Friday, December 24, 2010

God's Quality Control 3.17

Here I continue my review of the discussion guide published by the Prestonwood Christian Academy as a companion to the Hitchens-Dembski debate on November 18, 2010. In this video we're still working our way through the "Student Questions" section that is geared toward younger students, which presumably means kids as young as 12 or 13 years old. Today's honorary author will be Mr Ron Meador, Prestonwood's Director of Development Services. I invite you to share this video with Mr Meador, on behalf of all those kids who are being deliberately misled for the sake of filling Mr Meador's pockets. Join me in telling these people that their predations on children are unacceptable.
  • p.25 "...left to our own devices without the constraints or God, mankind has demonstrated a long track record of horrible atrocities." I have two primary objections to this kind of claim.
  • First, while it's true that we've been terrible to each other throughout history, it's also true that there is an ever-growing segment of society who desire universal equality and who work toward that goal, or at least refrain from hindering the work. No, it hasn't resulted in world peace yet, and of course there have been setbacks and recurring stagnation, but it's obvious that huge improvements have occurred as more and more of us have begun to recognize that we're all the same, we all breathe and bleed and laugh and grieve and suffer and finally die.
  • Second, let's not be too eager to accept this claim that atrocities occur only when we're disobeying Yahweh. Read your bible. I know, it's a crazy idea, but I'm serious. Really, read your bible. Yahweh ordered massacre after massacre in the days of Moses and Joshua; not just merciless defeat of opposing armies, but the utter extermination of entire populations: all the mothers, all the little kids, all the babies. Is it not an atrocity for a man to kill a child with a sword? Do you guys not believe your own bible? Try to picture it. Try to imagine yourself killing a little kid. With a sword. Stabbing him (or her) through the heart. Or, because after killing all day, your arm is too tired to force your weapon through the ribcage, you just stab through the soft abdomen and let the kid bleed to death. I have at times felt compelled to mercy-kill birds that my cat has mangled beyond repair. It's a terrible experience, even when I know that I'm putting an end to pointless suffering. Could you kill a little kid? Can you really approve of it? And not just one little kid, but entire towns full of kids, their mothers, their grandmothers, their grandfathers. Is that not an unbelievable, inconceivable atrocity? Sure, you can go on about Hitler and how he had all those people killed, but remember: no one claims that Hitler is the ultimate source of all morality. No one claims that Hitler is infinitely good and righteous and perfect. Who would you forgive first, Hitler or Yahweh? As strange as it may sound, I'd have to forgive Hitler first, because at least he was just a man, not an all-powerful deity that claims to be the essence of goodness.
  • Don't kid yourself. It has not been Yahweh's guidance that has caused the improvements we see. It has been the result of humans recognizing other humans and using their brains and hearts. It seems to escape the notice of most superstitionists that almost all of the most dramatic social improvements have occurred in the last few centuries, during which time more and more people have rejected Yahweh in particular, and the supernatural in general.
  • p.25 "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." Let's think about this. What if this is a self-fulfilling prophecy? What if our judgments of each other are distorted by this very belief? How many times have you heard about how little kids are inherently demanding and selfish, and it's your Yahweh-given duty to coerce your kids into suppressing these tendencies? What if it's perfectly normal for a kid of a certain age to be demanding and selfish, and what if parents could respond in a way that meets the kid's emotional needs such that the kid just naturally outgrows these traits? I've watched my daughter become more selfless, empathetic, and kind over the years, with very little help from me. What if people who get their needs met properly when they're kids automatically grow into decent human beings? How can we ever advance as a society when we raise kids to believe that we're all broken and wicked? How can we have hope that the world can be a better place if we believe that people are inherently evil? We need to try a different way of thinking. Yahweh's philosophy obviously leaves much to be desired.
  • p.25 "...how can a loving and holy God allow sinful man into its presence?" I have a better question: why should we allow this god into our presence? We have faults, which some people insist on calling sins, but at least we know that we have faults. This god is hideously wicked, but it claims to be infinitely good. I say we show this god the door.
That's 3.17. Thanks for watching.

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