The Clockmaker: A God of Reason
by Alexander M. Cohen
I am categorically averse to any sort of soapbox preaching but… I feel that I must express my thoughts here because as I look around both locally and abroad I see that there are mainly two camps. The first are adherents of their designated religion. The second are advocates of Atheism that assert since there is suffering in this world, problems with organized religion’s validity, and empirical evidence that shows the universe functions fine by itself that there can be no God at all. In these essays I will utilize the most of my meager resources to offer a third camp, a bastion of reason. I don’t expect to change anything; I merely wish to bring Thomas Paine’s philosophy out of crumbling history books and onto the vast canvases of human minds far superior than my own.
Deism: An all but forgotten philosophy that believes God is a metaphorical “clockmaker” and that once he started the universe (i.e. the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago) he willfully stepped aside and let it run without hindrance. This and thus by extension, Deists refute miracles. Deism also denies the validity of “revealed” religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as these would require divine intervention to human “prophets.” Deists’ imagining on whom God is and what his true nature is varies from person to person. It is appropriate that Deism, which prides realization of God through the examination of the environment to be alternatively known as the “Natural Religion.”
“In Deism our reason and our belief are happily united”
Born Again Through Reason
Please read "a word" first
The following is an open letter to an imaginary individual who strongly subscribes to the beliefs of Christianity. I realize that the tone of my rationalization is sometimes pugnacious but please keep in mind that it is intended as a highly spirited appeal to reason. Lastly, I am an enemy to superstitions but I am a friend to the superstitious. I don’t call into question the integrity of the religious, for their gentleness and compassion nearly always exceeds my own. Rather, I make this work for them, because they deserve so much better than what they’ve been trained to believe in.
You seem to be under the notion that God has revealed himself to humanity and that his essence is contained in the Bible. Let's play a game for a moment. Hypothetically, if God did indeed instill his words into the Bible then one must garner that he wanted it to be understood, correct? If that is the case then all liberal allegorical interpretations regarding the Bible's passages are false. How do I reason this? It’s simple. If the stories in the Bible were meant for deep multifaceted interpretation then humanity could misconstrue their meaning into a thousand different combinations whilst missing their true message (If Adam and Eve being tricked by a snake into eating from the magical tree was just an allegory, and there’s no Original Sin, then why did Jesus sacrifice himself if we were all fine in the first place?).
Using that logic, if the Bible is authentic then one must gather that God wanted it to be taken literally, because otherwise he would invite confusion amongst humanity, who couldn't possibly interpret his intended meaning. I recognize that figure of speech is used in the Bible, but one must remember that non-literal interpretation threatens to smear the face of Christianity. Take for example the six days of creation; they are not figurative because they are literal 24 hour time periods. How do I know they are literal days? Well, because the Bible says so. After every day of creation Yahweh says “And the evening and the morning were the first day (the days change accordingly from verses 1:5 to 31).” It’s an unsavory proposition to suggest that God would play mind games with humanity when he actually says evening and morning! Obviously however, when it says “All the trees of the field shall clap their hands” it is clearly not meant to be construed for manlike trees, but rather identified as the literary use of personification. At every opportunity the Bible should be read in the literal sense; if a plainly read verse is understandable then it should be left alone. Taking this into consideration, it becomes obvious that Protestant Fundamentalism is the only legitimate form of Christianity; anything else is just watered down by arbitrary and subjective interpretation which alienates itself from the Bible’s actual contents. Take the Roman Catholic Church for example; the majority of their doctrine comes from church tradition or whatever the current Pope happens to think rather than the actual Bible. In fact, for centuries the Catholic Church banned vernacular translations of the Bible so that the common people wouldn’t realize Catholic dogma is based on nothing but air. Only the Vulgate, which wasn’t mass produced and was written in Latin, could be read. This essentially made it so the priests could hold onto their power and make up any doctrines they wanted. If the Bible is God’s word, then it should speak for itself, we should not remodel its message. Scripture interprets scripture, as used by Martin Luther’s Sola Scriptura (by scripture alone). Thusly, all the tales of blasphemy against humanity such as Yahweh’s threat to the Israelites that if they didn’t butcher the inhabitants of Canaan (kids included) into bloody giblets then he would prick their eyes out, are in fact meant to be straightforwardly read. This coupled with his smiting of all the Egyptian newborn and his approval of Job's children being slaughtered by the devil just to see how Job would react, all accumulate to my slight displeasure with this hatemongering Mother Goose storybook. Let us also not forget the addition of the Biblical God’s merry torturous inferno of sulfuric acid where the flesh of people (many of whom lived a virtuous life but merely didn’t accept Christ) are scorched eternally in a lake of fire. Even with this decapitation attack on the moral standards in the Bible; I’ve only made a dent in the armor of atrocity regarding the Bible’s passages which if genuine, would have to be accepted literally with no possible liberal allegorical interpretation.
