Edward Tarte Shares His Thoughts About Cancer



About Edward Tarte

I am age 78, once a Catholic priest for five years (in the 1960's), then a math teacher for 44 years up to the present day. I became an atheist a few years ago. My hobbies are music and chess.

  • dorothy30

    Edward Tarte is such a great spokesperson for atheism. He’s so polite, calm and gentle, kind of like Mr Rogers. And who in their right mind would criticize Mr Rogers?

    • Ndonnan

      Yes Edward is all you say with the exception he is fundamentally wrong.This whole mindset that all the terrible things come from God and it is His will for your life is utter rubbish.I can understand the ignorance of most people here who have an opinion based on what they have been told by others, but Edward above all should have no excuse for the bizarre opinion expressed here.He willfully ignores the one really behind a lot of the sickness and tragedy in the world and that is Satan..  man being the other.Not that will make any difference when you choose to deny Gods existence,Satans a given.God can and does constantly step into peoples lives but He isnt there for your convenience.Because death is the end for the atheist it makes sense to be angry when others tell you God can heal,and cynical when He wont,thats because you dont KNOW Him,Hes a father God who you can put your trust in.,even when the situation your in doesnt make sense from our perspective,it will in the future.That is the difference between religion,which is a waste of time,as Edward knows so well, and a relationship with God ,that you and he can have.   

      • Deven Kale

         No matter how you look at it, if this “God” created everything, he most certainly did create evil. Even if you state that evil comes from “Satan,” well as it turns out, this “God” also created “Satan,” thereby creating evil. There is no way around it. Even if Isaiah 45:7 is a mistranslation (perish the thought!), it makes no difference anyway. If this “God” created everything, he had to have been the one to create “evil” as well.

        • Ndonnan

          Evil  wasnt created,love wasnt created either,this is what i think you would refer to as a strawman.God is love,Satan is evil,its their  very nature,its who they are.Angels have freewill,like you and i, the one downside is that there is responsibility and consequences that go with it  

          • Deven Kale

            This “God” created “Satan”, with the express purpose of him being the embodiment of evil. If this “God” had wanted him to be anything other than the embodiment of evil, then he would have been so. Since “Satan” is the embodiment of evil, then that is what “God” created when creating “Satan.” The semantic argument of “‘God’ is love, ‘Satan’ is evil,” still does not change that fact. Calling it a strawman doesn’t change the validity of the argument either.

            • Ndonnan

              Deven, your biblical knowledge is amazing…not. God created Lucifer,who and what he became from there is a different story .

              • sirilidion

                So what your saying is that god isn’t allknowing :)  

                • Nothanks

                  I think a reading of “Paradise Lost” is in order for everyone :)

              • Deven Kale

                 So, you god created “Lucifer” WITHOUT knowing he was going to be the embodiment of evil? Not very omniscient then.

                I’m not basing my argument on the Bible. I’m basing it purely of the claim of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent god. I’ve never met a Christian who believes their god is otherwise. If he is any of those things, he knowingly created evil. If he did not create evil, then he is none of those things. That is not a false dichotomy, speaking in absolutes requires dichotomousness.

      • Alphazulu

        Ahhh yes, I wondered how long it would take before some fundie brought out that bastard Satan!!!!!!

        Satan. He’s such a fucking asshole!!!!

  • SteveS

    Good for you, Edward! As a retired doc, I remember what it was like to have to diagnose all these evil little bombs their god lobs at humans. And, I have heard more than a few ‘good christians’ say that somebody’s misfortune (like AIDS, cancer or a   stroke) was ‘gods judgement’ against the recipient for some sin… Why is it their god seems to afflict both sinners and good people regardless of their faith? I have never gotten a rational answer.

  • Reade Selle

    Mr. Tarte,

    You say that “According to believers in a God who creates all things, their God put those cancer cells in my body, it was his will to do so, it was part of his ‘plan’
    .” 

    In a manner of speaking, yes, God put cancer cells in your body. He created all things, and he made you in such a way that your body would develop cancerous cells. When he created everything, he did accept that he was going to create you, and that you would have cancer. It was part of his plan, sure. 

    You also say that there are thousands of people in the cancer center trying to counteract the will and the plan of God. I would say that those people are also part of God’s plan, and he willed them as much as he willed you. So, as much as God can be said to have an ‘attitude,’ I’d say he’s fine with cancer research and prevention. He did, after all, give us a desire to live. So, while this is definitely an issue, even a serious one, it isn’t insoluble. 

    As for disease and natural disasters, and the fact that we try and counteract them, I would say pretty much the same thing. God did create them, and does allow them, and I’m pretty sure he’s fine with us fighting disease and predicting and repairing after natural disasters.

    • anonymous

      > As for disease and natural disasters, [...] God did create them, and does allow them

      So you believe in an evil god?

