Saturday, January 31, 2009

There's Probably No God Part 1

"There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

This is the add that will most likely be seen plastered to the sides of city buses in Calgary, Alberta. The same add is in Toronto, London and Madrid. This statement was met with criticism from the Calgary Catholic Bishop. He said that the best date to launch such a campaign would be April Fool's Day. Obviously, this is going to be a hot button. The Free Thought Association of Canada has opened a can of worms on this one. Christians oppose this idea. I won't get into whether they should or should not because we do, in fact, live in a free country with the freedom of speech. We usually don't like it when people aren't saying what we want them to say. That's natural. I do, however, want to look at the very words that the Free Thought Association of Canada actually do say.

The statement, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." evokes a few sentiments that I think are worthwhile to look at.

1. Probably.

The word probably means "in all liklihood" or "presumabley". It is a word that definitely leaves room for error. It is based upon presumption and not evidence. Presume means "To take for granted that something is true or factual". This is in direct contrast with the word "true" which means, "factual". This idea of "there is probably no god is usually based upon no or a lack of evidence.

So you have a statement that is, in it's own beginning, saying it's not necessarily true, but should be believed as true, with no evidence to support it. The people who say "probably no god" should not be classified as atheists, as atheism proclaims that there is no god, while agnosticism proclaims that there is no knowledge of a god. The Free Thought Association of Canada can't even come out and say for sure that there is no god. Where's the guts?

The Free Thought Association people are, as a co-worker of mine suggests, "chicken atheists" at best.

2. No God.

This conversation can go on for infinity, that is if infinity exists since we humans are not infinite. So, for the purposes of our finite conversation on the topic of the existence of God, think about these things (and please take the time to research them if anyone lacks understanding)...

- DNA and RNA. How do we get DNA? From RNA. Where does RNA come from? It is made by DNA!

- Brownian movement. It's really cool.

- Stars. Okay, so attempts to explain our earth as being formed by no god are accepted by many, but how do other things in the universe just get there?

- Where did the substance to make Earth come from? Seriously, where did the first particles to make "stuff" come from? You just can't get something from nothing. It's a universal fact.

- The Theory of Evolution. Where are the missing links of species? If evolution is still happening, there must be evidence of it taking place. There simply has to be. Whether global warming is happening or not, the theory of evolution should simply allow the strongest of the species to adapt and survive so what's the worry anyway right?

3. Stop worrying.

The Free Thought people are really patronizing the population they speak to by saying this. They are minimizing people's real worries and elevating themselves as the authority by which their worries will be removed. They are saying in essence, "you are worrying about the possibility of God not being pleased with what you are doing. We're going to fix that by saying there is probably no god anyway." Linking worrying to the thought of the existence of a god does not seem rational. I know people that worry about money. They worry about their kids. They worry about whether or not their marriages will survive. They worry about keeping their house in this particularly declining economic environment. They worry about whether they'll have a job tomorrow. They worry if the chemo is going to work, and if it doesn't, who will take care of the kids? I have never met anyone who stays up all night worrying that God exists or not.

4. Stop worrying.

The proponents of the "no god" agenda use fear to manipulate their audience, yes, just like corrupt church leadership did in the Middle ages. Fear, guilt and superstition were used to make people fearful of doing or not doing certain things to propagate the church's agenda. That agenda, many times, was for the selfish ambition of the corrupt leadership. The atheist/agnostic position plays on the supposed or real fear of many and gives them a feel good pill that lets them off the proverbial providential hook. If it wasn't for the supposed fear of some people who believe in God, this particular position of "stop worrying about it" wouldn't be valid. The very act of using the "no god, stop worrying" is equal to the "God is watching, be afraid" mentality. Both are based upon perceptions that seem, to the adherent of those philosophies, to be true. But are they?

5. Enjoy your life.

It is very elitist, in my opinion, to simply say to someone, if you believe there is no god like "I" do, you will be free of worry and will enjoy your life. It is equally repulsive to me that someone can say that because a person believes in God, they will be full of worry and therefore not enjoy life. That is what they are saying when they write "there is probably no god, so stop worrying and enjoy your life. What else can it really mean? Empirically one would have to admit that because of their belief in God, millions of people enjoy their life. Likewise, there are probably (in other words I don't have evidence but I presume that it could be the case) people that are afraid that, if there is a God, this God may not be pleased with them for whatever reason and therefore, may be worried about that. I want to thank the atheists for taking care of their problem. They have solved it beyond a shadow of a doubt and now, the world can be joyful. Or is the problem actually solved?

I, for one am not going to put my head in the sand and ignore centuries of history. There were, and still are, things done in the name of Christ that had and have no place in Christianity. Because a pope or a king or a priest or a minister or any other person past or present simply says that they are a follower of Christ and therefore excercises the authority to simply do things that are in opposition to the teachings of Christian scripture, does not in any way, shape or form make them Christian. My atheist and agostic friends, please understand this. I am not going to suppose that the abuse of power of some probably made you less than able to see the truth of Christianity, but if that is the case, I can understand. I would hope that those who embrace atheism or it's half brother, agnosticism, would be equally able to hear a Christian perspective as well.

In closing, I'd like to sum up what the slogan in the opening says in my own words...

We have no evidence or facts to back up what we believe, but, we're going to believe that there is no god. In fact, because we have the audacity to think that your life isn't enjoyable, and your belief in a god has produced fear and worry in your life, we want you to believe like us, with no evidence. Now you can stop worrying. There, you should feel good now...

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