Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Hurricane of Hypocrisy

Pro-afterlifers, especially of the Abrahamic (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) variety, believe that the faithful adherents of their particular superstition go to heaven when they die. They also believe that heaven is a wonderful place. So wonderful, in fact, that it’s far more enjoyable than any place or state of existence currently conceivable by us mortal humans. And as I’ve noted in a previous blog entry, many pro-afterlifers of the Christian variety are so excited about heaven that they just can’t wait to get there. Some of them even hang out on rapture-themed forums, praying with each other for God to initiate a Biblical Armageddon and take them all up into heaven; to figuratively and literally kill them (although they would likely disagree with my “kill them” characterization, the only way to get into an immaterial heaven is to expire physically. So no matter how you cut it, they technically want to die).

But what happens to these death-worshippers’ wishes when they are called to task? What happens to their convictions when the cards are laid out on the table? Hurricane Katrina recently barreled through the United States, causing incredible amounts of damage, destroying the homes and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. And while the body counts have only just begun, we can be pretty sure that there are thousands dead, if not tens of thousands.

Every American, from Christian to atheist, is mourning this national tragedy. What I have noticed most is the universal outcry of grief from all superstitious (pro-afterlife) bodies. There are editorials in pro-Israeli news publications where the blame for hurricane Katrina is put on Americans for supporting the Gaza pullout. There are Muslims claiming that the hurricane is punishment from Allah. Surely there will be Christian leaders who will claim that Katrina is God’s punishment for gay marriage, or abortion, or some political issue. While I think those kinds of opinions are ignorant and grossly inhumane, I also think it is interesting to see that regardless of the wide variety of interpretations of the meaning of this hurricane, they are all negative in nature. Specifically, all superstitious bodies, both pro and anti-American, consider this hurricane to be a very calamitous event for those affected.

If heaven is a better state of existence than this life, and if the afterlife is supposed to be our ultimate goal, then why do these superstitious bodies consider this hurricane a calamity? To be fair, a Muslim would assume that the infidels who died in Katrina’s path are destined to arrive in hell, not heaven. But what about the Christians? America is about 85% Christian, and the area that Katrina hit is a bit more Christian than the coastal areas of America. So we can assume that of those who died in Katrina’s path, at least 85% of them are Christians. And according to the Christian worldview, most of these people would be destined for heaven. So again, why would these superstitious bodies universally view the hurricane as a calamity? Shouldn’t they be rejoicing that God came and swept a bunch of faithful followers up into heaven? When God came to test their faith, the pro-afterlifers balked. When their opponent called, the pro-afterlifers folded their hand.

I think that Katrina proved just how much Christians (and other theists) commit the stolen concept fallacy. They act like heaven is “the bomb,” but when the (figurative) bomb drops, they flip-flop. There are a few exceptions, like the infamous 9/11 hijackers and the Palestinian suicide bombers, but under the gun, they borrow from the materialist worldview and recognize that death is a bad thing. So much for the “no atheists in foxholes” claim! These pro-afterlifers all became temporary atheists and ran for their material lives as soon as Katrina showed up.

If you believe in God, and you believe that your faithful self will go to heaven when you die, then Katrina is God’s will, and if you are in Katrina’s path, that means God has chosen you for the VIP line into heaven. No more waiting in line because you get the fast-pass! Why try to defy God’s will and evacuate? I say you should climb to the roof of your house, spread your arms wide and scream to the sky, “Thank you God for taking me off the stairway to heaven and putting me on the teleporter! Beam me up, Jesus!”

I expect 99.9% of all pro-afterlifers to consider my argument preposterous. Well, that’s my point. Why would a pro-afterlifer consider this argument ridiculous? because they are borrowing from the materialist (atheist) worldview! Sure, they will spend all day praying for rapture and the subsequent Armageddon. Sure, they will fantasize about how marvelous heaven is and how horrible this material reality is. But when push comes to shove; when it’s time to show your cards; when it’s time to pay the bill (and numerous other metaphors), these pro-afterlifers don’t really want to go to heaven! They fear for their lives! They don’t want to die!

Therefore, they lack the courage of their convictions. Their true colors are shown. When they lay their cards down, we discover that they were bluffing all along: Their hand is a royal flush of materialism. There are no theists in foxholes.

24 comments:

buffalobobb said...

I'm reminded of an old movie called "The Song of Bernadette". It's about the "miraculous" spring at Lourdes, France.
While the secular officials are looking on in pity at the cure-seeking masses, a
priest intones "For those who do not believe, no proof is possible. For those who do believe, no proof is necessary."
No proof is necessary. And my name is
Napoleon Bonaparte.

Adam said...

