Fundamentalists news websites, how I love thee, especially
In all fairness, there are a small handful of decent commentaries to be found if you really work for it. They have to print a few things that aren’t completely batshit crazy if they want to call themselves “credible”.
Tonight this little gem caught my eye:
What we’re presented with is something of a list stating why the world ‘needs’ god, penned by one Dennis Prager, whom WND cites as “one of America’s most respected and popular nationally syndicated radio talk-show hosts”. I don’t make a habit of listening to syndicated radio programs (outside of NPR) so I can’t speak for his radio appeal. Perhaps I’m limiting myself by not listening to these shows but one man can only take so much abuse.
I encourage you to follow the previous link and give it a read if you’ve the fortitude to do so. For those unable, here’s a brief rundown:
Prager starts off citing that religion has caused some pretty nasty stuff (”intolerance, hatred, division, inquisitions, persecutions of “heretics,” holy wars”). Off to a good start, I’m in!
Next, sadly, he
For every thousand students who learn about the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, maybe two learn to associate Gulag, Auschwitz, the Cultural Revolution and the Cambodian genocide with secular regimes and ideologies.
For all the problems associated with belief in God, the death of God leads to far more of them.
Students don’t learn to associate those things with secular regimes and/or ideologies because it’s bullshit, Dennis. Public schools might not teach the most crystal clear versions of history (especially in regard to the U.S.) but they’ve manage to not bring religion into every single classroom conversation, especially those where it’s beyond ridiculous to do so. This dead-horse-beating “no god = hitler” style of argument really needs to get shot in the head, once and for all. It’s plenty easy to counter-point but come on guys, get some new material!
Godwin aside he goes on with his list. While nothing he uses to ‘prove’ his point is totally new, this is the meat and potatoes of the piece, so I’ll reference the points that aren’t rhetorical.
1. Without God, there is no good and evil; there are only subjective opinions that we then label “good” and “evil.” This does not mean that an atheist cannot be a good person. Nor does it mean that all those who believe in God are good; there are good atheists and there are bad believers in God. It simply means that unless there is a moral authority that transcends humans from which emanates an objective right and wrong, “right” and “wrong” no more objectively exist than do “beautiful” and “ugly.”
“Good” and “evil” are subjective opinions, Denny, much like “beautiful” and “ugly” as mentioned. His version of good and not-so-good is subjective in regard to his religious teachings, which, not everyone holds true. If Dennis here is suggesting that everyone whom doesn’t agree with his version of faith is “evil” I’d recommend he give Bill Donohue a call. Donohue might be a bit more abrasive then Denny here but they seem to share the same black and white version of reality. The notion that people need some sort of supernatural guidance to form decent social mores is inept.
2. Without God, there is no objective meaning to life. We are all merely random creations of natural selection whose existence has no more intrinsic purpose or meaning than that of a pebble equally randomly produced.
We’re not, in the grand scheme of things but people have a tendency to think so. Though our universal worth may be no better then a rock we are truly amazing animals. We can appreciate the world around us, in so many ways that nothing else can, without a supernatural superiority complex. I feel a bit sorry for anything that needs an ego-crutch to enjoy life. This is not a depressing or grim notion, it is simply how things are.
3. Life is ultimately a tragic fare if there is no God. We live, we suffer, we die – some horrifically, many prematurely – and there is only oblivion afterward.
“Tragic”, much like “good” and “evil” is subjective. I see nothing tragic about the natural order of things. We live, we die. See #2 for more details.
(He starts to get a little redundant so I’ll abridge. Follow the link if you want the full text.)
4. Re-words #1, starting with “Human beings need instruction manuals…”.
5. Rewords #3, talks about fate and brings up a nazi…again.
6. Equates Western Europe to being godless cowards, calls communism evil, fails to make an argument.
7. Calls marxism “utterly irrational” (subjectified!) and blathers on about how irrational it is to think men and women are equal, ends with “while the secular, without religion to enable the non-rational to express itself, end up applying their irrational beliefs to society, where such irrationalities do immense harm.”
I’d love to address this one further but my inner rage has boiled over by reading it more than once. Show me one society where equality between men and women has caused immense harm?
8. If there is no God, the human being has no free will. He is a robot whose every action is dictated by genes and environment. Only if one posits human creation by a Creator that transcends genes and environment who implanted the ability to transcend genes and environment can humans have free will.
Without god we’re robots?! This is a new one! So instinct = robot and the opposite of that would be free will? Free to deny instinct? The logic does not follow. We could go into humans higher brain functions, the social skills that enabled us to survive as long as we have or even how the concept of free will is null and void in a creator-less existence but all he seems to be doing is invoking the same theme of #2, yet again.
10. Without God, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. That is why contemporary art galleries and museums are filled with “art” that celebrates the scatological, the ugly and the shocking. Compare this art to Michelangelo’s art in the Sistine Chapel. The latter elevates the viewer – because Michelangelo believed in something higher than himself and higher than all men.
We’ve gone from genocide to the “demise” of art in less than a page…amazing. Art has no quality control and is open to interpretation by the viewer (it’s…subjective!). While I do agree that
11. “Without God, nothing is holy.” He goes on to define what holy is…etc. He’s not making am argument here at all. Holiness does not come from supernatural beings, it comes from a seemingly supernatural leap in logic. Things can be important to a person for many reasons but any suggestion that these objects might be more then just objects, due to some god-beings intervention, is crazy.
12. Says without god man becomes the supreme being, failing to bother with suggestion that there might not be a “supreme” being or any need for one at all. We’ve covered this already in #2.
13. “Without God, there are no inalienable human rights. Evolution confers no rights. Molecules confer no rights. Energy has no moral concerns.” follows with a statement about the U.S. constitution. This is a glorified copy of #1. We can, and do, create social mores without gods…etc etc etc
14. Closes out the list with an epic, yet typical, Godwin. Claims that “the widespread cruelties and the sheer number of innocents murdered by secular regimes – specifically Nazi, Fascist and Communist regimes – dwarfs the evil done in the name of religion.”
We do not need religion to be decent people. People will commit such atrocities with or without it (though, without, we would be significantly better off for a plethora of reasons I’ll not go into here). I know people that feel their lives have been bettered by religion, which they pleasantly keep to themselves and appropriate social circles, and that’s fine by me. They’re socially aware enough to know that not everyone thinks as they do, they’re not outwardly hostile or angry at those whom would appose them for that belief. They’re generally good people that do good things just the same as the atheists and humanists they’re friends with.
Yep, atheists have morals too. Just because it’s not written in a book or carved into stones doesn’t mean we can’t mentally grade what is and isn’t good for ourselves and society en large.