I have already posted this blog on a separate site, but I think the points and arguments should be shared.
This goes back to May 2012 when I went to City Hall with a friend. There we met a jesus-freak, and it completely changed how I approach theists.
The following are two thoughts I once had after debating an elderly woman last week when she approached my friend and I at City Hall, and after upon learning we were atheists she went on a religious rant. She swore that she had 12 demons exorcised out of her through prayer in jesus. Based on that, she was convinced that god was real.
After letting her speak uninterrupted for nearly 5 minutes, when she said she knew Jesus personally, I just had to step in. She claimed to know jesus personally, and that is quite a bold statement, so I wanted to see how much she knew him. I asked her a simple question: “does jesus have blue eyes?”
The look on her face..... priceless!!!!
Her face was blank for nearly a whole 5 seconds, her brain took a five second break to comprehend her beliefs. She finally responded that she only knew of jesus on whatever he said to her in her mind. I reminded her she claimed to know him personally, and knowing something as simple as eye color seems incredibly simple. I know members of my family personally, and I can tell you their eye colors. I think we all can agree if you claim to know someone, you know by heart a couple of details like eye or hair color. Apparently, this woman did not have a single clue about jesus.
She admitted to us twice that all she knew of jesus was hearing his voice in her mind. Oh boy, hearing voices, how original. My friend later on said I should have asked her a better question, “how big is jesus' junk?” I swear, the next religious person who informs me they know jesus personally is going to be asked that question.
But anyway, all we know about this jesus is a voice in a woman's head. So I wanted to examine this skeptically. For the sake of argument, I granted there may be some supreme being who created everything. I asked the lady, how does she know that this supreme being is the Christian god and not a trickster? The voice in her head, how does she objectively know that this voice is coming from jesus or some trickster telling her that he is jesus? For all she knew, she was being fooled by a trickster. She had no counter-argument and nothing to back up her conviction except complete denial of the possibility of a trickster.
With nothing to bring to the table, I would have hoped she would at least declare that I may have a point, but instead she began speaking in tongues and going on some ramble about how jesus could take the form of a lightning bolt and how jesus inspired her to write a religious pamphlet (which she shoved into my breast pocket. That crossed the line. She might as well shoved it into my throat. I volunteeringly took a first pamphlet from her earlier that day, so there was absolutely no reason to force this new one on me. So I tossed the pamphlet into the trash, she was not happy – I didn't care, still don't.)
But this whole trickster thing got me thinking about two things: A) god supposedly being eternal, all-knowing, and uncreated – but how can we know that? Could god have been created? Who told us he was uncreated? Who came up with that? B) The god of Abraham says all these great things about himself, but how can we know that he is not an imposter and a trickster just making all this stuff up?
Therefore, I am going to begin writing my thoughts on these two subjects: was god created and how do we know god is who he claims to be?
Tron: Who created God?
I'm sure almost everybody has seen the latest movie hit Tron: Legacy. I started to imagine a scenario that I could compare to god. I did not share this with the glossolalia jesus-freak woman at City Hall, it began to form in my head shortly after after the talk. I finally had all the details done about two days later.
First, lets get a clear picture of the popular god commonly held by Christians.
- He is uncreated
- Knows everything
- Is morally perfect
- Can be communicated to through prayer
- Is never seen (with the few exceptions of prophets and revelation)
- He can create living conscious self-aware beings
Okay, here is my Tron Legacy scenario. Let me first get this out: I know perfectly well I am going to be twisting a lot of things that was not originally intended by the movie, so please drop everything you know about the characters and original plot and try to follow along. Thanks.
Okay, Kevin Flynn is the man who creates the Grid and its entire universe. His goal, create the perfect system. Seeing that he is the first and only person to create the Grid, he thinks he is a badass and a world-class genius and Hawking is his bitch. He unlocked all the secrets of the digital world and created all the secrets of the Grid. This is his universe, and while in this universe he knows everything.
