Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Simple Question

So yeah, we all had lots of fun with my previous encounter with an evangelical Mormon, didn't we. Well, you all know me, I can't resist a good laugh at religion's expense, so when @DenyReligion tossed this link my way around the same time I found this link on Fark (FT), I couldn't say no.

The Conversational Atheist link is thus quoted:

Rule 1: Do not let your argument hinge on asking a Christian to explain something he could conceivably say, “I don’t know” as a legitimate answer to an argument. So, how do you tweak the question to ask essentially the same thing, but to close the “I don’t know” loophole? Ask the slightly improved question:

Atheist: “Why do you worship a God that allows suffering?”

It’s still not great, but notice that answering, ‘why should I know why I do that’ is not a legitimate answer to the question. You may still hear that answer, but even the Christian will feel uncomfortable about such a lame answer.
Not a bad method, so when the Fark link came in, I decided to put it to the test. Today, we meet Gordon James Klingenschmitt. He's being sued for what pretty much amounts to thinly veiled threats in the form of prayers. Who's he threatening? Not ironically, it's the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mikey Weinstein. Here, watch the video that has Weinstein so rightfully pissed off:

Yeah. This guy is actually praying that Weinstein not only experiences personal and professional ruin, but he's actually praying that his life gets cut short! What the fuck kind of prayer is that?!? Weinstein has every right to be angry at this guy: It's outright threats!

And yet, this man thinks what he's saying and doing is perfectly OK because it's in the context of prayer, and by extension, the seemingly-unassailable bastion of Religion. Wrong.

So, I took it upon myself to visit this douchenozzle's website, and found my way to the contact page to see about getting a hold of this big, tough, macho man of God, who can go around threatening people just because they see things differently than he does. What a pious, righteous person this man must be!

And what a perfect candidate for CA's question, in slightly modified form: Why do you believe in a God who allows so much suffering?

As the conversation unfolded, I realized that I was most assuredly on to another spectacular blog post, similar to my little run-in with Christopher the Doubting Black Mormon. After I'd made Cap'n Dogma (as I came to call him) aware of the fact that I'd be publishing his emails, he made one request of me, which you'll see later, that I'm more than happy to follow. And now, away we go! First, I fire the opening salvo:
You, sir, are a sorry human being. You have your facts all mixed up, and your mind is clouded with theistic nonsense, making the whole mess worse.

Do the human race a favor, and go away.
This is pretty much my opinion of his praying for someone else's life to be rendered shitty and short. At the very least, as opposed to his methods, His response is typical of any hyper-Christian:
"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."
Paul's New Testament prayer in 1 Cor 16:22
Scripture, scripture, scripture. Always scripture with these people. Ugh. He can't answer me like a human being with a mind of his own, he instead does the very Christian thing and becomes a Bible-quoting robot. If I had a nickel for every time my Aunt Judy alone did this to me...

I hate to tell him this, but scripture isn't a cure-all. And so it came to pass that I asked the question of him:
Let me ask you something.

How can you believe in a God who allows so much suffering?
His response?
Satan is the author of suffering, not God. You blame the wrong spirit.

God opposes suffering, and has compassion for those under the devil's oppression.

When you look at Mother Theresa, do you see God working through her, to end suffering?

Jesus can be your best friend against death, disease, sin, and all kinds of suffering.
Yep, nowhere in there is a direct answer to what is obviously a direct and unoffensive question. Instead, he uses the Satan excuse to say that God is not the source of suffering. Sorry, but that logic doesn't work, and we still don't have an answer as to why he believes in this failure of a deity.

Just to make sure he's aware of the question's exact wording, and my dissatisfaction with his non-answer, I sent him this reply:
You didn't answer my question.

How can you believe in a God who allows so much suffering?

Leave the rhetoric and BS out for a minute. Quit quoting scripture. Talk to me like a human being, not like one of Pat Robertson's robots. I'm asking YOU, not your STORY BOOK.
It's no giant secret that I think the Bible is on par with Aesop, Mother Goose, and the Brothers Grimm. So yeah, I'm gonna call it that. Rude? I don't really much care, because this guy was already well beyond rude when he prayed for other men's lives to be cut short. Yeah, when you do something stupid like that, you tend to get an equally crude response. Welcome to Human Nature 101. Anyway, here comes his next nugget of joy:
It is our sin that causes suffering, not God's permission.

We never have God's permission to sin.

God does not allow it, in fact he forbids it.
God also has the power to end it, according to your belief that he's all-powerful. And being omnipotent, he most certainly has the knowledge that he has this ability. And yet he knowingly chooses not to use that power to destroy human suffering. This is my point: He's obviously choosing to let you suffer, so why the fuck do you believe in and have absolute faith in such a monster?

Obviously, we still have no answer to my original question. This, coupled with the fact that I've already had an incredibly shitty day at the hands of my Jesus-freak family, makes for a very cranky Lost Boy at this point. But again, since he used prayer to wish suffering on his fellow man (I thought God forbade that?), any hope he had of being treated nicely went straight out the window. Next volley's on me:
Seriously, are you that retarded? I asked you a simple question:


And you have answered with nothing but rhetoric and scripture.

For the last time, Cap'n Dogma: Answer me with YOUR OWN WORDS, YOUR OWN OPINION, AND YOUR OWN EXPLAINATION.

I don't care to hear what your Magic Sky Pixie and his bastard zombie son have to say.

I want to know how YOU, as a mortal, imperfect human being, rationalize your belief in a so-called benevolent deity who allows so much suffering to continue.

