Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


Lindsay's book, Everybody is Wrong about God

This book stresses that any reason or excuse to believe in God is invalid and false. He wants the word atheist to go. Lindsay would do well to think about tackling mathematics rather than philosophy for though the book is creative and makes original points it is philosophically thin.

Lindsay says that the God idea expresses the belief that death is only losing a part of you but you exist so there is strictly speaking no death.

Comment: If so that would explain why believers so cheerily slaughter heretics and others in war.

Lindsay "Religious fundamentalism - is a preference for religious attributions over natural ones when naturalistic ones are available. It specifically manifests as adhering to a set of false beliefs about the world with such tenacity that established and available countervailing attributions are denied or rejected in an attempt to prevent revision of the beliefs. That these beliefs are maintained in order to meet or ignore psychosocial needs that certainly are met in other ways should qualify it as a kind of pathological mental state, fundamentalism as a subtype of delusion." Also, "On the claim that fundamentalism - qualifies as delusional, note that it satisfies Karl Jasper's three criteria for that state: falsity of belief, conviction, and incorrigibility. The existence of nonfundamentalists, in fact the majority, proves that the needs can be met in other ways. Incidentally, quasi-religious beliefs held with similar tenacity would be grounds for an indential psychopathology."
 
Comment: Good! But notice how all believers in God are fundamentalist in the sense that they want to think God gives them what they have and not down to nature at all for nature is not nature but a mere instrument of God. Fundamentalism starts with God and ends with God.
Lindsay: Lindsay lists the attributes of God as,
 
moral as in an effort to explain moral values
 
teleological to try and understand the purpose of our lives
 
phenomenological - trying to explain things that happen as being down to the action of God
 
abstract - God
 
spiritual as in feeling supported so that you transcend the troubles of life
 
psychosocial - how religion takes you feel about others and your place in society and leads to formation of a community

Comment: Not all agree with any one of those things. They are not about God but why you might want to believe. They show that believers are in fact

Lindsay: The book says that to make sense of God without understanding God to mean a real being we must think about active control and passive control and how they relate to the God idea. Active control is about the actions we take to manage what happens to us. When believers are faced with something unthinkably bad and seemingly unavoidable they may pray to God to do something and that counts as an attempt at feeling they are in active control. Belief and religion help people feel safer and comforted which is why religion is so powerful in the world even today. Prayer shows the person wants to control what they cannot control and wants supernatural help to effect that control. Passive control is when we do nothing for we think of the world as controlling itself or being controlled for us. It is a form of control in the sense that you gain control by resignation. Letting something be is a form of control. The book mentions self-control as well and argues that God deals with that for God is a symbol of what we should do and should refrain from. The book argues that control is really what the interest in God is mainly about. And sociality and morality are so close together and one cannot be had without the other so unless you are part of society you cannot really be called moral in any sense. It is really people you need before you can be moral. It is not God. When talking about God, believers "are talking about how they resist feelings of powerlessness".

Comment: This is an excellent argument and shows that God is not about God but about you wanting control. Doing good to others when it is about feeling in control is using them and shows you are a self-deceiving fake and hypocrite no matter how charming you seem to be. Atheists want control too but believers take it to a new level - a higher one.


Lindsay: "The sense of control many people derive from their religious beliefs relies upon both sociality and the various attempts people make to attribute causes and effects in the world. Specifically, attributing an earthquake to an angry God in the hope that its propitiation will prevent future tremors utilises attribution (the God who can be propitiated and his wrath as the cause of earthquakes) and sociality (community rituals, actions of propitiation, and ethical standards that prohibit behaviors believed to likely anger the deity) to enable the sense of control (prevention of future calamity)."

Comment: Correct.

Lindsay: Part of the attraction an all-powerful and all-good real God has is that it makes people hope this is the best possible world or sometime will be. Otherwise like atheists they are just going to have to see many evils as just plain hopeless useless evils that have no meaning. Talk about a perfect God means that as you want God to be the enforcer and creator of your moral values you want to see them as perfect in principle. "By qualifying one's morals and beliefs as perfect, reality and any hope of effective communication are left completely behind." God is seen as unquestionable - his ways are also seen that way. Thence lies the problem.

