Wednesday, September 01, 2010

How Crazy was the Crazy EnviroWacko?

EnviroWacko James Lee was shot dead earlier this week after a foiled attempt to takeover the Discovery Channel and force them to broadcast his anti-human manifesto. Safely dead, he's being widely condemned as a crazed extremist. But seriously just how crazy was he? Or rather how far are his views really outside of mainstream environmentalist thinking? My two favourite quotes from his rant are:
Saving the Planet means saving what's left of the non-human wildlife by decreasing the human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies!

Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what's left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture.

Honestly if he didn't decide to invade a major TV studio, his thoughts would be totally unexceptional. I'm reminded of an almost readable blog that I stumbled on the other day. The blogger describes his writing as follows:

The blog of a bipolar misanthrope. The fact that I like many individuals and even love a few doesn’t stop me from hating our species as a whole. This is what I mean by bipolar, rather than that I actually am bipolar in a clinical sense.

Our species has truly earned its place in history. We are the cause of the sixth great
extinction on this planet. Like the comet that killed off the non-avian dinosaurs, we are a catastrophe. Quite literally, our evolution has been a catastrophic event on this beautiful insignificant planet we call home.

The Misanthrope is almost eloquent, and I think he demonstrates that it's not necessarily unreasonable to hate humans. Rather, it's a logical conclusion if you assume that (1) the biodiversity of the planet is the most important value on Earth and that (2) humans are just another species.

Was James Lee crazy? He did want to eliminate people to save the planet, but then again we will often have controlled hunts or animal culls when a species is taking over in it's environment. So if he really bought into the ridiculous notion that the value of our species is equivalent with all others maybe he wasn't that crazy at all.

How do we stop the next James Lee from trying to take down a TV station? Maybe all we need is a different worldview, one that says humans are in fact special and that every human life is valuable because it was made in the image of a loving creator.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're right. It does sound like an extreme form of multiculturalism where all cultures are equal, but here the animals outnumber us so we are not allowed to touch them.

Hoarfrost said...

Was he a member of PETA?

Anonymous said...

if these environmental twits are so concerned about the planet then why don't they all commit suicide or if they don't want to go to that extreme then they should live a pre-industrial revolution farming lifestyle. If they don't do either of these things then they can only be considered socialist idiotic frauds

Brian said...

Maurice Strong has been advocating for this for years. So this dead guy is not alone.

Anonymous said...

all those who think humans should not exist should off themselves in the most environmentally friendly way possible. then the rest of us can get on with life.

Misanthropic Scott said...

Thanks. You characterize my views fairly well. The point you may be missing is that I do not advocate deliberate and forceful removal of humans from the planet.

I am a member of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. However, the emphasis is on voluntary. If you actually read a bunch of what I've written, you may find that my views on the treatment of humans are far more moral than those advocated in, say, The Bible, where genocide is frequently ordered by a god that none could realistically define as loving and capital punishment is required for such infractions as working on the sabbath, desiring one's neighbor's wife (even if one does not act on the desire), or being a victim of rape.

So, I strongly suspect that the delusion of a loving god who specially created humans as something fundamentally different from the other species with whom we share the planet will not be the answer you seek.

Perhaps, an attitude of stewardship and recognition that we are part of nature and in fact are dependent on nature for our very survival would not only continue to provide us with the life support we need in terms of clean air, clean water, and food, but would also remove the reasons for which many of us have learned to hate our species.

Personally, what I hate most about our species is the twin characteristic of being able to recognize the death and destruction we cause in our everyday lives while not having even the slightest strength of will to begin to change how we act.

Instead of seeking and pinning one's hopes on a myth, perhaps, just perhaps, people should stop stealing necessary life support in terms of food, water, and air from future generations.

Malthus made two huge errors.

1) He dramatically overestimated the carrying capacity of the planet.

2) He equally dramatically underestimated our willingness to steal from our children to feed ourselves.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Scott,

First, Thanks for visiting my site and for your very thoughtful comment. I enjoy reading your blog, and I'm very glad for your thoughtful comment. My apologies for the delay in responding. I appreciate that you are not advocating active killing to bring about the extinction of our species.

