Articles of Reason 107

ARTICLES OF REASON

A.    On Atheism

1.   Gods are creatures of the human imagination.

2.   Faith in imaginary beings does not prove their existence.

3.   All laws and moral rules are man-made.

NOTES

1.   Agnosticism as a suspension of belief may still be belief; but as a suspension of disbelief it is atheism.

‘Seeing no reason to believe is sufficient reason not to believe’ – Karl Popper

2.   Passionate devotion to a faith does not prove it to be true.

Many a belief can survive persecution but not critical examination.

3.   Justice is a human need and a human responsibility.

Justice may be elusive, but judgment is inescapable.

B.   On Conservatism

1.   Individual freedom is the necessary condition for prosperity, innovation, and adaptation, which together ensure survival.

2.   A culture constituted for individual freedom is superior to all others.

3.   Only the Conservative policies of the post-Enlightenment Western world are formulated to protect individual freedom.

4.   Individual freedom under the rule of non-discriminatory law, a free market economy, the limiting of government power by democratic controls and constitutional checks and balances, and strong national defense are core Conservative policies.

NOTES

My liberty should be limited by nothing except everyone else’s liberty.

Tyrants and socialist bureaucracies cannot know what people want, they resist innovation, and they cannot change in response to changing conditions.

Liberty and economic equality are incompatible.

The threat of totalitarianism arises when free markets are distorted by government manipulation, when free speech is constrained by rules protecting ideologies, including religions, from criticism, and when equality before the law is undermined by laws coercing economic equality.

When governments pursue ‘social justice’ – or redistribution, to give it its proper name – they rob industrious Peter to give a grant to indolent Paul. This is criminal and immoral.

Posted under by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 9, 2009

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  • James Marion

    I could not have written this better myself! I love this site!

    • Jillian Becker

      Very glad to have you with us, James Marion! We value your appreciation. Please stay with us and comment freely.

  • REALBEING

    Mycos post stated: “It appears that conservatism has pathological dimensions manifested in
    violence and distorted psycho-sexual development” (Boshier, 1983, p.
    159).

    I would like to remind Mycos that this disturbing attribute is related mostly towards the fanatical humans among us. Not just from fanatical conservative human beings, but a rather large majority found in the fanatically gullible. (liberal and religious folks) IOW, a fanatic is a fanatic.

    I also noticed a greater majority of other folk’s thoughts roll off Mycos’ keyboard in his/her post than his/her own thoughts.

    I think that a genuine ‘real’ thought might indeed be a very rare commodity in this one’s mind…..

    With folks like this, Robert Hinelein’s thought comes to mind….”Most people can’t think, most of the remainder won’t think, the small fraction who do think mostly can’t do
    it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately,
    and creatively, and without self-delusion- in the long run these are the only people who count.”

    • Jillian Becker

      We’re always glad to hear from our readers, and what you say and what you quote Robert Hinelein as saying are interesting thoughts, but did you also post this comment on “Mycos”?

      Mycos?

      • REALBEING

        Yes, I just did….

        • Jillian Becker

          Please tell us, what exactly is Mycos?

    • WmarkW

      If Heinlein’s quote was true, that would be a strong argument for liberalism. The fact that most people are capable of making their own decisions, is the single best reason to keep markets, discourse and minds free.

      • REALBEING

        I believe that Heinlein’s quote is also a strong argument for living an authentic life, and thus true conservatism.
        The fact that most people are capable of making their own decisions is neither here nor there when speaking of a liberal or a conservative’s choices in life. However, whether or not one’s decisions are completely thought out, and one’s agendas are formulated with the intent of purposefully bettering the human race, or bettering one’s own position and/or feelings is paramount in reasoning one’s political “sway.”

        IMHO, conservatism vs. liberalism is predominantly self-reliance vs. looking and feeling good, at the other fellow’s expense.

        Webster’s definition of liberalism is: “A political philosophy based on belief in progress,
        the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the
        individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.”

        In reality, as most true conservatives have observed of their counterpart, a true liberal is only looking at the apparent veneer, or “shine” of progress or essential goodness, or the autonomy of the human race.

        IOW, they never look at the root cause of the challenge that the human race faces, which is an almost total lack of personal accountability.

        Most liberals that I’ve observed only render themselves available if it is in their own best interest, as the outcome of how the situation makes them feel, or look to others is their main priority.
        When someone continually helps or gives a handout to the perfectly able downtrodden among us they are subliminally telling these folks that they cannot do anything of value on their own. The act of doing for these poor folks is the reward for the “inside” of the liberal.

        They choose to rescue the less fortunate, fully capable humans among us in order to make themselves feel better.
        If they would leave their rescuer priorities by the wayside and take action, thinking deeper about this subject, they would see that in nature, of which we all play a part in, the survival of the individual is dependent on that capable individual’s own efforts towards the betterment of his or her own life, and not living off an inner dependency instituted by the bastardization of “progress, essential goodness, and autonomy of the individual” wrought upon the human race by liberalism.

        • WmarkW

          Liberals notice (IMO, correctly) that most Americans don’t really lack for anything. Where I part company with them, is believing that the poor need “tough love” and not coddling, along the lines of your last couple paragraphs. Last week’s Semicentennial of the March, brought out a lot of “in some ways nothing has changed” commentaries, comparing Trayvon Martin to Emmit Till, and voter ID laws to literacy tests. Liberalism did accomplish some important (and IMO desirable) objectives from the 1930s-60s, but hasn’t adapted to the change in the causitive factors, now that the old ones have been eliminated.

  • Philo Vaihinger

    Eh, industrious Peter will do fine. As for Paul, the poor fellow’s sick and old, and was always horrifically exploited by the capitalist class, who get to make all the rules for themselves, anyway.

    • liz

      Poor “exploited” Paul will do even worse under the rule of the Statists, who get to make all the rules for everybody, on pain of death.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Yarber/100000024350868 Robert Yarber

    Received this message on Facebook from my grandfather today:

    “hurricane sandy; god the faithful creator started it out as a small cloud over the north atlantic only god can create this great power…”

    Only a primitive Neanderthal would believe a magic man in the sky creates the weather.

  • Mark Hill

    Maybe we can stay in the closet for awhile and work with Christian conservatives to bring down this Obama regime. As Henry of Navarre said, when offered the crown of France if he would practice Catholicism, “Paris is worth a mass.”

  • Mycos

     “It appears that conservatism has pathological dimensions manifested in violence and distorted psycho-sexual development” (Boshier, 1983, p. 159). This is supported by a study conducted by Walker, Rowe, and Quincey (1993) in which there was a direct correlation between authoritarianism and sexually aggressive behavior. An investigation done by Muehlenhard (1988) revealed that rape justification and aggression toward subordinate individuals was much higher in traditional (conservative personality) than non-traditional personalities.”

    “Neither conceptually nor empirically does there appear to be any grounds for distinguishing authoritarianism and conservative personality-except that the former may be regarded as a somewhat more particular case of the latter” (Wilson, G. (1973). The psychology of Conservatism. New York: Academic Press. ). 

    “Persons who had a dogmatic belief in religions and adhered to the teachings of absolutist and perfectionistic religious groups, tended to be more frequently and more intensely emotionally disturbed than those who followed less dogmatic religion (Ellis, 1986). Authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism were positively correlated, with scores on authoritarianism significantly related to those on ethnic and racial prejudice, hostility toward homosexuals, and punitiveness in prison sentencing (Wylie & Forest, 1992). According to Parker (1990), dogmatism and orthodox belief were incompatible with ethical acuity”.

    “Conservatism is not the doctrine of the intellectual elite or of the more intelligent segments of the population, but the reverse. By every measure available to us, conservative beliefs are found most frequently among the uniformed, the poorly educated, and the less intelligent” (McClosky, H. Conservatism and Personality. American Political Science Review, 52, 27-45. ).

    • Jillian Becker

      What a load of (typical) academic poppycock! 

      Such studies can be made to “prove” anything. 

      If you’re trying to tell us we must be stupid because we’re conservative you’ll have to do better than that. You’ll have to produce an intelligent argument yourself. 

      “Ethical acuity?” What’s that? 

      And why bring in the quotation about religions? Haven’t you noticed we’re an ATHEIST site?

    • REALBEING

      Mycos post stated: “It appears that conservatism has pathological dimensions manifested in
      violence and distorted psycho-sexual development” (Boshier, 1983, p.
      159).

      I would like to remind Mycos that this disturbing attribute is related mostly towards the fanatical humans among us. Not just from fanatical conservative human beings, but a rather large majority found in the fanatically gullible. (liberal and religious folks) IOW, a fanatic is a fanatic.

      I also noticed a greater majority of other folk’s thoughts roll off Mycos’ keyboard in his/her post than his/her own thoughts.

      I think that a genuine ‘real’ thought might indeed be a very rare commodity in this one’s mind…..

      With folks like this, Robert Hinelein’s thought comes to mind….”Most people can’t think, most of the remainder won’t think, the small fraction who do think mostly can’t do
      it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately,
      and creatively, and without self-delusion- in the long run these are the only people who count.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Yarber/100000024350868 Robert Yarber

    Does any one know a good news outlet? I can’t stand Fox News any more, they’re just a mouth piece for the religious Right.

  • George

                    In regards to Robert Yarbers comment –

    Hi Robert –    This issue has met with many heated exchanges on this site and I wanted to  put my sincere two cents in  ——-

