Complete 6 Volume Edition
FROM THE FRONT MATTER
“As I reexamined the Scriptures, after having moved decidedly away from them over the last 17 years, I found that I had good reason to move away from Scriptures, and indeed, the Christian faith in particular. What I had done subconsciously was perhaps based on a real reaction to living my life in the context of having a belief in a higher power—an invisible entity who was somehow at the helm, but who failed miserably to show me any authentic evidence of his presence.
I will never allow someone else, much less an invisible being, to tell me what to think, and who I am. One has only to read the Bible, as I did, cover to cover, to understand what the truth really is. What I found was the opposite of those common verses that clergy like to pluck out of the Bible in order to win more believers. In renewed study of Scripture and Christian ideology, I found that I agreed less and less with all the Bible taught, and agreed more and more heartily with secular humanists, freethinkers, and various nonbelievers.
It might be pertinent to mention here, that when I first considered the idea of existence without belief in the Christian God, I was one of those people who thought atheists were angry, mean, ignorant and even somehow “mental” individuals. I can say now, with a generous amount of confidence, that I was completely wrong.
My studies led me to the same conclusion that Richard Carrier expressed—namely, that the Bible revealed to me “a terrible, sinful God” who was a “jealous, violent, short-tempered, vengeful being whose behavior is nonsensical and overly meddlesome and unenlightening.” [Richard Carrier. Sense and Goodness Without God] And I was not surprised by Carrier’s and others’ revelations that many Christians “have never actually read the Bible, and have no idea what is really in there,” and agree with Carrier also when Christians admonished me, with unfettered hypocrisy, to read the Bible before I make negative judgments. I did. And my judgment is more negative than before. I didn’t have to try very hard to find a plethora of reasons to refuse being a passenger on that crap-wagon.”
Complete 6-volume eBook edition
Volume 1: Cosmology of God & Jesus
Volume 2: Cosmology of Christianity
Volume 3: Cosmology of the Bible
Volume 4: Cosmology of the Dark Side
Volume 5: Cosmology of Science
Volume 6: Cosmology of Atheism
|“In this magnum opus, Baeli is like a dogged prosecuting attorney, making her case in Humanity vs. God, she has a distinctly favorable chance of winning the jury.”
“star star star star star
At last, someone with the courage to take these charlatans and hate-mongers to task, and to do it with eloquence and the sarcasm these would-be “holy” men so richly deserve. Good on you, Ms. Baeli! Good on you.Of course, you do know that you are now the target of all these soldiers of their Ghod, don’t you? Well, you are not alone. It is way past time these criminals are called to account and you have done so with effect. My hat is off to you. Five stars without hesitation.”
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
The problem with religion in general, and the Christian mindset in particular, is that when all words and ideas can be modified or overtly changed, there will never be the opportunity for logic, clarity, understanding or consensus, and this is why the debate rages on throughout millennia.
If we insist, however, that the agreed upon definition be adhered to, the religious adherents lose their footing, and it becomes impossible for them to defend their position in any logical way.
By way of illustration, imagine we live in a world where it is acceptable and commonplace to change definitions at will. You are approaching an intersection in your car, and the light is green, and you keep going. An accident is caused because the oncoming traffic has a red light, but one car’s driver decided that red means keep going, and you are killed by that driver. Is this sort of ambiguity likely to insure the survival of our species?
Thus, when we examine the definitions the Christian religion uses to explain their God, one of these points must be true:
> the person who puts down that definition does not understand the meaning of the words, (either through mental defect of self-delusion) or,
> that information is a lie.
Let me clarify what I mean.
There are the common ideas about the nature or essence of God. These attributes are at once a conundrum of “Godly” proportions. There are also the lesser-known, or lesser-mentioned attributes of God that have arisen from various ad hoc situations in which a contradiction appears, and an explanation is then provided to explain that contradiction. It’s rather like the situation a pathological liar finds himself in: one lie is told, and another is inevitably added to cover the discrepancy that arises from the previous lie, so that another lie must eventually be told to clear up that discrepancy, and so on, ad infinitum. The irony is that the explanation is almost always a contradiction in itself, and so the debate continues and the confusion gets compounded.
Let’s look at these alleged attributes of this being no one has ever met, and can only guess the nature of:
If God knows everything all at once, then aren’t we helpless to change our fate? Isn’t it all pre-determined? And why are some lives deserving of good things, so full of pain and unfairness while others undeserving are not? To address this, you must use another ad hoc ploy: it is not our place to question God, he knows best.
George H. Smith, asks, “how can an event be free in the first place if God has infallible knowledge of it before its happening?”
To know all, means that our definition of knowledge must be redacted. How can you “know” something that has no empirical evidence of existence? No one has really seen this god, they have only seen what they interpret as evidence, and this interpretation is founded on a wish or a notion, but not on tangible fact. The very foundation of religion is predicated on faith, which is the opposite of fact. It is a choice to believe in something that has no empirical evidence, and thus, no one can claim to have knowledge of this god. Only interpretations of feelings and ideas.
The nature of omniscience is such that it has to be explained outside the realm of what we know in human experience. Since we are not, ourselves, omniscient, then to make sense of it, we must depart from knowledge in its truest sense and invent a paradigm of fantasy in order to grasp any sort of coherent set of ideas.
Free will also contradicts the omniscience of God. If God knows all with no restraints, then we do not have free will. For we cannot act in any other manner other than what God has created, and seen ahead of time. So either free will does not exist, in which case we are in a determined existence, set up by God, or God does not exist, and we have free will because we are the only ones directing our own behavior (aside from parents, who direct—or should direct—the behaviors of their small children during the maturation process).
But if you believe God created everything, then he created me, and I’m an atheist. That’s only because I have free will, you say? Then God cannot be omniscient, because the fact that I have free will, means that I could have chosen to be a believer, and I didn’t, and that implied choice means that God could not have known which choice I would make.
Is your brain burning yet?
Omnipotence means all-powerful. The attribute of omniscience, according to Smith, also contradicts the attribute of omnipotence…
…if God knows the future with infallible certainty, he cannot change it—in which case he could not be omnipotent. If God can change the future, however, he cannot have infallible knowledge of it prior to its actual happening—in which case he cannot be omniscient. (This is similar to the issue of in what sense, if any, God can be said to have free will. Does God know his own future decisions? If so, how can those decisions be free? Perhaps God does not make decisions. If so, how can the idea of volition apply to a being with no decisions—and hence no choices—to make?) The major problem with omniscience is that the “knowledge’ of God bears no resemblance to the concept of knowledge as we understand it (which is, by now, a familiar problem). Consider the prerequisites of knowledge. In order to know anything a being must be conscious, and this presupposes a living organism. If God is said to know everything, therefore, we must presume that God is a conscious, living being.
In what sense can God be said to be alive? God is not even a material being, much less a biological organism with metabolic processes. The concept of life has no meaning when applied to God. (Smith, ibid, 74-75).
Recall the popular thought experiment, “Can God make a rock so big even he can’t lift it?”* If he can’t create that rock, then he’s not all-powerful. If he can, but can’t lift it, then he’s not all-powerful either.
*When I was asked this question in my Philosophy 101 class in college, my response was “Who says God is a man?” The professor rather liked that answer and even exclaimed, “That’s what philosophy is all about!”
Similarly, the Archangels exist to carry out God’s will. Why would God need assistance? Can’t he just snap his Omni-fingers and make anything happen? Isn’t his will at once already fulfilled? God, the argument goes, is not temporal or constricted by linear time—he must exist in all time, outside of time. Thus, the will of God must be enacted spontaneously, and to us, would already be there waiting for us in our linear time at any given moment.
To use Archangels to do God’s bidding is an immediate contradiction of the supposed nature of this God.
So we once again find the concept of God fraught with contradiction. And the contradictions don’t end there. The Omni-everything God is one which conflicts with reason and even good sense. He often cannot be one thing without negating the other thing. Take the problem of evil…
Briefly, the problem of evil is this: If God does not know there is evil, he is not omniscient. If God knows there is evil but cannot prevent it, he is not omnipotent. If God knows there is evil and can prevent it but desires not to, he is not omnibenevolent. If, as the Christian claims, God is all-knowing and all-powerful, we must conclude that God is not all-good. The existence of evil in the universe excludes this possibility. (Smith, ibid, 81).
At every turn one finds logical fallacy, contradiction, cognitive dissonance and absurdity.
We are told that God is omnipresent—always there watching you. This smacks of a stalker-god, does it not? Again, a fear-factor associated with religion.
Also, if Satan is omnipresent, in that he can suddenly be blamed for the evil deeds of people everywhere at odd intervals, with no discernible limits to this influence, then what’s so special about God? There is apparently another being in possession of the same attributes.
Additionally, if God is everywhere, then he is in Hell, too. And he’s in the figurative hells we all too often experience in our lives. Think about what that really means. Your God is there when everything happens. Everything. He’s there when women are raped, when children are abused. (How does that feel, Christians?) Statistics are enough to show us that a tragic number of women and children meet with that fate* and most of us know someone who’s had those experiences. Maybe it’s even you, dear reader. If God is everywhere, that means he’s there when the bad things happen too, and yet bad things still happen, so that leads to all the other problems with that concept—like his omnipotence. He let those things happen, though he had the power to prevent them, and in fact, according to your own dogma, he knew these things were going to happen, and did nothing to prevent them. Is that acceptable to you?
*Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults occur to children ages 17 and under. An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today (darknesstolight.com). In regard to women, 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape) 17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape (National Institute of Justice, Survey).
But here’s the main problem with a god who is “everywhere.” If God is neither a physical being, nor empty space, then how can he be anywhere? Much less, everywhere?
Dictionary.com defines transcendence as:
1. exceeding or surpassing in degree or excellence
2. a. (in the philosophy of Kant) beyond or before experience; a priori b.(of a concept) falling outside a given set of categories c. beyond consciousness or direct apprehension
3. theol (of God) having continuous existence outside the created world
4. free from the limitations inherent in matter
Since God is incorporeal, he does not exist in space and time. So how can he be present everywhere, too?
A being cannot be omnipresent and transcendent at the same time, for if he exists, he is not above and beyond everything. He is part of everything. This is a logical fallacy, and can never be solved unless you’re willing to forget what the definition of transcendent is.
If God is this perfect transcendent being, and always has been a perfect being, what caused him to create the world and humans? The state of being perfect means that nothing is lacking. So why create something if you don’t need to? And humans are obviously imperfect, yet created by a perfect God; this is also illogical, as nothing imperfect can come from something perfect in that sense, or else it would not really be perfect.
Likewise, if the Bible is supposed to be the perfect word of HIMSELF, and we know the Bible is imperfect, then it makes no sense. If God created imperfection, then he is not perfect to begin with. Thus, he is not transcendent.
This concept is further complicated by another attribute assigned to God—that of immanence, or omnipresence. A thing cannot be both everywhere and nowhere.
The point here, is that if defining a being becomes an exercise in contradiction and futility, then the subject matter becomes unintelligible, and so loses both its clarity and its significance.
Additionally, if a god is omnibenevolent—infinitely compassionate and loving—then the problem of evil arises again. He cannot be both omnibenevolent and at the same time allow pain and suffering and also often be the source of that pain and suffering. A morally good and perfect god cannot be those things only sometimes, or this is not all-good or perfect. It is sometimes good and sometimes perfect. A perfectly loving god could not allow (nor command) the slaughter of innocents, the rape of women, the abuse, neglect, and murder of children, the rejection of the disabled, the sacrifice of a human to appease him, nor the sacrifice of even an animal for the same reason.
A perfectly loving god would not be capable of sending plagues, ordering the stoning of a man who collected firewood on the Sabbath, nor condoning (or commanding) the enslavement of people.
A perfectly loving god could not, would not, send his son to die for a concept that would not be necessary, had he not created the problem to begin with; i.e., God created Hell for those who denied him, and then ordered the death of his son to save those who would otherwise be doomed to this Hell. An omnibenevolent god would not create a problem and then offer a repulsive, cruel, or ethically reprehensible solution.
Other attributes given to God also make no sense or are absolutely false, according to the only book we have about him. The Theopedia graciously provided the definitions for these attributes, and I use them here because they are the very foundation of the Christians’ understanding of the god they worship.
One example, though, can be found in Jonah 3:10 “…and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
God is also supposedly impassable: “God is without passions. He is not overwhelmed by any emotion, he is not incapacitated or weakened or stifled by any event or any amount of grief or love. Rather, God is totally self-controlled. While God does grieve, and does passionately love, he does so completely on purpose.” This one is laughable, for many of the same reasons, as the Bible cites a slew of examples that the Judeo-Christian God is very passionate, constantly overwhelmed by emotion, though I admit, seldom incapacitated or weakened or stifled, as he is much too angry for that. Again, these examples will be covered in some detail later.
God is said to be holy. “To say that God is holy is to say that he is eternally separate and distinct from all impurity. The term holiness in Hebrew, qodesh, has the notion of separation, of uniqueness, of one-of-kindness as it were. (Bruce Ware).” If we use the derivative definition of qodesh, then this is also not accurate, as this god’s behavior belies any unique nature; the gods of mythology behave in the same manner, perform the same actions, perpetrate the same atrocities, and generally terrorize their adherents just as completely as the Christian God does.
God is claimed to be infinite. “having no limits or boundaries in time or space or extent or magnitude.” (definitions.net). If God is in everything, or is everything, unlimited, with no beginning and no end, then why does he need measly humans to worship him? Why did he create the boundaries of the Earth and other planets? Why did he supposedly create the boundary of time?
