Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Don't Understand Atheistic Humanitarianism

I love satire. Even if what's being ridiculed is something I hold dear I still appreciate it. Everyone and everything needs to be put into a fresh perspective once in a while, and anything of worth should hold up under scrutiny.

I recently stumbledupon the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

If you are unfamiliar with The Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarians enlighten yourself, or the short story is that this "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" was started as a way to poke fun at the idea of Intelligent Design when there was a move to teach it alongside the theory of Evolution.

While I disagree with the views held by Pastafarians, I appreciate people believing in something enough to take action. In fact it would seem that something positive has come out of this satirical movement (RAmen?). The believers and followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have not only formed their own Kiva group , but have donated nearly$100,000.

If you don't know what Kiva is, it's a microloan organization putting those who have money to loan in touch with people in developing areas who need small business loans.

While I greatly appreciate what Pastafarians are doing for business owners in impoverished areas, I am a bit confused by their motives, which seem to me a contradiction in beliefs. What confuses me is the fact that a group that supports the theory of evolution would begin their own Kiva group.

I think I should mention that I'm making somewhat of a dangerous leap here and am assuming that most people who would call themselves to be follwers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are in fact Atheists. Maybe this is an unsafe assumption, but it would seem that the belief in evolution typically goes hand in hand with Atheism. I apologize if these assumptions are unfounded and wrong, if there are individuals that fall outside of this generalization, or if you genuinely worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

At the core of the theory of evolution lies the key principle of natural selection or "survival of the fittest". I don't understand how someone who would hold this as truth would consider financing a microloan to someone in the developing world.

If I whole heartedly subscribed to the idea of evolution I certainly wouldn't want to give a competing member of my species an advantage at the limited resources of our planet. With overpopulation looming on the horizon what good would it do me to support those people? Even if you bring up the point of developed nations having lower birthrates, you are still supplying a competing member of your species. Clearly if you are in the position where you have money to give you have made it to the top of the food chain and should only be worrying about perpetuating your own victorious genes. I would be interested to know if there are any other species of animal that gives up its resources in order to support other nonlocal members of its species.

The only reason I can imagine for doing this is some sort of moralityor human decency which seem to me to have no place in the theory of evolution.

Why would a group of people dedicated to satirizing theists end up behaving in the very way perscribed by the major branches of theism to act? Isn't that alone worth investigating the possibility of ID? After all, human behavior is much more tangible and quantifiable than evolutionary biology.

Again I appreciate the sentiment behind this satirical movement, not to mention the fact that I love whole heartedly each individual who subscribes to it, but I think the contradiction of ideas shines light on true reality.

For some reason we care about each other, not to mention that we have the need to belong and feel important. It's hard for me to believe that the impulses I feel to help people would be something that I gained from natural selection.

The Problem with Atheists and Christians

One of my friends recently posted a link on Facebook to a blog post called "Then What Do You Believe?" written by an Atheist criticizing Christianity and attempting to lay out a broad sense of what it means to be an Atheist.

Setting aside the condescending tone of the piece, I have a few problems with the points made which reflect problems I have with Atheism on the whole.

The first problem I have is that the writer makes the claim: "...atheism has no doctrine, set of core values, or even shared vision of the world..." and that "...atheism implies nothing besides a lack of theistic belief..." Now, this may all very well be true. I understand that "Atheist" is a simply a label and that any people group falling under such a broad label is going to be diverse.

I think the writer's line of thinking here fails to recognize something very important though: Atheists DO have at least one core value.

If you consider yourself an Atheist you subscribe to the fact that there is no deity or higher power. Obviously this still includes a wide spectrum of people, but rather than putting one's own faith into a higher power it is being put into one's own self. Clearly it is easy to have faith in one's self and one's own understanding, they are things we experience on a second to second basis, but faith is most definitely still involved.

This brings me the second problem I have with the piece. At the end of the entry the writer makes a list of values to better help the reader understand what values make up their worldview, one which is a link to an entry called "Secular Humanist First, Atheist Second."

In this post the writer discusses that logic and reason has led them to Atheism via a firm belief in secular humanism and goes on to talk about how science confirms his faith in Atheism.

My problem with this is that over the course of history science has proven itself wrong time and time again. In the past thousand years alone there have been frequent paradigm shifts showing time and time again that we know very little about anything, yet within every paradigm there is the thought that science is done and that we know everything there is to know.

I've been through a process where I logically weighed out what I believe, and I agree with this writer's thoughts on secular humanism for the most part, but to me it would be illogical to put my faith in science because it is so fickle.