I think it's fair to say that you and I fundamentally disagree about pretty much everything. Let me see what I can highlight in a few minutes:

I appreciate that you, and many other atheists are moral. I also believe that you are terribly misrepresenting scripture. You speak of genocides in the Old Testament. I'll just point out that Christians believe that God is just and that God will justly punish sin. But God's justice is always mixed with mercy, and all he asks for is repentance and then he offers complete forgiveness. The best example is the story of Jonah where God asks Jonah to preach against the wickedness of the people of Nineveh, when the people repent, God spares the city causing Jonah much confusion. Another famous example is Sodom and Gomorrah. There God said that he would not destroy the city if there were even 10 righteous people in it.

Finally your statement that, "capital punishment is required for such infractions as working on the sabbath, desiring one's neighbor's wife ..." is just factually incorrect.

On the environment. I think we'll agree that better stewardship is our responsibility. For a Christian perspective you might enjoy Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy by Matthew Scully. I found it an excellent read, although I believe commercial agriculture places a higher emphasis on animal welfare than Scully credits it with.

I can't speak intelligently to Malthus, but it appears we differ again. I understand that the world has successfully supported far more people than Malthus originally postulated - although I don't know what his estimates were.

To your final point, our food comes from renewable resources, so it makes no sense to say we're stealing from our children to feed ourselves. (Whether we're stealing from our children to power ourselves is a different question entirely.)

Hoarfrost said...

The new testament is based on a new covenent (promise) from Jesus. Christianity is based on a traditional worship of his deity, upon his idealistic life and ultimately upon the gospels confirming the tradition.

Interpretations of these gospels has created a multitude of divisions within His Church by ignoring the traditional beliefs. (The church being His followers). The Roman Catholic Christian Orthodoxy and the Eastern Byzantine Christian Orthodoxy and the Coptic Christian Orthodoxy and some others all have tended to follow the ancient traditions of the beliefs as begun in the first days.

The Church attempts to interpret given tradition and given scripture for the average person. The church is not omnipotent as is God. They recognise that people differ in their assessment of what is right or in what is wrong. The important thing that they seldom point out is that the only sin is that of deliberate intent to commit what they truly believe is a sin.

Condemnation of others by Christians may be a sin in itself. That doesn't mean that an individual cannot speak his mind about an issue based on his own belief system or intent. (e.g. supporting abortion or sanctifying gay marriages as is done in some Christian churches.) Only God will determine culpability based on the individuals intent to defy God. Only God knows how smart or stupid someone really is.

The problem with many Southern U.S. Evangelists is that they often are uneducated and self taught in the same manner as the Imams of Mohamadenism. They do not understand the Christian basics.

Misanthropic Scott said...

Patrick,

Probably the only point on which we are likely to agree is the degree to which we disagree on nearly everything else. Though, despite our most basic and fundamental disagreements we probably come to the same answers on most moral questions.

That said, it seems from your post that one of the following must be true about your beliefs. Please correct me if there is another answer that I have left out.

1. You believe that the New Testament and Jesus negate the Old Testament. I will show below that this is not the case.
2. You have not read the Old Testament.
3. You have read the Bible through your own moral filters (which clearly did not come from God) and have ignored vast swaths of it.

I’m ignoring the possibility that you have treated the Bible as a software license agreement and simply scrolled to the bottom without reading it then clicked “I agree”. You’re posts seem too well thought out for that.

1. First, please note that Jesus reaffirms the old law. Matthew 5:17-18 states clearly that Jesus still supported the Old Testament in its entirety. http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew5.htm
2. Regarding rape, genocide, and capital punishment in the O.T.
a. Regarding rape, see Deuteronomy 22:22-29: http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0522.htm. Note that being a victim of rape is only conditionally punishable by death. However, there are cases where the rape victim is sentenced to death by stoning. And, also note the bit about a virgin raped outside of city limits. Stoning to death might be a better fate than being forced to marry the rapist. For the rapist though, it may be a good way to get a wife if he can afford the 50 pieces of silver.
b. Regarding the death penalty for work on the Sabbath, see Exodus 31:15. http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0231.htm
c. Re: genocide:
i. Joshua 6:20-21. http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0606.htm
ii. Judges 20:48 http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0720.htm
iii. Jeremiah 50:21 http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1150.htm
3. I acknowledge that I too have read the Bible (or at least the Pentateuch) through my own moral filters. In my case though, the Bible itself caused me to throw out the Bible as a source of wisdom based on the hugely unconscionable behavior advocated by the Bible itself. Perhaps the New Testament is less violent than the Old. Still though, as I pointed out, Jesus reaffirmed every last detail of the Old Testament. Further, he came not to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:35-37. http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew10.htm

To be continued ...

