God the Mafia Boss

I stumbled across a video the other day called “So I called the Atheist Experience today.” Here it is below.

Now the conversation he’s referring to is one I know quite well. I quite often watch Atheist Experience clips on Youtube and this is one that comes up a lot. That would be this one. Unfortunately the Atheist Experience channel on YouTube often cut out bits that they don’t think are relevant. That’s kind of annoying but you get the gist.

So this guy has something of a point at the start but I’ll leave that alone for now. He really just doesn’t seem to get the point throughout the rest of the video. He keeps saying ‘well if he can judge the murderer and the rapist, then he can judge you too’. That’s not at all the point. If God exists, there’s nothing we can do to stop him judging whoever he wants to. The point is that if God saves the murderer or the rapist on the basis of faith, but not a relative innocent because they didn’t believe, then we can say that the moral standard of God is inferior. A god which rewards beliefs over deeds is a morally inferior god, particularly if the thing you’re supposed to believe is not supported by sufficient evidence. And if you posit the existence of a god that does that, and also claim that this god is the highest moral standard, then your god-concept is incoherent and therefore untrue.

Then he’s got his 2 questions that he wants to ask Matt Dillahunty, and he seems to think he’s making a big point here but he’s not at all. The first question is ‘are you guilty?’ and he insists that he’s not trying to guilt-trip anyone, but actually it’s exactly what he’s trying to do because he then goes on to say everyone’s guilty. It’s a tactic used across the board by Christians, as a way to say ‘I’m not worthy’ and that therefore we deserve whatever we get. Ray Comfort does it all the time, he goes through the Commandments and asks if people have broken them (my favourite time was when he asked someone “So what do you call someone who tells lies?” and the guy replied “Ray Comfort”). It’s even a part of Catholic Mass, they say “Lord I am not worthy to receive you…”. Then he asks “does God have the right to judge you?” I’d answer no (more on that later) but even if he does have the right to judge, it’s not just about him judging or not but how he judges that is important. Matt’s point is that God is said to judge in an immoral way.

Next he tries to take on the mafia boss analogy and fails spectacularly at that too. He says “I think what’s going on is that there’s a mafia boss, you know it, he knows it, and he has every right to break your legs because you screwed him over, and he doesn’t. In fact the ‘or else’ isn’t you paying it, the ‘or else’ is him paying for you to get let off.” If that were true then absolutely everyone would be saved, no matter what they did. In fact what the Bible says is that the only unforgivable sin is not accepting Christ as your saviour. God will break your legs unless you worship him, in other words. You can dress it up in flowery language that makes it sound like love, but that’s what it means. Yes, the ‘unless’ involves God paying for you to get off (John doesn’t see the irony in that – who’s he paying? He’s paying himself…), but you still have to worship God, and what if you don’t even believe God exists? It’s definitely not the case that ‘you know it, he knows it’. Even if that is true, what kind of a stupid system is that? God decides that the way things are isn’t good enough, so he creates a loophole for the rules that he created in the first place by killing himself in human form for 3 days, thereby taking the sin of everyone else onto himself, but you can only benefit from it if you believe the whole story… c’mon! That’s complete and utter twaddle and unworthy of any kind of respect. It’s profoundly immoral at worst, and inefficient at best, two unlikely characteristics of a supreme being.

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9 Responses to God the Mafia Boss

  1. Marc Surtees says:

    Mike,

    You write:
    “The point is that if God saves the murderer or the rapist on the basis of faith, but not a relative innocent because they didn’t believe, then we can say that the moral standard of God is inferior. A god which rewards beliefs over deeds is a morally inferior god, particularly if the thing you’re supposed to believe is not supported by sufficient evidence.”

    You write this because you do not understand the nature of sin nor the nature of grace.

    We all start off in the same place: sinners, under God’s wrath (don’t confuse this with human anger). As such we were all going to Hell.

    But God’s grace allows us to escape from hell if we give up trying to make ourselves good enough. There is only one way to be saved and that is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone. It does not matter what we do since we start off on death row and the only way out is by grace (the free offer of the Gospel).

  2. grammarking says:

    Hi Marc,

    My point was that it’s not free. You have to believe something for which there is not sufficient evidence. Do you not think this is a poor system to judge the good from the bad? Like I say, it’s inefficient at best. Hardly worthy of a supreme being. I mean he created the rules and yet this is the best he can do? And surely he knew that none of us would live up to his standard in the first place.

    • Marc Surtees says:

      Hi Mike,

      All the Christians I know beleive because they have enough evidence. The reason we believe is because God “spoke” to us and offered us the free gift of redemption, which we accepted. That only happens when the evidence becomes overwhelming, which is why conversion cab often be dramatic.

      When we accept that free gift we do not do anything more than when we accept a free gift from any other person.

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi, I came across your blog through the Edinburgh Uni Humanist Society website. Great post. The other thing that I find hard to understand about Christianity is the concept of justice – how exactly is eternal torment as a punishment for finite sins, justice? And even if it was, how could it be just for an innocent man (or God’s own son) to take the punishment instead? I don’t know of any court of law that would allow someone to serve someone else’s sentence for them.

  4. grammarking says:

    Cheers Sarah, thanks for the kind words.

    An acquaintance of mine on the think humanism forum (I notice you’re a UU, you might find something you like there – link below) recently wanted to go back to the church and seemed to be using an argument about hell to justify it. I wrote a post outlining exactly what I thought about hell which IIRC made precisely that point. What Hitchens calls ‘vicarious redemption’ cannot possibly be moral, and finite crimes cannot justify infinite torture.

    I also wrote a post some time ago called ‘God: Arsehole’ which is on a similar theme if you’re interested.

    http://www.thinkhumanism.com/

    Cheers
    Mike

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