The Nature of God

I’m trying to actually catch up on some old things I wanted to post about. I’m not an entirely consistent blogger and often look to outside content for blogging ideas. There is an old post on Daylight Atheism called Whence Comes God’s Nature? It touches on some good ideas as to why I can easily reject the religions of my fellow humans. Even though I’m rather firm in my belief that we don’t know what, if anything, exists in the realm of the supernatural since we are natural, I’m equally firm in my belief that the existing religions are simple creations of our primitive ancestors. Read the entire article at the link above but here are some of the major points I like.

God, so we’re told, is eternal and unchanging. He is pure reason, pure mind, pure spirit – no physical needs to fulfill, no past history, none of the contingent events that make human nature what it is. So how is it that he has, just like us, a complex nature with specific likes and dislikes? He did not undergo the process by which human beings acquire their preferences, so where does he get them from? Why does he prefer things one way and not another?

Read the original post for various examples of gods that would have different major traits and personalities of humans to see how weird it is to think something so supernatural and powerful would be as petty and simple as a human in thoughts and desires.

There’s an interesting parallel here with the “fine-tuning” argument sometimes used by religious apologists. They ask how likely it is that a universe with physical laws conducive to life could just happen to exist with no prior explanation. But atheists can ask an analogous question in return: Out of all the billions of possible gods, each one with a different highly specific and arbitrary set of desires and preferences, how likely is it that there just happens to be one who’s benevolent and kindly disposed toward humans? What prior cause can explain that favorable coincidence?

Out of all of the billions, trillions, etc. of possible supernatural beings or supernatural causes for all of existence to be I’m fairly certain humanity has no clue as to what that really is. But out of all of these possibilities I don’t think it’s enough to just say that I don’t believe in any of the human defined theisms. I think it is much more honest to say that all of humanity definitely doesn’t know. Even though I’m without theism (a-theist), that is why I use the Agnostic label.

Godless America?

Atheist Revolution has a post concerning Taking Back America For Atheists which suggests that Christians have taken over America. It has a criticism of patriotism while suggesting atheists should become patriotic to “take back America.” I need to reply to a few of these ideas.

First, this isn’t a Christian nation and there’s nothing to “take back” since it still belongs to all of the people regardless of their religious belief. Even the Muslims still have freedom of religion even if there are currently some that are vocal for limiting their freedoms in this country. Religious freedom needs to continue to be protected for all, but it’s not yet time to sound the alarm of a Christian takeover. Yes, I said religious freedom needs to be protected. If I am free to think and believe what I want then everyone else should be free too. We need to live together without interferring with each other’s freedoms.

I never feel threatened or compelled to engage in religious belief because of my government. The only threatening thing I can’t opt out of that I can think of is “In God We Trust” on my money. Obviously we don’t all trust in God so that needs to change back to E Pluribus Unum as the original motto that captures the true spirit of the country. “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible” is also divisive but I’m not obligated to say it and I won’t get thrown in jail if I don’t. I can hold my head high and reflect on our freedom while everyone else bows their head in prayer at a sporting event. The religious police don’t come over and haul me away for not praying and I’ve never received any weird looks or threats for it. If most people at the event want to participate in a prayer, then why should I care as long as I’m not compelled to join in?

Yes, I think prayer has no business in an official government setting led by government officials, but if they allow all beliefs to have a turn at it then that supports freedom of religion for me. If they limit it to Christian prayer then they’re just wrong since that’s not the law of this country. We usually get that kind of thing corrected. A “take back America” for any one group as an attitude is unpatriotic to me since we should all fight for each other’s freedom to believe and act how we want. Many times I’ll see the majority doing things I don’t like or won’t participate in but as long as I’m still free to not join the majority, then we’re good.

Our very secular government serves all of the people. Until I hear of a day that the police, fire department, social services, or any other governmental function will not serve me for my lack of belief in god, then I see every reason to continue as a patriot of our country. In my time of need I know I won’t just get prayed for instead of receiving government action. There are flaws and problem areas caused by religious people, but we’re doing pretty good overall. Our government and the laws of this country are the only things a freethinker has to be thankful for on any level close to that of a deity. The country is definitely a greater power than any individual. Our society and our government allows me to live the life I have without fear of the thought police or other forms of mob rule over an individual. These are some of the reasons I think freethinkers should be a patriot and a fan of our country. This definitely isn’t Iran, North Korea, or China. Right now we have some pretty good legal protections for a lack of belief even if we don’t exactly have a utopian freedom from religion. I agree this isn’t a permanent trait of the country and it does need some improvement and protecting, but we haven’t lost America yet.

Freethinkers are the best patriots as exemplified by someone like Thomas Paine and we have every reason to continue in the footsteps of someone like him. If this country really is about liberty, freedom, and the Bill of Rights then anyone trying to remake us into a Christian nation is the most unpatriotic type of person of all. The Atheist Revolution post has it right in saying:

The Christian right has long had their version of a “take back America” movement, exemplified most recently by Fox “News” windbag, Glenn Beck. But they seek to take us back to a fictional time and place, turning us into something we’ve never been and that actually violates much of the Constitution.

My feedback on the marketing approach of saying atheists should have their own “take back America” movement is to say that America isn’t lost yet. The real movement would be to remind everyone how secular the government really is and have a patriotic movement that protects freedom, liberty, and justice for ALL, not just the “right type of Christian” that would get more and more restrictive if we ever went down that road. Marketing would say things like “True patriots defend freedom of belief” and “true patriots want liberty for all, not just one type of God believers.” We don’t need to “take back America” and we just need to protect it from “my group only” attacks since “America is freedom for ALL.”

I have a funny side note since the post mentioned Glenn Beck. I’ve seen where Glenn Beck apparently idolized Thomas Paine for Common Sense and wrote a book based on that pamphlet. I definitely recommend another work by Thomas Paine called The Age of Reason, which is a wonderful critique of religion. This is from the same person that’s hailed as the The Father of the American Revolution and considered to be one of the founding fathers of the United States. Some Christians believe the United States was built in the Christian image while leaving God and Jesus completely out of the documents that serve as the foundation for our government when in truth it was created in the minds of people like Thomas Paine.

One Nation Indivisible

There’s billboards showing part of the original 1892 version of the Pledge of Allegiance before it was modified in 1954 to add in the words “under God.” Some anti-free speech Christians vandalized and defaced one of these billboards to add in the words “under God.” This funny cartoon takes it to the next step by adding in a variety of gods that it would apparently represent in a free country. Can’t we just get back to E Pluribus Unum??? Out of Many, One!