Misanthropic Scott said...

... continued.

Regarding food as a renewable resource, that would seem on the surface of things to be self-evident. However, looking a little deeper, some of us see that the fertilizers we use to get the massive amounts of food required for today’s 6.8 billion people come from fossil fuels, especially petroleum. We are literally eating oil. Transporting our salads a few thousand miles only adds to the oil requirement of our food. But, the food itself is literally made of petroleum with added water and sunlight.

Some of us dig deeper still and note that the dust bowls of the 1930s were turned into fertile ground by using underground water supplies. These aquifers, most notably the Ogallala are being depleted at far faster rates than they are naturally replenished. Without such “fossil water”, we will again have dust bowls as we did in the 1930s.

Further, even the most obvious technically renewable resource that goes into food production, top soil, is being eroded at alarming rates. The Midwest, a.k.a. the breadbasket of America, has lost about half of its top soil thus far. Globally, we have lost 10% of the world’s arable land to desertification. At present rates of the consumption of resources that should indeed be renewable, we will dramatically increase the amount of desert on the planet. And, this is without even accounting for the massive arable land loss forecast to come from global warming.

Hoarfrost,

I believe I have addressed most of your issues above already in answering Patrick. However, since you brought up gay marriage and abortion, I will point out that homosexual behavior is another capital crime in the Bible., explicitly in both the new and old testaments. See Leviticus 20:13 http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0320.htm and Romans 1:26-32 http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/romans/romans1.htm

That said, abortion, both medically induced and surgical predates both Jesus and Moses by centuries. And, neither felt any need to mention it as being wrong. So, abortion is well within allowed behavior by both new and old testaments alike. Certainly, given the topics freely discussed in the Bible, no one could make a valid claim that its authors were too squeamish to mention abortion.

Whew!! Sorry for the long comment. There was a lot of ground to cover.

Misanthropic Scott said...

I'm also sorry that none of my links came out as links. Patrick, if possible, please fix them. If not, those who wish to see them will have to copy and paste. I'm very sorry for that.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Scott,

Very much appreciate your comments. There's a lot there, it may take me a while to check all your scripture references.

I agree completely that most of our moral conclusions will be similar despite the radically different starting points.

I'll just correct 2 of your 3 assumptions.

1 - No I believe that Jesus' teaching fulfills the Old Testament. I don't believe that God would contradict Himself. Rather I believe that as outrageous as some of the stories and recommendations seem in the Old Testament were teaching love and mercy at a time when we were rather more brutal.

Best example that comes to mind the Old Testament says to take an eye for an eye (Levitcus 24:19-21), Jesus says "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38-39) Here I believe that Jesus is building on that teaching, not contadicting it. When the Old Testament was written saying the punishment should fit the crime would stand in sharp contrast to the instinctive human reaction to exact a harsh revenge, possibly murdering the person who poked out an eye. So even if the Bible offers what seems to us to be a harsh punishment, I would maintain that the principle being taught is key to understanding the scripture.

2 - Yes I have read the Bible from cover to cover. I did it more than 10 years ago. My interpretation of scripture has naturally changed since then. For example during that time I joined the Catholic Church.

3 - Of course I read scripture through my own moral filter. I also rely on the teachings of the Church through the catechism and other religious authors. I do pray for understanding and I believe that the Holy Spirit will guide anyone who is seeking after God with a sincere heart.

Let me see what I can do about fixing and following your links. In the meantime thanks again for your thought provoking comments.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Scott,

I can only delete comments entirely, I cannot edit them. That's probably a good thing, or you might look like a Catholic by the time I was done with you.

Misanthropic Scott said...

Patrick,

I do not believe you would alter my comments to make me sound like a Catholic. Though, eating a cracker and having it literally turn into two thousand year aged long pork does sound appealing. :)

That said, I'll play God's advocate for a moment (which is for me equivalent to you playing Devil's advocate).

