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Kentucky stupidity

December 3, 2008

I was working on a post on the atheist Christmas display in Olympia, WA but I’ve gotten about 70 emails about this. Readers, your voices are heard and I, while annoyed at the distraction, will respond!

The State of Kentucky has added words to their homeland security code that stresses God’s role in providing security to the state. Obviously, this is a giant violation of church/state separation and will be dealt with accordingly. However, there is a more disturbing depth to this frame of mind.

To say that giving credit for our safety to god is ludicrous isn’t enough. Think of the most hyperbolic waste of human thought, and that’s what this is. I simply don’t have the words, but I will be taking ideas in the comments. The winner will get their words edited into this post and the scorn of religious folk everywhere!

Let’s take a look at the world as it is today and consider the evidence of how trustworthy a supernatural, all-powerful being is with our safety. 9/11, Darfur, the London Underground bombing, AIDS, malaria, TB, starvation, the tsunami in Indonesia, hurricane Katrina, Somali pirates, religious terrorism in India, Nick Berg, mutating influenza, idiots who won’t get vaccinated, climate change, earthquakes, unemployment, homelessness, etc. There is so much pain and misery inflicted on the innocent of this world, that it’s a wonder to me that the faithful think that their god is protecting, rather than actively trying to annihilate us!

Now, that last is obviously an exaggeration, but if an all-powerful being was protecting us,
wouldn’t we at least be protected from these things? Now, I am well aware of the default theist cop-out, “The lord works in mysterious ways”, but that simply does not address that fact that no-one who values their life and well-being can put their trust in a god. No matter who you are, no matter how much faith you have, your god will do as he will, and damn the consequences. Sounds a hell of a lot like luck and random occurrence to me, so forgive me if my if this doesn’t inspire my confidence!

I’d also challenge the faithful to think on this: no matter how much you say you trust your life to god, you don’t and that’s a fact. Protest this point all you like, but you will still lock your door when you go to bed tonight, and you still look both ways before crossing the street. Even the pope rides in a bulletproof car.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2008 1:03 pm

    If anyone is relying on God’s help for their personal safety, what exactly is left for the police, fire fighters and military to do? I mean, what do you need those guys FOR, exactly? After all, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” Osama Bin Laden? The Taliban? The American Dairy Council? Don’t make me laugh! God could take them all with one wave of his godly hand. So, if the people of Kentucky really believe God is at the controls, so to speak–I mean REALLY believe it–then you can dispense with all the other stuff. And while you’re at it, you might as well get rid of doctors, paramedics, seat belts, vaccines (some of you are ahead of me on this), lightning rods, GFCI protectors, anti-lock brakes, NORAD, the Red Cross, and extra fiber in your diet.

    I mean, you DO believe, don’t you?

  2. Ed T. permalink
    December 4, 2008 11:21 am

    “god” is too busy with trying to tell “W” who to invade in his name before he is out of the office. Well that and drinking in Quohog, Rhode Island…

  3. December 10, 2008 10:26 pm

    Sounds a hell of a lot like luck and random occurrence to me, so forgive me if my if this doesn’t inspire my confidence!

    If there is no Intelligence that structured the world in a rational way then why should anyone care about your mentality if it comes about based on brain events rooted in “random occurrences”? Asserting that something came about by chance, luck or “random occurrence” is just a way of saying that you’re ignorant.

    As far as good and evil go, if an infinite God/Good exists and a greater good can come about by allowing for evil or a Devil to exist then vast amounts of evil must necessarily exist. If messy forms of redemption are “more perfect” than law-like forms of perfection then evil must necessarily exist to the same extent that all “more than perfect” things like redemption, mercy, forgiveness and so on ultimately exist.

  4. December 10, 2008 10:36 pm

    The State of Kentucky has added words to their homeland security code that stresses God’s role in providing security to the state. Obviously, this is a giant violation of church/state separation and will be dealt with accordingly.

