вторник, 9 юли 2019 г.

Bible Arguments 8

By DeYtH Banger


"“For if there is no God, then man’s life becomes absurd.” What does absurd mean? “It means that the life we have is without ultimate significance, value, or purpose.”25 So life is absurd if there is no ultimate meaning, but life lacks meaning because without God it is absurd. He is talking in a circle. According to believers like Craig who are unhappy with blunt reality, life needs to be more than it is, otherwise it is absurd, and since we can’t possibly allow life to be absurd, then life must be more than it is! As an atheist, I think that is absurd."

- Dan Baker


"“If God does not exist,” he continues, “then you are just a miscarriage of nature, thrust into a purposeless universe to live a purposeless life.” If we don’t believe in God, “all we are left with is despair.” Craig, being religiously colorblind (see chapter 3) and unable to imagine what motivates abolitionists, seems not to realize that most atheists indeed live rich lives of value, meaning, and purpose that is grounded in objective reality. He shows that he does not grasp the difference between purpose of life and purpose in life: “Only if God exists can there be purpose in life.” That is simply sophomoric, a miscarriage of reason. Whether God exists or not, there is purpose in life."


- Dan Baker

"Craig creates a false dichotomy: “It seems to me positively irrational to prefer death, futility, and destruction to life, meaningfulness, and happiness. As Pascal said, we have nothing to lose and infinity to gain.” Does he really imagine we atheists prefer death, futility, and destruction? Does he seriously think that even if the universe is ultimately purposeless we nonbelievers are not leading meaningful and happy lives while we are on this planet?
“Only here, in intimate communion with one’s Creator, does man find authentic existence.” There’s another phrase Craig fails to define. If you exist, aren’t you authentic? Claiming that atheists have “inauthentic existence” is like labeling someone an “illegitimate child,” and we know what the word for that is. “Authentic existence” apparently means “believing in God,” though the connection is not clear. Is eternal more authentic than temporal? Is longer more authentic than shorter? Is credulity more authentic than skepticism, or faith more authentic than doubt? Are Christians the only real humans? Are the rest of us artificial and cheap? If a serious philosopher is going to make such claims, he should explain and defend them Craig’s only explanation is to preach: “This is the horror of modern man: because he ends in nothing, he is nothing.” I have rarely read a more pathetic sentence. Does Craig really think that anything short of eternal is nothing? My life of learning, loving, parenting, helping, and enjoyment counts for nothing? Our entire lives of purpose, productivity, and morality are just a “horror”? Speak for yourself, Dr. Craig."


- Dan Baker

"Peter Hitchens, the believing Anglican brother of the late Christopher Hitchens, believes like William Lane Craig that there is something wrong with the attitudes and personal choices of atheists, creating the same false dichotomy. In November 2012, I participated in a debate in Oxford, England, put on by the prestigious Oxford Union Society.26 The famous skeptic and author Michael Shermer, philosopher Peter Millican, and I teamed up against mathematician…"


- Dan Baker

"After Shermer and I made our statements, Hitchens took the floor. He immediately admitted he had no proof or evidence for God, but then turned to us atheists (Richard Dawkins was sitting right behind us) and continued with an outrageous ad hominem accusation..."


- Dan Baker

"We had better do it now. We atheists do want our loved ones to live on, but we are honest and courageous enough to admit that our personal desires do not alter the reality of death. We atheists
do want purpose in the universe, and in fact we do have it, in our personal lives, not in an empty cosmic “purpose of life” for which you admit there is no evidence. We atheists do want our actions to have more than their immediate effect—not an irrelevant cosmic effect, but a long-lasting effect in the world where we live."


- Dan Baker

"Most believers think the mere material world can’t have purpose. Our lives must be directed from outside in order to have meaning, they preach. They imagine that the spiritual, whatever it is, is superior to the natural. They view the natural world as low and debased, while the supernatural is lofty and sublime.
It is not just believers from the Abrahamic tradition who feel this way..."


- Dan Baker

"The world has been infected with a malady that makes us blind to spiritual reality and deaf to the voice of Shiva. “In India, the quest for God is a life-time journey,” Shankara says. “You don’t do this as a summer crash course.” It is only with great difficulty and dedication that some masters over the age of sixty (like himself), under the skillful tutelage of earlier masters, have been able to take the long journey approaching the state of moksha where the self is completely obliterated and can glimpse the true reality that we are more than just “puny biophysical organisms.”"


