Today is a rant day. Sorry 'boutcha.
I swear that Hell is just a big long internet comment section with no back button to provide your escape.
I was on Instagram (kill me) scrolling through innocent enough selfies and cloud pictures with inspiring quotes - you know, making a difference in the world and stuff - and was hooked by a baiter of men.
(In hindsight, I can't believe how small this thing is; it just goes to show how my stupid brain works. Once it gets going, Inertia kicks in.)
My wife quoted Neil Gaiman's summary of an idea of Chesterton's: "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us they can be beaten." A lovely little quote, nice and smiley and inspiring and all of that. Underneath the picture of the quote she wrote an inspiring message meant to pick up any downtrodden who may be stumbling through the Instasphere.
Insert dude. "The picture is entirely nonsensical, but your comment is super inspiring!" It was a jab, a poke, a challenge to anyone daring enough to assault his insurmountable, absolutely unshakeable lack of absolutes.
This is the culmination of "intelligent" thought, of mental exercise, of years and hundreds of thousands of bloodied bodies' worth of people slaughtering other people to ensure you have the right to pursue the aims that move you and express yourself how you desire: sarcastic, unnecessary prodding on social media.
The Youtube comment section on a William Lane Craig video. Or a TheAmazingAtheist video.
Jesus' Facebook page (shoot me).
Anyway. He had a light exchange with Morgan, after which I ended up responding to the guy with a long-winded post completely ignoring his ill-placed snark just because I thought it'd make me feel good.
Him: "I just don't know how anything can be more than true, but whatever."
Me: "I'm sorry you're literarily illiterate."
It was this conversation, but with more words.
On a freaking instagram picture.
He ended it thusly: "I followed and understood until your last sentence, at which point I lost you. Still don't know what 'more than true' means nor do I know what a soul is. Still, my original confusion has been corrected (: "
Backwards smiley face and all.
What follows is (I think; I haven't written it yet) a bit of a polemic (rant) about how ludicrous I find the Internet Atheist movement.
Term Disdain and What I Think of Empiricism (spoiler: I think it's stupid)
I really can think of no term more degrading to a human being and his fundamental incapacity for grasping philosophical, even scientific, concepts than Atheist. Can you imagine any assertion more narcissitic, more arrogant, more absolutely nonsensical than that of the "knowledge" that something doesn't exist? That something has never existed? That something can't exist? Why they haven't blasted all claims of their own existence for their incessant screamings of their own omniscience I will never understand.
Knowledge of the lack of something. The ludicrousness. The gall. A thinking man would never, under any circumstances, lump himself with such tripe.
I frankly don't care what you think of God; He's hardly someone who needs me to defend Him - what I do care about is whether you're honest about it.
An honest man may say "I have experienced God, and so I believe in Him."
An honest man may say, "I have examined the evidence and it strikes me as overwhelming that God, or this thing that calls Himself God, most likely exists."
An honest man may say, "I have searched and scoured, but nothing of God has yet reached me, and I don't know that I can believe in such a thing."
An honest man may say, "I couldn't give eight flying flips about God, and I'm going to do what I want when I want to without thinking about Him."
But he is a fool who says, "God does not exist" unless he has visited every atom of our infinitely expanding universe, unless he has explored those places outside the stretch of time, unless he has driven a stake through God's discorporeal heart and watched Him wither into oblivion (at which point it would be "God is dead" - a quote laymen who quote Nietzsche often think they understand but, frankly, don't). He is also a fool who says, "I believe in God because my parents believe in God," but that is another post, entirely.
Intellectualism has been hijacked in recent years by a rising evangelical religion called the New Atheists, spearheaded by some of the finest, though misguided minds of any generation: Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, et al. They spend their well-equipped brains making disciples in their unbelief, spreading their gospel of nothingness, forcing (by loudly-spat, vapid arguments) those who are philosophically unsound into existential, theological doubt.
Think of how absurd such a movement is: it does not proclaim "we can't know," which could reasonably be defended by rational beings, but rather, "God does not exist." In doing so, they force their "wide-open" minds through the funnel of the scraggly, gnarled lens of empiricism like they're breathing underwater through a coffee stirrer.
Empiricism: the theory that all knowledge is derived from sense-experience.
And yet they still try to convince with reason, something quite outside the realm of sense-experience.
Here's the issue with knowledge only as supported by evidence (here, physical): in order to acquire and call it physical evidence, it must be able to withstand scientific testing. But tell me this: what is a materialistically designed test of material things through a materialistic frame of mind going to produce? Materialistic results, of course. Does this mean that the only thing that exists is material? No; it means that your framework is simply too narrow and that you're not okay with things that can't be measured.
It's like assuming that a school is a good or a bad school based on how well their students performed on the TCAP. It's like assuming that someone who scores consistantly highly on the SAT is smart. I work with middle schoolers who have more brains than most of the adults that I know who would sit at a standardized test and fail it so utterly that they'd be cast into the remedial classes. I know complete imbeciles who made 1500+ (in the old system, of course) on the SAT. Measurability means almost nothing sometimes.
A second problem that empiricism faces (which we're only just beginning to understand) is that the growing field of quantum mechanics could well be destroying it, or at least changing it immensely. On this quantum level, we are discovering that observation of certain processes actually, physically, changes the way that they are carried out. Do you get that? Experience, measurement, quantification changes the thing (see here for a pretty succinct and easy-to-understand video about it). So there must exist something quite outside the realm of experience, no?
Baiters of Men
Field guide to being an Internet Atheist:
Step One: Learn the words "Straw Man," "Burden of Proof," and "Sky Fairy"; use them indiscriminately, whether or not they are correct.
Step Two: Create a comparison between God and the Tooth Fairy. Or unicorns. Or Santa Clause. Your pick. Keep in your back pocket.
Step Three: Choose your social media wisely. Twitter is the most difficult; your hollow arguments in dressed-up, fancy words take up precious characters. Instagram is tricky because it's mostly used on smartphones. Facebook is easy because the people with half a brain avoid it at all costs.
Step Four: The Roid Rage. Pick a platform, a post, a page, whatever, and blast your voice as loudly as you possibly can. Use typos with your fuming language to doubly distract from the fact that you're not saying anything.
Repeat step four. Simple.
Field guide to being an Internet Theist:
Avoid conversations that reek of smugness and fedora-topped neckbeards. It's just not worth it.
I don't know how else to expound upon the nonsense of the Internet Atheist, or any offshoot of the militant (religious) in their disbelief.
The religious evangelist has any number of things to spur on his evangelism: the mandates of the doctrines of his religion, the desire to spread the joy that they have found, the genuine care for the spiritual wellbeing of their neighbor.
What does the nontheist evangelist have? Pride, perhaps. Flexing his argumentative muscles. Attempting to fill some emptiness inside of them by removing something from someone else, perhaps. I really don't know.
They quote Lord Hitchens and Dawkins by saying that religion is systematically destroying humanity, that it is fundamentally dangerous and that it creates apostles of destruction, all of that. Cite Crusades here. Cite suicide bombers there. And they build cases around this argument, bolstering their own Crusades to end religion by an argument that is merely rhetoric.
Belief is not the enemy; people who use belief to harm others are. Let me ask you which hurts people more:
The man who says, "by this they will know you are My disciples, that you love one another."
or the one who says, "If someone tells me that I've hurt their feelings, I say, 'I'm still waiting to hear what your point is.'"