    Obviously every tin-pot totalitarian should have to deal with the freedom of religious expression which has typified America historically instead of the other way around with people limiting their religious expression in order to cater to the totalitarian urge to smother religious expression that has been typical to atheists historically.

    States and communities have always had the freedom to state their views about God and Providence and so on, otherwise most state constitutions would be “unconstitutional.”

  5. December 14, 2008 9:32 am

    Hey mynym! It’s been a while! I apologize for not responding sooner.

    If there is no Intelligence that structured the world in a rational way then why should anyone care about your mentality if it comes about based on brain events rooted in “random occurrences”?

    The point you’re making here is not clear, so I’ll assume that you mean “because people care about other’s viewpoints, then the viewpoints must be divinely inspired, rather than random. This is pretty out there and doesn’t really answer the text that you’ve quoted, so please correct me if I’ve read it incorrectly. Obviously, whether there’s a god or not, no one is obligated to give a solitary crap about what I think, nor are they more or less likely to.

    You care what someone else thinks for a variety of reasons: you care about the person, the person has some sort of affect on your daily life (a boss, for instance), the person is an expert in a topic that you are discussing (discussing biology with a biologist), etc. When I’m discerning whether or not to pay respect to a person’s thoughts or ideas, the question of a god’s existence doesn’t enter into it. It is non sequitur.

    Asserting that something came about by chance, luck or “random occurrence” is just a way of saying that you’re ignorant.

    This is not true at all. Take the tsunami, for instance. In a detatched way, you can consider the plate tectonics that created an earthquake sending a giant wave to the area. This could be an interesting and informative discussion. However, if you’re talking to a victim of the tsunami who has lost everything who asks you “Why?”, they are not interested in hearing about who it really happened, even though you are not ignorant of the cause. Then, you simply have to say, “Some things just happen.” You also certainly wouldn’t say, “God wanted you to lose your home, belongings, and family”. That’s just in poor taste even if it is what you believe.

    Long story short, there is a process behind everything. Some people want to discover these process and understand them fully, others want to attribute them to god and stop thinking about it. That kind of faith is rooted in ignorance, by the way. You can’t know god, you can’t know god’s will, you just have to believe it’s all for the best. It’s those “you-can’t-know’s” that are the soul (pardon the phrase) of ignorance.

    As far as good and evil go, if an infinite God/Good exists and a greater good can come about by allowing for evil or a Devil to exist then vast amounts of evil must necessarily exist. If messy forms of redemption are “more perfect” than law-like forms of perfection then evil must necessarily exist to the same extent that all “more than perfect” things like redemption, mercy, forgiveness and so on ultimately exist.

    You’ve gone well outside the point of my post, which didn’t touch on good or evil at all. I’m honestly not convinced that such things are real as anything more than an adjective. But, let’s break down this argument:

    You presume the following:
    P1. God exists
    P2. God is good
    P3. God is infinite
    P4. A greater good can come about by allowing evil/Devil
    P5. messy forms of redemption are “more perfect” then law-like forms of perfection
    P6. things like redemption, mercy, forgiveness, etc. are “more then perfect”

    To prove that:
    S1. Evil must (necessarily) exist

    That’s a lot of unproven presumptions to prove that bad things happen. All I need to do is turn on the news. However, you are making the extra stretch of personifying all of these things as Good or Evil. If we’re going to be in the business of resolving issues of poverty, disease, hunger, etc. then this is a dangerous oversimplification. You can prevent the spread of AIDS by teaching safe sex and handing out condoms, but how would you do the same by “fighting Evil”? It’s too vague to offer any serious resolution.

    I’m sorry, but P5 and P6 are vague and undefined enough to count as complete gibberish. Define “more then perfect”, define “law-like forms of perfection”. Then, you may at least have an arguable point, if not a coherent one.

