Besides the mindless drones that will send money to the 700 Club so that their dog may be healed of its anal cysts, another group that annoys the hell out of me are FreeThinkersï¿½.
From my run-ins with them on the web, they’re “militant atheists” that are as smug, annoying and self-righteous as their religious counterparts. Both have a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” mentality. Biblical discrepancies is enough for them to dismiss religion and the supernatural, just as “Piltdown Man” and other scientific setbacks are enough for Fundies to dismiss Evolution.
And quite frankly, I despise extremists to begin with.
What is a Freethinker?
No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.*
* This may have been re-written, or I saw it on another site, but I remember the wording to say “No FreeThinker can believe in a deity of any kind” This is confirmed on this site as well.
Gee… there’s another club that wouldn’t last five minutes in! It didn’t take too long for them to dictate what a FreeThinker is expected to believe or not believe. Sounds real “Free” to me.
While their name suggests a freeflow of ideas, usually their opinions are spewed from other people’s ideas word for word, and they’re irrationally intolerant of any schools of thought that are different from theirs. (It’s like how all “Non-Conformists” have to wear black, what’s up with that anyway?)
Before I go on, let me offer a simple caveat before I piss off the remaining few readers that visit:
I see a HUGE difference between these people and your average atheist. In the course of an atheist’s life, they’ve come to the conclusion that there is no God, or at least not a God as depicted in traditional scripture. And that’s cool. A part of me feels bad that they’re occasionally *forced* to defend this position, many of them have to do this by knowing the scriptures better than the religious nut trying to “save them”. Technically speaking, the side claiming something exists should have the “burden of proof”.
And Agnostics? I respect the hell out of them. They probably have the capacity to learn more than ANY of the above mentioned groups. I welcome skepticism here any day.
My thoughts on God?
My experience is that we live on a perfect ecosystem, skillfully designed for it’s inhabitants to adapt and/or evolve to its surroundings. Personally, I have a hard time believing it was done by a random accident. We were given a free will. Do we want to live free, or have God make all our decisions for us? Frankly I think our concept of God is all wrong. Creation? Probably a lot more complicated than than the Biblical accounts… but for the level of understanding at the time, it sufficed.
“I have given you all you need, and you’re on your own. Just think of me every once in a while.”
– George Burns as God –
Somewhere in “Truth”, there has to come a place where Science, History, Philosophy and Religion have to intersect and harmonize. A good example is Zen’s Yin/Yang (“With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”), or Karma (“What goes around comes around.”). The Golden Rule isn’t rocket science. It just requires common sense.
Modern history has failed to record a Deity stepping in to annhilate the oppressors of some people crying out for them. (I would imagine the Holocaust would have been a perfect time for YHVH to flex his omnipotent muscle). A lot of horrific things have been done in the name of God, and you’d think maybe once in a while the Virgin Mary would appear on someone’s toast to go “Hey, cut that out! They don’t want to be converted, get the hint???”, or something.
The crux of many militant atheist’s arguments stem from the Judeo/Christian perspective. Rarely do they tackle Buddhism, Hinduism, or even Islam. First argument is what I call “The Cosmic Santa Claus Strawman“:
“If there is a caring benevolent God watching over us, why is there so much suffering/evil in the world?”
The argument is flawed because of the assumption that God is supposed to step in every time we act up. Maybe he drops in every couple of thousands of years, maybe he doesn’t. Who knows? But then where is the free will? Can you direct me to the scriptures that led you to believe we can sit on our asses and everything will come to us? Who is to say that King David wasn’t annhilating whole races and using God as an excuse? (Won’t be the first time it’s happened.) Has it occured to you that it’s in the Bible to teach us a lesson that (apparently) he didn’t get. Who is to say that the Crusades were sanctioned by God? I can think of plenty of times where people do stupid things because they believe God (or the Devil) told them to do it.
I believe evil to be an abstract, just like “cold”or “darkness”. Evil is simply the “absence of good”. It’s what coincides with science and it’s our choice to make.
As far as suffering… it builds character. It makes you stronger and wiser. As far as “suffering in the world”, have you done anything to help someone less fortunate than you? Someone down on their luck? No? Then shut the fuck up about all the suffering, you’re part of the problem!
The other is the pointing out of glaring errors and contradictions. Something that shouldn’t be in an “infallible” book.
Strawman alert! There is a glaring difference between “inspired” and “infallible”. I’ve seen the former acknowledged by scholars and the latter by less-informed on both sides of the argument. I contend anything with a “human touch” is bound to have errors in it.
Let’s take “The Death of Judas” for example. Did he hang himself, or did he buy land and spilled his innards after a nasty fall? Well, it obviously can’t be both. Matthew never saw Judas again after the night of the betrayal and Luke derived his gospel by investigation. Both received their information second-hand. Perhaps the Gospel of the Holy 12 can shed some light on this:
2. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed and went out and hanged himself.
3. And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
4. And they took council and bought with them the potterâ€™s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called Aceldama, that is, the field of blood, unto this day.
A more plausable scenario in my opinion, and it certainly explains how the story distorted in time, doesn’t it?
Here’s a real life scenario:
If you’ve been here long enough, you know I was raised by a single mom. My dad skipped out long before I was born. The question was once asked: “Did my father know my mom was pregnant?”
One family member told me “No. They split up after a fight, and he never found out.”
Another family member said “Yes. The news was broken to him, and he wasn’t ready to be a father, and left.”
Two conflicting stories by people who were there. Only one of them can possibly be true. I suppose if you’re one of those FreeThinkers, that is ample evidence that I don’t exist. Congratulations!
Two sites I rely on for a well informed opinion on any religious topic is:
Both sites are well-written, informative, and use a keen sense of critical thinking. I may not arrive at the same conclusion of either of them sometimes, but they’re great resources that aren’t afraid to tackle tough questions.
Life is a journey. We arrive at our conclusions at our own pace. A wise person will not only go on with what he’s experienced, but others experience as well. We’re here to learn, and to pass that knowledge on.
I’ll leave you with one final thought from what’s becoming my favorite Gospel (Is this Yeshua guy smart or what?):
4. Behold this crystal: how the one light its manifest in twelve faces, yea four times twelve, and each face reflecteth one ray of light, and one regardeth one face, and another another, but it is the one crystal and the one light that shineth in all.
You won’t find that in the four Gospels for some reason….