Atheists At It Again

Clubshadenfreude is at it again ladies and gents! Here’s the newest blog, which is a response to a fellow Catholic blogger, Christine Chase

“I’ve recently been crossing swords with a Roman Catholic, Christina Chase. She has a blog and I commented on a poem she wrote. Then we ended up chatting in the comments. This gave me a chance to become more familiar with Roman Catholicism and Roman Catholics. This is evidently the last of the discussion (her prior response). Ms. Chase is under a deadline for her next book.”

Always be wary of someone who’s commenting on something that they’re becoming ‘more familiar’ with; never respond to something that you aren’t totally familiar with, you may end up creating a lot of straw man arguments. Also, slightly offended, Club has replied to me, a Catholic, several times. Unfortunately, Club decided not to post Christina’s responses on her own post- frustrating.

“And nice attempts to claim you are trying to be “fair” to me when you also try to claim that I’ve lied e.g. “made crooked”. It is no surprise at all that you will pick and choose what to reply to. That is typical for Christians when hard questions are answered and is your right. If subjects are addressed in your books, then you should be able to tell me where.”

It’s always a writers choice in regards to who they respond to. Not having a response, or not providing a response, isn’t the same as there being no response that can be given.

“You did claim that atheists only make emotional choices. Shall I quote you? “I do sense that you may have experienced some real pain or grief, and if that is so, you have my sympathy. Pain and grief can easily make us angry. I’m sure that you must be aware that you are coming across as a stereotypical angry and embittered atheist, but you may not understand that this is not productive to your cause. I won’t treat you like a stereotype, however. You are a unique, individual, unrepeatable human being.”

I’ve read the quote that Club supplied- there’s no hint on Christina suggesting that atheists make only emotional choices. Let’s break down what she said from the quote:
1) Club may have experienced some pain or grief.
2) Christina sympathizes with that pain or grief.
3) Christina thinks Club is coming across as (not actually is) a stereotypical atheist, full of anger and bitterness.
4) Christina will not respond as if Club is a generic, stereotypical atheist, but as an individual.

If you can get, from that statement, that Christina is suggesting that atheists lack rationale, well- you’re a genius!

“Indeed, Christina, you repeatedly make false statements about atheists “ I enjoyed being an atheist because it was so simple, and because, with no meaning to life, I could simply do as I please.”

That’s not a false statement. At all. Any atheist will tell you that the only link between fellow atheists is that they reject the idea of a God. They may differ on every other aspect of life, love, art, society, politics and so on. Christina didn’t make a false statement about atheists, she shared a subjective truth about herself during her time as an atheist. Christina said that ‘I (the individual) found life simple, with no meaning’, not that this is a blanket truth for all atheists.

“Then, something unexpected happened that caused me, as a lover of truth, to no longer be an atheist.”- Christina

“Unsurprisingly, you do again try to claim that I’m just another “angry and embittered atheist”. Funny how that is repeated even when you claim that you are sure I’m not. Why is this? For me, it seems to be this is all you have to try to imply that atheists never can have any other reason. And yep, atheists do have to often tell theists tht they didn’t become an atheist out of anger because people like you keep trying to spread that lie. You are one of the atheists who finds she must make that assumption.”

Club says that Christina ‘repeated’ the ‘claim’ that Club is another ‘angry and embittered atheist’, after telling us that she’s not. But by Christina’s post, we see that it wasn’t the leaving behind of anger or bitterness that led her to Jesus, but the embracing of truth.

“Do explain how a being that harms others as your god is described do to in the bible is not a “vicious bastard”? Does genocide qualify? Does drowning animals to get revenge on humans qualify? I use words to have impact not because of my feelings. I knew that you would find the term vicious bastard applied to your god to be questionable. I did it to ask you these further questions. What would you call someone who committed genocide, killed children for what their parents did, allowed a family to be killed so he could show off to an enemy? Since none of this happened, I cannot be emotional about it. But I can certainly look at it as an empathic human, much the same as I can empathize with characters in things like Star Wars where genocide happen.”

