понеделник, 1 юли 2019 г.

Bible Arguments (7)

By DeYtH Banger



"Life is not driven by purpose; purpose is driven by life. You don’t have a purpose-driven life; you have life-driven purpose.
If you are still religious and are struggling with “what it all means,” then here is a purpose: get rid of the problem. Start a slave rebellion. Depose the dictator. Live your own life. In my books Losing Faith in Faith and Godless, I tell the story of how I went from evangelical preacher to atheist. It is not my task here to explain why I and millions of other good people do not believe in a god or an afterlife. I describe it all in great detail in those books. My point here is to show that whatever you think about the conclusions of atheists, you can’t claim that we lead empty, meaningless lives."

- Dan Barker

"I dedicated my life to the service of my imaginary lord Jesus. I now see how thin and artificial the pretense was. Imagining that doing nothing is actually meaningful, I gained immense unearned respect from congregants who desperately wanted someone else to tell them how to live, how to think, how to find the purpose of their lives. There would be no shepherds without sheep. Like Rick Warren, I found a “calling,” a “purpose-driven life,” due to the fact that so many people think purpose must come from outside themselves."

- Dan Barker

"It wasn’t until I got out of the master-slave ministry that I learned what real purpose is. Real purpose comes from solving real problems, not phony problems like “how can I be saved?” When I knew I would be leaving the ministry, after nineteen years of preaching, I had a concrete problem. I needed a job. I often hear from other clergy with the same dilemma: they have happily jettisoned their faith, but what do they do now? They spent years doing nothing of any real purpose: preaching, teaching, organizing worship, counseling parishioners, evangelizing, missionizing."

- Dan Barker

"As I wrote in Godless, some of them end up in education, such as teaching philosophy, or go into social work, which are fields commensurate with their experience. Some go into sales—a different kind of evangelism. Some start their own business. But people are not cats: it is not easy to land on your feet when you have been turned upside down."

- Dan Barker

" “That’s it. I’m outa here.” It was like growing up and leaving home all over again,23 though this time I was actually glad to get out of the house. I could leave the ministry because I had a job, a way out, a purpose-filled life.
During those six months on hold, I had practically memorized the 68000 manual. My work was on the user interface, so I had to know what everyone else was doing. I had to see the big picture. Evangelism—
inviting people to become servants—was a small picture. I never knew a real job could be such a blast.
That project ended in about a year, so I needed another job. I heard that Safetran, a company that builds dispatching systems for the railroads, was hiring programmers. I drove to Cucamonga for the first real job interview in my life. (I didn’t have to interview for any of my earlier pastoral positions. I was invited to those churches, and all I had to do was accept.) I had limited experience and no degree in computers—I didn’t mention I had been a preacher—but the manager was impressed that I had programmed in assembly language."

- Dan Barker

"I never preached about homosexuality during my entire ministry. We were all sinners, I believed, so why single out any group? But now, suddenly, it did matter. I had something important to say, and it wasn’t about insulting the “holiness” of a god by “choosing” a lifestyle that is forbidden by the bible. It was about offending humanity. God may be a delusion but the intolerance and harm that comes from faith is real. Religious discrimination is something actually worth preaching against and the lack of fairness is a noble problem to tackle."

- Dan Barker

"I love that state of uncertainty when you know you have a problem that can be solved but you haven’t got there yet. I had felt that way when I was struggling with the question of the existence of God. I didn’t give up. “Something is wrong, and I can figure this out,” I often repeated. The brain goes full-speed ahead attacking the problem, then it backs off, looks around, combs the memory banks for similar or parallel situations. It gets ravenous for data, scavenging for clues. “Don’t give up, don’t give up. There is something to learn here.” After running out of ideas, you put it aside, sleep on it, try to sneak up on it laterally. During times like that, life definitely has purpose."

- Dan Barker

"As the server task problem showed, sometimes simplicity is better than complexity. A universe with a god is more complicated than one without it. In order to fix all the bugs in the God task—the absence of evidence, the problem of evil, the lack of agreement among believers, the lack of a coherent definition, the uncertainty of the interpretation of unreliable holy books, the oppression of women and minorities and heretics, the failure of prayer (flag not being reset?), the dangers of sectarian divisiveness, and so on—believers need to cobble together inelegant Rube Goldberg kluges, apologetics, theologies, and theodicies to keep it clunking along. But if we can excise the God task and simply say, “No thanks, I’ll handle it myself,” things will run much more smoothly. A radical faithectomy can work wonders on a sick system.
We don’t need a God task to hand us our purpose. If you think purpose comes from a holy messenger who hands you a platter with a note saying, “Do this,” what happens when the communication breaks down? What happens when your requests are ignored? What happens when you realize that the scripture is a corrupted database? What if the messenger gets sick or dies? What do you do when you learn your religious leaders have been lying to you and your “master” is just a fiction? Is your life wasted? Are you nothing? Are you just a Frankenstein monster needing an outside spark to make you move?"

- Dan Barker

"Rick Warren is not the only Christian author who thinks we need to search for purpose outside of ourselves. Televangelist Joel Osteen, pastor of the huge Lakewood Church in Houston, puts down the human race with similar words: “God is in control and he has a great plan and purpose for your life. Your dreams may not have turned out exactly as you’d hoped, but the bible says that God’s ways are better and higher than our ways.”24 This simplistic rah-rah “just trust God” inspirational writing is supposed to make believers feel better, not by offering any practical advice, but simply by saying the words they want to hear. No matter what happens in life, somehow, God’s “purpose” (whatever that is) will magically occur. Isn’t that wonderful?
Compared to unsophisticated preachers like Warren and Osteen, the philosopher and Christian apologist Dr. William Lane Craig is much more informed and articulate, but he is just as wrong. In his book Reasonable Faith, Craig claims that if purpose is not “ultimate,” it is worthless. “If each person passes out of existence when he dies,” he asks, “then what ultimate meaning can be given to his life?” He replies with the non sequitur, “Thus, if there is no God, then life itself becomes meaningless. Man and the universe are without ultimate significance.” How does it follow that if there is no “ultimate significance,” life is meaningless? Craig doesn’t make the connection. He seems to be confusing meaning with “ultimate meaning” (whatever that is). He thinks we are hammers. This is very much like Rick Warren conflating the two different usages of purpose."

- Dan Barker

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