Of miracles, prayer and consistency

So this morning I saw a Tweet pop up in my timeline and though I did comment on it on Twitter itself I felt the need to elaborate upon my point a little bit more on my blog. So the Tweet in question said the following:

“Back in May a couple of teens were lost at sea off the coast of Florida clinging to life when they started praying for God to save them.

A boat finally arrived; the name of the boat ? The “AMEN.”

Coincidence ?

Tell those teens it was a coincidence.

Saves”

I see those comments very often expressed by Theists in an effort to claim that God still works miracles and that prayer actually works. As an Atheist I do not accept this claim of course and I maintain that the reasoning employed within this is both lazy as well as arrogant and outright inconsistent.

So let’s address it: Is it coincidence? Well I certainly wouldn’t find it surprising that when children are saved that it may very well be by a boat or a ship or whatever which has as its name a religious foundation. The vast majority of people on our planet are Theists. The majority group of those people are (as it stands) Christians. If you are a believing Christian and you own a boat then it is to be expected that you give it a Christian name. In this case it was the “AMEN” but there are probably other boats like the “gospel” or the “grace” out there as well. I have no idea how many boats are currently in existence but with approximately 2/7 of the world identifying as Christian I can imagine that no shortage of boat owners will have a boat with a Christian theme.

And let’s be real here if it was the “grace” that saved these teens his reaction would have been no different.

So right away it doesn’t seem that unlikely anymore. Considering then that there is a limited amount of boats in Florida and considering that people may have been searching for them it does not seem that miraculous after all now, does it?

 

What bothers me the most about these supposed answered prayers and these supposed miracles is the inconsistency behind it:

How many times has this happened in history when the Christian boat was not able to save the poor children? Probably more than zero. Would Christians count this as evidence against God? Of course not no. What if the “AMEN” was about to save the children but failed to do so in the last second? Does that mean that God’s word failed? No this can be chalked up to “mysterious ways” . Or what about the children who died in this very seconds where I wrote this line?

Now I am not presenting these as a problem of evil or the problem of suffering. Not at all. What I am saying is that when you think prayer works in this case but you do not think that prayer or by extension God failed in those other cases then you only take into account the data which suits your preconceived conclusion and ignore the data which would go against it.

 

But let us take it a little bit further: What if it was the “HSF Muhammad” which came to rescue? Would anyone of the Christians reconsider their stance on Islam? What about the “PS 666” . May it be that Satan is a good guy after all? Or how about the “MS Godless” ?  If God existed why would he use a ship to save people which declares that he is not needed to begin with? That’s very contradictory to his nature which seeks to glorify himself.

If you would be unwilling to change your stance in those cases, then how can you honestly expect anyone to take you seriously in this one?

 

But we could in theory extend this scenario of a “Christian symbol” coming to the rescue and see how we stack up when employing that:

 

If God uses Christian boats to save people then that means that he influences the minds the body etc. of the people within the boat in order to save others. Given that this Hypothesis is true then we would likewise expect this principle to work with other scenarios. So if we have various lifeguards named “Noah” who as we all know supposedly built an Ark to save his family as well as animals from the Flood through which other people drowned then we would therefore expect them to all be immediately on alert when there is a child which is about to drown at the beach. If that is not the case then the Hypothesis is disconfirmed. Same with a guy named “Jesus” who sees a man beating on a woman. One thing we absolutely would not expect is anyone or anything who or which represents Christianity in any way to do harm to people in any way. So a person named Jesus could presumably never be a criminal right?

 

One final thing: Notice how these happenstances are touted as miracles these days. Yet in biblical times we have had miracles of far greater magnitude. Men who are undefeatable and beat up 1000 men with the jaw of a donkey all because they never cut their hair off (Samson). Jonah living inside a giant fish for 3 days instead of drowning. Jesus walking on water and pulling up his disciple out of the water to save him from drowning. Moses parting the sea.

And now what are we reduced to? A lucky occurrence which involves nothing demonstrably Supernatural, nothing unusual and nothing which cannot be explained by natural means.

