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Rationals Admin on 14 Dec 2006 12:54 am

A fascinating article about Atheists in the Boston Globe

In today’s Boston Globe we find this fascinating article:

The author’s thesis is summarized in this paragraph:

What society loses when it discards Judeo-Christian faith and belief in God is something far more difficult to replace: the value system most likely to promote ethical behavior and sustain a decent society. That is because without God, the difference between good and evil becomes purely subjective. What makes murder inherently wrong is not that it feels wrong,but that a transcendent Creator to whom we are answerable commands: “Thou shalt not murder.” What makes kindness to others inherently right is not that human reason says so, but that God does: “Love thy neighbor as thyself; I am the Lord.”

Furthermore:

The atheist alternative is a world in which right and wrong are ultimately matters of opinion, and in which we are finally accountable to no one but ourselves.

The interesting thing is that the author’s god is completely imaginary. There is no “transcendent creator”, and this is obvious to anyone who takes the time to think about it.

How do we know that God is imaginary? There are dozens of ways to know it. But for our purposes here, the easiest way is to look at the Bible from which the author drew his quotes. For example, the commandment “Thou shalt not murder” is found just a few pages away from a commandment telling us to kill everyone who works on the Sabbath (Ex 35:2). There is the commandment telling us to kill all homosexual men (Lev 20:13). As well as the commandment telling us to kill all girls who marry if they are not virgins (Deut 22:13-21). There is also the commandment telling us it is OK to own slaves, and it is OK to beat them with a rod as long as we do not kill them (Ex 21:20-21). It is easy to go on and on with verses like these, because the Bible is full of them.

Isn’t it interesting that the author freely quotes “Thou shalt not murder”, but then completely ignores all of these other commandements? These other commandments come from the same “god” in the same book as “Thou shalt not murder.” Yet they are, quite obviously, completely insane.

Why does the author of the Boston Globe article believe in “Thou shalt not murder”, while completely ignoring these other commandments which are insane? Why is the author unable to see the contradiction and absurdity of his position, and understand that his god is imaginary? It is because the author is missing something essential. His religion has forced him into a position of utter irrationality.

It is time for all human beings to join together and face reality. We must break free of the irrationality and understand that every human “god” is imaginary. This includes God, Allah, Vishnu and all the rest. We must understand that the author is incorrect when he states that, “The atheist alternative is a world in which right and wrong are ultimately matters of opinion, and in which we are finally accountable to no one but ourselves.” He is incorrect because this is not “the atheist alternative.” This is, in fact, the reality of our world. This is how our world has always been, and how it always will be. And let us be thankful for that. For if we followed all of the commandments of the “god” in the Bible, we would have to kill half of the people living in America today. See this video for details.

If you would like to learn more about the reality of our world and begin healing the delusion of your religion, please see Why won’t God heal amputees, particularly Chapter 5, Chapter 26 and Chapter 28.

12 Responses to “A fascinating article about Atheists in the Boston Globe”

  1. on 14 Dec 2006 at 3:27 am 1.Martian said …

    Yes, the judeo-christian myth “is society’s best bet for restraining our worst moral impulses and encouraging our best ones.”

    Um… kind of like how it encourages us to kill gay people, people who curse their parents, and people who don’t honor the sabbath.

    Thank goodness I have this belief system to tell me how to be so moral! :-)

  2. on 14 Dec 2006 at 4:51 am 2.Andy said …

    I’ve always found this arguement to be one of the scariest propagated by “believers”.

    By implication, they are saying: “The only thing stopping me from commiting murder, theft and rape is a fear of punishment after death by a supernatural being”.

    They then wonder why I’m looking nervous in the presence of an obvious sociopath………..

  3. on 14 Dec 2006 at 9:37 am 3.Jimson said …

    He is not delusional. God gives him hope, as well as a moral and ethical foundation.

  4. on 14 Dec 2006 at 3:34 pm 4.Happy Evolute said …

    So if we were to convince these people that their “God” is delusional they would all become murderers and rapists (since they would realise that they aren’t going to get punished)?

    Hmm …

    Perhaps we’d better keep quiet.

