Minion food drive
Imagine a handful of Christians that notice hunger in their community. They decide to pray about it at 10:00 am Saturday. They tell a few friends maybe Facebook it etc. Saturday comes they gather at their church and pray. Maybe some people have prior plans but wish to help, others may have misunderstood this to be a food drive. By 10:15 am he prayer is interrupted because so many people have brought food to the church. Everyone praises god an gives Her the credit.(OK so I'm feeling a little rebellious and a little God reverse-sexism appeals to me. She will be a girl hence forth)
The goodness of the people is simply disregarded. They were Compelled by the Goddess. This is super secret Christian ninja talk for "the Goddess made them". Did She? There is no evidence here that the Goddess did anything. No manna from heaven, no water into wine, no magical multiplying fish or bread. Everything can be directly attributed to her minions. Nothing that was done cannot be attributed to her minions. False Goddesses need minions!
The Goddesses army
The Goddess can do anything. Destroy cities, cause floods, hurricanes, earthquake's, and my favorite make your bowels explode(Judas Iscariot). The Goddess could strike everyone that pissess her off with lightning. All at once. Impressive. But instead she needs minions. Let's say the great army of Methodist(I will pick on them as I used to be one) kills every living non-Methodist on the planet.
Does it help the Goddess? No. She is according to apologist She is outside the realm of space and time. Nothing we can do will help or hurt Her. Perhaps She will be pleased by the victory. No She can't. She knows the future and therefore would not be surprised by what SHE did. She is unchanging and therefore could not be anymore pleased or displeased by the victory than if I just farted. It simply would not affect her in any way. Who would it affect? The minions, who knows how many would be killed or maimed. But that's OK cus it was the Goddesses will. False Goddesses need minions.
A product of my design
Let's say there is a REAL Goddess. She designed me. I had no say in my DNA. I did not choose my parents or even to be born. I cannot control how my brain works. I have no power over how my brain functions to produce thoughts or make decisions. I can only try to focus or disregard the thoughts that do come to me. I am a product of my design, HER design.
I am an atheist. I am compelledunbeliever not because I chose not to believe but because I could not believe due to my design. She knows this, she designed me to be this way. So now I have two options. To believe the Goddess does not exist(my favorite) or that She does not care to make herself known to me. If She does not exist I'm good to go. If She does exist and chooses not to make Herself known to me I am blameless, it's Her fault or will if you wish. She being all knowing would know exactly what it would take for me to believe. I used to pray for Her to make me have unfailing belief and perfect faith(you can see how that worked out for me). If I don't believe, I am a product of Her design actually doing HER WILL.
I wanted to worship the one true Goddess. There are thousands of religions out there and really if any are right only one can be right. All minions of these religions say they are right, therefore I can't take any minions word for it. Eternal Heaven or Hell is just too high of stake's to put in it. I must know from the Goddess Herself, and She created me and knows this. If I am an atheist I am actually doing Her will.(this is my brief answer to Pascal's wager)
So let's say some good intentioned fellow believes his Goddess wants him to tell me about his awesome Goddess. As soon as he begins to tell me about Her I can dismiss Her out of hand. Why? She doesn't know about the Minion Principal. False Goddesses need minions because they are not real. A real Goddess could MAKE me believe or know exactly how to encourage me to believe. She would know I would never take the word of a mere minion. This stuff is too important. A real Goddess would no send a minion because She would know that that would be a sure fire way for me to dismiss her divinity! She actually designed me to think this way! False Goddesses need minions!
So what do you think about this philosophy?
This is an issue which Atheist Pig brought up not quite a year ago and I devoted a blog to it as a result. The short version is wonderfully simple:
Any chance you remember that old aspirin commercial where the woman accosts her mother, who is kibitzing in the kitchen and says, "Mother, PLEASE! I'd rather do it myself!" [Yeah, that's well over 50 years ago, but I got a LONG memory!] It's the same principle: why doesn't Yahweh do it himself? The question is begged: if there is a god, WHY DOES HE NEED MINIONS ... or intermediaries or prophets or seers or ANY of that crap? Why not communicate directly with his people, so that there is no ambiguity, no question, and no chance of multiple answers to a basic question: Is There A God?
Direct communication is clearly the way to go. The second third parties are involved, the opportunity for miscommunication, obfuscation and downright FRAUD become obvious. If whatever deity is out there cannot be bothered to create a one-on-one rapport with me, I have no reason to bother with him/her/it.