Comment: To see God as unquestionable really means, "My view of God that I externalise is unquestionable."

Lindsay warns about religious faith, "faith is inherently closed to belief revision, which means that any bad moral guesses it has made are very likely to be slow to change."

Comment: Notice that a liberal believer is closed to belief revision as well for she will not see if in fact there are doctrines and principle that cannot change to suit the times. Liberals care more about fads than truth and that is far more oppressive than anything that is an enthusiast for truth. Liberals are fundamentalists in their own way and end up turning their causes into substitute gods. Sam Harris is right that moderate religion is not worthy of praise any more than fundamentalist faith is.

Lindsay: Humanism is the outlook that we can live happy lives and be fulfilled and good to each other without a God or belief in God.

Comment: Explicit belief in God is definitely not needed. Believers say that anybody who does good is implicitly connecting to God and recognising him without realising it.

Lindsay: The book discusses the moral foundations theory. It argues that each community has moral foundations that may differ from the moral foundations of another community. It explains how morality arises. The community needs or feels it needs its rules and principles. But Lindsay warns, "The chief weakness of moral foundations theory, however descriptive it is of how people's moral values take shape, is that it lends itself naturally to some degree of moral relativism."

Comment: Good!

Lindsay: "Morality, central as it is to the human experience, is confusing and anyone who has read moral philosophy knows that our seemingly best thinking on the matter only makes it worse. Religion simplifies morality by providing the heuristic of making it the desire of a deity. Attributing moral salience to 'God' makes morality seem real, which makes it more concrete and thus acceptable, and it also makes morality absolute and final, which is to say simpler."

Comment: That explains one reason why God has so much appeal. If we make moral mistakes we expect him to reward us by averting too much damage. We expect him to tell us or inspire us what to do.

Lindsay points out later that believers try to turn God into an explanation for why we need morality and why morality is a duty. But the explanation cannot be understood so it is not an explanation. The main reason God is popular is because people think the idea helps them make sense of morality and why right and wrong matter.

The logic is that if we do not have God's law on the basis that God has not ever given any law perhaps because he does not exist then we have only man's law which we have no duty or obligation to obey though it tells us we do.

Lindsay argues that to see God as being essentially morality means that to say morality grounds God and God is the reason morality exists is to say, "Morality is real and obligatory just because it is real and obligatory." To say God makes morality real is just to say that morality makes morality real for morality is just another word for God.

Lindsay observes that when believers ask us to think God when the question arises, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" they mean that all things exist just because God wanted them to. So this takes us to a more basic and important question. "Why did God want to?"

Comment: Excellent! It shows the religious are tricksters with that question. They cannot tell you why God made the vast useless empty galaxies. They just say, "He just did." That is not an answer.

Lindsay: It is interesting how, as Lindsay said, people may see enjoying ice cream as good for the soul but will not see making a budget for the next six months that way.

Comment: How holy are people deep down? How altruistic are they?

Lindsay: Lindsay points out that if everything is evidence or proof for God then nothing is evidence for God. The reason is that the questioner is left with nothing that can undermine the idea of God as real. It is refusing to let evidence against God speak. It is meaningless. The doctrine that all is evidence is evil and arrogant and bigoted and dishonest - the complete opposite of what God is supposed to be really about.

Comment: Turning everything into evidence for God is a sign of desperation and accusing doubters and disbelievers of being insane or dishonest. You cannot put down blindness as an option. Not when the evidence is everywhere and is there every time. 

Lindsay points out that when God is believed in you tend to see him as working in your church so the Church and your believer friends in fact colour what you think God is. To fit in you will resort to costly sacrifice for God for that makes you look sincere. What you are doing is making a costly sacrifice of yourself for the Church.

GOD-IDOL

The gist of Lindsay's thinking is that God is an idol pretending it is not an idol. Believers are idolaters and pretending they are not.

If belief in God has its risks and can turn so much as one person out of a million into a terrorist then believers have an indirect but real link with the crimes. The risk will be worse if belief in God is a form of idolatry. Even if God could exist, faith in God could still be an idol. It is a case of you being God over God - that is telling yourself God agrees with you. It is really about you.