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Thorn's Atheological Credo:

Why I Have No god-belief

by Anton Thorn

 

 

My atheism is not a primary, but a consequence of my allegiance to Reason.

 

 

Prologue

As the result of religiously-inspired ostracism and persecution, the word atheism is unfortunately laden with a cargo of negative connotations. For many people, the word atheism is equivalent to the word evil, and the admission that one is an atheist is considered to be little else than an open declaration of war against the "righteousness" of "God's people" and an alliance with Satan himself.

For the atheist, however, such baggage is a silly consignment.

The word atheist, as I use it in all the essays at this site, is broadly defined as absence of god-belief. This definition is true to the word's root origins. The word theism, from which the word atheism is formed, means "belief in God or gods," or, simply, god-belief. Theism does not mean 'God' but the belief in the notion of a God or gods. See Post 65 "The Definition of Atheism" of The Tindrbox Files.

Since I am a subscriber to rational philosophy, which is Objectivism, my view of reality and of knowledge does not begin by rejecting knowledge claims, but by recognizing that existence exists, and that existence exists independent of my own consciousness. I also recognize that the task of consciousness is to identify reality, not to create it, as many forms of philosophy essentially hold.

When faced with claims such as "God exists," I submit such claims to the exacting cipher of my reasoning, which is guided by rationally principled thought, which itself is anchored to reality by perceptually based, objective axioms. Contrary to the claims of many religionists, as an atheist I do not begin my pursuit of knowledge with the conclusion that there is no "God," for any opinion or position on the claim that there is a "God" is not essential to man's cognition. Therefore, my atheism is not a primary - as it is not my intellectual starting point, but a consequence of my allegiance to Reason - as my investigation into the claim "God exists" must appeal to more fundamental recognitions about reality, man, the nature of knowledge and the nature of evaluating claims. The same would have to be the case for any man attempting to accept the claim "God exists" as knowledge of reality.

Because I have scrutinized both the claim that God exists, and the arguments that are proposed to support this claim, under the light of Reason and through a process of Objectivism, I have no trouble openly announcing my atheism unflinchingly. While this may perturb many of those who subscribe to various god-belief programs, it is my hope that those lacking confidence in their own reasoning skills will recognize that the intimidation of religious schemes is a chimera and a lifeless carcass designed expressly to rob man of his reason and his capacity for joy.

What I offer at this site is a profound investigation into the claim that God exists and into the argument schemes offered to support such a claim, as well as the proper tools Man requires to examine such claims and defend His mind from religious inculcation.

 

An Interrogation

A frequently asked question I have fielded from the curious is:

"Why don't you believe in God?"

This question is often asked so naturally, as if those asking thought it inconceivable that one could admit to not believing in such things. Many visiting this site who have tried to convince themselves that there is some kind of "superior intelligent being" responsible for the existence of the universe and for the events in nature, have most likely wondered to themselves, "Why doesn't Anton Thorn believe that there is a God?"

In one sense, my entire website is designed to explain why the claim "God exists" is false, and to warn the world of the dangers posed to man if he should attempt to build his philosophy on the idea that the universe came into existence by the will of a "superior intelligent being" beyond our ability to perceive and comprehend, beyond our ability to reason with or objectively study. In this essay, however, I intend to give the "crash course" of my reasoning why I reject all god-belief claims and related philosophical programs in order to address seemingly unmet questions at the door, so to say.

To accomplish this, I have taken a letter I recently wrote which addressed three primary questions about my choice to reject god-belief, and edited it slightly for posting on this site. Throughout the points I offer in response to those questions, I provide references hyperlinks both to essays on and off my site and to hard sources of related interest outside the internet.

The questions which I answer below were posed to me in response to my AOL profile, which appears below. My profile must come up quite early in keyword searches because I have received over the years numerous queries from other AOL users in response to the statements I make in my profile.

 

Question One

I, Anton Thorn, was asked:

<< 1. In your profile u say u r an atheist to the core, why dont u believe in God, for most of the world, it is just accepted that there is a God, so u must have a reason for not believing in one. >>

First of all, one does not need to have a reason for "not believing" a certain alleged mental content; instead, one ought to be able to state his reasons for believing what he does believe. However, as this questioner correctly points out, my AOL profile does say that I am an atheist. And this is true. As stated above, I define 'atheism' here as: Absence of god-belief. I have no god-belief, therefore I am an atheist. In fact, I was born an atheist, as are all human beings. All god-belief is a learned belief, not something with which one is innately born. Anyone who claims to believe that a God exists, does so because he learned this claim at some point in his life and has later learned to repeat it.

