• PSALM 14:1 - "The fool says in his heart there is no God."

    Non-believers hear this charge frequently from Christians, and it carries about as much credibility as "I know you are...but what am I?"
    I can understand why this is such an attractive retort from the faithful to the atheist. 
    *  It uses its own book to validate itself, making broad claims about salvation and judgment (which is much like quoting from Harry Potter books to warn humankind against the sinister snares of Voldemort).
    *  It uses provocative language ("fool").
    *  It allows the user to assume a position of moral superiority. 
    *  And it allows the messenger to feel powerful as he wields a not-so-veiled threat of punishment for non-compliance.

    To Christians standing on the words of Psalm 14, I must remind you that Islam is just as vehement in its assertion that all who reject Allah are fools and destined for destruction ("And whoever desires other than Islam as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers." - Qur'an 3:85).
     
    Now...If an Islamist accosted you with the charge that you were a fool for not believing in Allah, how much gravity would you give the argument?  I suspect you'd care very little, as you are already an atheist in regards to Allah.  In fact, you're an atheist in regards to all of the thousands upon thousands of deities that humankind has worshiped throughout history, the only exception being the Christian god that almost undoubtedly was taught to you as fact by your family and culture.
    What's truly foolish?  To build one's position on an ancient document penned by anonymous authors in a deeply illiterate part of the Middle East?  Or to accept that the information in that document lacks the historical, scientific and moral authority to declare that anyone is a fool?  Isn't Psalm 14:1 the equivalent of having the National Academy of Sciences publicly called foolish by the producers of "Battlefield Earth?"

    For my part, I think these particular protests are so vehement because believers are secretly panicked over the weakness of their own position. They seek confirmation.  Agreement.  Validation.  Their protests aren't about God.  Their protests are about them.

    After all, an omnipotent God would be unfazed by the criticisms of mere human skeptics.  And God certainly wouldn't require backup by social media cowboys in love with the CAPS button.  In fact, a truly all-powerful, just and benevolent deity could either dispatch all dissenters with a whisper or provide immediate and undeniable proof that all biblical claims are true.  After all...he's God.
    Alas, we're instead given silence from the shepherd and left with only the ringing condemnations from the flock.  And as they attempt to frighten and shame us with the scriptural label of "fool," we reject the Book of Psalms as a credible platform for judgment, and we lament the legitimate foolishness that attempts to build a claim so tall upon a foundation so weak.

    "Tell me there is a God in the serene heavens that will damn his children for the expression of an honest belief! More men have died in their sins, judged by your orthodox creeds, than there are leaves in all the forests in the wide world ten thousand times over. Tell me these men are in Hell; that these men are in torment; that these children are in eternal pain, and that they are to be punished forever and forever! I denounce this doctrine as the most infamous of lies." - Robert G. Ingersoll
    -Seth
    This is from The Thinking Atheist site, one that I wanted to share with you all. Very good reply to Psalm 14:1.  Mr. Seth Andrews is the Thinking Atheist.

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Replies to This Discussion

Brandi, you are being too kind! I wish they would wake up dead and find that it is all a lie. No heaven, no hell, no anything. Just flesh rotted to soil, bones gnawed by vultures, and no soul to enjoy the fruits of their fantasies. 

A lot of people still regard quotes as sufficient; the Enlightenment attempt to end "arguement from authority" still hasn't broken through. I used to belong to the same Trotskyist group as Hitchens and among us quotes from Marx/Lenin et al were considered decisive "proof". Atheists are not immune. Here I'm thinking of that famous quote about "to get good people to do bad things you need religion". Atheists like it but there's no proof of that claim, only anecdotal evidence. It's the same thing as when believers say "Stalin was an atheist therefore atheists are evil".

Put briefly, quoting replaces thinking a lot of the time and slogans (which is what they are) are effective in recruiting customers.

