken ones (like Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts and the acorn from his tree, or the late Jerry Falwell) partake of this activity regularly.

The Big Lie here is placing the term atheism above the rest of the statement, as if what will follow will be a definition of atheism (or at least a particular subjective definition, to be fair). However, what follows has absolutely nothing to do with atheism. It’s not hard to see that what the writer is equating with atheism is the scientific theory of the Big Bang, coupled later with a very passing reference to the scientific theory of Evolution. Atheism has nothing to do with either of these two theories, although if they are true, they can support one’s atheism, mine included. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods:

a·the·ism (āthē-ĭzəm)
n.

  1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
  2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

[French athéisme, from athée, atheist, from Greek atheos, godless : a-, without; see a–1 + theos, god.]

or even more specifically, a lack of belief in anything supernatural. Nothing more than that. One can be religious, and still believe that the Big Bang and Evolution are perfectly valid explanations for the phenomena they explain.

The next part of the lie is to then misstate or misrepresent both of those theories. A very simple understanding of both the Big Bang and Evolutionary theories would indicate that the simplistic nonsense in the above (from nothing, nothing happened to nothing to create everything) is just that – nonsense – although for someone with a firm belief that God created the earth, and the rest of the universe, over a period of 6 days 6000 years ago, I can understand how it might sound like a real intellectual refutation.

Then, the “debunking” of evolution (everything magically rearranged itself into dinosaurs) really shows the complete and utter ignorance of the writer. Most readers of this blog do not need an education in either the basic concept of Big Bang, or Evolution, so I won’t insult your intelligence. However, the author of this particular lie equates atheism with something it’s not equatable to, while at the same time misrepresenting the science.

This is classic propaganda, designed and written for one purpose – to influence the opinions and beliefs of others, not to impart accurate information. It does what the best propaganda does – it simplistically and simply explains a concept in the way a simple mind might understand it, attempting to evoke an emotional or visceral response. A true intellectual response is reflected in the title to this post, followed by the post itself. What should be supremely insulting to most Christians is that the writer of this lie assumed that they would understand and agree with this, that they would feel no need to question it. That assumption doesn’t say much for the perceived intellectual capacity of Christians.

So where’s the irony? It’s in the use of the term “magical” to explain the way the universe came together, and to further explain how dinosaurs evolved. I guess the writer saw no irony in claiming magic on the part of atheism, while at the same time believing in the literal creation myth of Genesis, the virgin birth or the resurrection. No magic there.

One of the commenters on the original site had this to say about it:

And what ethical rules do you atheists live by? The current laws of the land right bitches? (sic) Well thank God you atheists weren’t around when American was first being created or else we’d all be cannibals eating each other, clubbing each other to mush, and chaos erupting everywhere

And a commenter to Hemant’s post put it rather succinctly:

Atheists might not burn in hell or anything, but they’re just dumb. Its not compulsory to follow a religion, some times religions make no sense. But to brag about the universe germinating from no-where, without any super-natural (read God.) force behind it is just stupid.

Makes perfect sense.

22 thoughts on “WTF?

  1. That image is not at all what atheism is about, I agree. What’s actually humorous is that the religious folks believe that everything works by cause and effect. The universe is here, therefore god created it. But, they never ask who created god? It’s an obvious question. One would think that true believers would be very interested in the origins of god. See, by cause and effect, there must have been a god creator, and a god creator creator, and a god creator creator creator.

    The god hypothesis fails to even be a valid hypothesis by flying up its own asshole in endless recursion, as epitomized in the classic statement, ‘It’s turtles all the way down.”

    Further, quantum mechanics is one of our most tried and proven theories. It’s been tested and retested and reretested and passed every test, including predicting results, time and again. And, the semiconductors in our computers make use of it. Without quantum mechanics, our computers would fail to start.

    So, why the big quantum mechanics rant? Because, quantum mechanics flatly and completely denies cause and effect at the quantum level. It explicitly allows and requires that matter and anti-matter continually pop in and out of existence from the quantum soup. So, how did the universe get here? Popping into existence from the quantum soup has a lot more going for it as an explanation than god.