Therefore, the shorthand response to this question is: Why would I believe that a God exists?

However, there are many reasons why I do not have a god-belief which I am willing to articulate. Each point below is, in my opinion, sufficient alone to reject the idea of "God." Among them, I would immediately point out (in no particular order):

  1. 'God' is a false idea: All attempts to "define" what a "God" is, are not acts of defining, but acts of wiping out. Most definitions of "God" begin by stating what God is not: "God is not material," "God is not physical," "God is not natural," "God is not comprehensible," "God is not perceivable," "God does not extend into space," etc. Such ascription does nothing to identify what something is, it merely tells us what it is not. This is not a definition, but the evasion of offering a definition. Further, those attributes which are ascribed to God by those who hold a god-belief, are either incoherent (e.g., "omniscience" as "knowledge without means or purpose"), or they are unable to be integrated into a coherent whole (e.g., a 'perfect' being that is both 'living' but 'immortal', yet is said to have a 'purpose' - these ideas cannot be integrated into a single unit). Further problems which theists do not expect but cannot resolve when they are identified, arise when the claims of the religious are examined with objective scrutiny.
  2. See the following sources:

  3. God-belief undermines and disables man's cognition: The assertion of "God" as "creator of the universe" (i.e., of existence) commits its defenders to a false view of reality and several associated fallacies:
    1. The assertion of a universe-creating consciousness (e.g., "god", "allah" etc.) necessarily presupposes the primacy of consciousness view of reality, which is false and has disastrous implications for man's thinking.
    2. See the following references:

      Bernstein, Andrew, The Primacy of Consciousness Versus the Objectivist Ethics, Taped Lecture (5 tapes: 1993); available through Second Renaissance Books.
      Kelley, David, The Primacy of Existence, Taped Lecture (1 tape: 1985); available at
      Principle Source.
      Peikoff, Leonard, "Reality," Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, (1991), pp. 1-36.
      Rand, Ayn, "The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made," Philosophy: Who Needs It, (1982), pp. 23-34.
      A Dialogue on Induction, by Anton Thorn.

    3. Asserting a universe-creating consciousness commits the fallacy of the stolen concept.
    4. See the following references:

      Common Fallacies Atheists May Encounter When Dealing With Religionists, by Anton Thorn
      The Argument from Existence, by Anton Thorn
      The Byron-Choi Dilemma, by Anton Thorn
      Kicking Against the Pricks, Volley 11: The Final Word, by Anton Thorn
      From
      The Tindrbox Files:
      Survey of Catholic Philosophical Errors: Part I - Metaphysics, by Nick Wiltgen

    5. Examination of the idea of a universe-creating consciousness reveals the fallacy of pure self-reference at its very root as a necessary starting point for theistic cosmology and epistemology.
    6. See my essay "God and Pure Self-Reference" in the Letters To A Young Atheologist series which deals with this issue in detail.

    7. The assertion of a universe-creating consciousness commits its believers to a false view of concepts which is riddled with instances of the fallacy of 'reverse-packaging' throughout most fundamental terms (e.g., "natural reality" vs. "supernatural reality").
    8. See the following references:

      Dear Apologist, by Anton Thorn
      The Issue of the Historicity of Jesus in my series of the Letters To A Young Atheologist.

    9. Attempts to construct knowledge systems (i.e., philosophy, or more specifically, epistemology), due to the false view of concepts which is borne in god-belief, inevitably result in breaches of objective knowledge hierarchy (such as the notion of "divine revelation"), the treatment of knowledge as a-contextual, and a commitment to numerous frozen abstractions which have no valid reference to reality, no basis in sound reasoning and which are essentially contentless. Religious philosophy also operates on the failure to distinguish between knowledge and emotion, and this is a direct result of the attempt to blend both as if they were one and the same.
    10. See the following references:
      Rand, Ayn, "Philosophical Detection," Philosophy: Who Needs It
      ________, "For the New Intellectual," For the New Intellectual (1961)
      ________, "John Galt's Speech," Atlas Shrugged (1957)
      The Roots of Christian Knowledge
      , by Anton Thorn (future essay)

