Why would I live in your novel?

We have been created as recipients. I look at the stars, at the grass, at my fat-faced children, at my fingernails, and I am oppressed by gratitude I have been given a belly so that I might hunger. I have been given hunger so that I might be fed.

I look in the atheist’s mirror. I look at his faith in the nonexistence of meaning. I look at his preaching and painting. I see nothing but a shit-storm.

Why would I walk through that door? Why would I live in your novel?

―N.D. Wilson
Tilt-A-Whirl

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5 thoughts on “Why would I live in your novel?

  1. I think, I see two problems, but of course, I could be wrong:

    a) He doesn’t actually look in the atheists mirror. He looks into his own mirror and tries to imagine what another point of view might look light. Unfortunately, he encounters only his own fears and prejudices, making the whole statement an interesting lesson about himself, but nothing more.

    b) If we were to assume that he was actually right, then I would still chose the atheistic point of view, because the fact that I don’t like what it looks like doesn’t change the fact what it actually IS like. We cannot choose reality based on how we want it to be – we can only take the one we have and life with that. So, if we assume that the world without god is totally bleak, etc. – it would still not have any influence on the question of any god’s existence. God does not pop into existence just because one would prefer it that way.

    And of course, I am really sorry, but the atheistic point of view cannot nearly be as inhuman, cruel, bleak, etc. as the Christian one. The bible made sure of that.

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    • Thanks for responding. It is true we all have fears and prejudices, however going there is perhaps a way to avoid the point that Wilson is making. He finds the atheist’s situation to be the “bleak” one.

      The Christian lives in gratitude to God’s goodness for the joys of life. However, when things go bad for the atheist he has no one to pray to; when things go well, he has no one to thank (except perhaps himself). He’s on his own. That sounds a lot bleaker to me.

      The believer in God finds ultimate meaning and purpose in a relationship with a wise and loving Creator. On the other hand, believing, as he does, that he is here by accident, the atheist has no logical way of fabricating ultimate meaning. It is simply not there. For humans bent on finding some kind of significance, this is a most troublesome issue—one that makes life very bleak indeed.

      The “preaching and painting” of the theist is saturated with joy, sorrow, beauty, ultimate hope, praise and meaning. Not so the “preaching and painting” of those who would deny God. Their voices of despair haunt our newspapers, songs, fiction, movies and theatre. The message of modern man without God is exceedingly bleak.

      You state that “the atheistic point of view cannot nearly be as inhuman, cruel . . . as the Christian one.” Are you serious?

      Your fellow atheists of the 20th century managed to butcher more people in one century than ever before.

      Lives Lost Under Non-Religious Dictators
      Joseph Stalin – 42,672,000
      Mao Zedong – 37,828,000
      Adolf Hitler – 20,946,000
      Vladimir Lenin – 4,017,000
      Hideki Tojo – 3,990,000
      Pol Pot – 2,397,000

      When it comes to ruthless slaughter atheists hold the world record.

      Philip and Axelrod’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars . . . chronicles some 1,763 wars that have been waged over the course of human history. Of those wars, the authors categorize 123 as being religious in nature, which is an astonishingly low 6.98% of all wars. However, when one subtracts out those waged in the name of Islam (66), the percentage is cut by more than half to 3.23%.
      That means that all faiths combined – minus Islam – have caused less than 4% of all of humanity’s wars and violent conflicts. Further, they played no motivating role in the major wars that have resulted in the most loss of life.

      Have Christians engaged in acts of violence? Undeniably. However one thing must be made clear: All such action cannot be justified by the example and teaching of Jesus. Rather it is a total contradiction of all that he said and did. The truth is that such “Christians” ceased to be true followers of Christ when they engaged in such misguided activity. Violence is something people do when they get away from Jesus’ teaching.

      So, which is the point of view that is most “inhuman, cruel and bleak”? I am afraid atheists are the definite winners on every score. Nobody else comes close.

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      • *sigh* I don’t think that it’s a good argument, but of course you are conviently forgetting that, for example, Hitler wasn’t an atheist. You can argue if he was a Christian (he surely didn’t like the churches), but he did believe in a higher power. Of course, it’s hard to say sometimes, because he tended he say whatever he felt was needed, so it’s hard to say when he was really serious. And we could of course also add the genocide of the native americans by conquistadores, etc. Oh, and let’s not forget that even if we discount Hitler, the national socialists were mainly catholic Christians (simply because being an atheist was pretty hard even 50 years ago). And perhaps we should add the little fact that the whole holocaust would have been impossible without more than a thousand year of history: Christians hating, persecuting and killing jews. Without such rigorous preperation by Christians, the holocaust wouldn’t have been possible. Even Luther can be quoted as a supporter for the holocaust…

        But seriously, that was not my point. As you have already pointed out, most wars were not fought because of religion, I agree. Also, they also were not fought because of atheism, but for a variety of reasons – humans seem to be pretty good at finding such. And of course, what someone does in the name of a religion does not make that religion good or bad – it only proves you wrong, because you CAN justify such things from that religion, including Christianity. People justified genocide, slavery, etc. with Christianity. Just because you don’t agree with them, doesn’t make it impossible. That’s another problem of religion, btw: You cannot talk about it. Let’s talk about Christianity… Well, WHAT Christianity. Which denomination? Which year? How many things can you think of that ALL Christians will agree upon? And that should include those Christians living a long time ago. I can tell you, besides “God is god and Jesus was some nifty guy” you will find it surprisingly hard. Even if I could convince you, that your faith is totally wrong – which I don’t want to, btw., couldn’t care less – the next Christian I meet will say “So what? I don’t believe that nonsense THAT guy believed, because REAL Christians believe something completely different: …”

        Perhaps I was a little bit unclear, sorry for that, but I was talking about the bible itself. It you consider it true, then none of the persons you or I mentioned have any chance for the title of top mass murderer, because none of them killed EVERY LIVING BEING ON EARTH except one family and two of each animal species. And that’s just the most extreme example. The bible is fuil of such. And it’s not only about such extrems incidents, but about the whole basic premise: Humans are evil, broken, children are born with sin, etc. – sorry, that’s worldview I consider “bleak”.