God caused life, God has sovereignty over life- it’s that simple. If no life would exist without God, what right do we have to try to convince God that we deserve a greater extent of it? I always find at strange when an atheist suggests that God is objectively evil, but cannot provide evidence for objective morality in atheistic materialism. Why is killing bad? Where in science do we find the notion of a right to life? Let me expand: what makes humans, above all of creation, valuable? Sentience? Emotion and intelligence? Creativity and will? Whatever it is, the reason can’t be provided as an objective fact, only that particular atheists opinion.

“Let’s look at your words about love “You and I know that you can’t scientifically prove the nonexistence of a personal God. You may believe that the burden of proof falls on me, but do you use a method of doubt in every aspect of your life? I don’t think so, because if you did, you would not have written that you can see love through the actions of human beings. Humans can lie, humans can even lie with their actions. I’m sure you don’t have loved ones in your life get a brain scan to make sure that the right parts of their brain are lighting up to give evidence of what we call affection before you believe that they love you. Maybe you do want to do that, I don’t know. Like it or not, sane, intelligent, normal human beings go by faith quite often in our daily lives — not blind faith. Faith based in reason.”

“So we have you claiming that people who love me can lie to me, and that I somehow have to have faith that they don’t to believe them. I do not, since I can see that they love me. It is not faith, it is evidence. I never said cannot, Christina as you claimed “I believe what I see,” you continued. “and one can not see love easily.” “ Go back and read it again “Humans can lie. Per the bible, so can your god. And nice to see you try to claim that people are lying to me if they say they love me. It’s not faith, it’s trust. I believe what I see. And one can see love easily. If you can’t tell if someone loves you, that is your problem, not mine. Your belief aka faith in a magical god is not based on reason. It is based on hope and desire for something better than you have now.”

Clubs reason is circular- I trust people that love me, they love me and so I trust them. Christina’s point was clear- people can lie about emotions, but Club said that she can ‘see’ that people love her. Well, that’s faulty logic. We can see people displaying and conveying an emotion, but we can’t actually be sure that the emotion is actually there. This is a really cheap analogy, but imagine watching a soap/drama, and a character conveys anger towards another: we can be sure that the emotion is fake, even if looks real, based on the fact that we know we’re watching fiction. But we can still say ‘wow, Al Pacino is a really great actor.’ Why? Because he can convey character and emotion that we know isn’t his. If Al can do it, can’t all humans, especially if there’s something to gain, right?
Club must be aware that people lie about love all the time, displaying affection to back up the lie. People can lie about emotions for sex, financial gain, fear of loneliness- all sorts of reasons. Club says that she trusts that people love her, but she doesn’t have faith that they do. Ok. I like my definitions, right guys?

Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. The belief that somebody/something is good, sincere, honest, etc. and will not try to harm or trick you
Faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something. The belief that somebody/something is good, sincere, honest, etc. and will not try to harm or trick you

Hate to tell Club, but the definitions of trust and faith are synonyms; they can literally be switched in a sentence, and the sentence will still convey the same message. The only difference is that the definition of ‘faith’ supposes a ‘complete’ trust, whereas trust only alludes to a ‘firm belief.’ Oh.

“You have said this directly “As I told you, I was briefly an atheist. I was a thorough, true atheist for less than a year. Then, something unexpected happened that caused me, as a lover of truth, to no longer be an atheist. “ The “as a lover of truth” doesn’t need to be in there. Why is it? No, my love of truth didn’t lead me to atheism. Evidence did. I followed the evidence; I didn’t have a presupposition of some “truth” to fit the evidence to. The claim of a “lover of truth” implies baselessly that others aren’t concerned with the truth aka if this happened to you and you didn’t accept it, then you aren’t a “Lover of truth”.

Why doesn’t ‘lover of the truth’ need to be there? Aren’t we all lovers of the truth? Of course, Club is assuming that the writer is claiming that atheists aren’t lovers of the truth. But we can all be lovers of the truth (Atheist, Muslim, Sikh etc), and still believe that it conveys a different message. Truth is absolute and objective, but our interpretation of that truth isn’t. So the Sikh can interpret the truth his way, I my own- we aren’t both correct, but we can both claim to love the truth subjectively, even if we don’t have that objective truth.
Love of the truth didn’t lead Club to atheism, evidence did. Ok, but evidence points to a truth, right? Wasn’t Club seeking truth, thereby following evidence? Why are these exclusive terms for Club?

