Misc Thoughts on Atheism and Christianity

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Lawrence Andrade's picture
Misc Thoughts on Atheism and Christianity

In this thread I will offer some misc. thoughts on atheism and Christianity , time and energy permitting. I will post when I can. But I also have a real life - please understand.

"If the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies … are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless good fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention.… The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.."

From Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic Books/ HarperCollins, 1995), 132–33.
As quoted in
Copan, P. (2011). Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Dawkins is right about there being neither good nor evil according to his purely materialistic conception of the world. Neither good nor evil could exist. Hence Hitler and his regime were not evil. The German government was within its rights to pass whatever laws seemed best to them. And so today's North Korea. This is the logical conclusion of Dawkins views. Nothing is good and nothing is evil. Societies and the laws they pass are amoral. Too bad if we don't like what these regimes do or did.
They may offend our democratic sensibilities and preferences. Too bad! But it doesn't really matter. Not according to Dawkins philosophy.


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ImFree's picture
If you do not mind me asking,

If you do not mind me asking, what denomination are you a member of?

Usagi's picture
You are taking all that a

You are taking all that a little too far mate.I'll try to convey in a few words. Morality exists in the human mind, therefore, the ideas that we hold to as being right and wrong changes as we learn from our past mistakes and new knowledge. Our morality is not universal.

mykcob4's picture
Larry, you are trying

Larry, you are trying (unsuccessfully) to suggest that there is no morality without a god. In particular your god.
Morality exists without any god. Morality comes from society. This has been explained so many times on this forum that it defies logic. I know for a fact that it has been not only explained but proven to YOU. You just don't want to accept it.
Thinking that morality comes from YOUR god is the dangerous thought which justifies genocide and war. The crusades for example. The horrific murders of millions of native Americans. The enslavement and slaughter of Africans all came out of the idea that morality came from the christian god. Hitler did what he, justifying those actions with the idea that he was moralistically carrying out god's will and fulfilling destiny.
In fact, if the majority knew that morality only came from society, Hitler could not have gotten away with his crimes for as long as he did.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
All the things you mention

All the things you mention are considered by Christians to be evil and an offense against God. The things done in WW2 in Germany were lawful under the laws in Germany at that time. Hitler detested Judeo-Christian morality. Without a recognized universal moral code the German leaders would have been exonerated at Nuremberg.


jamiebgood1's picture
I just learned the term

I just learned the term Groupthink:
"Tendency of the members of a group to yield to the desire for consensus or unanimity at the cost of considering alternative courses of action. Group-think is said to be the reason why intelligent and knowledgeable people make disastrous decisions. "
"Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome."

To me it helps explain how otherwise moral people go along with bad leaders.

SBMontero's picture
@Larry A.: That's false, to

@Larry A.: That's false, to be able to condemn the Nazi leaders had to create a new crime, because there was no law that condemned a soldier for obeying orders, indeed, there was to don't do it, today still exists. Crimes against humanity.

Remember, lie is sin, don't do it.

jamiebgood1's picture
SBmontero Really good point.

Really good point.

mykcob4's picture

Nope Larry, you are wrong. The fact is that the christian world embraced Hitler. There is no universal moral code, only society moral codes. Hitler was NOT an atheist. He was a devout christian. A catholic to be exact. He justified his atrocities with christian tenets. The persecution of jews, the war to unify the entire world were all pursued as a mandate of his christian beliefs.
It was only the secular world that stopped Hitler. Mostly Russia. Unionist, laborers.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
He may have been born a

He may have been born a Catholic. But he detested Christianity as well as Judaism. Nazism was a thoroughly occult pagan movement.
It sought to undermine Biblical belief and substitute something completely alien to Christian belief in its place.

mykcob4's picture

1) Most of the material on Hitler's beliefs are from right wing religious propaganda sources such as CBN.
2) Wikipedia is not a credible source as it can and is redefined by anyone that chooses to do so.
3) I found a source that is unbiased and cited historical sources that prove that Hitler was a christian and did what he did in the name of christianity. His attempt to exterminate Jews was an act that he justified because Jews executed jesus.