                         There have been many heated debates on this subject and as such it has caused a hostile rift between even fellow secular freethinkers.  There are situations where an abortion would probably be necessary and situations where such is totally absurd. For example –  If a woman is raped and is found to have been impregnated by her rapist —should she be allowed to have an abortion ?   Yes , and I would totally support the woman in this matter. If a man and woman are dating or married and they used every form of birth control and the birth control failed and they both did not want a pregnancy and they go to a clinic and find out that she is now determined to be pregnant –at the onset of the woman finding out that she is pregnant, should she have the right to have an abortion if it’s only at the stage of simply the beginning of egg/sperm fertilization and neither mother/father wanted it at this stage and NO development has occurred  ?  I would say YES  ( some may even debate this ).  
                                     Now , if the unborn fetus is FULLY developed in the late stage and has a fully developed brain, full heartbeat and internal /external organs, hands , feet, and all limbs and is fully developped and healthy ( but only has not yet emerged from the womb ) should that unborn child be exterminated at this stage ?   Definately not !   At this stage , then although the unborn child may have not yet emerged a few centimeters from the womb ( via birth ) but is indeed fully developed–it is NOW biologically and  genetically  a fully  developed human being and as such at this point , the  killing  of it at this stage is indeed MURDER or INFANTIC IDE  and this has absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to do with anyone controlling any woman or  telling any woman what to do with her body .
                          At this stage , this is a matter of a body that is within another body and as such is actually a separate entity or living being separate altogether from the mother’s body  and as such isn’t a matter of the WOMAN’S  body but a body within HER  body . The feminists have used this argument  radically to promote their absolute reign in deciding when a baby should be snuffed out or not.
                         I once heard Bill Baird speak on this issue at an atheist assembly and he stated to the effect that — ” To call a newly formed  egg/sperm formation a human is like calling an acorn a tree”.  I agree with him in that specific regard.  Let me repeat what I have asserted in a previous post on this matter.   Some women say —– ” It’s my body ” as if the matter is closed and the father of the unborn has no say in the matter.   The father of the unborn is saying — ” I have NO intent of telling you what to do with your body , but that unborn child that you are carrying in your womb is a separate life from your body and is as much mine as it is yours and as such I have a right as the father of that unborn to have a say toward the fate of that unborn child and to enjoy the birth and life of what is equally MY child as well and this is NOT up for personal debate . Also , as such , I refuse to be so easily despensed with so easily as if my right s to what is equally my child doesn’t matter or count. We are talking about a LIFE here and not just a “piece of meat or a glob of flesh”  . And if  you do not want what is equally OUR child , then bring the child to term , sign your rights away and turn the child over to me ( the father) and I will gladly raise that child and love it because it is also my child as well and I would gladly welcome the opportunity to be so “burdened” as you say in this matter.   
                          Using abortion as a form of convenient post conception birth control is simply hideous . I actually read an article blurb on this matter and I was actually shocked to have read where a feminist actually stated that if the father wanted the child and wanted to take care of it then he should be able to have his child and release the woman from any responsibility.  Some women have said that a woman shouldn’t be forced to have an unwanted child or  be forced to take care and support a  child she has no desire for but yet are forced via child support anyway. Wow !   Funny , if the woman decides to bring the unborn to term and give birth , what option does the father of the unborn have to “opt out ” from being forced to take care of a child he doesn’t want  ?   The father will be forced by the family courts ( GOVERNMENT ) to pay child support until that child reaches adulthood and possibly further depending on the circumstances.  The mother and her womb actually serves as a natural  incubator for the developing fetus and as such the matter is NOT telling a woman what to do with her body but the rather the fate of an unborn within her body. When I hear many of these arguments from SOME atheists ( especially the radical feminists ) I then realize that simply being secular doesn’t necessarily make a person to be rational at all. I’m speaking in the general sense.  There have been a couple of heated arguments on this website on this subject and as such I tend to shy away from the subject to avoid such because I know what this could lead to  ( from experience ). 
                   I actually got into a heated debate with an atheist man who told me that even seconds before birth and the unborn is fully developed and fully at term , if the woman wants to have it aborted ( killed ) that it’s ok.  When I heard him say that , that’s when I knew that being secular does not necessarily mean using common sense . I was actually horrified to hear such.  Speaking personally , I have NO intent to tell any woman what to do with HER body but I will indeed take every step to protect a fully developed unborn child . I am NOT going to be lured by anyone into a debate of at what point does life begin or at what point is the developed egg/sperm begin to be human.   We could debate that until the cows come home . If a woman wants to wear short hair or long hair , I don’t care  [ it's her body ]. If a woman wants to put tattoos all over her body , I don’t care as it’s not my business –[ It's her body ]. If a woman wants to engage in an orgy with a hundred men , I don’t care [ it's her body ].  I can go on and on ad nauseum. However , having said this , if a fully developed unborn child simply has NOT emerged a few centimeters  from the inside of the womb but is indeed fully developed , then at this stage it is not a questionable issue but a matter of common sense and biological fact . For example , if the developed fetus is ready and able to sustain itself fully functionable outside of the womb and the mother decides  at the last minute she no longer wants to be a mother , then for her to simply waltz into an abortion clinic at this stage to  have it killed is without any question indeed MURDER. 
             Another example is the Scott Peterson murder case which the feminists supported to show what hypocrites they are and what a double-standard they support.  Feminists and those who claim that if the child hasn’t been born that  it isn’t human  were totally in support of the double murder charges made against Scott Peterson . Peterson was charged with killing his wife and their unborn child and the feminists cheered . Not one said —— ” Wait a minuite , he can’t be charged with killing the unborn child because it wasn’t born yet  ! “.   Not only that , but not one man who supports their position spoke out as such either. That’s a hypocritical and double-standard position. The feminists didn’t care because as far as they were concerned a man was being charged and was facing capital punishment and that was something to cheer about in their eyes with their disdain and negative ( and SOMETIMES hate-mongering )  attitude toward men  in general. I have even heard SOME feminists promote the right for women to engage in post-partum abortion .  This is pure insanity . The idea that AFTER a baby is born , fully developed and healthy that a mother can have it killed between the first month after birth and then call this some kind of RIGHT of a woman to do what she wants with her body is the epitome of insanity and is indeed the most hideous mindset that anyone could ever have.  If supporting this agenda is what mainstream organized secular groups are going to support , then I just may run ( not walk ) and join hands with the churchs that have respect for life  in these circumstances.  I am not going to get into a back & forth debate on the matter with anyone and that is not my style or intent to do so and I wish to avoid such and I am simply stating my position on this . There are also a few secular groups who are Pro-life .  I  have heard those who refer to themselves as Pro-Choice refer to those who are Pro-Life as [ Anti Choice ]. What nonsense . If those who call themselves Pro-Choice want to use this form of inflammatory language then those of us who refer to ourselves as Pro-Life will reciprocate and refer to them as Anti-Life as this term has been used before in rebuttal .    I have no intent of controlling, manipulating, dictating or restricting any woman with anything she wants to do with her body . It’s hers  I don’t care and it’s none of my business but a developed and fully viable ( totally formed unborn child ) is not just  something we can just throw away as some form of disposable little human being  at the conveence of a woman who doesn’t want to be burdened with the responsibility of it’s care . If women say that men have no say in the matter , then fine , when women become ASEXUAL  and capable of getting pregnant without men or the sperm of men by some artificial means then men can step aside  ( except in the case of protecting a developed innocent unborn baby just the same ).   I read an atheist article that said men are nothing but [ sperm donors ] . Really ? If that’s true then women would therefore only be considered to be [ sperm recepticals] or simply [ egg donors ].  The reason that I hate to engage in this conversation  is because when someone has a different viewpoint on the matter , instead of being civil and acting mature they get emotionally out of control and start making their  personal ad hominem attacks , name calling  and harrassment instead of rationally and maturely  sticking to the specific issue and topic itself .  I have a love and respect for women in general and I also have a respect for all deserving human life as well . 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Yarber/100000024350868 Robert Yarber

      Awesome post, George! This is why I love Libertarianism, because it’s made up of people with vastly differing view points, instead of the narrow Left-Right of the Republicans and Democrats.

      • George

        The early feminists who started the  “women’s liberation” movement actually opposed abortion and yet these new age radical mean-spirited man-haters of today ( not all , but most ) are promoting this agenda full steam ahead.  They also  know that they have the mainstream liberal news media on their side to help promote their dubious agendas. Their venomous tactic is to publicly denigrate anyone who gets in their way and stands up to them . Hitler had an agenda to force abortions on German women who he believed to be in the process of producing “unpure” or [ non- master race ] babies in his warped mind . I read this in a news article by a professional researcher and it is reported (allegedly) to be in the archives of Germany. It has also been reported ( allegedly)  that most of   planned parenthood abortion clinics are situated in the poor inner city black ghettos and slums and many rsearchers  have asserted that black women have the great majority of abortions and some inner city activists  have regarded it as a form of disguised genocide . Some have even asserted that the most dangerous place for a young black baby to be today is in it’s mother’ s womb.  This situation however transcends ethnic lines considering that the women in China and in India are in grave peril and girl babies are at high risk of even being murdred after birth . This goes beyond ethnicity and is global. The feminists push this agenda because they want TOTAL control to decide who lives and who dies and so therefore THEY would control how many male or females are born.  I found this out from a report by a woman who was in  that movement and discovered the truth and now she is speaking out on this.  Now she is being attacked.  The liberal men ( and a few conservative men ) who support this agenda don’t realize that these feminists look upon them with the same contempt that a prison guard looks upon a jail inmate who “snitches”  on his fellow inmate to attain more rations or favors.  These feminists  (SOME)  who promote MISANDRY if given the opportunity would pu a knife in these men’s backs and laugh at them while doing so. You and I have a lot in common Robert and I am a Libertarian and i woke up to this realization long ago.  Thanks for being mature and civil in this matter Robert— I appreciate it sir.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Yarber/100000024350868 Robert Yarber

    I believe the Government has no right to tell us what we can and can’t do with our bodies, we do not belong to the Government. If a woman wants to have an abortion, that is her choice as a free citizen. But I do believe the Government’s job is to protect its citizens, and that’s where abortion becomes a very sticky subject, because at what point does the fetus become a person and gain all the rights of a citizen?

  • George

    The following are some quotes from Robert Green Ingersoll —-

                           I want no heaven for which I must give my reason , no happiness in exchange for my liberty , and no immortality that demands the surrender of my individuality. I will never  desert the one I love for the promise of any god. I would not know a god if I saw one.
                             If a man really believes that god once upheld slavery , that he commanded soilders to kill women and babes , that he believed in polygamy , that he persecuted for opinion’s sake , that  he will punish forever ,  and that he hates an  unbeliever , the effect in my judgement will be bad.  It  always  has been bad. This belief made the Puritan murder the Quaker.  If the book - the Bible and my brain are both the work of the same infinite God , whose fault is it that the book and my brain do not agree ?
                      Is it possible to conceive of anything more immoral that for a husband to insist on living with  a wife who has no love for him ? Is not this a perpetual crime ? Has she no right of choice ? Is her modesty the property of another ? Is the man she hates the lord of her desire ? Has she no right to guard the jewels of her soul ? Is there a depth below this ? It is an old habit with theologians to beat the living with the bones of the dead.
                      Marriages are made by men and women , not by society , not by the state , not by the church , not by supernatural beings . Mental slavery is mental death , and every man who has given up his intellectual freedom is the coffin of his dead soul.  One good school teacher is worth more than 100 priests.
                        Force has no place in the world of love. It is impossible to control likes and dislikes by law. No one ever did and no one ever can love on compulsion. Courts can not obtain jurisdiction of the heart.  I believe in the religion of reason — the gospel of this world , in the development of the mind , in the accumulation of intellectual wealth , to the end that man may free himself from supersitious fear , to the end that he may take advantage of the forces of nature to feed and clothe the world.
                     I have the same right to give my opinion that you have to give yours. I have  no right to compel you to hear , if you do not want to.  I  have no right to compel you to speak if you do not want to.  If you do not wish to know my thought , I have no right to force it upon you.
                              Every child should be taught to doubt , to inquire , to demand reasons. Every soul should defend itself–should be on it’s guard against falsehood , deceit , and mistake , and should be beware of all kinds of confidence men , including those of the pulpit. Every man should be mentally honest. He should preserve as his most precious jewel the perfect veracity of his soul. He should examine all questions presented to his mind without prejudice –unbiased by hatred  or love –by desire or fear.  His object and his only object should be to find the truth.  He knows , if he listens to reason , that truth is not dangerous and that error is.  He should weigh the evidence, the arguments, in honest scales — scales that passion or interest cannot change. He should care nothing for authority– nothing for names , customs , or creeds– nothing for anything that his reason does not say is true.
                        Reason ,  Observation , and Experience — the Holy Trinity of science. 
         
      

  • kb

    Where can the top 5 best questions for religeous nut be found? Example; what happened to the dinosaurs, were there dinosaurs?

    • Frank

  • Tom

    Your site, in a word.., Refreshing!!

    • Jillian Becker

      I’m glad you find it so, Tom. 

      Welcome!  

      Please stay with us and comment whenever you feel like it. 

  • Anonymous

    Back after MUCH thought and abuse on Huffington post, STILL making sense of it all!!

    Question re/Atheism: if it is NOT a belief, but based upon observable phenomena, it can still be and “organized” group arriving at the same conclusions.

    And can the conclusion arrive at a “force”, LARGER than human beings, from which we, and our morals, are derived?

    And if this “force” has constants, upon which we can agree, does this not in effect equate to a “belief”, since the “force” to date is conclusive, but it’s continuation, by definition, cannot be, except by…an organized system of beliefs?

    Help me out here, being schooled in religion and Latin from the 8th grade STILL has me confused!

