Sunday, October 28, 2018

Seeing through the Matrix of Christian Discourse

Yvonne Conte seems like an average Christian. She wrote an article for the Christian Examiner, called God and the Atheist in which she explains why she’s a Christian and why she’s baffled that “logical, sane, good people” can be atheists. Inadvertently, she demonstrates why almost all communication on any subject is pointless.

Her article is full of confusions, fallacies, contradictions, and errors, but none of them matters. No part of her article uncovers the real source of her religious beliefs. None of what she says will convert any skeptic or even much strengthen the belief of her fellow Christian readers. Her article is for show, but what’s the real message? What led her to write it? Alas, to glimpse the code of the matrix, we need to wade through the muck.

Stage-Setting with Fallacies and Cheap Shots

Yvonne Conte
She begins speciously by saying that the biggest reason for atheists’ “collective lack of faith, is a lack of evidence, which is hysterical to me since believing in God without any solid tangible proof would be the very definition of faith.” What she means to say is that lacking evidence in support of Christian claims is consistent with having religious faith in them. Later on she contradicts herself by presenting what she calls “overwhelming proof” for Christianity from the New Testament. But her fallacy here is to slide from referring to a necessary condition of one kind of religious faith (the blind kind) to speaking of “the very definition of faith.” Just believing there’s no compelling evidence backing up a creed doesn’t amount to faith in the creed. What you have to add, of course, is the affirmative belief that happens in spite of the lack of evidence. The reason for the withholding of religious belief isn’t just the realization that there’s no good evidence; rather, the skeptic or atheist is also convinced there’s no compelling reason to believe in the absence of such evidence. In other words, there’s no reason to have theistic faith.

Indeed, being consistent about such faith is impossible, since there’s insufficient evidence for a myriad of truth claims, and to believe in all manner of nonsense would be the very definition of madness. Why is the Christian partial to her religion while she gives short shrift to the other religions, not to mention to all the cults, pseudosciences, and random gibberish spouted by lazy thinkers at all hours of every day? The reason why we don’t automatically accept every weakly supported proposition that crosses our path is, as a Christian herself might put it, because her god gave us a brain to think with. If we didn’t think critically at least about important matters, we wouldn’t be long for this world. On most issues we don’t think critically but rely on our intuition and other biases, and we manage to survive because of the widening of our collective margin for error that’s created by historical progress. We can defer to the experts who do much of our thinking for us and we can try out a dubious hypothesis and fail on its basis without always suffering disaster, because we’ve built ourselves the welfare state of civilization that can pick us up and dust us off when we fall down. For example, there are bankruptcy protection laws. But if we automatically accepted every random notion we ever heard (as in the Jim Carrey movie “Yes Man”), we’d eventually fail beyond anyone’s capacity for recovery. For example, we’d be easy prey for con artists.

Conte then sets the stage, presenting herself as a skeptic who examined the arguments against religion and found them wanting. She “dove head first into the Bible and several hundred other books about the Bible along with articles that argued there was no God at all.” But when she later turns to her hackneyed version of Pascal’s wager, she writes, “If what I'm saying is wrong and you believe me, you will loose absolutely nothing, but, if what I say is right, and you don't believe me, you will loose everything. You've got nothing to loose and everything to gain…You've got nothing to loose, try it” (my emphasis). Sounds like a book lover to me! This trope of hers, though, is performance art. The average reader of the Christian Examiner is likely Christian, and this reader will be amused to hear that skepticism folds like a cheap suit. Never mind that the average Christian who claims to have been an informed atheist is highly motivated to be lying or exaggerating about that part of her personal background. And never mind that even if that biographical detail were accurate, it would be an anecdote that carries little weight and can be countered with tales of Christians who converted to atheism or to other religions. More importantly, such anecdotes run up against the fact that the religion of most so-called Western Christians counts for virtually nothing since these Christians don’t live in a Christ-like manner. That is, their claim to have passed through a skeptical, nonreligious phase and embraced Christianity is only superficial, since they behave as if their religion meant nothing to them. 