    Remember, the god hypothesis requires an explanation not only for this huge, complex, bizarre, inexplicable universe, but for a creature that can go around creating such things at the rate of one a week too. That is orders of magnitude harder to explain than the universe itself.

  2. Interesting blog. Atheism, as you said, is not defined by what is in the picture. If anything you can’t truly define atheism because there is no such thing as absolute atheism. Even Richard Dawkins refers to himself as an agnostic.

    So why am I responding?

    Well I am a Christian and I wanted to comment on something you said. You talked about lying, and about how Christians think its okay to lie for God. I don’t know any real believers that would agree with that. I do my best not to generalize or stereotype people, but that statement is a very inaccurate label and comment about us that doesn’t hold water. Lying is a sin period, no matter what situation. Example… At Columbine, one of the students was asked to stand. The shooter asked if she believed in Christ and she said yes. He told her to renounce God and she said no, so he pulled the trigger. She could have easily lied and renounced God and probably not been shot, but she chose truth and was brave in that truth. Lying is wrong 100% of the time.

    Here is my point… Christians on here, for the most part, that blog about Atheists prove their ignorance with what they write. I am sorry for them. Instead of talking about what we need to talk about, we write about something that we halfway research or hear from a pastor. I admire atheists for their educated stance, based off of what they research, even if I disagree with the sources of your education process. So I am just asking in humility, can’t we just get along? We don’t need to belittle each other to argue or debate a point. That isn’t productive and the point of debate and arguing is to learn from one another. Thanks for your time.

    tim kurek
    http://UriahMinistries.wordpress.com

  3. I rest my case.

    Just messing with you. Actually, atheism is just refusal to listen to any answers. Atheists just say they don’t know and leave it at that while simultaneously attacking everyone else’s beliefs.

    But, they never ask who created god? It’s an obvious question. One would think that true believers would be very interested in the origins of god. See, by cause and effect, there must have been a god creator, and a god creator creator, and a god creator creator creator.

    I’ll answer that for you. Assuming God exists the way Christians say He does, God is eternal, and because of this, He does not have a beginning.

    So, how did the universe get here? Popping into existence from the quantum soup has a lot more going for it as an explanation than god.

    Wrong. It has less, because an eternal being with the ability to create the universe, and other beings with wills of their own, is more likely than soup spontaneously generating.

    Remember, the god hypothesis requires an explanation not only for this huge, complex, bizarre, inexplicable universe, but for a creature that can go around creating such things at the rate of one a week too. That is orders of magnitude harder to explain than the universe itself.

    Seeing as the time cannot be eternal, the universe cannot be eternal. And because of this, all so called “scientific” theories go down the drain (or at least the ones that make sense), leaving only the option of an eternal being that must also have the power to create. The amazing thing is that the Bible was written way over 2000 years ago, a time when humans did not know the sciences we do today, and yet they came up with the most likely theory concerning the origin of all that exists.

  4. At Columbine, one of the students was asked to stand. The shooter asked if she believed in Christ and she said yes. He told her to renounce God and she said no, so he pulled the trigger. She could have easily lied and renounced God and probably not been shot, but she chose truth and was brave in that truth.

    Cases as this one happen everyday, yet atheists sit there and say that Christianity is ruining the world. That’s one thing I don’t understand completely. I may be out of place to say this, but I felt it had to be said.

  5. I received that figure in the form of a comment, in response to the similar figure on Christianity over at my blog. While I found the one regarding Christianity to be pretty spot-on, I was suprised (perhaps I shouldn’t have been) by the stupidity of the comment. It clearly suggested a lack of understanding of what the term ‘atheism’ entails, as you say.

    But that just gets at the point that theists really don’t know what to make of atheists – while they understand how silly other gods are, they have a blind spot, and cannot grasp the ridiculousness of their own position, much less understand how someone could exist without believing in any gods.

    In fact, I once received the come-back from a theist – that to an atheist, they are their own god. They simply can’t grasp it that, no, there is NO god, period.

    Annoying indeed.

  6. Twelve,

    Atheists just say they don’t know and leave it at that while simultaneously attacking everyone else’s beliefs.

