I jumped into the swamp again recently. Some atheist blogs linked to atheist related stories at the Christian Post. Since Facebook notifies me everytime someone replies to my comments I'm in the ironic position of now being rated as a top commentor over there. I should have learned from my mistake commenting on Adam Baldwin's blog!
Which brings me to my topic for today. There are certain problems that only exist when you accept the claims of religion. If you don't make the assumption that there is a god they vanish, like Douglas Adams' god - "in a puff of logic." Castles in the sky with no foundation.
I'm thinking specifically of the God Shaped Hole, Pascal's Wager, the Problem of Evil, and my personal favorite the Source of Morality. I've been challenged with each of these in the comments. It usually astonishes me to think the other person is presenting these seriously, expecting them to be some sort of devastating checkmate. But I realise that they really don't know any better!
My first job was as door to door sales. Every morning we'd practice on each other, winning colleagues over for sale after imaginary sale. I think it must be the same for christians. They've heard these killer arguments from each other and "made the sale" and they are astonished when the person on the doorstep isn't buying it.
It works so well on each other! I tried pitching in to explain the problem. Here's why that doesn't work, I said...
I'll start with morality. My position is that morality literally cannot come from a god and make sense. So much has been written by apologists trying to wrestle their way out of the Euthyphro Dilema. But, like the god they claim dictated morality, the problem is an ilusion. It exists only as long as you accept the dual premises that there is a good god and that god is the source of morality. Without those assumptions there's nothing to wrestle with. Think of the time that's been wasted on that wild goose chase.
If morality came from a god it would be completely arbitrary. There's nothing that god couldn't command and declare moral. Nothing. This was discussed at length relatively recently when William Lane Craig went on record defending biblical genocide. The first thing christians probably need to accept is that they are already more moral than their imaginary friend. Even the Westboro Baptist Church, blight on humanity that they are, are better than the fictional character they revere.
The Problem of Evil clearly rests on the same faulty premises. How can a good god let bad things happen? is as meaningful a question as What does unicorn taste like? or What kind of dance do angels do on the head of a pin?
I first head Pascal's Wager as a christian. Strangely I didn't laugh. I didn't see how hollow it was, because I'd already accepted the imaginay friend that propped up the imaginary problem.
I think the biggest problem believers have, one that would vanish like all the others if they let go of their imaginary friend, is the cognitive dissonance. It's hard work to shore up faith against the weight of reality.