Dear Bodie Hodge, from an Atheist – By Godless Teen
December 1, 2012 in General
Last Monday, I wrote a rebuttal to a good portion of Bodie Hodge’s hideously ignorant letter. I wrote a ton of words, and yet only managed to address the first few paragraphs of his letter to atheists. So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to write a letter back to Bodie in the exact same format that she wrote his letter to atheists. Then, I’m going to email it to AiG. I doubt I’ll ever get an answer, but I’ll do it for the fun factor of it. So now, let us begin:
Dear Bodie Hodge,
Are you tired of all of the dreadful things that have been done in the name of religion- yours included? Are you tired of the fact that you and AiG both rattle off completely unsupported claims to blame atheists for many, if not most of the horrible things that happen in our world? Are you tired of the fact that many rapists, unlike you stated in your letter, are Catholic priests that take advantage of children? Are you sick of lying to yourself to make it look as though all True Christians (TM) are good people, when they have committed a great deal of atrocities in human history? Are you even the slightest bit aware of the abhorrent things that Christians do, often in the name of your god?
Do you feel conflicted that the only reason you act morally is because you know that you will go to Hell and suffer eternal torment if you do not do exactly as the Bible tells you to? Do you not concede that happiness is the ultimate arbiter in deciding whether an action is good or bad- that an action is “good” if it promotes happiness and “bad” if it promotes the reverse of happiness? Does it bother you that you, and a frightingly large proportion of the population, twist evolution into such a convoluted, ridiculous idea that it no longer represents evolution, but an entirely different idea that has near zero resemblance to evolution? You say that, according to evolution, “we are just animals”, defining “animal” as “a person whose behavior is regarded as devoid of human attributes or civilizing influences, esp. someone who is very cruel, violent, or repulsive” (New Oxford American Dictionary). However, you use this definition of “animal” in place of the evolutionary definition of animal: “a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli” (New Oxford American Dictionary). This is a horribly disgusting way of twisting around words to fit your biases, and contradicts many of the various principles that you teach.
Are you tired that atheism is not actually based in materialism, contradictory to your letter? I do not believe that everything in our universe is tangible, indeed. The line y = 4x + 3 will still have a slope of 4, whether or not the human brain perceives it, or whether the human brain even exists. You believe that every phenomenon that we witness has to be instantaneously explainable by science, or otherwise we must attribute that phenomenon to a god. Yet, your hypothesis of a god is no more valid than any other hypothesis to explain some of the things we see in this universe. You have no more reason to believe that a god explains these phenomena than the Flying Spaghetti Monster does. According to your philosophy, because I cannot understand how the light on this computer can reach my eyes, I can accurately attribute it to an invisible set of wires that has been implanted in my eyes, and I’m completely unaware of their existence.
Does it bother you that all of your arguments are based on the single assumption that the Bible is true? Does it bother you that science has uncovered no evidence supporting the idea that a god exists? Does it bother you that one of the most common arguments made by theists for why the Bible is true is that the Bible says it’s true? That the Bible claims it’s the divine word of God, and that it must therefore be the divine word of God, because we know the initial claim that the Bible is the divine word of God is true because we know the divine word of God is the Bible? Does there not appear to be any contradiction whatsoever in said statement?
Does it bother you that you cannot explain science even somewhat accurately? You talk about the universe “exploding out of nothing”, ignoring the fact that the universe didn’t “explode”; rather, it “expanded”. Continuing this, does it bother you that theists constantly claim that something cannot come out of nothing, but then turn around and say that God never had to come from nothing? Does it not bother you that this exact same argument could be made for the existence of the universe?
Does it bother you that you might just be arrogant in claiming that you seem to know the truth? You say that, according to atheism, truth is immaterial, and thus does not exist; yet concede the fact that we consider many immaterial things to exist, as shown in your cited article about atheism being based on materialism.
