Monday, September 27, 2010

Did Jesus Exist? vs Did God Exist? by Sigmund of AvC

In the beginning was the word, and the word was, like all words, a human invention, to label something that humans want to label. This gave shape to a concept that eventually led to an ontological fallacy (God-the-greatest-thing-I-can-imagine does indeed exist as a concept - that's the whole point - but that doesn't mean that God-the-greatest- thing-I-can-imagine also exists) ...

Whether a word represents 'the truth' is beside the point - labellng something tells us nothing about the thing itself (thank you, poststructuralism), but it may well tell us something about the labeer. In this case it tells us that the labeler was concerned with conceptualising a higher force who might provide some explanations and relieve some of the responsibility of his/her existence.

In the not-beginning, i.e. since the conceptualisation of 'God', many other words have been spun, whose provenance is almost constantly the subject of furious debate in this forum and many others. I have vented my spleen about these debates before (see my final word here), but have only recently crystallised precisely what it is that bugs me about them in its simplest form: Pondering questions such as 'did Jesus exist?' or 'how/why/when/where/by whom was the Bible written?' distract from a simple truth: God does not exist. Writings about 'him' are incidental to this fact, and discussions about religious sources are at best tangential to the more important questions, like 'God does not exist - why do people believe in him anyway?'

That is why I find that the 'historical approach' is of limited use when debating with theists; it is merely a curiosity that avoids the real issues. Of course it is interesting as an example of various aspects of religion, but the heated debating of 'facts' tends to miss even those points - such as the factors contributing to the development, codification and development of religious ideas and practices... I'm not suggesting that there is anything 'wrong' with debating these matters, but the venom with which they are addressed never ceases to amaze me. An understanding of the Bible is in no way necessary for an atheist - indeed one might say more generally: religion is tangential to atheism, and affects it in no way whatsoever. Or: religion may be a fascinating social/psychological phenomenon, but it has no bearing on the validity of the atheist position.

To return to 'the word' - surely questions such as 'what was it based on?' and 'who wrote it?' are insignificant compared to 'why does it exist at all?'

See also: Atheist Principles for further discussion, resources and links, etc.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Atheists Entertain!

I receive emails from time to time from other atheists who are engaging in different types of creative pursuits.

Many atheists, in my opinion, are intensely creative people and what I receive is usually pretty entertaining.

At the top of my list today (and my personal favorite) is a show hosted by one of my FB friends, Jake Farr Wharton with his co-host, Gregg Savage.

They describe the show as: "A podcast by atheists for everyone. A social commentary on social commentary. News, reviews, special guests, normal guests, boring guests, Psychic Bob, and Conversations With God."

It's serious, entertaining, and full of interesting stuff.

I've bookmarked the RSS feed using Live Bookmarks. Click The Imaginary Friends Show podcast.

Next is a Comedy Web TV series directed by Dan Kowalski  and can best be described as zany with an intelligent and topical underlay. Dan may or may not be an atheist but the topic is one that will probably appeal to many atheists.

 As per Dan, "It's a comedy about two slackers that start a religion in their apartment for selfish reasons."

 Click Marty and Doug's New Religion to check out the web site and view the series.

Each show is about 20 minutes long so it doesn't take too long to view the six episode series and just gets funnier as you get into it.

The following is a Rap Video by Dan Bull, in honor of the Pope's visit and very nicely done. :-D.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pope Blames Atheism Yet Again

Ya gotta love the Pope's ability to lie so blatantly and shamelessly in his rather desperate attempt to rewrite history.

Apparently, according to the Pope, atheism is the source of all of the problems in the 20th century including German Fascism and the Holocaust.
"He said: "Even in our own lifetimes we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live.

"As we reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny.""
He has apparently and quite conveniently "forgotten" that Hitler was a Catholic, advocated his own form of Christianity, Positive Christianity, and the Catholic Church actively collaborated with him up to and including ensuring the Enabling Act of 1933 was passed which resulted in Hitler gaining absolute power and led to everything that occurred afterwards including the Holocaust.

It's times like this that I sincerely wonder if the ability to tell bald-faced lies is a component part of being a Christian. 

And isn't lying supposed to be a "Sin" according to the Christian belief system?

10 Commandments of God Catholic Version

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

I guess it's okay to "bear false witness" against atheists in the Pope's version of the Ten Commandments.

Perhaps he doesn't consider us "neighbors"?

References to the actual facts:

Christianity and German Fascism: a Knol

No Beliefs dot Com Research On Hitler

List of Hitler quotes — in honor of the papal visit to the UK by Pharyngula

Article 16 of the Konkordat signed by the Catholic Church and Hitler in 1933.
" Article 16, required that Catholic bishops swear to honor the Nazi government, to make their subordinates honor it, and to HUNT FOR  and prevent action that might endanger it."
The Holocaust should never be forgotten but neither should the key role that Christianity played in both Nazi Germany and the events that led up to the Holocaust.

And may I take this opportunity to point out that it was the atheists (the German FreeThinkers movement) that were the very first targets of Hitlers fascism.