Why do people believe in a non-existent Abrahamic God?

From Gezza:


Everybody knows that in various parts of the world there have been cruelties, multiple murders, mass executions, mass shootings, beheadings, suicide bombings, sectarian killings – all carried out by fanatical followers of what is usually claimed to be severe, but utterly perverted, versions of Islam.

And they know that by far the most of their victims have been Muslims, often members of other sects, or innocent people who, for example, just happened to be there, or passing by, when an IED went off.

But many victims in the recent past have been Westerners – Christians, Jews, people of other faiths, or no religious faith. And these attack & victims often seem to attract far more attention in Western media than the multiple murders of so many other victims of the constantly currently ongoing Islamic extremist terrorist attacks & in Africa, Afghanistan, & some Middle Eastern countries, to name a few.

Many Christians & their leaders, as well as what are frequently called, these days, moderate or ordinary Muslims, claim that this is not Islam. This is not what Allah, who communicated the Quran, through the angel Gabriel, to Muhammad, & thereafter, to all believers, ever intended to happen. That these murderers, like the Christchurch mass murderer are deluded, dreadfully misguided, or just simply plain evil.

Christians & Jews & Muslims, however, all believe that their own version of the same, sole, & only Creator God, Jaweh is the true & correct one.

And, they also believe all sorts of patently untrue claims about them, including that, as God, each one – the same one in some form or other – has communicated with ancient, bronze age, iron age, & medieval age, scientifically & educationally ignorant, goat herders, shepherds, song writers, wandering prophets, kings, warriors, warlords, a Merchant Camel Caravan trader – & god knows who else (so to speak).

Communicated in all sorts of diverse ways, nearly all of them, in my view, ridiculous. To tell them how the world, and they, were created. And what this non-existent, mythical God expects, & wanted – and still wants – them to do.

Creating also phantasmal places of eternal punishment – to scare them into obeying its sometimes cruel & bizarre, originating-culture-driven, rules & commands. And creating equally unbelievable temptations of a rapturous reward in a veritable heaven on earth-type utopia after death, or at the forthcoming (completely imaginary) Last Day, the Day of Judgement, if they do so.

Throughout history, at many places & various times, all, or many of the believers in, and followers of:

The Israelites’ Jaweh – the original, Old Testament model (sticking with this spelling, for simplicity) the Jewish God

and

The Christians’ Father (Jaweh), his Son, Jesus, & the Holy Spirit entity – who popped up in the New Testament along with Jesus – the mythical 3-in-1 God; the Trinity – version 2, new & improved

and

The Muslims’ Allah, who instructed Muhammad about everything humans needed to know that mattered, & corrected all the misinterpretations & misrepresentations that had happened with the Jews & Christians over time such that they had now got his messages & information about “life, the universe, & everything” – including his requirements for humans – all screwed up

have carried out, sanctioned, or just ignored or not cared about, countless outrages, cruelties, killings, invasions, repressions, inquisitions, tortures, & resistances to reason or knowledge, by their fellow believers or leaders – simply because they, incredibly, actually believe in the existence & claimed supernatural abilities, & loving, beneficent nature of this bizarre, contradictory, confusing, confused, failure of a god; this non-existent entity.

For God’s sake! WHY?

There is NO convincing, reasoned, logical proof or actual tangible, physical evidence this god even exists. None.

They are claiming something exists that is invisible & empirically indemonstrable, & that it has wonderful properties, that it has given advice, wisdom, knowledge & ultimate rules to humans – that the very holy books & other scriptures these believers use to promote these myths as a viable theory – plus history, plus science, plus simple logic, & observation – all, clearly, utterly disprove.

Why is this “thing” needed? What on earth makes people believe in it?

Is it fear? Are they just afraid that, when they die, that’s the end of their existence? Do they need to believe there’s a way their being, their essence, personality,  consciousness, their “soul” (i.e. they) will live forever?

Are they driven by a psychological need to believe they will one day be everlastingly perfect, & see their dead loved ones, also perfect, again?