These children may or may not have been saved by God. I just find it funny that he used to save people in a grandious and spectecular way in order to show the world who the Boss is and nowadays instead of simply pulling the children out of the water without the involvement of a boat, he sees it necessary to save people in a way that does not make him appear to be real in the first place once we remove our biases.

 

I hope you afford yourself the opportunity to think about why the world is the way it is. As always I am open to criticism. Hope you have a good day.

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

 

René von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

Flood Fiasco

Today I want to talk about another issue which often comes up in debate with Christians especially when you are in a debate about morality:

The Global Flood as described within the 7th chapter of the book of Genesis.

There are several moral issues I find with this particular story in the Bible and it is my intention to lay them out right here.

Before I do so here is just a quick disclaimer about what the purpose for this article is and what it is not: Within this article I concede, though I do not think this is true, that the Flood narrative as presented within Genesis is scientifically possible and actually occurred. I also concede, though I do not think this is necessarily true, that the objections which Christians present to me in defense of the Flood are in accordance with the Bible.

My aim in this article is to expose some of the implications that the Flood has on the moral nature of God.

 

Typically the first thing that is brought up is that the world used to be very wicked back in the day and the giant deluge was simply God’s way of removing the wickedness.

 

But let’s think about this for a second: Was everyone truly wicked at that time and place. I mean sure it might very well be that there were many wicked people at that time but was it truly everyone? Presumably there were babies around at that time. Were they wicked? It might very well have been that there was a pregnant woman around at that time. Was the baby residing inside her body wicked? After all God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of 10 people (Genesis 18: 32) so one would presume that the bar was set significantly lower when it comes to the destiny of the entire world. That is if God is consistent. He already spared 6 righteous people with Noah and his Family so adding the baby and the woman would make them a total of eight which one would presume was gonna be enough for God to spare the planet. Now this is of course only an assumption on my part based on what other verses within the Bible tell us but if God is consistent within his nature I would say it is a fairly reasonable one.

Besides even if he absolutely had to get rid of the wicked people then there are several ways to do so without throwing the baby out along with the bathwater:

God could’ve gone the route of simply making those evildoers drop dead by simply switching their brains off. You know: The good ones get to live the wicked ones cease to be. This is effective concerning the protection of the people whom he considers good.

It is also effective insofar as it is also a quick and easy death for the evildoers. I think we can all agree that there are more pleasant ways to die than by drowing. It takes minutes to get it over with, you are struggling to try to preserve your life, it is psychologically tormenting because you go through the realization that this is it and that death will set in at every moment etc. . Surely the God of the Bible wants to preserve needless suffering if he is loving and good. So then why go the difficult way of drowning them when he could have made their death quick and easy?

Now even if one were to argue that these people were so wicked that they had it coming, the people were far from the only group of living entities who were subjected to the Flood:

Enter the animals. The animals did do nothing to even cause the Fall and are therefore not responsible for the wickedness which God sought to punish. Would it not have been therefore reasonable and merciful for God to spare the completely blameless creatures instead of just including them as casualties for the heck of it? Yes he did spare some animals on the Ark of course but the vast majority of them died and suffered because they were drowned including members of their family, which no doubt left some of them emotionally scarred. Finally of course the Flood also destroyed a lot of food resources which meant for the animals decades if not centuries of struggle for survival because God could not think of a better way to solve his problems with humanity then destroying the planet. Talk about an overkill.

One apologist soundbite which I also frequently hear is that God left the choice open to enter the ark to all people who wanted to come aboard. The people refused to do that and they thereby killed themselves.

 

If that sounds completely unconvincing to you, that’s the case because it is completely unconvincing. Let me paint a picture for you here:

 

Let’s say I had a nuclear bomb which potentially could destroy China (country with the largest population: 1.42 billion people) as a whole. I warn the people of China in advance that I am gonna drop the bomb on them. But they all have the opportunity to flee on a planet which I have sought out for them on which they could live and which has enough food sources which has an atmosphere and which has everything they need to survive and thrive. All they have to do is get on my spaceship which is large enough to fly them all to this planet and the bomb is not gonna be of consequence to a single human. Now for whatever reason only a few million take me up on my word and actually go on my spaceship which takes them to this special planet. The rest of them are killed by my bomb.