  5. on 15 Dec 2006 at 6:55 pm 5.KJV said …

    Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
    Galatians 6:7 God Bless

  6. on 16 Dec 2006 at 12:34 am 6.Loi P said …

    “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
    Galatians 6:7″
    I don’t know about that. Jack Nicholson is an atheist and he makes more in a movie than you do in a year. So does Woody Allen (another atheist).
    Anton Szandor Lavey made tons of money off of his archetypal Satanism
    L. Ron Hubbard made tons of money off of Scientology.

  7. on 16 Dec 2006 at 2:03 am 7.Shii said …

    Oh, I can definitely believe Jeff Jacoby is a sociopath who would be off murdering other people if it weren’t for God. Just read his other columns!

  8. on 16 Dec 2006 at 11:01 pm 8.a2planet said …

    The 911 Truth Movement gets a lot of hit-pieces like this too.

    The trick is to make people afraid of the consequences of the truth.

    So first they either reject the premise–the reality of a godless world, or the reality of government complicity in the pretext for the “War on Terror”–then go on to imagine how horrible the world would be if everyone felt the way we did.

  9. on 17 Dec 2006 at 1:49 pm 9.Thomas Fahy said …

    This is my rebuttal to the author of a recent Boston Globe article entitled, “Atheists’ Bleak Alternative.” The body of said article will be included below my rebuttal.

    Dear Mr. Jacoby,

    How and when morality became tied up with discourse on religion is beyond me and well beyond my powers of reason–perhaps anybody’s powers of reason. Morality is the offspring of one’s ethics, ethics which determine the values by which one chooses to live; values that are shaped by reason, by the intellect, not by something mystical, not by some undefined feeling, not by stirrings in one’s heart.

    Man’s finest inheritance from his ancestors is this faculty of reason, which alone enables him to appraise his world with the intellect; to observe, consider and understand that world, informing by a reasonable method, the values by which he is to live.

    What you are encouraging in your recent article “Atheists’ Bleak Alternative,” is the acceptance of a method that constitutes the single most grave moral failing available to man: rejecting all standards of intellectual honesty. If indeed it is your aim to usher in a new Dark Age, than your method is a keen one; it is a method wholly capable of achieving that end, and swiftly so. And for the sake of that ignominious end you would ask that your readers accept a proposition for which there is no evidence. You would ask that your readers dispense with the scientific method; you would ask that he sublimate the single greatest power that he has at his disposal–reason–in exchange for faith, which has been shown to divide man decisively, with impunity, age after age. This is the moral failing and intellectual failing that you would ask your readers to assume, to internalize.

    The costs of your position are known; one need only consult recent history. It is the secular position to which you refer that is the responsible position. It is the position that would regard all men in the light of reason. And reason exacts its reward: peace. Peace, not the supernatural, should be in man’s interest.

    Sincerely,

    Thomas R. Fahy

    And here is Mr. Jacoby’s response:

    Dear Mr. Fahy,

    Thank you for your note. But you might consider your own admonition: “The costs of your position are known; one need only consult recent history.”

    Recent history teaches me that the “faculty of reason” you seem to venerate can lead human beings into the darkest of all Dark Ages. It was the “faculty of reason” that brought about the Soviet Gulag, the Chinese Great Leap Forward, the Cambodian genocide, the Nazi Holocaust. As I wrote in the column, religion has certain been perverted by many villains over the
    course of human history. But we for bloodshed and suffering on the most massive scale, we can thank men and movements that were relentlessly hostile to religion and and any gods higher than themselves.

    All the best,

    Jeff Jacoby

    A meagerly reasoned response reflecting a forgiveable ignorance of the philosophical underpinnings of said atrocities, but a response, nonetheless. This is how good debates are initiated. Mr. Jacoby’s argument is flawed and in my next post, I will tell you why, using the Holocaust as an example. And I aim to encourage further participation by the Boston Globe and Mr. Jacoby.

  10. on 21 Dec 2006 at 4:35 pm 10.Loi P said …

    Good job. You’re a good writer.
    I take it you write for a living. o_O

  11. on 28 Dec 2006 at 9:03 pm 11.Matthew Starrs said …

    What a shame Mr Jacoby chose not to give a more comprehensive response to your arguments.
    Nonetheless his meagre response has merits.