Hitler was actually born to a jewish father and a catholic mother.
Hitler attempted to rewrite history. He claimed that he was from a line of very christian and very religious Teutonic Knights. He revered Frederich II the great. Hitler thought of himself as Frederich reincarnate. He believed that kings were chosen by god and god had chosen Hitler to lead the world.
To call Nazism a pagan movement is a lie and a myth.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
I took a quick peek at the

I took a quick peek at the webpage you pointed to and to me it looks like its propaganda for your side. Just as biased a source as you think I get my ideas from. I am attempting to find something neutral between us - something that we can agree comes from neither side as propaganda.

The following comes from some guy that is apparently trying to revive Nazism in South America. I know nothing about this movement and never heard of it until I did an internet search for the "religion and Nazism" - something like that "religion" and "Nazism" would be key words.

Try it yourself as see what you get. But you should read this link - the whole thing. I will add another post to this if I can again find something else I read.

No doubt the most of the facts you present here are true - but Nazism was a revival of some kind of Nordic paganism. At its heart it was an attempted pagan religious revival- but there was complexity involved too - German philosophy/philosophers. Luther's comments were anti-Semitic. I will make no attempt to justify stuff the Catholics did through history. Or for how the official German church acted. Maybe we can have an honest and informative discussion.


"National Socialism is based on the worship of Naturalism, and this can be found in all places on earth shown by the Deity of Nature herself who has always existed since eternity. In fact, Aryanism is based on the Secular Religion of National Socialism as a rational, non superstitious, undogmatic religion for the Aryan race to believe and worship in Our Creed. Since the first Aryans came into existence hundreds of thousands of years ago, Our ancestors were the first to be able to observe the scientific proofs that exists in our universe both directly and indirectly, and consequently what the Aryans saw was that Mother Nature was the creator of all the Scientific Laws, and all of the ethics and spiritual inspirations that can be judged on the basis of what is natural and what is not natural..."


Lawrence Andrade's picture
My second source is the

My second source is the Sanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The article comes from a discussion of some philosopher I never heard of and of whose philosophy I am totally ignorant of. No of this matters to our discussion. The man had a Nazi involvement during that era and the discussion touches in part on what that philosophy was. Suffice it to say that the two main values of Nazism are totally at odds with Christian belief.


"Sauer names the two National Socialist main values emphasized in Mally's book, the “basic value of blood” and the “duty to keep the race clean and breed it higher” (Sauer 1998: 184). He then continues:
With one brief word, the philosophical placet is granted to the whole barbaric madness of the racist legislation and racist separation, of the legislation of hereditary health and the forced sterilization in huge numbers of insane people (or what was identified as such) and social nonconformists. (Sauer 1998: 184)...In NS ideology, the concept of das Volk (the people), especially das deutsche Volk (the German people), plays a central role. From the early 1930s on, Mally tried to provide a philosophical justification for the value judgments (1) that das Volk is more important than its individual members, and (2) that the Germans constitute the dominant people. He further stated an anti-reduction thesis, namely, that the concept of das Volk cannot be reduced to the concepts of each of its members (the individual persons). He thus wanted to..
“fight against subjectivist, Jewish-positivist and related doctrines … and replace them by something healthier”.
(From Mally's curriculum vitæ, dated September 23, 1938, six months after the Anschluss; unpublished, University of Graz Library/Nachlass-Sammlung. This is, however, not a philosophical work but can rather be seen as an opportunistic self-description).
This fact also explains why Mally saw himself in opposition to the Vienna Circle and the logical positivists, who he thought of as being the prime exponents of the “individualist ideology”—an ideology which (according to Mally) tries to deprive the world of its meaning (Sinn). Mally saw das Volk as a “quasi-person”, having a body, a mind, and a soul; das Volk cannot be completely rationally comprehended, it rather has to be experienced (erlebt). He maintains that the “essential reality” of das Volk is revealed through this experience, i.e., its meaning, and thus, the meaning of its “dynamic development” is revealed. Furthermore, different Völker (peoples) have different properties, depending on their origin, their development, culture, etc. These properties allegedly yield a significantly moral difference: the German people are supposed to rank among the peoples with the highest value and have therefore to be kept “pure”. External influences have to be eliminated, so that das deutsche Volk can be “bred” to even higher states of development, and thus gradually strive towards a state where its meaning can be totally fulfilled (see Mally 1934b, 1935 and 1938a).
From any reasonable perspective today, all his NS “theses” are either barely understandable, or simply false. Obviously, his allegations reflect Nazi ideology"


