Thursday, September 20, 2012

Answering a Veiled Pascal's Wager

In my most recent post, I laid out a quick description of why I don't believe in the god of the Bible anymore.  I didn't really go into much depth because I have written so much on the subject in the past on the blog.  A commenter named Anonymous decided to try his hand at convincing me to believe in his/her god by very nicely stating his/her version of Pascal's Wager.  Well...I'm not buying it - and never will.

Here was his/her comment:

[Very interesting post IC. You have not proven that God doesn't exist, you have simply chosen not to believe in Him for various reasons. I don't understand all the stories of the Bible (especially the Old Testement). I wasn't there, and I don't know what it's like to be in God's shoes from the beginning to present. But I have read the Bible (including the New Testement) and I happen to like the God that was presented there. So I've made a choice of my own. I chose to believe that God is real, and that He loves me. I also respect the fact that He chose to give humanity free will and therefore does not control or manipulate us for good or evil. I do appreciate that everyone will be judged according to their behavior at the end of their life, so nobody is going to get away with bad behavior forever.

Whether you and I believe in God or not, will not change reality will it. If you are right, and God doesn't exist, yet I follow Him anyway and in doing so causes me to be a better person, what have I lost? But, if He does exist and everything the Bible says is true? What have you lost?

Food for thought.]

My winding response:

Ah. Pascal's Wager.

That's an easy question. In my opinion, you've wasted much of your energy looking for or at something that is imaginary. One can lead a much more fulfilling life when they see themselves as the be all and end all for how their life carries out. There is nobody to blame for your failures as well as nobody to thank for successes that YOU did alone - save for the rest of humanity that helped you along the way.

As for your statement of belief, you may have read the Bible, but it is obvious you have blatantly disregarded the more uncomfortable attributes of God. You have revealed that you do not believe in the literal and inerrant Bible (which is okay with me...I find Christians like that to be much more enlightened and nice).

Anyway, no water off my back. One day, I hope you drop the whole idea in favor of living for the rest of us without forgetting yourself.

Also, "Food for thought"?

Was that directed at me? Or was that a statement saying you were chewing on my words. I hope it was the latter because I'm pretty tired of arguments and statements like yours. Bible god isn't a nice god and anyone who would call the Bible God "loving" MUST throw away how evil he is. If God is an omniscient being, there is absolutely no way that you have free will. It's a pipe dream. God, with all his love, created hell to throw you in, then lied to you that he doesn't want to throw you in, knowing full well you weren't going to solve his riddle perfectly by the end of your life.  That's the literal Bible narrative.

Or, perhaps you solved his riddle correctly, creating or discovering one of millions of interpretations of orthodoxy and other less orthodox positions that may or may not cancel out the orthodoxy you purport to believe in, causing your faith to be worthless until you stumble on so better truth.

I'd be very afraid, Anonymous, very afraid. Did you get it wrong? Bummer...that God'll kill you - forever! And he'll be very happy to do so. After all, if you had REALLY read the Old Testament, you would know that fact. God enjoys murder. He loves ordering the slaughter of children. He loves it when people kill in his name. He loves the praise he gets when little children are bashed against rocks. He loves to watch as pregnant women have their bellies ripped out with swords. he loves watching captured virgins raped in his people's home.

And just because some people made up the deity of Jesus, we're just supposed to believe that that god, who says he never changes, somehow loves us?

Well...that's what you have to lose. Life with that god. If he exists, well, count me out. As my boy , Bruce Gerencser. says, I'll be far away from that god with a bunch of really good people.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who Am I Now, Really...?

Recently, some of my friends from my past have begun to reconnect with me on social media and elsewhere.  I feel it is necessary to let them know, hard and fast, who I am now.  In February 2011, when I began Incongruous Circumspection, I progressed to where I currently stand in life and ended up confusing people.  They thought I hadn't changed and just thought out loud - deeply.  Well, I have changed.

I no longer believe in the god of the Christian Bible.

I cannot and will not ever go back.  Philosophically, reasonably, and logically, I am firmly convinced that that god is a sham - a figment of ancient people's imaginations, proffered up as an explanation of things they couldn't explain.  I have reams of text on this blog explaining my thoughts, struggles, ideas, hopes, and dreams.  But yes, I am an agnostic in belief, atheist in practice.

Now, what does that mean?  Does that mean I shun my old and new friends that are religious - some of them, including most of my siblings, are deeply religious (or, as the fad goes today, in a serious romantical relationship with an imaginary bearded dude with perfect pearlies)?

Not remotely.  I love people.  And that means all people.  Well...most people.  I don't like ignorance, but I'll hang around ignorant people a whole bunch, just because I love to talk ideas and get hammered by fun-loving (or hateful) bashing.  But, love them or not, I enjoy razzing the hell out of everyone.  I love discussions that are loud and boisterous, to the point, with no beating around the bush, plenty of name calling, and lots of logic and reason.

In the end, my goal is to leave as friends.  I fail miserably at times, but sometimes, that's a good thing.  We weren't good for one another.

You may think that I have spent the last year gathering information and data to come against any witnessing approach to try and get me back in the fold.  That couldn't be farther from the truth for two reasons, neither of which are more important than the other.

