My Thoughts On ‘The Amazing New Atheists’ Part 2

Ding, ding, ding!

Here’s part two of my critique of ‘The Amazing Atheists‘. You can find the first part by following this link.

Lyle had this to say about a world without God:

The new atheists seem so engrossed in destroying religion and belief in God, that they have neglected to considered what a world would look like without the idea of God?

I actually think this is a fair point. I think atheists could do a better job when it comes to filling the void that will eventually happen as religion continues to weaken. I think secular communities have already done a fairly good job. For example, we now see more and more secular charities. We also have gathering places, such as humanist organizations, Unitarian churches and in some places, actual atheist churches.

My point being is that I think some atheists have put thought into what a world would look like without religion – or at least a weakened religion. I think we have a long way to go but I think that as religion continues to deteriorate in the developed world, we will strengthen this area.

Imagine if the billions we pour into building churches was put into scientific advancement or humanitarian aid. I think we could be putting the money currently going to faith groups to much better use. Also, faith groups often use their aid to spread their message to people who are disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Well I would have to agree that some religion is evil but not because religion itself is evil but rather because there are evil men in religion.

I don’t think all of religion is evil. I think you have to work harder to find the good bits in some religions than you might have to in others.

However, beliefs absolutely play a role in our behavior. I think Christianity (and other religions) have a lot to answer for in this category. They have played emotional games with people for a very, very long time.

For example, they’ve convinced people to kill, murder and maim in the name of God. They’ve convinced others that eternal torment is real and that they deserve it. They’ve also convinced others that blowing themselves up in a crowd of children will result in 72 virgins and a walk in paradise.

Without God is there any different between a lab animal and a human being? If you say, their is a different, on what ground do you justify your opinion?

I’m perfectly fine with the realization that I am one animal among many different animals on this planet. I don’t think that diminishes my worth or theirs.

This is just another example of how beliefs play a role in our actions. The idea that we’re better (made in God’s image, caretakers, in charge of creation) than other animals has led to huge amounts of needless animal suffering worldwide.

Of course, there has been other groups that have believed that, like the Nazis and the Communist.

The Nazi’s used Christianity. In fact, Hitler has many Christian quotes attributed to him. Hatred of the Jews didn’t just happen overnight. The Catholic Church had been preaching that Jews were evil for killing Christ for a long time.

There is no handbook on atheism to guide an atheists actions. If I go out and kill someone right now, it’s not because the atheist handbook told me no-God wanted it that way. There is no atheist bible to justify my actions. I would have to find my justification elsewhere, such as political systems.

Some will say I cannot believe. When people say this they are often saying that their intelligent is keeping them from believing.

You’re really preaching against intelligence?

I’m not sure that’s the best tactic, friend.

So it is not so much a question of your intellect as much as your wanttoo.It is the human ego, which has blinded many to their motives. We all like to think that our beliefs are correct because we all like to think we are smarter than the other guy.

So if I wish really, really hard I’ll believe?

I don’t think so. That ship has sailed. Now if you had some evidence, that would go a long way towards getting me to believe.

The first step on the road to faith is to ask yourself what is the real reason for you lack of faith

  • lack of evidence
  • contradictory holy books
  • supernatural claims backed by nothing more than wishful thinking
  • thousands of competing religions, all of which can’t be right

You can start with those.

Yet one thing I do know, if you find God too easily you probably have found an idol and not the true God.

God wouldn’t want to make it too easy. Then he couldn’t throw anyone into hell.

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33 Comments

  1. Why does Lyle insist on email discussions? Why if he thinks new atheists are wrong not write it where we can easily tell him he is wrong? Isn’t that cowardice, to berate a whole segment of population and then claim you are going to close off comments because some of them have told you you are wrong?

  2. 1.) I do wish he’d get his grammar straight. Is Englsih his first or second language?

    2.) this: “Yet one thing I do know, if you find God too easily you probably have found an idol and not the true God.” If you are already praying to an Unseen Assumption, how do you distinguish one ‘idol’ from another?

    3.) Since every religion out there and every sect, cult, and church-affiliated belief system has their own version of the One True, who is to decide which is the true religion and which isn’t?

    4:) its a bit like believing in Santa. Santa is Santa, no matter what you call him or how you dress him up. No one goes to war over it. I should think a belief in A God should be the issue, not which one.

  3. ugggh. Hitler again! I’m happy to concede that Stalin was in the atheist camp, but they need to get over it and accept Hitler.

    However, even with those like Stalin and Mao, the atrocities cannot be blamed on their both being atheists any more than it can be blamed on the fact that both were men or that both had dark hair. The problem in these cases is the strict dogmas that were being promoted. A very small group of people gets to make all the rules. Don’t question authority. Suppress reason and logic. These are the roots of the problem. Remove these from government and you get something that can be pretty successful. Remove them from religion and you don’t have much left.

    • You brought up what my husband did, he told me that governments run under atheists leaders have killed more people than people or government running under a Christian God. I didn’t know what to say because I knew Stalin wiped out so many people and he was an atheist.

      I’ve looked up Hitler. Reading some of his quotes, I’m not sure that he was a Christian/Catholic

      • It’s hard to look into history and get a good grasp of what people truly ‘believed.’ Even in present day, we tend to argue with people about what we think they believe and about what other people believe. It’s no easier to discern when the person is no longer alive.