In the O.T., the thing about an eye for an eye is usually interpreted as ONLY an eye for an eye. This was a lighter punishment that fit the crime rather than a vendetta where one might otherwise hunt down the offender and kill him and probably move on to killing his whole family as well, if the rest of the O.T. is read too literally.

So, yes, I too am capable of interpretation. However, the Bible itself gives no hint that it is to be interpreted in any way other than literally. So, the moral filter you apply did not come from within religion, but rather from outside of it.

As for your corrections, as best I can tell, you have merely clarified that of the three possibilities I laid out, choice number three was the correct one. I am not surprised.

Regarding Bible contradictions, there are many lists of them on the web as well as a number of attempts I consider quite lame to reconcile them. But, the most obvious is the admonition against killing followed by all of the instructions regarding capital punishment.

I'd also like o make sure I was clear on a prior point in my response to Hoarfrost. I consider myself a straight ally to the gay rights movement and strongly advocate equality for the LBGT community including the right to marry the person of one's choosing.*

That both the O.T. and N.T. advocate killing homosexuals does not make me think less of homosexuals. It makes me think less of the Bible.

* I've actually heard idiots claim that homosexuals already have the right to marry, as long as they marry members of the opposite sex. Religion does lead SOME people to say amazingly stupid things.

Misanthropic Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Misanthropic Scott said...

Last try. Perhaps actually putting in HTML will help.

Matt 2:17-18
Deut 22:22-29
Ex 31:15
Josh 6:20-21
Jud 20:48
Jer 50:21
Matt 10:35-37
Lev 20:13
Rom 1:26-32

Patrick O'Neil said...

I've followed your links more comments soon.

In the meantime I had to check if your were referring to me when you said, "* I've actually heard idiots claim that homosexuals already have the right to marry, as long as they marry members of the opposite sex. Religion does lead SOME people to say amazingly stupid things."

It didn't jump out at me doing a quick search of my blog so I don't think I wrote that. I HAVE said it numerous times. The law does apply to everyone equally for example no matter how much they want to siblings cannot marry, nor can parents and children, and nobody can marry anyone else while they are still married to another person. Marriage is special because of its exclusivity and because of the benefits it provides to society.

In order to keep our enjoyable discussion on topic, I won't write any more about marriage in the comments section of this arcticle. Feel free to search my blog for one of my many posts on marriage if you want to start a separate discussion.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Scott at long last. Here's your response.

I'm glad you acknowledge the point on mercy in the Old Testament. We're getting somewhere. I don't comprehend how you can say, "the Bible itself gives no hint that it is to be interpreted in any way other than literally." The vast majority of Jesus teaching is through allegory, which must be interpreted.

When you say, "the moral filter you apply did not come from within religion," you are again incorrect. As Hoarfrost stated many churchs, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches being the largest trace their history and teachings back to the apostles. Not everything that was spoken was written down, so the Church's teaching has always been essential for interpreting scripture.

On your 2 outstanding specific complaints:

Capital offences in the Old Testament were many and were likely there for very good reasons, mercy and protection from disease and strife come to mind. The new testament's focus on redemption and forgiveness supercedes all those punishments. Although an unrepentant sinner will have to worry about eternal consequences.

On genocides. The Bible is a historical document and the passages from Judges and Joshua are historical events. The Israelites were following the standard military practice of the day. Just because people committed genocide doesn't mean God approved of it at all. I'll grant you a point that our species is very often capable of tragic, cruel and evil deeds on a grand scale. The reference to Matthew 20:18 was actually about Herod (a pagan Roman ruler) killing Jews. The passage in Jeremiah was a prophesy, I don't think that battle ever happened. But God did destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, so I don't deny that God has allowed and occasionally inflicted just punishment. My only point is that the examples are far fewer than you may think and that God even though God is just, his justice is always mixed with mercy.

Scott - I've enjoyed/am enjoying this debate, and I was thinking of pointing others too the discussion. If other people jump into the discussion, do you think you'd still be engaged?

Patrick O'Neil said...

Scott at long last. Here's your response.

