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Marie Alena Castle: Life doesn’t need God to give it meaning

Pamela Miller, quoting August Berkshire:
Arguments that won’t work with this atheist


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Life doesn’t need God to give it meaning
by Marie Alena Castle

Star Tribune, February 25, 2006

Like all humans, atheists create myths to express ideas. Unlike religious myths, which offer inspiration from the past with stories of miraculous and heroic events, atheist myths look to the future, often expressed through science fiction. Perhaps the most powerful is the world of “Star Trek,” created by atheist Gene Roddenberry, where humans have given up wars, social prejudices and divisive beliefs and used science to end hunger and poverty. That is a myth to inspire us that has some faint hope of realization.

This is the reality humans face and must deal with: We are a vulnerable species in a universe that is basically a huge debris field 15 billion light years across, full of violence and destruction. We are hunkered down on a small, unstable rock wobbling through that debris field. The life forms that evolved in the thin biosphere surrounding this rock survive by eating each other. The evolutionary process that brought us to consciousness works off of high birth and death rates with many defective products. There is no greater prescription for misery. But here we are, with one life to live and no one to turn to for help but each other. We humans have worked mightily to overcome nature’s shortcomings, with the only god in sight being us, warts and all. Despite the difficulties, life remains an exciting challenge, and we accept it.



text checked (see note) Feb 2006

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Arguments that won’t work with this atheist
listed by August Berkshire

written by Pamela Miller

supplemental box accompanying “The atheist and the Christians,”
Star Tribune, February 25, 2006

Here are the arguments for God that atheist August Berkshire said won’t work on him, with his commentary on each:

  1. The holy books say so: “Stories written by humans.”
  2. People have had revelations of God: “Subjective. Hearsay. Could be delusions.”
  3. Many people have a personal sense of God: “You’re sincere, but it’s not proof.”
  4. If you open your heart, God will enter: “Emotion.”
  5. Miracles and resurrection stories: “Unverifiable.”
  6. Fear of death, hope for heaven: “Wishing won’t make it so.”
  7. Fear of hell: “An attempt to get you to believe through fear what you won’t believe through reason.”
  8. Pascal’s wager (briefly stated, it’s a good bet to believe in God): “You can’t just pretend God exists.”
  9. It’s your choice not to believe: “I can’t help it that I don’t believe. Why blame the victim?”
  10. The end of the world is coming: “A scare tactic.”
  11. Faith gives life meaning: “Atheists find plenty of meaning without faith.”
  12. God, like love, is intangible: “Love is tangible. It’s a feeling defined by actions.”
  13. Morality depends on faith: “A moral code can exist independent of belief in God. ... Christians don’t even agree among themselves what’s moral.”
  14. Faith inspires altruism: “I could argue there’s no such thing as altruism, that people do heroic things because it advances themselves, their family, society or the species.”
  15. Without God, there’s no free will: “Atheists have no problem admitting that free will might be an illusion.”
  16. People suffer for religion, an indication it’s real: “Belief motivates them. That doesn’t mean God exists.”
  17. False dichotomies, which is what he calls statements such as “No one would die for a lie” or “Either Jesus was insane or he was God”: “Not necessarily true. There are many other possibilities.”
  18. Many things aren’t explained except by God: “That’s the ‘god of the gaps’ argument: ‘We don’t know where the universe came from, so God must have made it.’ Atheists are content to say we just don’t know.”



God: proofs

text checked (see note) Feb 2006

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