    • George

      Religion is regarded as a belief based upon embracing a concept of a supernatural being ( or beings ) and submitting to the constraints or tennants and  dictates of such being(s) and the subsequent doctrine and/or dogma as applicable.  The word [atheism] means simply  non theistic or rather non-religious.   Personally I do not prefer the term atheist. I regard myself as a Rationalist [ or even secular freethinker ].   Atheism means without religious or theological belief or minus theological belief. As such, many  people have regarded the term as having a negative conotation. 
                 In many societies , people have been indoctrinated to associate religion with morality and good living and hence the negative perception that many theists (religionists ) have toward atheists.  When I personally tell a person that I am an atheist , I personally am simply saying that I DO NOT embrace a belief in a supernatural being or a paranormal phenomena  and/or life-form.
                           I have no need to embrace a belief in an alleged supernatural  being in order to be a moral and disciplined human being.  Societies throughtout milenia have invented religions and gods /deities  and also demons/devils. The reason that I chose to regard myself as a  Rationalist is because it has a positive conotation meaning I believe in rational thinking, rational behavior, analytical inquiry , scientific investigation , reason and using good sense in living my daily life .
                 At one time I said that I embrace the Golden Rule  ( which I still do ) but even the Golden Rule is selfish. I’ll explain.  The Golden Rule– [ Do unto others as you would have them do unto you ].  That concept itself is also selfish considering  for example  —–  I’ll do you a favor because someday I may have a need and you will remember the favor I did you and feel obligated to return the favor to me and so therefore I will do the favor to you because I consider it a social “insurance policy” to expect a favor possibly sometime in the future if I need it and hope you’ll remember what I did for you and you will feel the obligatory need to repay me the favor.  That’s selfish in itself —so therefore even the Golden Rule is selfish. It’s like saying I’m doing this for you  not  just to be helpful but I’m doing it because someday I might get in trouble or have a need and you’ll reciprocate the favor as well.  Think about it.
                       As far as a religious belief, why would I have to embrace a belief in some supernatural anomaly or supernatural being in order to live a good life whereby  massive multitudes of atheists are proving every day otherwise  ?
          Religions  were  created as a means by which men gave simplistic answers to where we came from , why we are here and the purpose of life.  It was so easy to create a greater than human being as the super father figure to submit to or have as a “guide”  which is in actuality is a “crutch” for thriving throughout life.  The “god” or “gods” become the supernatural  “mental security blanket” for our existance  and daily living when we don’t understand natural phenomena and the answers to life’s questions and problems. Religions are also used as a means of controlling the behavior and thinking of massive numbers of people via indoctrination .  It is social  and mental mind manipulation and control.

  • Ben

    “Conservative policy of post Enlightenment  Western world” not allways promotes free markets. Conservatives in Europe often sacrifice individual freedom  to collectivist and nationalist agenda.

    • Jillian

      Those are conservatives only in name, Ben.

      • George

        Just like RINO ( Rebublican In Name Only ) , we can call them CINO ( Conservative In Name Only ).  Sounds good to me .

  • Ben

    Globalization creates hard time for free economy.The necessary  forms of national and international cooperation appear in the government,trade-unions,UN,EU,other monopolist`s hands. They impose pro-socialist well-fare state,pro-socialist economic science( P.Krugman ). The weakness of the scientific answers on the questions of economic cooperation and nihilism of many conservatives  gives the chance to allure the population by Obama`s demagogy.

  • Ben

    All is true,but conservatives must elaborate the principal policy of the “wellfare state” national projects and government`s initiatives` restrictions.Talks about the small government are not enough.

  • Brian

    Two Kinds of Gods
    (The Ultimate Reconciliation of Religions)
    Brian Ahn

    Preface
    (Two Kinds of Gods)

    There are two kinds of gods:
    A- god: The actual cause of the universe.
    B- god: The god described in the religious scriptures.
    Most people confuse A-god with B-god. No one knows what or who A-god is. B-god is what ancient people described based on their limited knowledge about the world. Theoretically speaking, there is only one A-god. But there can be, and are, numerous B-gods. Since ancient people had various different knowledge or opinions about the world, numerous kinds of B-gods came into being. I define A-god as true god. B-god is man-made god in the man-written god-fiction called scriptures.

    My point is this: The universe and all things in it are the works of A-god, not B-god. We can understand the works of true god (A-god) through rational and critical thinking, one by one and little by little. In this respect, science, not revelation, is the right way to understand the works of true god. For example, the microscope or telescope, rather than prayer or meditation, is the better tool to comprehend the works of true god. A drop of vaccine can save the life of a dying patient better than one thousand prayers can. Revelations are but the reflections of individuals’ limited knowledge/ opinions about the world. We should note that ancient people knew very little about the universe, stars, solar system, weathers, earthquakes, volcanoes, diseases, epidemics, human mentality, and so forth. What is more, ancient religious leaders were not free from tribal interests or prejudice. For example, Moses (1200’s BCE) received the revelation that only Israelites were the chosen people of god and that all Gentile people, save women (virgin women), should be destroyed by the will of Jehovah (Deuteronomy 20: 10-19; 31: 17-18, 35). The word or revelation of Jehovah in the Pentateuch was the personal opinion of Moses or Moses’ followers who assumed the name of God.

    To date, religionists have used prayers, exorcism, inquisitions, witch trials, sacred wars, terrors, etc. to solve the problems of reality. But history tells us that none of these is the right solution. The author has studied the world major religions for many years and come to a conclusion that the better solution is to let the world know the correct history of how all the religious teachings or doctrines came into being. Take the doctrine of eternal life, for example; Moses neither believed in nor taught eternal life, hell, and heaven to his people. How do I know? The Torah or Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) proves this; there is not a positive word or line in the Pentateuch that has to do with eternal life.

    The concepts of eternal life, heaven, hell, resurrection, last judgment, future savior, limbo/purgatory, etc. were originally the religious ideas of Zoroastrianism (1000’s BCE~) of ancient Persia, what is now Iran. These ideas/ doctrines of Zoroastrianism smeared into many (not all) Jews in the 500’s BCE during which the Persian Empire ruled most parts of the Middle East including Palestine.
    In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees believed in eternal life, resurrection, heaven, hell, angel, spirit, etc. whereas the Sadducees, who believed in only the Mosaic law (Pentateuch), rejected these ideas (Luke 20: 27). Jesus abolished many Mosaic laws and taught (unknowingly) the major doctrines of Zoroastrianism to his followers. So logically speaking, Jesus’ Father was Ahura Mazda, the god of Zoroastrianism, rather than Jehovah, the god of Moses. Mohammed (570-632) taught his followers about eternal life, resurrection, last judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, etc. in the name of Allah whom he identified with Mosaic god. Mohammed received the revelation from angel Gabriel that God’s curse was upon Jews and Christians because they had forsaken Mosaic god and that only Muslims were the true children of Mosaic god.

    All the conflicts or problems between/among religions come from not knowing exactly how religious teachings/doctrines have come into being. So knowing the correct history is very important. G. Edward Griffin (1931-, American film producer, author, and political lecturer) and Will Durant (1885–1981, American writer, historian, and philosopher) articulated the importance of history. The former said, “The past is the key to the present, and we can never fully understand where we are today unless we know what path we traveled to get here,” and the latter said, “Those who know nothing about history are doomed forever to repeat it.”

    In Part 1 of this book, I revealed many historical facts about how all the religious misbeliefs, prejudices, and unmentionable atrocities came into being in the name of God. I discussed the nature of A-god (the cause of the universe) from the scientific point of view in Part 2. I discussed the meaning of good and evil from the scientific point of view in Part 3.

    In addition to traditional religions, I refer to Nazism, Hirohitoism (Japanese imperialism during WWII), Marxism, communism, etc. as religions. The gods of traditional religions are man-made ones. Therefore, the belief in any of such man-made gods cannot be the exclusive condition to be considered a religion. I define religion as any teachings or philosophy that promises a perfect place (utopia) in the sky or on earth in the name of absolutism.
    Similarly to traditional religions, socialism/communism promises all the good things—equality, democracy, human rights, environment, peace, justice, salvation of the good (the poor), damnation for the evil (the haves), brotherly love, permanent happiness of humanity, and so forth. However, history and reality teach us that socialism/communism brings the opposite things contrary to what they promise. Socialism deceives and spoils people. Socialism seems to taste very sweet. But it bankrupts both the government and people. Socialism/communism is but the stepping-stone to earthly hell where poverty, corruptions, and human rights abuses prevail.

    Most people believe in equality; they cry out equal happiness for all. But philosophically and truthfully speaking, equality is not the principle of existence. “Equality before law” or “equal opportunity” is good. But these are not to guarantee equal jobs, equal income, or equal happiness for all. Since men come in all kinds of different physical/mental abilities, predispositions, preferences, and so forth, equal life or equal happiness for all is impossible. Those who believed in such an impossible goals actually have created even more strict “caste” system and have made poor people even poorer. History and reality prove this. We do not need any more of such tragic experiments.

    All religionists have good intentions. Actually too good intentions. But good intentions based on lot of ignorance are the highway to the failure. The crisis we suffer now is the due punishment for having believed in false philosophy and not taught people/students the true history. Churches and schools have crammed people with the false gods, false histories, and false philosophies to date.

    I wrote this book based on my best objective knowledge, conscience, and truthfulness. I believe that letting the world know the correct history is far more effective, powerful, safe, and low-costing means to solve our broblems than all the prayers or sacred wars or socialist revolutions. Religionists may call me the hand of the devil. But I recommend readers that they read this book from cover to cover and see who, religions or I, the hand of the devil is. Jesus said that the devil is the liar and the father of lies (John 8: 44). When it comes to the definition of the devil, I agree with Jesus.

    This book is not only informative but also fun and serious. This book has to do with the life and death of human civilization. I do not doubt that this book will bring a true and happy revolution. We definitely need a true revolution. The author seriously asks readers to help enlighten Glen Beck, Bill O’reily, John McCain, Sera Palin, Ann Coulter, Elizabeth Cheney, Michele Malkin, and many other influential people. If these people become enlightened, I think they can save America and the world within a year, not in years.

    The most powerful weapon is the truth.
    Lies will eventually out.

    Brian Ahn/ December 12, 2010

    • Brian

      This article is the preface of my fourth book (manuscript, 360 pages long) entitled “Two kinds of Gods” (subtitle “The Ulitmate Reconciliation of Religions.”)

      I tried several times to be a friend of this site in the past. But each time I felt a huge limit or wall that I could not overcome. That is because my article contains many elements that offend Jewish people.

      Having studied the history of religions and Jewish people, I concluded that Jewish people are only a religious group and not an ethnic group. It is like the people of Moonies. Moonies include all kinds of ethnic origins. For the long past history, all kinds of ethnic people converted to Judaism and they have called themselves Jews.

      Regardless of the ethnic elements, most Jewish people, even those who are no longer religious, cherish their millennia-old customs and culture. This forms the cohesion power of Jewish people regardless of their religiosity. But, from my point of view, the best way to save Israel and Jews from all the adversary powers is they to come out from religion.

      I have frequently seen that even secular Jews are offended with my basic idea.
      I foresee that as long as the Israelites and Jewish people cling to their religious nostalgia, Jewish people and many other people of the world will suffer an unprecedented tragedy. The Holocaust of the past might be a small one compared to the coming one. Do you not feel that omen?

      I will tell Jillian and all other guys. You are not Jews anymore. There have been not a single children of Jehovah. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Joseph, Noah, Adam, Eve, and many other biblical characters were invented ones. I have tons of stories to support this. I will keep post my stories if you do not remove my posts from your site.

      You guys have the responsibility to save Israel, America, and the whole world from religious misunderstanding. I have been looking for people who would help have my books published. If any of you are willing to do so, my books can bring a good and true revolution. You and I can all be winners with much reward—money included. Yes, money is the essence of life. I want money. You all want money, too.

      If you agree with my basic idea, please consider doing a revolution. We do not need bombs or guns. All we need is our pen. We are living in the fantastic world-wide computer network. Our revolution will not take years, I suppose.
      Obama and his men are destroying the security and economy of America and Israel and the whole world systematically. What are you going to do to save America, Israel, and the world?

