Performance morality and Christianity

Today I wanna talk a bit about Performance as well as how it relates to Christianity as well as the Christian God himself.

Arguably what our society is based on is performance and our will to achieve things. If you are good at your job, you get a raise or more holidays. If you suck at your job then you may have to take a pay-cut or even lose your job entirely.

People admire people who are good at their craft. Footballers are handsomely paid because they are the best at what they do and people wanna watch the best compete against the best and they are willing to pay money for it. The further you get in a tournament or the better you are the more people will watch you and will pay and the more you will earn. Your pay is reflective of the revenue you bring in. At least that is the idea.

And this is what most of us consider fair. The more money you make the more money you earn. The better you perform the better your standing is.

What is also important to note is another aspect: Your performance is also measured against a standard. When you are at a normal job nobody is should be expecting you to work 14 hours a day 70 hours a week. Your performance is measured against a standard of what you can be reasonably expected to be capable off.

You are judged on your performance while your limits which we all have are acknowledged. When you may do extraordinarily good work within your limits then you have achieved something and a reward might be in order.

So…. all of this should be obvious. Where am I going with this? Well this is a blog post about the Christian God and Christianity. Let’s just say there are issues. First with God:

When we speak of God we are speaking of an omnipotent perfect being. A being without limits. And seeing that God has no limits nothing he can ever do will ever be an achievement or a great performance. With unlimited resources and unlimited powers and might and knowledge nothing is a challenge for God. No creation difficult to make. No idea, no invention in any way impressive.

In being as powerful as he is and as unlimited as he is, measured against an incredibly incredibly high standard God must, whatever he does whatever he creates, be considered an average performer at best an underachiever at worst.

We don’t applaud Lionel Messi if he scores a hattrick against a bunch of 8 year olds. Why would one applaud God if he pulls a Universe out of his hat?

But there is another aspect I wanna talk about and that is Christianity itself. It is my position that Christianity flies in the face of the very principle upon which our society is built.

Why is that? Well according to most Christians there are two ways, at least theoretically, to get into Heaven: One way is belief in Jesus as Lord and his resurrection as well as repetance and the other is to never ever sin in your entire life. The former has nothing to do with performance you do not choose your beliefs and you cannot decide over your intellectual persuasion.

What about the latter? Well the problem with the latter is that it is impossible to fulfill according to Christianity. Within the Bible it says on many occasions that we are by nature sinful and that every single human being is a sinner. It is an impossible standard for us to meet, an impossible test to pass.

I often use the following analogy: Let’s say you have a child who is 6 years old and you demand him to pass a test. It’s a 8th semester astronomy Quiz that you normally get 3 hours to work on but you give your child ten minutes and not only must he pass the test he must get an A. If he fails the test he gets grounded.

Now it should be blatantly obvious that you would be a very unreasonable parent in treating your child this way. Now if for example you are a married man and you see let’s say 50 shades of grey and are aroused guess what you just sinned and that sin alone means you haven’t passed the test. Dito for when you are invited over to eat at your friends house and you lie that the food tastes good.

It’s an unreasonable and impossible standard that is applied to us. What is worse there are no stages of hell to my knowledge. There is only one hell. It makes no difference as far as the torment goes whether you lied 1 time in your life or whether you were partaking in the Holocaust within Nazi Germany and killed thousands or even millions of people.

Let’s say my child was good enough to get a B+ on the astronomy test yet he is gonna be grounded for an entire month, the same amount of time he would’ve been grounded had he gotten an F.

There is one last aspect I wanna address: Animals.

The way I see it there are four options for the animals: Either they get automatically to Heaven or they get automatically to Hell or they do not get an opportunity for an afterlife at all and just cease to exist after they’re dead. Now if they automatically get sent to Heaven or to Hell then obviously their performance while being on Earth was irrelevant. There was no test for them at all. If they just cease to exist then there wasn’t a test either and they were robbed of any opportunity at all to qualify.

So that’s it. That is just one more reason why I find Christianity to be quite the irrational worldview.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Renevelation

Why I am not Vegan

Well this is gonna be interesting. At the moment I have holidays so I have the time to write so after years of leaving this blog dormant I figured I could use the time to write something.

As you can see from the title today I will be talking about veganism. Now, one really easy answer to the question why I am not vegan is because I enjoy the taste of meat.

But obviously that won’t fly with a person that is really committed to his or her veganism. Now, if you are a reader and are plant based and don’t mind other people eating meat, then you are not the type of person I am addressing here and who I am arguing with. I am specifically arguing with the philosophical type of vegan. I take issue with one specific claim that these people espouse, the claim that it is a moral obligation to not eat meat.