Far from God being an invisible man in the sky, writes Conte, she tends “to see God everywhere,” including in the birth of a baby and the beauty of nature. However, instead of addressing the horrors of life in the wild, which philosophers call the problem of natural evil, she turns to a straw man, followed quickly by a cheap shot. She says, “While my faith is strong and solid, I am very aware that 2.3% of the world's population is atheist. The population of France, I'm told, is 32% atheist, which makes sense to me since the majority of people I ran into in France seemed angry and unhappy.” It’s a non sequitur to go from professing to have strong faith, to insinuating that there’s a challenge in facing the fact that the global population is—wait for it!—only 2.3% atheist. If that figure were accurate or relevant, Conte should have written, “My faith is strengthened by the fact that 97.7% of the world’s population rejects atheism.” That claim, too, would be fallacious (a facile appeal to popularity). But the reason Conte brings up this bogus statistic is that she wants to take the cheap shot that a certain number of French people who are atheists are unhappy. Again, if logic were relevant here, it would dictate that whether a set of statements is pleasing doesn’t indicate the statements’ truth status. On the contrary, truth is free to be unpleasant, in which case the unhappiness of atheists (assuming Conte’s anecdote has any basis in fact, which is doubtful) would be a badge of honour. Like Christ, you might say, atheists would be suffering for their commitment to the truth. The happiness of theists would flow from something like the scheming cowardice of the Cypher character from the movie “The Matrix,” who prefers an exploitative fantasy world to the harshness of post-apocalyptic reality.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in “facts,” “atheism” is a politically-tainted label, so those who reject theistic ideas are underdetermined in polls. The label has been loaded since the ancient Romans branded the early Christians as atheists. Being asked whether you’re an atheist is like being asked whether you stopped beating your wife. For example, most people presume that atheism entails immorality and untrustworthiness. However, the number of people around the world who report having “no religious affiliation”—most of whom live in Asia—is 16%, according to the 2012 Pew study, since that’s a more neutral category. In any case, again, merely reporting some religious affiliation is easy when your religion calls for no self-sacrificial practices. So the number of functional, de facto atheists is much higher even than 16%, including as it does most of the so-called Jews, Christians, and Hindus, for example, in the highly-educated, technologically-advanced parts of the world. The suffering of Middle Eastern Muslims for their faith is mostly ironic, since their tribalism that sustains their patriarchal tyrannies is exacerbated and codified by their religious sects.

Conte doubles down on her rhetorical device by listing some Christians who claimed to have seriously researched the question of theism before being convinced by a higher power to believe in a god. From this list she concludes, “Actually there are a lot of really smart people who used to be atheist.” The logically sufficient reply: “Actually there are a lot of really phony religious people who claim to be theists but who live as atheists (as though there were no afterlife, miracles, or divine judgment or revelation).”

The Pascalian Gambit

Next, Conte turns to pragmatism, common sense, and Pascal’s wager. In her words (sic):
In the end, I feel it is only common sense to believe in and have a strong faith in Jesus Christ. Here's why. If what I'm saying is wrong and you believe me, you will loose absolutely nothing, but, if what I say is right, and you don't believe me, you will loose everything. You've got nothing to loose and everything to gain by believing that it is by faith through God's grace that you are saved. You cannot earn it. No where in the Bible does it say you must work your way to heaven. Simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the grave and you will be with Jesus in heaven for eternity.
She may be baffled by the fact that decent people can reject religion (and especially Christianity), but I’m baffled by her presumption that what she wrote there should be taken at face value—until I remind myself that Conte is only an average modern American “Christian” who therefore doesn’t understand religious issues nearly as well as does the average skeptic. If she understood what genuine religious belief entails (beginning with the horror described by Rudolph Otto and ending with the asceticism prescribed especially by Eastern religions), she would have discovered that even had she wanted to show off her knowledge of Christian apologetics, she’d have been unable physically to type that the nonbeliever who converts to Christianity would lose absolutely nothing. Only if modern, Americanized Christianity were empty as a value system and as a way of life would joining this religion cost nothing. It costs nothing to accept this religion because this religion amounts to nothing. Perhaps you’ve heard the aphorism that anything worth doing is hard to accomplish. So if all you have to do is “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the grave,” what value can this religion have?