Question: Did I commit Genocide?

 

I think it is abundantly clear that I did. Yes true enough I did offer them a way out of their predicament. They did not take it. But I am still to blame for creating this predicament to begin with, I am still to blame for following through with it and I have the blood of billions of people on my hand.

This is true irrespective of whether the decision of the Chinese was smart or dumb. This is true irrespective of whether or not the Chinese contributed to their own deaths. And it is especially true for those people who did not get to make their own decision in the first place, namely the babies inside the womb as well as out of it and the children who needed to obey the authority of their parents who decided that their family was not gonna book their travel.

Maintaining otherwise is the textbook example of victim blaming and we should not do it in my case or God’s.

 

Christians maintain that God is good. I think most of them would agree that needless suffering is not good. As I think I have demonstrated there are countless ways in which God could have spared billions of lives of both humans as well as animals had he opted to remove the wickedness of certain humans from the planet in another way of simply flooding the planet.

As a very wise man once said:  “You will know them by their fruits.”

 

I suggest you take a close look at them and evaluate for yourself whether you wanna take a bite. But be careful:

If you are Christian, then you should know how things can end up when people eat fruits that are best left untouched,

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

René von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

 

The Fail of man

Today I want to discuss a specific issue. For those who follow me on Twitter you might have noticed as of late that a lot of my discussions involve the (supposed) Fall of man into sin. I have come to realize that at a certain point the arguments from Christian apologists just keep repeating themselves so I decided to post this as a set of arguments which shows that the doctrine around sin (specifically Genesis 3) is irrational. I do this, if for nothing else, than that I can just bypass their bad arguments and get to the ones which are actually sensible, though I doubt they even exist. I also hope that this might inspire some of the readers out there to succesfully argue what I am about to argue. That said let’s kick things off:

The first question we have to ask ourselves is the following: If God is supposedly perfect (Matthew 5: 48 among others) then why did he create humans which have flaws? Perfection means that you are without any flaws. Yet it is self evident both under Christian doctrine as well as the real world that humans do have flaws. Now you might attribute this to the Fall but this is merely shifting the problem back to another level: If Adam was created by a perfect being then it stands to reason that he himself was perfect. As was Eve. Why then was it possible that both could be corrupted by a deceiving snake? Flawlessness implies great amount of wisdom as well as knowledge and intelligence. Why would man in any way shape or form be deceived by a snake with but 2 sentences? This implies a great flaw within the thinking capabilities of Eve and it reflects upon her maker who created her to have such an embarrasingly gullible nature. If a perfect being created her we ought expect better and the fact of the matter is that him not making her immune to deception of a snake is a flaw and a direct result of his work.

Even if Christians could bypass this objection though there is still the following issue: Why make us physically capable of sinning? I have said this before and I will say it again: Humans are physically incapable of flight. Try as I might, no amount of moving my arms up and down or whatever direction would work is gonna make me able to reach the clouds. Evidently this status of my existence does not violate the free will of man which Christians often elect to attrbiute the Fall to. Otherwise Adam would not have had Free will from the outset and would therefore not be elligible for blame. Who would then be? God (but we’ll get to that). If me being physically incapable of flight does not violate free will (it clearly doesn’t) then me being physically incapable of murder, rape stealing does not violate free will either. Yet God, from a Christian perspective, did create us with an ability to commit those actions despite him disapproving of them. Him not doing so would have prevented the suffering of millions nay billions of living entities which, as Christians tell me, is desirable for God. This has not been accounted for and it is in dire need to be accounted for.

Furthermore let’s move the discussion back to the topic of Genesis: What would stop God of simply planting the tree of knowledge on the moon or making us physically incapable of eating the fruit? Let’s say the fruit was simply too large to fit into our mouths and it was made of elements which are simply not penetrable by our teeth. This would have prevented the Fall and it would have spared billions of lives. Why not go that route, God? Planting the tree on the moon would be another way: We only have been able to go there after close to 6000 years after the supposed Creation and as the story of the tower of Bable teaches us, God has no issues with corrupting our projects when we wanna reach for the sky and beyond (which makes me wonder why planes exist but that is another issue).