One of many frequently debated stories in the Bible comes from the Book of Numbers. In it Yahweh instructs Moses and his Israelite army to attack the Midianites. After the Israelites won the battle they execute all the males, including the children, and they slaughter every woman whom was not a virgin, all on Yahweh’s orders. The Israelites then forcibly capture the remaining 32,000 virgins for themselves as mates. This nauseating nightmare is forever captured in the Bible’s own words when Moses says “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” Of the virgins, 32 are later sacrificed to Yahweh as appeasement. Biblical apologists defend this passage by saying that we’re applying contemporary values on ancient civilizations. This statement is a superb example of moral relativism, which is the line of “thinking” that what’s right and wrong changes over time. Is there some magical benchmark you reach that decides when evil is truly evil? If one does not acknowledge evil even during times of strife, then morality is impossible. It would constitute as saying that good and evil are subjective at various points in time, that morality is only a deluded ideal that melts away at the touch of unwanted troubles. I believe in absolute morality, but apparently the Biblical God views ethics through blood spattered spectacles. Although it is true that the male children could have potentially come back to the Israelites when they were older to seek vengeance upon their dead, it changes nothing. Doing the right thing sometimes means one has to help others even when there’s a strong chance of something negative coming out of it. Although I adeptly understand that the Israelite culture knew little of morality, their God did. Yahweh should have imparted wisdom on the virtues of reconciling with one’s enemies, not teaching them “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” Apologists like to say that God had to be “strict” at that time so Satan wouldn’t tempt the Israelites and ruin the Messianic Prophecy. This is insanity! I can think of no better way to resist the devil’s temptations than for God to impart lessons on benevolence. To kill defenseless women and children is the most abhorrent of crimes, regardless of the circumstance, and executing women just for being “deflowered” is exceedingly outrageous even amongst the psychotic. The devil is allegedly evil incarnate, but if the Biblical God kills the innocent then why should the latter deserve my allegiance more than the former? I can’t help but find it darkly humorous that people like Mohandas Gandhi, a mere human, could see and partake in selfless love against his enemies but our supposed “God” could not. Gandhi would directly contradict Yahweh’s teachings when he proclaimed “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” He knew that doing the right thing wasn’t always easy, and he still gladly died in order to do it. Yet according to the Bible, Gandhi (a Hindu unbeliever) is cast ablaze in hell to this day. The quote “Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?” from the Book of Job seems particularly fitting.
I fail to understand why liberal Christian apologists say “Christ was the ‘lamb’ to clear away all the regulations and violence of the Old Testament.” This is as bad as a misconception can get. Even thousands of years after the events depicted in the OT, the megalomaniacal Biblical God would still be unable to uncouple himself from his fiendish acts of barbarism such as his summoning of two bears in the Book of Kings whose jagged claws tore into the soft flesh of 42 children that had “dared” to tease a bald man (the “prophet” Elisha). This event is so beyond the pale that it may be hard for normal people to even believe that this story is from the “Good Book.” However, when we open up our Bibles we read “and he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.” Despite this horrifying story, we are told that after Jesus’ crucifixion a new covenant between God and man was cast. However the heart of this new covenant was built distinctly on brutish OT laws and values. Jesus is after all, part of the Trinity, and as thus he makes up the same entity that committed atrocities in the OT. Those that lived after the NT’s inscription would not be required to follow the vicious OT mandates because their salvation was only dependent on faith through Christ. Although the Israelite laws were no longer obligatory, exercising them would be a way of more fully obeying and mimicking God as he intended. Take for example, Yahweh’s paganish Ceremonial Law that demanded bloody sacrifice. Although no longer needed for appeasing Yahweh, conducting a sacrifice in his name would no doubt honor him, for Yahweh never found anything wrong with sacrifice in the OT, so it would make sense that he wouldn’t “grow out” of his dead animal fetish. As a show of the OT’s reliability, many of Jesus’ teachings take directly from the Ten Commandments. Jesus even said himself that “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Luke also said that "It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid." In addition Paul of Tarsus stated in one of his fourteen letters addressed to Timothy that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching.” Jesus would also say again that “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” Right there in black and white he says he came to fulfill the Messianic Prophecy not to get rid of the established laws of the OT. So looking at just four of the plethora of NT verses that stress OT values, it is clear that the morally reprehensible OT was always meant to be depended upon. The horrible acts committed in the OT were not “washed away” but were rather engrained into the very fiber of the NT’s covenant.
Another grievance I hold from this “holy” text is its complete sanctioning of the monstrous institution of slavery, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Not in one verse does it condemn its practice, and therefore by default, the Biblical God allowed the propagation of slavery to spread uninhibited throughout history. So if a God would reveal commandments on how to function in society such as not talking back to one’s parents (which consequently was punishable by death as stated in Exodus) then why on earth wouldn’t he throw in a tablet on forgoing the owning of people? Indeed the actions of abolitionists actually went against Sola Scriptura. For you see, the Ten Commandments actually encourage slavery within its text, such as where it says every Sabbath a slave shall be given rest by his master, and where it distinctly states for men to not covet their neighbor’s house, wife, or male or female slaves (a few Bibles like to replace the word “slave” with the feel-good term “servant” but the correct translation and meaning is slave). In concordance with this, any remaining uncertainty as to why modern nations such as the Confederate States of America sustained slavery, should be easily remedied due to the numerous Biblical verses further advocating slavery, such as Exodus’s regulation of beatings to “only” within an inch of the slave’s life when it says “and if a man smite (beat) his bondman, or his bondwoman, with a rod, and he die under his hand (immediately thereafter or during the beating); he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue (survive after the beating) a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his money (property).” Admittedly the Bible does denounce abducting slaves, however, if a man sells his family it’s okay regardless of the reason. Need five shekels? Sell your son! Although Leviticus of the Old Testament instructs that fellow Hebrew brethren that sell themselves are only to be kept as temporary hired servants for seven years, it also lucidly states that non-Hebrews who sell themselves or their family (children included) will be kept forever as property. I guess Yahweh was a big fan of racial superiority. The New Testament even throws its hat into the ring when “Saint” Peter proclaims “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” Although Paul of Tarsus told slaves whom desired freedom to attain it if possible, he clearly supports the institution of slavery in general when he says “Were you a slave when you were called (became a Christian)? Don't let it trouble you, although if you can gain your freedom, do so.” If Paul had deemed it fit to condemn slavery as an immoral practice that would have been an ample opportunity to do so. At the same time, Paul actually condemns the defiance of a slave to his master when he says “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it.” Under Paul’s wishy-washy instructions one might find it difficult to attain freedom if one was bound to all of his master’s edicts. In addition, Paul had sent an epistle requesting the freedom of a man named Onesimus (whom had befriended and helped Paul after being baptized by him) to his master Philemon. Since Paul had recently converted Philemon to Christianity, he readily agreed. It distinctly looks like I just contradicted myself, but not all is as it appears to be. Not in one part of the epistle did Paul condemn or even criticize the actual institution of slavery, nor did he ask for Philemon to free his other slaves. In the contents of the epistle, Paul reminds Philemon that he owes him his very self. It was after all, Paul whom had given him salvation in Christ. If Paul had wanted, he could’ve easily convinced Philemon to stop holding slaves. Paul did not help free Onesimus because of the ills of slavery; he did it because he was his friend and fellow Christian, nothing more. Biblical passages such as these ensured that slave traders who would later sell rum to Africans, who they in turn gave members of their families up as chattel, would be under the continued belief that they were on God’s side. Although many Africans were abducted by raiding parties, the only thing southern plantation slave owners had to do was assume that the African’s family had sold him, that way they were free to buy the African under the Bible’s regulations. There was no way to know that he had been abducted because the African’s word could not be trusted. Assuming the African even agreed with his family’s decision to sell him, he still might very well lie once he realized his abysmal working conditions. In addition to this, obviously any slave traders who kidnapped Africans would assert that they attained them only through their families. So after a hard day’s work of whipping their slaves’ shredded backs, plantation owners could sleep soundly in their beds at night, for their God smiled over them.
