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Unsolicited Email

I receive a lot of unsolicited email. Most of it could be easily categorized as “hate mail”, and I archive it away without a second thought. Rarely do I get email from people who appear to have intelligence. I appreciate email from people who have opposing viewpoints that respect that I’m not likely to be converted to their belief system. However, I dislike getting into long philosophical debates over email. I would much rather have these discussions in person, if at all. It’s not that I hate philosophy, I just hate that 9 times out of 10, people turn into self-righteous cunts when they get philosophical.

My goal with this website is to address modern day concerns of atheists and other non-believers. My goal is NOT to ponder the origins of the universe. You will not likely ever see the word “epistemological” or “intrinsic” on this website. That’s just not my purpose. There are plenty of websites out there if that is your thing.

This is rather long, so I’ll save my front page readers with a break tag. For my feed readers, I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do for you.

Hello,

Just came across your website and was interested in starting a conversation with you about religion, the existence of God, or the lack thereof.

I noticed your website seems to be based on a distorted definition of faith, at least according to Christianity. Faith isn’t something that’s blind – that’s called wishful thinking and superstition. When it comes to religion, faith is something that is built on facts and evidence, at least according to the Bible (Hebrews 11). Blind faith isn’t faith, nor is it rational. It simply doesn’t make sense to believe in something there seems to be no evidence for. Faith is when we know by evidence and facts that what we believe is true. We can’t see God, which is where faith comes into place, but our belief in God needs to be heavily supported by facts, or it doesn’t make sense and isn’t true faith.

I understand many Christians out there are under the same mistaken idea that faith is somehow blind and belief against proof. Biblically at least, that’s far from the truth.

Second, you seem to strongly advocate science. Nice. So do I. But the presence of science doesn’t = the absence of God. Science, by its very nature, is never capable of proving anything doesn’t exist. Science operates on inductive reasoning, which means it observes the world, and then draws conclusions based on those observations. Therefore, it can only draw conclusions about things that can be observed in the physical world.

Also, science and religion address different categories. Science addresses the “how,” religion addresses the “why” and “who.” Ok, the world formed billion years ago in a Big Bang. But why? And who? What is the purpose?

I believe in evolution as much as the next intellectually equipped person. But even evolution doesn’t make sense without religion. What endows these organisms with a will to survive? Why do they want to live? What’s the point of living? Who or what gave them the will to live?

Your site seems to capture very well the present time’s separation of critical thinking and religion, but it doesn’t have to – and is not supposed to be that way. Religion is supposed to involve rational and logical thinking. So what you’re really taking aim at are the people who practice religion, and not God.

I’d love to hear your response.

Matt


My response:

Matt,

I do not believe that my definition of faith is distorted. There is no tangible evidence for the Christian god or any god for that matter. I’m not saying that you believe this, but many people try to tell me that their evidence is in the majesty of a rainbow or a waterfall, or that they can feel the presence of god around them. These are not facts, nor are they evidence of the existence of any higher power. I am interested to hear what facts and evidence you have to support belief in a higher power.

I do strongly advocate science, but nowhere do I propose that the presence of science means that there is no god. I do not know where you came to that conclusion. I am aware that science cannot prove the nonexistence of something. I have never set out to prove the nonexistence of anything. I only ask that people who make fantastic claims prove themselves. Certainly, purporting that an all-powerful, all-knowing being whose origin is never addressed created the world and everything in it can be called fantastic. I realize that the Christian god is believed to exist and operate outside of the physical world as we know it. I can only say that that is very convenient as it seems to absolve said deity’s proponents from having to apply the same rules of logic that are applied to every other instance of educated discourse.

The “who” versus “how” arguments, to met at least, are a matter of philosophical slippery slope that can never be resolved. Acknowledging that a deity may have created the infinitely complex universe does nothing to satisfy the question of how said deity came to be. It is an infinite regress that can be argued until all parties are blue in the face, which is why I stay away from it altogether. I choose to live in the here and now and combat the issues which I face on a daily basis, mainly persecution for my beliefs and the separation of church and state.

I am glad that you think that critical thinking and religion should go hand in hand, and I am glad that you practice that, however, this has never been my experience. Everywhere I have ever lived, religion has existed hand in hand with hatred, bigotry, exclusion, and political gain. In my opinion, when one accepts that they believe for a fact that something that can’t be seen dictates their surroundings in ways which cannot be measured, they have thrown critical thinking to the breeze. When evaluating the existence of a god in a physical world, it is not illogical or out of line to expect that there be some concrete deliverables by which to measure its existence. Otherwise, there is nothing to separate belief in a supreme being with belief in the boogeyman or belief in fairies.

