Rebuttal to an Op-Ed in Christian Informer

This is a writing about what was published in the Christian Informer on March 2015. The story’s title is called “The Philosophy of Atheism – Part 1” by Shahe Gergian. The title is the first thing that struck me odd. Philosophy is defined as a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live. Atheism itself is not a belief system as many religious people would like to think that it is. Atheists don’t “believe” there isn’t a god, we know there isn’t a god. Now a christian will gladly rebuttal this with “Well, you have to prove that god doesn’t exist”. No… No… It doesn’t work that way. Here, let’s put this into perspective. If I ran up to you and told you there was a gold mine on your property and in that mine was more gold that I could see. First of all, you’d want proof right? You’d want proof of the gold mine’s existence? If I couldn’t provide evidence of this gold mine, how would you react? Would you just take my word for it? Where does the burden of proof lie? Atheists do not have to prove that god exists. We don’t have to prove that Jesus never existed because other than the bible there is no credible evidence. Christianity is entirely based on faith and faith alone.

I find it funny how the religious try to make sense of Atheism, as if to peer into mom and dad’s keyhole to figure out what the noise is all about. Every time I see a christian write about atheism, it’s as if you have an high school graduate trying to write about how to be a structural engineer. You see, Atheists have read the bible, probably several times. Particularly it’s why we are Atheists. But in this flier that I have seen which is the reason for my writing this is to instruct the writer of this story about atheism and to point out the many fallacies in the flier that he may not be aware of because of the close-minded gap.

I will start out with the first paragraph and work forward through the flier also to let the writer know that I have read his work and to acknowledge it. I’ll try to be honest as possible and while this may seem rude and harsh, try to keep up without getting your feelings hurt. The author tries to in the first paragraph centralize everything into one word to start the writing off. He uses the word “worldview” to try to explain religion, philosophy and other ‘ways’ by lumping them into a non-religious word. While this is fine to do this, it detracts from the main story line by distracting the reader into agreeing with the writer’s position almost immediately. Here he mentions “global communications transmits information faster than the blink of an eye” and to think that this global communications thing is comparable, but much larger than the “tower of babel” story. God felt that if the world was united, that it would be detrimental to his plan, therefore he destroyed the tower and made everyone speak in a different language. Now that we have global communications and essentially we are all tied into this network globally, where is god to destroy the internet? Why hasn’t god destroyed the internet? Let’s go back to the early 90’s and a lot of pastor’s were saying that the Internet was Satan’s tool and comparing it to the tower of babel. It’s amazing how much different life is today and how much life would be different if Christians would have had their way back then. I’m glad we live in a religiously neutral country.

The next paragraph is mainly directed at “Why study worldviews” and “Many people are raised by parents in a particular tradition, and they either accept that for themselves or they rebel against it seeking something different”. This paragraph is setting the stage for the reader to be distracted again by assuming that when children rebel and are not interested in what others have to say, they are turning into atheists. By assuming that Atheists are close-minded people that are “set in their ways” is absolutely absurd. Here’s why I call the writer out on this for clearly misdirecting people with disinformation. Atheists are open-minded. How they became Atheists automatically makes them open-minded. An open-minded person can seem close-minded, but it just means that you aren’t trying hard enough to provide evidence to change the others mind. In the words of Einstein, “If you can’t explain it fully, then you don’t understand it well enough”. Since Christianity is faith-based, the subscriber does not have to provide any evidence to prove their faith because faith is just that. A belief system. Atheism is a belief system like ‘Off’ is a TV Channel. Understand this and you will understand Atheism.

The extension to the second paragraph is interesting because while it is setting the stage for saying that Atheists are close-minded, it is in turn creating force-field around the reader making them feel like they are open-minded and that others that oppress their faith are seen as close-minded. This tactic is very old, this writer knows who his target audience is and is going to keep using them throughout his article. By using a real world example about patients not taking the prescriptions from their doctors or doctors may ignore vital symptoms to properly treat the affliction. Considering 100 years ago, with human’s limited knowledge of the very small, we though god was inflicting diseases on us because we had done something wrong. I find it ironic that the analogy used was a scientific one at that and I suppose the analogy was constructed in such a way to build up the reader with a sword and shield before getting into the nitty gritty of Atheism.

With the 3rd paragraph, it’s interesting because the writer is comforting the reader into a “safe-zone”. It’s ok, for now, to explore other worldviews. I do appreciate the writer for calling atheism a “major worldview”. It is growing exponentially, but this paragraph is meant to scare the reader. Because fear is the primary motivator for religion, it is used very wisely in this. Not deathly fear, not that kind of fear. More or less an ambulatory fear. This is the kind of fear you just walk into and are gently caressed by. Christians have said that they don’t believe because they are fearful of god, but in the same sentence will be scared that they could go to hell. Fear is the primary motivator for worshiping god. If you deny this, just stop reading right here and go back to fearing your jealous god like a woman fears her abusive husband. I’m being serious… stop reading..