This was one of the best articles I've read in a long time.

Aaron Kinney said...

Thank you very much, Adam!

Im havent seen this kind of argument before. As far as I know, (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong) my argument about the stolen concept fear of heaven that these pro-afterlifers exhibit, is original.

Francois Tremblay said...

Reminds me of the Moral Argument from Evil ( http://www.strongatheism.net/library/atheology/moral_argument_from_evil/ ), which proves that Christian attempts to stop evil prove that they do not really believe in God. The Christian discomfort and displeasure at the tsunamis and the hurricanes is the single best argument against their own religion. Why do they keep mentally rebelling against the divine order ? It makes absolutely no sense, unless you realize that there is no such thnig as a True Christian.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the lie to themselves all the time that they believe. But when faced with utter reality of a storm their mind kind of rebel against self-delusion and things get as clear as a sunny day.

Preto Velho

boywonder said...

You can believe in god and still realize that there isn a sting in death. Perhaps it's a weak analogy, but it is like dreading going to the dentist. You know it is good for you, but that doesn't mean you like it.

I'm glad theists are still afraid of death. It means I don't have to worry about all of them blowing themselves up to get there.

Aaron Kinney said...

The ones that blow themselves up are REAL theists.

The ones that run for their lives in the face of an "act of God" are only fairweather theists. Literally.

markm said...

1. Nearly all branches of Christianity agree that suicide is a mortal sin - so you can't just off yourself to get to heaven faster. (Though apparently it will get you to a very warm place with all the fun people.) It's not clear to me whether this doctrine would make inaction leading to an increased risk of your own death a sin, too.

2. Christians shouldn't want sinners to die. They want them to repent, be "saved", and then die and add to the population of heaven. (Except for Jehovah's Witnesses, who believe Heaven has an occupancy limit of 144,000, and presumably would want others to die in a state of sin so as to ensure a slot stays open for themselves.)

euclids child said...

markm,
I have to agree with ak here. According to their own belief, you have to have faith in his will. To stay in the way of a huricane would not be trying suicide, it would be a display of super faith and trust in dog. [sic]
ak,
I concur with your entire post. A question along the same line of thought would be: Why do these people claim a miracle when they avoid death in a disaster. Usually something like "the sky fairy was looking over me when that plane crashed/tsunami/earth quake, I'm only alive through his goodness" and all the rest of the BS they spout in front of the faux news camera. When the true believer should say " I must have f***ed up, god provided me the oportunity to get to heaven and i missed it.

Aaron Kinney said...

markm,

Thanks for the comments.

1. Im well aware that suicide is considered a sin in Christianity. But there is nothing suicidal about Katrina. That is an act of God, not an act of Christians. And a Christian is not increasing their chances to die by remaining in the hurricanes path; they would instead be putting their trust in God and letting his will be done. After all, arent many people "spared"? To attempt to run out of the hurricanes path is an attempt to defy Gods will. If God wants you to die then you will die, but if God wants you to live then you will be spared. Just sit in the path of the hurricane and wait to find out. But any good Christian who is looking forward to heaven should pray to God that the hurricane DOES kill them. I mean, so many Christians ask for Jesus to come back to Earth and take them up in the rapture, why get cold feet when God actually comes knockin?

2. Christians are already saved. You and I both know that Louisiana and Mississippi are much more than the 85% average Christian population of America, so my post is directed at the Christians that ARE saved, not the sinners who arent saved. All the unsaved sinners can evacuate and run for their lives, but the saved and born-again Christians shouldnt do anything of the sort. What are they afraid of? Death? Heaven?

Tanooki Joe said...

Great post.

Shygetz said...

Most Christians believe that they have work to do for God here on Earth. As such, they should try to avoid death so they can continue their work. Also, I would argue that willingly staying in the path of something that is likely to kill you is suicide. I can stand on a set of train tracks and swear that I didn't kill myself, the train killed me; that is a very dishonest argument, and wouldn't cut it with the Christian God. The fact that you committed suicide by your inaction does not necessarily make you less culpable than if you committed suicide by your action. The argument among Christians about witholding medical care for the terminally ill is an example of this; some believe that refusing care is suicide, some do not. Your argument that all theists would gladly stand in the path of the hurricane represents an overly-simplistic view of theism, where the afterlife is the goal; however, many theists believe that there is also a duty in this life, and part of that duty is to act as a steward for the life granted to the theist.

Finally, you will find that most Christians express remorse for the survivors of the hurricane who have to deal with the aftermath, for the very reason that they believe in the "will of God" or whatever.

Normally, I would say that your entire argument is fallaciously ad hominem, but since your only thesis was that theists are hypocrites (not that theism is incorrect), then I guess you are immune to that argument.