Are they convinced that without fear of a post-mortem everlasting punishment, and/or the expectation of a rapturous paradise for believing & obeying – they’d be bad, cruel, horrible, uncharitable, uncaring people, & so will everyone else?

Do they need to believe bad, evil people will one day get sentenced to everlasting torment as punishment? That “too bad, the bastards bloody deserve it – and more !”

Are their current lives miserable ones, & they can’t for some reason expect or act to change them? Is accepting their poor lot as “God’s will” making it something that can be endured more easily, because they really think there’s a mythical paradise, a beautiful, better, everlasting life – with no fears, no worries, just pleasure, satisfaction, peace, calm, no stress, no unmet needs at all to come, one day?

Are they just scared that, despite all the things we have now learnt about how the universe, the earth, plants, animals, humans – the real world, really work – there are so  many, many things we still don’t know? Can they not live with not knowing, but that it doesn’t matter?

I was raised a Christian. It’s the religion I know the most about & have read & thought & debated & argued the most about. I don’t know whether there is a single, sole creator of the universe, but I see no evidence that, if there is one, it has ANY interest in actively intervening in the operation of the Cosmos, or in human affairs, or that it has ever done so.

I know lots of people – apparently rational, sane, educated, knowledgeable, intelligent people – still believe in it. And that at least as many of the same kind of intelligent people, (maybe, hopefully, now a lot more) don’t.

I can say that I have NEVER, EVER seen ANY irrefutable, empirical evidence, or ANY convincing hint of evidence, or any truly convincing argument that the Abrahamic God does, really, actually exist.  Only tortuous attempts at arguing that it does, from the start point of doggedly-committed, already-believing followers, that it does, trying to think up & argue any thing they can to justify already believing in something that’s clearly not even there.

So, I often wonder why some people need to believe it exists? What does it do for them? What need does it meet that the rest of us who know it’s a myth don’t have?

Interested to hear from anyone what they think, and why?


This post has been added to the Your NZ menu for easy access. If there is continued interest in this it may be continued, or there may be further linked posts.

This post and discussion may be confronting for some people – if you don’t like your religious beliefs challenged then it may not be for you.

The usual rules on decent debate and no abuse apply – this is a debate on the concepts of gods and religion, and is not an opportunity for free shots at specific groups of religious followers. Comments that I think are inappropriate may be edited or deleted.

PG

Rising signs of hate in the US

Three alarming incidents in the past week in the US – the pipe bombs sent to a number of individuals and companies, two black people shot in a grocery store, and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting – have raised concerns that hate crime is on the rise.

President Donald Trump has inevitably been included in discussions in reaction to these incidents. It is difficult to judge how much Trump may have encouraged this sort of hate violence, but how he responds may make a difference – and while he has played lip service to outrage and condemnation, his actions continue to be troubling.

This apparent rise in hate crimes, the tip of a large iceberg of online intolerance and hate, is happening on Trump’s watch.

NY Times editorial: The Hate Poisoning America

What is going on in this country? Can’t we be safe in our homes, in our schools, in our most sacred places? Once again, Americans are left to ask each other these sorts of questions, after a gunman burst into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on the Jewish Sabbath and opened fire on families in the contemplation of their faith.

The attack came a day after a man was arrested in Florida for mailing pipe bombs to politicians and journalists across the country. In both cases, the suspects had nourished their animus online, on social media platforms where they could easily connect with people who shared their hatreds.

After the attack on Tree of Life, Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Times, “I’m afraid to say that we may be at the beginning of what has happened to Europe, the consistent anti-Semitic attacks.”

Alongside anti-Semitism, anti-black hatred appears to be rising. It has been expressed recently not only in incidents in which white Americans have harassed black Americans for gardening, coming home, swimming, working or campaigning for public office, but in deadly attacks like the one by a bigot who shot two black people at a Kentucky grocery last week, after he tried but failed to enter a black church.