If Christianity is legitimate then it would seem just mildly unfair that half of the world’s population, women, are to be thrown into a disgusting subservient role where they’re not even allowed to speak in their own churches. Paul reveals his bitter misogyny when he proclaims “Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” It is also interesting that a "benevolent" God would only be appeased to give means to salvation once his only son is excruciatingly sacrificed. If the Biblical God wished to forgive our original sin, then why not just forgive us? Are Adam and Eve’s transgressions our fault? What’s the point of all the theatrics; is it how Yahweh gets his jollies? I acknowledge that there are positive rivulets of virtue within the Bible, but the sad fact is they all flow from an evil source. As Thomas Paine once wrote, “It would be more consistent that we call it (the Bible) the word of a demon rather than the word of God.”
I could dip into my colors of verity and further paint upon the features of this bold lie with broad brush strokes not based on a moral standpoint, but rather on hard science and history. The Bible’s guise falls away under reason’s watching eyes, such as the Bible’s alleged exodus of the Jews from their Egyptian masters and their 40 year trek into the Sinai desert being completely void of archaeological finds. According to the Book of Exodus, there were over 600,000 men who left Egypt, which doesn’t even include all the women and children that were supposedly with them. This astounding figure of what must have been upwards of one million people has absolutely no basis in reality. At the time in Egypt, there were only around 3 million people and no great economic turmoil due to a loss of slaves was ever recorded. Neither is there any evidence of a million Jews wandering around in the Sinai desert for four decades; there simply is no confirmation outside the Bible that the Exodus ever happened. Further proof that the Bible was not inspired by God, but rather was thought up and written by fallible, ignorant men, is that the six day chronology of Genesis and its creation of man is contradicted by the scientific community’s virtually universal support of evolution as fact. If evolution never happened, then why do dolphins and whales have lungs while just about every other water living animal has gills instead? Furthermore, why do whales have vestigial hind legs? Isn’t it easier to conclude that dolphins and whales once had an ancestor that lived on land? Also, why does DNA hybridization (a scientific technique that heats up the DNA double helix so that it breaks down, then attaches itself to a different species’ DNA. Then, scientists heat up the now fused DNA of different species. What happens next is startling. For every one degree difference from the original 85 degrees Celsius melting point, there’s a one degree difference in DNA similarity. Thus, scientists can tell that humans and chimps share 98% of DNA and that the melting point of fused chimp-human DNA is around 83 degrees Celsius) show that we share a common ancestor with chimpanzees? My gripes are further bolstered by the complete lack of evidence for Noah’s impossible worldwide flood (If Noah’s Flood actually happened, and evolution is false, all you’d have to do to prove it is to find a fossilized rabbit in the Precambrian strata layer. Needless to say, nothing of this nature has ever been found, familiar fossils are all found in their respective strata layers. No rabbit has ever been found outside the strata layers that contain all the other mammals), and the Bible’s genealogical assertion that the universe is only 6000 years old proved absolutely wrong by the trusted method of radiometric age dating (which finds the earth to be around 4.5 billion years old) and the simple fact that most starlight takes millions of years to reach us. Even the proponents of “Young Earth” Creationism admit they have no competing scientifically proven method for dating the earth and instead rely solely on the Bible’s “authority.” This laundry list of misgivings barely constitutes a thimbleful of points that even by themselves adeptly illustrate that faith in Judeo-Christian religion is a veritable cargo hold filled to the brim with willful blindness.