    • Jillian Becker

      Brian, in your recent comment under “About Us” you gave some useful information on Egyptian history from Paul Johnson, though you also displayed quite a bit of woolly thinking of your own.

      But this little essay is low-level stuff. Bad scholarship, or not scholarship at all. It’s not that everything in it is wrong, but even where a statement is true the facts are ill understood, and far too much is left out of account. And some of it is nonsense. Deuteronomy 20: 10-19 is about WAR, 31: 17-18 has nothing to do with the case that’s being made, and there is no Deuteronomy 35 – neither as a verse of 34, which is the last chapter in the book, or as a chapter on its own.

      Your A-God and B-God idea is Gnosticism. Very old hat. And as absurd as all other theologies.

      If you’re really interested in the subject you should read much more widely. Its a very well-ploughed field. There isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said.

      You’re really off-beam here for the most part.

      Now as to your comment below: The Jews are uniquely both a religion and a people. And they do not need your advice.

      As for us, who are atheists, we don’t like your threat, so unless you post some sensible comments worth the space you take up, we will indeed block you.

      • PhilExBert

        This site is The Atheist Conservative but Brian keeps babbling on with long diatribes and quotations from the Bible, whether correct or not.
        The language employed is typical of evangelical rants from the most committed of godbotherers. Please spare us any more of this by not responding to his psychopathy.

  • Bria

    Title: What is truth? What is truth for?

    Truth is that which is true (The World Book dictionary, 1979 ed.).
    Truth also means the fact or facts. There are numerous truths or facts. 1 + 1 = 2 is a truth. The statement that “The earth rotates and revolves around the sun” is truth because that is true and a fact. The statement that man absorbs oxygen and expels carbon dioxide through breathing is also truth.

    Why does man seek truth? Man seeks truth because truth helps man achieve better survival or happiness/prosperity. Religionists identify their god with truth. Religionists believe that their god created truth and that only the word of their god is truth. But religionists’ god is the creation of man.

    Truth is only discovered and not created or invented. Truth is the tool or means with which man obtain increased chance of survival or happiness/prosperity. Therefore, truth is not the subject; man is the subject. In other word, truth is for man; man is not for truth.

    Religionists tend to worship truth or truth-giver. Religionists identify God with truth itself. Scientists do not worship truth or truth-finders. It is good to respect or honor those who have discovered truth. But it is wrong to worship truth or the truth-discoverer.

    The utility or benefits of truth comes when we understand the truth and we use or live up to the truth, not worship the truth or truth-giver. For example, the universal law of gravity was discovered by Newton. (Newton did not invent the law.) If one worships the law of gravitation or Newton or prays to Newton, he/she does not have any benefit. Benefits come only when we live or work according to the law of gravity in our lives. If people understand the law of gravity and live up to it, they benefit even if they do not know Newton or God. If one steps on the surface of water without any safety measure, he/she sinks into the water or becomes drowned no matter how hard he/she worships the law of gravity or pray to Newton or God. The Bible says Jesus walked on the water. That was not fact. If Jesus did so really, that was to violate the law of nature or God. Jesus or God himself cannot or should not violate the truth or law of nature even if the law of nature was created by God himself.

    The right way to discover the truth is to have questions about matters or phenomena or to doubt existing knowledge for better understanding. These are what scientists do. Of course scientists can make mistakes. But the greatness of science is that scientists are always ready to recheck or correct existing knowledge and choose better truth/knowledge. Science is rational and objective; there is no racial, tribal, or sexual discrimination in science. If one lives up to the law of gravity, he/she benefits regardless of his/her race, sex, age, or nationality.

    However, in religion, “infallible truth” is given once and for all through revelation that religionists think of as the word of God. Principally, religions forbid the acts or efforts of questioning, examining, changing, or improving their truth/knowledge. This is because religionists regard their truth/knowledge as given by an all-knowing or infallible god. Logically speaking, infallible or perfect truth does not need any change or improvement. This is the reason religions keep the knowledge or doctrines of ancient priests whose knowledge of and outlook on the world were quite limited or incorrect compared to later generations. If any one questions or tries to correct or improve the existing truth or doctrines, he/she is regarded by orthodox religionists as the heresy or the agent of the devil.

    As a rule, the truth or knowledge of a religion is fossilized at the moment the truth or knowledge is proclaimed by the leaders of the religion. All the laws or wisdom or customs written in the religious scriptures are the fossils of the opinions/knowledge of the ancient religious leaders. But the knowledge or law or customs change over time and there occur the problems of the discrepancy between the reality and the religious authority.

    How do religionists solve the problem of such discrepancy? They do solve such problem by mobilizing the cutting-edge techniques called “figurative interpretations.” When the “infallible truth” of God in the scripture is questioned or challenged by laypersons or dissenters, religionists say that the words of the most high should be interpreted not literally but figuratively. But the problem is that figurative interpretations differ from priest to priest, denomination to denomination, and sect to sect. This is the principle by which religions always divide and make enemies of each other.

    Religionists apply the convenient technique of figurative interpretation to almost all words or teachings of their lords. But strangely enough, religionists do not apply such techniques (figurative interpretation) to such items like paradise, hell, miracles, eternal life, judgment, devil, demon, etc. Jesus once acknowledged that the kingdom of God (paradise) was figurative one and not literal one by saying, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; the kingdom of god is in the midst of you” (Luke 17: 20-21). How about hell, miracle, eternal life, demons, Satan, etc.?

    In science, the terms or concepts are defined as clearly and unambiguously as possible in order to prevent any mistakes misinterpretation from happening. But religionists are proud of the fact that God gave (gives) truth in secrets—parables, allegories, or symbols. If that is true, God is very unthoughtful or wicked agent because the discrepancies of the figurative interpretations of his words are the main cause of incessant disasters in this world. If lawmakers of a nation write law in secret code or allegory or symbols, such lawmakers are bad or irresponsible people. If God really gave his truth in secrets or parables or symbols, God must be the trouble-giver and not the truth-giver.

    • Brian

      I misspelled my name. I am Brian, not Bria. (Is there any correction mode?)

      I am glad to hear Jillian saying, “We hold the core conservative values: strong defense, small government, low taxes, market economy, freedom under the law. We can also be characterized by what we are against: collectivism and superstition. ”

  • http://dentistinflint.com Jim King

    Hmm… I posted earlier on the review of Ann Coulter’s book about the idea of being a conservative atheist. Given what I just read, would you consider yourself more conservative or more libertarian, because your ideals seem to fit more in the “financially conservative” section, not so much the “social or common conservative”.

    Just wondering,
    Jim

    • Jillian Becker

      We hold the core conservative values: strong defense, small government, low taxes, market economy, freedom under the law.

  • Frank

    The Great Atheist vs Agnostic Debate

    Theist/Atheist refers to what you believe. Gnostic/Agnostic refers to what you know ie evidence based. If you answer the question, “Do you believe in a god or gods?” with a no, then you are an atheist. If you answer yes, then you are a theist, deist, pantheist, or panentheist. Basically you can have for different combinations using Theist/Atheist Gnostic/Agnostics:

    Agnostic Theist – I don't know if a god exists but I believe in a god.

    Gnostic Theist – I know a god exists and I believe in a god.

    Agnostic Atheist – I don't know if a god exists but I don't believe in a god.

    Gnostic Atheist – I know a god does not exist and I don't believe in a god.

    Other term used with regard to this are Strong Atheist, Weak Atheist, and Anti-theist.

    And of course non-falsifiable propositions such as “god is supernatural and beyond examination by science” are less than useless.

  • Brick

    GREAT WEBSITE!!! You actually discuss very sensitive subjects rationally and calmly even when you disagree. How refreshing.

    I have no idea how this universe came about. Nor do I care. I care about where I am today, where I want to be tomorrow and how I am going to get there. In any event, I do reject the idea of a Big Man in the Sky. If there is an intellegent, purpose driven force responsible for all of this, I wouldn't recognize it any more than an ameoba recognizes my obvious superiority… and vice versa!!!

  • Brian

    Title: Moses did not believe in afterlife – Part 2

    Jesus was known to have risen from the dead and ascended to heaven. Saint Paul states in the New Testament that “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15: 13-14). Well said. Let us hear what he says in 1 Corinthians.

    1 Corinthians
    15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead then
    Christ has not been raised;

    15: 14 If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching
    is in vain and your faith is in vain.

    15: 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God,
    because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom
    he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.

    15: 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has
    not been raised.

    15: 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile
    and you are still in your sins.

    Paul continues his tirade about the resurrection of Jesus following his endless circular reasoning (1Corinthian 15:1-58). Paul did not see Jesus’ resurrection in person. He only saw the “vision” of Jesus after Jesus died. Paul was still a fierce persecutor of Christians even after Jesus was crucified. But when he was on the way to Damascus to persecute the remnants of Christians, he saw the vision of Jesus who scolded him in the vision. After that event Paul turned 180 degrees: he became an ardent disciple of Jesus (Acts 9: 1-9).

    Acts
    9: 1 But Saul [Paul’s original name before his conversion],
    still breathing threats and murder against the disciples
    of the Lord, went to the high priest

    9: 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus,
    so that if found any belonging to the Way, men or women,
    he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

    9: 3 Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and
    suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him.

    9:4 And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to
    him, “Soul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

    9: 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said,
    “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting;

    9: 6 but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you
    are to do.”

    9: 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
    hearing the voice but seeing no one.

    9: 8 Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were
    opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand
    and brought him into Damascus.

    9: 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate
    nor drank.

    The detailed story of Paul’s dramatic conversion must have been created by the author of the book of Acts of the Apostles. Many scholars believe that the Acts was written by Saint Luke between AD. 85 and 90, about 55 to 60 years after Jesus died. Paul died (beheaded) in Rome in AD. 67. But it seems that Paul’s sudden conversion was true. Paul seemed to have had guilty feeling in his heart even before he saw the vision of Jesus because he had persecuted or even killed Christians (Acts 8: 3; 22: 4). It might be possible that Paul had the suspicion that “probably Jesus might have been the true son of God because so many Christians do not give up their belief in Jesus even before persecution or death.” These kinds of complex feelings in Paul’s subconsciousness seemed to have caused him to have hallucination and see the vision of scolding Jesus.

    After his resurrection, according to the four Gospels in the New Testament, Jesus appeared only to his followers. This is a weak point of the story of Jesus’ resurrection. If Jesus really had had the intention to save all Israelites or humanity, he should have appeared not only to his faithful followers but also to all others who had suspicion about Jesus’ resurrection. Had Jesus had the power to rise from the dead and turn his enemy (Saul) to an ardent apostle, Jesus should have exercised such power in converting many of his enemies. For example, Jesus should have converted any or all of his enemies, especially notorious anti-Christians such as Pontius Pilate, Nero, Marx, Lenin, Mao Tse-tung, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc., to just name a few, and made them his loyal servants.

    Paul says that Jesus was the first fruits of those who have died (1 Corinthian 15: 20).

    1 Corinthian
    15: 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the
    first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

    Paul was wrong. Jesus was not the first fruits who rose from the dead. Jesus raised Lazarus who had been dead for four days and already gave off “odor” (John 11:38-44). Ezekiel (Jewish prophet in about 578 BCE) witnesses in the book of Ezekiel that Ezekiel turned bones of men into living men with the power God gave to him. That was long before Jesus’ resurrection (Ezekiel 37: 1-10). It is amusing to see to what extent religionists’ story telling ability can unfurl. Let us hear what Ezekiel says about the resurrection of the bones.

    Ezekiel
    37: 1 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out
    in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the
    valley which was full of bones.

    37: 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold,
    there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

    37: 3 And he said unto me, Son of man* can these bones live?
    And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest.
    *[ Note that Jesus was not the only Son of man.]