At least some of the hate behind attacks like this is fomented online.

The suspect in the Pittsburgh killings, Robert Bowers, had found a home for his hate on Gab, a new social network that bills itself as a guardian of free speech, unlike somewhat less permissive platforms like Twitter. There his online biography read, “Jews are the children of Satan,” a statement of personal values that he evidently expected to earn him not opprobrium but followers.

Mr. Bowers’s hatred of American Jews was apparently motivated in part by the generosity and empathy many of them have shown for non-Jewish refugees of conflicts worldwide. In their humanity, he found cause to dehumanize them. “It’s the filthy EVIL jews Bringing the Filthy EVIL Muslims into the Country!!” he wrote online.

Gun laws come up again after mass shootings, but little ever seems to change. And guns are just tools of extreme merchants of hate, many of whom build their bravado online.

What can be done? Certainly, common-sense gun safety regulation might make attacks like the one on Tree of Life synagogue less deadly— universal background checks, red-flag laws that take guns away from the mentally unstable, bans on high-capacity weapons like the AR-15 rifle that the alleged killer wielded.

Measures like these would help contend with the hardware of hate. It is far harder to disable the software, the ideas that now spread so readily.

It is difficult to confront online hate. Some of it ferments in protected bubbles.

Leadership that is unequivocal about condemning intolerance and hate would help.

Good speech may not be enough in itself, but that doesn’t mean that American society couldn’t benefit from much more of it today, particularly from its leaders.

So it was reassuring to hear President Trump condemn the attack in Pittsburgh, as he did the pipe bombs. And it was disappointing to see him immediately head back out on the campaign trail, as he did on Saturday, to disparage his opponents and critics all over again.

Until next week’s mid-term elections it seems that hate and division as tools of politics will continue.

It isn’t simply a Trump issue, but as the leader and commander-in-chief of the country he must take some responsibility for the escalations and do more than speak out of both sides of his mouth.

But there are alternate views, like this opinion from Steve Hilton from Fox News who blames it on Barack Obama: Trump and his supporters are being blamed for a climate of rage and hate – but here’s the truth

Predictably, the establishment is blaming President Trump and his supporters for a climate of rage and hate.

But let’s be honest, a lot of Americans have had a lot to be angry about for an awful long time.

This anger we’re seeing, it didn’t start with Donald Trump. I think it goes back at least a decade.

In 2008 you saw the elite bail themselves out while working people paid the price for their recklessness and incompetence.

And you saw a new tone enter our politics.

Reagan, the Bushes, Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton perhaps a bit too much – they weren’t haters. You got the sense they loved everybody.

But then we saw something new. A cultural elitism came in. Condescension. Even contempt.

Remember when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama said on April 6, 2008, “They get bitter, and they cling to guns or religion.”

How about when his wife Michelle said this on February 18, 2008; “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.”

We saw hate and divisiveness — from the top. And remember, from the left, not the right. From the elitists, not the populists.

What he claims is debatable (very much so) but there is one truth that can’t be denied – the current levels of division and hate are happening on Trump’s watch.

Awful from NZ Muslim leader

Shalom.Kiwi has posted: Shocking and Repeated Anti-Semitism, Misogyny by New Zealand Muslim Leader

A shocking video has surfaced containing excerpts of a number of Auckland sermons and lectures given by Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib between April 2014 and November 2016 in which he repeatedly uses appalling anti-Semitic slanders and libels and denigrates women. In one sermon, he calmly calls Jews “the enemy of Muslims” and claims that:

Jews are using everybody because their protocol is to rule the entire world”Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib

Of more concern is that Dr Sahib is the President of the At Taqwa Mosque in Manukau, Auckland (where the comments were made, and from where they were broadcast on YouTube) and is also (according to FIANZ and his CV) secretary of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) Ulama Council and FIANZ Advisory Board. The FIANZ Ulama Council is responsible for religious affairs in the New Zealand Muslim community, including family counselling and dispute resolution. Dr Sahib also claims to be an adviser to the New Zealand government on Halal issues.