I'm glad you acknowledge the point on mercy in the Old Testament. We're getting somewhere. I don't comprehend how you can say, "the Bible itself gives no hint that it is to be interpreted in any way other than literally." The vast majority of Jesus teaching is through allegory, which must be interpreted.

When you say, "the moral filter you apply did not come from within religion," you are again incorrect. As Hoarfrost stated many churchs, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches being the largest trace their history and teachings back to the apostles. Not everything that was spoken was written down, so the Church's teaching has always been essential for interpreting scripture.

On your 2 outstanding specific complaints:

Capital offences in the Old Testament were many and were likely there for very good reasons, mercy and protection from disease and strife come to mind. The new testament's focus on redemption and forgiveness supercedes all those punishments. Although an unrepentant sinner will have to worry about eternal consequences.

On genocides. The Bible is a historical document and the passages from Judges and Joshua are historical events. The Israelites were following the standard military practice of the day. Just because people committed genocide doesn't mean God approved of it at all. I'll grant you a point that our species is very often capable of tragic, cruel and evil deeds on a grand scale. The reference to Matthew 20:18 was actually about Herod (a pagan Roman ruler) killing Jews. The passage in Jeremiah was a prophesy, I don't think that battle ever happened. But God did destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, so I don't deny that God has allowed and occasionally inflicted just punishment. My only point is that the examples are far fewer than you may think and that God even though God is just, his justice is always mixed with mercy.

Scott - I've enjoyed/am enjoying this debate, and I was thinking of pointing others too the discussion. If other people jump into the discussion, do you think you'd still be engaged?

Misanthropic Scott said...

Patrick,

I picked those genocides somewhat at random from the evil bible site, though you'll note that when posting scripture from the O.T., I always go to religious Jewish sites and for the N.T. always go to religious Christian sites, never from sites like the Skeptics Annotated Bible. I want to be sure to get the quotes correct and posted in an unbiased way.

I will post more genocides another time. Many times, they are explicitly ordered by God in the O.T. If I remember correctly, during the 40 years murdering in the desert, the Hebrews were ordered by God to commit genocide on 7 different tribes, each of which outnumbered the Hebrews.

If this meets your memory too, feel free to comment now. Otherwise, please wait for me to post the links to scripture.

I always assume when posting on a blog that it is an open discussion. I don't mind more people in it. I just may have trouble keeping up as I am at a new job and may be working long hours to once again prove myself. (Yecch!)

As for marriage, I'll check for your other posts. I was, I thought, explicitly stating that the idiots to whom I referred were neither you nor anyone else on on your site. I will have to check other posts of yours on the subject. If you indeed claim homosexuality to be the equivalent of incest, we will have a lot to discuss. That might get heated for that would be a highly insulting claim and very much out of sync with the natural world regardless of whether you believe a deity created the world or not.

Misanthropic Scott said...

I'm out of time for searching your blog this morning. Would you please post a link to a discussion on your site specifically regarding gay marriage so that we may continue that discussion elsewhere? I didn't see one with a quick search of your site.

Misanthropic Scott said...

Patrick,

It just occurred to me that I should probably check the type of person to whom I'm corresponding. Your comment that God is just in the context of genocide makes me wonder.

There are around 6.8 billion people in the world today. Approximately 2 billion of the world's population of humans are Christian.

What will happen to the other 4.8 billion when they die?

Will it matter how they lived their lives? Will it matter whether they've heard of Jesus (of course, the vast majority have)? Will any of these people get into heaven? Will we all burn in hell for eternity for not accepting Jesus?

What about the various sects of Christianity? Are all acceptable routes to heaven? Or, is there one true version that is the only route?

Misanthropic Scott said...

Oh, one more thing Patrick. I am looking for your opinions on the above questions. Please don't defer to God. You claim your god is just. I want to know what you believe would be just in these cases. I don't believe any god or gods exist, so am certainly not seeking their opinions.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Quickly on the religion what happens after you die question. I'm not going to quote scripture or the catechism. Rather I'll say C.S. Lewis views as described in the Last Battle of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Essentially that view is that after we die (not sure if I mean immediately or at the final judgement) we will meet God face to face and we will be aware of our sins. Those who are truly sorry and repent at that time would still receive forgiveness that was made possible by Christ's sacrifice.