    37: 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones,
    and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.

    37: 5 Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I
    will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:

    37: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh
    upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you,
    and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

    37: 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied,
    there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones
    came together, bone to his bone.

    37: 8 And when I behold, lo, the sinew and the flesh came
    up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there
    was no breath in them.

    37: 9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy,
    son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God;
    Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these
    slain, that they may live.

    37: 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath
    came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their
    feet, an exceeding great army.

    The New Testament also states that many dead bodies of saints were raised at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion (Matthew 27: 50-53).

    Matthew
    27: 50 And Jesus cried again with a loud voice yielded up his spirit.

    27: 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two,
    from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split;

    27: 52 the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of
    the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,

    27: 52 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection
    they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

    It seems that those saints who were raised from the tombs at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion did not appear to Paul.

    Continued to Part 3
    (I have revised this chapter and made it into three parts.)

  • Brian

    Title: Moses did not believe in afterlife Part 1-2

    There is not a positive word or line in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) that has to do with afterlife, resurrection, last judgment, paradise, hell, purgatory, etc.

    There are many different theories about by whom and when the Pentateuch was written. It is obvious that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses himself. Some people even say that Moses did not exist. But my position is that a legendary religious leader known as Moses lived in about BCE. 1200’s and that he led the Hebrews “and a mixed multitude (peoples of various ethnic origins)” (Exodus 12: 37-38), who had been slaves in Egypt, out from Egypt and led them into the land of Canaan (what is now Palestine), and that the legends of Moses became the skeleton of the Pentateuch later.

    I would not discuss the history of the Pentateuch in this chapter. The main purpose of this chapter is to discuss the fact that the Pentateuch does not contain the concepts related to afterlife, which is paramountly important doctrine for Judaic-Christian-Islamic religions. Judaic-Christian-Islamic religions believe in common that the Pentateuch was written by Moses and that Moses’ God is the Creator of the Universe. In this chapter, I will assume that the Pentateuch was written by Moses.

    The story about the Original Sin appears in the book of Genesis states that since the first man (Adam and Eve) ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God forbade man eternal life (Genesis 3: 22-24).

    Genesis
    3: 22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil [This was very good for man!]: and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

    3: 23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken.

    3: 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

    The Book of Genesis teaches us through explanatory myth that eternal life is impossible for man. In this respect, I respect the insight and honesty of the author of the Genesis whoever that was. The Pentateuch mentions about the death of many fathers of Israel, from Adam to Moses. The Bible states that each of the fathers simply “died” without alluding whether any or all of them ever went to heaven. There is, however, one exception: Enoch, the seventh descendent of Adam, were “taken (alive to heaven?) by God (Genesis 5: 23-24). King James Version reads as follows:

    Genesis
    5: 23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:

    5: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not: for God took him.

    All ancestors and descendents of Enoch were described as “died.” So it is unusual that Enoch was taken by God. Does it mean that God took Enoch to heaven alive? I am not sure. Much Later, Elijah (Israel prophet lived about 800s BCE /The World Book Encyclopedia, 1979 ed.) “went up into heaven by a whirlwind” (2 Kings 2: 11). So at least two persons, Enoch and Elijah, went to heaven according to the Old Testament. But the author of the book of John in the New Testament states that “no one has ascended into heaven but Jesus” (John 3: 13).

    John
    3: 13 No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.

    John did not know that Elijah went up to heaven by a whirlwind. Not only the author(s) of the Pentateuch but also the authors of the books of Psalm and Ecclesiastes clearly expressed their disbelief in eternal life.

    Psalm 6
    6: 5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee [Lord]: in the grave who shall give thee thank?

    Psalm was known as the work of David. But it is not certain. The author of Ecclesiastes denied afterlife more bravely than David (Ecclesiastes 9: 4-6).

    Ecclesiastes
    9: 4 For to him that joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

    9: 5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

    9: 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

    Tradition says that Solomon (BCE 900’s) wrote Ecclesiastes, but scholars believe that the actual author of the Ecclesiastes lived at later time, probably about 250 BCE (The World Book Encyclopedia, 1979 ed.). Biblical scholars believe that Psalm and Ecclesiastes must have been written far later not by the alleged authors. In any event, the authors of the Pentateuch, Psalm, and Ecclesiastes were more honest and wiser than Jesus in the point that they denied eternal life and heaven.

    According to “The Encyclopedia of Religion (1987), the concepts of eternal life, resurrection, heaven, hell, purgatory, virgin birth of Messiah, rise from death after three days, last judgment (Armageddon), etc. were originally the religious ideas of Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion of Persia.

    Zoroastrianism was the ancient religion of Persia what is now Iran. (Iranians have become Muslims after the invasions of Arab Muslims in the 7th BCE). Zoroastrianism was introduced to many Middle Eastern nations long before Jesus began to teach about eternal life and heaven. During its peak time in 500’s BCE, Persian Empire included most area of Middle East, Asia Minor, Northern India, Palestine, and Northern Egypt. Naturally, Zoroastrianism, the state religion of Persia, influenced many people in these areas. It is out of question that many, though not all, Jews absorbed religious ideas of Zoroastrianism.

    There are two theories about the origin of Zoroastrianism. The World Book Encyclopedia (1979 ed.) states that it began in about BCE. 600’s (article “Zoroastrianism” by Kendall W. Folkert). The Encyclopedia of Religion (1987 ed.) states that it began in about BCE. 1000’s (article “Zoroatrianism” by Gherardo Gnoli, translated from Italian by Ughetta Fitzgerald Lubin).

    On the other hand, the idea of resurrection was believed in ancient Egypt probably from about 3000’s BCE or earlier. Pyramids had to do with the belief of the resurrection of Egyptian kings. It might be possible that the idea of resurrection was exposed to Moses and his people when they lived in Egypt. But it seems that Moses believed in neither resurrection nor eternal life. Had he believed such stuffs, he must have expressed his belief in such ideas in the Pentateuch.

    The New Testament states that “wise men (magi) came from the East led by a star to worship newborn Jesus” (Matthew 2:1-2). This line seems to be the evidence that the author of the book of Matthew was influenced (indirectly) by the Persian religion. Magi were famous for their astrology and they were known as wise men. The World Book Encyclopedia, (1979 ed.) states about “Magi” as follows:

    Magi, MAY jie, were the priests of ancient Medes and Persians. After the rise of Zoroaster, magi became the priests of Zoroastrian religion (see Zoroastrianism). The ancient Greeks and Hebrews knew them as astrologers, interpreters of dreams, and giver of omens. So they were generally known as “wise men.” The Greek words “magic” originally meant the work of the Magi. Later, the Magi became corrupt. The three “wise men from the East” who brought gifts to the baby Jesus are supposed to have been Magi. …. (Contributed by Bruce M. Metzoer)

    The story that three wise men from the east came to baby Jesus was a fabrication. This view point is supported by the untrue stories concerning baby Jesus in relation with the King Herod (see Chapter “God Who Killed All the Firstborn of Egyptians”).

    It is obvious that many Jews, especially Pharisees, believed in eternal life and resurrection even before Jesus began to teach about them. In Jesus’ time, Pharisees believed in resurrection, heaven, and eternal life whereas Sadducees believed in only Moses’ teachings in the Torah (Pentateuch) and denied resurrection and eternal life (Luke 20: 27). Jesus was close to Pharisees in the point that he believed in resurrection and eternal life. But Jesus vehemently hated both Pharisees and Sadducees because both of them did not believe in him as the son of God.

    Jesus' major doctrines were closer to that of Zoroastrianism than the teachings of Moses. In this respect, Jesus’ father was closer to Aura Mazda, the god of Zoroastrianism, rather than to Jehovah (Moses’ god). Jesus discarded many laws of Moses and taught quite different laws after Ahura Mazda. As long as the doctrines of eternal life, heaven, hell, resurrection, and the last judgment are concerned, we can say that Jesus’ Father was Ahura Mazda. This means that those who believe in Jesus are also the children of Ahura Mazda, the god of Zoroastrianism. Jesus gravely violated Moses’ God. This was the reason that Jesus was killed. Moses’ God clearly warned that his words should be observed without alteration (Deuteronomy 12: 32) and that any one who teaches foreign religions should be killed without pity (Deuteronomy 13: 6-11).
    —————
    To be continued to Part 2-2.

  • Brian

    Title: ex-KGB confession / The ideological subversion technique

    Yuri Bezmenov, the ex-KGB and the interviewee in this video, tells us very shocking but important information.

    Edward Griffin, the interviewer, is nice guy but unfortunately he is a Christian and another useful idiot, according to my judgment. I will tell about this guy later.

    In order to better understand this video, I recommend that you (members of this site) see the introductory/digest version, whose running time is 16 and ½ minutes, first.
    If you want to see the whole version, please do so after you see the intro/digest version.

    Introductory/digest version: 16m 35 s.
    Click here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x32cxf_yuri-be

    Full version: 1h 21m 28s
    Click here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-230745

  • Brian

    ex-KGB confession / The ideological subversion technique

    Yuri Bezmenov, the ex-KGB and the interviewee in this video, tells us very shocking but important information.

    Edward Griffin, the interviewer, is nice guy but unfortunately he is a Christian and another useful idiot, according to my judgment. I will tell about this guy later.

    In order to better understand this video, I recommend that you (members of this site) see the introductory/digest version, whose running time is 16 and ½ minutes, first.
    If you want to see the whole version, please do so after you see the intro/digest version.

    Introductory/digest version: 16m 35 s.
    Click here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x32cxf_yuri-be

    Full version: 1h 21m 28s
    Click here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-230745

    • Jillian Becker

      Absolutely riveting! Thank you so much, Brian, for the links. I'd advise all our readers to watch the long video (which includes the substance of the short one) if they can find the time, but at least to watch the short one.

      Please tell us more about Edward Griffin, the interviewer.

  • bornagainpagan

    Liberty MUST be the litmus test. Not God. Not choice. Not D nor R. American Liberty is not some brand that has simply lost it's patent. We can not sit idly by while our country is re branded by socialists conscripting the underclass to facilitate their agenda. Please appeal to fellow conservatives…we must look beyond these subtle differences and toward our common thread. We must assist in lifting the less fortunate to a new role of independence.

  • LAGC

    Wow, you guys are really something. A minority of a minority group. Considering the vast majority of atheists are anything but conservative, I guess you've really found your niche. Doesn't it ever bother you that most religious types are conservative? Sure there's some progressive “social justice” churches out there, but they are few and far between. Strange company you keep…

    Just out of curiosity, does your principled stand on “individual freedom” include a woman's right to choose? Or to protest unjust wars? God and country first, right? Oops, I mean country, not God.

    • bornagainpagan

      I've always preferred to say we are “an anomaly wrapped within an enigma” as opposed to a 'minority squared'

    • BellyMonster

      I was beginning to think that I was pretty much alone in my beliefs until I stumbled on this site. On top of that I live in the upstate of South Carolina in a small city where the bible pretty much IS the law of the land. Only one member of my family knows that I am an atheist and if the rest found out I would probably not be welcome at family functions. What I do have in common with my family and community is that I am fiercely conservative…I just consider myself a more “enlightened” conservative if you will.

      I am assuming that by a “woman's right to choose” you mean abortion. By my interpretation of our constitution and the basic principles contained therein, our government has no say in the matter. This is one of many reasons that although I am a conservative I am most certainly NOT a republican. I am my own, unique brand of conservative in my estimation with many beliefs that border on totalitarianism…My willingness to die for my individual freedom and liberty is one of a number of issues that stops me short of being national socialist or quasi-fascist.