  4. God-belief is irrational and anti-philosophical: Religious beliefs encourage anti-cognitive default from genuine, honest philosophical inquiry into the nature of reality and existence in that god-belief claims and associated doctrines are dogmatically based on the testimony of ancient men whose character we cannot scrutinize, and on the assumed verity of certain alleged historical events which must be accepted on faith, not on the principle of objective evidence or on sound reasoning which appeals to objective evidence. Since the "truth" of religious systems is based on alleged historical events (e.g., alleged revelations, Noah built an ark to escape a flood, David slew Goliath, Isaiah prophesied the destruction of Damascus [which, by the way, still stands], Jesus rose from the dead, Saul was converted into Paul, etc.) rather than on the basic facts of reality (e.g., existence exists, A is A, existence is identity, consciousness has identity, that man identifies reality by the use of reason, that he needs an objective theory of concepts and that his existence requires a rational code of values, etc.), god-belief must generate a mysticism of profound proportions which sustains itself by evading the facts of reality which conflict with it, or by rationalizing the hijacking of those facts into the guise of actually servicing the mystical evasions themselves. In essence, because all god-beliefs stand on the fallacy-ridden claims of pre-scientific men, and are not essentially confirmed by objective reality, they necessarily contradict sound, rational philosophy, which is Objectivism.
  5. See the following sources:

    Visit The
    Ayn Rand Institute for more details on Objectivism.
    Interview with Anton Thorn
    At
    The Tindrbox Files, see the following:

Acceptance of unearned guilt fosters the desire for unearned redemption, which most theistic philosophies offer in the form of salvation doctrines. Unearned redemption is always disguised as the reward for obedience and self-sacrifice.

See my essay God and Omniscience for an exposé of the religionist's claim to unearned knowledge.
See my upcoming essay The Dialogue of the Unearned for a detailed expose of this programming cue which is crucial to the success of religious mind-games.

With all these problems (and there are certainly more) of which I am keenly aware, why would I accept the idea that "God exists"? Can someone tell me why I should discard all these facts and accept such an unfounded claim?

 

 

Question Two

I was also asked:

<< 2. u also say that religion is the enslavement of man, what do u mean by that, and who is the one enslaving the people? >>

Actually, my profile states: "Religion triumphs at the enslavement of man" (see below). Of course, this begins in the mind of the individual believer whose mental productivity can be severely disabled by the processes of the mind-game mentioned above. For an in-depth analysis of how the evangelical mind-game works, see Cohen, Edmund D., The Mind of the Bible-Believer (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books), 1988.

On a societal level, religion finds its most large-scale destructiveness. The Bible is quintessentially a guide for mind-control, and lends its "principles" particularly well to petty tyrants and world dictators alike. Nowhere in the Bible, for instance, is the practice of slavery at all prohibited; in fact, in numerous places, in both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible actually gives provision to slave-owners on how slave-trading and slave-mastering should be conducted. Nowhere is this injustice corrected or reversed. Similarly, the Bible makes NO attempt whatsoever to articulate a rational doctrine of individual rights. "Rights" are a concept that is completely absent from the Bible's principle vocabulary.

Furthermore, the morality of the Bible is perfectly fit for a society of enslavement. The morality of obedience to commands which one is not allowed to question tempers the mind of the obedient to do exactly as they are told. Thus, when the Bible-believer says, "Yes, Lord!" he is no better than the obsequious Nazi storm trooper who says, "I vaz just folloving örders!" Commandments are not the stuff of rational morality; following commandments make rationality impossible for man.

The morality of the Bible is also the morality of self-sacrifice. A good slave is one who is willing to sacrifice his interests in favor of the interests of those who assume control over him, whether they be priests, civil servants or "spirits" which no one can perceive and with which no one can reason. The morality of self-sacrifice tempers the minds of those who practice it to offer themselves as means to the ends of those to whom they sacrifice. Thus, a victimizer depends on those who are willing to be victimized, and those who depend on slaves depend on those who willingly surrender their own minds, reason and will for whatever "good" has persuaded them to do so.

History shows the carnage and unspeakable horrors for which religious philosophy is responsible and of which religion is still quite capable when taken seriously and applied consistently with its reality-rejecting roots. Any brief look at the Dark Ages, which were ruled by Christians, will show a time that was dark on principle and an age when human suffering was an unquestionable part of life. Is it any wonder why nations like Germany, Italy, Russia, and numerous other nations, all highly influenced philosophically by centuries of Christian rule, finally declared outwardly what the world should have recognized long ago: that mysticism, collectivism and dictatorship all go hand in hand, because faith and force are corollaries?

