Author Topic: To those so made that they must believe  (Read 307 times)

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Giuliano Taverna

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To those so made that they must believe
« on: April 09, 2010, 07:35:03 pm »
To those so made that they must believe,  from an infidel with no desire to deceive.

I would like to address not the undecided agnostics, secular relativists, and casual church goers of whom no interest is likely to be taken but rather those who genuinely believe in a higher power interested in the way in which we as humans live. Those of which it can be said, the mere suggestion of empiricism causes sheer offense and moral outrage. Let me attempt to explain the position of the infidel.

You must first understand how arrogant you seem to us. Surly unintended and yet delivered is the notion that you have been privy to profound concepts of which we have not. We who in the tradition of Socrates claim ignorance as our first and only ornament and in the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon hold ourselves to the scientific method which requires the constant testing of thorium by experimentation.

We do not claim with the same degree of certainty or finality that for example the earth is held to its orbit around the sun by the force of gravity, as you must hold if you are Christian the immaculate conception, death, and resurrection of the risen lord Jesus Christ, or if you are a Muslim the authenticity and integrity of the holy Quran as revealed by the arch angle Gabriel to the prophet Mohammad, (I would at this moment like to credit Muslims for avoiding the extra level of fatuity incurred by Christians when they deified their prophet.) While we accept that based on the available evidence, mathematic formulae, and every test and experiment rendered, gravity is the most likely of the available explanations and can thus be accepted for common consumption as fact. Gravity however remains scientifically ďonly a theoryĒ which may in some unforeseen turn of events turn out to be false or partially flawed in the distant future, (the ability to discover that being ingrained into the aforementioned method.)

Coming from this perspective the concept of revealed wisdom and absolute unalterable truth is not just wrong to us; itís the closest we can come to the experiences you must be familiar with of blasphemy, hubris, and offense. What you say offends the core of our reality and existence, it challenges the fundamental basis for the way in which we see the world. Unlike you who must draw your evidence from your conclusion, (the basic definition of circular logic which is not logic at all but a fallacy) we have the burden of proof on our side.  We consider it offensive for you to even make the suggestion that our positions are equal and deserve to be treated as such, let alone the suggestion you must make that you are superior to us, and that as a function of our intellectual integrity you have the privilege of eternal life, and we are dammed to eternal torment.

On the subject of morality and the integrity of the mind and of consciousness, we infidels are offended and outraged at the crude way the parties of god phrase our concept of materialism. Spoken in terms of ďwhat basis do you have for morality if you are just a bunch of chemicals.Ē Iím left myself asking, how you dare mock the profound beauty and majesty of the material universe, the endless complexity of life descending from a point of infinite simplicity, the laws which are almost miraculous precisely because there are no miracles and no suspensions or inconsistencies within said laws.

Indeed itís gone further, I personally have had my principles directly challenged in the most base and desperate way and been asked, ďCan you honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say that your great intellect is simply the work of carbon and chemicals?Ē What arrogance, sophistry, ignorance, and pure hubris could possible bring someone to state such an open assault on the very basis of objective truth? My great intellect is the result of the human brain, a thing of such incredible complexity and majesty that we have yet to understand one tenth of its functionality.  It is a construct that took millions of years to evolve, and that we couldnít come close to replicating with all our modern technology. To mock the fact that it is made up of carbon and chemicals, as if these causal agents are not capable of producing the effects that they would attribute to a soul. The soul, a construct that is totally primitive, base, and uncouth by contrast. A construct which they could not describe, and about which they couldnít even profess a concrete concept of except to state that it somehow does the work we attribute to the brain without any of the substance and complexity that the brain posses.  Iím left to wonder, do you who follow the precepts of faith realize how utterly rude, crude, and condescending you are?

You must also remember that we never say in absolute terms that there is no god. To state anything with certainty is the province of faith, which we reject. We do not say there is no god, only that there is no reason to believe in a god. We are not agnostics who seem iffy on the proposition in general. We assert that as with anything evidence of must be established for belief in. We donít accept gravity because we want to; because itís our tradition to, because it makes our parents happy, because we think it helps us live a better life, because we are afraid of death, or because we seek paradise. We accept gravity on the basis of evidence. There is not a shred of evidence to support the existence of any man made view of god, or indeed any possible concept of a deity therefore we hold it to be as likely as any myth from the tooth fairy to the possibility that a tea cup could be in orbit around Jupiter. For us the cargo cult of John Frum on the island of Vanuatu is as probable as the divinity of Christ, the integrity of the Koran, the holiness of the Torah, or the teachings of the Buddha, or even the gods of old. We hold all religions equally false, often for the same reasons different faiths hold each other false. In a sense we are all atheists because we all have religions about which we take the atheist position. In deed no one is more certain of the untruth in the divinity of Jesus than a follower of the prophet Mohammad. An atheist for reasons already explained canít state with certainty that Jesus was not the son of god, but a Muslim not only can, a Muslim does, and vice versa.

Finally bear in mind that we do have morals, indeed that morality and human solidarity are necessarily innate to human beings. No society that has ever existed has allowed theft, ****, perjury, or any of the other injunctions claimed by the religious as their mandate. To ask the fatuous question ďwhat chemical causes loveĒ is to attempt to mock what should be revered. The fact that by an extremely complex and wondrous system we have ingrained onto our minds and bodies the principlesí necessary to be social animals. One may as well ask what makes cows travel in herds, and what makes wolves hunt in packs. What keeps the Alfa wolf at the head, and why the omega wolf never just refuses to follow him? To ask what objective basis I have for moral truths, without the belief in god is to assume that without god, all is permitted. If that were true, then how did we survive before the given religion we are talking about came into existence? How do animals who canít comprehend religion survive? These are questions that only exist as unanswerable if you accept the proposition of god, without god, these problems donít exist to be solved.

Finally I have to say that if any offense was rendered herein, I cannot be asked to apologize. We as followers of the materialistic tradition worship at only one alter, the alter of truth. I will not apologize for stating openly my theory, in fact I would consider it wrong of me to deny you or anyone the possible benefit of that point, (whether correct or not.) I know you must consider my tone harsh and my comments blasphemous. There truly is no polite way to question the validity of faith without challenging the core of the faithful. Just as you cannot challenge my adherence to empiricism and rationalism without offending me, I cannot challenge your faith without offending you. However I did not write this that I might be spared your words, nor did I write it to enjoin the pity of my comrades. It is because I follow the path of reason and science that I welcome all attacks, and encourage critique. I do this so that I can be tested, have my ideas refined, and am that much more certain of my stance.

I ask only this of you, so made that you must believe,
understand the infidel unwilling to deceive,
for I must tell the truth regardless of where that might lead.
Matter made, no divine assistance doth my mind require
So question not the atheism to which you too may aspire
please spare me the aforementioned moans
For Iíve shown them to be nothing more than senseless groans
Devise as it were, knew methods of attack
Or please do kindly be, less taken aback
When I claim of you, the intent to deceive
All of us, that we might believe.

Credit and thanks to Rachel for permitting the use of her words in spite of the context.
"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them." Tiberius Caesar

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