mykcob4's picture

I have to say that I dispute both the sources findings.
From what I have read, I think that the NAZIs were deeply christian and not pagan at all. Their particular brand of christianity was one that believed in a chosen people. Thus their violent and criminal practice of prejudice and hatred. Hitler fancied himself as the anointed one. A person chosen by god to unite and lead the world, to purify the white race (the chosen people) to be masters of the world.
In any event, Hitler was christian, and his motivations for doing what he did was based on the christian idealism. That is a fact. Whether you agree with that fact is of no consequence. It is still a fact. His brand of christianity may not agree with your idea of christianity, but it is still purely christian.
The idea that morality comes from christianity is a myth. Morality comes from society, whichever society that designs it. Morality is dynamic changing with each society and over time. It is also defined by the scope of the society. There is no standard for morality.
Hiler and NAZI Germany defined their particular morality on their idea of christianity.

MCDennis's picture
There is no morality without

There is no morality without gods, meaning of course the UFUs - Universe Farting Unicorns. And follow their Commandments, which are: Thou shalt: 1. Bring carrots 2. Rake manure every day 3. Place blankets before saddles. Can I get an Amen?

algebe's picture
@Larry A.

@Larry A.

This yet another reiteration of the insulting and idiotic idea that there's no morality without god.

Why are you trying to to equate the absence of morality in an inanimate universe with immorality in human beings? Do you consider the dinosaur-killer asteroid impact to be an immoral act by the universe, or just a cosmic accident? Would you put in the same class of events as the Holocaust/Dresden/Hiroshima/9/11?

Does believing in your god make the inaminate universe act in a more moral way? Judging from the behavior of your god as described in the Bible, the opposite seems more likely.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
This yet another reiteration

This yet another reiteration of the insulting and idiotic idea that there's no morality without god.

Isn't that just what Dawkins - is saying!


SBMontero's picture
@Larry A.: No, what he says

@Larry A.: No, what he says is that there's no divine plan, to begin because you don't give a damn to the universe.

A silly question, and I call it silly because the answer is obvious, but, Have you read the book before got into this eggplant?

algebe's picture
@Larry A. "Isn't that just

@Larry A. "Isn't that just what Dawkins - is saying!"

He's saying precisely the opposite. Have you actually read any of his books? Have you listened to any of his comments in debates, etc.? Or are you just parrotting what Christian propaganists say about him?

Consider this. Are you a natural-born thief/murderer/rapist? Is your religion the only thing repressing those evil inner urges? Or is there something else? Or compare violent crime rates in mostly secular Japan with those in Christian-dominated America.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
Mostly secular Japan - but

Mostly secular Japan - but one with strong values that reinforce conformity.

As for America being Christian - if you go back to the founding a much larger percentage of the population were Christians as compared to today. Today the percentage people who actually believe would be far less than commonly supposed, I think. Lots might have a heritage - but how many actually believe and are committed to the biblical faith ?


algebe's picture
@Larry A. "strong values that

@Larry A. "strong values that reinforce conformity."

Also strong values that reinforce community. Drop a wallet full of money on a street in secular Tokyo and someone will pick up and chase after to you to give it back. Try the same thing in Christian Dallas.

So you agree that strong non-religious values can make people do the right thing?

"A much larger percentage of the population were Christians as compared to today

Really? So 18/19th century America had less violence and dishonesty than 21st century America? Maybe you check that out with native Americans and African Americans. How's the genocidal crime rate these days?

mykcob4's picture
Oh no you don't Larry. You

Oh no you don't Larry. You will not hijack patriotism for christianity. The fact is that the founders purposely separated religion from the state. In the Treaty of Tripoli John Adams state that America is a SECULAR nation. Read Article 11.

The Separation of Church and State:

Jefferson went so far as to create his own bible that excluded all miracles and anything supernatural.
This nation (USA) was not founded upon christian ideals or tenets. It is a profound lie to claim that was or is.

algebe's picture
The Founding Fathers were

The Founding Fathers were exceptional people, but what about the general populace? I thought there were lots of English puritans and Scottish Calvinists in the early USA, as well as Irish Catholics.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
It has been said - by

It has been said - by knowledgeable historians - that the story of America is the story of John Calvin writ large. Several reasons for that I guess - Calvinism was the unifying religious influence in all of the colonies prior to the Revolutionary War. It was spread in the First Great Awakening. No matter the denomination - Episcopalian ( the Established church in Virginia ) or the Congregationalist ( official religion in Massachusetts and Conn. ) - the Great Awakening was a Calvinist Revival and helped to unify the colonies culturally.