    Attacking? Maybe, but it’s more of just pointing out that all of these concepts of gods, miracles, and spirits are just plain silly, and on par with those who still believe in Santa Claus. The typical theist retains a childlike view of reality.

    I’ll answer that for you. Assuming God exists the way Christians say He does, God is eternal, and because of this, He does not have a beginning.

    Sure, the infinite regression point. What theists fail to recognize is that this is the “well, god can do anything he wants, and be anything he wants” argument. It applies equally well to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, to which most theists will say that that’s just a silly argument, and as for me to present an honest argument – to that, I say, which is more dishonest: the silly argument (theist) or the spoof of the silly argument (FSMist).

  7. Just messing with you. Actually, atheism is just refusal to listen to any answers. Atheists just say they don’t know and leave it at that while simultaneously attacking everyone else’s beliefs.

    Wrong. atheism is (and only is) a lack of belief in gods. We attack the claims. Anyone can believe what the hell they like, but if they try to say that it’s “true”, they’d better have some pretty good evidence to back it up.

    Sadly, none of them do.

    Wrong. It has less, because an eternal being with the ability to create the universe, and other beings with wills of their own, is more likely than soup spontaneously generating.

    Well, no, as quantum fluctuations can be measured. An “eternal being with the ability to create the universe” has never, ever been demonstrated.

    Seeing as the time cannot be eternal, the universe cannot be eternal.

    More empty assertions with nothing to back it up.

    As to the Columbine story, one might want to actually do some fact checking (and here) before attempting to call bullshit on “lying for Jesus”.

  8. @Tim

    Thanks for your comment. Don’t let the following discourage you from coming back.

    I don’t know any real believers that would agree with that.

    Define “real believer”. Every time someone accuses a Christian of being a hypocrite, in my experience, there is always someone who excuses it by claiming he wasn’t a “real Christian”. So apparently, all these Christians who lie for Jesus are not real Christians. In that case, I’d have to say that there are no “real Christians”.

    Apparently you believe that the graphic up there was not created by a real Christian. Clearly it’s a lie. You agree with that. And it was created by a Christian. Must not have been a real Christian though, eh?

    Example… At Columbine, one of the students was asked to stand. The shooter asked if she believed in Christ and she said yes. He told her to renounce God and she said no, so he pulled the trigger.

    You are aware that that story has never been confirmed. It’s most likely fiction. (See Nullfidian’s cites above). But it doesn’t stop Christians, such as yourself, from repeating it, over and over, as if it is true. So, your own comment, as innocent as it may have been intended, is a lie, for Jesus.

    Yes, lying is a sin (even though there is no such thing). However your point is not taken.

    So I am just asking in humility, can’t we just get along? We don’t need to belittle each other to argue or debate a point.

    I agree with you here. We should just get along. I can’t think of a single time I have ever belittled anyone in a religious conversation. I have belittled their thinking, their evidence, their logic, but I’ve never belittled their person. I don’t stoop to ad hominem attacks (e.g., you’re a Christian so you must have no brain – I might, however, claim you aren’t using your brain – big difference.) Our country is great because of the freedom of speech we protect, and the adversarial discourse it engenders. It’s GOOD for us, so if you feel persecuted, or your Christian sensitivities are affected – GET OVER IT (to quote Don Henley). 🙂

    And I can’t help thinking that asking us to get along and stop belittling poor, persecuted Christians is another polite way of saying “Shut up”.

    If Christians want to believe silly superstitions, that’s fine with me. But keep it to yourselves. Don’t start claiming that atheists have removed prayer from public schools (they haven’t), or that the US was founded as a Christian nation (it wasn’t), or that god wants us to send our boys to conquer Irag (he doesn’t, and not because that’s not in god’s plan, but because he doesn’t exist). See, we can all get along when Christians (Muslims too) stop trying to ram their religion down everybody else’s throats.

  9. There is something we can agree on, and that is that all people are screwed up. We are all flawed and prone to mistakes and we all sin. For a Christian to sin, it is actually grave than for a nonbeliever to sin because we understand the consequences and in doing so knowingly we are spitting in the face of God.

