This I believe….

I believe that there is no God. I’m beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy-you can’t prove a negative, so there’s no work to do…

-Penn Jillette on This I Believe

I believe that there is an elephant in Penn’s trunk.

I heard this spot when it was on, and I must say that I was moved. It concisely sums up a lot of the problems that I have with the entire concept of there being an ‘omni-whatever’ being. This is a topic that I have done a lot of writing about, and a lot of thinking about, and Penn can sum up my years of pondering in a few short paragraphs.

When I first stumbled across the Buddhist teaching about God, I felt like I had come home. It felt right, and correct, and that it was summing up what I had been trying to verbalize all of these years. To sum it up – If God exists, and is all powerful, then he is evil to allow all of the suffering that has occurred at the hand of Man and Nature over the years. Evil to have turned a blind eye to what his creation has wrought.

The idea that we need to ask forgiveness for our ‘sins’ from some higher power always struck me as wrong. What about the Hitlers of the world? What if they, after inflicting suffering upon their fellow man, saw the error of their ways, and recanted just before they died? Would they get treated the same as a Dali Lama or a Mother Theresa? According to the majority of the modern Christian movement – yes. Once you are ‘washed in the blood of Christ’ all your sins are forgiven. All.

I believe that we are each totally responsible for our actions, and that we cannot seek forgiveness because there is no one to give it, others then the folks we have wronged. I believe that everyone else in the world believing this would make the world a better place.

In my belief, there is no place for people who commit atrocious acts in the name of some religion, expecting to be forgiven. There is no forgiveness, Only consequences.

3 thoughts on “This I believe….”

  1. Well, this is probably far to complex a thing to debate in blog comments, rather large books have been written on the subject.

    In brief though, the most compelling answer for me is that we do think ‘like God’ (created in his image etc.) but we certainly don’t know everything that God knows, and certainly we are not capable of fully understanding God now.

    I don’t believe that the Bible, or any religious work, could fully explain the mind of an infinite being. I also don’t think that the Bible, or any religious work that I have encountered, makes the claim that it does so. So in that sense, you are correct in that such works are ‘flawed.’ I do think though that something can be ‘true’ and still be flawed. In point of fact, I hold that the theory of evolution is ‘true’ and that it is also flawed.

    Essentially, the premises you present above are wrong in their basic assumptions.

    My best gues as to the answer to the problem of evil, is that while ‘evil’ is of course evil, allowing evil to exist is good. That seems incomprensible to some people, but seems fairly self evident to me.

    If there is no evil, then there can be no free will, things just happen as they were ordained. Anything without will cannot be evil, and without evil their can be no free will.

    I can make some guesses as to why free will is so important, but at the I think it boils down to enjoyment and learning. Without free will it wouldn’t be any fun, and without free will (and the pain our mistakes cause us) we couldn’t learn anything. Those two things together are, I think, the core of the purpose of life.

  2. Yeah, yeah.

    That is actually another problem. Unless you take certain steps, even if you are very good, you will be punished for not taking those steps.

    I agree that it’s not breaking new ground, but I have never been given a rebuttal that actually worked. I am sorry, but "<i>we are small, God is big</i>" does not really work for me.

    If God exists, and God is some anamorphic creature that resembles us in though process, then we should be able to understand God’s reasons for doing things.

    If God exists, and is not anamorphic, and we cannot understand God’s reasons, then the Bible is flawed, as there is no way that a limited human could write down Gods thoughts in a way that another limited human could understand. Also the Bible is flawed because it states that God made us in his image. Unless we look like God, we must assume that the Bible means mental image.

    So, if God is not anamorphic, however, God created us in God’s mental image, However, we cannot understand God’s thoughts we are left with a logical fallacy.

    Therefore, given the Bible’s accuracy, God must be anamorphic.

    Which means that God is driven by the same sort of thoughts and feelings that we are. Which means that he – through his inaction, has caused a lot of suffering.

    If God exists, and the Bible is True, then we are stuck. Unless we bring FM in to the equation. To which I will reply: Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Some one who has done a much better job of it is interviewed by Colbert <a href="http://richarddawkins.net/video/dawkins_colbert_chapters.mov">here</a&gt;. It’s worth a watch. :)

  3. "What about the Hitlers of the world? What if they, after inflicting suffering upon their fellow man, saw the error of their ways, and recanted just before they died? Would they get treated the same as a Dali Lama or a Mother Theresa?"

    Of course not, the Dalia Lama is a pagan and Mother Theresa a papist so they will both go to hell! :)

    Joking asside, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil">the Problem of Evil</a> is hardly breaking new philosophical ground.

    I find the Buhdist interpretation rather simplistic myself, and hardly convincing but your mileage may vary.

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