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      • You bring up a lot of interesting points. Let me respond to one of them.
        You are critical of the destruction of people as described in some Old Testament stories. Where did you get the idea that such an action is bad? Did you get it from evolution? No, it’s not to be found there. On the contrary. Evolution is all about the survival of the fittest and the elimination of the sickly and the weak. (Hitler, Stalin and Mao practiced this worldview very well.)
        The evolutionary worldview of the atheist provides no solid basis for the idea of compassion. It is not a part of his worldview. (We never hear about the “Nietzsche Orphanage” or “Sartre Children’s Hospital” do we?)
        And given the track record of mass destruction perpetrated by your fellow atheists in the last century, you really don’t have any moral authority to address the subject.
        So where did you get this idea that we should be compassionate to our fellow man?
        You know where it came from? It came from Jesus. French philosopher and anthropologist René Girard, researched the phenomenon of compassion for the poor and the oppressed and could find nothing of this nature in the myths of Babylon, Greece or Rome. Girard finally traced the phenomenon back to the historical figure of Jesus. His crucifixion, Girard concluded, introduced a new plot to history: the victim becomes the hero by being a victim. One of Girard’s disciples called this “the most sweeping historical revolution in the world, namely, the emergence of an empathy for victims.”
        So this gives a fascinating twist to our discussion. Your worldview allows for no moral values, so you borrow some from the Bible, and then you use them to critique God and the Bible.
        Tricky.
        Unfortunately those moral values don’t belong to you. They are not a part of your worldview. You don’t have a platform from which to make moral judgements. Your argument self destructs. Your position crumbles.
        You really should come up with some of your own moral values, but given that you believe that everything has happened purely by one huge freak accident, that is an impossibility. You have no moral ground to stand on.
        It looks like we can’t really discuss good and evil because for you they doesn’t exist. To have any intelligent discussion you need to borrow values from my worldview.
        It’s time you found some of your own.

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      • Let’s start at the beginning:

        Evolution is not a world view, it’s something that happens in our world. Same as gravity, actually. And as with gravity, not many people think it should be the basis of our world views. It’s something to understand, but not something to be slave of. Animals are slaves of it, of course, but we are not mere animals.

        And while I could mention, that most deaths there were because of famines, the most important fact is, that evolution was about NATURAL selection. By killing people based on your own world view, you are doing an ARTIFICAL selection, so, technically, none of them had anything to do with evolution – and none of them did understand it.
        Of course, the main factor that allowed the mass deaths of the 20th century was population: In the middle ages, if a (Christian) king was stupid, he could kill a few by starving them. And if he wanted to persecute the jews, he needed years to get the word around and then his power stopped at some border because 10 years later he had bigger problem. So, while the 20th century made more killings easier, it was not that the people before didn’t try, making it quite hypocritical to claim that this somehow is because of “less god”.

        So, after we made clear that my worldview is not “evolutionary” (same as it’s not gravitational), you have actually made a good point: The basis of morality.

        Of course, you are making the typical mistake here: You think that somehow the fact that “morality” is just a human concept absolves you from the need to justify it, just by shouting “God wants it!”. You cannot even agree with your fellow believers what that mysterious “absolute morality” entails, but you are sure to have it. Well, prove it. You cannot. Why? Simple, because your morality is the same as everyone else’s: It “evolved” over a long time and you put a rubber stamp “god approved” onto it, as if that makes it somehow meaningful. It doesn’t. If anything, it makes it LESS meaningful, because it is not based on arguments, but on dogma.

        Let me ignore that stupid idea that Jesus invented compassion, ok? We’ll pretend you didn’t say it. And for the whole victim thing: For me, it is much more obvious:

        “Oh, fuck, they killed Jesus!!!!”
        “What??? That cannot be! I spent YEARS following him! I cannot have been WRONG, CAN I????”
        “No, no, stop, must be something else.”
        “Yeah, of course, because he… HE WENT TO HEAVEN! And he will come back tomorrow to kill everyone with an AK-47!”
        “Of course, it’s obvious.”

        Sorry, but Jesus died. And his followers could either face defeat or try to reason their way out of it, in other words, invent a narrative that kept their faith intact. Well, it was not a good narrative, but they were primitive barbarians anyway, so who cares?

        And no, I don’t borrow from the bible. Just because the bible is not always wrong (it’s a huge book, so it must get some things right, even just be accident), doesn’t mean that I blindly use everything there. Morality is a human concept. And it is upon us to find the best. The universe doesn’t care. We cannot turn a stone around and mysteriously find the answer. But we can ask ourselves what morality should do for humanity. And then come up with the best one. Not absolute, not perfect – but honest. Or you can make up some shit and claim that god wants it. It’s up to you.

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