Let me tell you a story for a moment, for the sake of science. First, however, let me explain something. We know how to date fossils. You see, we have many things called “radiometric clocks” in order to find this out. For example, one of these clocks is called the Potassium-Argon clock. When lava cools, crystals form. These crystals contain Potassium. Scientists then look to see how much Potassium has decayed into Argon. When half of the Potassium has decayed into Argon, we then know the half-life. The half-life for Potassium-argon is over 1 billion years. To find out how old a fossil is, however, scientists must simply look for igneous (hardened, cooled lava) rocks close to sedimentary (limestone and shale) rocks where fossils are found and see how much Potassium has decayed. Once they date the igneous rock using the Potassium-Argon radiometric clock (or another clock), they can tell how old the fossil in the sedimentary rock lying next to the igneous rock is. Now, for the story. In strata layers radiometrically dated 380 million years ago, all paleontologists could find were fish fossils, in strata radiometrically dated 360 million years ago all they could find were fish and amphibian fossils… so where did the amphibians come from? Did they just magically appear? One Paleontologist named Neil Shubin decided to look in rocks that were radiometrically dated to be 370 million years ago. Sure enough, this middle point between 360 million years ago and 380 million years ago was the magic number. In 2004, in northern Canada, Shubin found gold. He found Tiktaalik. Tiktaalik was the perfect showcase for evolution; it was one of the best transitional fossils ever found. You see, fish have a conical head, scales, no neck, and fins. Amphibians have a flat head, no scales, a neck, and limbs instead of fins. Tiktaalik, however, was the perfect intermediate. Tiktaalik had a flat head like an amphibian, a neck like an amphibian, but it had scales like a fish, and fins like a fish. Well, it sounds pretty good so far, right? It gets better. Remember when I said it had fins like a fish? That wasn’t quite true. Indeed, it does have fins, but when you look inside the bone structure you know what you find? You find a shoulder, elbow, and a wrist. This fascinating creature could’ve done a push up if it wanted to. Paleontologists believe that it utilized its unique fins in order to push itself out of shallow water in dry months so it could find a deeper body of water. If you’re a creationist, take note. Tiktaalik was not only the perfect intermediate fossil, it was also found in the perfect place. It was found where radiometric dating said it would be found. Go to a museum, see a cast of Tiktaalik and weep at having the incredibly rare opportunity to see our ancestry.
It is said that scientists draw on facts to form a conclusion, alternatively; it is said that theologians draw on a presumed conclusion then find facts (or merely something not known yet) in order to support that purported conclusion. One of these is the scientific method; can you discern which one it is? Kidding aside, it almost seems as if religious zealots view science as a subsidiary of reasoning (or at worst, irrelevant), as if proof can just be shrugged off with an enthusiastic “But the Bible says!” Such articles of the Bible’s nonsensical madness include Genesis clearly stating that God made light on the first day, but created the stars (the source of natural light) only on the fourth day. Obviously God would have the power to create light (being the Supreme Being) but in order to create light he would have to create a light source first, doing otherwise would be contradictory to the laws of nature he was setting in motion. It seems apparent then that the Bible was an artificially manufactured tome whose fallacies partially stem from the fact that it was written well before the development of comprehensive astronomy and in fact any scientific method. To say “Only the Bible’s message is inerrant” in defense is to imply that God would willingly input deceptive falsehoods into its text merely to “dumb down” his message. Such an act would not only inevitably baffle his audience in the future advancement of civilization, but could potentially bring skepticism to its very authenticity of being God’s true word (obviously all this has already transpired). Rightfully so, because one with any cogent thinking would discern that everything a supreme being said would be inerrant in all aspects. The Bible may have been written by fallible men but it was supposed to have been directed by an infallible God. I highly doubt he would let mistakes go uncorrected in its inscription, which is of course assuming he knew about the errors, but that would create a dichotomy in the Bible when it says that God knows and sees everything.
If I have such hard contempt for Christianity, then what indeed do I think of Islam? Well, besides the Quran being just as irrational and violent as the Bible, the main bone I have to pick is actually from the two most “trusted” and “authentic” Sunni Hadiths, (the sayings of Muhammad) the Sahih Bukhari and the Sahih Muslim. You see, in both of these it clearly states from the direct perspective of Aisha (Muhammad’s favored lover) that she was either 6 or 7 years old when she married Muhammad and exactly 9 years old when she consummated her marriage (had sexual intercourse). One may rush to the defense of the purported prophet, saying that in his time era it was a common occurrence. That is completely true and I agree with that; however don’t you think Allah would tell his prophet “Hey Muhammad, I don’t want to kill your buzz, but maybe you shouldn’t have sex with kids, buddy.” If Islam is true then that means that Allah deliberately stood by and let the perpetuation of pedophilia run rampant throughout Muslim history without one utterance of reproach. Moreover, if Allah would reveal the Quran to Muhammad, then why wouldn’t he reveal that child molestation is frowned upon? Also, as bad as I think Christianity is, only one religion is blowing themselves up. Guess which one.
Those who disfavor some of my previous arguments will charge that they use too much “argument by outrage.” What they mean is this: the moral questioning of the Bible’s numerous crimes against humanity such as the snuffing out of children’s innocent lives is “ridiculous” because “they didn’t live in the same time as us.” Do you really believe that a loving God would authorize and commit horrendous murder in his own holy book that was meant to be read for thousands of years, or do you merely not feel comfortable leaving your tethered Christian roots? While it is true that religion gives many meaning in their lives and can potentially inspire a person to help others, it is also true that it is wholly inconsequential. Besides religions bearing the hallmarks of a Bigfoot hoax, they have consistently over the annals of human history brought out the worst spirit in mankind during such happenings as the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, radical Islamic terrorism, and an ancient widespread deep rooted animosity towards others with opposing faiths. While it’s accurate to maintain that numerous dark eras in mankind’s history have also been secular, as soon as a man believes that he is doing “God’s work” he becomes blind to earthly delights and the preciousness of life around him as he frantically seeks to appease his God through any means necessary. Why should he care about the physical repercussions of his actions when he believes he will be rewarded with eternal paradise? A man without reason such as this is not a man, but a mere beast. I grow weary of peaceniks expressing their vision of a multicultural utopia that is united in love but separate in belief. The politically correct myth that identifies itself as religious tolerance is an ill-conceived joke, and everyone knows it. Humanity will never truly live in peace and harmony when each individual believes his own very “salvation” is at stake, and that his infidel neighbors will end up burning in hell anyway. The answer then is quite clear: kill religion, completely and utterly.
