Dad is getting my emails part V

Here’s the end.  Here are parts one, two, three, and four if you need/want to catch up.

Robert wrote back to dad…

“And I am tired of being preached at. If I wanted that, I would go to a church. You wanted an opportunity to give me evidence. You failed to do so, but gave me lame arguments and superstitious hocus pocus” ——well if this is not evidence enough of you questioning my intelligence…. Maybe this is convincing enough…….” I didn’t come on here offering to try to change your mind, you came in here wanting to ” put my two cents in on your atheist view point.” You have done so. I remain unconvinced, you have still after all this time provided absolutely zero evidence or good arguments. All you have done is offer afterlilfe threats and promises, guarantees on things there is no possible way you could guarantee, and a bunch of superstitious mumbo jumbo that you believe in passionately from a bronze age book of myths that have talking animals.” Your a bully John. Because I dont give full and compelling physical evidence to support something that I claim is based on faith, and not evidence in the physical world, my ideas and beliefs are mumbo jumbo to you. Have you even read the entire bible, studying it out, with the intention of finding your salvation? Or were you just out to prove God wrong from the start? Not a horrible world huh, well gotta call you on this one with…..compelling and startinling evidence…here it goes…..”and will pray that you can see the light of Christ.” There are 9 million children under the age of 5 who die every year. I would prefer you pray for your god to do something about that instead of for me to see the light of a being who is supposedly all powerful but allows that to happen.”——— These are your words, John, so at least be consistant. Is the world bad when you want to disprove God, or is the world a great place for you when you are once again trying to disprove the need for the saving grace from God out of this present and evil world. It seems like your pyhsical proof thing has created an issue here.

In your awesome exploitation of the need for proof through evidence, I have in fact exposed a contradiction in what you are saying. All things fair, which is it? Good world?/ Bad world?

Dad responded…

“These are your words, John, so at least be consistant”. I am consistent. For me, it is a great world even if 9 million children under age 5 die every year. It isn’t horrible or unfair, it is what you would expect if there were no god. I think MEN could do a better job of preventing it, but that they don’t doesn’t make it a “horrible world”. However, I think if you are claiming an all-powerful god who cannot stop that or an all good god who lets that happen, it is YOU who are being inconsistent.

Bully? You asked to come in. You asked to give your thoughts on my atheist viewpoint. That isn’t what you did though. You gave your thoughts on how wonderful god is and so on…….the same line of preaching I can hear at any church. I hope you don’t call everyone a bully whom you fail to convert.

“Because I dont give full and compelling physical evidence to support something that I claim is based on faith, and not evidence in the physical world, my ideas and beliefs are mumbo jumbo to you.” Yes. Yes they are.

Two things I think you need to understand about this. The definition of mumbo jumbo is “language, behavior, or beliefs based on superstition”. The definition of superstition is belief in the supernatural. Gods are supernatural: they are outside of nature. You admit this with “not evidence in the physical world”. If you have belief in gods (supernatural) then your beliefs are by definition mumbo jumbo.

“Have you even read the entire bible, studying it out, with the intention of finding your salvation?” Like most kids raised in this area where there is a church on every corner–no mosques, tabernacles, freethought societies, etc.—I was surrounded by the drumbeat of Christianity growing up. I was even baptized. Of course I wanted all that wonderful stuff….and then I realized (to me) it just wasn’t logical, reasonable, nor did it have evidence…..it just didn’t make sense to me, it didn’t add up.

In college, I studied the New Testament from a scholarship viewpoint in Origins of Christian Thought. So, I read the entire New Testament and studied it hard at that time: made an A in the course. I have also read the entire Old Testament, but it has been a while.

I have also read the Koran and Bhagavid Gita, as well as having a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. Hope that works for you. Have you sought truth through any books or ideas other than Christianity?

Enough about me. I suspect I know things about your bible that you don’t know. For instance, did you know the gospels weren’t written by whom they are attributed? You know, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John? Don’t take my word for it, google up “authors +gospels”. Read what the scholars (not the apologists) have to say.

As to “Or were you just out to prove God wrong from the start?” I’m not out to prove anything….but you are. And I asked you for evidence. And you didn’t have any. You want me to believe the bible, because the bible says the bible is true, and remember: this is a topic that you raised. I pointed out that the bible has inaccuracies, such as the Big Flood, and you tell me that the Big Flood doesn’t leave the evidence that every other flood leaves. Come on. Bigger doesn’t mean it doesn’t do what floods do. You tell me we can’t know when the flood was. But biblical scholars can calculate from other things in the bible when it supposedly happened……and we have written records from that time from a variety of cultures. There is no way the world could have repopulated since that time. There are a number of physics reasons why it was impossible.In other words, it is impossible that event occurred according to archeology, geology, physics, and written history.

