One of the arguments against gods and religion that I have been mulling over in my head for the last several months is the fact that we as human beings didn't ask to come here. I put this question to a believer yesterday who tried to warn me that if I don't repent, I would go to hell. She said if I ever told a lie or did anything against God's will, I'd be punished for eternity if I didn't repent. I had heard it all before, and I usually don't take the time to debate people who come up and try to witness to me. It's usually a waste of time. But I engaged with her, and I thought I'd throw out my we didn't ask to come here argument onto her to see how she would take it.

It stumped her for a few seconds, and rightly it should. I said to her, "I'm not saying life isn't beautiful and worth living; but really, if we had never existed, it would be no big deal. I mean, why create all this in the first place? What's the point?" I went on to say that so much of life is full of misery and lacking in purpose, so why would a god bring us here, especially if there's a "perfect heaven" already in existence for us to go to.

Well, she said that god was lonely. This her response was weak, and she seem to anticipate it as so. I said well, that's his problem. If he was lonely and created us, but then we "sinned," then what's that all about? Again, I told her we didn't apply for the job of being human beings. We didn’t ask to be born. Many of us have days when we wish were never alive. So all we have is us as human beings trying to make the best of our existence as we possibly can.

It's sorta like me being a parent. I along with my wife brought two children into this world. They didn't ask to come. So that makes us responsible for raising them. They don't owe us anything. The really don't even have to obey us, because they didn't ask to come here. Well, though that analogy could be extended to the concept of God, it's really not the same thing. What we did as parents was merely a part of procreation, something that nearly all living organisms participate in.

There's no reason "God" would needs us here. There's no real natural purpose for us being here. The only meaning to life is what we give it and work strive toward. While the idea of the believe in a purpose driven life may be useful for many people, purpose is not established by God or gods; purpose and the meaning for life is constantly developing and changing as we grow and honestly try to make this world a better place. And now that we're clearly living in an age of modernity, notions of a god, heaven and hell, are simply outdated and insufficient for our needs in a modern world.

So these are my thoughts. I invite feedback on it. I'm sure what I've said is nothing new, so it would be good to know what authors or thinkers have written about this argument.

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Comment by Serotonin Wraith on June 14, 2009 at 7:42pm
A better argument from the other side (cos the loneliness one is as dumb as thinking God created us to burn animals for his pleasure - plus didn't he have the angels to keep him company before man?) might go something like-

We didn't ask to come here, so does that mean you'd kill yourself right now? No? Well then you must obviously find this life worth living. It can be hard, that's true, but without the hard times how could you ever understand the good times? You need something to compare it to. God created us out of love, to allow the stars to experience a more profound existence.

I feel like a traitor >< There's points against that of course, but it sounds better than her argument.
Comment by CJoe on June 14, 2009 at 8:14pm
You're right. The loneliness argument is pretty freakin' weak. I thought God was above human emotion? People have just saturated God's character so much with human traits that it's ridiculous. The Bible says jealousy is a sin, yet even God is afflicted with it. Oh, but God is God and he can do what he wants! Well, doesn't that make him a hypocrite? Nooo... God is perfect... and he's not a liar.

It's such circular thinking! Instead of stating that you didn't ask to exist, ask them how it is that God ended up with so many human complexes.
Comment by Bakari Chavanu on June 14, 2009 at 8:46pm
Well, she went on to try to use the old Jesus (e.g. God) died for our sins. But I didn't get around to asking her, well if he atoned for our sins, who was he atoning to? Who was requiring his death and resurrection, and how in fact does or did it that makes things better for us here on earth?

As for finding life worth living, Serotonin, I think yes you could argue that. But suicide goes against our animal nature. It's probably easier to kill someone else than it is to kill ourselves. Many of us remain because we know how suicide would impact our loved ones. So I'm not arguing that we ought to check out. I'm arguing that from the theological perspective, "God" should not hold us responsible for being here. We didn't ask to come. What difference would it have made if we never had come into existence? Nature and the entire universe would have and will keep evolving with our without us here. We're not grand enough to control the direction of nature. Nor can we, as of yet anyway, keep from dying. We're just here. The universe doesn't know we're here. There's no god watching over us. We're here, and we're all we got. So I say to the theist, don't make things harder by hanging gods over our head. We don't need that. We need to confront our existence and make the best meaning of it as we can. If we can't handle it or don't care to handle it, we can check out. And you know some of us do that more. More than we like to admit.
Comment by Bakari Chavanu on June 14, 2009 at 8:46pm
By the way, I'm not giving warning signs that I want to kill myself. lol. Just want to make that clear here.
Comment by Serotonin Wraith on June 14, 2009 at 9:16pm
Another bad argument from her. The story is God wanted us to live in a peaceful sinless world. The sin and sacrifice stuff was just a hiccup in his master plan.
Comment by Doug Reardon on June 14, 2009 at 9:34pm
I find it fascinating that so many of us feel compelled to respond to the inane, pointless, drivel, that someone presents us.
Comment by Serotonin Wraith on June 14, 2009 at 9:51pm
Probably because many of us are fed up of respecting it by keeping quiet.