Does it annoy you that atheists get tired too? That maybe, just maybe, we might just need some time to relax as well (sarcasm intended)? Does it bother you that there’s no point in choosing to take off Tuesday and Wednesday to relax, as a “weekend” of sorts, if we’ve used Saturday and Sunday as days to relax for hundreds of years, and that many people (you included) would object to relaxing on Tuesday and Wednesday rather than Saturday and Sunday? Did you even slightly consider the idea that atheists, like all human beings, need time to relax in order to stay psychologically stable and happy?
But that’s a lot of stuff about what bothers you; now, let me tell you what bothers me.
The fact that many theists, like you, blame much/most of the evil in the world on atheism is unbelievably agitating. To be sure, I do believe that many of the world’s conflicts are the result of religion; of different ideas about how the world should be, clashing together and wreaking havoc on us. However, I certainly do not blame all of the world’s evils on religion; much of it is the result of selfish motivations, including sex, money, and power. I certainly do not believe that many or most criminals are religious people; I accept that atheists may committ evil too. However, your arrogance in claiming that
“…After all, most murderers, tyrants, and rapists are not biblical Christians, and most have rejected the God of the Bible. Even if they claim to believe in the God of the Bible, they are not really living like a true Christ follower (who strives to follow God’s Word), are they?”
Is stunning. You define Christians as being inherently good, or, at least, better than those around you who are not “biblical Christians” (which, if I may remind you, is ruled by a being who committed the largest genocide in human history, brutally murdered forty-two children for jeering at a man, and wrote/inspired phrases like the following- which is probably my favorite of all the quotes in the Bible:
“Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” – Psalms 137:9
But that’s not all that bothers me about your ignorant and arrogant letter. You also write the following:
“…And further, within an atheistic worldview, atheists must view themselves as God. Essentially, atheists are claiming to be God. Instead of saying there may not be a God, they say there is no God. To make such a statement, they must claim to be omniscient (which is an essential attribute of the God of the Bible) among other attributes of God as well. So, by saying there is no God, the atheist refutes his own position by addressing the question as though he or she were God!”
This is just disgusting. You call lying a sin, yet you turn around a put words in our mouths that have no anchor in reality whatsoever, and then whine at us for being immoral! First, and foremost, let me state that many atheists, including the (in?)famous Richard Dawkins, do not believe, without absolute certainity, that a god does not exist. Certainly, it’s true that my entire life might be a waste, that I’m going to burn in hell for all eternity for my sins. At the same time, though, it’s possible that this computer screen might just explode any second now, and a mythical, rare unicorn with wings made out of bacon will come flying out of the screen with a baby on its back.
(Borrowed from here)
Basically, if I read your letter correctly, you seem to be implying that, because humans are not omniscient, we cannot know that there is not a god. Atheists, however, claim to be omniscient, and therefore claim to be God. Your logic is so badly flawed, it’s rather pathetic.
My point is this: many, if not the majority of atheists do not believe, with 100% certainity, that a God does not exist. Rather, many of us hold the viewpoint that the probability of a God such as yours existing is so incredibly low, as the result of a lack of evidence for such a god, and the fact that religions were and still are born out of crazy ideas of mankind that attempt to explain our universe, that there’s no point living life as if a god existed, nor is there any point in worshipping a god and doing everything possible to “please” one when it makes other human beings suffer.
It bothers me to no end to see that you can’t even use simple logic to understand why atheists like to keep themselves clean, why we bother marrying, etc. Cleanliness isn’t about pleasing a god, it’s about not smelling gross, looking as if you had just walked through a swamp, and feeling like dirt (literally). As for marriage, marriage is the official recognization of mutual love between two human beings; it’s a statement about your committment to another person. Plus, it comes with many legal benefits. For example, in many/most/all states, it is illegal for a person to attend another who is in their deathbed unless they are direct family. By stripping the right to marriage to gay and lesbian couples, you are stripping away their right to see their loved ones in their last moments of life; you are stealing their right to see the person they love one last time, an unchangeable moment in time that can never be reclaimed.