Then there’s the old stand-by, God is Love.“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NKJV). God is concerned for his creatures, and especially his people. He is tender toward them, and does not take pleasure in their suffering or condemnation. He seeks the best for us, and he offers up his Son in love as a substitution for sin. He loves to love people through Him.” Need I repeat the reasons why this proclamation is absurd? Tenderness is rare in this god. So is his lack of condemnation, or that he does not pleasure in human suffering. And what of the contradiction that killing his son is a loving act? Same goes for his alleged tendencies to be merciful, just and gracious. Theology admits that God is jealous, and this of course contradicts the other attributes which are considered positive.
God is self-existent. (related to self-sufficient, which is primarily the same pretense, with primarily the same rebuttals). “God’s self-existence means that he does not need us or the rest of creation for anything. While everything other than God depends on God for everything, God depends on no one for existence. He is absolute reality, with whom we have to reckon.” Here, it says God does not need anything. But in the singular book about him, he needs us to worship him, he needs us to obey him, he needs us to do his works, he needs us to sacrifice a lamb to him, he needs us to do battle, he needs us to turn ourselves over to him…for a self-existent god, he certainly is needy.
Also note the usual redefining of the word “reality.” The dictionary defines reality as “that which is real; an actual existence; that which is not imagination, fiction, or pretense; that which has objective existence, and is not merely an idea.” God is none of those things.
An issue that I continue to point out, because it is at the crux of all other issues in debate, is that definition is paramount. We have dictionaries precisely because language requires common, agreed-upon definitions of words and ideas, so that we can communicate clearly. When a person changes definitions to suit his own needs, he deviates from this common ground that allows us to communicate with clarity, and then all progress is lost, and there can be no possibility of reconciliation of understanding.
Let’s look at other aspects of that fundamental Christian tenet that God is Omni-everything, and then in the pages of their own holy book and from their own devout lips, offer contradictions to this assertion. To wit:
God Rested. God created the world in 6 days and then RESTED on the 7th day. Why would a God need to rest? I thought he was omnipotent?
“My God is an angry God.” In the “Good Book”, (which I find a blatant oxymoron) Isaiah 5:25 says that because of rejecting the law of the Lord,
On this account the anger of the Lord has burned against his people. And he has stretched out his hand against them and struck them down, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses lay like refuse in the middle of the streets. For all this his anger is not spent. But his hand is still stretched out.
Does God need to go to anger management classes? How does this behavior make him any less evil and callous than, say, Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein? Never mind the example it sets for followers. This is just the sort of verse that Fundies like Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins* love to use as fodder for their hatred and psychopathic genocidal babble toward unbelievers.
This verse becomes even more nonsensical when we find that in James 1:19, humans are told not to be angry. God can be angry, because that’s a human emotion, and He’s not human, but man is human, yet cannot have the human emotion of anger. Humans must behave like…God. Who doesn’t behave that way—still another slew of contradictions.
*Authors of the bestselling end-times novels known as the “Left Behind” series.
“God created man because he was lonely.” An oft-parroted declaration which is another effort to cater to simplistic explanations, and to also humanize God. If God was lonely, why didn’t he just create company to exist with him wherever he was? Why create them, and place them in a universe with a time-space continuum that would require billions of years before he could even begin to have a meaningful conversation with his creations?
On a planet in a vast solar system (ostensibly also of his own making), why create billions of other planets and stars and moons and galaxies if he only needed that human species to keep him company? Why not just create one planet? And why a planet? Why not just suspend them somewhere? Why not create sniveling little servants who would sit at his feet and tell him how great he is in his own time-space, or make them smart enough to engage him in stimulating discourse across a great celestial table? Makes no sense to me, but maybe I’m just being a hard-ass.
Is the cognitive dissonance setting in for you, yet? Because when I considered these points, it certainly did set in for me.
I will make no secret of the fact that, at this writing, I am, without question, a card-carrying atheist. This book is a representation of how I got there.
I am not a Bible scholar or a Ph.D.–wielding lecturer, nor a scientist. I was one semester away from a degree in Professional Writing & Editing, and intend to finish it, plus complete a Masters Degree program in writing as well, soon. The actual writing and life in general seems to have interfered with my academic pursuits. Other than that, I am just an author who is many other things, not the least of which is a voracious lifelong learner and seeker of truth. Though I have, at odd intervals, been accused of being an elitist—I think an elitist would not encourage the sharing of ideas by those without an alphabet soup after their name, a prestigious university at their back, or a mainstream publisher hawking their work. I believe everyone has something to say, and should be able to say it. It should be up to the readers whether or not the content is worthy of perusal.