'What's that? I should repent? I see. Thing is, I would, but I have questions which make me doubt this god even exists, can you help me out?...

Well can you see now that you haven't answered all my questions? What's that? You're going? I've made you uncomfortable? You don't like to imagine this god doesn't exist because it makes you feel safe? You can do that if you like, but you don't keep it to yourself, do you? No, you insist on spreading that superstition around to everyone else. Enough is enough. You started this."

But maybe in a nicer way. If there was no counter to this, what would stop them getting their own way? Creationism in classrooms, wars in the name of a god, science stifled.

"Shut up" works, but that won't make them question their beliefs and turn the tide on all this.
Comment by Moha on June 15, 2009 at 12:07am
its not fair to punish us for not believing in God,,, did he create us to worship him??? he should have created us as worshipping machines (angels) ,,,
Comment by Bakari Chavanu on June 15, 2009 at 3:26am
Doug>"I find it fascinating that so many of us feel compelled to respond to the inane, pointless, drivel, that someone presents us."

Doug, while I seldom engage with theists unless they want to have an intelligent discussion or debate, I do think it's important that we engage them because this is part of the process of transforming the remnants of religious culture into a secular one.

The woman I talked to yesterday seemed to be very nice, at least as nice as I am on any given day. Like me, she's a parent, and she has certain convictions that have helped her through her life. So while I find her religious beliefs silly (I pretty much told her so), the religious tenants she and others convey and harass people with, those convictions won't go away by themselves.

In fact, I don't think the transformation from a religious culture to a secular one will take much better and greater education of people. Most people hang on to religion mainly because the lack of knowledge, confidence and critical thinking that most all atheists possess. Some hang onto it because their believe in God makes them feel that life has some purpose.

What was interesting about engaging with her yesterday was that unlike in the past, I didn't feel impatient, angry, or even arrogant in our discussion. I easily looked into her eyes and commonly let her know that I have no doubt that there is no god, heaven or hell. I don't feel less than her because I'm not a believer, and I only wish her well in her journey.

I have nothing to offer religious people except some conversation and a little insight. Religion though is something that sustains many people from day to day or week to week. But I told her, she should not be afraid to question her beliefs. She will not be worse for not believing. Of course, that didn't change her mind, but we were civil enough to disgree.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on June 15, 2009 at 7:51am
Christians live in a fairy-tale world of super gods. God was not invented as an omnipotent, perfect being of pure love. He was an angry, jealous and prone to mistakes (Hello..Earth 2.0 after the ark business?)
As fair, rational humans, we can make the decision not to worship something faulty. That's where the mega-god ideal comes in. All the sudden everything bad is accredited to the OLD Testament, to what those silly Jews with good financial sense still think! The new and improved, flawless god is above all that, right? Therefore he and only he is worthy of worship.
The problem with this concept is here: God, by definition cannot be both perfect and omnipotent, else humans wouldn't have been created sinful in the first place.
If an all-loving god was lonely, he would have created a perfect companion. If he wanted a perfect companion with free will, then an ever lasting pit of fire would not be the one way ticket for a single mistake. A perfect, all loving god who's lonely can ONLY offer eternal forgiveness. This means either constant reincarnation until we cast off our sinful nature, or a cleansing process via death that makes us perfect and reunites us with him in our original form. Anything other than that is a paradox, and therefore flawed. if it's flawed, then he is unworthy of worship and therefore not omnipotent.
By the way, I'd like to remind you all that just by affixing my name to this post, it is hereby copyrighted. In no way, shape or form will I allow my intellectual property to start a new religion or cult!
-Misty

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