    Now, I have to call attention that, in you first comment, you cherry-picked one sentence in my post to argue something that has nothing to do with the real point of my post. Do you entrust your safety to a god? Would you feel comfortable walking through Camden, NJ alone at night, trusting your safety to his hands? Would you cross the street with your eyes closed? If no, then (discarding for a moment the establishment issue), is it honest for the State of Kentucky to give the safety of their citizens to a god’s hands?

  6. December 14, 2008 9:52 am

    Obviously every tin-pot totalitarian should have to deal with the freedom of religious expression which has typified America historically instead of the other way around with people limiting their religious expression in order to cater to the totalitarian urge to smother religious expression that has been typical to atheists historically.

    The people are allowed to express their religious views freely, as are public servants. However, our federal and state governments cannot, nor can a public servant do so as a function of their duties. That’s what the establishment cause is. Also, while many (if not most) atheists would wish the religious would keep their religious views to themselves in certain circumstances, there are few that would take away a religious person’s right to do so. Not only do we see that as an egregious violation of civil rights, we understand that if that right was taken from the religious, it could just as easily be taken from us. Outside of wanting religion out of our government, I would challenge you to find enough atheists who would take that right away from private citizens to call it historically typical!

    States and communities have always had the freedom to state their views about God and Providence and so on, otherwise most state constitutions would be “unconstitutional.”

    The private citizens of a state or community, yes. The governing bodies of those citizens, no. It is unconstitutional for governing bodies to do so. Period.

  7. December 15, 2008 10:31 am

    ….“because people care about other’s viewpoints, then the viewpoints must be divinely inspired, rather than random. This is pretty out there and doesn’t really answer the text that you’ve quoted….

    Not at all, I did not write anything about anyone caring about anything. You argued that something came about by “luck” or “random occurrence” (i.e. ignorance rooted in nothing) so I pointed out that it seems like your own statements about it are rooted in ignorance.

    You go on to argue: Some people want to discover these process and understand them fully, others want to attribute them to god and stop thinking about it. That kind of faith is rooted in ignorance, by the way.

    But ironically the notion of chance and “luck” that you originally argued for are science/knowledge stopper, as it is a form of argument which stops the study of cause and effect. A scientific view rooted in the study of cause and effect would be that chance is an illusion brought about by an absence of knowledge. Even the examples that people use to argue for the creative power of “chance” combined with a process of filtering like natural selection can be surrounded by knowledge based on an actual scientific view. For instance, some use a coin toss to illustrate the concept of chance. Yet since chance is actually just an illusion brought about by the absence of knowledge it is easy to point out that if the trajectory of the coin, its mass, the force it was flipped with, etc., was all known then “chance” disappears as one advances toward a knowledge of how the coin will come to rest. Chance is ignorance, chance is ultimately nothing, yet it’s typical for proponents of Darwinism to argue as if it something which “explains” things. Darwin himself pointed out that chance is a statement of ignorance but modern proponents of Darwinism have often made arguments rooted in the opposite assumption.

    You’ve gone well outside the point of my post, which didn’t touch on good or evil at all.

    I’m not sure what you think you meant given the random occurrences which seem to cause your brain events and so on but you wrote things such as: There is so much pain and misery inflicted on the innocent of this world, that it’s a wonder to me that the faithful think that their god is protecting, rather than actively trying to annihilate us!

    Were you arguing that it would be good if pain and misery did not exist? Is it “bad” that they do?

  8. December 15, 2008 10:36 am

    You can prevent the spread of AIDS by teaching safe sex and handing out condoms, but how would you do the same by “fighting Evil”? It’s too vague to offer any serious resolution.

    Actually you’re being very vague, first blaming God for the existence of evil or “bad” things yet now claiming that evil or “bad” things do not really exist in any transcendent way. At any rate, many people who think that they are fighting evil have fought against the spread of AIDS and so on so apparently it is not a vague issue to them.

  9. December 15, 2008 10:48 am

    Outside of wanting religion out of our government, I would challenge you to find enough atheists who would take that right away from private citizens to call it historically typical!