      Protest unjust wars? Uhm…I think the first amendment covers this pretty thoroughly and conclusively to my staunch approval. I may be conservative but I by no means agreed with much of what the Bush administration did, including the pretenses by which we invaded Iraq. Don't get me wrong…The fall of Hussein and the Bath party was a wonderful thing to happen to the people of Iraq, and I have no misgivings that is was us who deposed the dictator or that we did so militarily. I only disagree with the pretenses that were used to justify the invasion.

      And no it doesn't bother me that most religious types are conservative. Where I live most don't even understand that they are conservative. My own father is registered as a democrat but he is clearly a conservative and I will not condescend him in an attempt to convince him of this. Every single person I come in contact with to the best of my knowledge is at least a theist if not a christian. Most are pretty good people and I applaud their faith. I simply do not share in their faith to the point that I do not believe in the supernatural in any form, much less some invisible man in space who created me to be what I am and is going to punish me to eternal damnation for acting on my natural instincts (for me primarily lust and other indulgences)…but he loves me. When you look at the history of theism in our world from a broad stance I feel it is obvious that there is no god and that everything has a logical, scientific, and/or mathematical explanation, some of which we have simply failed to discover.

      Although there is great ignorance on a vast scale in the region I live in, southern bible-belt christians are not stupid. As much as I hate to say it I feel that the majority of them are just weak-minded but only on a certain level because most are certainly not weak-minded in general.

      I am glad that you are curious about us and asked what you did. That was a nice excercise for my brain.

      • Bill

        Many conservatives, including Ron Paul, would agree with you regarding Iraq. I was fine with the invasion of Afghanistan and our involvement into Iraq up to when we captured Saddam Hussein. At that point I was thinking that's enough. Let's get out. since then I am for pulling out. My pro defense is based on the true meaning of “defense,” not “offense.”

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DMLNMRM3XVTGX5CBFAY62PPK74 PareshK

          I understand your position about pulling out of Iraq, but my only problem is: how can you completely destroy the ruling authority in a country and then leave the place in shambles? If we left now, the country will surely become a bunch of tribes fighting over territory/oil, which then becomes a haven for well-funded terrorists. I don’t think we have a choice but to stay there until the country is stabilized with it’s own self-sufficient government. It sucks, but I just don’t see a better alternative.

          Oh, and the article posted on this site as to why we went to war with Iraq was very eye-opening. I personally never jumped on the “against-the-war” bandwagon, but it’s good to see that there was a true, legitimate reason to invade Iraq. Most libs probably have not been reminded of the numerous issues presented in the article.

    • Bill

      Atheist conservative here. My conservatism is for conserving the founding principles of this Republic, particularly the individual sovereignty. I am fiercely pro choice and I think this is consistent with the individualism in true conservatism, which is the conservatism before the so-called “Moral Majority” hijacked the Republican Party and destroyed it.

      I've been pro-choice and capitalist and pro defense longer than I can remember. An atheist since age 7, but confirmed in my polemics and philosophy in my teens in the 1970s. That was a highly socialist era. Lots of older boomers were very socialist still in the 1970s! I used to argue with a socialist on my college campus in the late 1970s.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DMLNMRM3XVTGX5CBFAY62PPK74 PareshK

      Your statement “I guess you’ve really found your niche” seems to imply that we are simply looking for a unqiue pocket to call our own. Quite the contrary, I (and I assume most of us here) really hold the beliefs of atheism and conservativism. I have felt this way for years, but was regularly frustrated by the fact that most atheist forums were dominated by left wing idealogues and right wing forums were dominated by Jesus freaks. So, yesterday, the thought dawned on me to see if there were others out there like me and I typed “atheist conservative” into my yahoo search engine, and here I am!

      Interesting you should bring up the abortion debate. Until recently, I was staunchly pro-choice. Four years ago, my wife gave birth to my daughter. During the pregnancy, I really learned a ton about the whole pregnancy/birth process. My wife would read aloud in bed a book that would chronicle the development of the baby. “Today is the start of Week 15: Your baby is now starting to develop …” That was truly fascinating, and really made me realize that it was not just a bunch of cells in her womb, it was a person. Now, I didn’t go completely pro-life due to this, but it has made re-think my original position. So, unfortunately, I have to take the cheap way out and sit on the fence on this one for now. I simply don’t know where I stand on this right now. (To me it’s obvious that first trimester abortions should be available for rape/incest victims and health of the mother. I am on the fence about abortion outside of these issues). Fortunately for me, both of my wife’s pregnancies (she is pregnant right now) were desired so I have never had to face this difficult decision for myself.

  • Mark

    It would be much neater if you deleted my earlier comment! I should have logged in so I could revise it. Also there is another Mark who will be confused with me – and who may not appreciate it if the world thinks he can't spell 'ideologically'!!

    • Jillian Becker

      Mark, we read 'idealogically' as a typo, and are sure any reader would. We think your comment is interesting. China is a case well worth discussion among free marketeers. We don't agree that freedom or anything else – not even earthquakes, deformed babies, or the H1N1 virus – is 'God given'.

      We prefer not to delete comments. We deleted one a few months back that was both an attack on a particular person we had quoted and also contained remarks that would give very general offense, but after consideration re-instated it, only warning the author that we'd accept no more such messages from him. (He hasn't returned.)

      Look what fun we're having with this exchange. If we deleted your first comment we'd need to delete your second one too, or it wouldn't be referring to anything – and C. Gee's and this one of mine for the same reason. It would all be a loss.

      So please, Mark, give us your revised comment. You could start by saying that it is a revised version and why you want it to supersede the other one. We are looking forward keenly to reading it.

      • Mark

        My revised comment would have been just a clearer, shorter version of the original – so there is nothing to look forward to keenly! But what about China? They have less freedom and yet they seem to be becoming much stronger economically. You say (in the Articles of reason) that individual freedom is a necessary condition for prosperity – this seems then to be incorrect – doesn't it?

        • Jillian Becker

          You raise a very interesting question. I don't know the answer. I'll try to find one, for my own sake as well as to reply to you. If and when I do, I'll post it. If I don't, we will have to revise or at least qualify our statement about freedom and prosperity.

          My thoughts at the moment, after some cursory research, is that the prosperity of China may be short lived if it does not allow more political freedom. Also that innovation, usually necessary for sustained economic growth, is unlikely under a Communist government. But I can see that this is not a strong answer to your question.

          Thanks for raising it. If you have any more thoughts on the subject, please let us know.

          You may find this worth reading:

          http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/65947/th

        • Menuk

          One thing to consider is: China has a virtually endless supply of cheap labor, and do not have anywhere near the amount of regulations and protections as compared to the United States; hence China is able to produce goods much more cheaply. China is “successful” if you limit your comparison criteria to such things as “flow of capital” — but you have to consider other “criteria” as well.

          China's government is overly oppressive. For example, participating in online forums over there can get you sent to prison (depending on what you say).

          China's polution problem is quite severe (and getting worse each year — more so than the United States).

          China doesn't protect its citizens all that well from unsafe work environments (not when compared to the United States).

          etc, etc…

          In my opinion, a “pure free-market economy” typically ends up (if you wait long enough) with a vast divide between the haves and have nots. That is why (I believe) we need a “certain amount of government” to ensure that those with most of the capital do not have “too much power” (i.e., the government needs to provide some regulations, and make laws to protect workers from unsafe conditions). That being said, I do believe that “free-market *based* economies” are better than those which rely more heavily on socialistic principles.

          I would like to think that most members here can agree that the United States has strayed far too left (towards socialism).

  • Mark

    Could you please delete the comment I sent yesterday. I would like to replace it with a revised version.
    Thanks

    • C. Gee

      Go ahead and post your revised comment. No need to delete your comment of yesterday.

  • http://conservativetendency.blogspot.com/ Mark

    You say in a note in articles of reason that tyrants cannot change in response to changing conditions, and cannot know what people want. Maybe they can guess what people want, and who says they can't change in response to changing conditions? I'm thinking of China. In some ways they can take action more effectively and more quickly than democracies can.

    I'm on your side idealogically, but you've got to admit that we in the West are losing out economically – again think of US debt much of which is held by China. I am sympathetic to free market ideas (Mises, Hayek), but the idea that you can't have capitalism without political freedom doesn't seem to stand up. Also I have some doubts about individual freedom as a dogma – in the US context it is God-given and if you don't believe in God I think you have to rethink it. (I am not religious and I believe that individual freedom is important, but I don't think it helps to state it as a dogma or a doctrine without some analysis.)

  • vonoretn

    It's good to know I'm not the only one who shares your exact conclusions on religion and conservatism.

  • John L.

    As an agnostic conservative, I agree with most of your tenets, but your claim that “Agnosticism is atheism and should confess to being so” is simply incorrect. Atheism – and specifically “strong atheism” consisting of an explicit denial of the existence of deities, which is your implied belief based on your Articles of Reason for Atheism – is separate and clearly distinct from several types of agnosticism.

    As an agnostic, I do not have any evidence that there are one or more gods that interact with the universe. However, I do believe that the universe itself exists — and that this existence springs from something. Do I believe that “something” is a god? No, but existence itself is indeed one single piece of evidence supporting such a hypothesis, and as a rational human being, I must accept that further evidence (which has not been discovered, and may not exist) could turn that hypothesis into a theory, and with enough evidence, a fact. This is clearly distinct from an explicit and absolute denial of the possibility of “god” (taken in the broadest sense of the term, a “creator”), which is a central tenet of atheism.

    Moreover, your suggestion that agnosticism “confess to being [atheism]” incorrectly – and rather insultingly – implies that agnostics are somehow afraid of “coming out of the closet” into full-blown atheism, as if agnosticism is some sort of “atheism lite”, which is very much isn't.

    Fortunately, as a flexibly-minded agnostic, I'm comfortable overlooking this small — but significant – inaccuracy in favor of sharing in a community of (generally) like-minded conservatives who also have no religion or faith. :)

    • C. Gee

      John L.

      We are very glad you found your way here. Welcome.
      There is the possibility of other universes that do not “exist” as we know it. Would evidence for those universes increase, or diminish , the possibility of evidence of a creator God? Is it that the more there “is”, the more the possibility of evidence of the possibility of God? Is the possibility of evidence for God, the same as the possibility of God?
      From the atheist perspective, the possibility of evidence for God does not exist, the evidence for God does not exist, and, despite that, God does not exist!

      • John L.

        > There is the possibility of other universes that do not “exist”
        > as we know it. Would evidence for those universes increase,
        > or diminish , the possibility of evidence of a creator God?

        I'm sorry, but this question is a non-sequitur. The posit isn't that “more stuff (our universe, other universes, etc.) means more evidence of a god”. The argument is that the existence of *anything* — our universe (the only one we currently know about) and everything in it, down to a single quark – begs the question, “from where did it come?”

        The atheist argument I've heard in the past regarding this question is, “it doesn't matter, because it's up to theists to provide evidence of a god” (which is a logically correct statement), but that argument is still, in my opinion, a cop-out. The question of existence can be approached philosophically, or it can be approached scientifically. A philosophical approach (which is what an atheistic statement is) allows a statement such as “god(s) do not exist”. On the other hand, a scientific one must, by definition, accept the possibility that evidence could be discovered to change that opinion. Anything else is simply apriorism — whether in the form of religious zealotry, or in the form of absolutist atheism.

        • http://theatheistconservative.com Jillian Becker

          John L. – what would constitute evidence of the existence of God?

          • John L.

            The same as any evidence used to support a hypothesis or theory: the evidence would have to be collected using the scientific method, by gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence. Does such evidence exist today? A person of faith would say that existence itself implies a creator. I don't necessarily believe that myself, but existence is observable, empirical, and measurable. If additional evidence were discovered in the future that supports that hypothesis, then this would strengthen the argument. To date, no such evidence (to my knowledge) has been discovered.

            • http://theatheistconservative.com Jillian Becker

              But what, do you imagine, such evidence would look like? You concede that mere existence is not such evidence. So try to think of something that would be proof positive, please. An example is all I'm asking for. What would convince you personally?