Once again, Atheism isn’t a “philosophy”. It is a religion-neutral outlook would be the simplest of terms. Please stop calling atheism a belief system, it’s terrible and it invalidates your motive with this article.

The next paragraph defines atheism. The writer tries to, in his own words, define atheism. However, here again, the writer says that “Atheism is the belief that there is no god or deity”. Please stop calling atheism a belief system. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Atheism as “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods”. The reason why it is pertinent Mr. Gergian is that there are people like yourself that continue to call atheism a “belief system”, again, don’t get it twisted.

Next paragraph goes into some details as “modern atheist evangelists” knows that it is impossible to prove there is no god. Much in the same way you can’t prove there is a god. This is circular reasoning. The burden of proof always lies with the person that defends their story is true, not the other way around. Please stop circular reasoning, it makes you look terrible..again. Science demands tested results with the calculated outcome, and can be tested by one or many others and ends with the same calculable results. This is just a rude, brash gesture of what science is but it’s the gist. Every day, we are learning more and more about our cosmos. To the writer, it is impossible to know everything, but the fun part is trying. You have one book, we have many many books. We know reading is hard and figuring out how the universe works is hard, but that’s what drives us. You on the other hand read one book and all your answers are solved, “God did it”. If this is how much of a simpleton you want to be, that’s fine, but please don’t infect children with this audacious attitude.

I love how in the next paragraph, you actually say that if a scientist “proudly and self-assuredly declare themselves to be atheist, then they are being intellectually dishonest, but they are also going to counter to the guiding principles of the thing they profess to love so much: Science. Your understanding of science comes from a very blinded and one-sided approach. Which I understand coming from a religious person. However, this does not make you correct in what your assumption of what science is, or is not. Science relies on empirical data, that has been proven to work, or proven not to work and has been tested by different scientists. Can the test be successfully be redone in another lab under the same conditions? Did it fail or was it a success. Failure in science doesn’t mean a dead end, it can mean many other roads. Scientists are readily able to change their minds about their work if the evidence is there and facts are ordered. 2+2 will always equal 4. To the writer, if it was somewhere in the bible that 2+2 = 5, but you knew that 2+2=4. Which answer would you believe?= is the correct one?

On the next paragraph, I won’t get into agnosticism as I call the fence riders. Agnostics have not denied the holy spirit and are just waiting and keeping the appointment books open just in case there is a god.

Of course Atheism is associated with secular humanism and nature lovers. Religion has had a foothold too long in society and they feel religion is the big oppressor. I find it funny that the writer sidesteps secular humanism by trying to make it look horrible in the eyes of the reader but in the eyes of an atheist, reading this only make me think how truly ignorant the writer really is. How is secular humanism so wrong? Why is helping people with no recourse for reward a bad thing? How different is a secular humanist and a missionary? A secular humanist does things for people because they expect no reward here or in some magical kingdom. However missionaries may help or may not. They continue to spread the word of their religion and try to convert the people to their religion while at the same time thinking they are helping. I’ve never gotten this concept and I never will. Just help people actively.

How is adopting a dogmatic an optimistic belief in humankind as bad thing as the next paragraph states to its reader. This is terrible, why would you write something like this and expect anything but bad feelings to come from this. “Modern humanists see the world – racism, oppression, militarism, war and poverty as resolvable by humans working together for the maximum fulfillment of all.” and in the next paragraph states, “This hostility towards religion and traditional values has even given rise to a new term — anti-theism” How is stopping war, feeding people, stopping racism and trying to end oppressing people a bad thing? I sort of see what’s going on here. The writer is essentially explaining that humans can’t stop poverty, hunger, war, etc without god, that humans cannot band together worldwide and stop it. We didn’t need god to stop polio, smallpox, etc. Science already took care of that. Remember, Polio and smallpox were once, “evil” and “punishment”, now they are history.

The writer assumes that this is what Atheists believe:
1. Human beings are no different from any other creature in the animal world. There is nothing unique or special about human beings. Human are simply one of the many species which have evolved from the primordial soup.
2. Death is the end of existence. There is no life after death.
3. Life itself is an accident. Human existence is the happy result of cosmic randomness. In reality, atheists have no real explanation for how something could come from nothing, only that it did.
4. Ethics and morality have no absolute standard
5. There is no ultimate meaning, for anything.