Conte wants to say the value is infinite since the reward is everlasting life in heaven, and this reward is given by a God of love despite our deserving the opposite condition, everlasting torment in hell. To begin with, Conte is mistaken when she claims the Bible doesn’t say we can earn divine favour or work our way to heaven. Judaism has no concept of original sin or of eternal punishment in hell, and the Epistle of James (2:14-26) says faith and works are both needed for salvation. Moreover, as I said, in the next paragraph Conte contradicts herself since she makes a (weak) historical case for the gospel’s truth, which implies that the Christian does earn her way into heaven by thinking through the historical evidence presented by the New Testament. This is called mental labour as opposed to the physical kind, say, of tilling the fields. If, however, her historical claims count for little, Conte’s case for Christianity would indeed be largely pragmatic (in addition to the emotionalism of her final paragraph, which I’ll come to in a moment). But Conte is evidently a “Christian” who hasn’t thought deeply about any of these issues, so she grasps at pragmatism, evidentialism, and emotionalism as though they were so many brands of toothpaste she wants to try out. She throws them together in a jumble as though it weren’t obnoxious to say in one breath, “It’s useful to be a Christian and the central claims of Christianity are proven correct, and I’m a Christian because I’m privately committed to a loving relationship with Jesus.”

In any case, to come to the point of this infamous wager, what you lose by becoming a modern, American Christian is, at a minimum, your right to self-respect and your intellectual integrity. Neither counts for much in extroverted America, but the embarrassment of submitting to this ancient scam would be real suffering here and now, whereas the possibility of the promised pleasures of everlasting life is vanishingly remote. Ask yourself with David Hume: What’s more likely, that this wager is a fraud perpetrated by mere unscrupulous humans to exploit the gullible for fame and fortune or that the creator of the universe would care about life in a mostly lifeless universe and would violate any sense of fairness by favouring some creatures with a wholly unearned, infinitely-precious gift? The more you take this wager seriously, the more you’re supposed to loathe the thought of any such gift-giver. You’re supposed to graduate from atheism to misotheism. You’re supposed to have the good taste to be disgusted with Christianity, and you’d be better off holding up the absurdity of this religion’s central message as its saving grace. Any absurdity can be meditated upon for edifying effect, as mystics and the existential philosophers tell us. But modern, American “Christians” aren’t interested in real religion. They want to buy and sell Christian faith as though it were a commodity, because America’s true gods are money, war, and ego, not gentle Jesus. What you’d gain from Christianity, then, at best, is eternity with vapid charlatans like Yvonne Conte, not to mention with the inhuman Creator who would prefer self-seeking gambling and blind submission, to progress through critical thinking. If that’s the blessing of Christian victory, sign me up for hell!

In spite of the shallowness of her arguments, there’s a clue to a deeper truth in Conte’s cliché that you need only “believe in your heart” some such foolishness to be saved. Ask yourself what exactly is being asked of her reader. You’re supposed to believe without evidence that a man two thousand years ago was raised specially from the dead by the creator of the universe, and you’re supposed to believe this “in your heart.” Leave aside that Conte goes on to offer evidence that would moot this wager. What is it to believe something only in your heart? I think it’s more than just wishful thinking. What’s being called for here is something like a cultist’s self-destructive allegiance to the dear leader. Take, for example the political cult of Trump’s Republican Party. When you attend his rallies, you’re supposed to blindly accept whatever drivel the plutocrat spews to repair his sense of self-worth. You’re supposed to trust in his conspiracy theories and his fear mongering and his dubious claims to business acumen to demonstrate your loyalty to the group. Should you fail to laugh at his mean-spirited jokes, to taunt the evil mass media, or to behave all around like Mini-Me, you’ll literally be kicked out of the arena. To believe in your heart, for example, that immigrants are all criminals in the making isn’t just to reinforce your pride in your tribe; it’s to betray the Founding Fathers’ confidence in Enlightenment principles of selfhood, in favour of the default relationship between tyrant and slave. It’s to negate yourself like Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984 who, under torture, is forced to accept Big Brother as his true self, desecrating his forbidden love and the sovereignty of his personal judgment. To believe something only in your heart (as opposed to your head), knowing that what you’d believe is foolish is to profess that Big Brother is holding up five fingers on his hand when really only four are shown.