      • Nothanks

        Romans 5:3-4 – …”we know that suffering produces perseverance;    perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

        I don’t think it’s completely illogical to say that sometimes suffering has created a context for joy that could not have been experienced otherwise.  And who knows – if one believes in God, they might also believe that the suffering experienced in this life might make the joy experienced afterwards all that much sweeter.  I don’t think that “the presence of suffering” automatically means “evil god,” especially when the fruit of suffering CAN be a wonderful thing in the present life.  Perhaps the presence of suffering is more indicative of a “complex god”?  I need to think of some better adjectives…

        • Deven Kale

           The presence of suffering can, and often does, lead to a terrible, drawn out, agonizing death. I don’t think it’s illogical to call that evil.

          • Nothanks

            That’s true – but a theist might at least have some hope and positivity during that experience, knowing that his or her story may not yet be over.  I think that’s perhaps what I meant when I said ”if one believes in God, they might also believe that the suffering experienced in this life might make the joy experienced afterwards all that much sweeter.”  The relief when one actually dies and wakes up on the other side, alive and completely well, would be pretty profound, I think.  Like in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” for instance (I’m sorry, I had to)

            On the other hand, when an atheist experiences a terrible, drawn-out agonizing death, what is the source of comfort?

            This conversation is taking me back to Dostoevsky.  Are you familiar with the “Rebellion” and “Grand Inquisitor” chapters in “The Brothers Karamazov”?  Many college-level philosophy classes are inclined to cover this material when discussing “the problem of evil.”  The novel, itself, is wonderful, but these two chapters are of particular interest to both Christians and Atheists, alike. 

            • Deven Kale

               

              The relief when one actually dies and wakes up on the other side, alive and completely well, would be pretty profound, I think.

              I agree, it would be pretty profound. For many people, their only reason to be good people and live a good life is specifically so they will be granted that pleasant afterlife. I find that a disgustingly selfish reason to be a good person, but it’s better than the alternative.

              On the other hand, when an atheist experiences a terrible, drawn-out agonizing death, what is the source of comfort?

              If they’ve been a good person, their friends and family being close to them during their final hours, and the knowledge that their legacy will live on through the memories and actions of those friends and family even though they themselves no longer exist. If they’ve been an evil person, then they likely have nothing but fear and anger throughout.

              This conversation is taking me back to Dostoevsky. [sic] Are you familiar with [...] “The Brothers Karamazov”?

              Unfortunately I’ve only had two semesters in college (learned quite a lot of grammar in one of them. ;) , and I know almost zero in terms of philosophy. I’ve read just a tiny bit of ethics, but I disagree with (and have thence completely forgotten) most of what it was.

              • Nothanks

                Well, as a college English teacher myself, I’m glad the grammar is sticking with you.  However, I’d urge you to try to NOT forget what you’ve read, even if you disagree.  That’s not conducive to good conversation.  And take the initiative to do some reading yourself, too…start with the Brothers K :)  

                 You’re right – many people may live a good life for rewards in the afterlife.  However, as a Christian, I’d say that that perspective of religious faith is fairly limited and not entirely widespread.  In Roman Catholic circles, for instance, this may still be a valid viewpoint.  During the Reformation, however, the idea that “being good in this life will get you into heaven” was countered by Luther and other Reformation theologians, and the idea of Christian justification became Christo-centric instead of works-oriented.  I understand that this is a VERY simple version of what went on, but the point is, being good in this life in order to earn eternal rewards is not as widespread of a belief among Christians as you might think.  Thinking about the question honestly, I’d say on a day-to-day basis that getting into heaven has never been a motivation for the nice things I do for other people.  When I’m feeling particularly sentimental, sometimes I do good things on the basis of “we love, because he first loved us.”  Sometimes my conscience just tells me to the do the right.  Or sometimes I think “this is what I’d want done to me, so it’s a decent gesture to do it to this person, over here.”

                My question actually is, what DOES motivate atheists to do good?  Atheists certainly are not obligated to do good, due to a lack of universal authority or standard being set upon humankind.  I know some may say that atheists do good because they want to improve their communities or relationships or humanity, in general.  However, from an atheist’s perspective, could it be considered wrong for a person to be completely self-motivated and to act only in one’s self-interest?  From an atheist perspective, I don’t really understand how the answer could be “yes.”  Maybe you can help me understand that perspective, though.

                This is getting long, so one last thing:  the idea of one’s legacy living on through friends and family members doesn’t really do anything for me at all, personally.  But is the idea of living a good life in order to have one’s legacy passed down through the generations any less “disgustingly selfish” than doing good things to get into heaven?

                • Deven Kale

                  You know what? I started a blog a long time ago but never actually posted anything. I’m going to make my first post a response to your comment here (mostly about my view of atheist morality). Once I do that I’ll link my profile here to that blog, so watch for that. It’ll be in the next day or so, I think.

                  This just isn’t the right place for this discussion, and I feel wrong usurping the comment thread of Edward’s thoughts for a conversation that has only a slight connection with anything he said.

                • Nothanks

                  That sounds good.  I’ll be on the lookout.

                • Nothanks

                  No rush, but I am still interested, if you had thought maybe I wasn’t.

                • Nothanks

                  Neeeevermind….

  • Cheree E Winston

    I’m enjoying your videos, Mr. Tarte! Keep them coming! As a formerly Catholic atheist (and math nerd), I am very interested in your perspective. Thank you!


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