“Many theists of all faiths claim what you do, feelings of some “infinite”. Now, do you believe them if they do not agree with the source? Why or why not? I do have to wonder that this feeling does seem to be assigned to your god, since that is what is familiar with you. What shows that this feeling is from the version of the Christian god you grew up with rather than some other god?”

This is a kind of ‘existence of multiple religions disproves all religion’ argument. We can all have feelings of the infinite, that’s the point. The Bible says that creation declares God’s glory (Psalm 19:1), and those who never heard the Gospel will be judged by their own conscience (Rom 2:12-16). Assigning these feelings of wonder and awe to a different deity doesn’t suggest that there’s no one divine source. I’m not arguing for YHWH at this point, only pointing out that Club’s argument is flawed.

“Feelings of awe seem to happen to most people. Why think it is from some entity? Humans can make feelings appear with just electrical current. No god needed. And now you try to claim this “do not expect you to understand this or to even want to understand this in your current state.”

No, humans can’t ‘make feelings appear with just electrical current’. Let’s think here. If humans could cause emotion, then temporary insanity wouldn’t be a valid legal defense. An electrical current, synapses firing- these cause emotion, but the ‘mind/human’ doesn’t cause the synapses firing- this is usually an internal response to an external stimuli- the stimuli is the cause. Anyway, why do we have awe when we see/feel/hear things? Where do we get this understanding that ‘x’ is greater than ‘y’, ‘x’ is worthy of awe? Why? Because ‘x’ is more beautiful, more regal, more inspiring? Then what are these beautiful, regal, majestic things moving towards? Is there an objective standard of regality, majesty or beauty? Wonder what that could be.

“I did not contradict myself, Christina. I do not do what I want, because I do not believe in free will, and I know that somethings I want aren’t the best for me or society. I don’t think you know what I mean at all. Penn Jillette contradicts you, and the Christian nonsense that non-chrisitans just don’t want to obey their god, that we are ravening thoughtless creatures.”

I’ve had this discussion with Club before. How does she know that she is freely rejecting God based on evidence and reality? Perhaps her lack of free will has caused Club to always misinterpret the truth, and she would be unable to break that cycle because that would imply a free will to do so. Since Club says that she doesn’t do what she wants, is Club sure that she wants to reject God? Is Club even truly an atheist, or is that just her assigned fate?

“Atheists aren’t nihilists, Christina. Many Christians feel that they need to claim that to vilify us. Humans do give meaning to life. Our worldviews that we’ve created do. No gods needed. Yes, I do mean that me, as an atheist who has meaning, shows that your claim that meaning only comes from your god is wrong. You have yet to show that there is “divine love” or that your god supplies it. You seem to be only inventing that term to feel special and superior. Yes, I do think that it does take arrogance and a neediness to declare that I need you or your god to love and be loved. You are doing it right where you claim “God is needed to know the depths of divine love”

Atheists can have meaning to life. And atheists also need to God to love and be loved. What they don’t need is to affirm God in order to do so. God created all men with the capacity to love, and that capacity isn’t based on us declaring faith in God. It’s much the same as God creating us with breath, but we don’t need to declare God to breathe. Still, God is required in order for my lungs to ‘be’, faith in God is not.
An atheist can have a subjective meaning for their life, but that may not be the ultimate meaning of existence. Of course, why would the atheist care about that, as long as they are kind/good/happy? My point is that having ‘a’ meaning of life isn’t having ‘the’ meaning of life. Christians believe that not only do we exist to worship God, but when God is freely worshipped we know true contentment. The atheist would disagree.

“I am here to demonstrate that Christians aren’t above reproach, and that they make harmful and false claims and to confront them about those claims. Society has mistakenly assumed that gods are true and that if someone claims worship something, that makes them better than anyone else. Religions have encouraged this by making baseless claims on how they are the source of all love, truth, goodness, etc. I aim to kick the legs out from under those false claims. Will I be successful? Well, religion is losing ground because people can speak out now, and not be completely terrified that some theist will try to kill them, lock them up, etc for being “heretics”.