 

But let’s just say that the apologist has reasons which allow him to circumvent this issue as well: At the very least God would be responsible for the wiring of our minds, no? For our desires, our goals and all of that stuff. He could have gone a different route even then: Why create us with even the slightest desire to rebel against him? Think about it: We as humans have no desire whatsoever to cut our arms off. In extreme situations we might if we have no other choice but generally speaking the prospect of this is not something which we would speculate about. Why not make disobeying him, and by extension make murder rape etc. equally undesirable as cutting off our arms? Again this would spare billions of lives and billions of rape victims and this would most definitely have prevented Eve from eating this darn fruit. It would not even have crossed her mind. Let me reiterate again: Nothing about this violates our precious free will. Me being unwilling to cut my arms off does not violate my free will so Adam being unwilling to disobey God does not and cannot violate his free will.

 

I see no way around these three objections but one objection which I frequently hear from Christians to rationalize this is the following: God planted the tree as a way to test us. He wanted to make sure that we chose him in favor of sin. Well aside from this issue clearly falling prey to what I already brought up, namely why not wire our minds such that not loving him would be akin to cutting our arms off, why would he devise such a test to begin with? What do we need one for? We are already in Paradise in eternal allegiance with our maker. All the animals which Adam named are there. Goal accomplished end of story. This was the desired outcome. This is what heaven is supposed to be like. Why allow for the possibility for this to be screwed up? This runs opposite to God’s desired outcomes.

Furthermore, why allow the animals to be affected by this? The animals had no way to get themselves out of the predicament which Adam supposedly created. Nor is Jesus sacrifice elligible for them. They play no part in this. Man (and God) are to blame but they are innocents in all of this. Yet God sees it fit to kill them by the millions if not billions in a gigantic Flood and he sees it fit to kill them by way of drowning and of course he pays them no mind when they end up as our lunch. If you wanna turn a blind eye to this then be guest but I will shift the blame squarely where it belongs under Christian theology: on the almighty himself.

 

Finally when all is set is done there is good news isn’t there: A man without sin died for us, so that might save us since we are not capable of it. But why? Why the need for a savior? Why can we not save ourselves? Sure we are under sin but so what? Well yes okay we might not be able to be in HIS presence otherwise but why is the only other option hell. Let’s talk about landlords: God is capable of simply making another dimension and build a few houses so that we might live there absent his presence. He can build infinite amounts of them no questions asked. We woul not be in his presence and yet live our comfortable eternal lives. We wouldn’t even need to pay. If I had an infinite amount of houses I’d be gracious enough to let people live there for free. Especially if I myself have no need for any money at all since I am omnipotent. Sorry God but the myth of you being oh so forgiving and oh so gracious has resided long enough in our heads for free and as far as I am concerned, rent is due Bitch!

Additionally why is it that we cannot save ourselves? Why can we not it on our own? Why devise a circumstance in which we have no control? Analogy:

If I had a son who was 3 years old and I made him take a chemistry exam which typically takes 3 hours but yet I give him 5 minutes then I’d be unreasonable. If I said that he needs to get an A or he’ll be spanked and grounded for an entire month then I assuredly would not be Daddy of the month. On the contrary I’d be arrested for child abuse if this comes out. Yet Christians hold God to a lower standard than that. We are expected to live perfectly. No lies, no sexual thoughts no nothing? Despite the fact that I can easily generate a picture of you seeing two hot women kissing within your imagination just by me telling you to. I made you sin. It’s that easy. For that you supposedly DESERVE eternal torture. Why? Well because God made you that way. Is that just? Didn’t think so.

 

Sin as a concept and all the doctrine surrouding it is irrational. I am open to counter arguments if you have any. For your own well being: Emancipate yourself from your myths. There’s life after God and you do not need your shackles. Be free.

 

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation