Belief is a Good Thing, Now? (A response to Prager University)

Let’s ask the people in Orlando if that’s the case.  Oh, I’m sorry.  Was that a little harsh?  I haven’t talked about atheism in a long time.  There is not much more to say.  You can only say so many ways – I don’t think God’s real.  I do not believe in any god.  I’ve hashed out all the old arguments.  It’s just not that stimulating anymore.  But it seems that Prager University has made a video where they want to not try and prove that God is real, but make the case that believing in him is a good thing.  Let’s look at their video, and then we can respond to it.

His first argument is that if God exists, the world didn’t become by chance.  There is “artistry in this beautiful design.”  Yeah, let’s ask the kids being born with misshapen skulls because of the Zika virus how much artistry there is there.  Let’s ask the kids who are born with AIDS how beautiful God’s design is.  It’s too easy to refute this point.  How is this an argument that belief is a good thing?  With all the horrible stuff that happens in this world, this idea that God’s existence means that the world is better than it actually is just makes no sense.

He says that if God exists, we’re in some epic story like Lord of the Rings.  Oh really?  So, the kid who died the other day in a shootout in the city I live in?  What heroic journey was that kid on?  Life isn’t like a story.  If it was, and God is shaping the narrative, that makes all the evil things that happen DIRECTLY his fault.  Every last one.  Oh, but according to him, it will all have a “happy ending.”  Let me guess – Heaven.  That’s the happy ending.  Unless, of course, you don’t believe in God.  Then there’s a really horrible ending, that God lets happen, for eternity.  Or if you believe in the wrong god.  Then you get punished for a crime that you had no fault in.  After all, which God is the right one?  Which deity should we believe in?  Yours, Mr. Kreeft?  Whose?

Oh, but evil makes sense if God exists.  Why?  You’re gonna love this – so we can have free will.  Why does evil have to be part of that?  I’m all ears.  That’s right – you never talk about it.  You just say that it will all make sense in the end.  I hate this argument.  It’s basically like saying, “what Stalin did was terrible, but it was all part of a larger plan that we just can’t understand.”  Does that sit well with you?  Of course not.  So God allowing evil because, through some vague way, it will preserve free will for reasons we don’t understand is such bullshit.

We then move on to the objective morality argument.  What is the metric for that?  The Bible?  If that’s the case, then I should be able to rape a girl and all I have to do in order to be good for that is give the father some silver shekels and marry the girl.  Ooo, then I can rape her all I want!  Yeah, there’s some objective morality for ya.  Or the point about killing disobedient children.  It’s directly said in the Bible that if a child is unruly, you are to take him outside of the city and stone him to death.  Yup, more objective morality.

Then he makes one of the weirdest arguments I’ve heard in a while – if God exists, love is part of some grander scheme.  If God doesn’t, then love is just chemicals in the brain.  I love feeling passion, but this idea that every connection has to be so profound is such a sign of hubris on the part of people.  Oh, and God has that special connection to all of us too, if he exists.  You know, unless you believe in the wrong deity or don’t believe in him at all.  There’s that.

And like clockwork, there’s the whole – if God doesn’t exist, life is pointless argument.  Well, yeah.  Apparently religious people have a hard time with this.  The meaning that you get out of life is something that you take from it.  No one can give your life meaning but you.  Sorry if that doesn’t give you warm, fuzzy feelings.  You have to accept that when you die, everything you accomplished is over.  That’s it.  Is there an afterlife?  I have no idea.  But that is immaterial.  What you leave behind has no meaning.  You are gone.  Your problems, such as they were, don’t exist anymore.

The guy then comes right out and says that he can’t prove God exists.  He says there is “overwhelming evidence” that he does.  None of which he cites.  But yeah, he can’t prove God exists.  But have no fear, confirmation bias believers – that’s all part of God’s plan too!  It leaves us free to choose.  Never mind that he could EASILY just prove his existence, and if he loved us like this idiot seems to think, then he would show us undeniable proof so that we could all be with him.  But I guess that would just be too easy.  God likes things to be complicated.  You know, in that insanely-convoluted sort of way.

