Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This is pretty much the God I've been worshipping

for the last ten years or so, as defined by George H. Smith in a speech originally titled "The Case Against God," but retitled "How to Defend Atheism" for the website so as not to confuse search engines, since Smith's book carries the former title:
Let's suppose that God exists and He is concerned with human affairs -- He's a personal god -- but that He is a just god. He's concerned with justice. If you have a just god, he could not possibly punish an honest error of belief where there is no moral turpitude or no wrongdoing involved. If this god is a creator god and He gave us reason as the basic means of understanding our world, then He would take pride in the conscientious and scrupulous use of reason the part of His creatures, even if they committed errors from time to time, in the same way a benevolent father would take pride in the accomplishments of his son, even if the son committed errors from time to time. Therefore, if there exists a just god, we have absolutely nothing to fear from such a god. Such a god could not conceivably punish us for an honest error of belief.

See, I was pretty much a Randian atheist when I joined the Lutheran Church back when my daughter was a baby. I did that because I wanted my daughter to receive moral instruction (and my wife insisted that she needed to be baptized). And there aren't a whole lot of Randian churches around here. And you know they're not teaching much in the way of morality in the government schools...

Crud, breaktime's over.


The probligo said...

I saw no harm in getting the kids baptised. They were too young to know, and it made a number of people (particularly grandparents) happier.

Pretty much all of the "moral instruction" our two got was given by my wife and I, starting with the premise that every action has a consequence; good action, good consequence; bad action, bad consequence.

And anyone who thinks that school, or for that matter church, should be "responsible" for teaching their children morals is abrogating their responsibility as parents.

Al said...

I just wanted some back up.

Tef said...

In Asian societie 30 to 60 years ago, the cane was "god". Retribution was instant. Most Asian kids grew up law-abiding and upright.

In that regard, who needs god? He/she/it wasn't even there to shield us from the cane strokes...

Al said...

Cane up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he'll do back-breaking labor cheap.

Starsplash said...

I was a functonal athiest until; I believe, Sunday, August, 11:30 Am 1996.

I believed in God just had no other proof other than coincedence.

This guy nearly gets it, with one little exception. God does not have pride in his children, he has joy.

Anonymous said...

hi... just dropping by!

Al said...

That was Smith's third possibility of four in his answer to "Pascal's Wager" (which was, if you believe in God and there is a God, you'll be rewarded greatly; if there isn't a God, then you get nothing; if you don't believe and there is a God, you'll be punished greatly; if you don't believe and there isn't a God you get nothing). Smith elaborates the possibilities and comes to the opposite conclusion as Pascal.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so you are enrolling your daughter in something that has as the basis of its teachings something you do not believe in. Did I misunderstand your post? To learn morality based on the teachings of Jesus Christ? I am not trying to deploy snark just attempting to understand the post. For the record I am an active Christian.

Rich Cook

Al said...

That is, indeed, the case, sir. I didn't realize it was an integrity problem at the time. I see that it is now, and I don't really know what to do.

The probligo said...

Al, has harm been done?

I mean other than to your sense of integrity?

There are all manner of thoughts in my head again - far too many to write. They seem to centre on the idea of "Does it really matter if..."; in this case your daughter attends a religious school.

Weigh your conscience against what is the best action for your child. Act accordingly.

Al said...

We're just talking about membership in church and attendance on Sundays, Sunday School, Confirmation and the like. I'm actually rather pleased that my older daughter doesn't seem to take it all very seriously. But the harridan does.

I've come to believe that insisting that people believe things for which they can never see proof is damaging to their ability to distinguish between truth and lies. If they believe you.

invadesoda said...

I'm sure you've heard the joke about the atheist Jew who sent his kid to Trinity School. One day his kid tells him "You know what Trinity means, don't you? It's the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!" Angrily he pulls him aside and said "Listen to me! There is only one God, and we don't believe in Him!"

Starsplash said...

Generally what Al is doing is hypocratical but Chirstianity allows for a non believer to go to church we even encourage it.

The question of integrity is answered when he tells the preacher or others in the church he is going to what he is doing.
Once he does that he will exonerate his own concious.

invadesoda said...

One of the reasons I never got into religion much on my blog is that Christians of all people should be the most skeptical that government can save people from their sins and yet certain Christian groups believe government should be used to do exactly that. So politically, it was always more natural to hang with the atheists than with the Christians, despite being in the latter group. :)

invadesoda said...

On the other hand, by keeping your kids in the Christian school, you are teaching them to "know their enemy." ;)

Starsplash said...