It bothers me that theists constantly claim that we have to find evidence that contradicts the Bible. If that’s the case, prove to me that you aren’t a pedophile, Bodie; give me evidence that you are not a pedophiliac serial killer who eats babies in your spare time. Or, prove to me that a Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t exist. The list is endless. To quote Harry Potter:
“…I mean, you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist!” – Hermione Grainger (The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling)
But even outside of that, there is a plethora of evidence to prove that the Bible is just flat-out false. Radioactive dating; the fossil record (which does not order itself in any way to even slightly make it seem like there was once a worldwide flood); biogeography; geological evidence; genetics; anatomy; vestiges; embryotic evidence; historical evidence that strongly contradicts your ideas of the Old and New Testaments, and who wrote them; and the list goes on, and on, and on. Somehow, you reject the ideas that virtually all modernized science communities agree upon if the contradict the Bible, and yet are perfectly ok with the ideas that do not directly contradict the Bible or that can fit with the Bible’s description of the world. Hypocrites, much? You seem to believe that science is perfectly trustworthy- that is, until it contradicts something that your Bible says, when suddenly science becomes a big conspiracy aimed at allowing humans to sin more, guilt-free.
I invite you to reconsider the false religion of… Every religion. Atheism simply is not a religion; a religion is defined by the following:
“The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods” (The New Oxford American Dictionary)
Hmm… Something about that doesn’t suggest that atheism is a religion. Like, something as in the entire definition.
Unlike a Christian, whose viewpoint is restricted to the arrogant idea that god is the Truth (TM), and that there is no truth but God, atheists exemplify a more rational, realistic approach to what we determine is true and false. Simply, we (generally) support the belief that humans are imperfect beings; that we live in a world where we have to make the most sense out of the things that we feel and that we observe. Up until this point, this viewpoint has worked perfectly fine. On the other hand, you, as a Christian, believe that “GERD IZ DA TRUF”. Have you ever considered that perhaps Satan stands between you and the Bible, and is forcing your eyes to see words that are not actually in the Bible? Maybe God isn’t so strong after all; maybe he’s been defeated by Satan, that now Satan controls a large portion of the universe, and is able to make you interpret words differently.
Unlike what you believe, Bodie, I do believe that atheists, as much as any other humans, have value. It is an inherent value, placed in us as soon as our nervous system has formed during pregnancy. It is the value of happiness and pain, of joy and sadness. I doubt you don’t value happiness, and I doubt that you don’t value pain (negatively) as well. This is all that is required for the atheist to believe that he or she has value: they have the ability to experience happiness. Happiness is the single largest motivator that the human body can experience. It is the root of many selfish desires, as well as many selfless desires. It is motivator for sex; it is the motivator to have a job, start a family; it is the motivator to give to the poor; it’s your motivator, too. You “know” that you will make your god unhappy if you do not follow his rules and judgements. You believe that, should that happen, you could very well find yourself in Hell, and experience pain for all eternity. Or, you could follow the path of your god, which you believe will lead to eternal happiness and bliss. Either way, your motivators are happiness and pain; the ability to experience either is what gives life value.
On the other hand, according to Christianity (or, at least, many different Christian groups), a human being must follow the word of God, or perish for all eternity. You are all the puppets of a god that knows all; he knows what you’re thinking right now, what you’re doing, what you ate for lunch yesterday, what you’re going to eat for lunch tomorrow; your god is practically an omnipotent Santa Claus, except with a much nastier temper. Indeed, according to your religion, we ought to live our lives the way your God wants us to, or face an eternal punishment; that is a life without value.
Atheism is perfectly rational; you believe that, according to atheism, anything that is intangible cannot exist. As I’ve shown about 3981205741380235820545 times most likely at this point, that is utterly untrue. I don’t doubt we can’t literally touch truth, that we can’t literally observe gravity. But these observations are completely irrelevant. If I asked you where the edge of the Earth is, you’d look at me funny and then probably request a restraining order on me. The problem is, the Earth has no edge. Why should it? Does every object need an edge? Similarly, is everything that exists tangible? What is the color of an idea? What is the smell of victory? Such questions are simply irrelevant; they’re based on assumptions that have no basis in reality. By assuming that everything has to be tangible according to atheism is, as such, also irrelevant.