(I also have a problem with the place where science coupled with Atheism leads, which I will address in another entry).

Now, the writer does touch on some very excellent points: most Christians (in my experience) have no idea what they believe or why they believe it and even if they do their actions would not reflect their beliefs, Christian Extremeism is dangerous, "Christians" are often intolerant of other faiths (especially Atheism), and science, reason and logic are important.

It's interesting to me that this writer picks out Christianity specifically to frame this piece. I would imagine that this is because the writer is in the United States and has had little to no contact with other faiths (understandably so), but I have to wonder if the writer's disdain for Christianity is stemming from a specific experience which would definitely alter their perception.

It breaks my heart that so many people misrepresent Christ, and I apologize on their behalf to any Atheist who has ever been mistreated because of their faith, but it also frustrates me that most Atheists feel that their faith is the superior one because they feel they have the market on logic and reason cornered, which isn't so (thanks to those who don't have this complex).

The problem with Atheists and Christians is that I have seen very little sincere conversation or attempt to build relationships. Both seem to be talking past the other thinking to themselves that the other is ignorant and naive.

At any point in a line of reasoning so complex as a belief system one must take a leap of faith in subscribing to whatever it is they believe. I've read books, researched and come to the logical conclusion that there must be a God. Another line of logic brought me to the conclusions that Jesus Christ is who he said he is.

Obviously in these conclusions science and logic could only bring me to a certain point and then I had to decide. I suppose I could have just as easily put my faith in Atheism, but even then science and logic would only bring me so far and then I still would have that same choice to make.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Switch

I switched over to wordpress: anthonytimlin.wordpress.com

Friday, January 23, 2009


I am currently reading a book called Why We're not Emergent by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. While I don't consider myself to be anti-Emergent (or Emergent for that matter), I thought it wise to examine this perspective as quite a bit of the media I take in is from people that could be considered to be a part of the “Emergent” movement. I have come across many excellent points in this book so far (though I think the book should have been titled Why We ARE Evangelical) but one point I came across really stood out to me.

DeYoung at one point is arguing against the Emergent church's portrayal of truth to be unstable as he feels they are constantly questioning doctrine and other foundational Christian truths. I believe the term he used to describe their version of truth was “squishy”. While I'm not sure if I agree with his point, he went on to say something that struck me as deeply profound. He explained that without strong convictions about who God is we are unable to submit fully to him.

We are unable to fully submit to something that we don't believe in.

Submission is a bad word in our culture. It has been abused time and time again in order for one person to gain power over another. Scripture about submission has been referenced in order to justify heinous acts against humanity. We need to be clear that when one person says to another “You must submit to me” that this is not submission. This is oppression. Let us no longer confuse the two: Submission is voluntary, oppression is not.

What would it look like to fully submit to God? What would it look like for Christ's bride (the Church) to fully submit to her spouse? What would it look like for us to submit to one another in such a way that we would put other's needs at the level of our own?

I don't think the answer to the problems we are facing as a church are going to be solved with a new movement or and old movement, but a unified submission to the will of God. I mean, that's what Jesus was all about right?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Of Love and Abortion

So I know this issue has been more or less talked to death, but I merely see arguments about how you should feel about the issue. I have yet to see a well thought out plan of how to address the situation. Because of this I am going to attempt to put together a praxis dealing with the issue.

If we could set aside our different approaches to the issue I think we may actually be able to agree on a solution. That is what I am going to work towards. I don't think I will have the answer but I would at least like to start the discussion.

If you know of any other praxes that I may have missed please let me know. Life is important to me and it is a very very complex issue. I'm just one voice in the discussion, but as soon as we speak we must act or we should shut our mouths.

–noun, plural prax⋅is⋅es, prax⋅es  /ˈpræksiz/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [prak-seez] Show IPA Pronunciation . 1. practice, as distinguished from theory; application or use, as of knowledge or skills.
2. convention, habit, or custom.
3. a set of examples for practice.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's like glass when we break

It breaks my heart to know how fragile relationships can be. I know that I don't know much and that I don't help the process of life along all the time, but I wish we could all just see how much we need each other.

I am here for you. Anyone whoever reads this ever please know that in whatever capacity I can serve you I will to the best of my God given ability.

I love you. Please try to love someone else as if they were you in another body, even if it's just one person. We can put this broken mess back together.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What I want my wedding to be like.



Also, I want my reception to be like the final scene from Return of the Jedi.