While I am by absolutely no means an “expert” on religious critiquing; I am however quite proficient in the field of common sense. As a warning, if you are unconvinced that America is being consumed by religion’s toxic touch, then perhaps a statistic will speak for me. According to the October 30, 2006 issue of Time Magazine, 34% of Americans are “Bible believing” Evangelicals, (they believe that the Bible is the inerrant literal word of God, they believe that salvation comes through faith alone and not good works, they hold to the whimsy that those who don’t know Christ will burn forever, and according to a 2005 Pew survey 70% deny evolution entirely) of those, tens of millions believe that the “Rapture” (a global event supposedly hinted at by Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians in 4:17, where God physically pulls the faithful from the earth and then unto heaven while leaving the unbelievers behind) is rapidly approaching and that signs for it are already here. Additionally, a CNN/Time poll done in 2002 found that 59% of America believed that the “end of times” as described in the Book of Revelation, was going to come about, many of whom thought it would occur in their own lifetimes. In truth, nothing is ever “described” in Revelation. There is a reason why literal interpretation fails in Biblical prophecy. While Revelation may seem to be little more than the panicked scribbling of a schizophrenic, it is in truth intentionally made vague and cryptic as to give the illusion of a “prophecy” that needs to be fulfilled without ever having to be specific, and as thus, never being able to be proven wrong. One needs only to glimpse at verses describing four magical horsemen who ride around spreading various elements of suffering upon the human race to deduce that this made-up book is nothing more than fear-inspiring propaganda. Tom Delay, the former House of Representatives Majority Leader is a fiery conservative who holds common Evangelical end times beliefs. In 2002 he attended Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, where the pastor hysterically preached for war with Iraq so that it might help bring about the Second Coming of Christ. Once the sermon was finished, Delay rose from his pew and said “Ladies and gentlemen, what has been spoken here tonight is the truth from God.” In his office, he insisted on hanging a wall poster that alluded to the rapture by reading “This could be the day.” Using this perspective, why save the environment when it’s doomed anyway? Forget global warming; let’s just stagnate and wait for God to save us.
Finally, let us come to Jesus. Indeed, what possible negativity could I spew against such a beloved figure? While it is certainly true that Jesus said many great things such as his fantastic Sermon on the Mount and his wonderful concern for the poor, not all is morally sound. First of all, Jesus was not the only figure in history to have given good moral advice. Indeed, great men and women from all ages have contributed to morality. Secondly, it can’t be avoided to point out that not all that Jesus said was nice. He constantly used fearmongering of eternal torture in Hell for those who didn’t believe what he had to say, and in the Gospel of Matthew he is found to have said something even more horrendous. In Matthew 10:34 Jesus proclaims, “"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." What a terrible quote! He’s not come to bring peace, but a sword? Is this really the Prince of Peace? He’s come to set son against his father and daughter against her mother? Is this good family values? It’s clear that Jesus, like every human figure, is an entirely flawed person. On a more historical note, there’s no evidence that the Jesus as depicted in the New Testament ever existed. Now, I’m not saying that there was never any Jesus, just that we can’t know much of anything about him. All we have are the Gospels, and those were written, by all historian accounts, at least 30-50 years after Jesus’ supposed crucifixion. The Gospels were almost certainly not written by eyewitness accounts. There simply are no contemporary accounts that verify the Gospels. All the Gospels prove is that there was a cult revolving around a person named Jesus 30-50 years after he supposedly walked the earth, it shows us nothing about whether or not their beliefs were actually true or not. If we had a papyrus scroll written by Pontius Pilate saying how he executed Jesus that would be great evidence for some of the claims of the Gospels for example. The closest thing Christians try to dig up as evidence is the account of Josephus in his History of the Jews. Bringing up Josephus as evidence comes with many problems. The fact of the matter is that there is only one passage that mentions Jesus, and this has been shown by historical analysis to be a fraud written in by later pious medieval monks. In the passage, Josephus says Jesus “was the Christ” and “if it be lawful to call him (Jesus) a man.” Josephus would never have said this, Josephus was Jewish, he didn’t believe Jesus was the messiah. This along with the fact that Josephus’ account was written at a date even later than the Gospels. After Josephus, Christian apologists just get pathetic. They try to use documents written close to or over a century after Jesus allegedly died! The fact of the matter is that there are no contemporary documents or eyewitness accounts that verify the Jesus of the New Testament. The shrubbery of mythology has covered up the true historical founder of Christianity, the real Jesus. It’s somewhat like (on an almost infinitely smaller scale due to numerous contemporary documents confirming his historicity) George Washington and the cherry tree. The burden of proof that the Gospel writers have placed on Jesus is massive due to the fact that they have him claiming that he is God. Of course, they fail at lifting this burden on a spectacular level. As the great astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan once said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Isn’t it likely that there was an original founder named Jesus, who said some good and insightful things, attracted a following, and 30-50 years after his death later believers wrote some heavily embellished things about him? This doesn’t mean that we can’t find wisdom and even moral guidance in many of his attributed sayings; it just means that Jesus is not the one way or the final truth.
So I appeal to you sir to renounce your faith and go with God through the only road that is not clouded by a fog of falsities. Read Thomas Paine's “Age of Reason,” the divinely uninspired writings of a flawed man, and then follow him on the freethinking path of Deism. No organized religion could possibly approximate the entity that crafted the blueprints to the universe’s foundation. No mere book could contain the essence of such a cosmic force, and certainly no being worthy of being called God would harm a child. That being said, I personally (I know I can’t entirely authenticate this) believe that the reason God does not intervene and or reveal himself in this realm is because he loves us. Although it’s exceedingly doubtful that God is anthropomorphic, I would imagine that he has some sort of penchant for his creation, otherwise, why would he commence the Big Bang in the first place? If he interfered every time earth (and indeed other alien worlds) had a bit of trouble (even including such unpleasantries as genocide, famine, and disease) then we would no longer be “human.” We would lose our independence and simply be a trained monkey on a string who yelped for help whenever it was frightened.