Those who reject God's kingship and mercy at that point would then yes burn in hell for all eternity.

Misanthropic Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Misanthropic Scott said...

I'm not quite sure that answers my question. Must one be Christian to get into heaven? What if I've committed no sin and still don't accept Jesus?

What if even after death, I look God right in the face, curse him for all the suffering He has caused and punch him in the nose? (OK, I realize I'd get zapped before I could do so, but I'll try. That bastard deserves it!)

If I haven't sinned but still reject Christ for the sin He has committed and the suffering He has caused, will I be tortured in the worst imaginable way by your so-called just God?

If I call Him on the Inquisitions and the Crusades, even though I'm not The One who caused all of that suffering, will I still suffer for eternity? Who gets to judge your God for the pain and suffering?

And, again, does someone who commits no sin but does not accept Jesus burn for eternity? If so, explain how that is justice.

When you really think about it and come up with an answer to the question that is logical, reasonable, and self-consistent without merely defining God as just because it says so in the Bible, you just might understand that your God, if He were to exist, would be worthy of contempt rather than worship.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Scott,

I expect you'll find anyone of the following posts significantly offensive to your views on marriage and GLBTetc issues.

Sad

Glimmer of Hope

Globe is Right About Families

Crazy Talk

Common Sense Ruling

Safety First

Patrick O'Neil said...

Scott to your last point. I suppose theoretically IF someone never sinned they would have no need of repentance and then would also be welcomed into heaven. But "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 So the point is moot.

In this same post you try to blame God for various human actions that have been committed in His name. That's not relevant to our debate at all. If you wish to show God is unjust, you should try to use examples where He is responsible.

Tangently. I was thinking about you (and subsequently praying for you) at Mass this morning. The Gospel began, "Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and regarded others with contempt." Luke 18:9 It just struck me as another example where the Bible was making itself clear that it must be read with a view for interpretation.

Misanthropic Scott said...

Patrick,

First and foremost, do not pray for me. I wish to keep your god, or more accurately, his minions as far from me as possible. His minions have already caused the death and destruction of 9/11 near to my home. I do not seek blessings such as those doled out by the minions of the desert war god of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion (deliberately singuler).

Second, I should be clear about blaming God. Remember, I am an atheist. As far as I can tell and as far as the complete and utter lack of any shred of real evidence shows, there is no more reason to believe that God or more accurately any supernatural being or beings exist.

So, exactly how could I ever really blame God for anything?

I don't. I blame the idea of God, the very human idea that such a being exists and commands us, for the death and destruction caused by humans as a direct and stated result of their belief.

As such, when I do battle with evil, I look to the source and fight against ideologies like communism or fascism or the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion, all of which cause humans to take up arms against other humans.

That said, Exodus 34:11 begins a nice passage of genocide. It is not clear whether God is ordering the genocides of these many peoples or is implementing it himself. Whether God is committing genocide or ordering it though, He gets the blame, no?

Deuteronomy 2:31-34 is a nice little passage ending in the total annihilation of multiple cities including even "the little ones". Is God responsible? The Bible says yes. I say merely that it was the idea of God that made killing men, women and children of all ages seem acceptable. Such is the power of religion.

Deuteronomy 3:1-22 ends with a sentence that clears it up nicely.

Ye shall not fear them; for the LORD your God, He it is that fighteth for you.'

That's 60 cities all slaughtered, every man woman and child, just in the kingdom of Og added to the cities of Sihon. And then Gilead's cities get added to the list.

How many more would you like me to list as the genocides for which the blame falls on God? Or, should we interpret this portion of the Bible to be utter bullshit and hope that historically these events never happened? I am no historian, so have not checked on the historical accuracy of the Hebrews' genocides.
Again though, when I blame God, I am really blaming the idea of God as a proximate cause for the actions of humans. Thankfully, a world without God is neither just nor unjust. In a world without gods, people are responsible for their own actions. Were I to believe in a god such as the one in the Bible, I would be continuously consumed with contempt for the evil creature unto whom I was enslaved.

Fortunately for me, I do not believe in the great sadist in the sky.

Misanthropic Scott said...

Another clarification, when I do battle, I do battle with the pen (or the digital pen, the keyboard), rather than the sword. I seek merely to spread better memes. The viral memeplex that has infected your brain is one of many that I seek to defuse and replace with reason, however hopeless the task may seem.

