Agnosis Skeptikos

The introspective wanderings of a one-time Christian turned agnostic

Archive for September, 2007

Senator Sues…. God?

Posted by agnosis on September 18, 2007

Ok, what the hell? I mean, really – what the hell?

Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers filed suit against God Friday, asking a court to order the Almighty and his followers to stop making terrorist threats.

The suit (.pdf), filed in a Nebraska district court, contends that God, along with his followers of all persuasions, “has made and continues to make terroristic threats of grave harm to innumerable persons.” Those threats are credible given God’s history, Chambers’ complaint says.

Chambers, in a fit of alliteration, also accuses God of causing “fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues, ferocious famines, devastating droughts, genocidal wars, birth defects, and the like.”

Read more…

I hope this is a joke, truly, because otherwise this is just an exercise in insanity. First of all, suing God? And second of all, expecting him to actually listen? Apparently someone hasn’t been reading his Old Testament lately.

Update: Here it is – apparently he’s filing this suit in an attempt to make a point about frivolous lawsuits. Thanks, Ernie – point taken. As you were.

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Posted in Rants | Leave a Comment »

Logic Proof for God’s Nonexistence

Posted by agnosis on September 17, 2007

I just found this logic proof for the non-existence of God (via Planet Humanism):

Premise 1: All actions are prompted by need, want, or desire.

Premise 2: A perfect immutable being has no needs, wants or desire.

Premise 3: God is a being as described by premise 2.

Premise 4: Creation would have been action of the creator.

Premise 5: The universe exists.

From P 1 & 2: God does not need, want, or desire anything.

Conclusion: the universe couldn’t have been created.

This is the response I posted:

Your conclusion as founded upon your stated premises is valid, however, I’m not convinced of the validity of Premise 2. I’ll buy that Premise 1 is likely true; I certainly can’t think of an instance that would disprove it. Premise 2 is difficult to ‘prove’, however, as no one has ever met a perfect being. I think I would agree that a perfect being would have no needs, being perfectly self-contained, at least presumably. But the question is, would a perfect being truly have no needs or desires? And if a perfect being, particularly one who would presumably be all-powerful (or at least powerful enough to create a universe) did have needs or desires, would having said needs or desires make this perfect being any less perfect, particularly given than said being would be powerful enough to fulfill those needs and desires for itself?

Interesting logic proof. I like it, even though I think it’s flawed.

Posted in Critical Thinking | 2 Comments »

The Problem with Debunking

Posted by agnosis on September 13, 2007

I find myself annoyed with all the atheists, agnostics, and anti-religious folks who devote endless hours and countless words in their efforts to debunk religion (with Christianity being a primary focus, at least this side of the pond). The reason I’m annoyed isn’t so much the fact that they are debunking religion, so much as the fact of how much time and effort is being placed into this activitiy.

Being agnostic, I’ve no place for religion on my life anymore, and I do get annoyed with so much of the irrational, circular reasoning that religious folk use to sustain their illusionary belief systems. On rare occasion, when I think the circumstances warrant it, I’ll address a particular issue on a discussion board or blog, but I’ll speak my piece, state my opinion, and move on. I’m under no delusion that I’ll actually influence anyone’s stance – on the contrary, I’m confident that such discussions only serve to actually further regiment people in their own beliefs.

It is, for this reason, why I get annoyed with fervent attempts to debunk religion. I see entire blogs and discussion boards devoted to debunking religious beliefs, to shred the teachings of these systems, and to point out their fallacies and inconsistencies. Many of these websites also sport a fair bit of sarcasm and condescension, which really only serve to inflame religious readers’ ire and to reinforce anti-religious sentiment.

I have never seen a religious person read one of these sites and leave comment to the effect of, “Oh, you are so right. I’ve been so blind all this time. Thank you for shining the light of truth into my eyes. You’ve just changed my life for the better.” This never happens, I think, because of the way these debunking attempts are laid out with the aforementioned sarcasm and condescension. Sure, there are a few sites that discuss religious fallacies that treat their religious readers with respect, but they seem to be rather few and far between.

It just seems to me that these blogs and discussion boards that are so wholly dedicated to eradicating religion are wasting their time. Religion will always exist because there will always be people out there who seek to find meaning and truth outside of themselves, who are more willing to rely on myth and legend than they are on fact and rational thought. I’m annoyed by these sites because of the time and effort they waste on stirring up controversy and animosity that really only serves to further polarize religious and non-religious groups. I think that if atheists and agnostics would stop treating religious folk like complete idiots, it would go a lot further toward creating a harmonious environment for discussion that might actually cause more religionists to see just how flimsy their belief systems really are. Not everyone will convert away from religion, of course; as I said a moment ago, there will always be those who are unable to give up their beliefs in some divine entity. It just seems to me that creating hostility toward religionists is very counterproductive.

Does anyone think I’m wrong?

Posted in Rants | 3 Comments »

“Do Unto Others…”

Posted by agnosis on September 4, 2007

Jessica Hagy has a Venn diagram that I quite like – and the comments that follow are an interesting dialogue on the Golden Rule. Personally, I think the diagram is trying to represent humanism as the bridge between religion and secularism, two ideologies that do not play well together. The discussion about the Golden Rule reveals a bit of a flaw in the popular wisdom as well as the fallacy of practicing the rule 100% literally. I like the intent of the Golden Rule, but I don’t wonder if the Wiccan Creed might be a little better – “An ye harm none, do as ye will.” I don’t endorse Wicca any more than I do Christianity, but I think the notion of the Wiccan Creed covers the bases of interaction with other human beings a little better than the Golden Rule does, since the idea of the creed encompasses psychological and spiritual harm just as much as it does physical harm. But either way, taking the spirit of the Golden Rule or the directive of the Wiccan Creed, there’s no reason why people can’t live in peace with another, despite differing ideologies. Right?

(Source: FriendlyAtheist)

Posted in Musings | Leave a Comment »

Deconversion

Posted by agnosis on September 4, 2007

FriendlyAtheist has an interesting bit about the deconversion process away from religious belief and into atheism. For me, it was a process of about four years for me to find my way into agnosticism. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully convert into atheism – that seems a little too drastic of a switch to me – but the process definitely was not instantaneous. The problem for me was countering a lifetime of training and belief, and that’s not something that a person can usually just give up in an instant. There are doubts and questions that, at first, seem to be answered adequately by religious belief. After awhile, though, the answers to the doubts and questions start to sound – and feel – hollow, shallow, contrived. They pile up and combine with experience to push the religious belief you’ve held for so long aside and prove it inadequate. I tend to think that, ironically, the intellect, the rational mind is part of what makes the process take time because the mind has to process the tension between the long-held religious beliefs and the newly-found anti-religious leanings. Some find their way back to religion. The rest of us, though, discover that the old religion is no longer a part of who are, and we discover that we are now either agnostic or atheist – and that just takes time.

Posted in Musings | 2 Comments »