If you can ignore incontrovertible physical evidence in order to cling to your belief, we will have no basis for agreement. If your determination that your book o myths cannot have inaccuracies is so strong that you ignore reams of empirical evidence, then I do not want to by what your are selling, because I will not turn off my B. S. filter to that extent.

“All things fair, which is it? Good world?/ Bad world?” It is a natural world. To ask that question is like asking if a rock is good or bad. PEOPLE do the moral good/bad thing. The world being natural is neither. Remember the tsunami a year or so ago? Sad, unfortunate, I would rather that sort of thing didn’t happen…but it doesn’t make this whole world horrible. Not only is it a great world…..it is the only one we have. People need to focus on making it as beneficial as possible instead of counting on justice in an afterlife that may not exist. I don’t deny horrible things happen, but wonderful things also happen. That horrible things happen sometimes doesn’t make it a horrible world. I reiterate: from my point of view it is a great world.

One last thing, since you ask if I have read the bible. Let me ask you this….Would your god designate as a good man any man who incestuously made his young daughters pregnant or offered them up for gang rape? Would your god approve of or participate in genocide? Would he kill innocent children and pregnant women, thus destroying fetuses? Would he approve of slavery? Is it possible to define a god who does any of these things as all good or all love?

Robert wrote back…

I get it. I have been down this endless rabbit trail with folks. You pull some heinous act from the Bible and use it against a believer. I try to show you how it fits into a reasonable and logical context within the full scope of the Bible. You claim a variety of acts that qualify God as a contradictory character…….so on and so on. I get it. John, you are correct. I came to you, on your turf. I had intentions of an intellegent debate in mind, with a side dish of hope I could persuade you to listen to a Bible teacher I know. I got an intelligent debate from your side. I hope you can see that I am not trying to compare things on the same level as you (physical vs. spiritual). I have from the beginning quoted the book I use to reference and establish my belief in God. My biggest difficulty has been finding a way of explaining this. In doing so, I have allowed you to manipulate my words, as I surely have tried doing to yours. Final comment: I believe in God and that he is capable of all things, within and without our human reasoning. I believe he has a purpose for any and all the things he has done, all the things he is presently doing, and all things that will come. I do not frustrate those things when I am incapable of some of the simplest tasks in life. ——— I am trying to use that logic on somone who does not even believe in God, or gods, or anything spiritual whatsoever. Conclusion: I am exhausted from going in circles trying to get the bus going, when you will never, ever want to ride. I cannot deal with you on my level, only yours. That level is not dealing with faith based subject matter as being         true, unless presented with physical evidence. That’s your view, thank you for presenting it. I apologize for occupying so much of your time on this, having not given you satisfactory arguments and ideas. You have read the Bible, you have done your own extensive research, and it seems you landed nowhere near the conclusion that there is God. I have done my best at the same, and have found different conclusions. I will not invade your space again.

My dad wrote…

Well, Robert, I hope you understand that I like you personally and have found you in our business dealings to be honest and dependable. I hope you don’t take it personally that I find religion to be a bad idea and refuse to pretend that I view it otherwise. I certainly don’t hold it against you personally that your view isn’t the same at all.

I don’t feel an obligation to respect what I deem to be bad ideas, but I do try to respect PEOPLE.

I tried to be perfectly clear right up front, when I said “I am not interested at all in bible study or in what you believe. I am interested in what evidence you have for a god—other than what the bible says because we all know it is not accurate.”

I didn’t think I could make it any plainer than that.

I don’t think you wanted a CONVERSATION, I think you wanted a CONVERSION.

Anyway, nice talking to you. No hard feelings on my part, and I hope none on yours.

And that’s where it ends.

Here’s the deal.  Christians trying to convert people isn’t the problem.  If you think you’re right and someone else is wrong on something of consequence, you should make it known.  Christians who do that actually have more moxy and more appreciation for the importance of beliefs than Christians who don’t.

Here’s the problem: society, at least in America, has moved to a point where calling them on being wrong in return is tantamount to an insult.  Society tells them their hurt feelings are justified.  That idea needs to die, and the only way to make it die is to trample all over it until people get acclimated to it.  We must consistently remind people that respect means telling them the truth, not placating them by assuming they want to remain wrong rather than have a two-way conversation.

And what is the truth?  The truth is that a world in which people feel the need to research their opinions before voicing them for fear of being called out is a better world for finding the truth, whatever it may be.  Opinions need to be the product of consideration, not a substitute for it.  We must invest much, much more in the reliability of the methods we use to reach beliefs than we do in the beliefs themselves.  We must work to create a world where that is the expectation.

This is the message we must put forward.  It is the message we must not back away from, regardless of whose feelings are hurt.  Sometimes they’ll retreat to church and write you off as the enemy.  It sucks.  I know.  But the fault doesn’t lie with you.  The fault lies with a religion telling people that without belief in god there is no happiness, no life, and eternal consequences, such that they cling to their beliefs over other people.

That religion is anti-human.  It’s anti-happiness, and it needs to die.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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