Aaron Kinney said...

Shygetz said:

Most Christians believe that they have work to do for God here on Earth. As such, they should try to avoid death so they can continue their work.

Even if God sends the hurricane their way? Shouldnt you just put your trust in God? Wouldnt the hurricane also be part of his plan for you?

Also, I would argue that willingly staying in the path of something that is likely to kill you is suicide. I can stand on a set of train tracks and swear that I didn't kill myself, the train killed me; that is a very dishonest argument, and wouldn't cut it with the Christian God.

The train-hurricane analogy isnt a very good one. For one, you dont live, work,and live your life on a train track; you do it in a city. And the huuricane got in the path of the humans, but on a train track, the human gets in the path of the train. So I think you got it backwards. Suicide is knowingly taking action to put yourself in deadly danger. But living in New Orleans and having a hurricane come to you is not the same thing. A REAL Christian would have faith that if God wants him to live, then the hurricane will spare him. He should stay in his city to do Gods work.

The fact that you committed suicide by your inaction does not necessarily make you less culpable than if you committed suicide by your action.

Being in the path of Katrina is not suicide; its following Gods plan. Look at it like this. God chose you to live there (a la Gods will), and then God chose the hurricane to come to you. Why defy these obvious signs? Stay there, and if God wants you to live and help others, then you will be spared. If he wants you to die, then you will die.

And if God wants you to go to heaven early, wouldnt you want to let him take you? Whats wrong with eternal bliss?

The argument among Christians about witholding medical care for the terminally ill is an example of this; some believe that refusing care is suicide, some do not. Your argument that all theists would gladly stand in the path of the hurricane represents an overly-simplistic view of theism, where the afterlife is the goal; however, many theists believe that there is also a duty in this life, and part of that duty is to act as a steward for the life granted to the theist.

I will concede that some of this is an oversimplification. But an oversimplification doesnt make it a necessarily wrong conclusion. And through it all, its about faith. If you have FAITH in Gods plan then you will stay put and let the chips fall where they may. After all, Gods putting the chips down. If God wants you to die, you will do so regardless of whether you escape the hurricane or not.

The MORE faithful will not try to defy the hurricane and defy Gods will. They will FAITHFULLY ride it out and let God determine their life or death.

Finally, you will find that most Christians express remorse for the survivors of the hurricane who have to deal with the aftermath, for the very reason that they believe in the "will of God" or whatever.

Who do they feel MORE remorse for? Those who survived, or those who died? I am betting that they feel more remorse for those who died.

Normally, I would say that your entire argument is fallaciously ad hominem, but since your only thesis was that theists are hypocrites (not that theism is incorrect), then I guess you are immune to that argument.

Oh, I make the "theism is incorrect" argument in lots of other posts. And yes, this argument is a bit ad hominem in that it accuses Christians of hypocrisy, or of abandoning their faith when in a proverbial fox hole. But isnt every argument like that an ad hominem then? Isnt the Christians' claim that there are "no atheists in fox holes" also just as fallacious? That was the whole theme of this post, so the fallacious ad hominem in that regard is an entirely appropriate response to the charges that Christians have been making against atheists for years. So while I for the most part concede your fallacy claim, I only concede it to the degree that the traditional, opposite claim of "no atheists in fox holes" is equally ad hominem.

Sr.Jesus said...

Should Christians use their right to self defense? Should they cross streets without checking each side? I am confused.

Sr.Jesus said...

I mean...whatever comes my way is God's will and I should accept and enjoy because I am destined to Heaven anyway?
Didn't Jesus commit suicide? He could flee and save his life, but he did't.

Aaron Kinney said...

samonedo, if you believe in god and in his plan for you, then you wont ever have to watch your back. God will protect you, and when its your time to go, you will go...no matter how careful you are.

If someone strikes you on a cheek, offer them the other right? Thats what Jesus said. So apply that teaching to your everyday life: from crossing the street to dealing with natural disasters.

You will only die if God wants you to die. And to defend yourself is against the teachings of Jesus.

:) Glory glory hallelujah!

Sr.Jesus said...

"You will only die if God wants you to die"

Sure. But a believer could say God acts upon our acts. If he wants you alive he'll help you during the escape. So the level of success of the escape will tell God's will.

But what if he doesn't want you to die, is preparing to help you escape, and contrary to his expectations (LOL) you decide to stand in the way of the hurricane and believe his providence?

Those are wild cogitations but I think the bottle line is: For Christians death is a bad and good thing at the same time(!!) and they have been showing their schizophrenia for years as if it all made good sense! There is no sense in fleeing a good thing and if God wants you alive to "do something for him" in this earth will live, even if shoot your head off. Funny, isnt it?