This rebuttal to your beliefs is certainly not a Rosetta Stone to metaphysics, but hopefully this will illuminate some of the failings and contradictions of your faith. To me my friend, the “good news” is nothing juxtaposed to the best news, the clarion call of reason.
“I have found Christian dogma unintelligible.”
Deism or Atheism?
I strongly recommend reading "Born Again Through Reason" First
If Yahweh and Allah were such monstrous entities then surely no God exists, right? If revealed religion was a sham, then all theistic thought was preposterous, correct? However, such one-dimensional thinking is simple-minded and spiteful. People should loathe religion, not God. Yet the next encroaching dilemma is why a God should exist, for every occurrence in nature has a scientific and non-supernatural explanation.
A common Atheist argument (which admittedly makes a good point) is the “age” of God. How can the “creator” have existed forever with no one creating him in return? Likewise, who would have created that creator of the creator? It appears to be an endless cycle of conundrums with no logical solution available. Nothing can exist independent of time, it’s common sense. However, there is a problem with this line of thinking. We base all of this on a perception. The perception is that what binds us, binds God. A creator would have created the universe and therefore the laws of nature that co-existed alongside it, so obviously he would be unobstructed by his own inventions, time in particular. All we have to judge on whether God exists are the laws of nature he’s left us. To ask whether God is scientifically impossible is to assume that science can even answer the question.
If a God didn’t forcibly stabilize the chaotic expansion of the universe after the Big Bang, the chances of any semblance of life forming would be akin to a hurricane ripping through a city and accidentally assembling a Boeing 747 out of the wreckage. This is due to the universal physical constants that define the characteristics of the universe. If even the slightest of variances had occurred in these essential constants then the Big Bang would not have expanded in the fashion necessary for life to develop. For example, if the coupling constant of the strong nuclear force were 2% larger helium wouldn’t form right, thus stars wouldn’t form right, and thus there would be no life. As previously stated, only a supernatural conscious being that knew what it was doing could have created the universe; otherwise, we wouldn’t be here. This is in no way in concordance with a “God of the Gaps.” The “gaps” I’m referring to are temporary uncertainties in science that advocates of Intelligent Design (a term developed by the creationist front the Discovery Institute) take advantage of to “dismiss” evolution and assert that life is too complex to be formed just by “random” natural selection and as thus must be guided by the hand of God. The problem with their thesis is that natural selection is anything but random as only the most resilient organisms survive. Evolution is not the haphazard jumbling of a Rubik’s Cube; an organism’s adaptation is not relegated to the icy depths of improbability. Rather, as the renowned biologist Richard Dawkins aptly put “Natural selection is a cumulative process, which breaks the problem of improbability up into small pieces.” An organism doesn’t plan on being what it is, it merely happens to become that way through the unconscious and automatic process of natural selection. In hindsight a particular organism’s development into what it is today is improbable, but evolution doesn’t work that way. Natural selection takes one step at a time in an organism’s evolution into whatever happens to be most beneficial. A cactus for example, adapted in relation to the arid inhospitality of its desert environment. The cactus didn’t set out to become a cactus, it unconsciously set out to survive, which set in motion the automatic selection of certain genes to make it into a cactus. Had the environment been different it wouldn’t have ended up being a cactus. Evolution is blind, not random. As thus (and for innumerable other reasons) ID has been classified as junk science by the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District federal court case and a 2002 sampling of 460 Ohio college and university science professors revealed that 93% found that there is no valid evidence that challenges the theory of evolution. 90% of the professors also asserted that ID has no scientific evidence whatsoever to stand upon. Only a few deluded pariahs such as the disreputable “biochemist” Michael Behe (who admitted in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial that ID had no scientific peer reviewed papers) hold to ID in the scientific community. The difference between me and outcasts like Behe is quite clear; instead of praising temporary unknowns and misusing facts I’m stating that God is not guiding evolution but instead merely “seamed” the laws of nature within the very “fabric” of our cosmos so evolution and other phenomena would occur. Divine intervention is not needed for the workings in nature because God has already put all the gears in place to make the clock of the universe run.
Atheists still have a way to offset God of course. They assert that if we can presuppose that God can exist outside of time and space then why can’t the same be said for random volatile energy. Indeed if a God can spark the big bang then can’t the unintelligible energy do so too? Yet this is effortlessly countered using the fine-tuned universe (universal constant) argument. Ah, God’s existence seems conclusive then doesn’t it? Well, in the field of experimental physics there dwells the fringiest of fringe theories dubbed the “Multiverse” theory. Under this entirely hypothetical theory (no hint of it has ever been tangibly validated) there exists billions upon billions of parallel universes. Granted, the chances of any life forming without God in one particular universe may be atomically miniscule, but if there’s billions then it becomes much more plausible. So it comes down to two choices then doesn’t it? Either I’m to believe that there are hundreds of billions of parallel universes all around us that just so happen that they can’t be observed, and that we are the byproducts of random bits of mindless energy that just happened to be thrashing around in the right place, or I can take credence in a conscious entity. Using reason, I choose the God factor.
Another good argument for the existence of God is common morality. While it is true that humans across cultures vary, sometimes even wildly, it is also true that a common core of morality is found everywhere on earth. It is true we may disagree what qualifies as a child and we may disagree on what sort of punishment fits the bill for certain crimes. However, it’s also the case that we do agree that children need to be protected and loved and that criminals need to be punished. Also, why is it that the Golden Rule “Treat others as you would want to be treated” is found in every culture? Like a detective at a scene of a crime, we must look at what this common core of morality points to. Does it not make sense that this common morality points to an echo heard across the eons? Isn’t it logical that this echo belongs to something, namely a moral lawgiver? If it isn’t true that there’s a moral lawgiver, a God that gives authority to all goodness, then how can we say that something, like child abuse, is demonstrably evil? Not only does having a God answer the mystery of our common morality, but it also gives us the authority to call something objectively good or evil. God is not only the necessary first cause of physics, but he is also the necessary first cause of morality.
