“The Devil Made Me Do It!” (What Is Your Authority?, Part 2)

steve martin

A reason that people often give when asked why they don’t trust atheists is that we don’t believe in the threat of Divine Punishment. The argument goes: “If atheists don’t believe that there is an invisible but all-seeing, all-powerful entity who knows our every thought, word and deed and holds every human being accountable for their actions, what’s to stop them from doing all manner of terrible things? You can’t trust them because they don’t believe that God will judge them for their actions after they die.”

Please give me a moment to explain, as best as I can, why this is nonsense. Continue reading

The Joy of Atheism

thank you god

I would normally never use such a clichéd title, but this is actually a response of sorts to Pastor Alin and his blog post, “The Misery of Atheism.”

It’s also a motivation to write something new here, which I need to do more often.

The Cliff Notes version of his post is “Atheist lives are miserable because they do not have God to thank for everything.” (Do please read the post, I don’t want to be accused of misrepresentation.) Having been a fundamentalist Christian for over a decade, I am familiar with his thought process in this regard. “Giving thanks to God” is a consistent theme in the Bible, wherein the writers make it abundantly clear that Yahweh loves to be praised and thanked on a continual basis. Continue reading

“What is Your Authority?”

abraham-and-isaac-on-mount-moriah

Question the morality of much of the Bible with a believer, and you’re almost guaranteed to be asked this question. “By what authority do you claim your morality to be valid?” Of course, the person asking the question considers the Bible (or Qur’an) to be the ultimate authority because they believe it is their god’s direct communication to humanity. Since atheists do not rely upon a “holy book” to tell them what’s right and what’s wrong, the question asked is an attempt to “trip up” non-believers by insinuating that their morality is not morality because it does not come from a Supreme Source, but rather from personal opinion. Continue reading

Sunday Go to … Heathen Time?

sundayassembly

Sunday Assembly is a new “atheist church” movement that’s catching fire in various places around the world – receiving accolades as well as criticism from both believers and the godless. “Fellowship, belonging and a sense of community” are three of the things that many ex-believers miss most about their former religious lives, so it’s not difficult to see why Sunday Assembly has become so popular so quickly.

Still, it’s an odd concept for some to wrap their heads around – how can you have a church without the Most Important Ingredient? Isn’t it just “playing church” at this point? Well, to a non-believer, traditional church is pretty much a very old, communal game of “let’s pretend”. All of the bells and whistles employed by mega-churches are a means to an end – freshening up the “game” to keep people from leaving in pursuit of the myriad of other distractions that modern life has to offer. Continue reading

God’s Trap: A Critique of the Garden of Eden Narrative

eden

I do not believe that the Book of Genesis (or any book or books of the Bible, separately or as a whole) is a divinely-authored historical record. However, for the sake of this discussion, I will argue from the point of view that Genesis – and particularly the Garden of Eden story – is a literal record of an actual event.

A pastor recently tried to explain to me that what transpired in the Garden of Eden was not a test at all, but a moral command. While I disagree that it’s ‘moral’, I will agree that it is a command, but also assert that it is a test. Continue reading