The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
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27-11-2013, 07:36 AM
The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
Imagine I start a country and have the ability enforce my will. In my country, I create various laws. I say it is illegal to do certain things like murder, steal, rape, and lie. I also say that you have to swear allegiance to me. Now, if you swear allegiance, you get all the benefits of a citizen of my country (and we'll assume my country is pretty rad), but if you don't, I lock you in a dungeon for the rest of your days and have you tortured. No takesies backsies, either. You stay in there until you die. As for the punishments for the other crimes (murder, theft, etc)... there are none. If I walk down the street and see you killing a guy, I'd say "Hey, that's illegal!", and when you ask me what I'm going to do about it, I'd say "Nothing!", and presumably make sure you swore allegiance to me.

And that's the punishment and reward system that Christianity gives us (well, except the rape part. They don't explicitly forbid that).

How many orphanages do you have to build or lives do you have to save to get into heaven? How many to stay out of hell? There is no answer, because that's not part of the criteria. How many living babies do you have to eat before you won't get let into heaven? Again, there is no answer. Baby-eaters that swear the proper oath of fealty before they die get eternal reward, and orphanage builders who didn't swear the oath because it didn't make sense (or, even worse, they were raised in the wrong religion!) get tortured for eternity. There's no accountability, other than that you'd better swear your oath before you unexpectedly get hit by a truck, or something. Even then, you can can swear the oath, sin, repent, sin, repent, ad infinitum.

The best counter I've seen to this is the No True Scotsman of "Well, a true Christian wouldn't be bad like that", but that's just a nebulous claim to try to remove the obvious abuses. There's no basis for it other than that it makes people uncomfortable to think about, so they assume there must be something God does to try to sync his punishment/reward system with something more sane that we might actually expect.
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27-11-2013, 08:28 AM
RE: The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
Sin got too confusing,that's why Jesus was invented, someone to hand out the cards.
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27-11-2013, 08:39 AM
RE: The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
This is nothing new as an analogy. Hitchens had it right in calling the God character the dictator of a "celestial North Korea". Kim Jong Un I am sure is fine with party loyalists but make one peep.

My theist friends think I am cruel like Hitchens for making that analogy, but it is totally unavoidable.

The god character can only be defined as a dictator. You cannot remove him from his post. You cannot vote him out of his post. He does not have to change any laws upon your questioning or review. He can do with you what he wants without your consent.


Now, the argument I get is that if we atheists don't think god exists then we think humans are gods? No. The never consider the third option. If gods don't exist then humans cant be gods either. Neither the state or a religion should be put on a pedestal.

However, just like a book review, or movie review, when one is honest, there is only one label for the god of Abraham, and it isn't Prime Minister or President of a democratic state.

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27-11-2013, 09:13 AM
RE: The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
(27-11-2013 08:39 AM)Brian37 Wrote:  This is nothing new as an analogy. Hitchens had it right in calling the God character the dictator of a "celestial North Korea". Kim Jong Un I am sure is fine with party loyalists but make one peep.

My theist friends think I am cruel like Hitchens for making that analogy, but it is totally unavoidable.

That makes sense. While I know of Hitchens, I haven't read/watched anything by him. What gets me is the level of mental gymnastics people will play to get this to make sense. I remember having these same thoughts as a teenager when I was in confirmation. The difference was, at the time, I wanted it to make sense and I was fine taking the word of an authority figure on it.
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27-11-2013, 09:24 AM
RE: The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
(27-11-2013 07:36 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Imagine I start a country and have the ability enforce my will. In my country, I create various laws. I say it is illegal to do certain things like murder, steal, rape, and lie....

Actually, "God" left rape of that list of things not to do. In fact, based on his book, "he" seems perfectly fine with it as part of how society works. Or, if you really want to marry that prepubescent 12 year old, but don't feel like taking the time to court her, get her permission, or wait for her to grow up into an adult, the bible says it's perfectly fine to rape her, then just pay her father $50 for raping her, and she becomes your property for the rest of your life to do with as you wish, because now she must be subordinate to you, her rapist.