Perhaps this is why the Christian can’t leave her apologetics with Pascal’s wager. She can’t say only that being Christian is oh so useful. After all, it was Jesus who asked rhetorically, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matt.16:26). The existential upshot of those two questions destroys Pascal’s wager. If you know that Jesus probably wasn’t literally raised from the dead, because the mountain of ordinary evidence tells you as much (as David Hume said, a miracle would, by definition, have to be so rare as to be highly improbable on any occasion), and yet you believe in your heart that on the contrary Jesus was resurrected, you’re vacating the personal seat of your judgment. You’re allowing some religious discourse to program your thoughts and emotions. You’re saying not just that you yearn to live forever and that Christian belief could be a means to that end. No, by believing in some absurdity (also known as a miracle), in your heart, as Conte specifies, is to make central to your being that belief which runs against your better judgment. And that’s the essence of tyranny, the master’s complete domination of his slave. As Foucault and Aldous Huxley pointed out, domination needn’t be grossly physical but can be perfected as brainwashing through the process of imbibing a fraudulent ideology. In short, the con artist dominates the sucker until the latter realizes too late she didn’t even gain the promised world in exchange for her soul which she’d betrayed.  

A Shoddy Historical Case for Christianity

As for Conte’s historical evidence, it’s the usual credulous recitation of evangelical pablum which has long since been outmoded by critical scholarship of the Bible. Her evidence begins and ends with trust in the New Testament’s account of the formation of Christianity, as though those books weren’t selected by some Christians in opposition to other Christians who told a very different story about Jesus and Christian responsibilities. So according to Conte, Christianity wouldn’t exist as one of the world’s major religions unless its historical claims about Jesus were proven correct. How else to account for the fact that if Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, the authorities could have produced his dead body, thus making Christianity impossible? Or how else to account for the transformation of Jesus’s followers, who were demoralized by his crucifixion but who nevertheless took to the streets to preach the gospel in Jesus’s name and were martyred for their troubles? From this Conte concludes, “To me the new testament overwhelmingly proves we have a living God.”

The first point is refuted by the existence of the Church of Scientology, not to mention by the existence of all the other major religions which the Christian has to believe rest on a host of falsehoods. Evidently, most people care more about being happy and fitting into a community than about discovering and living by the truth. Moreover, as the Jesus mythicist Earl Doherty points out, the earliest Christian documents (Paul’s letters) don’t emphasize Jesus’s historicity and refer to his death and sacrifice in otherworldly, Gnostic terms. So suppose the authorities produced a dead body and said, “See, your saviour wasn’t resurrected, after all.” A Pauline Christian would be free to respond, “Nonsense! Christ died in the lower circles of heaven at the hands of demons.” After all, this form of Christianity was meant to appeal not to Jews but to gentiles who were influenced by Plato’s contempt for the material world. After a couple of centuries had passed, when Jesus’s body would have fully decayed, the Roman-led Church could have evolved and settled on a literalistic interpretation of Christian myths, after heated exchanges between Christian factions, as actually happened.  

In any case, to presume that the authorities could have produced the body is to presuppose Christianity’s truth (through the inerrancy of scripture), since historically the victims of crucifixion would have been thrown into a lime pit rather than be given the dignity of burial. And how could any corpse have been positively identified with Jesus weeks, months or years after his death? There were no DNA tests! The earliest gospel narrative of Jesus’s life and death was written decades after the events supposedly occurred. Also, pagan critics understood the difference between myth and history or rationally-ascertained truth, and thus would have refuted Christianity by pointing out that Christians only borrowed and Judaized the universal, harvest-based myth of the dying and rising saviour god. For their part, Jews would have refuted Christianity by pointing out that Jesus evidently failed as an earthly messiah, since he didn’t save Jews from Roman occupation. Just because the historical, physical resurrection is paramount to American Christians doesn’t mean it was so to the earliest Christians.

Even the tale of doubting Thomas who touches the risen Jesus’s wounds offers no contrary lesson, since this is the same “physical” risen Jesus who was unrecognizable to Mary Magdalene (John 20:14) and who magically “ascended” or flew into heaven, that is, into outer space (Acts 1:9-11). So if the “physical” risen Jesus could fly into, and survive in, outer space without a space ship or an astronaut’s suit, the Pauline Christian could have said Jesus’s death and resurrection weren’t merely literal or physical. In short, the New Testament’s account of the nature of the risen Jesus is inconsistent, since the account evolved like any other bit of folklore.