We aren’t above reproach. That’s not Christianity. We are to understand that we are all sinners (Rom 3:23), and if we think otherwise then we’re deceiving ourselves (1 John 1:8). It isn’t harmful to claim that God exists, unless we’re talking about some subjective view of harm that atheists don’t like us saying it.
Religion isn’t the source of all love, otherwise love wouldn’t be a recognizable ‘thing’, but a subjective expression/emotion based on each religion. God is the cause of all love, He creates humans with emotional capacity. God may express truth through religion (Christianity and the Catholic Church), but God is not Christianity or the Church.
Theism isn’t as harmful as atheism for the individual; atheists have a much higher suicide rate. Compared with other countries, atheist states, such as the People’s Republic of China, have the highest suicide rate (25.6 per 100,000 persons).
In a global study on atheism, sociologist Phil Zuckerman noted countries with higher levels of atheism had the highest suicide rates compared to countries with “statistically insignificant levels of organic atheism.”
Religion isn’t losing ground, Christianity still makes up 2/6 of the world’s population. But ok. What if it is? Is truth based on how many people believe in something? I’m sure Club wouldn’t affirm Christianity if it gained ground, right? Freedom of speech and the decline or incline of religion is neither here nor there. People can’t ‘speak up’ in China; in fact religion is frowned upon, but religious still make up 26% of the population. America has total freedom of speech, they can ‘speak up’ against God. And yet 72% of the population holds to religion. It seems that even when people can ‘speak up’, they seem to use that cry to (largely) call for a God.

“I have shown that the claims of Christians about having some objective truth are false. I believe that you need to hope that some magical afterlife exists. You are rather like Joni Eareckson Tada whom I read about when I was young. I can very much understand that you must hope that there is a reason for you being disabled. I think you would be better off dealing with reality than a forlorn hope. However, I can understand that it is a harsh reality and a hope is very appealing.”

No, Club hasn’t done that. But since Club doesn’t believe in free will, she cannot believe that she has freely used her intellect to interpret any evidence correctly. As a disabled person myself (CP), I can tell you that disability doesn’t cause us to hope for Heaven. In fact, it should do the opposite. I should hate God for intending to create me with disability, but I don’t. God created me with CP in order that able, successful atheists are left without excuse when they claim they had no reason to believe.

“I think Rumi is a very interesting poet. I’m also interested mysticism but alas have yet to see evidence that any of the claims of theistic humans are true. It’s all humans trying to convince others that their opinions are supported by some powerful being.

Rather than atheists trying to convince us that their finite and limited minds have grasped objective reality correctly? A reality with no deliberate design, that exists by chance? I’ll take my belief that my logic and reason rests upon my mind being created by an omnipotent, omniscient God for the sole purpose of understanding the reality He caused, thanks.

“There is no evidence of your god or that it is outside of space/time so we don’t need to consider human confusion evidence or not. We just have to see that as soon as humans can’t show evidence, then their gods immediately become mysterious and vague. Just how does an entity be outside of space/time, know when to start something, Christina? Christians just try to say “we don’t understand but my god has to exist”. A non-christian has to point out “no your god doesn’t have to exist and why shouldn’t we understand?”

What would evidence for a being that exists outside of time/space look like? Would the evidence also be external of time and space? Could we even find it?
Because God exists outside of time, He doesn’t need to know ‘when’ to start anything. The ‘need’ would imply that God was working by a schedule, measured by a clock that didn’t exist because time didn’t exist. The ‘when’ would imply that God was working along side time, rather than outside of it.

It’s not that we ‘shouldn’t’ understand God, but rather than we ‘can’t’ yet. God existing everywhere, and yet being enthroned in Heaven is a contradiction to us. God being one deity who exists as three distinct, simultaneous persons is hard to grasp.
Club says God doesn’t have to exist (I disagree), but something not ‘having’ to exist doesn’t mean that said thing ‘doesn’t’ exist in actuality.

Club does go on about how Catholics are exclusive because there’s no salvation outside the Church etc etc. She says that we don’t agree with each other (dealt with this before.)

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