You know, your explanations make it look like Satan is superior to God. So, here's another question:

If God is more powerful than Satan (not to mention Satan's creator), why doesn't he just wipe him out and end all the suffering you claim comes from the Magic Underground Pixie?

Once again, the rules are: NO SCRIPTURE, NO DOGMA, NO RHETORIC, NO BULLSHIT. I want your words and your words alone, not those of the Cap'n Dogma character you've created for yourself to sell to small-minded old bitties who are worried about some fantastical afterlife that doesn't exist.

Answer me like a Man.
Oh yeah, I went there, and I had FUN doing it. And, of course, he still really doesn't at any point in this conversation answer the question he was asked. All he does is drone on with his dogma like a good little Christian Lapdog:
I've answered you twice, in my own words, without quoting scripture.

God does not allow sin, he forbids it.

The cause of suffering, disease, death, is sin, which God forbids.

You cannot blame good for the existence of evil. Good is not to blame.

God is on your side, He's for you not against you, He loves you and shares your suffering.

In fact, if any human suffered more than any other, it was Jesus himself.
God suffered the same way we do, and therefore has more compassion for we who suffer than any other false god.

Do you think Islam cares one bit for those who suffer, when they teach Muslims to make others suffer?

Do you think Hinduism cares one bit for those who suffer, when they teach "let it be" and don't help the sick?

Do you think Atheist communist care one bit for the millions of people killed by Stalin?

Jesus alone taught us to care for the sick, visit the imprisoned, feed the hungry, clothe the naked.

Suffering exists, wherever it came from.

If you really care about ending suffering, you should follow the teachings of Jesus, and care for those who suffer.

But I suspect you really don't care about helping people who suffer.

You just want to argue, and walk away from your duty to love your neighbor.

You just want to say, "God isn't real, God is to blame, so I don't have to lift a finger to end suffering."

You're wrong. YOU are responsible for your failure to end suffering in the world.
Prove me wrong. Take up your duty, and try, just try, to end suffering, like Jesus commanded you to do.

In Jesus, Chaps
Do you see why he believes in God up there? Nope, neither do I. And I would also like to take this time to point out that I actually HAVE DONE MANY THINGS to end suffering. I've mentioned them quite a number of times on this blog, including This Post. Go ahead, Gordie. Read it. See what evil that a lack of a God can do. I dare you.

Also: The cause of disease is microbial infections. The cause of suffering is ignorance. And the vast majority of Atheists - myself included - have nothing to do with and want nothing to do with Stalinism or any other nutbar thing like that.

But somehow, I'm wrong. Oh well. By this point, I've had it, and the gloves come all the way off:
Nope, still haven't told me why you believe in a God who allows so much suffering.

You see, if your Magic Sky Pixie is as omnipotent and all-powerful as you so blindly and adamantly claim, then he has the power to end all suffering in one stroke.

And yet he doesn't.

So, I'll ask you one more time: Why do you believe in a God that allows so much suffering?

And by the way, you broke the rules. This private conversation is about to go very public, and your stupidity revealed to the world.


The public option might be my only chance at getting medical coverage. It's not a Socialist takeover: It's human compassion.
I took particular offense to him having the gall to imply that Jesus would have any right - let alone the ability - to command me to do anything, illustrated in this after-the-fact post script message I sent:
PS: Jesus didn't command me to do anything. He lived in 1-33 CE. I live now, from 1977 CE to the present.

You show me where Jesus specifically states that "Eric is to take up his duty to end suffering."

Oh, I'm sorry. You can't. All you have is a storybook full of fables, half-truths, and is filled in the rest of the way with things that no rational human being could ever possibly believe.
And now, as you can see, Gordie makes his request:

Feel free to make my emails public, since I'm not embarrassed by them. Just be sure to include your own emails between mine, and don't truncate.

I'm not ashamed of the compassion that Jesus offers the world through the church by voluntary generosity (not through the atheist government who steals from the rich and spends it on bureaucrats, not on the poor). Socialism is not voluntary compassion. Socialism is involuntary theft. There's a difference.

Why don't you call me sometime? I'd be glad to get to know you personally.

In Jesus, Chaps
Which I have obviously very much obliged and indulged him in. I point this fact out to him in my forthcoming response, which you'll all get to see first right here, just before I send it. The link mentioned in the first line is to my conversation with Christopher from last week:
Truncating these emails or omitting my own side of the conversation isn't what I'm about, sir. Please refer to This Link to see what I mean.

As for your phone call, perhaps, once you answer my question.

As for Socialism, did you know that we already have "socialist" programs here in America? Yeah, how about that! Medicare? Yeah, that's government run! Social Security? It's right there in the name! And how about the Welfare that allows so many members of your congregation to simply be able to feed, clothe, and shelter their families and keep them coming to your houses of worship?

You calling it Socialism and evoking images of Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin and Mao Ze Dong is nothing more than a blatant attempt to frighten people into your ideological camp. That, sir, is tantamount to yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater. Your birther contemporaries focus on our President's middle name simply to evoke fear, same thing.

You, sir, have quite a bit to learn about reality.
So, he wants me to call him. Sure! And hey, he just said 'sometime,' didn't he? Keep that in mind, kids, because I think I might build my first podcast around just such a phone call.

And yes, that means I'll be recording it, Gordie. You've been officially warned.

So, in the end, what do we have? Five emails from this sorry excuse for a good human being, and five blown chances to answer a single, simple question. At no time has he made even the slightest effort to justify his faith in such a fallacy. All he did was spew the rhetoric that all Christians spew, the same old tired argument that we're so sick of hearing.

Come on, Gordie, man up and answer from your own mind, not the mind you were programmed to have by such an outdated and malicious organization...