- Dan Baker

"You are an animal.
We are all animals. We are indeed, as you write, puny biophysical organisms, and that is enough. It is more than enough. It is wonderful. It is the reality of who we truly are.
When you come back down the mountain, you will arrive at the state before you became sick, and stop deny ing your true human nature. You will no longer need to pretend that we exist in a supernatural plane. You will abandon the delusion that we are transcendent beings and rejoin the human race, proudly affirming the awesome fact that we are living material beings. We are not spirits. We are not souls. We are animals…"


- Dan Baker

"Since I created the gods—since we human animals created the gods—we can simply uncreate them. We don’t need to be born again. We merely have to recognize and embrace who we were when we were first born…"


- Dan Baker

"“But when you say we are not just animals,” I countered, “you are admitting that we are at least animals.” Shankara and I agree that we are “puny biophysical organisms,” but he thinks we are also something above and beyond our physical existence. Just like the apostle Paul, Shankara says, “The body is just an outer covering which is cast off and dead.” And that is what the whole theistic debate is about. Transcendence. My point is that we should not deny who we actually are, no matter what we think about what else we might be. If you believe we are animals plus, that does not mean you think we are not animals. It means you would be ashamed to consider yourself merely an animal.
Transcendence doesn’t elevate us. It puts us down.
Being called an animal is not an insult. It is a compliment. We are very smart animals. We live our lives, our real lives, our only lives, in a physical world, the only world we know about. I don’t think there is another world—I am convinced there isn’t—but even if there were some metaphysical or transcendent sphere (yet to be discovered), it is irrelevant. Purpose comes from solving material problems in the material world, real problems in the real world
Does a raven ask itself, “What is the purpose of my life?” as it finds creative ways to obtain food? Do cats struggle with existential anxiety? Do pandas ask, “Why am I here?” I have read that elephants grieve, but do they wonder what happens after they die? Don’t they just live? Why can’t life be awesome on its own? Life is short and often difficult, but why cheapen it? Are we so insecure and unhappy that we must denigrate ourselves in order for life to “make sense”? Why can’t we human animals do like the others and simply live without pretense?
Religion is a refusal to face reality. It teaches us to be ashamed of who we are. It turns the head away in disappointment. In the mythical story of Adam and Eve, I don’t think eating from the tree of knowledge was a crime—the crime was seeing ourselves for who we really are and being ashamed: “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”28 Religion is the apron, a mask to cover our true natures. It teaches us to distrust our own purposes."


- Dan Baker

"There is purpose in life. Purpose does not come from magnifying the glory of a master, whether natural or supernatural. It comes from striving to make a better place of this world, the real world, the only world we have…"


- Dan Baker

"It was biological.
We are animals, after all. We come prepackaged with an array of instincts inherited from our ancestors who were able to survive long enough to allow their genes—or closely related genes—to be passed to the next generation because they had those tendencies. An individual who does not care about falling babies is less likely to have his or her genes copied into the future…"


- Dan Baker


"Prayer is inaction. Believing in God is not the way to be good…"


- Dan Baker

"Should we follow a code instead? Is morality a lookup list of prescribed rules? Can it be reduced to obeying orders? Should you “always let your bible be your guide”? If so, why do believers disagree about moral issues, and why do so many of them act immorally…"


- Dan Baker

"Mere Morality is a model, a framework that can help us visualize what we are doing when we make moral choices. Have you ever seen one of those cartoons where the character is trying to make a decision with a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other? We often find ourselves torn between what we want to do and what we feel we should do. Since there are no angels or devils, I suggest we replace the image of those silly supernatural symbols of “good and evil” with something else. Instead of cartoon characters competing for your attention, picture instinct on one shoulder, law on the other, and reason in the middle..."


- Dan Baker


"None of them is good or bad. Actions are what we judge to be good or bad, and your moral minds are guides that help you do the judging…"


- Dan Baker



"Daniel Dennett might call this an “intuition pump,”3 a tool for critical thinking."


- Dan Baker

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