As to whether there were twelve historical apostles or even an historical Jesus, and whether Jesus and the others were martyred for their religious beliefs, there’s no compelling reason to believe as much unless you’re already committed to Christianity. Some scattered Christian sources from Origen onwards state that some apostles were killed, but those sources are self-serving. (Acts 12:2 says James the brother of John, not of Jesus was killed by King Herod.) Some of the most important Christian documents even come right out and admit they’re biased. The gospel of John ends by saying, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The purpose of writing that narrative, then, wasn’t to tell the unvarnished historical truth, but to convince the reader to accept a certain religious message. Equally self-serving is the Book of Acts, an historical narrative which the author claims is highly accurate but which critical scholars have shown is largely fabricated.

Thus, if you’re intellectually responsible and you want to ensure that your empirical beliefs are rational, you won’t take such Christian accounts at face value, nor will you trust what the winning Christians said about the founding of their religion. Thanks to the unearthing of the Nag Hammadi library and to critical scholarship, we know that the literalists were at war with Gnostics, Manicheans and various Jewish sects, and thus were incentivized to bend the truth to prevail in their power struggle. The victorious Christians resorted to political machinations to manage their growing institution. For example, after the failed Jewish uprising and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, Catholics scapegoated the Jews and whitewashed Rome’s involvement in Jesus’s death in their versions of their founding myth (in the four gospels). And they glorified the apostles (even though Mark does the opposite) to enhance their earthly authority since they claimed to take up the tradition that these had apostles passed on. The alleged heroism of the apostles would thus transfer to later generations of Christian leaders.

Moreover, as Richard Carrier says in his crushing of this old chestnut (called Did the Apostles Die for a Lie?), even if we trusted the Christian tradition and accepted that Jesus’s followers died for their religious beliefs and that recanting would have saved them from being killed, a Christian like Conte presumes that no one would die for a lie. Tell that to the followers of any number of cults who killed themselves as commanded by their leader. Again, if the Christian followers “believed in their heart” that Jesus was God incarnate and rose from the dead, they made themselves into appendages of their leader, having surrendered their private judgment in exchange for the freedom from worry that comes with reverting to such a state of childish passivity. In any case, even if there were apostles who were eye witnesses to Jesus’s life and death and even if they were martyred, they might not have died specifically because they refused to reject the Christian creed. They might have known that Jesus performed no miracles, but believed in the greater good of some vision of social progress and that dying to spread the myth of Jesus’s divinity and resurrection was more important than testifying to the disappointing truth of Jesus’s mere humanity. In short, the apostles might have been like soldiers, except that instead of dying in a war for their nation, they sacrificed themselves in what they considered to be a cosmic war of good against evil.

The Love Bomb

Finally, Conte resorts to a saccharine shibboleth, as I emphasize in the following with italics:
That is not what transformed me from a sceptic into a follower of Christ. What changed my thinking and my heart was Christ Himself. He loves me. No matter what I do, no matter what I say, no matter how I act, He loves me. This kind of amazing love is a supernatural love that can only be from the creator Himself. I feel His love all around me, every day. It gives me hope. It strengthens me. It gives me joy in any circumstance. Why wouldn't I want to believe that there is a power far greater than me? Why wouldn't I want to have a supreme being that answers my prayers and brings me opportunities and fills my life with blessings? I see a major difference in my life as a sceptic versus my life as a believer. You've got nothing to loose, try it.
So after the American pragmatism and the historical “proof,” Conte concedes that neither argument proved decisive for her. What made the difference in her case was her personal relationship with God. True, her emotionalism degenerates into a return to pragmatism when she lists the benefits of befriending such a loving god and reminds the readers at the end that they have nothing to lose and should “try it,” as though becoming a Christian were like opting to order some product on Amazon. Indeed, Conte’s Christianity is a religious excuse for consumerism. Why else would she boast that her religion gives her “joy in any circumstance,” when Hebrews 11 points out that heroes of faith typically suffer, being outsiders in a fallen world? To make sense of this, just remind yourself that Conte is only an average American Christian and so she likely doesn’t have time to read the Bible.

What’s interesting here to me, though, is her tedious repetition of the word “love.” This, of course, is a favourite tactic of the born-again Christian and of cultists generally, to smother the potential convert with a love bomb. The trick is to seek out losers in society and to offer them a sense of belonging and power on the condition that they join the movement. In exchange, as I said, they must surrender their soul, that is, their selfhood, autonomy, independence, and critical thinking. Recently, we saw a similar tactic at work in Cesar Sayoc, the sender of pipe bombs to various Democratic leaders in the United States. Sayoc was a 56 year-old pariah who was kicked out of his parents’ house and living in his van, and who saw the cult of Trumpism as a means of regaining his self-respect. Trump is a malignant narcissist, though, so instead of being love-bombed by Trump, Sayoc fed on what we might call the dark side of the Force, namely Trump’s enmity for all those who don’t respect him as a great man. Sayoc dutifully decorated his van with stickers denouncing Democrats, liberals, and CNN. He wore his tribal membership all over his home.