Congregation clergymen were Patriots and Madison was trained under a Scotch Irish clergyman who became a signer of the DOI and ( I think also ) the Constitution. George Witherspoon if I remember right. Google him and see what you find.


SBMontero's picture
@Larry A.: Are you saying

@Larry A.: Are you saying that the United States has been culturally unified at some point in its short history? Because it's false, again. It's more, there is no type of cultural unification in the Bible belt, culture is much more than religion. And not only you say those bullshit and stay so calm, is that, in addition, you say that was "culturally" unified by nothing more and nothing less than the Christian religion.

Just to give an example, during the secession War the cultural differences between a person born in Georgia and another born in Arizona were abysmal, let alone between a person born in Louisiana and one born in Illinois, although those four people had the same religion.

Oh, and all this you can also find it in history books... well, and Google, of course. Try it.

mykcob4's picture
Madison WROTE the

Madison WROTE the Constitution, he didn't just sign it. For crying out loud, Larry. You have a revisionist view of history that has nothing to do with real history.
You keep trying to interject your faith as if it was responsible for this nation's revolution. It wasn't.
At the time of the revolution. There were 13 colonies that fell under the governing body of English rule. When Parliment passed the stamp act the colonist revolted. Being taxed without representation was abhorrent to them. They decided then that they would form a new nation. This gave them an opportunity. They would form a nation that is truly free. Free of the idea that a god made the rules. Free of a monarchy. A nation of laws, not men. They would accommodate the wide variety of peoples that lived in those colonies. The melting pot. They would not establish a state religion. they would not adopt religious tenets. They would not establish a state language. They would create a living document, the Constitution to establish and protect the rights of the individual.
“Memorial and Remonstrance” was a letter that spoke against establishment and funding of religion.
Congregation clergymen may have been patriots, but they were not patriots because they were clergymen. Your implication is purposely misleading.
The one thing that is constant with theists, such as yourself, and conservatives, is that they mix up the history of the Pilgrims, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States of America.
1) The Pilgrims came here to evade religious persecution.
2) The DOI basically declared war on England.
3) The Constitution established the guidelines for law in this nation.

They are 3 very distinct and separate things.

this has nothing to do with the OP.
So again Larry, Morality comes from society. It does not come from any god. It never did, and never will.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
I am not claiming that the

I am not claiming that the USA was founded as a Christian nation. I am saying that the population for the most part was Biblically literate. A large percentage of Christians. Consider that the first secular university was established by Jefferson and Madison after the Revolutionary War. That was U. of Virginia. So every college that existed before then was Christian in some way. Harvard, Yale, Princeton. William and Mary - these produced men ( I don't think any of these were co-ed then ) who went into three professions - law, medicine, clergy.
Madison studied theology at what became Princeton. In those days people spent hours listening to sermons and their political opinions were informed by the pastors or other respected clergy in a like manner to the way today's folk listen to rock stars and other celebrities.

Madison made good use of his theological training when he wrote the "Memorial and Remonstrance" - which argued for the separation you speak of.


Sky Pilot's picture
Larry A.,

Larry A.,

"I am saying that the population for the most part was Biblically literate."

So how many books were those Revolutionary era Bibles?

SBMontero's picture
@Larry A.: I repeat, in 1776

@Larry A.: I repeat, in 1776 most Americans lived in Tepees and, of course, were not Christians.

This map is from 1789, more than ten years later, and the Americans remained without a Christian majority.


Attach Image/Video?: 

SBMontero's picture
@Larry A.: That isn't true

@Larry A.: That isn't true either. At the time of its founding, most Americans lived on the prairie in tepees and, of course, were not Christians.

Lawrence Andrade's picture
I am talking about the

I am talking about the American founders and the English colonies. The people who eventually gave us the U.S. Constitution - a much admired document. I am talking about the values held dear in Western Civilization - that make Western Civilization what it is.
I am aware of the injustices to the native peoples and , of course, slavery in the. Our history is blighted.
Christians care about justice and building a just society.
Abolishing slavery was a start toward that. But it was only a start. the promise was never fulfilled. Still I would rather live in a society that at lease aspires to justness than one that despises it.



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