After much too long and much too stressful a day in the land of the cubicalites, I decided to relax with some light reading on WordPress. I typed “atheism” into the search bar and waited while my cellular internet connection creeped out the results at a pace that would make dial up seem positively blistering. And not quite suddenly, gone was any inkling of relaxation. Post after post scrolled across my screen and with each passing page of pontifical propaganda, my ire grew hotter. Apologist after would be apologist prattled on about the moral bankruptcy of atheism, the atheist’s ignorance of religion, how new atheism is a rehash of old ideas and the like; all the while ignoring the log impaled so squarely, so firmly, in Christianity’s own eye.
I suffered through half formed opinions half wittedly inspired by a quote from Hugh Laurie, voluminous articles whose authors must have believed their sheer length added some illusion of credibility, sesquipedalian word salads of linguistic prestidigitation, and encyclopedic posts which consisted of paragraph after paragraph of citations sprinkled with a smattering of echo chamber opinion. And all them, every last one, devoid of any real substance. Each author showed, in his or her own way, that their own research consisted almost entirely of other Christian authors and perhaps a cursory read of an Amazon review of a Richard Dawkins book. The most personal encounter described anywhere in this dung heap of drivel was by an author who “knew of” atheists in college, but then went on to claim that, in his experience, no atheist had any knowledge of even classical arguments for God’s existence. With this admittedly limited exposure to anything outside of his own small circle, how would he know? It would have been a simple matter for any one of these detractors to spend a few hours watching atheist/theist debates on YouTube or a couple of episodes of “The Atheist Experience” or “The Ra Men” to see intelligent counter apologetics at work, but none seemed to bother.
It comes as no great surprise that apologists refuse to acknowledge the harm done by their religion and dismiss all critique of Christianity as strawmanning or assertion. But one need only consider fundamentalist indoctrination, gay conversion therapy, African “witch children” and the like to see what evils Christianity is capable of. Even the recently sainted Mother Teresa has been criticized for, among other things, providing inadequate care in her Missionaries of Charity “Houses for the Dying”. It seems she offered little more than a bed for dying on and a Bible for crying on, despite the millions in donations she brought in. She has also suffered criticism for her orders practice of baptizing the dying. Her critics say her nuns use deception to get permission for the baptism, never explaining the deeper theological meaning of the practice. Her supporters, however use their own version of Pascal’s wager in defense: asking, if there is no truth to the afterlife, no harm was done; but if Christianity is true, the dying have been given the ultimate gift, never mind the means. The flaw in this defense is easy to see, however, what if the terminal patient is an adamant atheist and you have just offended a dying man? What if Islam some other religion turns out to be true? Perhaps this person is now marked for eternal torment for slighting some other god. Either way, lying to the dying is a reprehensible practice, I would have thought a so-called saint could have seen that.
The intellectual dishonesty soon spiraled into outright lies as these Bible bloggers argued that atheists have no real attacks left to make against Christianity, stating they have all been refuted, and even went so far as to assert Alvin Plantinga has somehow redefined modern atheism. But I fail to see how re-arguing old arguments redefines anything. Massimo Pigliucci does an excellent job of refuting Plantinga in his blog at rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com in the post the “Is Alvin Plantinga for real?”
Anothet writer accused atheists of being unsophisticated and ignorant of new theistic arguments. But video after video and blog after blog shows this claim to be false. Yet another made the assertion that China is the largest Christian nation and based this conclusion partly on some unofficial estimates floating around the web and partly on the fact that China is now the largest publisher of Bibles in the world. While the latter is true, all of those bibles are printed by a single company and nearly half are for export. China is in fact the most atheist nation on earth, according to The Independent and according to the Financial Times Buddhism is the top religion amongst those who do believe.
What is the benefit of honest debate or truthful discourse when your side fairs so poorly? Martin Luther, an early reformist, once said “Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God”. He is correct, reason is the enemy of faith, estimates are that 85 – 98% of members of the National Academy of Science and most philosophy professors are, in fact, atheist.
Lying, it seems has been the Christian strategy from nearly day one. And what consequence is there for lying when there is little chance of discovery? To find the evidence of their deceit, their followers would have to wade the sin tainted waters of secularism and when your god polices your very thoughts, doubt becomes transgression. And if you do get caught lying, so what? Again, we can quote Martin Luther, “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church… a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.” And what
Historians document pious fraud as early as 240 ce, when early Christian author Lactantius exaggerated stories of Roman orgies and debauchery, according to an article at rarionalwiki.org. That same post,”Lying for Jesus”, goes on to describe Christian deception throughout history. Modern apologists such as Ray Comfort continue this practice even today, as example, take his now infamous banana argument which states the modern banana is the “atheists worst nightmare” because it proves intelligent design. It does, the modern banana is actually a wonderful example of intelligent design. It was designed by man.
When your own god lies, certainly you should be able to do so on his behalf, should you not? Throughout the Bible, we can see God’s deception both directly and by proxy. Here by God: Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people. Jeremiah 4:10 And again: O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived. Jeremiah 20:7 Here he lieas by proxy through spirits and prophets: Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee. 1 Kings 22:23 And here God plainly states it is he who deceives the prophets: And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet. Ezekiel 14:9. Clearly deception is practiced by god whenever it suits his needs. (scripture courtesy of BibleHub.com)
Atheists are accused of having subjective, and in the Christian mind flawed, morals because we lack a belief in a universal law giver; but the giver of Christian law plainly does not play by his own rules,and when your own moral code allows you to bend the rules to bring about the “greater good”, it clearly fails the test of objectivity. Perhaps it is time Christians quit pretending they are granted some innate moral superiority by virtue of their faith.