Russia was "christianized" in AD 988 by Prince Vladimir I, and officially remained Christian until the October Revolution of 1918. For over nine bloody centuries, Christian mysticism prepared the soil of Russian society for the communism of Lenin and the gulags of Stalin. Prussia, Austria and most of today's Germany were for many centuries hotbeds of Christian mysticism, vying between the north's Lutheranism and the south's Roman Catholicism. This influence prepared the soil of these societies for dictators like Hitler and his obedient minions, who justified their unprecedented evil by standing on biblical doctrine (read Hitler's Mein Kampf some time for a real eye-opening experience!). Hitler's political sales pitch found many buyers, precisely because he explicitly wed his racial wrath with its religious roots with amazing persuasive ability.

Given these facts, including the facts that the Bible actually attempts to give "rules" to the practice of slave-ownership, that the Bible is completely silent when it comes to defining a rational doctrine of individual rights, and that biblical morality actually encourages the slave-like behavior of its believers, I rest my case that the statement in my profile, that "religion triumphs at the enslavement of man," soundly holds.

See the following references:

How Nazism concretized the horrors of Christian theism: Post 19 "The Philosophic Parallels Between Religion and Nazism" from The Tindrbox Files
Religion Wears A Bloody Glove, by Anton Thorn
Krueger, Doug,
Copin' With Copan at the Secular Web
Peikoff, Leonard, The Ominous Parallels

 

Question Three

Finally, I was posed the following question:

<< 3. Do u believe in the historical figure of Jesus Christ (not necessarily all of the miracles, just that he existed)? thats basically all of the questions that i have, u dont need to hurry to respond, im just curios why u believe what u believe, and i find your beliefs very interesting. Thanks for your time >>

Whether or not someone named Jesus actually existed in first-century Palestine is uncertain, and most objective scholars agree with this. This is actually a very broad field of study, and one that interests me greatly. But no matter what one believes about the historicity of Jesus, there is no way at all by which one can prove that the claims made about Jesus are factual. In order to accept the claims about Jesus, one would have to simply take the word of the anonymous authors who wrote and compiled the New Testament at their word, and this is, in my opinion, very unwise.

See the following references:
The Historicity of Christ compendium on the Secular Web
Letter 1: The Issue of the Historicity of Jesus from my series Letters To A Young Atheologist
See also:
The Formation of the New Testament Canon, which is an excellent article by Richard Carrier on the Secular Web

Conclusion

Answers are possible, especially when one arms himself with reason. If one is willing to look at reality, and identify it on its own terms, he is capable of achieving objectivity. One cannot look at reality objectively and come away with the idea that a form of consciousness is responsible for its existence. For to do so undermines one's own cognition, not the cognition of others.

When one thinks in terms of essentials, when one adheres to the standard of reason, he no longer experiences the compulsion to submit his mind to the whims and deceits of others. From the failure to identify the objective starting point of one's cognition (i.e., the recognition that reality exists independent of consciousness), to the pursuit of unearned knowledge and unearned authority over others, to the evasion of the fact that man requires the free use of his own reasoning to exist, to the rationalizations that make those evasions seem palpable, the litany of philosophic errors committed by theism has its genesis.

God-belief, as I have pointed out above, is a destructive venture for man. It not only contradicts his own values, it undermines the very root that makes his values possible. By undermining his cognition, compelling him by fear and enslavement, committing him to the evil ravages of the arbitrary set in motion in his thought and to the standard of collective agreement, the wages of god-belief on the life of man are purely destructive.

I have offered a snapshot view of my reasons why I have no god-belief. Many may take exception to particular points here and there, but none would be able to surmount even one of them. The charges against the suspect, which is god-belief itself, have been identified and put before the court. And the verdict is in: god-belief is contrary to reality, sound philosophy and Man's life.

 

Anton Thorn

© Copyright by Anton Thorn 2000. All rights reserved.

____________________________________________________________

My AOL Member Profile:
Member Name:
I am the spark that ignites debate.
Location:
Religion triumphs at the enslavement of man.
Sex:
Male
Marital Status:
Single and running...
Hobbies:
Detecting errant philosophy. Lavishly enjoying my existence. Atheist to the core!!!! Religion divides men into opposing collectives: the chosen vs. the damned.
Computers:
This one. Religion turns man into a willing victim by his acceptance of UNEARNED GUILT.
Occupation:
That's irrelevant to this conversation!! (But I am lucratively employed!!)
Personal Quote:
Judge, and be prepared to be judged. Objectivism is the philosophy of reason. http://www.oocities.com/Athens/Sparta/1019

 

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