    If there were one more thing that I would have liked for him to respond to, it would be the assumption that (in the absence of religion) morality was derived from reason and intelligence. This is sadly a misnomer.

    Sociologists would most likely want to refer you to “Social Contract Theory”. In a nutshell, I treat you in a way that obliges you to respond accordingly, and we all get along just fine.

    The problem is that the herd mentality is malleable, and has been abused repeatedly throughout history by groups and individuals in order to achieve their own purposes. Some of these have utilised religion. The worst offenders are those cited by Mr Jacoby and they utilise atheism.

    That is because it is much easier to pervert a morality that is built on social norms (which are easier to change) than it is to pervert a morality built on ancient traditions, especially those embodied in religions.

    What you are actually advocating for is called “Anarchy”. That is where (to quote the bible) “every man did what was right in his own eyes”. This would not be a problem if our species had a greater propensity for benevolence, but the truth is, because we are universally selfish, what is good for the “other” will always come a distant second to what is good for “me” . . . . . . This, of course, is the very problem that Jesus Christ came into the world to address.

  12. on 29 Dec 2006 at 12:06 am 12.Thomas Fahy said …

    I am confident that there is a Reader’s Digest version of recent history from which the Blogosphere is quoting passages verbatim. Moreover, much of what is quoted seems to be accepted as gospel and re-quoted without having undergone some sort of scholarly criticism and/or verification. This is worrying, as the practice of cannibalizing already cannibalized material is compromising debates on a fundamental level; it is sanctioning ideas that have not been verified, or at the very least cited even after a rudimentary fashion; it is masquerading mere unlearned hearsay as fact. I can not begin to emphasize just how dangerous this practice can be.

    I think noble stands must be made whenever unsubstantiated arguments are publicized, if for no other reason than for the sake of quality-control. For here is the danger: If a Boston Globe or New York Times columnist states a premise without supplying evidence, his readers will likely accept that premise fully. But what is a premise? A premise is the basis on which a logical argument is based. And if the premise is flawed, the conclusion that is a result of the logical argument will both be false and likely produce a number of contradictions. And if the conclusion that is a result of a flawed premise becomes generally accepted, history then is at the mercy of armchair historians; our popular account of history becomes suspect.

    Matthew Starrs is arguing several points: One, that morality is not a product of reason. He also utilized the word ‘misnomer’ in relation to his argument. A misnomer is merely something that has been misnamed. He did not state what exactly had been misnamed, so it is safe to exclude this word altogether; it sounded neat but I don’t think it was the word he was looking for. ‘Misnomer’ refers to the inappropriate use of a name or place, as in a legal document. Moving on: If morality is not a product of reason, of what is it a product? Morality refers to the conforming of an individual to right conduct—the ability to distinguish from right or wrong. It is in the nature of man to wish to live—the jury definitely is in on that point: human beings perform countless acts every day to ensure their survival. It is agreed that this is a pursuit congenial to all human beings. It is accepted implicitly that to live is, indeed, right. I observe this right in my friends, family, acquaintances and neighbors. These same people observe this right in me. How did this observation of ‘the right to live” come about? It is an explicit product of man’s ability to reason. Choice requires the powers of reason. And reason is the offspring of consciousness. Conscious beings are capable of morality by virtue of their ability to reason. So, how is morality not a product of reason?