Mat 13:24 AnotherG243 parableG3850 put he forthG3908 unto them,G846 saying,G3004 TheG3588 kingdomG932 of heavenG3772 is likened untoG3666 a manG444 which sowedG4687 goodG2570 seedG4690 inG1722 hisG848 field:G68
Mat 13:25 ButG1161 while menG444 slept,G2518 hisG846 enemyG2190 cameG2064 andG2532 sowedG4687 taresG2215 amongG303 G3319 theG3588 wheat,G4621 andG2532 went his way.G565
Mat 13:26 ButG1161 whenG3753 theG3588 bladeG5528 was sprung up,G985 andG2532 brought forthG4160 fruit,G2590 thenG5119 appearedG5316 theG3588 taresG2215 also.G2532
Mat 13:27 SoG1161 theG3588 servantsG1401 of theG3588 householderG3617 cameG4334 and saidG2036 unto him,G846 Sir,G2962 didst notG3780 thou sowG4687 goodG2570 seedG4690 inG1722 thyG4674 field?G68 from whenceG4159 thenG3767 hathG2192 it tares?G2215
Mat 13:28 (G1161) HeG3588 saidG5346 unto them,G846 An(G444) enemyG2190 hath doneG4160 this.G5124 TheG3588 servantsG1401 saidG2036 unto him,G846 WiltG2309 thou thenG3767 that we goG565 andG2532 gather them up?G4816 G846
Mat 13:29 ButG1161 heG3588 said,G5346 Nay;G3756 lestG3379 while ye gather upG4816 theG3588 tares,G2215 ye root upG1610 also theG3588 wheatG4621 withG260 them.G846
Mat 13:30 LetG863 bothG297 grow togetherG4885 untilG3360 theG3588 harvest:G2326 andG2532 inG1722 theG3588 timeG2540 of harvestG2326 I will sayG2046 to theG3588 reapers,G2327 Gather ye togetherG4816 firstG4412 theG3588 tares,G2215 andG2532 bindG1210 themG846 inG1519 bundlesG1197 to burnG2618 them:G846 butG1161 gatherG4863 theG3588 wheatG4621 intoG1519 myG3450 barn.G596

So you would have my brother fullfill this verse.

Do you not see that by doing so you only verify for Christians the Word of God? by all means do so, You won't see me stopping you.

Starsplash said...

To Invesoda:

On the comment of Government. You are wrong about Chiristians intent. Skewed by your prejudice.

Which one if the ten commandments do you disagree with?

invadesoda said...

Right on cue.

Al said...

You're a prophet, i.s.

I was just thinking about Myra Breckenridge. Tell me how she fits into God's wonderful plan.

Starsplash said...

Remind me again who Myra Breckenridge is?

Invesoda: Wrong answer.

invadesoda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
invadesoda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
invadesoda said...


I have to say I don't really know what you mean by "Skewed by your prejudice" or why you think I disagree with any of the 10 commandments.

I did say some Christian groups, and I assume you do know what I mean by "the latter," right?

It did take me decades to realize that those groups want government to save people from their sins (much the same as some non-religious groups who have criminalized eating transfat in restaurants in some parts of the USA). As I slowly realized it, I became more libertarian. Maybe in a few decades, you will feel the same.

Starsplash said...

Again I reiterate. Christians do not look to the government to save them.
Your belief or lack of it if you prefer has skewed you understanding of what Christian groups are about.

I have also stated this before, there are nuts and nut groups amoungst every genera, culture, or nation that there is on earth.

Associating one group with the whole is ignominius.

invadesoda said...

Again I reiterate I said CERTAIN Christian groups and SOME Christian groups. Where did I ever associate them with the whole? You're making utterly no sense. I'm done.

The probligo said...

Generally what Al is doing is hypocratical but Chirstianity allows for a non believer to go to church we even encourage it.

I disagree, totally.

What is hypocritical (note spelling) is saying that "you should believe" to someone when you do not believe yourself.

As a non-believer, I have attended Funeral Mass for a good friend, a funeral service for another good friend who was a senior member of the Masons, my father's funeral was secular; the list goes on... I have attended weddings, the ordination of my step-mother as a Deacon then as a Minister in the Anglican Church. I agree that Christianity (note spelling) does allow me these "indulgences". But then so does the Bhuddist temple up the road, and the Hindu temple in the next suburb.

So far as I am concerned, any person's integrity is untouched for as long as they are honest with themselves. If a man is a hypocrite and says "I am a believer" then he has no integrity; he is capable of being dishonest to himself and hence can not be honest to others.

As for the coded messages you seem to enjoy building into your comments, surely that is not being respectful to the Bible?

" Christians do not look to the government to save them."

Ron, I would bet my boots that a very good number of those accepting government handouts both in my country and yours would claim to be believing Christians (note spelling). That number would, I suggest, reflect the proportion of the total population who profess Christianity.

I feel for Al. I enjoy his honesty, and his open-ness. At least he does not hide himself behind coded messages and extensive quotations from a book (which by your own admission) you do not understand.

Al, if no harm is done what is wrong with the action? None!

The probligo said...

Here y'go Al, this turned up on ALD in the past few days.

Well worth the read.

Al said...

That is a great article, Probligo, followed by a great discussion. I think the guy should focus on teaching his kids to think scientifically and let the chips fall where they may. A guy, I should say. I think I'll check out 'The Big Bang Book'.

Starsplash said...

Invesida I am curious which christian groupsare you talking about?

Prob. You are right and I have so much as just said the very same thing. Al needs to be honest to the people around him and at church.

Being decietful in one area is pathological and has lead to theraputic counceling.

I know that you have followed along with my blog for the last five years. What is My No one theme but honesty irregaurdless of your greatests fears. Tell the truth.