Thank you for the link. What do you think about how it applies to Pascal's wager?
I say it is a logical fallacy.
My old college bud penned an entertaining essay on this. [I tried to attach the document but it didn't work, so I'm just pasting it in.]
Losing Pascal's Wager is Half the Fun
Don't get me wrong: I adore Blaise Pascal. There are so many things to thank him for, it's hard to know where to begin. The creation of probability theory, yes, (through an exchange of letters with Pierre de Fermat--surely one of the most productive correspondences in the history of science). An investigation of the properties of binomial coefficients, yes. And, whoa! Contributions to the foundations of mathematics (with a nudge from Descartes), anticipating formalism, yes! But of all his creations, perhaps I remember him most fondly for mathematical (sometimes called "finite") induction, one of the mathematician's most powerful and beautiful tools. It's almost a counterexample to Oscar Wilde's,
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it.
But one thing that won't gain his installation in my Hall of Fame, is his ludicrous Pascal's Wager. No! I certainly give him credit for attempting to apply an axiomatic method to the problem. But it was like trying to open a can of beans with a stick of dynamite.
Or more accurately, like urinating on the grave of William of Occam.
But back to Pascal's unworthy attempt to sway the gullible. Brilliant mathematician though he was, Pascal built his line of reasoning upon some shaky axioms. For example, he made a number of unwarranted assumptions for us all, the worst being that living forever is desirable. For me, there is something so liberating about finitude, not servitude. Doesn't that crumble the payoff of his wager in one fell swoop?
Imagine if you will, a person living an entire life doing little more than meeting the expectations of society, in hopes of joining the Choir Eternal. Further imagine there is no such body.
But consider the inverse of Pascal's Wager, what might be more cheerfully called Lord Henry's Wager: suppose you spent your entire life entrapped by someone else's mumbo-jumbo, eschewing echt experiences, thinking only recycled thoughts, expecting some sort of jackpot on your deathbed for doing so (and worse, helping to elect candidates holding those raddled views, inflicting your superstition on the rest of us).
And then with your last heartbeat it turns out there's nothing more than your last heartbeat.
Liber Al vel Legis tells us, not unreasonably, that we are supposed to grow while we are here, to accrete new experiences, to uncover our true potential. Even sinning for the hell of it wouldn't be a bad start.
Losing Lord Henry's Wager means wasting the only life you were given.
And winning the wager? We need but turn to Oscar for a bit of cheerleading,
"...to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly—that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course, they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion—these are the two things that govern us."
Anyway, what's the point of a species evolving so far as to create reason and logic, only to turn its back on what they lead to? You don't really mean to tell me Aristotle, Leibniz, Boole, Russell, Whitehead, Turing and Gödel were all just joshing us, do you?
Do you see why I consider Babbitt not only the best piece of literature I've ever encountered, but the most important? Will you permit me to leave you, once again, with one of the saddest things ever penned?
"Now, for heaven’s sake, don’t repeat this to your mother, or she’d remove what little hair I’ve got left, but practically, I’ve never done a single thing I’ve wanted to in my whole life!"
Is that really a gamble worth taking?
Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662.
If the Church then was still burning heretics, I'd give him pass for his half-ass wager.
What's silly about it?
By not considering the two no-god cases, he omits the marvelous fun a guy can have.
Honestly, I don't see how Pascal's Wager figures into this particular argument at all, except to say that if Yahweh or whoever deigned to indulge in direct communication with its creation, Pascal's Wager would be rendered moot. Presuming god communicated the same message in the same fashion to EVERYONE, there would be no question about its existence.
There might be a problem, however, if such a communication were a one-time event, as opposed to an ongoing monologue, if not a conversation. Any inconsistency could introduce doubt to the equation and with it the opportunity for humans to insert their own "interpretation" to the mix. The second that happens, we're back to the same old problem: "special" humans providing insight for those who are denied such.
This is the same thing which Bill Maher dealt with in his closing comments to his film, Religulous. He was right then and he's right now.
Message to god: Sure you're tense, irritable, but don't take it out on the kids. (That was Anacin if I remember right.
It was Anacin. I just Googled it.
Reminds me of the line from star trek five.
"Why does god need a spaceship?"