How to be religious and also very obnoxious

jesus_seatMatt Barber would like to convince you that you are wrong for not believing exactly what he believes. His strategy is to advise that his belief is quite obviously true, and you are delusional if you don’t just believe it despite the complete lack of any evidence. He even has a bible quote that declares you to be an idiot if you don’t believe, hence it really just must be true.

Are you ready now to pop your coat on and rush out to the nearest church to convert because of this amazing reasoning?

I might be paraphrasing what he actually wrote but I’m not in any way exaggerating, so let’s take a look at his precise words so that you can then verify that I’m not making any of this up.

Over at Charisma News under his article which is entitled “The Atheist Delusion Runs Deeper Than We Think”, he opens like this …

Those who deny the existence of their Creator are delusional.

This is not an insult. It’s not a personal attack. It’s not a pejorative.

It’s a fact.

They’re also “fools.”

God’s Word declares, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Ps. 14:1).

Actually it is an attack, it is a personal attack, it is a pejorative, and it is most certainly not a fact. It is also rather amusingly circular reasoning – I believe you are a fool for not believing what I believe because my belief says you are a fool for not believing it.

This might come as a bit of a news flash to him, but folks who generally value reason and evidence generally don’t tend to be persuaded that being gullible is a better alternative.

Since he he is rather fond of quoting the bible, then he might perhaps wish to also consider Matt 5:22 …

“…whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”

… and so as one commenter pointed out to him, we can perhaps save him a seat near the stage if he wishes.

Bible Quotes

If indeed you do point out Matt 5:22 as a rebuttal to Ps 14:1, you will often be advised something akin to this (as one of the commenters did) …

a.) Because the Bible is written as a whole book, and needs to be looked at in its entirety to get the whole picture.

b.) Something as rich as the Bible is multi-layered and multi-nuanced and must be delved into deeply.

Well, that is not really a rebuttal, and is simply an excuse. The bible was not all written together, and is instead a loosely cobbled together collecting of the beliefs of distinctly diverse individuals, and so you will find such contradictions.

Being “multi-layered and multi-nuanced and must be delved into deeply” simply means that you pick the bits you like because they align with what you believe, and happily discard the rest. Least you doubt that, remember that the bible is a pro-slavery text from cover to cover and contains explicit guidance on whom you may enslave, how to enslave them, and also how to correctly beat your slave (Ex 21:20 – as long as your slave does not die from being beaten, then everything is just peachy).

Call me a tad picky if you like, but leaning upon a pro-slavery text that promotes some truly abhorrent practises, as your definitive moral guide for life is not exactly a viable position to adopt in the 21st century.

Ray’s Movie

He then moves on to explain that Ray Comfort (the banana man) has a new movie coming out and that he was asked by Ray to view an early copy and review it. He gushes …

This is, bar none, the most compelling and comprehensive piece of its kind. I guess I can’t even say ‘of its kind’ because it’s totally unique. I’ve never seen anything so comprehensive. It’s visually stunning, winsome, compassionate, intellectually unassailable and moving to the extreme. Somehow you managed, in about an hour, to make the case, beyond any reasonable doubt

… but he does not wish to offer us this “evidence”, and instead says …

I mean it when I say The Atheist Delusion is the most persuasive and captivating answer to atheist questions I’ve ever seen on film. Without giving too much away, let me just say that non-believers and believers alike will be moved emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. I have no doubt that many who claim atheism at the beginning of the film, will be left well on their way to admitting His existence and infinite glory toward film’s end.

Knowing Ray, and being fully aware of all the arguments on offer, I do seriously doubt that.

He does hint that it is a fine-tuning argument, which to be quite frank distills down to this …

“I have no clue how X could have happened, hence my specific god just must have done it by magic”

… and that quite frankly explains nothing at all.

What Is the Atheist Position

Apparently, if you buy into their specific school of belief, it is this …

the atheist position is simple and twofold: 1) There is no God; 2) I hate Him.

… neither of which is true at all.

Regarding point 1, there is a God claim, but there is no evidence to backup that claim, hence the claim is not believed and is instead dismissed.

As for point 2, those that don’t believe, hate this asserted variation of a deity about as much as they hate Zeus or Thor or any other mythological narrative.

However, perhaps the best argument against such claims is not just the complete lack of any evidence, but is instead an observation of the generally obnoxious behaviour and gross hypocrisy than emanates from some of those that do believe.

It is always tempting to leap into comment threads such as the one under Matt Barber’s article, but I’m content to not rattle their cage and instead leave them to be wrong to continue making daft assertions. In order for the world to become a better place we do need more people who don’t embrace daft myths as truth, and these folks are doing a great job of ensuring that this will indeed happen.

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