Flynn has a vision, to create the perfect world. Now, since he cannot be in the Grid all the time, therefore he creates C.L.U. – am exact perfect mirror image of himself. Upon making CLU, he concludes his creation was good. Flynn instructs CLU to make the perfect system.
So Flynn leaves the Grid and has CLU do all the work and starts making the city. In this case, CLU can create programs whenever he wishes (the self-aware conscious beings who inhabit the Grid). CLU constructs the perfect system, and since he is a mirror image of Flynn, he concludes that the creation was good.
However, lets say in the process of completing the city, CLU hits his head or some other incident you can think of, but ultimately the outcome is memory loss plus CLU's perception of himself becomes highly altered. CLU is now 100% convinced that he is uncreated, he is the alpha and the omega. Being Flynn's exact image, CLU knows all the secrets and mysteries of the Grid, therefore he knows everything. Since he is connected to the Grid and knows all its secrets, he thinks he is omnipresent. Eventually, CLU becomes so full of himself, he won't let anybody see him except for just a couple of devoted programs (and even they do not know CLU's real face, he keeps it hidden under his dark-tinned helmet).
CLU creates thousands of programs. All these programs are self-aware conscious beings. They have their own thoughts, desires, dreams, etc. etc. etc. They are all told to worship CLU as their one and only supreme leader. Even though they have never seen him, they can pray to him because it is said he answers all prayers (either Yes, No, or Not Now). Some of them may ask where is CLU, to which some of CLU's prophets could respond CLU can transcend into and out of the Grid.
This is completely optional scenario: Some of the programs claim they are specially created by CLU, others think they are Isomorphic algorithims (that is, they are uncreated that naturally manifested in the Grid).
Now, lets say that Kevin Flynn comes back to the Grid. This does not have to be the case, I leave it up to you, but this is the story. Flynn walks into the street, nobody recognizes him. Flynn does not hide his face, but no one recognizes his face. When Flynn informs everyone that he is the creator the Grid, and tries to prove it be tweaking with the system and manipulating the programs. This instantly causes some stir with the locals. CLU finds out, thinks this imposter is twisting with his prefect creation and is committing blasphemy by A) claiming to be an equal to him and B) by taking credit for being the actual creator. How dare Flynn. So CLU banishes Flynn off the Grid to the deserted outer lands. The deserted outer lands are said to be the most miserable place in existence (comparable to the Hell in Christianity). All programs who believed Flynn as the creator are branded as evil and demonic, they are either killed or they flee with Flynn. Flynn cannot leave the Grid, rather he is stuck in the outer lands with his small band of followers.
During CLU's reign, he hides in his tower and never lets anyone see him. He thinks he is perfect because he created the perfect system. Thinking he is perfect, he thinks all his laws and ethics are perfect too. CLU eventually constructs a list of laws for his programs to follow – but he is not subjected to those laws. His laws are set in place all across the Grid so everyone can read them. It is even said that his laws are written within every program, so they all know how to behave and are without excuse. CLU says he is all-knowing and cannot lie, however since he is the lawmaker he can do whatever the hell he wants because he is not subjected to follow his own rules.
Some programs claim to be prophets of CLU – that is they have been in his presence, but they are not worthy enough to see his face for reasons unknown. They carry out his personal messages to the people.
One program claims to be the personal son of CLU, calls himself Rinzler. He is the by far the best program with amazing abilities. He has a lot of followers because he is bigger than any superstar. No one has seen Rinzler's real face either, he keeps his helmet on.
Anyway, here is the moral of the story: CLU is not the creator. He convinces himself he is, and makes everyone else believe he is the one. But no one knows what CLU looks like. He is constantly wearing a mask and never lets anyone see him. Flynn comes along, proclaims to be the creator, but followers of CLU reject him. The only ones who believe Flynn is the one are demonized, killed, or banished.
I ask, how is this different from Christianity???
