You Say God Didn’t Stop Yesterday’s Shootings Because We Took State Led Prayers and Religious Instruction Out of Schools?

Seriously, if you believe there really is a God and He didn’t intervene to stop yesterday’s shooting because He wanted to spite us for having a Separation of Church and State in this country, then the God you think exists is a truly rotten and despicable being. If a governor had refused to allow SWAT teams to a school with a shooter because that school was in a district that had voted against him, he would be denounced as the most rotten person in all of America. If that’s how you think your God behaves, admit it, you believe in and worship a truly petty, meanspirited, rotten, vainglorious, self-absorbed, tiny tiny little evil deity. That’s not at all to say that all theists believe in such a pathetic monster. But you do.

For those who objected to this post’s timing, I wrote a reply.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Laurent Weppe

    It somewhat reminds me of young earth creationism: “God is Almighty, Everywhere and Eternal, but there’s no way he created a universe bigger, older and more complex than what my little brain can conceive.”

    Here we have “God is omnipotent and He loves everyone, but there is no way that he’ll behave differently than Me If I had been given Anthony Fremont’s powers”

    • http://www.smidoz.wordpress.com smidoz

      You really don’t believe that age has anything to do with size and complexity, or do you? I’ve never netany young earth creationists that believe that the universe is small enough or simple enough to comprehend. If you’re going to use a poor analogy (which is just poor reasoning) to equate young earth creationists to something unrelated, try not to double up on your poor reasoning with straw men.

    • Laurent Weppe

      Oh sure: they claim to be awed by the size and complexity of the universe, but let’s get real: they oversimplify it by refusing to aknowledge every bit of inconvenient data about it, and they cling to a conception of an anthropocentric universe which made sense only when it was believed to be much smaller than we realize today.

    • http://www.smidoz.wordpress.com Smidoz

      Lets face it, you don’t know much about what’s going on in the minds of YECs, but if you really want to talk about refusing to acknowledge inconvenient data, then lets consider the inconvenient data ignored by atheists, it’s called biogenesis, the data doesn’t support any origin for life, which pretty much implies a supernatural being, can you give an answer that doesn’t amount to an act of faith?

    • Laurent Weppe

      Biogenesis is like the second law of thermodynamics: it’s a scientific concept alas quoted by people who don’t know shit about it but believe that it will make them appear smarter than they really are. So once in a while, some smartass comes and say “Paster proved biogenesis, therefore abiogenesis cannot happen, therefore God therefore all the minute details about my own brand of religion are true, therefore knell before me and my priests, you peons!

      Biogenesis débunked the idea of spontaneous generation: the thing -that people with not even a passing knowledge about biochemistry conveniently ignore- is that spontaneous generation and abiogenesis are two vastly different things: one posits that the decay of complex organic substance product different living organism (so a dead sheep with decay into a bunch of maggots like uranium decays into lead), the other claims that simple inert organic mater which already exists thanks to all the nuclear fusions occuring in the universe (you know: that thing called stars) can starts the process of self-replication from which life arose if given a steady supply of energy and an environment which does not destroys it faster than it self-replicates.
      Not the same thing

    • http://www.smidoz.wordpress.com smidoz

      Let me explain what I mean without using a word which you have such a narrow definition of so as to make yourself sound smartert than you are.

      Every living thing that humans have observed coming into existence, has come from something living, therefore we can assume that this is how living things come into existence, therefore we can assume no origin for life. This is more than an absence of evidence argument, since we have plenty of evidence that this happens. You may start trying to think of reasons why we can’t have an infinite regress, but an infinite regress is not necessary, since physical laws (time included) break down in a singluarity, if an being existed at that time it would be beyond nuatural laws – which pretty much means supernatural. To speak of a being having an origin when there is no time to speak of would be nonsensical, since there can’t be a concept of before without time.

      So atheists don’t only need to prove the likelinhood of such an unlikely event as natural abiogenesis, they are actually required to prove an origin of life actually happened, atheists being people who only go on evidence, of course.

      Leave your dictionary at home and pretend you actually understand something about a group of people you shamelessly bundled into the group Daniel was speaking out against., When creationists (not only the young earth type) speak of biogenesis, they speak of no origin, or no natural origin, for life, not only against spontainious generation.

      Now I’m going to ask you another question, which you being such a clever and sceptical atheist, I’m sure you’ve thought about this many times. Evolution is based on similarity, essentially, we examine how similar a bunch of skeletons are and then say, “look, we have the evolution of the horse.” Or we look at organs and say things like, “wow a coxix looks like it could be the remains of a tail, it must be.” Or, “look, we have stuff that looks like it belongs on a reptile/fish/whatever, therefore recapiatulation.” We look at humans and chimps being rather similar, genetically too, and say they must be related. Bear in mind, we were doing this long before we had genetics. So the question is simple, how does similarity prove ancestry? Or even provide evidence of it?