        As for what Hitler truly had in his heart, I have no clue. However, there are plenty of examples of things that show that many of his ideas came from Christianity and the Bible. He had “Got Mitt Uns” (God with us – a reference to Deuteronomy) placed on the uniforms of the SS. He saw what he was doing to the Jews as an extension of what the Catholic church had been doing for centuries, and he specifically cited the Bible story of Jesus ransacking the temple with whips and scourges as an inspiration. He even ordered that all school children begin the day with a prayer to Jesus.

        As for the actual numbers of people killed under atheist regimes, I’m not sure if they are higher or not–I honestly haven’t ever looked at the numbers. Yet, even if they were greater than the Inquisitions, the Crusades, and everything else, I’m not sure the point works. Does this mean that atheists are more deadly or that we have just gotten more efficient at killing with modern technology?

      • No one can be sure whether Hitler was a Catholic, but he certainly used Christianity to promote his agenda and people gobbled it up.

        I’ll bet Hitler didn’t believe in gnomes (but who knows since he did believe in the occult) but that wasn’t what led him down the path of Naziism. Not believing in something isn’t the path. Being a power hungry dictator is the path. Seeing that religious institutions are a power base that could potentially oppose you is a path to atrocity. Believing that white people are superior is a path. Atheism has no belief system, attached to it. No dogma one can point to that tells us what to think. No cherry picked verses. It’s simply a lack of belief in a deity.

        Now that doesn’t mean atheists can’t be evil a-holes.

          • If you were a dictator trying to hold onto power and didn’t care how that was accomplished, would you allow powerful groups of opposition to exist?

            I wouldn’t. I’d wipe out religious groups that didn’t agree with me as well. Those are huge blocks of people with influence. I’d wipe out other groups, such as political dissenters as well, which Stalin did as well. He had them thrown in jail or shot.

            Hitler brought those groups into the fold and convinced them he was on their side. He had no need to wipe them out. He created boogeymen from minority groups that the majority could hate.

            Stalin just wiped them out until they conceded and came to his side. The difference being Stalin didn’t use an atheist bible to do it.

            I’m certainly not arguing that atheists can’t be evil dictators. What I’m saying is they have to be motivated by something more than a lack of belief in a deity. Just like the person who doesn’t believe in dragons has to be motivated by something other than his lack of belief in dragons to kill people.

          • Also, aside from just the matter of ‘opposition,’ there’s the concept of who is in charge. Religious groups could theoretically agree with a dictator, but he still wouldn’t be their authority–God would. There’s a common thread of megalomania in dictatorships, and I imagine this has as much to do with their elimination of religion as anything

  4. I’m not an atheist, still agnostic. I want to say that I feel atheists need to work on their approach. Often atheists come off as condescending when debating topics. I feel that if their tone was softened they could win more hearts. When you attack someone and make them feel stupid for believing in something that they hold so dearly, they grasp tighter to their believes. But if u bring forth the facts (let the facts speak for themselves) and do that with a caring heart, I truly think reason can win over.

    I know when I was a Christian and i debated atheists, I felt that they were talking down to me and not as an equal.

    • I think that happens in some cases. Sometimes just our disagreement with their tightly held views comes off as disrespectful and condescending. I often feel the same way when I’m being told I’m going to burn in hell. Not all Christians use this tactic but enough do that it grates on the nerves after a while. Not all do and some approach talking about religion from a different angle.

      I think different approaches work with different people. For some people, the condescending approach may work because it makes them angry enough to search out evidence for their opinion and they may realize there isn’t any. For others, a soft approach will work. People are convinced by different things and different approaches.

      I hope you didn’t think I was trying to be condescending or mean to Lyle though.

  5. Sally, if you check out the Bible the slaughter lists read like Schindler’s list. All of them mandated by God, all of them taking entire cities or peoples and wiping them out, burning the houses, pouring salt on the crops. All in the name of a Just and Vengeful God. Really.

    If you want to get closer to our own reality, read a bit of history about the Middle Ages and those Holy Crusades, which were little more than an excuse (mandated by the King under the aegis of God) to rape, pillage, and plunder. The worst were the Chidren’s Crusades. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children’s_Crusade

    • Judy, I agree and that was one of the many reasons I left my faith. I had a hard time dealing with the bipolar personalities between God in the OT and God in the NT.

      Christians justify the slaughter in the OT as God’s way to protect his people…. Why did atheists dictators slaughter their own people? Obviously they were power hungry assholes , I’m just telling u the other side.

  6. You are better than me, for I would sigh at this argument and keep moving along. But, I suppose I can offer you a few thoughts I had while reading 🙂

    “We all like to think that our beliefs are correct because we all like to think we are smarter than the other guy.”

    True. So you can imagine how difficult it was for me, a missionary who devoted her life to God, to admit I was wrong about his very existence. You can imagine how hard I fought to keep him alive, and what lengths I must have gone to in search of evidence for God. I wanted to believe with all my heart.

    That final paragraph in his post is insulting to someone like me. God only reveals himself to those who are earnestly seeking him? Lies. I was never closer to having perfect faith than in the times when I earnestly sought God in desperation. And he was not there.

    I read Christian articles about atheism and they are just so far from understanding what we think. They explore the topic as if we were an alien species, when in fact we are just like them. It isn’t complicated. If you want me to believe in God, first you must demonstrate that you understand why I don’t believe. If you can’t argue my point of view for me, then you are not ready to argue against me. Put down your tools; your bible and your faith. You can only move someone’s opinion if you are coming from their point of view. To be effective, those are the only tools we can have. It goes both ways. But it is possible to change minds. After all, I changed my own stubborn mind once upon a time.

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