Claims he is uncreated (alpha and omega).....Christian god AND CLU
Claims to know everything......Christian god AND CLU
Claims to be morally perfect.....Christian god AND CLU
Can be communicated to through prayer.....Christian god AND CLU
Is never seen (with the few exceptions of prophets and revelation).....Christian god AND CLU
Can create living conscious self-aware beings.....Christian god AND CLU
God supposedly tells his followers he is the one and only creator. His followers have no way to objectively prove this statement. How can they know he is the creator? They can't. They cannot step outside the universe with lab equipment or anything.
First of all, “truth” is more than just facts. It implies something that is completely true, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So every word of it better be accurate, or it isn’t truth at all; and depending on the topic, such a concept is likely beyond human comprehension anyway. Truth may be pursued but never possessed. That’s why we should trust those who seek the truth and doubt those who claim to have it! A fact is a unit of information that is verifiably true beyond dispute, and obviously beliefs based on the conflicting faiths of different religions cannot qualify as that. Belief may be either rational, or assumed on faith. But in either case, it doesn’t matter how convinced you are; belief does not equal knowledge. The difference is that knowledge can always be tested for accuracy where mere beliefs often can not be. No matter how positively you think you know it, if you can’t show it, then you don’t know it, and you shouldn’t say that you do. Nor would you if you really cared about the truth. Knowledge is demonstrable, measurable. But faith is often a matter of pretending to know what you know you really don't know, and that no one even can know, and which you merely believe -often for no good reason at all.
So there we have it, Christians cannot know that god is uncreated. Besides who the heck told them god was not created and is the only creator of the universe? There seems to be only 2 options;
A) God? Well if that is the case, the theist does not have a clue if God is mistaken or even if the thing the theist got that answer from was actually from their god and not some other trickster deity pretending to be god. And how the heck did this supposed god tell them?
A1) Some revelation perhaps? Who sends the revelation? God? Again, how do you know that it was him and not someone or something else? Did the revelation come is a vision or dream of some kind? Can a vision be misread or misrepresented? Surely a theist can admit this possibility. A theist should also admit that it is possible a dream or vision can come from a trickster claiming to be god.
A2) Scripture? No one can deny that the Bile was written by men. It did not magically fall from the sky. Rather, it was written by superstitious Bronze-Age men who though the Earth started off as water and the Earth was actually older than the sun and stars. Many Christians, usually at this point, say that “oh wait, yes the Bible was written by man, but god through the Holy Spirit guided their work. Therefore, the Bible is god's word.” Give me a break. Again, there is no way Christians can verify or prove that whatever these men felt or experienced was coming from the same god, if it was god at all. For all Christians know, the actual creator who guided the gospel authors was pretending to be god, and when the Christians die and learn this truth, the creator will basically reply with “April Fools, there is no Heaven or Hell.”
B) Some other Christian? Perhaps a pastor or theologian? Well, where did he/she get their source? If it is the same as option A, then it the same problems apply. They could have been easily fooled, and now whoever they preach to, they are spreading the tricksters work. Did these pastors/theologians/apologists do some logical gymnastics to prove this universe must have a creator? Please, anyone can make the most logical argument and still not be true at all. Ex. All elephants are pink. Nelly is an elephant. Therefore, Nelly is pink. That makes perfect logical sense and it is an air-tight argument, but we all know elephants are not pink. Does not matter if they are or not, the argument is logically solid. The problem is that the pink elephant argument has flawed premises, and just like theistic apologists have always have flawed premises that assume god exists in order to make the argument. Bottom line, logical arguments without actual proof to present is meaningless. Even if you could make an argument which shows the universe must have been created (which I doubt), nobody can logically prove the creator is god any more than Allah, Krishna, or universal timeless sky pixies. ALL theists have to “prove” their deity is the real creator all boils down to nothing but blind faith. That's the center piece. Faith is not supported by evidence, it is merely a asserted conviction based on wishful thinking. Faith is not knowledge, it is not truth. It is make-believe. As described earlier, no matter how positively you think you know it, if you can’t show it, then you don’t know it, and you shouldn’t say that you do. Nor would you if you really cared about the truth. Knowledge is demonstrable, measurable. But faith is often a matter of pretending to know what you know you really don't know, and that no one even can know, and which you merely believe -often for no good reason at all.