Now we get to where he has questions for us.  Let’s answer them.

Doesn’t your heart hope that there’s a good god?

Nope.  With all the horrible things that happen in this world, and how unfathomably-shitty my luck is, there is no objective way to show that God is anything other than pure evil.  It cannot be done.  I’ve tackled every argument that I’ve ever heard.  I’m waiting to hear an original one.  Not one of this guy’s were.  But this idea that I secretly hope for some divine being that lets all this shit happen and does nothing to stop it exists is laughable.  Oh, right, he is going to decide for me and say that of course I do.  Thanks for that, buddy.

Why would someone not wish that life has some ultimate purpose?

Because if all this terrible stuff happening is all part of this all-loving being’s plan, then he’s evil.  That’s the only argument that can be made.  He is pure evil.

That good and evil is real?

If you buy into this, then God is evil.  Scratch that, he might not be evil.  He might be impotent or unconcerned.  So, he’s either evil, pathetic, or so unconcerned about us that he’s kind of a psychopath.  Great choices.

That there is ultimate justice?

According to whose code?  God’s?  Well, I was a sarcastic shit growing up.  My parents never dragged me out and stoned me to death.  So I guess they are in for some reckoning (before someone comes in to the Comments and tells me that Jesus came so that the Old Testament laws don’t count anymore, that’s bullshit.  Jesus himself said that he didn’t come to abolish the Old Testament laws.  He came to fulfill them).

That our love for others means something?

It does mean something – to us.  And to the people we care for.  That’s the point.  We are all we have.  It’s the whole reason that I treat people well.  Because I don’t want to hurt those that I love.  I want to help them.  I care for them very much.  Their happiness that I can help bring is the meaning that I get.  We call that empathy.  Are you saying that without this divine bullshit, you can’t feel these things?  That’s kind of sick, buddy.  You might want to look into that.

We then get the Pascal’s Wager argument.  Or at least the dumbed-down version.  Because no person who is religious is a miserable piece of shit.  Especially in this country.  America is one of the most religious countries in the world, but look at the happiness index.  It’s abysmal.  Meanwhile, look at countries like Denmark.  One of the lowest on the religious scale, and one of the happiest in the world.  Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but I can’t help but think that your argument has some holes in it from facts you choose not to look at.

It ends with him telling me that I can live like God exists.  Okay, I’ll live like a divine, emotional, vengeful, rageful, hateful psychopath lives in the sky, who was somehow turned not evil because Jesus.  Yeah, I think I won’t.  I think I’ll live with empathy and move forward based on that.  Nice talking with you.

Until next time, a quote,

“Maybe I’m too young to understand what the world’s supposed to be.  But it’s not this.  Can’t be this.”  – Huey Freeman, The Boondocks

Peace out,

Maverick

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3 thoughts on “Belief is a Good Thing, Now? (A response to Prager University)

  1. Wow. My (conservative) brother showed one of Prager’s videos to me to make a point about something to do with global warming and I went um…where are the citations? The credentials? Then I saw some other headlines of theirs and went ah-hah! Now I see the bias. I’m not a fan of them calling themselves a “university” when they’re churning out this garbage rather than like–you know, actual college courses and well rounded students.

  2. Haven’t watched the video and going off your counterpoints to it I don’t think I will as it sounds stupid and incredibly biased but it got me thinking. Could God serve as a placebo for people. If your life is really sh*tty right now then you are more likely to pick yourself up and keep going if you believe it is part of some “plan” and or “scheme” than if you are completely under your own steam so to speak. You know there is some grand reward for you just have to keep going. Is that why faith is “important”.

    • Well yeah, faith is a placebo. It’s the reason that God is able to be whatever a person wants it to be. If they hate gay people, God hates gay people. If they love gay people, God loves gay people. God is the entity that can be whatever they need it to be on a given day. It’s quite something, really.

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