My task is a difficult one, for most people do not want to hear that when they die, they will be as they were for the first 13.7 billion years of the universe, i.e. nonexistent.

I do not fear death. Most atheists with whom I've spoken do not. I have other fears, such as having air pumped through the meat that was once me long after all hope of recovery into a decent life has passed.

There again, I would hope for an absence of God's minions so that I may transition from existence to oblivion as painlessly as possible.

So, perhaps in order to help keep your prayers from me, I will state that I deny the existence of the Holy Spirit. Now I have sinned according to your Bible Mark 3:29, though I have hurt no one, so still deny that I have sinned by any reasonable definition. Having committed those words to your site, your will now know that according to the religion you believe, there is no hope for my soul. So, perhaps now, you will stop praying for me.

BTW, The passage above that talks about blaspheming against the Holy Spirit as an utterly unforgivable sin is another wonderful example of how unjust the God described in even the New Testament is. In a real and rational definition of justice, the only sin lies in deliberately and unnecessarily hurting others. If blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin, then the Holy Spirit can suck my dick.

Now that ought to qualify as blasphemy even if mere denial of the Holy Spirit does not.

Tell me again, exactly how is your God just for causing me to burn for eternity for that statement? Whom have I hurt with that statement? Is the punishment of eternal damnation with gnashing of teeth and fire and brimstone really a fitting crime?

If so, I say to you that you religion has indeed corrupted your own morality to the point where you have completely lost your moral compass. Were there really a God with such morals, I would say again that said God would be worthy of contempt for his egomaniacal sadistic ways.

Imagine a supreme being so self-conscious and so in need of external validation from his own creation that he would damn his subjects to hell for eternity merely for denying his existence, especially when he flatly refuses to provide any evidence of His existence. It's a ludicrous premise.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Scott,

You're playing fast and loose with the term genocide. The passage from Exodus reads:

Behold, I am driving out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest they be for a snare in the midst of thee.
13. But ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their Asherim.

Driving out implies they went somewhere and take head not to make a covenant again implies there are people there to make a covenant with.

The passage from Deuteronomy is a little more challenging, but again it contains no command toward brutality. I do not hold God responsible for the sins or excesses of his people.

I find more interesting your request that I don't pray for you. Sorry, but you're on the list, and you will be as long as we're conversing (on my blog or yours)

I find most interesting your comment, "Thankfully, a world without God is neither just nor unjust." Please explain this idea further.

Incidentally, I wrote something similar on The Economists Debate on Religion, "As a society, religion defines virtue. Secularists and unbelievers can claim to be moral (and very often are), but that morality must be measured against an objective standard and without religion no such standards would exist."

Maybe we have some common ground than we think.

Misanthropic Scott said...

Regarding your objective moral standard, how do you explain the fact that you probably do not actually kill people for working on the sabbath or for wearing a garment made of a mix of linen and wool?

Seriously, the reason you interpret the bible is because your moral compass is better than the one possessed by the authors of the Bible. Else, you would not know what to take literally and what to consider allegory.

Misanthropic Scott said...

My prior post is not showing up. I doubt you had time to delete it already, even if you find it offensive. I hope that you will find and publish it despite the words I know you will find offensive. That one is important to me.

Misanthropic Scott said...

OK, I'll try to recreate my missing post and probably will not do as well as I had earlier.

You say that I am playing fast and loose with the term genocide but that Deuteronomy 2:32-34 is more challenging. Um ... challenging? They left no one alive, not even the "little ones". Genocide I say and genocide I mean.

Has your religion has so twisted your morals that somehow this passage sounds OK to you? Yes, this was commanded by God, at least according to the Bible. Did you read it? Did you read the text around it?

What about the direct quote from the Bible that it is indeed God killing? "He it is that fighteth for you."

This would be a lot less painful for you if you would just admit that the God of the Bible is a mean vindictive God smiting people left and right.

And, just when he stops smiting people on earth, or at least tones it down a bit, he comes up with the ultimate torture palace to throw the majority of humans to burn and suffer with gnashing of teeth for all eternity.

Face it. The God character of the Bible has the manners and morals of a spoiled child, possibly a psychopathic spoiled child at that.