How can Christians even know that God is actually the creator of the universe and not the supposed Devil? Just like how CLU banished Flynn, we all know Flynn was the original creator. They can't. All they have is a book claiming to be authored by god, and that book says all these negative things about the Devil. As far as I know, Christians do not have the Devil's side of the story. It is like the programs fully believing CLU's side of the story without hearing a word from Kevin Flynn (for the simple reason he was banished and never got the chance to publish any work to show his validity as sole creator, nor can he communicate with any programs because he is way off into the barren lands).
The Wizard of Oz: Who is the Creator?
Unlike the Tron scenario I just gave, this part I actually did share with the glossolalia jesus-freak woman from City Hall. I sort of already told it in the Introduction, but lets explain it a little more.
I call this piece the Wizard of Oz, because it was the first thing that popped in my head as I was talking to the demon-infested lady.
We all have seen or heard of the film the Wizard of Oz, just like everyone saw or heard of Titanic or Superman. Im sure it is unnecessary for me to tell the whole Wizard of Oz story, but here it is in a nutshell. The City of Emeralds is ruled by the Great and Almighty wizard Oz. No one has ever seen him, save for one person who clams to be his messenger. When the four main characters of the story finally meet the great Oz himself, they see a great talking head who claims to be Oz – and boy, does this big head look scary and very powerful. And spoilers, at the end of the movie, the main characters learn that the giant head is a complete fake. The truth turned out to be, there was actually a man hiding behind the curtain pulling all the strings and speaking into a microphone, manipulating the big head. This imposter is the actual wizard, but he is not a real wizard. All this time he was hiding his true identity and fooling the entire population of Oz that he was some epic figure. He conjured this image, and made the masses fear him and revere him.
This is the main point: how the hell do Christians (or any theist who believes in a personal god) know that the god they pray and give praise to is not a trickster pretending to be the very deity they worship? Imagine all the theists worshiping the Great Head of the Wizard of Oz. Now, they are fully convinced that the Great Wizard is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. But the truth is, there is an imposter running the Great Head from behind the curtain. This imposter tricked everyone into thinking he is a wizard – for whatever motive.
The point is the (granting the possibility of the existence of a higher power) the possibility that theists have been fooled!!! If there really is a omniscient, omnipotent, whatever being, but this being's nature is the same as the Norse god Loki - a god of mischief and trickery. The god Christians worship may be a trickster, an entity with a mask hiding its true identity. There is no way for theists to actually test that their deity is the true deity who is not hiding their actual identity.
If Christians appeal to Scripture (which claims it is infallible, without error, eternal and never lies) which was "supposedly" authored by this trickster, it is not surprising that the trickster would instruct the readers to fully buy the whole book without question and completely believe it because it cannot lie. A trickster with no doubters is the best trickster of all. Now the trickster has all the gullible believers caught in his net, because the believers got all their info from the tricksters book and they fully believe the book does not lie to them. What a bunch of suckers.
Now I would argue against any theist reading this that they do not have a god watching over them and this universe was not created. However, if I grant them the argument that there is a god and they have some personal relationship with it, I can safely say they do not have a damn clue if they are not being fooled by some trickster. The demon-infested glossolalia jesus-freak from City Hall claimed to know jesus personally, but she could not answer a simple question like “does jesus have blue eyes? How do you know that?” If theists like her do not know the answer to that simple question, then that reveals just how clearly they do not know a thing about this god they praise. If they don't know so much as eye color, then they don't know squat about the real identity of the very thing they worship. They claim to know that the voice in their head is jesus – but they do not know a thing about the real jesus so how can they claim to follow someone they do not even know? So everyday these jesus-loving chumps walk around claiming to follow jesus' word, but they do not know if he is even the real deal.