Now one thing I am gonna say is that IF vegans were right and not eating meat would be a moral obligation, then I would no longer eat meat. At that point it would not matter to me, that I enjoy the taste of it. But why do I reject the claim that morally speaking we must not eat meat? My answer to that is threefold:

  1. Morality is subjective
  2. The act of eating is beyond the scope of morality
  3. Vegans are wrong about the concept of complicity and supporting an act

So let’s go through these. The first point is the least interesting. I have written about it a lot in other articles so I won’t bother here. Besides if I am correct on morality being subjective then the other two points need not even be addressed. So for the purpose of getting to the actual meat (see what I did there), I wanna skip this point even though I think it is true. If you disagree or wanna find out what my reasoning is for thinking morality is subjective, you can use the search engine on my website.

So on to point two: Why do I think that the act of eating is beyond the scope of morality? Well one thing we gotta realize is that eating is for every human an absolute necessity. Just like drinking sleeping or even using the bathroom. Without eating we cannot survive. Now, no one would argue that there is a right or wrong way to sleep or that there is a right or wrong way to use the toilet or a right or wrong way to breathe or to drink. Not a right or wrong way in a moral sense anyways. So why would we assume that in the case of food consumption?

Moreover let’s get to what morality actually is and how it is defined: Morality is about the behavior towards other people and also the behavior towards animals (really towards all sentient beings if we would wanna throw aliens in there if they exist). An act is morally right if it promotes the well being of another being and diminishes their suffering, an act is wrong if it diminishes their well being and promotes their suffering.

Now you will notice that I outlined “behavior towards other people and also the behavior towards animals. The issue here is really simple: Eating is not a behavior towards other people or animals. There is no interaction going on with another human (barring conversation in a shared dinner or lunch) and there is no interaction going on with a sentient animal or any sentient creature at all. To give but another example there is no right or wrong way to watch TV or a YouTube video etc. . There is no right or wrong way to observe things. I simply use my vision. I can’t control it, it’s not a behavior I am not interacting with anyone purely by observing. Now I may interact with a YouTuber by typing a message or leaving a like or dislike to give feedback but not by merely watching. And eating is not a behavior towards another being either. Just like sleeping, drinking, breathing, using the bathroom etc. . So it is not a part of morality. It lies beyond its scope.

What a vegan is gonna argue, and I will address this further in my third point, is that I am still supporting the meat industry when I buy meat in a store or order a steak in a restaurant. Well there is a simple, albeit illegal, way to rectify this: I could, in theory, from now on just steal the meat I am consuming instead of buying it. Sure in that case I would behave immorally towards the store or the restaurant (when I escape through the bathroom window without paying) but I would not only not give the meat industry money I would in fact damage them. My behavior would also I think not be wrong towards the meat industry because from a vegan perspective if it is wrong to consume meat then it is definitely wrong to sell it. They have no right to do so, so they have no right towards a revenue and I am doing nothing morally wrong in denying them revenue. But maybe I am wrong on this and a vegan would disagree.

The point I am making is this: It’s not actually the eating that is wrong from a vegan standpoint , the industry is atrocious and really the buying that precedes consumption is the issue.

Now on to the third and most important point. Vegans are wrong about the concept of complicity and supporting an act. Vegans often argue that if we eat meat (or buy it) we are being complicit. We are supporting the meat industry and doing so is wrong because the meat industry is evil because it murders animals. I would argue that the meat industry is to some extent necessary because I know people who for medical reasons, by recommendation of their doctors, need to have meat in their diet. But I don’t wanna pursue this further. Now here is some harsh truth for all of us and especially vegans:

The meat industry is so dominant it is so big, there simply is no way you can live in the western world and not support it. Even if you do not want to, you cannot help but support it.

Let me give a few examples: If you sit at home and watch TV and suddenly there’s an add for sausages on sale, you just supported the meat industry. If you scroll through Twitter and find an ad that promotes McDonalds you just supported the meat indsutry. You are (intentionally) giving viewership to them and that is financially valuable to them. Views are a financial asset.

Furthermore you go to your local store and decide to buy vegan meat balls and potatoes. You just supported the meat industry because that store also offers meat and part of their earnings are gonna be used to buy more meat. Furthermore many companies which do offer vegan meals as an alternative are also part of the meat industry and some of their earnings they get through selling vegan products are gonna be used to promote their market. It’s inescapable pretty much.

