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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Atheism – The Positive Affirmation of Penn Jillette

Please note that this post has been moved to True Freethinker’s Atheism category.


  1. “Yet, he [Penn Jillette] is of a sect that cannot seem to define or describe their personal interpretation of atheism without belittling those with whom they disagree—along with the obligatory generalizations of theists and fallacious comments.”

    A clear case of the pot calling the kettle black if I ever saw one, because the argumentation style that I have seen you use on your blogs against atheism is absolutely no different than what you just described there. I really don’t know how you expect anyone on the other side of the fence to take you seriously, because from what I have seen of your posts you may as well be arguing for Holocaust denial. As dependent on the yes ladder and riddled with ad hominem attacks as they are, you’re just preaching to the choir as you build your straw men to beat down.

    “I may be nitpicking…”

    Oh yes, you are. Nice of you to admit it.

    “If we do not know what God is we cannot begin by assuming that God gives off pdhysical evidence?”

    So you admit that you don’t know what God is, since there is no physical evidence of him. That’s definitely a step in the right direction. You basically just admitted that you don’t really believe in God, you just pretend that you do.

    “For example, let us presume that God is a non-physical being…”

    Why do you think that anyone should presume anything about God, especially after you just admitted that we can’t know anything about him due his lack of capability to leave evidence? But of course God is a non-physical being, that’s why he doesn’t exist. Same difference.

    “…why should we assume that a non-physical being leaves behind physical evidence?”

    That’s just it, I don’t assume any such thing. That’s why I’m an atheist.

    “This is the question of finding “some objective evidence of a supernatural power” of which Penn Jillett wrote.”

    There will never be any objective evidence of a supernatural power, because there is no such thing as the supernatural. So if a god does exist, it is not a supernatural one, so it will not be the one that can only live inside your imagination.

    “He is presuming that greed is not virtuous. But why not?”

    Are you suggesting that greed is virtuous, or are you just admitting that you don’t understand how atheists can live without it?

    “As an atheist he can make epistemic statements about morality but not ontological: he can make any moral statement that he wishes but cannot provide any grounding except for his own personal preference…”

    Correction: as an atheist, he can make any statements about anything he wants to. The fact that you don’t understand how atheists can have morals is your problem, not his. And you don’t get to dictate what kind of statements we can and cannot make about any subject.

    …what if my personal preference disagrees?”

    Nothing. It doesn’t matter. You are allowed to disagree with anything you want to. You are allowed to think whatever you want, and it doesn’t change anything. What happens inside of your brain is your business. An atheist does not believe that there is a wrathful skydaddy constantly scanning his or her thoughts to make sure that they are kosher, you see. That must be why you’re getting so confused.

  2. “Yet, if reality is that this “world” is not all that there is then it is not asking for more but merely appreciating everything that there is to life, a life that would just happened to occur in this “world” and beyond.”

    Why pray then? Why ask God to grant you things if he did not already see fit to give them to you on his own? He is omniscient, right? You wouldn’t need to pray for anything in that case. And if you really appreciate everything in life, then you must appreciate all suffering, no matter how horrible and pointless it is. And what about Hell, do you appreciate that too? How well do you think you'll be appreciating the eternal suffering of the damned in Hell when you’re in Heaven kissing Jesus’ butt 24/7? And, by the way, what's the difference?

    “This is one of the fallacious comments since it does not follow that belief in God leads to purposefully not treating people right the first time.”

    That’s not what he said. But it does follow that belief in divine forgiveness fosters a tendency to discount the need to seek the forgiveness of the real people that you have actually wronged, since it is much easier for one to beg forgiveness of something that’s not actually there to tell you to piss off. No news is good news, so in the silence you can go on pretending like everything’s hunky dory because you convinced yourself that you already did all you need to do to get right by just talking to yourself instead of the real victim.

    “Well, as Yoda, the Jedi Master, stated, “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try.’”

    LOL…you do know that thing was fake, right? And Star Wars didn’t really happen? O_O

    “What if you try and fail? Well, the surely you can be forgiven “by kindness and faulty memories” whatever that may mean—he appears to be saying that he just excuses himself.”

    No, he was saying that he seeks forgiveness from real people instead of fake ones. You know, real people, as in the kind that can actually answer you when you ask them a question. So when you ask someone to forgive you of something, you can actually find out if they really do or not, instead of just farting in the wind and calling it good (i.e. praying).

    “Note that again, he is asserting morality: “That's good,” “more thoughtful,” “treat people right” but why?”

    I find it funny that whenever an atheist says something positively moral that you can’t argue with, all you can do is ask “why”? As if we’re not allowed to care about others or have any feelings at all. It really baffles you that atheism doesn’t turn people into rabid baby eaters, doesn’t it? I bet it disappoints you as well.

    “An atheist defends Christian values…”

    There is no such thing as Christian values that are actually good ones to have. All good values are non-Christian values that anyone can have whether they believe in Jesus or not. The only values that are Christian-specific are damaging ones.