    Matthew Starrs next argues the following: Human beings are at the mercy of ‘herd mentality.’ Firstly, there is not a study that has ever successfully confirmed that human beings are herd animals. Cattle are herd animals. Sheep are herd animals; geese flock, which is similar in some respects to herding. Human beings do not herd. We have no requirement, bodily or otherwise, to herd. Have you ever heard anyone say, “Oh look, there’s a herd of humans!” Human beings reason as a matter of course; they do not herd, and consequently, they are not subject to ‘herd mentality,’ as a prerequisite of herd mentality is instinct, and human beings are simply not instinctive beings—humans are conscious beings. Philosophy, on the other hand, does have the ability to make large numbers of people behave similarly over extended periods of time. And the relevant portion to which we are referring is the Holocaust. Starrs suggests, taking his cue from Jacoby, that the Holocaust was the brainchild of atheists. This is not the case. The topic of the Holocaust deserves careful consideration, so for the purposes of this particular post, I am going to summarize a few of its philosophical underpinnings. The first was its overtly dogmatic nature. What do I mean by this? Dogma refers to an explicit system of belief. Those dogmas are most successful that have consequences. The dogmas inherent in the Germanic flavor of National Socialism had consequences. Several years before Auschwitz and Birkenau a failure to comply with the social and economic dogmas laid down by the National Socialists was social ostracization, imprisonment and very often execution. More often than not, Germany’s citizens complied to the letter at first with a vague disbelief and then with total acceptance. “Well,” you ask, “how could a people be so silly? They had minds of their own. Why didn’t they just revolt?” And the answer is philosophy and more specifically the pervasive philosophical, psychological and art movements of the Weimar Republic which prepared them, unknowingly of course, and unintentionally by the philosophers of record themselves, for dictatorship. Who were these philosophers, psychologists and artists? The roll call is a long one, but the most crucial players were Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Jung, Kandinsky, Klee & Thomas Mann. This is an incomplete list, but it is an important one nonetheless. Each of these thinkers, Kant especially, owed a great deal to Plato, for at root, they were Platonists. Platonism was the foundation on which many of their philosophies were based, perhaps the most insidious of which was Kant’s “great leap of faith.” It may be said that Plato was the father of Kant and Hegel, and Kant the father of Marx and Nietzsche while Hegel served as their dour uncle. And in turn Nietzsche had the ear of Hitler.

    It is too often stated as the obvious that it was merely propaganda and Hitler’s charisma that moved an entire people into blind allegiance. This is a false premise. Propaganda is a tool, and it can only meet with success when it falls on ears that have been prepared in a philosophical sense and the people of Weimar Germany had been very well prepared; prepared by a heritage steeped in Platonism, mysticism, Kant, Hegelian dictums, naturalism, self-reflexive theater, symbolist aesthetics and a body of literature that had had reason in its crosshairs for almost a century and a half. This is a country well-versed in Marx; that took the idea of altruism literally and pandered to it, and no reasonable people will tolerate broad-based altruism for an extended period of time without succumbing to the whims that are its aim. This is a country steeped in mysticism, not an atheist ethic; it is one of the most pronounced hosts in Europe of Eastern mysticism and Buddhism. This is a country whose headline philosopher, Kant, was the self-proclaimed ambassador of all things irrational; that no man can come to knowledge by the powers of reason; that it required a ‘leap of faith’ to make peace with life; that freedom is his that embraces the irrational, that feels, that acts, that moves, but must not under any circumstances reason! These are the facts. This is the climate that made the German people ripe for Hitler. It was the long-term subjugation of a people to the tenets of illogic, unreason, subjectivity (Freud). It was the philosophical pogrom of Hegel that denounced the notion that knowledge can be gotten from rational observations of the world. Concerning Kant and Hegel, this was a tag-team philosophy, with the sole aim of soldier-making and stealing minds. It was not Hitler’s charisma alone that compelled party sympathizers to turn a blind –eye to the systematic annihilation of between 9 and 26 million human beings. It was not this wildly unsubstantiated claim that atheism was the banner under which Nazism reigned. These were mystics, living irrational lives in a thoroughly subjective world. The road to Nazism was paved by philosophy, NOT by reason. I beg you do your homework. I beg Mr. Jacoby do his. I beg you read and read and read some more. For the future of man’s mind hangs in the balance. Our path in the free world today is a path with eerie parallels to Weimar Germany; paths paved by Platonism run amok, by blind faith, by too many souls feeling too much for all of the wrong reasons and at the expense of reason.

    I hope you don’t take this information lightly. It’s a blog post, and horrendously incomplete, but it’s a start—a necessary start. I am naming names and I am defending reason because there is too little room left in this world even for an ounce of irrationality.

    Finally, no civilization that esteemed reason and made reason its aim, devolved into anarchy. I challenge you, Mr. Starrs, to name 1 such civilization.

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