The Christian Post has an article that lists the top 10 benefits of being an atheist. Normally I would roll my eyes, but then I saw who wrote it, and realised that this is simply too much fun to pass on.
The author is noted evangelist Ray Comfort. Yes, it is the Banana man.
Background: The Banana Man?
Back in 2006 Ray recorded a clip that he used to promote “proof” that God was real. His “evidence” was that the banana has may user-friendly features that were evidence of intelligent design, therefore there was a God.
Here is that rather famous clip …
The flaw here is that the Banana is not like that naturally. It is a result of artificial selection by humans. The wild banana is small and unpalatable.
That clip established Ray as “the Banana man”
This sets the stage for his latest top 10 list.
Hint: Prepare to be entertained, but not really informed.
Ray’s Top 10 List
1. I can embrace new scientific theories about human origins, without being saddled with the belief that a god created everything.
Scientific theories regarding our origins are established and validated with evidence. They are open to modification if better evidence is presented. The religious proposal is that a supernatural being used magic to create one couple, then via incest we all came from them.
2. I’m free from church hierarchy telling me what I can and can’t do.
I’m wondering which specific hierarchy he has in mind. Each and every variation claims that all the other variations are false. I don’t ignore what they are saying, but instead accept that they are indeed all correct about that.
3. I can embrace a woman’s right to make choices when it comes to her own body.
Is he suggesting that women should be silent and not make any choices. That’s a tad hard on 50% of the human species. Yes, some truly do believe that, but most religious people don’t.
4. I don’t have to give my money to a church, so that the pastor can afford his own personal jet.
People do give, regardless of their belief or lack of belief to help others. Altruism is a human attribute, not a religious attribute. Beyond that, If indeed you are a member of a club, then there is usually a membership fee. That’s generally true of a sports club, a gym, or a church. And yes, the megachurches have more or less taken down the cross and replaced it with the $ symbol. Most who believe are not into that type of “worship”.
5. People don’t look down on me intellectually because I believe silly Bible stories like Noah and his ark.
Some, such as Ken Ham, advocate for a 6,000 year old universe. Most who believe don’t, that is a fringe belief. The most commonly accepted idea amongst those that believe is that such stories are metaphors.
6. I don’t have to prepare for an afterlife I believe I will never get. I instead enjoy the life I already have.
Evidence for an afterlife is exactly zero. Asking where we go after we die is akin to asking where does the flame go when the candle burns out.
7. “I don’t feel any guilt about enjoying my sexuality, quite the converse. I often see crippling guilt over sex, especially, among the religious or recently recovering.”
Sexuality is part of nature. I struggle to understand why the supposed creator of the entire universe gives a fuck about how and with whom people fuck.
8. “I get to do what feels right to me…I have a freedom of thought that just can’t be achieved within most religions. I’m free to consider all avenues of life and make my own sense of things. I don’t have a superior telling me that my gay friends are evil, or that sex without marriage, even with somebody you love completely, is wrong.”
Ray is implicitly arguing that if you don’t believe in an absolute truth from a god then you are into relativism and simply make up your own mind regarding what is right or wrong. The problem there is that there is no religious consensus regarding what god says, and so the religious simply pick the variation of religious truth they feel most comfortable with. It is totally and completely arbitrary.
9. “I feel a lot better knowing God doesn’t know my every thought, because then I would definitely go to hell (which I believe is mythical as well).”
What matters is not what we think, but how we act.
10. “I get my Sundays back.”
Nobody ever lost it.
So where is Ray going with this?
This is what he is building up to …
the average atheist doesn’t realize that his non-belief in the existence of God isn’t the real issue. The real issue is what the atheist does with the Savior. We want sinners to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, because if they die in their sins, God will see to it that they get absolute justice for their sins, and that’s a terrifying thing.
Most of us could probably come up with ten benefits for not putting on a parachute while in a plane, knowing we’ll have to jump 10,000 feet. One could be that no one would be telling me what to do — I’m my own boss — and I don’t want to have that cumbersome parachute on my back.
But the second I’m forced out the door, I will realize what an absolute fool I have been. But then it will be too late.
Nobody can seriously argue that putting on a parachute prior to a jump is a bad idea.
The challenge Ray faces is this. Before arguing that you need to put on the parachute, it might be a good idea to first establish that there really is a plane, that you really are going to jump, and that the parachute you are putting on actually exists.
To go there with him, you first need to embrace a foundational claim. The central idea, without any religious words, is that a god gave birth to itself so that it could then sacrifice itself to itself to appease its own anger according to the rules that this god made up. Least we forget, this supposedly all happened because a talking snake tricked an ancestor into eating some fruit.
Am I buying this from the Banana man?
Nope, this is simply not a credible claim.
In other words the one big primary benefit for an atheist is not believing something that is not actually true.