Now see Jesus. He knew he was going to be crucified. Did he flee? No. He stood in the way of his crucifiers and waited for them, like a person on the roof waiting for a hurricane. This Jesus guy was a true christian in this sense.

Sr.Jesus said...

They could also say they are escaping suffering caused by death. But then again, what's a little moment of suffering compared to eternal bliss? It certainly pays off, or doesn't it?

Aaron Kinney said...

Samonedo said:

Sure. But a believer could say God acts upon our acts. If he wants you alive he'll help you during the escape. So the level of success of the escape will tell God's will. But what if he doesn't want you to die, is preparing to help you escape, and contrary to his expectations (LOL) you decide to stand in the way of the hurricane and believe his providence?

Exactly. you can manipulate the meaning of any old event to make it seem that God endorses whatever action you take. Whether its a witch hunt, a stoning, the supression of science, the murder of one's own child, polygamy, or flying an airplane into a skyscraper, religion can easily be used as a non-testable and non-falisifiable wet blanket over critical thought to justify any action.

Those are wild cogitations but I think the bottle line is: For Christians death is a bad and good thing at the same time(!!) and they have been showing their schizophrenia for years as if it all made good sense! There is no sense in fleeing a good thing and if God wants you alive to "do something for him" in this earth will live, even if shoot your head off. Funny, isnt it?

Yea but I think youre a Christian in real life... are you?

Now see Jesus. He knew he was going to be crucified. Did he flee? No. He stood in the way of his crucifiers and waited for them, like a person on the roof waiting for a hurricane. This Jesus guy was a true christian in this sense.

Great argument. I think Ill use it as justification to my claim that there are no theists in foxholes. A true Christian would have asked himself "WWJD?" and then do exactly as Jesus did and as I charge: stand on one's roof and proclaim "beam me up!"

They could also say they are escaping suffering caused by death. But then again, what's a little moment of suffering compared to eternal bliss? It certainly pays off, or doesn't it?

Eternal anything always gets priority over anything temporal. What I mean is that the eternal option always tips the scales. Example: if the eternal choice is eternal bliss, then no matter what the termporal choice holds, the eternal choice is the superior choice. But if the eternal choice is eternal torture, then the termporal choice should be taken regardless of what it contains.

DUB said...

Very intriguing concept, one which I myself have pondered and argued.

As we know, xian belief varies GREATLY (a book so loaded with contradictions lends very well to such). Shygetz statement about works is a great example. One of the greatest schisms in xianity is works vs faith. Fundy religious right nuts believe in faith over works, and it is that segment of the faith that gets the most publicity in the U.S., and also, I believe, the branch that we atheists deal with most in our discussions. More on the faith side of the equation shortly.

The actual view of an afterlife is a very telling one. Early Judaism (which is what the Old Testament is built on) didn't even really deal with it. An afterlife (especially heaven vs hell) came along with Jesus (and even more so, like the Trinitarian concept, in the next few centuries. That being said, it was still presented as something that would come eventually - not RIGHT after death. We all "sleep" until the second coming when the righteous (144,000 Jewish, male virgins BTW) go to Heaven, and the rest awaken and live eternally on a sin and evil-free Earth. The deathbed-to-Heaven religious myth is a perfect example of those that are so widespread and rampant because theists don't do their homework nearly as much as they should.

All agreed that the Judeo/Christian faith looks down on suicide. It is said you cannot sneak into Heaven. It is also said (in the Talmud?) that inactivity in context of witnessing a murder is tantamount to suicide. The reasoning here is that God's ultimate gift to man is life itself, and allowing someone to take that gift without fighting for it is as bad as taking it yourself. This line of thinking might further be deduced to find the possible reason why murder itself was frowned upon. I am far from knowledgeable of these works, so there may be direct rules of inaction as it applies to harm to self.

Once again, we have to take the Judaic stance on an afterlife into consideration when drawing from its texts, but xianity IS a derivative. While most xians are completely ignorant of Hebrew texts outside of the Torah (Tanakh) ie Talmud, Mishnah, Shulkhan Arukh, and other works of Halakha and Aggadah, "heretical" early church writings (ie Apocryphal and Gnostic), and even more notably the works of early xian apologetics, the concepts put forth in such do indeed trickle down into schools of popular thought. What I'm saying here is that even if inaction isn't addressed directly in the canon utilized by modern fundy Protestants, it may very well be part of their belief system.