    American atheists are merely borrowing an argument like “separation of church and state” which was rooted in religion and theism since the times of the ancient Jewish prophets who pointed to a higher law than the tribal king and so on. If the notion is not supported based on religious rationales (as the Founders argued) then the notion of a real separation degenerates into another form of totalitarianism where atheistic religions will be established. The notion that theism or atheism are “religions” is ignorant or stupid so equating theism in government with the establishment of a “religion” is equally ignorant and has nothing to do with the establishment of a sectarian “church” or keeping churches separate.

    Note that history shows that people who believe in theism and even creationism have advanced science and created political systems in which great freedom exists. Where has a political system created by people who believe in atheism and Darwinism been created where great freedom exists? Perhaps only in an imaginary world of future Progress, much like Darwinian evolution tends to only exist in an imaginary past.

    It should also be noted that people who believe in creationism can also be moral degenerates who create despotic systems in which freedom hardly exists. Yet a more relevant and interesting question is whether or not those who believe in forms of Nature based paganism in ancient times and philosophic naturalism and the Darwinian creation myth in modern times can create political systems in which great freedom exists. Given their philosophy and their history it seems that they cannot. They have a history of tending towards totalitarianism just as their philosophy tends towards a supposedly total form of knowledge which tends towards determinism and allows for no “gaps.” Given such views a mind of the synaptic “gaps” is not allowed freedom of thought.

  10. December 15, 2008 6:31 pm

    f there is no Intelligence that structured the world in a rational way then why should anyone care about your mentality if it comes about based on brain events rooted in “random occurrences”?

    Not at all, I did not write anything about anyone caring about anything.

    My apologies, I obviously don’t understand the odd dialect of English that you were using in that first quote.

    It’s frustrating that you ignored my explanation of the context of “random” that I was using, (while there is a real cause for everything, events in life like the tsunami example can seem random in a why me? kind of way. Obviously, everything has a real-world explanation and I said that in the comment that you are quoting, which you also ignored for some reason.

    I’m glad you agree that all events have real causes. Since we’re in agreement on that point, I have no argument against it, except that I wish you had read and understood my point before responding.

    Were you arguing that it would be good if pain and misery did not exist? Is it “bad” that they do?

    No, that was not part of my argument at all. The point of my post was that because of those types of events, entrusting your safety to a god first is ridiculous. I’m not sure how you inferred an argument of the existence of good and evil from it.

    Actually you’re being very vague, first blaming God for the existence of evil or “bad” things yet now claiming that evil or “bad” things do not really exist in any transcendent way. At any rate, many people who think that they are fighting evil have fought against the spread of AIDS and so on so apparently it is not a vague issue to them.

    Seeing as I don’t believe in any gods, I don’t know how I can blame events on one. Perhaps you are looking at the numbered arguments that you made and I simply put into a list and thinking that they are my own arguments? If that is so, then again, please carefully read and understand what I’m writing since I specifically wrote “You presume the following:”. It also may not hurt to try and remember what you write as well.

    As for your AIDS example, you are missing a distinction that I feel I was pretty plain about. Whether they feel they are fighting evil or not, they are taking real-world steps to fight it. They are not walking out the door and saying, “I’m going to go out and fight me some evil! Where can I find some?” They are seeing a real problem and trying to solve it using real (hopefully) resolutions.

    As for your brief history of separation, no matter what the concept used to mean to the church, or where the idea originated, it still has a very specific meaning in our Constitution, and that meaning has been defended in court time and again that our government is a secular one.

    Also, I note that you never responded to the following:

    Now, I have to call attention that, in you first comment, you cherry-picked one sentence in my post to argue something that has nothing to do with the real point of my post. Do you entrust your safety to a god? Would you feel comfortable walking through Camden, NJ alone at night, trusting your safety to his hands? Would you cross the street with your eyes closed? If no, then (discarding for a moment the establishment issue), is it honest for the State of Kentucky to give the safety of their citizens to a god’s hands?

    Care to?

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