  3. “This is simply a non sequitur since believing that there is a God does not stop anyone learning from all different people from all different cultures.”

    Well, believing in the Christian God does, because of the tenant that all non-Christians are minions of Satan who are damned to Hell, and are therefore not to be trusted since they just want to steal your soul and drag you down to Hell with them.

    “…the more scholastically and theologically one becomes involved in Christianity the more one tends to learn about all different people from all different cultures.”

    Sure, know thy enemy, right? Christians have to be xenophobic so they won’t build up too much sympathy for all those billions of lost souls that are going to be burning in Hell for all eternity, otherwise Heaven might not be as fun for them.

    “This is a generic statement and self-servingly narrow as it one relates to those who make such claims as that they believe because they were brought up that way—to believe in an imaginary friend, God.”

    He was paraphrasing, obviously, but it is the same thing. And he was just saying that it hurts his feelings. How self-servingly narrow of him!

    “Here again we encounter moral assertions: suffering is bad and we should do something about it. But why?”

    There’s that “why” again. As if no one should care about suffering. That’s not a very good argument IMO. Suffering is bad, mkay?

    “His reasoning is also fallacious and self-servingly narrow…”

    Apparently you think that everything he says is “self-servingly narrow”, just because he’s an atheist. How many times are you going to use that term anyway, to vilify him? He says he wants to reduce suffering, and you call him self-servingly narrow for that. What else could he possibly ever say that wouldn’t be regarded as self-servingly narrow by you? I think that you should take the self-servingly narrow glasses off now so you can stop seeing it everywhere it isn't.

    “But what about free will?”

    Free will, in the Christian sense, is total BS. There can’t be any free will in a universe that was created by an all-powerful, all-knowing deity, because that would be a contradiction of logic. At the moment that God supposedly created the universe, he had to have already known exactly how everything was going to turn out before he made it, regardless of anyone’s so-called free will, so it would be impossible for anything to turn out in any way other than what he originally intended.

    But for the sake of argument, let’s say there could somehow be free will anyway. Then what is the point of it? God still says “do what I say or else”. The threat of Hell nullifies any true sense of free will, because that’s just terrorism. And if God is real, and if he is good, then he would never have any need or want to use terrorism to get his way, especially when it comes to just fostering the simple belief in his existence.

    And, according to the OT, he was doing plenty of terrorizing, but usually “through” mortal men who claimed that God had ordered them do his dirty work for him, or through natural disasters that caused a lot of collateral damage – hardly the picture of a perfect deity IMO.

  4. “What about what God is doing and claims that He will ultimately do?”

    I know nothing of God except what believers tell me about him. I don’t hear him, see him, feel him, taste him or smell him myself. That’s why I don’t believe in him, because I have never been given a reason to, and I have no reason to take someone else’s word for it. So I don’t care what you say he is doing or what you say he claims that he will ultimately do. I figure if he wants me to know something, he will tell me himself.

    “God means the certainty of no suffering in the future.”

    Not if you believe in Hell. And most Christians do because it’s in the Bible, the supposed word of your God.

    “The fact is that atheism does not alleviate us from suffering and it makes it worse by guaranteeing that there is no reason for it…”

    There will always be suffering no matter what, but there is nothing wrong with there being no reason for it. Do you really want there to be a reason for why bad things happen to good people and for why children suffer? I don’t see why anyone would want that, except that it enables you to make an excuse for it so you don’t have to feel as bad about it, and so you don’t have to feel as inclined to do something about it, because you can just pretend like “it’s meant to be” so “it’s not your problem”. In other words, believing that there is a reason for suffering allows you to be apathetic about it.

    “You suffer, you die, goodbye.”

    Funny you should say that because there is no point to life on earth if there’s an afterlife that’s eternal. Christians are the ones who insist that we must hate the world so we can go to Heaven.

    “How does believing in God make less room?”

    That’s easy. To believe in God, and to be forgiven by him, according to Christian tenants, he has to fill you completely, as in he has to be the only thing in the universe that you really care about. You literally have to be completely obsessed with God all the time, or you will not be worthy of salvation. And what room does that leave for anything or anyone else? None whatsoever. This is exactly what the Bible teaches. Jesus himself is quoted as saying that you have to hate your whole family and even yourself to be his follower. And, no, I did not take that passage out of context, and no, it is not just a metaphor. Jesus was just another notjob if he was anything at all.

    “In fact, it is my experience that belief in God is the sure premise upon which to have “belief in” (whatever that may mean in this context) family, people, love, truth, beauty, and even sex and Jell-O.”

    See, you even admit that you don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s the second time now. Here’s a hint for you: belief is a synonym for doubt. When someone says they “believe” something, it actually means they’re not sure about it. And I do not need to have belief in my family when I know that my family is real. Faith is just make-believe.

    “Overall, Penn Jillette’s essay was interesting and an informative window into his beliefs. Yet, is it sadly tarred by typical assertions, fallacies, narrow thinking and self-serving generalizations.”

    Anyone could say the same about any of your writings, only they would actually be right.


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