Even More Atheist-Theist Debate

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This is a continuation from yesterday’s post, More Atheist – Theist Debate. Here’s what he had to say about my response:
You responded:”That’s interesting you say, “That stuff is messed up” but that kind of ‘determinism’ is a very common way that Christians see it, and it seems to me that the more devoted a Christian is, the more likely they are to see it that way. I always hear that people should ‘just have faith’ and trust in God and ‘God works in mysterious ways’. I simply took those concepts to their logical conclusion and came to what you called ‘determinism’.”

^ That view of God and “providence” is prevalent, but totally baseless. It’s often the theology of self-consumed “Christians”, who thing the world revolves around them. I find theistic determinism (i.e. classical theism/calvinism) to be even more disturbing then materialistic determinism.

You also commented:”Moral values are one of the things that motivates me to be an Atheist, because when you place all your moral willpower on an invisible Guy In The Sky, the moment you have a little doubt in His existence, your whole moral structure collapses, and you fail to recognize the myriad of biological, emotional, spiritual and logical reasons to be a good person.”
I agree with you that it is (typically) advantageous to “be good” or “do good”, both personally and societally. I believe is good because it IS good, not simply because “God” says it’s good. And I agree with you, people’s decision to do good should be based on their desire for mutual good for all (i.e. their character and compassion/love for others). And I think that many atheists know and do what is right because I think that everyone has been given the grace to discern both good and evil to a greater extent (i.e. conscience).But the flip side of this (like I was mentioning before) is that if there is no “God” and we’re not “accountable” for what we do in this life, then why not do whatever the hell ya want. Maybe Stalin and Manson have it right… Do whatever the hell you want before ya die! Cause it’s all meaningless anyways.

So I replied with:

Okay, you said “I find theistic determinism (i.e. classical theism/calvinism) to be even more disturbing then materialistic determinism.” and that’s cool, but you’re acting as though your disagreement with them somehow means that I shouldn’t be counting them as Christians. If you’re defending Christianity as a whole, you need to accept that there are many Christians who don’t see things exactly the same way you do. You can’t just say that they don’t count because you happen to disagree with some of the details. They’re still coming from the same holy book and the same network of churches.

When you mentioned Stalin, I could have used the same argument. I mean, my website clearly shows that I disagree with Stalin on a fundamental level. I believe that atheism is about (or at least should be about) more than just not believing in God. It’s about replacing your God-based decision making structure with something based on logic, reason, compassion, and of course, science, and it’s about not having blind faith in un-proven concepts. Stalin didn’t really use good psychological science in his overall policy of forcing atheism on people. I mean, you can’t use brute force to affect people’s feelings. It just doesn’t work and basic psychology would have told him that. He supposedly also rejected the theory of evolution, which seems to be a standard atheist rallying point. By this argument, I could say Stalin was not a true atheist, so he doesn’t count. But that would be unfair to the argument, and that would be me simply trying to avoid the real issue of the example of an atheist doing horrible things.

And for your comment, “if there is no “God” and we’re not “accountable” for what we do in this life, then why not do whatever the hell ya want”, I have a few responses.

First, is that this seems like a nice theory, but without real-world examples or statistics, it’s still just a theory. If it were really true, we’d be seeing it happening, and we’d see many violent criminals who don’t have any faith in God, but we don’t.

This may still be a viable theory, however, and I believe it probably is true to a certain extent, particularly with people who are raised on a God-based moral structure, then for some reason suddenly lose their faith in God when they don’t have time to re-evaluate their moral code and motivations. However, if you’ve read my page 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime, I have 22 counter-theories that I think turn the scales in the other direction.

Third is that many religions, including Christianity, don’t actually hold people accountable for their actions. I’ve had several very devoted Christians tell me that it’s really just a myth that God rewards or punishes people based on how good they are. Getting into heaven is about accepting Jesus, not about whether or not you actually do good in the world. Granted, most Christians don’t see it this way, and do equate heaven and hell with good and evil deeds, but I’ve been told by people actually quoting scripture that it’s about what you believe, not about what you do. So in a way, your argument is based on the assumption that people are not going to be absolutely true to their religion.

I also had this random comment about bees:

Have you ever watched bees coming and going from a bee hive and wondered what they’re thinking? Do they have a God that has been taught to them by the queen and they’re collecting pollen out of a desire to avoid retribution in the afterlife? I’m certainly no biologist, but I think they are just doing “whatever the hell they feel like” in a world where “everything is permitted”. It just happened that their biology tells them to support the hive and that’s what they want to do more than anything else. I believe this is inherently the same with humans. We are a hive culture. We need each other for our basic survival and comfort so we’ve been hard-wired with a desire to support the greater good, because supporting each other and helping our society grow is how we’ve survived and thrived as a species. I believe that religions and governments too often teach us to ignore these hard-wired desires.

Unfortunately I haven’t heard back from this person since I wrote this 🙁

Here are a few more blog posts about my theory that religion promotes crime:

New study raises questions about religion as deterrent against criminal behaviour
Religion vs Methamphetamines
Masturbation, Homosexuality, and Christian Impostors
Atheists Don't Believe in Love?
Religious Criminals are Liars?
Response to 22 Ways
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

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