Many of you know my feelings about Loftus were dashed earlier this year. In February, I invested into attending the debate between John Loftus and Dinesh D’Souza. Before renting a car, driving three hours to attend and putting myself up in a hotel, I followed Loftus’ blog religiously (honk), and I was incredibly excited to see someone I looked up to stand up to and possibly demolish a believer in debate.
I had high hopes, and like many skeptics pointed out, Loftus failed. D’Souza trounced Loftus, and I drove home from Champaign, Illinois in a rented SMART Car in a crazy snow storm with my tail between my legs.
When I got back, I lambasted Loftus on this blog, and he wrote me off at his. He even said that I masterminded influencing students to criticize him too. As if they didn’t have a mind for themselves.
Here I am dragging Loftus through the mud. I feel badly for it, but I am not at peace, and my therapist says I should keep beating the dead horse until I can’t stand the wretched carcass stink any longer.
The work that Loftus does is important, and putting the debate aside, he’s a great blogger and deserves respect as such.
The post that I read this morning is an important one, and I wanted to pass it along. It’s titled “What you can find here at DB [Debunking Christianity].” He spells out to new readers what to expect at DB.
Loftus writes that he’s not caught up in the newest cosmological argument for god that someone emails him. He doesn’t want to read and respond to every new argument from every Christian (I don’t either, BTW).
Loftus cares about the conversation of religious thoughts and their genesis. In response to one person who sent him a “new” argument for god, he explains that he might respond this way:
Is this why you believe? Surely not, because you believed before ever hearing of this argument. So tell me why you first believed. That is much more interesting to me. I want to know what brought you to believe in the first place. Which religious or non-religious options did you consider before choosing Christianity? What program of study did you follow in doing so? What works of a skeptical nature did you consider before making your choice?
These are incredibly important questions that I find most believers do not attempt to answer. Or once they start to look, they get frightened. They slam books closed or click close on web pages. They turn on a distracting fantasy movies to get their minds off wandering into non-belief land. I find it very deceitful.
It is proven that if you search for the invisible, the mind will reward you. That’s how the mind works.
A Christian could respond to Loftus and say, “Well, surely you’re a hypocrite, because you ‘believed’ in non-belief when you argued for atheism.”
Yes, yes, that’s true to a point. But the Christian must think in a bigger picture.
Like Loftus, I was brought up to be a Christian and arrived at atheism after much exploration. Our starting points were within calling ourselves “Christian” and working our way through and out.
Loftus’ goal is to sway strong evangelicals toward the middle, away from fervent belief. There’s simply too much information opposing Christianity than information for it. It’s not to sway them to atheism, although Christians know exactly how it feels to be an atheist in regards to a zillion other gods. He’s not threatening hell. His major threat is uncovering ignorance.
Like most non-believers, I am open to belief once belief has more to offer than faith. I am open to the bible, if the bible lived up to its expectations of a god full of grandeur, love, and grace.
A Christian is taught to think god is awesome. I argue that awesome is high standard, that biblically nor naturally, god cannot reach. The universe gives little excuse to belief in a deity except that it’s indescribably huge. When studied, the universe makes god more impossible than possible. The universe indicates the absence of a god. Creation indicates the failures of supremacy. If supremacy existed, it has much explanation to do.
Start from scratch.
I love to cook. For a long time I started with a frozen dinner or a package of ramen. I taught myself to start from scratch. I hate using packaged meals, and I am teaching myself to make things that I usually buy finished. First it started with meals. Now I do salsas, hummus, dough for pizza, etc. I would love to be able to raise animals and slaughter for meat. Chicago might not like me building fences in the public property behind our condo.
Just like teaching myself to cook from scratch, I reached a point when I started “belief” from scratch. Once I examined what I was taught, placed it under a microscope and explored it … Once I put beliefs into one of those little pans and dissected it like a biology student dissecting a frog, I started to latch on to doubts that were always there, but I never allowed myself to think through.
When I was little, I asked my parents questions. If the question was tough, the universal response was, “You’ll have to ask God when you get to heaven.”
Once I was old enough I continued asking those tough questions and found tough answers. Once explored, heaven most likely doesn’t exist. How would I get answers in heaven if I never arrive there?
I found that heaven and hell have a very low probability of existing, and therefore have no use. I have little to no problem with heaven not being a possibility. And I have absolutely no problem with hell. This may be all I’ve got, and it makes me appreciate my life much more fully.
Some Christians argue, if there is a heaven than surely there is a hell. I say, “If god is truly all loving, than hell can’t exist.” The argument isn’t new. It’s what I agree with.
I found that evolution isn’t a ruse as I was taught at a very evangelical high school.
Evolution is not a belief. It’s a fact in that it is the best explanation we have now for life on earth. When and if a new theory is proven, I will be happy to adjust my views.
It makes more sense than a talking snake, two humans in a garden and an incredible amount of magical incest, angels, floods and towers of Babel, to which absolutely no proof exists except for being found in a book riddled with inaccuracies and unprovable information.
