Class Warfare Blog

February 22, 2021

I Love Mark Twain

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:24 am
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Note I forgot to post this yesterday. I like to post something of a religious nature on Sundays as a Sabbath exercise. Steve

This post was stimulated by the following quotation:

“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”

This is attributed to Mark Twain but, of course, was never spoken or written by Mr. Clemens. Who actually authored it is unknown, but it seems relatively recent. It has a preachy tone to it which tells you, right there, it is not a Twain quote.

To me the key phrase is “find out why.” A purpose for your life is something you create, not find. The “find” people are all selling a particular brand of snake oil. These are religious creationists who believe we were created by their god for a purpose, for a special purpose, a purpose only they know and you don’t.

Unfortunately, if you ask these people why your or my purpose of life is, you will get wishy-washy ambiguous answers.

Let us take a step backward and ask ourselves, why would a being such as the Judeo-Christian god create a sentient species such as us? Let us set aside for the time being that an incredibly vast universe was created, presumably for a reason and if that reason is so we could be created, then this is more than a spot of bother. Imagine having to build an ant farm the size of the state of California to raise a few dozen ants. (Mind boggling but my analogy erred on the side of caution.)

This god is an asetic god, a being complete and whole in and of itself which needs nothing, so the reason for our creation had to be a want, rather than a need.

So, what purpose could we have been created to serve?

To serve others is often suggested but that makes no sense. If I was created to serve others, what are the others for? To serve me? (My cartoon mind dredges up the Twilight Zone episode with the cookbook “To Serve Mankind.”) To serve god? This also makes no sense as such a god needs no servants. I have wondered why the Judeo-Christian god has so many “helpers.” For example angels. Angels are “spiritual’ beings believed to act as attendants, agents or messengers of God, acting as “benevolent celestial intermediaries between god and humans.” So, God needs attendants? To attend to what? God needs agents? To do what? God needs messengers? Direct revelations weren’t satisfying? This God seems pretty weak if he needs all of these servants to run his business. The Book of Revelations says that there are “myriads of myriads” of angels, so that means 100,000,000 or more of them. No wonder this god’s mansion has so many rooms. (I wonder if there is an upstairs-downstairs arrangement of rooms?)

So, old God doesn’t need company or conversation or someone to make a good beer. So, why did he need human beings? According to the Bible, he must have created humans to learn what it was like to regret and change his mind (both were done in association with the Great Flood, don’t you know). (Both of which contradict His All-Knowingness.)

Now, I am going to take a wild ass guess and suggest to you that many Christians will mumble something along the lines of God created humans to have people join Him in Heaven and to commune with Him. (Does that make God a communist? Just asking.) The more honest sort say that their God wants humans to join Him in heaven so we can worship Him directly. It will be worth it, they say, because we will be blissed out merely to be in “God’s presence.” This, of course, also makes no sense at all because these same people will tell you that this god is “omnipresent,” which means he is everywhere all of the time, so He already is in our presence and we are in His.

Gee, is this making sense, at all? I can see why these religions don’t have question and answer periods after sermons, like there are after virtually every secular speech.

Oh, my point is writing this? Yo, people, stop besmirching Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain’s legacy by attributing things to him he neither said nor wrote. Just stop.

September 5, 2020

The God Feature of Omnipresence

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:56 am
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In a recent post I wrote “We claim that this (Christian) god hears our prayers and may act upon them right away. We also claim that this god is omnipresent, that he is always observing you and listening to you speak. Is this really necessary? It involves a human foible, that of someone needing to be within “ear shot” to witness what you say . . . and within line of sight to see what you do. Is this “power” necessary for this particular god? Absolutely not. If he is all-knowing, he already knows all that you have said and will say and do. He doesn’t need to be “there” to witness your prayer or your actions.” The reason is simple: because he already has.

God has perfect memory of the past . . . and the future. Whereas we “think back” to recall a memory, this god can “think forward” to recall an event that hasn’t yet happened, but will.

My conclusion in that previous post was that “omnipresence” is an unnecessary claim for any god which is all-knowing. It is an indicator that this god is made up because it contains human frailties coded into it, a being which supposedly has no human frailties.