What about the exploitation of Blacks from Africa, stollen from their families and homes to be slaves for cotton and sugar farmers in the Americas? What about the degradation of women throughout the centuries and justifying it with religious mumbo-jumbo? What about the resistance of the south even after the Civil War to maintain unequal education for black and white children, using Biblical references to justify their brutality. What about the colonialists who enslaved peoples of Africa, forced them to work as slaves and used the bible and missionaries to quiet the native populations? What about good old King Leopold II of Belgium, cutting off the hands of children and wives of men who would not obey and he trumpeted his religious vitriol in the process? 

Yes, sometimes a manipulative person uses religion to dominate the weak, poor, uneducated, and without regard for the cost to those enslaved?

The tyranny of teaching obedience as a high value, using their "god given rights to hold people down.  

Well, Ian, let us think about this. "to get good people to do bad things you need religion". Atheists like it but there's no proof of that claim,"

What about the Crusaders who left their farms, families and businesses to chase out the Infidels and in the process brought back great treasure? How about the Spanish Inquisition intended to replace the Roman pope with a Spanish one and gain access to the wealth of the church? Attached to it were great slaughters and destructions. How about the Roman Inquisition and the Portugese one ... all intended to replace one religious dogma with another one? Never mind that they were all Christians. What about the Spanish and their theft of gold from the Americas, led and supported by the church in order to gain control of more wealth? OK, we can move on to the invasion of North American continent with Puritans and Pilgrims cutting off noses of non-believers and different-believers, such as Quakers? 

Oh! yes these are only anecdotal events and not adequate to reveal that "to get good people to do bad things you need religion". And greed. 

Well put Ian. Thanks.

Seth Andrews and the great philosopher Pat Candell tell it like it is. Silly insanity based on delusions and lies. 

Very good, thanks for posting this.  I would probably just tell them that it's the fool who quotes from an ancient book, written by ancient goat herders who thought the earth was flat, as if it really carries real validity.

As far as I'm concerned, the fools are those who are credulous, who swallow the stories of the bible without any kind of examination or recognition of their veracity (what little there is).  Most of these people get the bible read to them rather than have them read it themselves, the better to control WHICH PARTS they read.  These same people think that unsubstantiated belief is better than tested and proven knowledge, and only because the bible says so, yet they use their cars and televisions and benefit from science in more ways than they could hope to count, and they do so remarkably unaware.

These people haven't looked hard in a mirror lately.  The opposite of skeptical is gullible.

If we used the Bible to solve interpersonal problems and we expect different outcomes to result, we are either stupid, sick, uneducated, or sheep going to the slaughter. 

Well ... WE don't use the bible ... except to point out to the bible-thumpers how foolish they look when THEY use the bible.  As for "stupid, sick, uneducated or sheep going to the slaughter," I'd look at those choices and say, as regards the believers, "how about 'all of the above?!?'"

Some may want to be kind, tolerant, or reasonable with people who believe god exists and answers prayers.

"Delusional disorder, previously called paranoid disorder, is a type of serious mental illness called a "psychosis" in which a person cannot tell what is real from what is imagined. The main feature of this disorder is the presence of delusions, which are unshakable beliefs in something untrue. People with delusional disorder experience non-bizarre delusions, which involve situations that could occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, deceived, conspired against, or loved from a distance. These delusions usually involve the misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences. In reality, however, the situations are either not true at all or highly exaggerated.

"People with delusional disorder often can continue to socialize and function normally, apart from the subject of their delusion, and generally do not behave in an obviously odd or bizarre manner. This is unlike people with other psychotic disorders, who also might have delusions as a symptom of their disorder. In some cases, however, people with delusional disorder might become so preoccupied with their delusions that their lives are disrupted."
~ Mental Health and Delusional Disorder
http://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/delusional-disorder

Loren, again, may I repost your statement, "As far as I'm concerned, the fools are those who are credulous, ... etc." on my Facebook account with attribution to you?
Perfectly stated!

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