There are numerous other convincing arguments for the presence of a divine mind. One of my favorite arguments however is simply this: The world yearns for God. Now, right off the bat there appears to be several problems with this, mostly that just because someone wishes for something, doesn’t make it true. I understand this, I truly do, but there is still more to uncover. While it is accurate to say that all religions are contradictory, they, just like different cultures’ morality, share a common core. Why do billions of people across different religions earnestly try to find out how to embrace the sacred, the realm where the hidden face of God resides? The crux of the matter is this: why would humanity yearn for something that doesn’t even exist? We yearn for food, shelter, and love, these things all exist. Has there ever been something someone yearned for that didn’t exist at all? Is God making himself subtly known through our innermost feelings? While it’s the case that all religions are literally untrue, is there not a kernel of truth to them? Even the most backward of religions has humanity trying to grasp the infinite. Religions are humanity’s early attempts to find something besides themselves. There’s something out there, something more to the universe than just materialism. I call this something God.
So after we discern why there is almost certainly a God, we must contemplate his motives. This is a slippery slope, where one may start assuming and potentially stop reasoning. One day while nostalgically thumbing through my old history textbook, I found in the briefest of passages what made the most sense out of anything I’d read prior to it. The revelation of Deism: the “religion” of many of the American founding fathers, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine. It essentially said (if one applies contemporary science) that once God sparked the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago and steadied its expansion he withdrew and left the universe to its own devices. This immediately made sense for primarily two reasons. Firstly, since revealed religion is erroneous, it automatically showed that God hasn’t revealed himself. Secondly, no credible “miracles” have ever been factually recorded that didn’t have a scientific explanation behind them. In addition, if one were to try to defend miracles by saying something like “Oh those 20 people who survived the World Trade Center collapse must have been blessed with the lord’s aid” it would consequently imply that God didn’t care about the other three thousand people that died on 9/11. It’s inevitable for something rare and unbelievable to happen eventually, so to rack up the one out of a million “answered” prayers as proof of divine intervention would be to merely cherry-pick a biased conclusion.
Yet I questioned why he would leave us alone, and not help his children. As I stroked my chin, I suddenly was reminded of a mother blue jay exiling her baby into the cold bleak world. Why did the mother do it, (probably because it was getting too fat to take care of, but idealistically speaking) because independence is required to live life; to always intervene in her baby’s affairs would be denying her offspring the joy of the unknown. The blue jay youth would otherwise just be a needy slave to his mother’s metaphorical teat.
If God were to reveal himself and give us a doctrine to adhere to, a good portion of us would just follow it out of fear of his retribution (akin to many Christians that follow Christ out of fear for hell). Segueing, imagine if a parent threatened to burn their child with a lit cigarette, one would denounce that parent as a monster, correct? Yet conservative Christian parents who force down Biblical passages on hell to their children, such as the Gospel of Matthew’s “Cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” are not only free from admonishment, but they are encouraged to mentally abuse their children! Any deity that deems it acceptable to terrorize children into believing that their bodies will eternally be charred in a never quenching flame, just for the mere goal of obtaining their servitude, is no loving God, and no God of mine. To quote Thomas Paine, “Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child cannot be true.”
Despite the potential horrors of the afterlife in many organized religions, some prospective converts to Deism are put off by its ambiguous outcome after death. However, just like the adolescent blue jay leaving its nest to uncharted landscape, the best things are always left unknown. I am fully confident that whatever the Almighty has in store for me after my body ceases to function will be fully justified. It is in this sense that I throw panoptic scorn upon our current focus on the afterlife. Too many faithful spend more time evangelizing than physically helping. This insignificant pale blue dot of a planet is all we have to call our own; we must strive to attain paradise through earthly means, not by a divine hand. I know not what inevitably awaits us in the yawning chasm of the deep, but I do know that it won’t much matter what happens to our souls if our children are left a broken future. Without leaving our young a carefully marked path of lovingly trodden footprints, we have no future, and as thus no souls worth saving.
I know why people focus on the afterlife though. The magnitude of the reason is self-evident. When you see a child die before his or her time, it breaks your heart into a million pieces. I understand why people spend more time thinking about the next world when this world is often so cold and unfair. To the brave mother or father of a young, beautiful child who has passed away I will say this: there is hope. The problem of evil is magnified billions of times over when the life of a child is involved. I know why many can’t find it in themselves to believe in God or his goodness. Knowing that God is good, however, lets us know that those children who leave their loving parents behind will not be forgotten. As we are all God’s children, God must surely love his smallest children even more. If God exists, we can be assured that he will do what is just. So, it’s okay to lean towards the belief that an afterlife is a strong possibility, especially for those children who die before their time, but to focus on it distracts us from the fact that we can do something about the thousands of children who die of starvation everyday on our planet. God, in his infinite wisdom, has given us the messy job of cleaning up or world. If the death of a child saddens you, don’t dream of a better world, make it a reality.
To me it’s evident that our cosmic creator has some semblance of affection toward us, for if he was apathetic to us why did he create the universe in the first place? If he had bloodlust, why would he allow any modicum of happiness whatsoever in this realm, and not instead mold it into a festering breeding ground for torture and pain? Therefore, since I exist, have not seen or heard of any credible “miracles,” live in a world where love is possible, and all revealed religions are frauds, I then conclude that the Supreme Being is a loving entity that wishes the best for us, but cannot intervene lest he take away our freedom.
“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.”