First, I just don't care.  I'm not going to waste my life on an imaginary idea that nobody can prove outside of a bad toaster burn on a slice of Wonder Bread.  Many great men (in the realm of religion, men are much more broadly published and cited than women) and some women have attempted to prove their god exists.  Modern "greats" like the author of "The Case for Christ" have valiantly tried to do the deed, failed miserably, and have ended up preaching to their respective choirs.

Second, the god of the Bible simply cannot exist, nor can it be proven from the Bible that he actually does exist. If you believe the Bible is inerrant, then you have to explain idiot text like Jacob making she-goats stare at striped sticks so they would have striped babies, among many other irreconcilable contradictions.  Oh...the original manuscripts were perfect, you say? me them then.  Once you do, prove to me their devine authorship.  The fact is, divinity is no more certain with the Bible than it is with any other religion's holy book.  That's just a fact.  Or, say you don't believe the Bible is inerrant.  Well then, which parts are and aren't.  And if some of it is but some is not, how can we be sure any of it is true?

Which brings me full circle to my first reason.

Finally, a third reason (yep...I cheated) why I don't believe in the god of the Bible is because I find that god to be pretty narcissistic, selfish, murderous, evil, and all around horrible.  There is no way I would ever want to spend eternity with a being that would create hell for people who he knew would go there, due to his omniscience, and then pretend that he gave humanity a choice.  I have written extensively on this subject.  Ole' Abe, for one.  If that god asked me to kill my son for him, I would tell him to, well...go fuck himself.  Excuse the French for my virgin readers.

And that is where I am in my life in the area of religion which, because I have left religion 100% behind, doesn't even begin to describe who I really am.  It's just a very small part of me now.

I hope you keep reading.


I. C.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Family Percentages

Kristine recently had a college assignment to write a paper on five ways percentages are used in her job daily.  Her job, currently, is a mom.  So, she wrote the following paper.

I am not currently working, but am a stay-at-home mom of six children.  For a little background, their ages and genders are 10 (girl), 9 (girl), 7 (boy), 5 (girl), 3 (boy), and 2 (girl).  Those numbers will give you a fair idea of where I am coming from with respect to my daily decisions.  Now, to the percentages.

Many times during the day, when all the children are home, I plan a variety of activities for them.  For example, I ask the children to choose between two movies.  Usually, I get a show of hands for one movie and then go on to the next.  Whichever movie wins the highest percentage of raised hands (67%) is the one I slip into the DVD player.  Sometimes, though, this strict percentage of hands raised doesn’t work.  Then, I go with two other percentages – the amount of clamoring for one movie over another, or the amount of weeping over not wanting to watch the least preferable film.

Oatmeal is one of my kids’ favorite breakfast meals.  As I am dishing the gruel into the six bowls, I give the most to my 10-year-old daughter.  Then, in my head, I reduce her portion by about 10 – 15% and serve that to the 9-year-old.  I keep reducing that portion as I go down the stair-step of ages.  I also compensate for those children that are in a growth spurt.  If so, I don’t reduce the portion size from the older child to the next youngest, rather, I give them 100% of the next oldest child’s portion.  Then, you have to consider the fact that sometimes, boys eat more than girls.  Thus, I may add about 5% to the next youngest boy from the girl just older than him.  How’s that for confusing?!

We have five bathrooms in our house, which means we have five toilets, which means we have five places that one of my children can go to the bathroom and not flush (let’s, for this argument, forget about the times the kids pee in their beds or on the carpet or behind a bookshelf or in the basement or out in the front yard as the traffic whizzes by on the street).  When I walk up the stairs and go into the older girls’ bathroom and discover a floater, I can usually deduce whose it is by figuring out the percentage chance which kid was in this particular bathroom.  Being that the older girls pretty much use it exclusively, I can deduce that it is almost a 100% chance that it was either the 10-year-old or the 9-year-old.  Then, since I am well aware that, during her potty career, the 10-year-old has flushed about 99.5647% of the time and the 9-year-old about 4% of the time, I can deduce with about 99.995% confidence that the 9-year-old is the culprit.

Our grocery budget for a month is about $500.  During the summer, when all the kids were home, it went up to about $800 (not to mention the extra few hundred dollars in liquor costs for coping), which is a 60% increase.  Next summer, if we have adjusted our grocery budget for the school year, all I need to do is then add an additional 60% and can be pretty near what we will be spending.
Finally, in my marriage of 11 years, I have been a very happy woman most of the time.  We had a few miserable months, a slightly miserable year, and some very bad days.  But, all in all, it has been quite good.  Let’s say I estimate that we have experienced about 225 bad days over our 11 years (3916 days, not including leap years or ones we slept through the entire day).  This means that, in my marriage, I have been unhappy 5.75% of the time. 

Yipes!  Now that I put it in that perspective, it could be better.  But, that doesn’t really tell the whole story.  Most of those 225 days (probably 85% of them) were heavily weighted towards the beginning of the marriage.  Since then, we have grown closer and closer and now have many fewer bad days, percentage-wise.  In fact, now we have bad hours or minutes and have to struggle to add them up to increase our number of bad days.  Sooner or later, we will be down to adding seconds, which will be too tedious, stressful, and wearying, potentially contributing to bad minutes, hours, and days, beginning the negative marriage cycle all over again, in reverse.

Guess I’ll just roll with it.