A relative just re-posted this obnoxious meme to Facebook:
And just after I read that, I noticed a friend had posted a link to It’s Easy To Convince An Atheist, which includes this vital and succinct response (emphasis mine):
Christians should know that for most atheists like myself, it is really easy to convince us that their deity of choice exists. They don’t have to quote Bible verses or persuade us to read their holy book. All they really have to do is present some valid evidence. That’s it.
So what does valid evidence consist of? That’s a great question and I’m not really sure the answer. I guess they would have to present some form of evidence that can be independently verified under controlled conditions designed to filter out confirmation bias and subjective sensory data.
Oh, you see! The atheist’s standard for evidence can never be met! Wrong, this is the very same standard of evidence that everyone uses for pretty much anything that really matters to them. If I were to tell you that I would give you a million dollars tomorrow if you gave me one hundred dollars today, it is doubtful you would do it on faith alone. No, you would ask questions. How do you know I can get a million dollars tomorrow? If I have a million dollars, why do I need your hundred dollars? What evidence do you have that I won’t just take your hundred dollars and run?
This is the problem with so many Christians — they utterly forget how to think about things when it relates to their god.
There is no particular way that a Christian could live that would convince a rational nonbeliever. Not by being perpetually happy and positive. Not by being super charitable to the less fortunate. Not by constantly invoking the name of Jesus, or praising God for every little thing. It does not matter one tiny bit how much faith they have, it does not mean that the God they believe in actually exists.
Asking a Christian to live in such a way that nonbelievers question their nonbelief is to send them on a fool’s errand. It cannot be done. There is nothing that a Christian can say or do that would cause me to question my nonbelief, because my nonbelief is not about the Christian at all. My nonbelief is established on the singular question: Does God Exist?
And that one question can be broken down:
- Does Any God exist? There is no verifiable, testable, falsifiable evidence that ANY god exists; and further,
- Does the Christian God exist? Textual criticism, history, and rational observation of the world show that the Christian God specifically cannot exist because that God, as expressed in their holy book is an incongruent self-contradictory jumble of arrogance, cruelty, and unreasonable demands that nobody would rationally give that god the time of day, much less worship.
So, to respond to the meme posted up above: It is a vain and empty task for the Christian to live in such a way that I would question my nonbelief. Rather, the nonbeliever should live so that Christians would question their belief in something that doesn’t exist.
There is not one single thing in the life of a Christian that is not also evidenced in the lives of nonbelievers. Nothing. Unexpected surprises/blessings? Yup, we have ’em! Unexplained recoveries against seemingly impossible odds? Yup, we have ’em. Appreciation for the great big universe in which we live; awe at a marvelous sunset; heart-melting joy at the birth of a child? oh yeah, we have that as well.
In fact, I’d venture that we have a BETTER experience of these things, because we do not cheapen them by pretending some personal deity delivered these things to us just for our benefit. How arrogant to believe their personal deity is involved in their lives, while visibly ignoring all the millions of people who go without basic food and shelter and healthcare. If I were a Christian I would be actively embarrassed to suggest God helped me balance my grocery budget while beggars line the streets going hungry.
What we do NOT have, however, is the constant wondering if we are fitting into the unspoken will of some unseen being, or somehow ‘falling short of God’s plan’ for us. We do not have the irrational guilt and shame of being merely human, with human emotions and sexual desires. We do not have the unreasonable insistence on delayed reward, being told to buck up and keep going under the promise of untold blessings after death. We do not have the abusive doctrine that we were born in sin, born flawed, born with the need of being redeemed or risk eternal hellfire.
Nobody has ever actually “heard God speak to their heart” — what they’ve had is their own desires, or their own best wisdom bubbling up from their own subconscious memory, perhaps sounding like their pastor or dear aunt Mabel, now passed over. Everybody has moments of repose and deep reflection, but only irrational people attribute those flashes of their own brilliance to some Imaginary Friend. They say “God convicted me”, when the reality is their own sense of right and wrong kicked in. And usually their sense of right and wrong has been warped by negative and abusive teachings from the church.
What is the benefit of being a Christian if there is NOTHING in this life that sets them apart, and the only perceived benefits come after death, yet we have no idea that anything actually happens after death. When we die, ALL perception ceases. There is no ‘soul’ that continues after the death of the body. Everything we know and perceive comes through the senses. It’s all just chemical reactions in the brain. Without the brain to process all those chemical reactions, there is no life. And all those promises of an after life go unfulfilled.
How sad to live a life hanging onto a promise of an afterlife when we have no way of knowing what occurs after death. Nobody knows, and it is a lie to pretend otherwise. Think of all the experiences Christians deny themselves in this life on the assumption that it would cost them something in the afterlife. What an utter waste.
This is not to say the Christian might not have a good and enjoyable life here – certainly there is fun and camaraderie in their circles. But too many Christians actively deny themselves things in this world in favor of a promise they have no reason to believe will be fulfilled later on.