If this woman did have 12 demons exorcised out of her in jesus' name (which I doubt as much as a Scientologist telling me they had 12 thetans audited out of their bodies), the trickster could very well be responsible for the whole shebang. If somehow the trickster heard that someone was performing an exorcism in his fake name, he comes along and says “oh boy, I better do something otherwise these suckers may stop believing my con” so he banishes the demons, his fake identity gets all the credit, and his con is once again protected and even reinforced through a strengthening of faith. The trickster continues to fool the lot.
I can already hear a couple of Christians saying “oh god would not lie to me. He cannot lie, it is impossible for him to lie, it is against his nature. God is loving, kind, merciful...” blah blah blah. Hey theist! Who the heck told you that it is against his nature to lie?? Hmm? If it was the trickster pretending to be god, then guess what... you are fooled once again. It is the trickster (god) who told you that it is against his nature to lie – he is selling you a lie disguised as truth. And of course the trickster would also appeal to your soft side and tell you he is all loving, kind, merciful, whatever whatever whatever. He appealed to your soft side, made him sound incredibly innocent and trustworthy, and Christians were played and like sheep they swallowed it all up. The theists were played into the tricksters lie.
Some others would say "why would some cosmic trickster benefit from fooling us, we are just carbon-based animals on a small planet in some dark corner of the universe." First of all, there is no proof of a higher power, but if it did exist he can do whatever he likes. Who knows why a trickster god would fool us, but he surely can. But if you think about it, why would anything ANYTHING AT ALL bother with us humans in the first place? Christians already believe the creator of THE ENTIRE VAST UNIVERSE is completely concerned with humans that he considers boiling a goat in its mothers milk as a personal offense to him, punishable by death.
Why would a perfect being want worshipers to begin with? Why? Why? What does such a "perfect" being benefit from us kissing ass? Nothing, he does not need us, he is god after all right? A perfect being by definition does not need anything, because it is already perfect. It does not need a universe or anything. The fact the bible says our very purpose is to worship him and stroke his ego, I argue, closes the case that if there was a god it could NOT be perfect.
It is like the "god" in Star Trek 5 who needs a spaceship. When the "god" in the movie says he needs a starship, the theists IMMEDIATELY figured out right away that a god does not need a spaceship. He is god! Hell, the main characters of Star Trek figured that out almost instantly, and they called "god" out on it. Eventually the god they met turned out to be a.... fake trickster! GASP! Who could have seen that coming? They come face to face with what they believe to be the true almighty god itself, and he turns out to be a trickster (who apparently can be killed with a Klingon laser canon). If god does not need a spaceship for obvious reasons, it should also be obvious that he does not need worshipers.
But why would some cosmic entity lie and fool us? Bear in mind, he is a trickster. He does whatever he wants wherever he wants. If he can find a bunch of suckers to fool on any planet in any solar system, he will take advantage of them. Look around the world, there are literally thousands of different religions, each claiming to believe in the one true faith while the others are wrong. People even go to war over which of them has the better deity. It seems the trickster has done a fantastic job here on Earth, and he may milk it for as long as a single human believes his con.
To some Christians, whether they accept this scenario or not, may look at this supposed trickster and conclude he is some complete jerk. Of course he's a jerk, but the Christian god is not? The Christian god supposedly killed every living being on the planet with a flood, even the children and unborn babies of every species on the planet. And the Christians want to tell me that their god is not acting like a total jerk? How about when he punished Job just for an amusing bet? Not only that, Christians believe that if any individual (no matter how loving, compassionate, or kind the person is) does not believe their particular god, then that person deserves eternal punishment. And yet, Christians may want to label the trickster a jerk and not god. Give me a break.