Dan Savage – the Bible and Slavery
The fact is that the various authors of the Bible could have simply stated that it is wrong for one human being to claim another human being as property. They didn’t. They were products of their culture and time, as are their writings. If they were truly inspired by a god and if that god truly wanted people to think that slavery was wrong, he could have inspired them to say so. However, what we have is exactly what would one should expect of purely human books written by humans who were of that time and of that culture, nothing more.
Now, it’s true that some parts of the New Testament are somewhat progressive (eg. Galations 3:28) but those passages are counter-balanced by others that prescribe an inferior place for women and which instruct slave owners on how to treat their slaves rather than telling them outright that owning people is wrong.
1 part sincere belief
1 part willingness to lie to protect sincere belief
2 parts denial of any evidence or facts conflicting with sincere belief
2 parts desperation
2 parts wilful ignorance
A pinch of “You will burn in hell if you don’t believe!” – adjust to taste.
Mix well. Spew at will whenever evolution is mentioned.
(Amendments to the recipe are welcomed.)
- “You will burn in hell if you don’t believe!” suggested by Anne Squires-Dorsey on Facebook
- denial of conflicting evidence suggested by Blooórt Goðrúnarson on Facebook.
Any question that has to do with “before the big bang” or “outside of our universe” (those two are the same thing) has the same answer: I don’t know and neither does anybody else.
Everything anyone says about “before” or “outside” is necessarily speculation because we don’t know anything about that and we might never know anything about it.
Now, not all speculation is equal. We can speculate on the basis of beliefs that have no grounding in reason or testable evidence (eg. religion) or we can speculate starting from that which is strongly supported by evidence and reason.
However, even if our speculation starts from a sound, up-to-date, scientific understanding of our space-time continuum, we have no way of knowing to what extent, if any, the physics of “the universe” we inhabit is similar to that which may or may not exist outside of it.
By the way, this renders the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and all other First Cause arguments for theism, completely impotent.
Sorry, William Lane Craig, but your best-known defence of god-belief is, quite obviously, a non-starter.
In the Facebook group, Creation Evolution Debate, one Christian creationist user posted the following question, apparently equating the acceptance of the evidence for evolution with atheism:
“Say there is no God, and you are basically good.” Then, where does evil come from? And where does suffering come from? And why do people die?
I responded as follows:
When people go on social media and post nice, comforting quotations from the Bible, it always makes me wonder what they do with all the nasty, genocidal, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, anti-human shit that’s in that stupid book.
When those anonymous authors of the gospels created their various versions of what we now know as the Christmas story, do you think they assumed that nobody would ever check the historicity of their tales and so they just made shit up (or, if you want to be more generous, embellished liberally) or would you say it’s more likely that they didn’t intend the stories to be taken as being literally true but, rather, were creating fables intended to convey a deeper meaning?
It’s got to be one or the other, y’know, because the events described simply did not happen as they are portrayed in those books.
Once more, I venture into the realm of the obvious.
We atheists are often asked about meaning. How do we find meaning in life without God? For an atheist, what is the meaning of life? For me, the answer to that is pretty simple: meaning is personal. There is no inherent meaning to anything; something only has meaning to the extent that it means something to someone. When asked, “What does it mean?” one can reply, “What does it mean to whom?”
They go to war without declaring war according to the demands of their constitution, they order and achieve the death of individuals without due process of law, they make a joke of habeas corpus, and so on. The U.S.A. has become but a shell and it clearly makes little or no difference whether a Republican or a Democrat is elected to the presidency. It’s almost as if they’re actually trying to encourage the anarchists and cynics.
Pascal’s Wager? Really? Has anyone who’s actually thought about it recently for more than five seconds taken it seriously?
Admittedly, arguing against Pascal’s Wager is cheap entertainment, like using the broad side of a barn for target practice. It’s dead easy. But doesn’t that make you wonder all the more why such a bad argument persists to this day?
I suggest that it’s because many believers who make a point of trying to defend their beliefs have not been equipped to argue rationally. They don’t generally teach critical thinking in Sunday School (that would not be the way to put butts in pews, after all). It seems to me that it’s an argument used by believers who are less interested in discovering what is most likely true than they are in defending their beliefs against the shocking reality that some people don’t believe as they do and, even worse, that some people think that god-belief is wrong-headed.