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Dennis Prager doesn't understand God - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
Dennis Prager doesn't understand God
Conservative talk show host Dennis Prager has two questions for atheists:
1. Do you hope you are right or wrong?
2. Do you ever doubt your atheism?

I respect atheists who answer that they hope they are wrong. It tells me that they understand the terrible consequences of atheism: that all existence is random; that there is no ultimate meaning to life; that there is no objective morality — right and wrong are subjective personal or societal constructs; that when we die, there is nothing but eternal oblivion, meaning, among other things, that one is never reconnected with any loved ones; and there is no ultimate justice in the universe — murderers, torturers and their victims have identical fates: nothing.
Prager's "respect" is something I can heartily live without. I'm happy with the notion that there's no "ultimate" meaning to life, that the assumptions Prager's tribe have made about what is "meaning" are the best and only, and those who don't hew to them, who don't grant power to traditions cast by goat herders and those who mouth their platitudes, deserve punishment. Prager's "punishements" include never being reunited with loved ones, at least the ones who likewise didn't earn the punishments.

But more than that, I've always found the very notion of God to be fundamentally diabolical. Do it as a thought experiment: there exists an entity with immense power, who can reach in and raise your life or throw it down with a mere thought. That entity either (a) helps you reach its state, or (b) thwarts you in reaching its state. Everything in the God story points toward answer (b): the misdirection, the hiddeness, the arbitrariness, the entire kit and kaboodle of excuses for why "god" is hard to understand is just that: excuses.

Give me Buddhism Without Beliefs, a systemic appreciation for human suffering without supernatural reasons, victim blaming, or excuses. Give me Stoicism, a basic, eudaemonic approach to life that likewise doesn't blame victims, has no supernatural reasons, and makes no excuses for its own failings.
How is it that when you see a baby born or a spectacular sunset, or hear a Mozart symphony, or read about the infinite complexity of the human brain — none of these has ever prompted you to wonder whether there really might be a God?
How is it you see a child born with microencaphly and not wonder about the infinite cruelty of a being who could make that stop happening, but chooses not to? I'm comforted by the knowledge that there is nothing out there with power over and interest in my life, or yours, or Dennis Prager's.

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Comments
autopope From: autopope Date: June 9th, 2016 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
The mere existence of the field of Christian apologetics is, in my view, the biggest argument against the substance of Christian beliefs ... alternatively: if I believed that pile of shit I'd rush to give (not sell) my loyalty to the Adversary[*] because the postulated Creator is a malign torturer.

[*] Warmed-over Zoroastrian stuff, because Christianity never saw another belief system it couldn't steal from.
elfs From: elfs Date: June 9th, 2016 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is sorta the reason I'm glad we didn't get a third Eschaton story, and why the Colossus trilogy was so damned perplexing. Vinge's take in the Fire in the Sky series, "Getting to Godhood has its own tribulations," is probably the most humane way of constraining the problem.
autopope From: autopope Date: June 10th, 2016 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aside from other causality issues, a big problem with the Eschaton universe is that the Unborn God of the Remastered is [implicitly] a version of Roko's Basilisk (before Roko coined the term). And that's really not a fictional paddling pool I want to wade in.
omahas From: omahas Date: June 10th, 2016 11:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always found it rather amusing that most all Christians in America view "The God Story" as the one that was put together (The Bible) out of a wide variety of Jewish texts and the Catholic sect of Christians in the early third century CE by a Roman Traditionalist who was fighting for the Imperial throne and thought that Catholic Christians would be most helpful (as opposed to, say, Gnostic Christians). A large number of Christian texts, stories, letters, etc from Christian activists were ignored, and the remaining Jewish texts weren't considered important; and since then the story of Islam just wasn't very helpful (even though it talks about "God" as well).

So what I find interesting is why Atheists tend to stick only to this one story as well.
gipsieee From: gipsieee Date: June 12th, 2016 05:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Your last bit is one of my biggest issues with religion as a whole. The actions of the people involved are my biggest issues with religion as implemented by people.
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