Evolution is proven through experiment and analysis, not through blind faith. There are many arguments within the theory that may continue between scientists for years. But the crux of the theory is not a matter of faith or belief. It’s been painstakingly proven, and those Christians who continue to argue against it are beating a horse that’s not only dead; it is a tattered, splintered skeleton.
Only a paleontologist can decipher that the horse is a horse any more.
Evolution is not my rationale for being an atheist. For the most part, the bible and Christian doctrine make up my rationale for atheism.
I care about science because it makes the world in its current state possible. It makes faith unwelcome, because it answers questions that the bible cannot. When the bible says a man with long hair has the strength to push over buildings, I can accurately deduce from simple observation that “long hair” + “man” ≠ super human strength. Time and time again, this is a provable fact. Just like snakes do not talk, humans cannot heal through supernatural touch, people do not return from the dead, all prayers are not answered in Jesus’ name, etc. etc. etc.
The argument against evolution has been dead for years, kids. It’s time for Christians to give that one up. Evolution trumps snakes, gardens, man from dirt and woman from ribs. A hand of mixed cards does not beat a royal flush.
Thank you, dear readers.
People read this blog and find what I write about religion, about faith, about Christianity repugnant, pompous, bigoted and for all intents and purposes, they may think I’m an asshole.
I’m not always an asshole, I just play one on this blog.
Other people read this blog and send me high fives.
My family reads this blog and they are believers. They are Christians, and I love them dearly for their on-going forgiveness. I know that I hurt their feelings for attacking something they see as truth. I don’t think many people can decipher the difference between attacking a subject and attacking a person, but I applaud my family for the huge effort.
They show great love and support. I argue that they show more love and support than god. While they see past my assholiness, god (if he exists) thinks it’s okay to threaten me with hellfire. My family are more forgiving than god. They are valiant, resilient people.
I love that they read this blog, yet I struggle with it. Believe it or not, I edit what I write. I would love to open up sans filter on my thoughts about religion and belief. As much as I tell myself, “Do not edit!” I edit.
At the same time, it is invigorating and freeing to put into words the thoughts in my head. This is why I blog.
If I had a message to my readers like Loftus has above it would be this:
If you’re a new reader of this blog or a regular reader, I love that you’re here. Thank you for reading. I sincerely appreciate it, and want you to return as often as possible. The currency of blog hits keeps me blogging. I may not be rich, but I’m happy.
I don’t spent a lot of time promoting this blog. Hits primarily come from word of mouth or google hits. We’re nearing 100,000 hits, which is peanuts to some, but I am a pleased as a peach. At this point, 100,000 hits will come as an early Christmas present (Thank you, Jesus?)
I want people to read, because they want to read. I would love to send a link out to my evangelical friends, but I don’t.
I don’t keep it a secret either. If anyone googles my name, this blog lands at the top of the page. My photo is at the top of the blog, and my personal contact information is easy to find.
I don’t go to other blogs and comment in hopes to troll a new reader. I comment when I can on other blogs, but I spend most of my time reading blogs and responding to them here.
This blog is a personal exploit. It’s an egocentric place of self exploration. I attempt to Lewis and Clark the landscape that others have already inhabited and written about for generations. But it’s pioneering uncharted territory for me … which is why I said Lewis and Clark … you get the point … I hope.
Validation comes by sending messages out to the Internets and having the Internets arrive at my bloggy doorstep. Please don’t feel you must wipe your feet on the welcome mat to enter. Leave your shoes on. The floors are easy to clean.
I want you to comment, but don’t care if you don’t. I want you to read, but don’t care if you do. If you’re offended, turn off the channel or tell me about it. If you’re exploring, keep exploring.
If you’re not exploring, what are you afraid of?
It’s okay. It gets better.
A Christian could argue (and will) that the atheist message is a death threat. From their point of view, telling someone there isn’t a hell is the supernatural equivalent of a death threat.
And maybe it is a death threat. I don’t know if hell doesn’t exist for certain. But there is a high chance that it doesn’t. I’m not so pompous to say that I know hell doesn’t exist. Are you so pompous to claim that it does?
Where did you learn your concept of hell? Have you ever explored the possibility that there isn’t a hell? Have you ever entertained the thought that the Bee Eye Bee Elle Eee is not where the current view of hell comes from. The ideas may come from the bible, but the imagery and stories Christians tell children comes from literature, art and folklore generated long after the bible was written.
It is okay not to believe in hell. It’s okay to believe that god is big enough, powerful enough, and supreme enough to not need an oppositional concept of hell to be a Christian. Don’t let those pulpit-teers convince you otherwise.
It is also okay to question Christianity. It’s okay to read a book or two about opposing viewpoints from the mouths of the antagonists. It’s okay to walk away from Christianity and be free of Jesus. It may seem painful at first, but it gets better.
You don’t have to be a Christian when you live in the Yeshua Fog™. If Christianity is a choice, than freedom to choose should be absent of supernatural death threats and unscientific reasoning. God must surpass faith if he truly exists.
Until he/she/it does that, an atheist I remain.