Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Finally, Someone Can Show Me Why God Killed All Those Children

Someone calling himself or herself Bet left and interesting link (and nothing else) in one of my comments sections. I can only assume from the content of the linked article that Bet wanted to turn me away from my wicked ways in an attempt to save my soul from eternal damnation. While I appreciate the concern, I wanted to take the time to address the article.

Written by Ray comfort, the article comes from ChristianAnswers.net and is a three pronged attack against atheism. In the first part, Comfort tries to show how a loving god can exist when we have terrible natural disasters like the tsunami on Dec 26, 2004 that killed a quarter of a million people. Comfort poses a worthwhile point:

Tell that to those who were burying tens of thousands of human corpses after the tsunami hit. Tell that to the fathers who hold the dead bodies of their beloved children in their arms, or to the relatives of those who died of horrific diseases. It doesn't take much intelligence to realize that if there is a God who created all things, He must be all-powerful. Nothing is impossible for Him. He therefore could have easily prevented unspeakable agony by simply lifting His finger off the earthquake button. But He didn't.

How does Comfort reconcile this with his beliefs? Oh, it’s amazing:

A quick look at Jeremiah 9:21-24 gives the answer to this intellectual dilemma. How could God be loving and yet allow suffering? The Bible tells us that He is in control, and that He does send judgments to this earth. God is love, but He's also just and holy and if He gave us what we deserve, the tsunami of His holiness would sweep us all into Hell.

Imagine you have knowledge that a bridge has been washed out by a terrible storm, on a dark and moonless night. You stop all approaching cars and say, "The bridge that spans a thousand-foot chasm has been washed away! Please turn your vehicle around." The violence of the storm itself is enough to convince any thinking driver that you are speaking the truth, and those who have the sense to believe you do turn around.

Tsunamis, terrible diseases, agonizing cancers, massive earthquakes, devastating tornados, killer hurricanes, awful suffering, and death itself are very real and violent storms that should be enough to convince any thinking person that our warning is true.

The message of Christianity isn't one of God wanting to better this life for humanity. It is one of warning of a terrible fate in store for those who continue on the road of sin. We are told by God's Word that there are two deaths on the highway to Hell. The first death is when we leave the storms of this life and pass into timeless eternity. The second death is the chasm of eternal damnation. It is the terrifying justice of a holy God.

Thanks, Ray. You pretty much confirmed my feeling that fundamental Christianity is a death cult obsessed with suffering. I’m sure God smote the thousands of children who died in that disaster for their wickedness. Doesn’t the Bible say children are innocent? I guess that doesn’t apply to evil, heathen babies.

Plus, I’m sure all the children in the remote, coastal villages of Southeast Asia really had a chance to hear the messenger warning them of the washed out bridge. Is it their fault they didn’t even get an opportunity to hear Christian teachings? If God punishes people for not believing in something they never even heard of, then God is a real bastard.

Next, Comfort goes into a variation of Pascal’s wager suggesting that a person might as well believe in a Christian afterlife to spare the torment of hell. Sorry, but I can’t just make myself believe in something without evidence. Pretending to believe won't be actual belief.

Finally, Comfort tries to prove that atheists don’t actually exist. He uses the same tired argument:

Let's say that you know an incredible one percent of all the knowledge in the universe. To know 100 percent, you would have to know everything. There wouldn't be a rock in the universe that you would not be intimately familiar with, or a grain of sand that you would not be aware of. You would know everything that has happened in history, from that which is common knowledge to the minor details of the secret love life of Napoleon's great-grandmother's black cat's fleas. You would know every hair of every head, and every thought of every heart. All history would be laid out before you, because you would be omniscient (all-knowing).

Bear in mind that one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, Thomas Edison, said, "We do not know a millionth of one percent about anything." Let me repeat: Let's say that you have an incredible one percent of all the knowledge in the universe. Would it be possible, in the ninety-nine percent of the knowledge that you haven't yet come across, that there might be ample evidence to prove the existence of God? If you are reasonable, you will be forced to admit that it is possible. Somewhere, in the knowledge you haven't yet discovered, there could be enough evidence to prove that God does exist.

Okay Ray, so you suggest we just accept something on blind faith for which you have no evidence? The problem is that he assumes atheists are 100% convinced there is no God. That’s not the case. I certainly can’t speak for all atheists, but my beliefs are driven by evidence. If there was actually tangible evidence for a God, then I would admit my error, but I won’t accept the existence of a God without it. Why? Because something that does not exist will not leave evidence. It’s like me claiming there’s an invisible dragon under my bed. Using Comfort’s argument, he’d better accept that the dragon lives there because he isn’t omniscient. He’d also better accept every god that people have ever worshiped because he isn’t omniscient.

Now, I can easily admit that the evidence for God's existence might be out there. Does that make me agnostic? Sure, whatever, but it's nothing more than semantics. I simply won’t waste my time worrying about something that isn’t real enough to leave evidence. I’d rather spend my time actually helping people and doing what I can to improve the world in this life. If there is a god and helping others doesn’t get me into his good graces, then he’s not a god worth believing in.

However, I'd assert that, everyone is atheist to an extent. As Richard Dawkins said:

We are all atheists with regard to most of the gods of history. Some of us just go one god further.

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