    • http://www.smidoz.wordpress.com smidoz

      While I agree with Daniel, this was a terrible thing to do, and it is exploiting a traumatic incident to further political and religious ends, I wonder if that’s not what you are doing, “ooo, look I have a chance to brush YECs with the same tarbrush, quick quick, let’s attack them.” Funny things about tarbrushes, ou often can’t brush someone else with them without getting a little on yourself too.

      That said, no doubt, when atheists feel a reasonable period has lapsed, they will be using this story to boost their problem of evil arguments, just as they have used specific child rapes, murders and anything else emotional they can get their hands on too emotionally bash people out of their religions. While I think it’s terrible coming from Christians (who seem to be talking rubbish anyway) I wonder if using events like this is any less deplorable when atheists do it.

    • Baal

      Smidoz – what is with your off point and awful diatribe against biology? Try again at a more relevant time.
      “Evolution is based on similarity, ” You don’t get evolution from just morphology. There are multiple routes that all show the same idea is beyond true. Also, abiogenesis is not exactly entirely a black box. Google “the RNA world.”

      I’m otherwise in complete agreement with Daniel in the OP.

    • http://www.smidoz.wordpress.com smidoz

      It’s off topic to respond to someone who was already off topic, perhaps, but maybe you should’ve called them out for it.

      Send me a link, I realise that RNA has been made in controlled designed laboratory situations. It should be obvious that, a) RNA is not life, and b) producing something in a designed situation doesn’t actually prove a no design situation. It still comes down to atheists rejecting the absence of evidence argument when it doesn’t suit them, so atheists who use absence of evidence and believe in an origin of life fail the outsider test. Perhaps I’m setting the bar high, but no higher than atheists set it for religion. Of course, my argument isn’t an absence of evidence argument, it aruges that what we have observed is life always coming from living things, which is evidence that is how it happens. You can give me no reason to believe in natural abiogenesis that isn’t based on a belief it did.

      The most common arguments for evolution are based, in some way or another on similarity, somewhere. That is what I asked about, and you skirted the question, which doesn’t surprise me. I’ll drop it, because it is off topic, just as off topic as the YEC statement you didn’t call out, just be consistent, please.

      I read this blog because I enjoy Daniel’s take on things, as I agreedwith him on this. The thing is, it is upsettting when someone then chooses to use this as a way to jump on a completely unrelated situation. Perhaps I didn’ respond well, I apologise, but I didn’t really expect anyone else to point out how irrelevant Laurent’s reply was

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

    Aaaahhhh, I just have so much rage about this. This is just so incredibly small and meanspirited. And what message does this send to the families?! “Oh, sorry God killed your children! Should have spent more time worshiping him, shouldn’t you have? And now look what you’ve done.” Why, why, why would anyone believe in this? How can people twist themselves so much that they think this is a compassionate response–at least, I’m assuming they think it’s compassionate. Aargh.

    And the thing that makes it even more frustrating is that this is basically washing their hands of actually supporting anything productive.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/ Daniel Fincke

      I get the impression they’re self-satisfied that they think they have a judo move against the Problem of Evil. They turn it around and call it God’s punishment, as perfectly to be expected! And they are oblivious to all the terrible things that that implies about the God they worship.

  • mikmik

    People have almost no meaning to some of these people, it looks like to me. It’s all about appeasing god, and what do you expect when you’re unfaithful? Not really a word about the immorality of taking innocent lives, or compassion and grief for the victims.

    • mikmik

      People’s LIVES have almost no meaning…

  • http://lippard.blogspot.com/ Jim Lippard

    Those who claim that mass shootings are caused by taking God out of the classroom have to find an alternative explanation for mass shootings in churches.

  • Switchhttr

    Yeah, on Friday night I got into a shouting match with a work colleague who was pushing this same notion explicitly to my face. So on top of getting low pay for working lousy hours (3rd shift), I get to see this guy on a regular basis. To add insult to injury, this is the same guy who had just come back to work days earlier after fracturing a couple of ribs, and I reminded the management to get a get well card for him (and signed to boot). As is usual in these cases, facts don’t matter, not the fact that these shootings have a long history in this country (going back at least into the 19th century), not the fact that churches are not immune from them, not incidents of sectarian violence in our history (anti-Catholic rioting over the Catholic Bible and the KJV, wasn’t it?)–nothing else matters but “get (my) God into public schools”.

    I know they cannot really let us non-believers simply exist openly, because our very existence calls into question the need for religion, but knowing that really doesn’t help much at times like these.

  • http://patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/ Daniel Fincke

    Laurent and Smidoz, please stop personalizing your dispute with each other by making references to who is trying to sound smart but isn’t really, etc. Please stick to arguments about the substantive issues under dispute.

    • Laurent Weppe

      Dan: for a dispute to happen, you need the oposition of two or more sincerely held positions.

      That’s not what’s happening here.
      Here we have a case of faked erudition: the trick used by pretend experts who claims to have built their opinion from their extensive knowledge while in fact they’re nothing but snake oil salesmen gambling on their audience supposed ignorance to peddle their bullshit.