This being said, I believe that most xians will say that although death (as a means to an end of eternal salvation) is positive, one can't just give themselves to it. And what a convenient argument this would be (aren't most of them so very convenient?). I guess we're supposed to fight for this "gift" of a horrible, sin-ridden life until it can't be avoided, which is (just in time) when God and Jeez-us(!) call us home. This of course leads to the concept of God's will and pre-determinism...

The other great schism in xianity is that of free will or fate. Most xians today manage to somehow mix these two together, and will probably say that when it is God's will, they will die. To us, all this will He, nil He seems rather, well, willy nilly. This of course proves one of AK's points - don't pity or mourn the dead, it was God's will, and they are so much better off!!

A very good play is the Jesus sacrifice. Upon initial observation it does seem to be the ultimate example of personal inactivity in the face of certain death. A few further moments of thought (from the theist perspective) reminds us that this analogy is flawed, in that his purported death had a meaning, a reasoning even, that is much greater than personal salvation. Remember: we sorta have to think on they're terms, as illogical and irrational as they may seem.

Jesus the redeemer gives us atheists the trump card though, and it is faith. Faith is such a pivotal hinge point in the religion that it cannot be ignored. After all, without it, your ticket to Heaven won’t even be accepted. We've all heard that Jesus himself noted that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. Katrina may have moved houses, but mountains? Not quite. So it would be a small show of faith to just believe - know - that God is going to watch over you and all will be fine. With God all things are possible. Just put your faith in Him. In other words, while you may have to fight for this life that has been gifted to you, those whose faith is TRUE will be just fine. What a glorious way to show your faith! Stand in the face of a hurricane, fully knowing that God will protect you! I strongly encourage all overtly religious people to do so, as it will indeed be the proof that will instantly convert all of us atheists. Who can argue with a few thousand unscathed Bible-clutching survivors surrounded by scores of faithless corpses?

This is the same faith that makes us atheists snicker when Pat Robertson, who can perform faith healings through the television opts for surgery (by man) when faced with prostate cancer himself.

AK's main point still stands, and I find it quite intriguing and humorous that xians, who preach doomsday with fervor, who WISH for the rapture, and who let the promise of eternal salvation determine their behaviors, call it a BLESSING when the fruition of their hopes and prayers is delayed.

Aaron Kinney said...

Thanx for the thought provoking post, DUB.

Your comment here really got me thinking:

All agreed that the Judeo/Christian faith looks down on suicide. It is said you cannot sneak into Heaven. It is also said (in the Talmud?) that inactivity in context of witnessing a murder is tantamount to suicide. The reasoning here is that God's ultimate gift to man is life itself, and allowing someone to take that gift without fighting for it is as bad as taking it yourself. This line of thinking might further be deduced to find the possible reason why murder itself was frowned upon. I am far from knowledgeable of these works, so there may be direct rules of inaction as it applies to harm to self.


If what you say is true in the minds of Christians, then how do they claim that Jesus went to heaven? Jesus basically committed "suicide" in the sense you describe. I guess God/Jesus is allowed to break his own rules huh?

Aaron Kinney said...

Thanx for the thought provoking post, DUB.

Your comment here really got me thinking:

All agreed that the Judeo/Christian faith looks down on suicide. It is said you cannot sneak into Heaven. It is also said (in the Talmud?) that inactivity in context of witnessing a murder is tantamount to suicide. The reasoning here is that God's ultimate gift to man is life itself, and allowing someone to take that gift without fighting for it is as bad as taking it yourself. This line of thinking might further be deduced to find the possible reason why murder itself was frowned upon. I am far from knowledgeable of these works, so there may be direct rules of inaction as it applies to harm to self.


If what you say is true in the minds of Christians, then how do they claim that Jesus went to heaven? Jesus basically committed "suicide" in the sense you describe. I guess God/Jesus is allowed to break his own rules huh?

DUB said...

LOL.

Utilizing my superdupernatural paranormal psychic powers, I predict the theists will say:

"God works in mysterious ways."

It's impossibly frustrating to contemplate the mind-numbing lack of logic you have to face when dealing with these people. Amazingly (and seemingly contradictory), as you deal with this complete irrationality, it becomes increasingly simple to accurately predict what their responses will be. So it's sorta sytematically illogical.

But maybe that's because their "arsenal" of thought is so incredibly understocked. Xians have stock answers for everything, and we've all heard them ad nauseum.

Ultimately, we have to remember that in the theist's mind:

1. God can do anything.
2. His actions don't have to make sense.
3. Jesus was God
4. His actions don't have to make sense.

This is compounded by the fact that they think Jesus' "sacrifice" was necessary, selfless, perfect, and pretty much the key to their whole twisted religion.

Aaron Kinney said...

LOL DUB, you said it beautifully.