But this is not and should not be an Earth shattering surprise. I think most vegans are aware of this and would readily concede my point.

So all people, at least in our western society support the meat industry in one way or another. But obviously the argument doesn’t end there. While this may be true I am more directly supporting it because I am giving money directly to the companies whereas vegans don’t (ignoring here for a minute that many members of the meat industry offer vegan options which they buy). Now what I will do is the following: I will give a series of examples, a sample size, which are similar to the relationship of the costumer buying meat but in which case we would not argue that the costumer is behaving immorally. We will then decide whether we should change our mind on these examples I am about to give and conclude that in these examples we are immoral through complicity and support or we will decide that these examples are not immoral behavior and we will instead conclude that buying and eating meat is not either.

I have a question, dear reader: Do you like energy drinks? Have you ever consumed a juicy unhealthy can of Red Bull? If yes congratulations you have given money to a Nazi who uses that money to promote fascism, disinformation about COVID and anti-democratic ideas and ideologies in Austrian TV and other platforms.

Knowing this can we coherently argue that it is immoral to drink this energy drink? Would you blame a friend if you saw him with a can? Would you blame him if he knew what I just told you, yet he would continue to drink the beverage? If yes, just how petty are you? Or can he no longer watch Formula 1 because it features that brand? Or what about football (soccer) in the German Bundesliga? They are there too. Must I miss out on University parties for instance which are very often sponsored by them and which rely on products that they allow us to use that come from them?

Next example (and this one is meat related): My own personal favorite football (club) has a sponsoring deal with a company called “Wiesenhof” . It’s a factory farming company. If I buy jerseys of the club I love I am promoting this company. Must I therefore not buy jerseys? Must I even quit being a fan of the club altogether because of their sponsor? What about other clubs like Schalke who used to promote Gazprom a Russian company who uses their money to an extent to help Putin. Must one throw the old jerseys in the trash because Gazprom is on them? What about Paris Saint Germain? They are sponsored by the state of Qatar. Qatar is a country where modern day slavery is a thing. Must you quit the club you love because of this?

To be clear this isn’t a question about whether or not it’s a good thing to boycott for instance PSG because of this. It’s also a good thing to not watch the world cup in Qatar. But is it a moral obligation? Are you a bad human if you do not do this? Furthermore are you a bad human if you live in Europe and heat up your apartment with gas which these days comes from Qatar or is the morally obligatory choice to freeze?

One last example: You go to the stadium. They offer three things there. Sausages, beer and lemonade. If you don’t buy sausages but beer or lemonade you are still significantly contributing to the meat industry more so than you are in your neighborhood store where there are a million products. The percentage rises significantly. Arguably they have significantly less costs than the factory farming companies: They need not pay rent, they pay the employees and buy the products. That’s it. Now with factory farming the machines need to be paid. Rent needs to be paid. They have countless insurances. They have a vegan production etc. . I could easily argue that buying a beer in a stadium contributes more (or at the very least not significantly less) to the actual meat industry than buying a steak in a store does. So I cannot drink beer when I am at the stadium of my club?

In closing we have two choices: Either we buy the rational bullet on the examples I gave and conclude that all the behaviors are listed are in fact immoral. I think that is irrational. Or we can conclude that eating meat is not immoral. This is I think the rational option here.

Now that doesn’t mean you can’t eat plant based. That doesn’t mean you must consume meat. Eat what you want, drink what you want I really don’t care. Just don’t blame me when I do the same.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Renevelation

My Nagini argument

Today I will be discussing yet more thoughts which I have already spelled out on some memes of mine which I use on Twitter. I wanna discuss what I have dubbed the “Nagini argument” . For those of you who are unfamiliar with Harry Potter Nagini is Lord Voldemort’s pet snake. However as we have come to learn within the Fantastic Beasts movies which plays within the Harry Potter Universe Nagini was not always a snake. Prior to turning into a snake she was a woman who had a blood curse which doomed her to turn into a snake permanently. She is what is known within the wizarding world as a maledictus.

Now what does any of this have to do with Atheism, God, Christianity etc. ? Well I do think that we can make a case as to why Jesus being both God and human is quite literally incoherent by way of analogy using the character of Nagini:

So let’s ask ourselves the following. Is Nagini 100% human and 100% snake when she is trapped inside her snake body? Well she certainly cannot be 100% human seeing that she lacks human anatomy, seeing that she cannot communicate in human language seeing that she looks nothing like a regular human does. After all when you think about it prior to the Fantastic Beasts saga no one in the Harry Potter fandom community even entertained the idea that she was anything but a snake. Granted a very smart snake but still a snake. So no, Nagini was not 100% human when trapped in her snake body.