So, I’ve spent most of my time on the defense; I’ve never been the person for defense. As I’d say in chess… My strategy is to get an advantage, and, when the time is right, “BLOW MY OPPONENT’S BRAINS OUT!!!” (not literally, of course). So let me point out the inconsistencies of Christianity- and theism in general- before I go on to describe the beauty of atheism.
All theism is based on the assumption of a god, or gods. The Bible is meaningless if no god exists, as well as the Koran. So, to be able to prove theism, one must prove that a god exists. This is simply impossible. Many arguments exist for the existence of a god:
- The “First Mover” Argument, the “Origin of the Universe” Argument, etc: This argument asserts that nothing cannot produce something, that the universe could not have come out of nothing, and therefore God created the universe, to explain simply. This argument falls apart fairly quickly, however: if something cannot come out of nothing, where does God come from? The usual response is that he’s “eternal and infinite”. However, if something can exist by being “eternal and infinite”, we could just as well say that the universe is eternal and infinite, or that whatever that caused the universe’s existence is eternal and infinite. Therefore, this argument doesn’t get anywhere.
- The Argument from Morality: if objective morality exists, then God must exist. Again, this falls apart quickly. An objective morality, embedded in our brains, can and has formed quite easily through evolution. It is utilitarianism, which, personally, I define like this:
“Utilitarianism: the greatest good for the greatest number of people, with net “greatest good” preceding “greatest number of people” in importance. Something that is “good” promotes happiness; something that is ”bad” promotes the reverse of happiness.”
So, again, this argument fails. An inherent objective morality can form through evolution, defined by what promotes happiness among humans and animals, without the need of a god.
- The Argument from Authority: this argument in incredibly stupid. It basically asserts that we know that the Bible is God’s word because…(wait for it)… The Bible says it’s God’s word. This is a circular argument: How do we know the Bible’s true? Becuase it’s the word of God. How do we know the Bible’s true? Because it says it is (because it says it’s the word of God). One of those two statements needs to be true without relying on the other in order for the argument to be sound; neither of the two statements (the Bible is God’s word and therefore completely true and God exists because the Bible is true) are fulfilled on their own.
- The “Watchmaker” Argument: also logically fallacious, to nobody’s surprise. Basically, we know a watch is designed by a watchmaker by its complexity. Nature is very complex. Therefore, creator, therefore God. They say that, basically,
“X has property A.
Y is like X.
Therefore, Y has property A.”
Here’s a comparison: I am an atheist, and a human. You, Bodie, are like me because we’re both humans. Therefore, you’re an atheist.
Anyhow, those are the main arguments used, with a few tossed in here and there that are equally fallacious. The point is, these arguments have a way of trying to prove God’s existence through a play on words. I don’t doubt that this method can be useful in proving some things, but it’s pretty clear that none of these arguments are even slightly effective.
In atheism, on the other hand, we are making a simple statement that something is likely not true in the vacancy of evidence for it. There is a lack of evidence for an invisible goblin existing under my chair; there’s no reason to believe that one exists. There’s a lack of evidence for the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster; one most likely doesn’t exist. The same is true of a god or gods: we have no evidence for the existence of one. Thus, there’s no reason to believe one exists.
In conclusion, I’m not the head of the atheist community. I’m not a wise sage, sitting in some isolated corner of the world while typing this on my laptop with a cup of tea in my hand. I’m not the head of the national science community; I’m not even a guy that really even exists on the internet; I’m unknown to many.
But I think this is a good thing. I think that the day a major organization in support of any idea fails to meet the ideas of a simple teenage kid… You know that there’s something wrong with that organization’s ideas about the world.
An Atheist, Godless Teen