Misanthropic Scott said...

Shorter posts seem to be more likely to make it onto your blog for whatever reason. So, I'll continue in shorter posts.

Regarding prayer. You are so blinded by your own religion that you cannot see how offensive and insulting it is to pray for an atheist. In doing so, you show me less than zero respect for my own views.

Further, there is actually some proof that praying for someone and telling them you are doing so may actually be detrimental to their health.

http://tinyurl.com/2vdfvr

Regardless of the negative health implications of intercessory prayer, which would presumably not affect me as I do not believe in any gods or godlets, so would not feel any pressure to show signs of improved health from prayer, the real point is the complete and utter lack of respect for my view regarding your religion.

If heaven is what you expect, filled with a bunch of sycophantic born-again Jesus freaks, hell would be preferable to me.

Don't worry so much about my soul. I don't have one. When we die, our consciousness will be exactly what it was for most of the first 13.73 billion years of the universe, nonexistent.

The difference between us is that I know that and can accept it while you cling to childish fantasies about an apres-vie.

Yes. you probably find this statement a tad offensive. Please understand that you praying for me is at least as offensive to me.

Misanthropic Scott said...

And, one more point regarding praying for me. There is no point to it. Take my word for it that I have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit.

Mark 3:29: "But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit 11 will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin."

I'll put it here in writing and try to keep out the bad language that I have used in prior attempts to post this.

The Holy Spirit is a big fat non-existent ghost of a bastard (literally) who can go to H E double hockey sticks.

There. I have both denied and blasphemed against the holy spirit.

Please stop preying on/praying for me ... NOW!

Misanthropic Scott said...

Re: a world that is neither just nor unjust.

When you wake up to the reality of a universe in which there exists no personal god, at the least, and likely no god of Spinoza either, you will understand that one need not view droughts or hurricanes as punishment from any god or gods for our own actions.

New Orleans did not get smitten by God for anyone's actions, except possibly the overburning of fossil fuels by all of humanity, which is a topic for another post.

The universe is great and wondrous enough without the addition of a personal deity. And, without a deity, there is no cruelty in the fact that our planet has limited resources. It simply is.

What this means is that humans need to take responsibility for our own actions instead of pawning them off on a non-existent deity.

But, it also means that there is no vicious evil force from on high damning people who worship under the wrong name or do not worship at all.

Further, it is a highly liberating view. My life, unlike yours, has exactly the meaning I choose to give it rather than any meaning imposed by a slave master in the sky.

Think you're not a slave? Then think about this, "Thy will be done."

Never has there been a more willing slave than one who would utter those words.

(aside)
Nor, I might add, has there ever been one more hypocritical than one who would utter those words and then build a house of worship with a nice tall steeple ... and a lightening rod either in or on it.

Next time you're in a small town with not many tall buildings and a tall church steeple, check for the lightening rod. Don't forget to check inside the structure. It may not be obvious.

If it has one, the people who built it either do not believe in God, else they would realize that God would not demolish His own house. Or, they are depriving God of His own right to destroy the structure. And, to use knowledge of science and electricity to thwart His will in His own house. What a concept!

Thy will be done indeed!!
(/aside)

Misanthropic Scott said...

One more point about religion as the source of morality. Why do people kill in the name of religion?

I admit that people kill for other ideologies like fascism, communism, capitalism (ask the native Americans), and others.

But, people kill for their religious beliefs even when there is no other difference between the people doing the killing.

Israelis and Palestinians, for example, are one race. In fact, the Palestinians have a higher incidence of the genetic marker of the kohanim, the Hebrew priestly class, than Israelis do.

They are killing each other solely over religion.

Ditto for Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.

Ditto for the terrorists who flew planes into the twin towers.

Ditto for people who kill doctors or set off explosives in clinics.

One need not go back to the crusades or the inquisitions for such atrocities. People are still committing them today.

So, no, religion is not a source of morality. And, the fact that, as I pointed out before, you do not mete out the punishments mandated by the Bible means that you do not get your morality from within religion but rather apply your pre-existing morality in your interpretation of the Bible.

Good thing too. Else you'd be stoning people to death probably daily. And, you might run out of rocks. Then where would you be?