Now let’s ask ourselves: Is Nagini 100% snake? Well I don’t think we could argue that either since she is qualitatively different from “normal” snakes: After all she has human memories, after all she has human intelligence after all she has human emotions and human thoughts. She has a human mind that unfortunately for her is trapped in a body of an animal rendering her partially animal partially human. So no, Nagini is not 100% snake.

In the same way that Nagini is partially snake and partially human Jesus Christ can also only be partially God and partially human but not both to a maximal extend: After all God in his normal form consists of a non-material substance while in his “Jesus form” he is made up of matter. Normally God lacks blood and organs and just human anatomy in general yet as Jesus he loses those defining characteristics of God and assumes defining characteristics of humans.

In the same way we can also not say that if Jesus was God incarnate that he was fully human. After all he would have had not a human mind but a divine mind with the thoughts, memories and knowledge of the Creator of the Universe inside his head. He would have a completely different way of thinking that would surpass any and all human capability and would not resemble our thoughts in the slightest. So no Jesus was not fully human either since he lacked the mind of a regular normal human but instead had God’s mind.

Therefore it is not the case nor is it even possible that Jesus was both 100% human and 100% God since being God and being human are mutually exclusive just like being a human and being a snake is.

So those were my thoughts for today.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

Miracles magic and the Supernatural

It’s been a while since I last wrote on this blog but seeing that we are currently living through a global pandemic I also need to keep my head and I also need to find ways to get my creativity flowing and to find an outlet through which I can express myself. For some people such an outlet would be singing or dancing or doing sports or drawing or painting or whatever. For me one outlet is writing and since this is a blog dedicated to the God debate and Atheism I figured I would write about something which I have already included in a meme of mine but wanted to flesh it out in this article.

As you may or may not know I am a MASSIVE Harry Potter Fan. One of the things that I find curious about the wizarding world is that there seem to be two parallel worlds with different sets of laws which are intertwined the Universe to be occurring: The Muggle world and the Wizarding world.

For example one law that holds in both worlds is the law of gravity. If you jump into the air you will drop to the ground again. However as we know there are different spells within the wizarding world which allow wizards to interact with gravity in completely different ways than we are used to: Apply Wingardium Leviosa to a given object and you may levitate the object into the air and control it as you wish. If you fall to the ground from a higher distance all you need to do is say arresto momentum and your fall will briefly be stopped and you drop to the ground on a much lower point.

But how does any of this relate to the God debate? Well the thing is the wizarding world for all intents and purposes is a completely natural world with completely natural laws. It’s just that there are more laws and that the laws are somewhat different and that the scope of a given law from our usual physical world may simply be overriden when magic enters the frame and the magical law nixes the usual necessary consequence of our every day laws.

In the same way then it is a mystery to me on what basis a Theist can conclude that what has happened when Jesus was resurrected or when Muhammad flew on a winged horse or whatever was a genuine miracle from God Almighty himself instead of just a natural occurrence of different laws which are unknown to us which may simply be larger in scope than the laws we do know about but which have overridden those exact laws.

How can one conclude that it was genuinely Supernatural instead of just another natural thing within the frame of natural laws which we simply do not have access to at the moment in the same way that a Muggle would? Moreover given that the scope of those natural laws could in theory extend towards absolutely everything and make everything physically possible, like a law of omnipotence allowing God to be omnipotent in what exact way is the term Supernatural even be meaningful and not just a confusing way to distinguish the natural we know from the natural we yet fail to understand?

Just some food for thought.

 

Anyways that was it for today. Goodbye from yours truly,

 

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

In(co)herent Value

For today I want to address a topic which I wanted to talk about for quite some time. The reason I wanted to talk about it is because it is so laughably absurd and contradtictory that I can be nothing but amazed that there are still people out there who hold to it. I am of course talking about the concept of inherent value and especially the supposed inherent value of humans as a result of being created by a god.

It is my aim to demonstrate here that there is no such thing as inherent value that humans do not and cannot have inherent value and that even if God existed and did create us this would do absolutely nothing to give us inherent value.

So let’s get into it:

It is a fact that the amount of water we have on Earth is 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 liters . Now of course I do not wanna trouble myself with such numbers so for the purpose of discussion let’s say we have a total of 1 million liters. Let’s also suppose (though of course this isn’t true) that 100% of the water we have is drinkable.