And on women:

No woman can dare step out of her house without the permission of her husband” Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib

If that’s some sort of religious directive then it stinks in modern New Zealand.

Shalom.Kiwi has requested comment from FIANZ and the Human Rights Commission. At the time of publication, no comments had been received.

The Human Rights Commissioner responded yesterday:

Intolerant religious speeches are not welcome here – Dame Susan Devoy

The Human Rights Commission says an Auckland man’s speeches condemning Jewish people are appalling and have no place in New Zealand.

“We live in one of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth as well as one of the most peaceful: this is because we are a tolerant nation,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“This kind of intolerance is not welcome here in any form: Prejudice against Jewish people has no place in New Zealand.” Videos of speeches delivered by Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib at the Manukau mosque have been widely viewed online.

“We urge Kiwis to recognise that these are the views of a single person and are not held by every single Muslim New Zealander, however questions need to be answered,” said Dame Susan.

“We’ve been in touch with the leaders of the NZ Jewish Council as well as the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), both of whom are deeply concerned about the speeches. We have asked for an urgent response from FIANZ.”

This puts the FIANZ in a difficult position, and also puts ordinary New Zealand Muslims art risk of a backlash.

An appropriate response from FIANZ is crucial.

It needs to be made clear that what Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib has been saying is inappropriate in New Zealand and is potentially very damaging.

It must be made clear that tolerance of people associated with religions – including Jews and Muslims – is an essential quality of New Zealand society.

UPDATE: The Islamic Women’s Council  of New Zealand has responded:

<blockquote>The Administration Council of the Islamic Women’s Council would like to respond to the video containing clips of speeches posted online by Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib.

Firstly, regarding the comments directed towards Jewish people, these are totally inappropriate and we unequivocally condemn any divisive comments of a similar nature. While we may disagree with aspects of Jewish theology, and may have political disagreements, we see the Jewish people as closely connected to us through the Abrahamic tradition. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had good relationships with his Jewish neighbours & encouraged Muslims to do the same. We are permitted to eat their kosher food, and we offer them our respect. We regularly extend our hand in friendship to the Jewish community in New Zealand, and will continue to do so.

IWCNZ is particularly sensitive to the views represented by the comments towards women. The approach shown is a religious misinterpretation, in our opinion, and we are disappointed that certain religious leaders may encourage this damaging rhetoric. We would like to note that Muslim women are and have always been active inside and outside their households, contributing socially and financially to the community. IWCNZ takes pride in being an example of this and of offering a platform for the independent voice of Muslim Women in New Zealand.</blockquote>

“Israel is run by evil people”

Comments at Kiwiblog include some extreme views at times. Like this:

On Israel Reid thinks it’s a Satanic creation using a Satanic symbol on it’s flag, and that Israel is behind all the world’s problems and behind all the world’s terrorism, including Islamic terrorism.

Israel is run by evil people. It was founded by evil people. The evil people deliberately allowed Hitler to do what he did to the European Jews in order to encourage them to populate Israel after the war. The evil people set Israel up because they are going to destroy it. Then they can turn to the people of the world and say: look, your God doesn’t exist, or if He does, He’s obviously not very good at being God, because He just stood aside and let his own people be destroyed. Now here is our lovely peacemaker, who some wicked people call the anti-Christ, but he’s really not that at all, and look at how he brought world peace, after all that conflict, during which, in part, Israel was destroyed.

And the evil people are doing this because they are working for their king, who happens to be Satan.

None of this makes Jews evil. It makes the people who commit evil acts in their name, evil.

This is a clear and obvious distinction no-one but a moron would have trouble understanding.

That expression is enabled by David Farrar’s very liberal approach to allowing free speech. While it’s on his blog I’m fairly sure it in no way represents his views given his Jewish background.

The comment is currently on 1 up tick and 13 down ticks, and there has been substantial comment, mostly criticism, of it in the thread that follows.