I'm not saying you should include that in your hypothetical society, just pointing out what "God" thinks of as one example of a "traditional marriage", which begins with the rape of a little girl. Funny though, I never see Christian activist, while fighting against same sex marriage, also fighting for the right to rape little girls in order to pay off their fathers for the right to marry their rape victims. I mean, if you really care about "traditional biblical marriages" where are those signs in protest lines.

But I digress...

...
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27-11-2013, 09:27 AM
RE: The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
(27-11-2013 09:24 AM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  
(27-11-2013 07:36 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Imagine I start a country and have the ability enforce my will. In my country, I create various laws. I say it is illegal to do certain things like murder, steal, rape, and lie....

Actually, "God" left rape of that list of things not to do.

Oh, I know. I addressed that in my OP:
(27-11-2013 07:36 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  And that's the punishment and reward system that Christianity gives us (well, except the rape part. They don't explicitly forbid that).

But yeah, the Bible's take on rape is exceptionally creepy. Almost as creepy as apologists saying it's not creepy. Deuteronomy 22 gives us a pretty good window into that creepiness.
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27-11-2013, 09:31 AM
RE: The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
(27-11-2013 09:27 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(27-11-2013 09:24 AM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  Actually, "God" left rape of that list of things not to do.

Oh, I know. I addressed that in my OP:

Awe son of a bitch...sorry...

Got a little too excited about responding and jumped the gun a little...

I read the first paragraph and got all exited!

...
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27-11-2013, 09:39 AM
RE: The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
(27-11-2013 09:31 AM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  Awe son of a bitch...sorry...

Got a little too excited about responding and jumped the gun a little...

I read the first paragraph and got all exited!

That's cool. I'd be lying if I said I'd never done the same.
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27-11-2013, 10:03 AM
RE: The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
You're right that it's messed up that the only "sin" that can keep you out of heaven is disbelief.

However, they also have a dysfunctional gauge of morality here on earth. I think it was either Harris or Dawkins that made the comparison between a scientist who dedicates his life to finding a cure for cancer (or something like that) but has sex with women to whom he is not married and a guy who makes no contribution to society but is faithfully to his wife. Christians would consider the second guy to be a better person than the first.

It's also interesting that they'd even care about what people do as long as they believe. I think the problem is partially related to the No True Scotsman fallacy you mentioned, but also that the Bible really isn't that clear about salvation in the first place. Some verses say "faith," some say "works," others say "faith + works," and Jesus even told a man that keeping the commandments and selling everything he owned would get him into heaven. Weather he was being literal or just making a point is irrelevant because it's confusing, and an issue as important as eternal salvation should be clearly laid out. Some Christians will say that if you are a practicing homosexual then you can't get into heaven, or if your living in adultery, or have unconfessed sins, others say grace, while Calvinists say it was all decided in advance, so there really isn't a consensus. Undecided

(27-11-2013 08:39 AM)Brian37 Wrote:  Now, the argument I get is that if we atheists don't think god exists then we think humans are gods? No. The never consider the third option. If gods don't exist then humans cant be gods either. Neither the state or a religion should be put on a pedestal.

The flaw with the argument is that they set up a false dilemma: either God is god, or we are god. This is a common mistake they make. Some other examples are "either God created the universe or the universe created itself" and "everything was designed or life happened by random chance." I think the right way to state the problems are "is there a god, or is there not a god," "was the universe created by a god or was it not created by a god," and "is nature designed or is it not designed."

It's probably a combination of sloppy logic due to religion discouraging critical thought combined with the uncomfortableness of not knowing. If you come to the conclusion that there is not a god, then you have a lot of unanswered questions.

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27-11-2013, 10:12 AM
RE: The Christian God incentivizes the wrong things
(27-11-2013 09:27 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  But yeah, the Bible's take on rape is exceptionally creepy. Almost as creepy as apologists saying it's not creepy. Deuteronomy 22 gives us a pretty good window into that creepiness.

I brought that up to a woman who explained it all away by saying "those were different times, and we're under the New Testament now..."

I'm familiar with the problems with that argument and why the OT wasn't abrogated by the NT, but it's amazing how people can claim the Bible is the inspired Word of God in one breath and then simply dismiss over half the book in the next. Huh

"I feel as though the camera is almost a kind of voyeur in Mr. Beans life, and you just watch this bizarre man going about his life in the way that he wants to."

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