Nothing can be more sane than telling the truth.

As for coding, I just say what comes to mind nothing more.

In this country the total who profess Christianity is 84%. So the number of people who are going to be on the dole is likely to reflect that same percentage.
Then again maybe not.

I am not on the dole and have not done any personal surveying my self. So I couldn's tell you that one.

The number of people who profess that there is a God in The US. I last heard is 98%. that makes 2% professing non-believers.

The US. somehow inspite of that; athiest perspective drawback, miraculoously setteled 6 million square miles of land and built the greatest economic engine the world has ever seen.

Seeing you do not see, hearing you do not hear.

The probligo said...


When you copy like this -

"SoG1161 theG3588 servantsG1401 of theG3588 householderG3617 cameG4334 and saidG2036 unto him,G846 Sir,G2962 didst notG3780 thou sowG4687 goodG2570 seedG4690 inG1722 thyG4674 field?G68 from whenceG4159 thenG3767 hathG2192 it tares?G2215 "

one does have to wonder.

Assuming that the "G" is a code leader (the next four characters are code) we get as an example -

"1161 3588 1401 3588 3617 4334 2036 846 2962 3780 4687 2570 4690 1722 4674 68 4159 3767 2192 2215..."

Now, the question is "What does that mean?


As for your opinions of Al, I will form my own without your "help". I have consistently heard your voice as a rather spoilt brother who has some very old grudges.

Al said...

Ron did get married and leave home at 18, earning his own living all that time. I went to college on Ma & Dad's dime, although they took out a loan for my last year, which I paid back while working for 50 cents over minimum wage, and while I saved up to pay for our wedding.

Mine and Laurie's wedding, that is. Not mine and Ron's.

I've gone from atheist to deist to Lutheran (or, really, non-fundamentalist Christian) and back to atheist in the last 10 years. The whole time I was pretty clear that the Bible was a pretty valuable book. Now I know that it contains little of value in the realm of ethics, where it claims to have the most value.

The probligo said...

Al, there are things that happen in everyone's life which can turn everything thereafter on its ear.

We all have these turning points. They may be intended choices. They can be totally unforeseen. They might be just the consequence of simple chance. We all spend our lives trying to make best out of what is.

I respect your defence of Ron, and I know and understand that the many relationships involved (ALL of them) are more complex than I might ever know.

If I have offended you in any way as a result of my last post then I apologise without reserve.

I just wish that some people were able to come up with ideas of their own, which are appropriate to the matter at hand, and which are not just the regurgitation of lengthy tracts of Bible, or for that matter Upanishad, Q'ran, or Torah. Nothing is added to the discussion. It resolves nothing. It is a debate technique intended to close off any further discussion, mainly used by people who are unable to add any thing more cogent.

It boils my brain.

Perhaps that is because I can not compete (and have no desire to compete) with the practice. I had thought at one stage of reproducing large quotations from "Dear Monkey" (a book I would recommend to anyone) in the original Sino script. It would make as much sense.

invadesoda said...


I think you're on to something there with the coded message, although when you first thought it up, I took it in a different sense.

I had a thought to break down those codes (which I previously attributed to a botched copy/paste job) into numbers between 1 and 26 so they could be converted to letters, like this (probably won't line up right):

11 6 13 5 8 8 14 01 3 5 8 8 3 6 17 4 3 3 4 2 03 6 8 4 6

Now all I need to do is apply my mad cryptogram skills, learned as a lad but which have fallen into disuse, and figure out who Starsplash really works for. Something tells me he is not the crazy brother in the basement he seems to be.


invadesoda said...

"when you first thought it up" should be "when you first brought it up"

Blogger doesn't have editable comments yet?

Starsplash said...

Probligo that is not code that is strongs concorcance referance numbers that I did not edit out of the copy/paste.

If you have a King James Concordance you can look up the words and decide for your self what they mean.

Starsplash said...

Me spoiled? Chuckle.

The Word of God takes it's toll as you resist.

Try this one:

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Defending with pity Al? Chuckle.

I told you Mom and dad could not afford to send all of us to colledge at once. I had figured that out when I was forteen.

Which Christian groups Invesoda?

Al said...

I was defending you out of Justice, Ron.

Which Christian groups? Well, I know one: the Evangelical Lutheran Church(es?) of America. I just call 'em ELCA.

Starsplash said...

Elca? I don't know anything about them.

The probligo said...

Ron, "everlasting life" would get soooo boring!

Imagine, if you can and just for a moment, the mind of a person suffering from MND but without the ability to communicate; Hawkins without the computer.

Or, try lying awake from 3.30am until the alarm goes (mine is at 6.00am.) Two and a half hours of near sensory deprivation passes very slowly indeed; almost an eternity!

Nope. By the time I have had my alloted span I will be very content for it all to end, as it must.

Hold fast to your beliefs. One of us is wrong. I don't need the crutch so you can have it.

Starsplash said...

Yup. I think I'll bet on everlasting utopian life. What would make you think you would get bored with forever in paradise.I couldn't imagine ever getting tired of peace and harmony and love and joy. If ther is a God then he has as infinate an imagination as is his power to enjoy life forever and those he chooses to live forever with.