              I've always found it strange that many find it easier to think of there having been Nothing and then Something, than to think of Something always having been there and always to be there.

            • John L.

              I'm not going to go down the road of presenting hypothetical evidence, because that would be… well… unscientific. :) Suffice to say that if there were enough evidence discovered — via the scientific method – that the hypothesis of a god (or gods) could rationally be comsidered a strong theory or even a fact, then I might be willing to change my position to say, “god exists”. However, no such significant body of evidence exists today.

              If you're looking for specifics, I would suggest you look at it in the same way as you would evolution (which, I assume as a rational person, you accept as a scientifically-based strong theory, or possibly even as a fact). While there are gaps in evolution theory, these gaps are vastly outweighed by evidence that evolution is how we've come to be as a species. This theory did not come into being overnight; it took many years of evidentiary support to make it so.

              As for “Nothing and then Something”, I would point out that Hoyle's “Steady State” theory of a perpetual universe has been widely discredited in place of Lemaitre's “Big Bang” theory. So, all the cosmological evidence points to our universe as having been a singularity at one time, and my questions remain: from where did that singularity come? Was it created, or did it always exist? If it always existed, why did it explode? These are not questions that can be answered easily — indeed, human beings may never know the answer. But they are, regardless, valid questions that — depending on the interpretation – may point some in the direction of the “god” hypothesis, and there exists a possibility that this hypothesis could be extended into a theory if additional evidence were to be discovered.

              While I've enjoyed this discussion with you and Gee, all I'm simply trying to do is elicit agreement that agnostics (contrary to your Articles of Reason) are not atheists, and that agnostics have nothing to apologize for. I think we can both agree that I am an agnostic, you are an atheist, and that our beliefs are *definitely* not the same thing. And, clearly, neither one of us is apologizing to the other. :)

            • http://theatheistconservative.com Jillian Becker

              The point is, John L., regardless of what might happen in the future, at this point in time you do not believe there is a god. You have no god. You are a-theistic.

              Calling yourself 'agnostic' is saying that you are an open-minded person, that you are not dogmatic, that you are not asserting that there is no god.

              But you are saying that right now you do not believe there is such a thing.

              A temporary atheist you may be, but an atheist your are.

            • John L.

              Boy, the width of these posts is getting narrow. :) So, I'll try to be brief…

              Whether I currently believe in a god or gods is irrelevant in the context of our discussion. Contrary to popular belief, agnosticism is not inherently atheistic (although it can be) — there are certainly agnostics that believe in a god, they just admit that they do so in spite of any evidence (I'm not one of them, but they do exist, and are fairly common).

              The clear difference between agnosticism and atheism is that agnosticism admits that the question of whether there is a god or gods is unknown. Atheism, on the other hand, is dogmatic: it explicitly (dogmatically) states that there is no god or gods. It is the dogmatic nature of atheism that separates it from agnosticism. From the agnostic's point of view, atheism is denying that which is not known, or may not even be knowable — a futile exercise if ever there was one.

            • C. Gee

              Are we becoming narrow-minded, or are our points of difference narrowing? You have squeezed this concession from me: our statement in our Articles about agnostics needs expansion. Not to put to fine a point on it, this conversation is too close for comfort. Must speak to web-master. Must fix space. Pressing need. Thank you.

            • John L.

              > You have squeezed this concession
              > from me: our statement in our Articles
              > about agnostics needs expansion.

              That's all I was lookin' for. :)

              Now, I'm happy to join in on rational debate around the things we clearly *do* agree on: the need to reign in our bloated, extra-constitutional government, the need to better ensure our national security, the need to reduce our crushing debt through sound fiscal policy, and the need to counter irrational concepts such as political correctness.

        • C. Gee

          I do not concede that the statement “there is no God, no possibility of God, and no possibility of evidence of the possibility of God” is dogma. Call it anti-dogma.

          I do not think that any scientist, by definition, should concede that there may be discoveries that will ever point to God. A scientist cannot pursue an inquiry based on the assumption of uncreated phenomena and simultaneously believe in the possibility that he might turn up a created phenomenon. Logically, he would have to believe that all phenomena were created, but some show the hand of God and some do not. Scientific inquiry would be a process of discovering – uncovering – knowledge of God's work. “Keeping an open mind” is, in fact, tacitly accepting religious dogma. If a scientist should stumble across a phenomenon that points to its being created, what would it have to consist of to be such a sign? I doubt that even Higgs boson – the “God particle” – will actually be considered a sign of God. There has yet to be established irreducible complexity. No sign of God in the flagellum or the eye.

          “From where did it come” is itself a non-sequitur at the edge of space and time. All origination meaning comes undone there, including any meaning for a creator God.

          One can see the temptation for saying that God is creation, is nature, is the universe and every particle within it, but that admits that there can be no evidence of his separate existence, and none of his pre-existence.

          And outside “creation”, beyond time, space, energy, matter, beginnings, change and endings, there is no possibility of evidence of the possibility of God. God is a conceptual nullity – a void.

          • John L.

            > I do not concede that the statement “there is no God, no possibility
            > of God, and no possibility of evidence of the possibility of God” is dogma.

            Then, respectfully, you simply don't understand what the term “dogma” means. The statement above meets the definition of dogma: it is an established doctrine, it is authoritative, and it makes no room for the possibility of dispute.

            > “From where did it come” is itself a non-sequitur at the edge of
            > space and time. All origination meaning comes undone there,
            > including any meaning for a creator God.

            This is a non-answer to my question. “From where did it come” is not a non-sequitur, and indeed, a fair amount of human time and effort has been spent trying to answer that question. Some of it has resulted in dogmatic statements (both of theism, and atheism); some of it instead has resulted in significant scientific advancement (the entire discipline of cosmology, for example). Personally, I prefer a scientific approach that accepts evidence as it is discovered; your statement absolutely denies even the possibility of evidence. One of these is a rational approach to answering the question; the other is a dogma.

    • philclock

      If an agnostic acknowledges an event or power that is unknowable (ie, the universe) and is a force greater than him/herself, does that by definition constitute a belief in a “god”?

      • John L.

        That depends on the individual agnostic and his/her definition of “god”.

        But of course, mankind has been presented with unknown/unknowable things since the dawn of our species, and has not called them “god”: doubtless mankind saw the effects of gravity long before Newton postulated its cause, but my guess is that few people have ever called gravity “god”.

    • vonoretn

      John, you and I are very close philosphically so please don't interpret any disrespect from my comments. You make reference to a god hypothesis. I consider the god hypothesis to be the weakness of all god conclusions. There is no reality based god hypothesis. Here is the catch: If you have to refer to the things you think god did (created the universe), in your god hypothesis, you have failed to make a god hypothesis. It is not valid scientific process to jump ahead of your hypothesis, within your hypothesis, into what you think the hypothesized god did, or does now, you must first give a god hypothesis independent of what he did or does.
      No god advocate will give you the raw hypothesis. They will always resort to: “God is incomprehensible”, in order to humble you for asking, and at the same time enhance their own image as a person superior to you because they supposedly have a greater appreciation of this incomprehensible being than you do.

      Since the raw hypothesis would have to include specific characteristics, like that the god is invisible, silent, unavailable for interview, can't be demonstrated, etc. the god advocates have dodged the bullet.

    • PhilExBert

      Far from being a 'closet atheist' your comment implies that you are actually a 'closet believer'; unlike many who are doubtful about a god but call themselves agnostics as a form of insurance in case there is one. To call oneself a 'flexibly minded agnostic' is the feeblest bit of fence sitting I have ever encountered.

    • JDBlues

      John,

      Athiesm is essentially defined as without god. Either you believe, (have faith) or you don't. If you believe the supernatural exists but think mans knowledge is too limited to comprehend, you still are a believer. If you don't believe in the supernatural in any form, but suspend judgement thinking our knowledge is too limited to comprehend, but that we possibly may have enough evidence in the the future, you still don't believe, are therefore “without god”, and therefore an athiest.

      I'm recommending this book so often on this site that people are going to think I'm shilling for the publisher, nonetheless, I will suggest you read “The Case Against God” by George H. Smith for what I think a very good analysis of the issue.

      You're probably smarter than I am and can find some flaws in his arguments. If you do, please let me know so that I can revise my thinking.

      Thanks

    • http://darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com/ Human Ape

      John L wrote “As an agnostic, I do not have any evidence that there are one or more
      gods that interact with the universe. However, I do believe that the
      universe itself exists — and that this existence springs from
      something. Do I believe that “something” is a god? No, but existence
      itself is indeed one single piece of evidence supporting such a
      hypothesis, and as a rational human being, I must accept that further
      evidence (which has not been discovered, and may not exist) could turn
      that hypothesis into a theory, and with enough evidence, a fact.”

      The hypothesis you wrote about is called magic. You don’t want to rule out magic. And you call yourself rational. Sir, I don’t see any difference between you, Bible thumpers, and terrorists, because like you the thumpers and the suicide bombers have not ruled out magic in the universe.

      http://darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com/search/label/agnostics%20are%20idiots

  • John

    Howdy everyone,

    I found myself in a unique group of catagories that often finds me at odds with everyone. I am pro life, Athiest, and Conservative. Often the evils of stereotyping causes the most closed of minds to accuse me of hypocracy. From the left I find Humanists who tell me that I can not be an Athiest and pro life at the same time. My Response, how can someone be a humanist and execute the most defenseless of humans before they even get a chance to take their first breath? I hear from the right that I do not respect their religion, they assume this on me. There is no greater defender of the freedom of religion than me. Christians are part of the public, its their public square too, erect that cross. How can an athiest be offended by that? Athiesm is Apathy towards religion. Those who fear the symbols of another religion are filled with too much hate to have apathy. Last I would just like to thank who ever created this page, I needed a place to sound off with everyone jumping my case. It seems I can not please everyone in life without crossing over some boundry of my own principles. I refuse to do that.

    • C. Gee

      John

      Please sound off here as often as you need to!
      And your point about atheism being “apathy” towards religion is well taken.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DMLNMRM3XVTGX5CBFAY62PPK74 PareshK

      Hi John,

      Your statement: “Christians are part of the public, its their public square too, erect that cross. How can an athiest be offended by that?” really got me thinking. I guess I’m not offended by seeing crosses erected on the side of the road or stuff like that. But I do get annoyed when people try to use tax money to erect Christian symbols in court houses and the like. I pay taxes too, and I don’t want my money used to push a religious agenda.

    • Krys W

      Good to know I’m not the only pro-life conservative atheist defender of religion out there. (I’d be so pleasantly surprised to hear you were also libertarian. ;) ).  My atheism is exactly as you describe it – apathy toward religion. Sometimes it is a lonely position to hold. Well, at least now I know I’m not alone. :)

      • George

        Hi Krys and John——

                     I’m a Pro-Life conservative libertarian atheist .   If a person wants to be religious and practice their faith , as long as it doesn’t harm me or others  , I couldn’t care less if they choose superstition and mythology as a belief. I simply say , just count me out and don’t use taxpayer money to subsidize any form of religious agenda or dogma. The problem is that fundamentalist theologians claim they want less and less government , yet they can’t get enough of mixing their religion with government . That indeed is the epitome of double-standard hypocrisy.  I just wanted to let you know that you are NOT alone . There are quite a number  of us out here that respect and support the true value of life which has absolutely NOTHING to do with religion but common sense moral ethics.
                              If you get a chance sir, check  out  :

        *   (1)  Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life league

        *   (2)  Secular Pro-Life
         
        *  (3)   http://www.godlessprolifers.org

                           There are other sites  on the internet also , but this is a start. I thank you for your input.  

        • withcaution

          “fundamentalist theologians claim they want less and less government”… Since when?!?