Likewise, Conte wears hers in the form of her rhetoric. What she’s actually saying, if you stop to think about it, is preposterous—but that’s the point. To prove her loyalty to her tribe, she demonstrates she’ll say anything, no matter how slapdash or sentimental. The goal isn’t even to show the merits of Christianity, since the cultist can only presuppose them and has been relieved of the ability to think straight. Nor is Conte boasting about the closeness of her relationship with God. No, she’s mainly spouting cloying mantras and shibboleths to signify her loyalty to her tribe. What matters is the social function of her message, not its pathetic content. This is animal behaviour disguised as civil discourse. To point out the absurdity of speaking of a supernatural God that “loves” a clever ape is just to state the obvious. To hunger for mere love from the (necessarily horrific) source of natural being is as grotesque a motivation as to seek to be privately happy in a world in which most creatures are more or less miserable or aghast. But that’s all beside the point, as is most of what I’ve written in this article.

Cosmicist Coda

To examine the duplicitous ravings of an Yvonne Conte is a fool’s errand akin to trying to eat a picture of food. I played the fool only to get to this larger point, which is that we disgrace ourselves if we assume that our enlightened talk is plainly fact-based whereas hers is nonsensical. The true contrast between evangelical Christian blather and, say, the voicing of intellectually-responsible skepticism isn’t a difference between subjectivity and objectivity. “Objectivity” is a euphemism for instrumentality. To be objective is to construe events as conforming to an assembly of mechanisms that can be controlled. Objectivity is likewise about the master-slave relationship, except that instead of the fraudster and the mark, we have the dominance of patriarchal humanity over feminine nature. Both forms of control are mythical, since nature will obliterate all life in the fullness of time.

The point of my writings isn’t to lay bare the facts. No one can do so since “laying them bare” is an anthropocentric metaphor, as is the notion of a correspondence or agreement between statement and fact. Like Conte’s article, the function of such metaphors matters more than their content. Mine is a negative, cosmicist philosophy in that the goal isn’t to know the truth but to realize that the truth is too horrific to be grasped by petty, paltry creatures such as any of us. Enlightenment isn’t a state of omniscience; instead, the aspiration is to be humbled enough by failure and pain to recognize that our duty as honourable outsiders is to laugh at nature's absurdity and be sickened by its indifference to the fate of all living things.

Disbelief in a personal creator of the universe is more rational and honourable than theism, but philosophical naturalism doesn’t recover the concept of truth. Theists have only the illusion of absolute truth, since their notion of harmony between, say, theological truths and the objective facts is belied by an implication of their theological view of nature, which is that there can be no distinction between metaphor and literal truth. If there's no literal truth, there's no impersonal, indifferent, objective fact. Theists personify the inhuman universe as the artifact of an intelligent designer, and to outgrow such a mental projection is to face the startling anti-fact that what we call the world of literal truths, as distinct from our metaphors, mental impositions, and self-centered expressions is a soul-destroying terror. The world at large is effectively anti-human; all our treasured notions come to nothing in the face of natural, godless reality. No one knows the facts of that reality. Our models carve off parts of the universe into mechanisms that can be ephemerally controlled, but the total cause and thus the full story of what’s happening anywhere at any moment is perfectly inhuman and could be fathomed only by a creature as monstrous as the universe that’s tortured and slaughtered most of the trillions of creatures that have accidentally evolved in its living-dead entrails.


  1. We must materialize, concretise that impossible reality these people believe to confront them in frontal ways instead in these abstract trenches. It's what they must want, remain in their confortable heaven-thoughts. Religion is just like heliocentrism, because it's a super antropocentrism [entire reality is centralized in human-kind].

    1. I don't know if confronting a religious person with atheistic arguments makes much of a difference. That's the point I try to make in "Theistic Proofs in an Echo Chamber." We talk past each other and end up showcasing our respective worldviews. It takes great humility to be open-minded--or great dullness to be uninterested in ideas in the first place.