Again, it has been my experience that people do not believe in god truly as a way to explain the origin of their surroundings. It is more often than not the product of not wishing to go to Hell post-mortem. Adherence to any of the many dogmatic organizations of god believers is driven by avoidance of sin and the constant quest to praise and be noticed by a god. Am I taking aim at the people who believe in a god and not the god itself? Sure. Because without the people who believe in that god, there is absolutely no reason to debate his existence. Without the parade of fundamentalism that impacts my life on a personal level daily and on a political level, I would have no reason to speak out.

So to conclude, living in a physical world, in which there can exist no physical proof of a supreme power, what purpose or need is there for such a being? Human beings celebrate morals without any intervention from gods and do so out of evolved desires to propagate one’s species and to experience more of life. These desires do not have to be driven by divine mandate, and to claim such without evidence is preposterous. There are many mysteries of our origins, and as we progress scientifically, we continue to pull the veil back on what has previously been attributed to supernatural powers. It is ambitious to want to think that there is something else out there with a grand plan for us all, but at the end of the day, it is the work of our fellow man that determines the course and quality of our lives.

Is there anything you would have added?

9 thoughts on “Unsolicited Email

  1. In my opinion, can a guy who creates a blog with an invitation in the “about” section, “if you have any questions, please email me…” really call those emails unsolicited? I’m just sayin’

  2. I suppose that’s true, but I meant that more in the “questions about the site” sense. It would make more sense for someone wanting to have a truly open discussion to have that discussion in a public forum where there could be input from a variety of sources.

  3. I would love to get a job answering letters such as these. Richard Dawkins, are you listening?
    None of us should be surprised at receiving responses like this. At least, we can appreciate the irony that “Christian love” leads to venom and threats of violence.
    Howzabout this as a stock response: “If you’re so sure there is a god, martyr yourself.” Nah, that’s too far.
    .-= Sarah Trachtenberg´s last blog: More about Mormons– the saga continues =-.

  4. A responder asked “What is the purpose of the Big Bang?”

    This is about as sensible as asking for the purpose of a snowflake. These beautiful things are created in their millions in some part of the world every day. They are created by a scientifically understood process which does not require the existence or intervention of a supernatural being. They have no “purpose”.

  5. I would add a couple of things. one is that evolution does not make sense in the context of a supposedly benevolent omnipotent god. The natural world is a vicious, competitive world. A benevolent god would not create a world in which some creature had to kill and eat others in order to live. As you point out, all creatures love life and desire to go on living. However, in this world, nature dictates that a great number of them will die horrible deaths in order to feed others. How is that consistent with your loving god theory?

    Suggested reading: Darwin’s Origin of Species. Darwin began his journey as a devout Christian, but his observation of the cruelty of the natural world (among other things) convinced him that evolution was a natural process. It does not preclude a god – but it does make gods unnecessary and even difficult to reconcile with the facts.

    The question of what gives life meaning is not answered by religion, either. The existence of a supernatural being does not imbue life with purpose. Life is more precious for being rare and brief than it would be if eternal life were everyone’s fate. To the question of what is the purpose of life without a god, Carl Sagan’s reply was “Do something meaningful.” Each of us creates our own purpose.

  6. I notice that although the unsolicited e-mailer states that ‘faith is based on facts and evidence’, he/she fails to give us any facts or evidence to investigate. I would be interested in seeing real, scientific facts and evidence.

  7. Oh, but Linda Turnipseed, let us not forget that in creating everything, God created Science as well. Therefore, he supercedes anything and everything that can be measured.

    How convenient.

  8. As a person who is a strong agnostic atheist, I think your tactics and arguments are not quite as sound as you’d like to think they are.

    For one, I hope you realize that your view of what it means to be philosophical is woefully incorrect. Take a philosophy class or two, especially logic, then try reconsidering you wording. You’re not talking about philosophy, you’re talking about opinion spouting masquerading as debate. And for peat’s sake, please look up the word “epistemology.” That’s about how we can know things (theories of knowledge) and should be of great concern to any science advocate. What you seem to be talking about isn’t epistemology but rather existentialism, or the questioning of one’s existence and meaning in the world. I get why you would snub your nose at the latter, but sure as heck not the former.

    Also, please note that attempting to claim a lack of evidence proves something is a fallacy (namely argumentum ad ignorantiam, or an argument from ignorance) and holds just about as much water as the circular argument that Christians employ that the Bible is true because God says it is and we know that God exists because the Bible tells us so. Bad reasoning, no matter the goal or the result, is something we should all avoid.
    .-= Kevin Berry´s last blog: Daddy Also Gets (a little bit) Pregnant =-.

  9. I have taken a philosophy class or two… eight years ago when I was in college. I didn’t much care for it then, and I continue to not care for it much now. I don’t care for a great number of -ologies or -isms regardless of how much you think a science advocate should.

    Also, I have never said that a lack of evidence proves a fallacy. I have only stated that I am not making any claims to the existence of something without evidence and that the burden of proof rests on the claimant of such fantastical hypotheses.
    .-= God is Pretend´s last blog: Funny or Die: You Decide. =-.

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