          The very foundation of fundamentalist theologies is that of controlling peoples money, their lives before death and their theoretical lives after death. That is ithe essence of government.

          • Jesse Wilson

            Coming from that background I can attest to that being true. Fundamentalist protestant theologians mostly favor smaller government.

    • Tesseract

      Hello John,

      I can appreciate your sentiment. I have been a square peg that most of my friends and family have tried to hammer into round holes for most of my life. I began to feel quite unique and somewhat alone. This is not a good place for a social animal to be. I don’t necessarily feel justified in my convictions now that I have found this wonderful collection of people as much as I feel relieved to find people with whom I can converse debate and learn from. Welcome John.

    • Jesse Wilson

      Five years later I find myself in the same boat as you. I came to atheism from a fundamental Calvinist background after critically examining the origin of Christianity. I’m not apathetic towards religion. I don’t like it and I view it as a mental trap that disables people from reaching their full mental potential. I’m also an atheist pro-lifer and fiscally conservative as somewhat of a libertarian so it’s been hard to fit in with the most of the non-religious demographic.

      • http://www.theatheistconservative.com Jillian Becker

        Welcome, Jesse! We very much like what you say about coming “to atheism from a fundamental Calvinist background after critically examining the origin of Christianity”. You may find my series of essays titled “The Birth and Early History of Christianity” interesting. You can find it under Pages near the top of our margin. I’d welcome any comments you may care to make. Also, if you put “Calvin” into our search slot you will find an essay on him which is not in his favor.

  • Alejandro

    Hopefully I have made my political beliefs clear in my comments on your posts.

    But that only answers for half of this blog. I am an agnostic; I feel that atheism is going too far. But I still feel that there is enough of a connection to continue trying to show you the values of the left in my comments.

  • estaban

    A yearning for Justice or good is merely an unacknowledged yearning for God. Atheists who do not yearn for either are the ones that always reach the top and have done incalculable harm to humanity – Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, Kim Il Sung, etc. They all had atheist followers who trusted in nice words and logical philosophies. Men with consciences can never reach the peak , especially in atheistic societies, because the bad atheists have absolutely no difficulty in killing the good ones. Why should they?

  • http://theatheistconservative.com Jillian Becker

    brian –

    I have no religion. I am an atheist.

    I have studied many religions.

    I was merely putting you right about Judaism. I think it was of historical importance. If I am alarmingly incorrect in what I say about it, correct me in detail please.

    I myself do not believe in Jehovah or any god whatsoever.

    The passage you quote above is about war, not ritual sacrifice.

  • brian

    Julian Becker,

    “(God said to Moses)… Thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city,

    even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.

    Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations [in the land of Canaan].

    But of the cities of these people [in the land of Canaan] which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. (Deuteronomy 20: 13-16)”

    “(God said to Moses) Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. (Numbers 31: 17-18)”
    ————-

    Julian,
    I wrote three books about the Bible and God.
    Your knowldege about your religion is alarmingly not correct.

    You seem to think that God have helped your people.
    You seem to still be under the blessing (seizure) of God.

    But I feel that the time is ticking toward the catastrophic global disaster to America, Israel, and the world mainly due to none other than the matter of God.

    Sings are everywhere. Hussein Obama was elected. 99% of American atheists are socialists or communists. European leaders are now the hostage of Muslims they have invited. American Christians hate atheists more than Muslims. (Christians think Muslims are their allies against common enemy–atheists.)

    I do not think Israel’s war weapons can save Israel forever. What do you think is the cause of the Vietnam War failure? Americans estimated the power of ideology (philosophy) and the number of enemy warriors which were the ultimate weapon.

    Christianity and Islamism are the offspring of Judaism. You probably know the Hindi term “Karma.”

    If Jesus and Allah are not great, so is Moses’ God. I thought you guys were ready to fight religion to save America, Israel, and the world from the spell of God. But as long as you are so proud of your God, I have to think twice. Good luck.

  • http://theatheistconservative.com Jillian Becker

    brian-

    Further to the above:

    The priests lived on tithes. All those first fruits were for their consumption, not for burnt offerings. The myth of Cain and Abel decrees that fruit and vegetables are not to be offered to Jehovah. He craves meat and doesn’t care one little bit for veggies.

    Special laws applied to the sacrifice of animals and birds. This or that animal or bird, or a number of them, were to be brought to the Temple to be offered for this or that requirement. A sacrificial creature had to be ‘without blemish’. It would have its throat cut, it would bleed to death, and then it would be ritually burnt.

    Ordinary oxen and sheep were for the priests’ mundane needs.

    The people of other religions at the time of Abraham (whether a man or a tribe) sacrificed their children to propitiate unpredictable and cruel gods, and/or to ensure that the seasons or the flood-tides recurred in due order. Forbidding human sacrifice was part of the great leap forward that the Hebrews made for mankind. Jehovah did not need human beings to take action to ensure that nature’s cycle continued. (Genesis 8:22 – ‘While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’)

  • http://theatheistconservative.com Jillian Becker

    brian -

    The story of Abraham and Isaac is the founding myth of Judaism. Its message is that God does not require human sacrifice.

    Now about the eldest son. To this day observing orthodox Jewish parents ‘buy back’ their eldest son from the priesthood. Since the destruction of the Temple and the dispersion, this has meant in practice that an amount of money (traditionally in silver coins) is paid into the hand of a Cohen – a descendant of the ancient priests – for the ‘redemption’ of the son. Christians are wrong if they think that any unredeemed son can become a priest – that position is reserved for the descendants of Aaron, the Cohens. An unredeemed son would be at the disposal of the priesthood, but not destined to be a burnt offering. The founding myth forbids human sacrifice absolutely. (Hence Jews could not accept the idea that the crucified Jesus was a ‘sacrifice’.)

  • brian

    Title: Human sacrifice

    The Bible states that God ordered Israelites to offer human sacrifice to him (Leviticus 27: 28-29).

    Leviticus 27
    27: 28 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord.

    27: 29 None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death.

    Many ancient people practiced human sacrifice. Human sacrifice was practiced by ancient Semitic peoples such as Phoenicians, Amorites, and Hebrews. The god who took human sacrifice was Moloch (WorldBook Encyclopedia, 1979 ed. article “Moloch”).

    Moses banned Moloch worship in the name of Jehovah (Leviticus 18: 21; 20: 3-5). The reason Moses banned Moloch worship was to ban all gentile gods and not to ban the custom of human sacrifice itself. God (Moses,in fact) ordered the custom of offering firstborn sons to God (Exodus 22: 29-30).

    Exodus 22
    22: 29 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.

    22: 30 Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it to me.

    Modern Christians interpret the above passage (Exodus 22: 29-30) that God ordered Israelites to make their firstborn sons clergymen. Such interpretation is not correct. In Moses time, the job of serving Jehovah was permitted exclusively to Levites and the other eleven tribes of Israelites were not allowed such holy job (Number 1: 47-51).

    Judging from the context of the above passage (Exodus 22: 29-30), it is certain that Moses ordered his people to offer their firstborn sons as burnt offering to Jehovah just as they offered their firstborn oxen and sheep to God.

    The legend that God ordered Abraham to offer his only son Isaac as a burnt offering to Him (Genesis 22: 1-13) might be the reflection of the custom of children sacrifice of ancient Israelites. Abraham, Issac, and Ishmeal were not real persons though (See the chapters “Abraham who sold his wife twice for his life,” and “Abraham the father of Arabs”).
    ————
    (From my manuscript “Salvation from religion-vol. 4)

  • C. Gee

    Paul,
    We certainly do not make the inference that there are no laws (the judicial kind) or rules of morality if there is no God. That is the position of the faithful – pop theists if you like – who warn against the anarchy that would prevail in a society of atheists. To repudiate that idea is precisely why we made that statement in our Articles of Reason. As God does not exist, no law or moral precept can come from him. Whether some moral behaviour is the result of nature (an evolutionary survival trait) and therefore not man-made is interesting, but not relevant . Sufficient for our purposes is the statement that mankind’s expressed – conscious – rules are not God-given.

  • http://theatheistconservative.com Jillian Becker

    Yes, Paul, we have read Aquinas. And having the understanding of a child, we understand him.

    And appreciate him too. The example you give neatly proves the non-existence of an omnipotent god.

    Please help us develop an influential school of thought that will achieve all that you foresee for it.

  • Paul

    Do you have an argument to defend your claim that, “All laws and moral rules are man-made”?

    The statement elicits several questions. First, why do you give it in the section “A. On Atheism”? Whether there are objective laws and moral rules is logically distinct from questions about whether or not there is a god, just as the question about whether materialism is true is distinct from whether or not there’s a god. It seems you are making use of a concept stolen from pop theist culture, namely that if there is a ruler god, then there are objective laws and moral rules, but, you reason, if no such god exists, then there are no such rules. If so, your inference is fallacious.

    Also, what is the definition of “law” as you are using the word? You don’t think that the laws of physics are man-made, do you? That, say, James Clerk Maxwell’s equations concerning electromagnetism apply to your computer and other devices if and only if humans choose to make them the law? Or that laws of logic apply iff you chose them? And what about moral rules? How can you argue for an objective, moral condemnation of redistribution (“[t]his is criminal and immoral”) if you adhere to a relativist standard of morality?

    Finally, are any of you familar with Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa Contra Gentiles” (SCG)? As I recall Aquinas argued in it that there are objective standards of reason to which all men must give their assent and, further, that the will, and therefore the omnipotence of Aquinas’ god, is limited by objective, impersonal laws of existence. He listed a number of ways in which his god’s omnipotence is limited. (More recent authors have added to the list.) Here’s a simple example that even a child could understand: Can the alleged god order the letters ‘g’, ‘o’, and ‘d’ in an infinite number of ways? The answer, of course, is no, and this fact can be proven as mathematicians have. Christians who know their theology aren’t troubled by the conclusion, but the Muslims do not. (Not surprising, really.) At any rate, it seems that SCG offers one of several points of departure for nonleftist atheists who wish to develop an influential school of thought that will be relevant to political discussions, that retains what is good of our civilization, and which can be used to guide parents when rearing their young.

  • Winnie

    Another answer is that there is a Malthusian limit. If we disregard the climate change religion for a bit (personally I don’t buy the whole CO2 thing at all), and just look at the sustainability comment, then it is true that when resources are limited, then incomes become depressed as populations grow and the resources are shared out more sparsely (for an excellent summary see Gregory Clark’s Farewell to Alms book). The only way to escape this is either through tragic population reduction (which is what happened before the industrial revolution); or more happily through innovation and adaptation. And as Mr Clark’s excellent book points out, the Malthusian escape through innovation and adaptation only happens when the values that prevail are those of the free and the self reliant: personal saving and handing on those savings to children, innovation and enterprise, restraint (particularly in the number of children one has), disciplined work, education and braininess. None of these qualities has ever flourished under Socialism or the dead hand of a theocratic state. So I suppose the answer for Mark is that the actions needed are the natural actions of free individuals.

  • C. Gee

    Mark:
    As an individually free atheist conservative, I do not believe in utopia any more than I believe in heaven. Climate change is a new End of Days religion disguised as politics. Sustainability is to climate change, as equality is to socialism; carbon footprints are to sustainability, as prayer is to faith. That mankind can know, bring about, or sustain an optimum climate is an exercise in futility, but expensive and possibly lethal. The utopia it brings to mind looks a lot like a collective farm in the Soviet Union or a universal monastery. If our articles of reason were to form the basis for policy, only individuals who choose such ways of life would live them, but at their own expense. The rest of us would pursue happiness in other ways.

  • Mark

    Thanks for your site.
    It seems to make a lot of sense.
    It seems to me that your articles of reason would apply well in an ideal world where for example, our water and carbon footprints were at sustainable levels.
    Have you considered what actions are needed by individually free conservative athiests to reach that point?