    I will say this though, if you attack someone’s religion you are attacking them, and that is wrong. Just as atheism is your religion (it is a belief system that takes faith) mine is Christianity. And as a preface to what I am about to say, I do not tell people about Jesus for brownie points, or to feel good about myself. And I do not try to force my beliefs down other peoples’ throats. My attitude is that I want to live a life that has people asking me questions, not me having to go to them. Anyway, Jesus died for you, and He has a plan for you, and even if you don’t believe that just know that if you ever come to Him, He will never turn you away. Not trying to be preachy. Just wanted to say that.

    I will definitely be checking back on your future blogs. I appreciate your intelligence and humility.

    Your friend,
    tim kurek

    http://UriahMinistries.wordpress.com

  10. @ Dan

    Welcome, and congrats to you and your better half on your recent nuptials.

    to that, I say, which is more dishonest: the silly argument (theist) or the spoof of the silly argument (FSMist).

    At least the spoof is up front and honest about its silliness, eh?
    A silly argument that pretends to be serious is, well, pointless.

  11. @Tim

    I will say this though, if you attack someone’s religion you are attacking them, and that is wrong.

    And why is that? If I attack your political beliefs, or your choice of newspaper, or your taste in ice cream, and I have a good logical reason for doing so, and not a purely vindictive motivation (i.e., it’s not personal) would I not be entitled to tell you my opinion? Why is religion supposed to be treated any differently? Of course, If you don’t want to talk about it, I won’t follow you into your home and make you listen. But you came here. This is my blog. I only say my piece at my blog, or at others who maintain blogs and invite comments from the public. I really fail to understand why it’s wrong to do so.

    Have you read Sam Harris “The End of Faith”? That’s one of his major points in that book – that religion demands and gets a free pass on criticism, unlike any other topic in public discourse. If someone criticizes someone’s religious beliefs, it’s considered taboo. You seem to feel that way too.

    Seriously, what are you afraid of? If your beliefs are so true, so right, so supportable, why is it wrong to criticize them? Don’t you feel confident that they can withstand scrutiny? Given your attitude, one would assume not.

    Just as atheism is your religion (it is a belief system that takes faith) mine is Christianity.

    That’s an old canard, easily refuted. Atheism is not a religion. It does not rely on faith. It rests on a dearth of evidence for theism, nothing more.

    Go read Harris, then come back and discuss it with us.

    I do not tell people about Jesus for brownie points, or to feel good about myself. And I do not try to force my beliefs down other peoples’ throats.

    Well, good. Then my comments are not directed at you, are they? But I do see you maintain a blog that tends to proselytize, or at least tells people about your religious beliefs. So you should expect that those beliefs might be scrutinized and criticized.

    Most of the Christian blogs I go to seem to be very strict on moderating. They delete posts that are overly critical, they insist on reading the comments before allowing them to be posted, etc. That, to me, indicates a certain amount of insecurity. I know of few (in fact I can’t think of any offhand) atheist blogs that moderate their comments so strictly.

  12. I am an atheist and therefore can believe only in the power of the human mind. We have created gods, theories of evolution and big bangs. What will we do next?

  13. @ Spanish Inquisitor

    good job logically answering everyone’s questions and criticisms.

    an atheist myself, i’m so tired of hearing the same bs from christians/muslims and answering the same questions, debating the same points, clarifying the same misconceptions about atheism, that recently i just started pointing out “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins and “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris. Sam and Richard really have great arguments, the facts and theories well supported, and all of their points are brilliantly articulated. So if someone wants to argue with me, I ask them to read these 2 books first – then we can discuss them. If they don’t want to read them,then I probably won’t change their minds anyways…

  14. I’m happy to see that some Christians have come here to discuss your post, SI. I honestly believe that the only reason MORE folks haven’t become atheists (or accepted evolution) is simply a lack of knowledge.

    Your clear and eloquent rebuttal of the silly “definition” of atheism is (hard to believe, but true) a LEARNING experience for some of them. If you haven’t taken the trouble to self-educate, then you are susceptible to the lies you have been taught your whole life by those who believe the same mythology you do.