First of all, number one is wrong. Atheists know that humans are different from other species. This is why we have the classification system for Genus and Species. Saying primordial soup is really reading from older texts about evolution. Getting evidence about something that happened a million years ago is much harder than it is getting evidence from 2000 years ago. However in the case of the latter, we know now that a man named Jesus never existed, however we know that King Tutankhamen existed, because we have physical proof. Where is your proof from Jesus? We have fossils of dinosaurs 65 million years old, why can’t you provide proof for a 2000 year old person?

For number 2, death is not the end of existence but there definitely is no life after death. Death is the end of existence for the dead person yes, but every atom of their being gets put back into the “soup” and randomness takes back over, as it did for life millions of years ago. We are all, atomically, ordered chaotically, as Carl Sagan would say but “the chaos is beautifully arranged as such to be called star stuff”.

Number 3 is quite simple. Which came first, the chicken or the egg. The answer is, The egg, from something that wasn’t a chicken. This is how evolution works. I’ve heard Christians say “Evolution hasn’t been witnessed in real-time”.. Sorry, yes it has… Yes, Evolution is a theory, in the same way gravity is a theory, but you don’t see anyone jumping out of buildings to test to see if gravity is real. Understand what the word theory means and you’ll get it. In the last 10 years, GREAT strides in Human Evolution have been made and links have been made. DNA links mind you. We know for a fact that Homo Sapiens came from the previous species of Homo. And then some and so on and so forth. Isn’t life at random and chaos much more believable than a roving sky daddy that doesn’t want you to masturbate or wipe your ass with your right hand?

Number 4, actually we have absolute standard for ethics and morality, it’s called “Man’s Law”

Number 5, the ultimate meaning for everything is always 42.

The next paragraph talks about Richard Dawkins and one of the most beautiful words he’s spoken. Everything Dawkins has said in these two quotes is correct. We see natural selection every single day.

But in the next paragraph, the writer says “What consequences come to bear with Dawkins thinking? Perhaps the most obvious is that atheism devalues human life”. Really? A few paragraphs back you promoted that Atheists want to band humankind together a wipe out poverty, hunger, and war and then you state that we also devalue human life? Sorry, but now you are just being willfully ignorant. Then, to explain how atheists devalue human life, you say that if a fetus has development problems that we would rather abort the fetus. Natural selection weeds out the weakest while aiming for the strongest. This is how the strongest genes are preserved. Christian humans still get ultrasounds to find out if their babies are forming correctly or if they are breach birth. Before all the technology, you did know the health of the baby or what the birth was going to be like. Today we know. I’d rather take the consequences with Dawkins thinking, than a sheepherder from 2000 years ago thinking. It’s the smarter decision and the wisest for mother and child wouldn’t you think?

Next paragraph goes into saying that atheists have an ethical idea that humans are no more special than say a blade of grass. This is the motive for which atheists devalue human life? Seriously? Reading this article with an open mind only strengthens my lack of belief in god. The difference between a pig and a human is noticeable, but why are they growing ears on pigs, or how come some medicines can only be grown in a pig for humans? It’s because certain systems of pigs can be shared with humans. If we were to think religiously about this matter, people would be walking around praying for a new ear and not getting it.

Then we get to the absolute fallacious part of this writing. While saying that Atheists are devaluing human life, the writer makes a bold assertion that this devaluation of human life has brought about the plagues of the new world slavery where Africans were kidnapped and sold like cattle because blacks were lower on the evolutionary tract than white man. Nice job incriminating atheists. So what the writer is saying here is that Atheists were the ones enslaving black people because they were lower on the evolutionary tract than whites. Mr. Gergian, I implore you to read again the history books on how the African slave trade was started. The bible speaks of slavery but does not condemn it but actually condones it. Why isn’t slavery not mentioned as one of the 10 commandments? Lets see what the scriptures have to say.. I’ll refrain from using old testament scripture because I don’t want to hear “That was in the old testament”… Luke 12:47-48, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Ephesians 6:5. Sorry but now everything you’ve said in your article becomes just a personal opinion that can be shot down with facts.

You say “Jesus said, ‘Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:2) “Not kidnap or enslave. It makes no mention of enslave, however in scripture I posted above, Jesus is clearly not in opposition of beating slaves. Mahatma Gandhi also said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”. If you were going for a neutral point in ending your column, you should have ended it with that quote instead because again, you are distracting your readers from the actual truth.

Of course not all atheists are grossly immoral just as well as all Christians are grossly immoral as well. It’s just that Christians have a much better exit plan than Atheists… right? I mean. You can rape and kill an elderly woman, but as long as you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, you will be in heaven with the elderly woman that you raped and killed. The is only one sin that cannot be forgiven and that is denying the holy spirit. (Mark 3:28-29) You can commit any sin you like, as long as you do not deny the holy spirit, you will be forgiven through Jesus. Sounds good, I might convert just on that basis alone! NOT!

 

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