So, why do theists insist that the Christian god is omnipresent? I think it has to do with human nature also. Imagine a Christian confronting a friend contemplating some sort of sinful behavior. Which, do you think, will be the more effective argument? Telling them that “God” will be there seeing and hearing what they do? or telling them “God” already knows what you will do and he will punish you. Human nature says, “well if I am to be punished I might as well get my money’s worth.” (Anyone who has raised a teenager has encountered this attitude.)

So, Christians have transformed their god into a Voyeur God to make it a more effective weapon in controlling the behavior of others. Having a god who watches you when you are voiding your bowels or bladder hardly seems attractive. I guess if it matters which hand you use, there will have to be some oversight. And, sex of course. God watches all of that kinky stuff and takes mental notes or possible they are automatically recorded in big books that will be consulted when you are at the pearly gates being judged (or whenever a cherubim is feeling horny and needs some help getting off).

Something is definitely sick here, and I don’t think it is this god. Being imaginary makes so many of its actions second hand, don’t you think?

June 30, 2019

Evolution of the Gods—Powers

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 7:04 am
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I have written about how it is relatively easy to come up with animistic religions by having a somewhat overactive agency detector, a feature that provided us an evolutionary advantage by making us less susceptible to predation. Over time these animistic gods, who were everywhere, literally, morphed into locality gods. These gods were not just the god of a brook, or the god of a tree, but the god of an entire region, even the oceans.

No better evidence exists, I think, for the social construction of gods by humans, than the social competition between gods. If gods have specific venues (trees, rocks, brooks) one can still see some competition. A flooding brook might gouge the land during its flood stage and humans could interpret it as a battle between the god of the brook and the god of the meadow it flows through. But these are relatively minor affairs, nothing at all reaching the scale of the dispute between the Hindu and Muslim religious in India/Pakistan/Bangladesh, but it was a “fight between the gods,” nonetheless.

I am reminded of the campfire scene in the first Arnold Swartzenegger Conan the Barbarian movie, in which Conan and his sidekick (did he have a name?) argue over whose god is the stronger. I guess they got tired of checking to see who had the longer dick.

Obviously if there is a large scale dispute between one village and another and a faction in one village is trying to drum up passion for battle with that other village, they might claim that they worship the “wrong gods” over there. This is but one form of social competition that led to one god becoming ‘stronger” than another.

There is a logical ending for such social competition for who has the strongest god, and that is, of course, the One True God™ concept, begun by Zoroastrians (?), who then taught Hebrews, who then carried things to extremes.

But prior to that point, there had to be discussions of the “powers” of the competing gods. And in the normal human practice, things expanded over time. (How big was the fish you caught? That big, really?) So, gods needed to be strong, then stronger, then strongest. (My god is so strong, he can create a rock your god couldn’t lift.) They had to be smart, supremely smart, all-knowing). They had to be good, better, best, “all-good,” and so on.

Of course, these god powers conflicted with one another. Epicurus’s argument (maybe) that: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” points out many of these conflicts. The following quote also points to problems of this god being perfect, sufficient unto himself, etc.

They tell us it is our sins that force Him to punish us. I will answer that God, according to yourselves, is not immutable, because the sins of men compel him to change his conduct in regard to them. Can a being who is sometimes irritated and sometimes appeased, be constantly the same?”—Jean Messlier

The problem is that these claims weren’t run through God Central for fact checking and consistency checking, but it is conceivable that the Earthly Powers of The One True Religion™ might not have cared. They seemed often to favor quantity over quality (consider the definitions and examples of miracles in Catholic investigations for sainthood).

I have pointed out that if the Christian god is “all-powerful” and “all-knowing” then there could be no opposition to his plans. The idea of a final battle on the plains of Armageddon is ludicrous when on one side is a being who will know the plans of the “opposition” before they do and can thwart them with mere thoughts. In fact, why would such a god create human beings or angels, etc, in the first place. What “needs” could it have that creating such beings could satisfy.

So, over time, the powers of gods have expanded. They have expanded in scope in that gods were first confined to trees and badgers and such, but now pervade the entire universe. (If a multiverse is discovered, their gods will expand there, too.) They have expanded in power, too. From a tree being able to crack a rock with its roots, the Christian god can create billions of billions of stars and planets in a day. These expansions are signs of the social competition between adherents of the various gods over time and expose the fictional roots of all such gods.

Immutable gods? My ass. Wait until you see GOD, v 12.7 Coming Soon!

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