    I don’t mind if you do short regressions to make some “obvious” points that your fellow atheists don’t really need to hear. My hope would be that, even if we don’t see comments from them, there are theists who come to your blog – and by doing so ARE self-educating. The fact that they don’t immediately get it is not to be taken as failure. It’s a very small step in their learning process. Even as theists, they are our brothers and sisters and deserve our patience (except when being rude).

  15. @karandash

    Thanks. I like your approach. However, at my age, I don’t have the patience to wait until someone finishes a book, before my human nature jumps in and wants to argue.

    Being a lawyer doesn’t help either. 😉

    @John B

    Thanks, as always, John.

    I actually have a few Christian blogs that I go to regularly and post comments on. I think I get more reciprocal feedback that way, because I use my blog signature on each comment. Some of them have come here to comment, and I suspect others are directed here via my comments.

    We can’t just comment on atheist blogs, else all we are doing is preaching to the choir (don’t you just love those religious metaphors?). When I started this blog, I said that I was doing it for me, to test my thoughts on the subject. I can’t test them if everyone who comes here agrees with me.

  16. Spanish Inq,

    We can’t just comment on atheist blogs, else all we are doing is preaching to the choir (don’t you just love those religious metaphors?). When I started this blog, I said that I was doing it for me, to test my thoughts on the subject. I can’t test them if everyone who comes here agrees with me.

    While true, it does get awfully annoying visiting some of the theist blogs. It gets very frustrating trying to put up with their rabid stupidity – or at least it does for me.

    I guess though we have do deal with that though, and press on. Oh well… :-/

  17. Tim Kurek-
    Attacking a religious ideal is not what this post was about; it was an attack on ignorance. Atheism is not a belief system at all; it is rather a hasty generalization of what is correctly called agnosticism. Agnostics simply find no reason to believe in something so unsupported as belief in a God or gods. I think you’d find that if you or your God were to provide evidence for your case, that agnostics would give it due consideration. Unfortunately most Christians have no logical standard of evidence, and rarely study any scholarly research on the origins, or history of their own faith, but rather opt for a barrage of logical fallacies instead. That only shows me that lack of education is the real problem here.
    “My attitude is that I want to live a life that has people asking me questions, not me having to go to them.” Of course you follow that with; “Jesus died for you, and He has a plan for you, and even if you don’t believe that just know that if you ever come to Him, He will never turn you away.” Very preachy despite the disclaimer; “Not trying to be preachy”.
    I find that Christians feed themselves on a variety of media that has no scholarly merit at all. They also have no standard for who they will believe except that they must bill themselves as a believer. I’ve seen it personally in my own churches (when I went) and in family and friends. Most of the content of these messages they listen to are emotional hype intended to equip believers to go out and preach to others who also have not bothered to educate themselves. Do the math, if this continues, as it has, we are left with a very ignorant voter base with little knowledge of anything pertaining to reality. Personally I could care less, because at my age I wont be around to see the eventual consequences of this ignorance, but I do find it very disgusting that free speech is abused (not to mention the abuse of science) by these ignorant folk.

  18. Tim do you honestly believe that Jesus wanted that girl to die for him at the hands of a deranged and armed high school student instead of saying no and then having the opportunity to grow up, get an education, raise a family and make a difference in this world? That is really messed up dude!

  19. My favourite question for religious people is this…

    “why do churches install lightning rods?”

    And to quote Douglas Adams “that about wraps it up for god”

    Love.

  20. @ TommyKey

    Yes, most proto-orthodox evangelic Christians believe that Christ would rather have a believer die for their faith instead of denying it and living. It’s considered a theological paradox for those outside of the proto-orthodox Christian faith. There is a few verses in one of Paul’s letters that this theology is drawn out of and it is:

    Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. […] I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Phillipians 1:12-13; 20-21

    So, basically, if dying for the faith promotes it, go for it. Because if a proto-orthodox Christian lives, then they spread the faith…if they die for it, they spread the faith as well and get to spend Eternity with Christ.

    So as twisted as this sounds, this is the motivation behind that type of thinking. Which doesn’t make any sense except to a believer of this kind.

    – Thinking Theist

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