A Final Word
To fully understand my paper, please read everything prior to this before coming here
I suspect that some will conclude that despite my ardent defense of God as an affectionate being, that he is wicked fundamentally. The question of evolution’s very nature cannot be avoided. Natural selection is a violent and cruel process that takes no mercy on the sanctity of life’s diversity. Yet this grievance has a unique perspective that goes unaddressed. What exactly are evolution’s machinations? The answer is already known of course, to perfect an organism’s weaknesses thus allowing it to survive. How does one survive though? Most organisms evolve by means of convention, such as a curvature of a finch’s beak that allows it to peck at grub wriggling within a tree’s innards. However, there is the inevitable chance that an organism will develop via the unconventional means of intelligence. Cats are aware of their environments and use this to stealthily approach their quarry, yet an example such as this only displays fundamentals. Yes, the cat uses its brain to outwit its prey but the cat is not sentient. Its brain is only active in the areas that most suit its needs. The cat does not contemplate its meaning, and hence has no meaning. To quote the film Donnie Darko “There’s no point in crying for a dead rabbit, who never feared death to begin with.” As thus, the unfortunate extinction of inadequate and ignorant species (although obviously the cat and rabbit are not extinct) is negated by evolution’s grand ambition. A creator would have most certainly anticipated the inevitable rise of consciousness in at least a handful of mentally capable creatures stretched across the infinite scope of the universe. So it could most certainly be argued that God intended for sentient organisms to evolve. He would not have to meddle in the universe’s affairs to make advanced life formulate, for it would unavoidably do so on its own. I confess that I cannot prove my thesis that God desired for organisms such as us in the end result of evolution; I merely believe it. I also admit that despite my unyielding assertions, I cannot conclusively prove that God is loving; I just believe it. I also believe that he hoped the sentient species that would inevitably emerge would assemble civilizations erected upon freedom and helping one another. I have faith you see, faith in a God that deserves it, a God that is not a monster and a God that upholds our freedom. To harbor the perception that I am hypocritical would be to engage in fallacious thinking. My faith is undeviatingly entrenched in rationality and science, something that cannot be said for religion. Faith and reason are not enemies; it has merely been a prevailing illusion that has manifested itself for thousands of years. The only paltry attributes I’ve been endowed are my basic reasoning skills and my adequate writing style; these are all I have in my possession and they are all I am able to use. Employing these rudimentary abilities I can demonstrably show how all revealed religions fail to logically hold up even under the most cursory of glances. If you ask any Jew, Christian, or Muslim whether they love God, you’re almost certain to get a disgusted or puzzled look. Obviously these people are faithful to their designated religion partially because they love God (the other part is their fear of God). If for one moment though, a Christian could prove to a Muslim that Christianity was the “one true religion” do you not think that he would drop the Quran and jump to his feet and rush up the nearest minaret to act as a muezzin for apostasy? There is absolutely no way to verify that any one revealed religion is genuine. If I love God with all of my heart and I desperately want to avoid damnation, how do I save myself? Am I to pull the handle of a salvation slot machine and hope that whatever dogma I follow is the right one? Am I to be eternally punished for merely not guessing the intended answer? Am I just supposed to “feel” the right religion? Any mentally balanced God would figure out that if he ever revealed doctrine to humanity via chosen prophets, that it would be impossible for people to know whether or not future alleged prophets were authentic or not, for a prophet’s “revelation” is a revelation to him only, for anyone else it is secondhand information. How can a Christian assure a Jew that Jesus was the real bona fide messiah when Jesus didn’t fulfill the Messianic Prophecy in the Tanakh? Can a Christian refute Islam’s assertions that Jesus (although a beloved prophet in Islam) was not the son of God and that he never died on the cross (a look-alike was supposedly sent to be crucified instead) and will instead bodily descend from waiting in heaven on the Day of Resurrection to come to pray behind the Mahdi (the redeemer of Islam)? Since we cannot logically discern revealed religion’s validity, then we must conclude that all of them are fabricated. For if God purposely created man as the “big three” of revealed religion claim, then why would he make us forgo the use of our brains in the random guessing to the means of salvation? I condemn not the Divine, but rather this thing called religion. I am an Atheist to the Christian Godhead, an Atheist to Allah, and an Atheist to Zeus, but I am an apostle of Nature’s Creator. Lastly, if you wish to read Thomas Paine’s notorious “Age of Reason” I give you to the winds of caution. There are actually three sections to his magnum opus and many books and websites don’t even bother to include all of them. Parts of his writing have unfavorably aged in the relentless passage of time, but if you desire to delve into the mind of one of America’s greatest patriots, writers, thinkers, humanists, and first abolitionists then I suggest to read it anyway. I humbly implore you to question and research whatever you believe in regardless if you don’t agree with what I have written; for meekly accepting whatever oneself is told would be tantamount to committing intellectual suicide. Remember, there is hope, you can believe in a good God and even a possible afterlife without religion.
“My mind is my own church”
If you’d like to reach me, please email me at email@example.com
The survey shows a giant step forward for Deism in the fact that it actually uses the word "Deist" and for the very significant raw numbers it shows as representing the number of people who are Deists. In reality, the number of Deists is actually higher than the survey shows because the survey uses an outdated definition of Deist. For a more accurate definition please see our Deism Defined page.
Click here to read the actual survey. (It's in PDF)
One of the reasons the freethinker Giordano Bruno was tortured and murdered by being burned alive by the Catholic Church during the Inquisition was that he said the Universe is eternal and infinite which violates the superstitions in the Bible found in Genesis. This new study vindicates Bruno.
Obama supporters forget that when all is said and done, Obama is just another politician. This article shows he's proving that he is nothing but a politician by doing more than any other president to mix religion and government, especially through giving tax-dollars to religious organizations.