      You have time and again defended the idea that belief -even belief that one may judge silly or stupid or harmful- should not in itself justify contempt toward other people, and I wholeheartedly agree with you.
      But
      There’s belief, and then there’s knowing something is false:
      • “Jesus weeps when a woman go through an abortion“: that’s a belief
      • “God puts a magic fluid in a woman vagina which stops her for becoming pregnant if she’s raped unless she’s secretly a whore“: that a demonstrately false statement: that’s a lie and we know that it is a lie
      • “God created the universe the way it is because He has a Master plan“: once again: that’s a belief
      • “The laws of physics make abiogenesis impossible unless a surnatural force was involved“: we know enough about physics to concludes that this assertion is false.

      I know that sometime the line between lies and beliefs can be blurred, that debunked lies can be sincerely held beliefs. I’m sure that you have a long list of people you know, or heard of, or read about who grew up in the fundamentalist bubble and for a very long time did not realize that every creationist lie had been debunked thousands of times, or that premillennial dispensation was a recent american invention and not the “literal” truth of the Bible accepted by every Real True Christian since ancient Rome.
      But I am also convinced that people in general are much smarter and much more self aware than we tend to give them credit for. So not only is the creationist who knows better and is deliberatly spreading lies via Gish Gallops is engaging in an attempt to bluff and scam a supposed uneducated audience, but I have little doubt that the creationist philistine trying to hide with soundbites that he is out of his debt knows that he is out of his debt. And I’ll be damned if I play along and refrain from giving either kind of charlatan the scorn they deserve in the name of “civility”

    • http://www.smidoz.wordpress.com smidoz

      Daniel, sorry, I only saw this now. I apologise, but must point out something.

      “The laws of physics make abiogenesis impossible unless a surnatural force was involved“: we know enough about physics to concludes that this assertion is false.”

      If this is referring to me, then it’s a straw man (at lest his second). My argument is simple, if you only look at evidence, and remove every assumption, with relation to the origin of life, then you arrive at a supernatural entity of some kind. But lest examine his claim, that this is the kind of thinking typical of YECs, we know this is false because no all YECs agree with the reasoning you were arguing against. I also think that it is just as insensitive for him to use this event to push his anti YEC stance as Christians using this to push prayer in schools. This kind of argument actually delegitimises the argument against creation, since it is an ad hominum argument, which is the most common argument against creationism, which has to me any thinking person who is in doubt wonder if there are good arguments for evolution. If there are, why not use those?

      Again, I apologise for personalising it, but you get upset when others make general claims about atheists being evil, you can understand how this statement would upset someone, who actually doubts that eveolution is “beyond true.”

    • http://www.smidoz.wordpress.com smidoz

      Sorry, screwed up the blockquote.

  • Kodie

    If I were god and I was disappointed the people made laws against official prayer in school or the 10 commandments or whatever, I’m sure I’m perfect enough to think of something where nobody dies. The thing about god’s “signals” is they are always things that exist in reality. So a guy gets it into his head that he’s taking guns to a kindergarten classroom, how about picking that guy up by the collar and having a close talk with him, or curing his brain magically, or transforming the door into an impenetrable material or making children bulletproof in an instant. No, guns jamming is not a miracle – it’s plausible and coincidental. I think there are several options here worth suggesting to god that may do a lot better to save lives and convince atheists he’s actually there.

    Because so far, if god exists, he’s the stupidest. He’s a fumbler. He doesn’t have any worthwhile ideas. If he wants to be worshipped, he should try to improve his skills. If I acted like god is suggested to by theists, I wouldn’t have any friends. The only reason to rationalize him so disturbingly is that you don’t want to go to hell when you die. There’s no good reason for “god” to do things the way he supposedly does them, and there’s no good reason for theists to continue to defend him and hassle atheists about anything. That’s non sequitur to lay anything about this tragedy at the feet of atheists and go wash your hands clean and bow to such a megalomaniacal sick fuck of a god, and while you’re at it, claim that he’s still good at his job; and atheists have no morals. I find it absurd that any theist can sleep well at night if they agree with the above sentiments in the OP, and I find it absurd that any theist can look me in the eye and say that they deserve respect for their beliefs if they agree with the above sentiments. I could go on and on. They will pull the 1st amendment when it serves them and trample it when it doesn’t.

  • CommandLineJedi

    reminds me of the platonic argument about the benevolence of god:
    Something of this kind, I replied:–God is always to be represented as he truly is, whatever be the sort of poetry, epic, lyric or tragic, in which the representation is given.
    Right.
    And is he not truly good? and must he not be represented as such?
    Certainly.
    And no good thing is hurtful?
    No, indeed.
    And that which is not hurtful hurts not?
    Certainly not.
    And that which hurts not does no evil?
    No.
    And can that which does no evil be a cause of evil?
    Impossible.
    And the good is advantageous?
    Yes.
    And therefore the cause of well-being?
    Yes.
    It follows therefore that the good is not the cause of all things, but of the good only?
    Assuredly.
    Then God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men. For few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him.


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