With this in mind let me present a thought experiment:

Suppose I have a gigantic cannon in my possession. I also have a tank in which two things are stored in seperate rooms. 500.000 liters of water (which is half of the total supply we have on our planet) is in one room. In the other room there’s a human. I will either shoot all of the water into space using my cannon and the water is never going to come back ever again or I will shoot the human into space where the human will choke to death. I will give you the choice to choose which one it is. Either a living breathing human who has inherent value and who is made in God’s image or inanimate matter which nevertheless is a resource which is crucial for all of our survival. In case you do not know this losing all of the water means that there will be millions of other people dying of dehydration and those who do not die because they have enough money to afford the water at a very high price will at the very least struggle and have to change their lifestyle completely.

I think any sane and reasonable human would choose the water as a resource with no inherent value over the human who because he or she was made in God’s image has inherent value.

What does this tell us? It tells us that the value of a human can be expressed in terms of resources like water or food or what have you. In case you did not know this resources like water for instance can be expressed in terms of dollars or euros which are currencies which are completely arbitrary invented and man-made. A dollar or a euro does not have inherent value. It’s simply a system we have invented which we have all agreed upon and by which for reasons of convenience we abide by. There’d be no rational reason why the owner of a shop would be satisfied with her giving me ham, bananas, tomatoes, steaks, in exchange for a pieces of paper if it were not for the fact that we all agree upon the economic system and that she in turn can use these pieces of paper in exchange for resources she wants or desires.

But back to the subject. If it is true that a human life can be expressed in terms of resources like water then if these resources can be expressed in terms of money it follows that humans can be expressed in terms of money which as I remind you is a man-made invention.

But let us suppose that we change our thought experiment from earlier up a little bit:

Let’s say we have more than 1 million liters. Let’s say we have an amount of 99^99 (99 to the 99th power) liters. Either 500.000 liters get shot up or the human. In that case we would without second thought shoot up the water because we have it in abundance to such a degree that 500.000 liters do not matter to us at all.

This tells us that value of a given object is also dependent on how much we have of it at our expense. Supply and demand. In one case water is more valuable than a human life because it is scarce. In another case 500.000 liters of water do not matter.

And we can spin this scenario further. The value of an object can be expressed in terms of other objects. In fact that’s how we traded prior to inventing currencies. You get my cow for your two pigs. For these two pigs of mine I want your 12 eggs as well as your chicken.

The value of objects and humans depends on the situation we find ourselves in: Now granted we place high value on human lives but if we admit that resources can in a given situation be more valuable than a human and in another case it is not then we must likewise admit that the value of the resource and likewise by extension the value of the human compared to the resource is purely situational and therefore NOT inherent.

 

But let’s say you are not on board with this (as no doubt many Theists who may read this will not be). There still remains the question of whether we can have inherent value by virtue of being made by God. Why would that make us valuable? Well as many Theists will tell me it makes us valuable because God loves us and because he values us and all that hogwash. But notice what this presupposes: It presupposes that God’s love or God’s value judgements and that God himself are valuable. But who says that God is valuable? Who says that his views and his love matter? As far as I can tell there are three possibilities:

 

  1. Humans say so
  2. God says so
  3. It just is the case

 

If it’s 1. then this is just the subjective opinion of humans. What person X may value person Y need not value. A number of people saying that God is valuable does not mean he is inherently valuable. He is valued by certain individuals but that does not mean a thing.

 

If it’s 2. then God has value because God says he has value. That is completely circular. Why ought I accept this? Is it not open to me then to say “God doesn’t have value because I say he doesn’t” ? This does nothing to establish anything. And if you think that the difference between my statement and his is that he is authority so in his case it’s fine while in mine it isn’t then we need to ask ourselves who says that he’s authority. Again we have the same three options. If it’s humans it’s just opinion. If it’s God he is authority because he says he is. Am I authority because I say I am? We do not accept self-declared authorites in my case so why would we in his?

 

Which brings us to option 3. it just is the case that he has value. Okay…. ummm….. why ought I accept this? What’s the evidence for this? If you wanna make such outrageous assertions you’d better be ready to give a reasonable argument for this. Until such an argument was succesfully made and is shown to be sound it is most reasonable to withhold judgement.

 

The bottom line is this:

There are no good reasons to suppose that we have inherent value. There are many good reasons to suppose that neither we nor anything else has inherent value and that inherent value is self refuting and indeed incoherent.

As always I appreciate your feedback.

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

 

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation