The Non-Believers’ 10 Commandments

Etching of Moses holding the Ten commandments over his head as lightening flashes overhead and people flee in fear below him

Religious believers often ask where non-believers get their morals without God. This is ironic, because to the non-believer, all religions are tantamount to mythologies. So to them, it’s like being asked, “Where do you get your morals, if you don’t believe in mythology?”

The answer lies in the question, because if all religious rules were written by men, then the only way anyone has ever defined any moral rules was by making them up. That doesn’t mean no rules have any value. The value of a rule isn’t determined by who says it, or how they came by it, but by how useful it is.

For example, it’s no accident that multiple religions and governments all around the world had already invented the rule, “Do not murder,” before the authors of the 10 Commandments. Anybody tasked with making rules for a society would immediately come to the logical conclusion that forbidding murder should be one of the first rules on the list.

At the same time, the authors of the 10 Commandments also list human beings as things that can be legally owned as property, but any rational person would come to the immediate conclusion that legalizing slavery dishonors the value of life and should be forbidden.

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17

Nobody speaks for God. Every moral rule you’ll ever encounter was created by existentially lost humans, but that doesn’t mean we’re helpless. We all have cosmic supercomputers inside our skulls, and rules are nothing more than guidelines or best practices for accomplishing goals. So if you can use your brain to figure out that people should wear safety goggles when operating a table saw, you can invent useful rules for any and every aspect of your life.

If you don’t know where to start, try looking at other people’s rules and finding what you like or dislike in them. Use that as a springboard to developing your own list of life’s best practices. You can start by constructively criticizing mine:

  1. All life is infinitely valuable. Treat it accordingly.

You don’t need God to tell you all life is infinitely valuable. Even if there’s not enough evidence floating around the universe to deduce why life exists, there’s enough evidence lying in plain sight, a child could come to the conclusion that all life is infinitely valuable.

The universe may seem like a savage, cruel place, but that’s just because it’s indifferent. The universe is operating on autopilot, and it might seem like the universe is out to get you when it runs you over, but if you step back and look at the grand design, you’ll find so much elegance and perfection you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that the universe is too elegant and genius for a human being to comprehend.

From what we know, the universe shouldn’t even exist at all, let alone life. Yet we live in a universe that has been meticulously designed to sprout life on giant, spinning balls of compressed matter that perpetually rearrange themselves according to fixed rules. The universe is an inexplicable life machine that shouldn’t exist. Every living thing is lucky to be here, and we only have a flicker of time to make the most of the privilege. Value life according to its rarity, elegance and the amount of work that went into creating it. Treat your life and others accordingly.

  1. Your life is your responsibility.

The universe is not out to get you or help you any more than it already has by giving you the universe and the tools to make the most out of your life. You don’t deserve, and will not receive, any miracles, bargains or any other entitlements from the universe.

You may receive aid and instruction from people, but you’re not entitled to any. Society doesn’t owe you anything you haven’t signed a contract for. The responsibility to make sure your life is good and complete, falls entirely on your shoulders.

  1. You are lost. It’s up to you to find life’s purpose.

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but you have all the tools necessary to find answers, and ultimately, purpose, in life. Your life will only be as effective and meaningful as the purpose you live towards. Nobody can decide your purpose for you, though many will try. You must find it yourself for it to be yours. Choosing not to find purpose is choosing to live without it.

  1. Consider and honor the cost/benefit analysis of your actions.

The value of your actions are determined by how productively they accomplish a goal. Ultimately, the value of all actions are relative to how productively they fulfill the meaning of life. Whatever you do, ask yourself if the benefit to the end goal outweighs the cost. Take risks at your discretion, but always honor the cost/benefit analysis of your actions.

  1. Never stop learning and studying.

You are your mind. The quality and quantity of your mind is relative to the information inside it. Never stop learning and teaching yourself so that you may never stop growing.

  1. Think rationally.

Mastering the art of thinking is a moral imperative, because every mental and physical action you’ll ever perform are based on decisions you calculate in your mind. The more effective your reasoning skills are, the more effective you’ll be at everything.

  1. Put everything you learn to the test of truth.

Nothing is true by divine authority. The truth of a fact is determined only by the quality of the evidence supporting it. So question everything, especially your answers, because the more reality-based your beliefs are, the more effective they’ll be in the real world.

  1. Find and define yourself

Some aspects of your personality were set at birth, and others you get to pick. Discover what makes you who you are, decide who you want to be, and then become that person. The more you, you are, the more you exist, and the more able you are to fulfill your purpose. The less you, you are, the less you exist.

  1. Take care of your body.

Your mind and body are parts of the same machine. The better you take care of your body, the better your mind and body can do what they’re designed to do. The less care you take of your body, the less you can do and the harder everything is.

  1. Enjoy the moment.

No one knows why we’re here or what happens after death, but we do know we’re here now. If we can’t know anything else about life, we know the current moment is an opportunity to enjoy yourself. No one has found any irrefutable reasons why we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves. If you take nothing else from this life, find ways to take joy out of it before it’s too late.

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Believing in Christianity is always absurd, but more so for certain ethnic groups.

It’s absurd for anyone to believe in Christianity, because Christianity is mythology, and you don’t have to be a genius to prove it. Children are famous for pointing out the holes in Christianity. There are so many, an entire branch of academics had to be created to account for them all. It had to be, because you can’t believe in Christianity without using speculation and logical fallacies to explain everything in the Bible that contradicts reality.

At least half of all Caucasian Americans, African Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and Latinos believe in Christianity. I couldn’t find an exact number for Native Americans, but it’s definitely higher than zero. It’s historically absurd for any member of these groups to believe in Christianity, because Christianity was spread to their races specifically for the purpose of erasing their culture and controlling their communities.

It doesn’t take a genius or conspiracy theorist to come to this conclusion. It’s the theme of Judaism and Christianity’s history. The Torah is mostly a timeline of the Jewish state’s creation and expansion, which officially began with Moses uniting the factions of his tribe under one religion, driving out all other beliefs, customs and competition. The story ends after thousands of years of military expansion and ethnic cleansing.

"This is what the Lord Almighty says... 'Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'" 1 Samuel 15:3

The only reason the leaders of the Jewish theocracy stopped adding lists of victories and biographies of their kings to the Torah is because the Romans conquered Israel. Since Israel’s government leaders were also its religious leaders, their religious authority died with their political power.

The occupying Romans had a much more fluid attitude towards religion than the Jews. They already had experience reducing civil unrest by absorbing religions and spreading their own. In fact, they were the world’s leading experts in expansion and oppression.

That’s why there was so much civil unrest in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. The Romans were trying to force their government and culture on the Jewish people, who were decended from generations of militant religious fanatics who believed God had been smiting their enemies for thousands of years. The zealousness and ferociousness of the Jewish resistance fighters earned them a reputation in Rome as formidable opponents who would never surrender.

It’s beyond convenient that the story of Jesus began circulating through Israel at this time. Jesus claimed to be Yahweh incarnate, and had come to Earth in human form for the first time in history, to change His covenant with the Jews. He no longer wanted Jews to expand Israel by military force. He wanted them to accept foreigners as brothers and let Roman soldiers slap them.

It’s also telling that the author of the Bible made it a point to blame Jesus’s murder on the Jews, and absolve the Roman government of any crime. The chances of anyone associated with the Jewish religion writing those words after The Siege of Masada, is slim to none, but the practicality of a Roman writing those words is obvious.

The Jewish insurrection ended as Christianity gained popularity. Within a few hundred years of Christianity’s invention, the leaders in Rome made Christianity the official state religion and published the official version of the New Testament. Then their church leaders added a million more rules outside of the Bible in the form of church doctrine, still claiming the same divine authority they canonized the New Testament with. The chances of the creator of the universe completely reversing the theme of his commandments and abandoning his literal home on Earth in Jerusalem, which He meticulously described how to build, and moving to Rome to speak through Italians, is slim to none.

After Yahweh converted to Catholicism, churches were established in every European country, converting warring Pagans and barbarians into standardized, slap-accepting, Christian workers whose goal is life was to be servile and give God money. So when you read about white Christians oppressing minorities and erasing their culture, keep in mind that white European cultures were the first victims of Christian colonization.

Once Europe became Christian-ized, the Catholic church sent missionaries with explorers from every European country to spread Christianity to the new world. These explorers weren’t noble woodsmen who just wanted to make maps and build log houses. They had a very specific agenda to loot and plunder. In their own words, they viewed all the indigenous people they encountered as work animals to be yoked or vermin to be exterminated.

"The Indians are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone. they would make fine servants. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." Christopher Columbus

The chances of the church sending missionaries with looting murderers to save the souls of God’s children are slim to none. Even if that wasn’t the church’s intention, Christian culture still eroded indigenous cultures everywhere missionaries established churches.

Historian, Adriaan van Oss wrote, “If we had to choose a single, irreducible idea underlying Spanish colonialism in the New World, it would undoubtedly be the propagation of the Catholic faith. Unlike such other European as England or the Netherlands, Spain insisted on converting the natives of the lands it conquered to its state religion. Miraculously, it succeeded. Introduced in the context of Iberian expansionism, Catholicism outlived the empire itself and continues to thrive, not as an anachronistic vestige among the elite, but as a vital current even in remote mountain villages. Catholicism remains the principal colonial heritage of Spain in America. More than any set of economic relationships with the outside world, more even than the language first brought to America’s shores in 1492, the Catholic religion continues to permeate Spanish-American culture today, creating an overriding cultural unity which transcends the political and national boundaries dividing the continent.”

In many places, notably, Hawaii, the early British missionaries became wealthy land and slave owners while locals lost access to their hunting, fishing and gathering grounds. The more scarce their land rights became, the more scarce the necessities of life became, which made them proportionally more expensive. Since the job markets couldn’t grow on isolated islands, poverty and drug use became epidemic among Pacific islanders, and they still are today.

Since church attendence is too, Christian leaders are still stockpiling donation from the poorest of the hopeless. To be fair, not all island churches are rich, and many have outreach programs that help their community, but their efforts are lip service towards fixing the fundamental problem they helped create and continue to profit from.

As the world’s island nations were being turned into resource farms for Christian, European nations, so was mainland America. After the British empire lost control of its colonies, many of the Christian governments left in its wake, notably the United States of America, continued to use Christianity to justify slavery.

As much as African Americans still resent and fear slavery, the Bible still approves of slavery multiple times in both the Old Testament and New Testament. So slavery can only remain illegal in America as long as Americans don’t follow the teachings in the Bible.

"Slaves, obey your masters." Colossians 3:22

If a white man told an African American that slavery should be legal today, most people would agree the white guy had it coming if the black guy beat him up. However, when the Bible says slavery should be legal today, most African Americans ignore it or make excuses, even though those passages are the exact ones used to justify enslaving their ancestors.

After slavery ended, Jim Crow laws and Biblical-inspired racism kept African Americans living like second class citizens. To overcome living in a state of perpetual psychological oppression, the African American culture evolved to value racial empowerment and personal independence more zealously than white Americans, who didn’t have the same motivation to prove their worth.

African American culture’s attitude towards self-empowerment directly conflicts with the Bible’s philosophy of perpetual servility, self-loathing  and guilt. A black person wouldn’t accept a white person telling him he’s an unworthy dog, but there are black people with pictures of blonde hair, blue eyed, white Jesus hanging on their walls. And when He says to kneel, they do, just like many Vikings did.

Mexican Americans didn’t officially have to endure Biblical-inspired slavery, but they’ve been treated like slaves most of America’s history. Today, the crime, poverty and church attendance rates in their communities are almost equal to African Americans.

The Bible didn’t create poverty, capitalism did, but the Bible teaches beliefs and behaviors that stimulate poverty and make it harder to escape. The Bible is against birth control, but higher birth rates lead to higher crime rates. The Bible says, “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” but higher child abuse rates lead to higher crime rates. The Bible says divorce is immoral, but higher rates of dysfunctional relationships lead to higher domestic violence rates. The Bible says the poorer you are, the better it is to give more, but the only way to get out of poverty is to save money, and the less money you have, the worse every aspect of your life gets.

In order to be successful in a capitalist economy, you need confidence and education. The Bible indoctrinates you to believe you’re lucky God loves you, because you’ll never be good enough to deserve love. It also teaches you to believe stories that contradict scientific evidence, which sets you up to distrust logic and facts. And all the time you spend reading your Bible, praying and attending church functions, wastes time that could be used to succeed in life.

Poor people have been praying and giving money to God for centuries, and it hasn’t helped them out of poverty. It’s only made poverty worse. There’s enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that prayer doesn’t work. The Gospel of Prosperity doesn’t work. The Bible’s instructions on life don’t work.

The DSM-4 defines a mental disorder as, “A clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress or disability or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom.”

The DSM-5 defines a mental disorder as, “A syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning. Mental disorders are usually associated with significant distress in social, occupational, or other important activities.”

It’s counterproductive to give money to churches or practice Biblical beliefs. They both lead to emotional distress and dysfunctional behavior. And to continue believing in Christianity, you have to deny overwhelming evidence and use irrational logic; in other words, you have to think and behave in ways that fit the definition of insanity. It’s literally insane for anyone to believe in Christian mythology, but it’s poignantly ironic when the victims of Christianity’s cultural extermination campaigns do it.

I don’t say this in bitterness. It just tastes that way because it’s a bitter pill to swallow. The call to action these observations raise, is not to ridicule Christians. They need treatment, and the only cure for their condition is knowledge.

Most Christians don’t realize how absurd the Bible is, because they never read the whole thing. They only know and practice the parts they learned about in church. Nobody wants to accept that they’ve been basing their life on an ancient state-sponsored mythology, especially if they’re afraid of going to Hell. But you can only see so much evidence before you can’t unsee it. Once you see it, you’ll see it on every page of the Bible.

If the Bible is true, then it will stand the test of truth. In that case, the only thing to be gained from testing it is strengthening your beliefs. If there really is enough evidence in the Bible to prove it’s mythology, you stand to gain everything from looking for it.

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How do people choose which prophet to believe? Cognitive dissonance. That’s how.

Picture of Jesus and other famous religious leaders as they appear in the cartoon, South Park: Season 5 Episode 3

Consider everyone throughout history and around the world who have claimed to be prophets but weren’t/aren’t accepted by traditional Christians: Joseph Smith of the Latter-Day Saints, Muhammad of Islam, the Dali Lama of Buddhism, L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, etc., etc., etc.

Why do Christians discredit these individuals as being false prophets? Why not just have faith in any of them?  They all fail the test of reason. Christians understand that common sense tells you their stories were fabricated.They would tell you that all the other prophets’ stories are scientifically impossible based on what we know about how the universe operates. It’s obvious God didn’t give Joseph Smith magical golden plates. It’s obvious an angel riding a flying horse didn’t reveal Himself to Muhammad. It’s obvious the Dali Lama wasn’t reincarnated. It’s obvious L. Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer desperate for a pay check who wrote the most profitable fantasy story he could think of. Why is it obvious? Because God told us? No. Atheist and Christians alike all over the world have figured out that those stories aren’t historically accurate, because we put them to the test of reason and evidence and found the claims of false prophets lacking.

We know these things to be true, and yet when Christians look at their own religion they don’t practice what they preach. Take the apostle, Paul for example. Paul saw God on a journey from one place to another just like Muhammad. Afterwards magical scales formed on his eyes until he made it to the end of his journey where they were miraculously removed. Afterwards he was imbued with the authority of God, and angels helped him along his way. God even caused an earthquake to get him out of prison.

The double standard is obvious. Paul’s story is full of magical events that are impossible. Not only that, but his message is full of the same kind of culturally relative social standards that betray the humanity of other false prophets. God may be unknowable, but common sense tells us that the creator of the universe would never command us to kill the infidels any more than he would tell us that women aren’t allowed to speak in church or wear jewelry.

Think as critically about Jesus as you would Muhammed. Consider that we can’t conclusively prove anything Jesus did actually happened. We can’t even prove Jesus existed. Based on what we know about how the universe operates we know that all the magical events that supposedly happened to and around Jesus couldn’t have happened, and even though there was some wisdom in the words attributed to Jesus, he also promoted a lot of culturally relative social standards as well. What if Muhammad approved of slavery? Wouldn’t that betray the fact that he doesn’t speak for God? Well, Jesus approved of slavery. What if Muhammad started out his career as a prophet advocating racism and then halfway through his career said, “Wait a minute. Maybe racism is stupid.” Would anyone believe that God’s only prophet would be so daft? Yet that’s what Jesus did with the gentiles.

Even if you have faith in Paul and Jesus, you have to admit that believing in their stories doesn’t just require having passive faith that improvable events happened. Believing their stories requires you to actively believe in events that contradict reason and evidence. In order to maintain your belief in the face of evidence that contradicts them, you’ll have to find your own way to cope with the mental anxiety caused by cognitive dissonance.

Again, I don’t say this because I want to bash Christians. I want to point out that the Bible obviously isn’t the word of God so you can stop worrying about it. Do something enjoyable and productive with your life instead of prostrating yourself before the contradictory and oppressive dogma of a couple of manipulative megalomaniacs from a foreign culture who have been dead and gone for thousands of years.

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Religion 101: final exam

Poster saying, "Keep calm. It's time for the final exam."

Something that really bugs me about religion is that each religion says their book is the word of God, but they also tend to agree that God is unknowable and the wisdom of man is foolishness. Ironically, all the books that claim to be the word of God were written by men and are probably the best example in the world of the foolishness of men.

Even if we assume there is a God, and even if we assume that God is technically unknowable, there are still some common sense conclusions that any layman can come to about what God is not and what God would not do. For example, even though we can’t prove it, we can all agree that God is not a flying spaghetti monster, and God did not release Thetans that live in our bodies which cause us grief .

Any Jew, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu can agree with that without even having to check their holy book because it’s common sense. Well, since we’ve established that common sense is a reliable tool to determine what God is and is not, then let’s put a few religions to the test and see how likely it is that they represent the true word of God or merely represent the foolishness of man. Click on the link below. I promise it’s not a spam or virus site.

Religion 101: Final Exam

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Is god a lover or a fighter?

When I used to be a Christian, I struggled with the fact that The Bible seemed to portray God as having a split personality. Half the time He was angry and abusive, and half the time he was loving and forgiving. These are the characteristics of the two Gods I found in the Bible.

THE ANGRY GOD

"Do not spare them; put to death mean and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys. Love God." 1 Samuel 15:3

Angry God says humans are inherently disobedient and perverse. Every human has chosen to walk away from Angry God. Humans are like dogs that bite their master’s hand. Humans are filth in Angry God’s eyes and deserve to suffer for eternity, but Angry God will forgive us and accept us unconditionally as long as we believe and obey the following conditions:

1. You must believe in God’s existence.

2. You must not call God any other name except “God.”

3. You must honor and obey God’s spokesmen.*

  • We are all equal in God’s eyes except for His spokesmen, who are more equal.
  • The only humans who can know God’s will are His spokesmen.
  • God’s laws are perfect and unchanging. The only people who can change His laws are His spokesmen.
  • The only humans who have the authority to pass God’s judgment are His spokesmen.
  • You must never question God’s spokesmen.
  • You must give all your money to God’s spokesmen.
  • You must never harm anyone unless commanded by God’s spokesmen.

7. Pleasure is basically forbidden..

8. Suffering and subjugation is the highest form of worship.

9. You can get closer to God (but never all the way into His presence) through prayer and rituals.

THE LOVING GOD

Image of words in the Bible that say, "God is love."

According to other passages in The Bible, God is portrayed as a Loving Pacifist who just wants to be friends.

  • Humans are God’s children, and God loves Its children more than anything.
  • God created humans separate from It so that we may have free will, which gives meaning to our choices.
  • All humans were/are/will be created equal and have equal access to God.
  • There are no more mortal spokesmen for God.
  • The way to be good person is as follows:
    • 1. Have faith..
    • 2. Treat everyone like you love them..

That’s a huge flipflop in attitude for an infinite, all powerful being to have. The simplest explanation for how that’s possible is that the Yahweh isn’t the creator of the universe. Yahweh is a philosophy invented by ancient theocrats who were trying to figure out what rules to live by.

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The Agnostic’s God

Picture of a beautiful galaxy in space above the words, "Agnosticism: There is more going on than we are fully aware of, but only the arrogant claim to know precisely what it is and only the ignorant dismiss it without consideration. There is no truth, only human opinion."

Life is a mystery that each of us is confronted with at birth. The quality and meaningfulness of your existence will be directly proportional to the extent to which you unravel the mystery of life. Choosing not to even attempt to unravel the mystery cedes all control of your fate.  Choosing to put a halfhearted effort into unraveling the mystery will result in a life half lived. Choosing to devote your life to understanding life will result in a life well understood…or at least, a life as well understood as possible, and that will result in a life lived as well as possible.

If you want to understand anything, the best place to start is usually the beginning. Applying that simple rule to understanding life will take you all the way back to the beginning of time where you’ll find a pivotal question: What created the universe?

We know the universe began with the Big Bang (though you can call it whatever you’d like), but what catalyst set the Big Bang in motion? Was it simply the nature of the universe or was it caused by the action of a sentient entity? This question makes all the difference because the implications build up exponentially to the point that the question is as important as life and death.

So let’s take an objective look at the issue. On one hand, the universe exists, and its structure and function are both marvels of perfect mathematical elegance. It’s been argued that if you find a watch in the desert you can assume that there must have been a watchmaker who designed it. A valid point except for the fact that we’ve explored all the deserts on earth and peered across the boundaries of our galaxy, but we haven’t found a watchmaker anywhere. At this point it’s reasonable to assume that there might not be a watchmaker anywhere to be found.

However, you could take the watchmaker analogy a step further and say that we’ve found intelligent beings (ourselves) and that the existence of an intelligent being necessitates that an intelligent creator predated the intelligent creation. That’s possible, but it raises the question, if we needed an intelligent creator to create us then wouldn’t the original creator require an intelligent creator Himself?

Eventually both sides of the argument cancel each other out. The only way a creator could exist is if He existed forever or He created Himself, but if you can believe that then it would take an equal amount of faith to believe that the universe either existed forever or created itself.

You could continue making logical arguments for and against the existence of God all day long, but the fact remains that we don’t know what happened before the Big Bang. Ultimately we don’t know how or why the universe was created. So we can’t say for certain that God does or does not exist. To declare either side true or false would be an act of speculative faith.

So where does that leave us? Well, the fact of the matter is that we’re still alive, and the quality and meaningfulness of our lives still depend on understanding life as well as possible. Just throwing our hands up in the air and quitting will still only result in ceding control of our fate. So the only real option is to proceed cautiously and objectively with what little information we have. In other words, the best thing we can do at this point is to make both assumptions: that there is a God and that there isn’t.

The universe may have been created by a sentient being, but if it was, that being has chosen not to show Himself to us or communicate with us. So we have no idea what that being’s nature or intentions are.

To assume the existence of a being we know nothing about would be pointless. So if we’re going to assume the existence of a creator we need to take the next step and make some kind of assumption about His nature and intentions.

There are 3 ways we can proceed with making these assumptions:

1. Trust other people’s statements about God.

There are a few points to take into consideration before trusting other people’s statements about God. First and foremost, we need to ask ourselves what makes anyone an authority to speak about God? Before you answer that question though, don’t ask it with only one religion in mind. This question applies to all religions and prophets. This is a vital and fundamental issue that believers of any one religion tend to dismiss with a shamefully irresponsible lack of due diligence. If you don’t apply the question, “How do we determine which prophet (and thus, which religion) truly speaks for God?” objectively to every religion then you end up turning a blind eye to certain religions and give them a benefit of the doubt they don’t deserve. Ultimately that means you give certain religions power over you that they don’t deserve. You owe it to yourself to think about this question seriously.

Anyone can claim to be an authority on God, but what gives their claim authenticity? A personal claim is satisfactory if you’re taking advice on which vacuum cleaner to buy, but when it comes to speaking for the creator of the universe and decreeing how we should live our only life we need more evidence than that, especially since every prophet’s claim has to compete against every other prophet’s claim.

Exercising Godlike power would be pretty convincing, but nobody can do that. There are stories about this happening in the past, but none of those stories come from sources that pass even the minimum reputability test of a mere professional scientific journal. At any rate, there are stories from competing religions in which competing prophets claim to have used the power of God. How do we reconcile these competing claims? We could assume that they’re all true. We could assume that they’re all false, or we could assume that none of them are reliable enough to take into consideration.

The fact that no miracles have been recorded since the invention of modern recording devices points directly to the conclusion that no miracles have ever happened. However, even if we do give the benefit of doubt to the existence of miracles, we still have no reliable way to tell which ones actually happened. So the only logical conclusion is to dismiss them all as valid evidence.

If we can’t determine which prophet speaks the truth by their actions we can at least measure which ones speak falsely by their words. It’s reasonable to assume that any prophet who speaks with the authority of the creator of the universe wouldn’t make any faulty statements about the nature of the universe. Unfortunately, every religion makes shamefully amateur inaccurate statements about the scientific nature of the universe.

Another fact that should raise suspicion about the authenticity of a prophet is if his/her moral codes can be directly tied to the moral standards of the society that produced the prophet. Again, this is something every prophet in history is guilty of.

Another major warning sign that prophets aren’t reliable spokesmen for the creator of the universe is if a prophet’s teachings result in him/her fulfilling base, human desires for things such as money, power and/or prestige. Again, every prophet in history has reaped these convenient rewards from their ministry. Sure, some of them died penniless, but to a megalomaniac that’s a small price to pay to be worshiped for centuries.

Here’s what it boils down to. In the universe we live in, the simplest answer is usually the correct one. The simplest, most elegant, most reliable explanation of every religion men have written books about is that…they were written by men…just men…relating their limited understanding of the universe and their personal and cultural biases while hiding their ignorance and their selfish motives behind terroristic threats and unaccountable promises.

2. Trust your own intuition

If trusting other people’s statements about God is unreliable, we can still rely on our intuition. However, there are several problems with feeling “led” to the one true religion. First is the inconvenient fact that people have felt led to believe in every opposing religion. So how can you be sure that everyone else was led by a deceiving force and you were led by a reliable force? You can’t.

The simplest, most elegant, most reliable explanation for why God abandoned everyone but you is that your emotions were the force that led you to your beliefs, not God. If you look at yourself introspectively and honestly enough you’ll find familiarity, anger, fear, anxiety, hope and a selfish desire for security led you to your decision to pick one religion over the others. Familiarity, anger, fear, anxiety, and hope aren’t good reasons to pick a vacuum cleaner much less a scientific explanation of the physical universe and a moral code that will control your entire life.

Still though, you might stand firm in the belief that you felt something so real and powerful that it couldn’t be anything other than the power of God at work in your life. To that I would reply that Friedrich Nietzsche put it best when he said, “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” You could also compare feeling led to your religion to the single-minded irrationality of the first time you were in love. The first time you had a junior high crush didn’t you believe with all your heart that you felt something so strong it had to be the most real thing in the world? Our minds are designed to latch onto ideas that make us feel good in the moment despite the reality of the situation. For all these reasons, intuition doesn’t qualify as valid evidence for anything other than our ability to delude ourselves.

3. Draw conclusions from physical evidence.

The only logical way to make any assumptions about the nature or intentions of God is to draw conclusions from the physical evidence, which is to say, the physical universe. All we have to understand the Watchmaker who left His watch in the desert is the watch itself…that and the fact that the Watchmaker is nowhere to be found.

Here are a few things we know about the universe:

There’s no physical evidence of divine intervention in the form of rewards, punishment, protection or favors. There’s no physical evidence of magic or other nonphysical powers. There’s no physical evidence of angels or demons. There’s no physical evidence of God speaking through prophets, and if there is a God, He doesn’t reveal Himself in any way that’s recognizable, which we assume He could do if He chose to.

Here are a few more things we know:

The universe operates according to cause and effect. The universe is designed mathematically. Human beings possess the capacity for logic. The circle of life is that all living things are born, grow and die.

All of these facts point to the conclusion that God has left us to stand or fall on our own. From one point of view this makes God seem callous and uncaring, but from another point of view it makes sense.

Before I guess why that may be, I need to start with this observation: An all powerful being doesn’t need humans for anything. We can’t do anything for Him that He couldn’t Himself…except be ungrateful. So it’s unlikely that God created us for His sake. If God didn’t create us for Him then He must have created us for us. Further more, from a purely scientific point of view, what would change in the universe if all life disappeared all of a sudden? Nothing. The universe would go on spinning without noticing a difference. So if we don’t serve any purpose outside of ourselves in the physical universe then why do we exist? If the only thing our existence benefits is us then we must have been created for our own sake.

God might have created us for our sake. Great. If God cared about us to go through all the trouble to creating us then why didn’t create us in a universe with no pain or sadness? You could also word that sentence this way: “Why is God such a dick?”

God gets a lot of criticism from people who want their asses wiped for them, but what happens when human adults coddle their children? Their children grow up weak and can’t survive on their own much less grow up to fulfill their full potential. The freedom to make your own choices gives meaning to your success, but it also carries the burden of suffering the consequences of your choices.

Let me make this absolutely clear: Bad things happen to good people because shit happens and nobody is going to wipe your ass for you. This doesn’t necessarily mean God is spiteful or indifferent. God probably loves us. After all, He went through the trouble of creating and sustaining us. God just loves us enough to let us grow up on our own. And if we view life from this perspective there’s no need for God to reward or punish us for our choices. Our successes in life is its own reward, and our failure is its own punishment.

This raises the question, what are we supposed to do now that we’re here? What constitutes success and failure in life? Well, let’s look back at the watch and see if we can use it to reverse engineer an answer to the question, “What use is this piece of junk?”

What does any life form do? All life is born, grows and dies. We don’t have any control over when we’re born. There are limits on how much control we have over when we die. Between those two points, the question of life is, “To grow or not to grow.” The only difference between plants and humans is that humans have the added burden/blessing of growing their minds as well as their bodies.

Think about it, don’t human parents love their children and want them to grow up and live a successful life? Yes. Would a good parent kill their child for doing poorly at life? No. Would a good parent torture their child or allow their child to be tortured for doing poorly at life if the parent could prevent it? No. Life is about growing up. It’s not about being judged and punished.

Now, you’re never going to be able to grow to your potential as an individual unless you accurately understand reality. That means figuring out truth…for yourself. Look at the universe. It was designed by a stoic mathematician who gave you a mind capable of critical thinking. If you want to walk the path of God then do what you were designed to do and think for yourself.

Here’s something else to think about: If God is truth then wouldn’t anyone who speaks objective truth arrived at through logical thought be speaking with the authority of God? If so then that would also mean that anyone who opposes critical thinking (and thus opposes truth) opposes truth opposes God. It could be so, but don’t get carried away with this and assume I’m saying that anyone who took Intro to Logic should walk around congratulating themselves as a saint and a prophet. From a scientific point of view, we can’t know when we’re speaking truth. Einstein put it best when he said, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right. A single experiment can prove me wrong.” We can never be sure we know the truth about anything, but we can be sure we’re wrong when sufficient evidence is presented. So even if we speak the truth we would be fools to claim to speak with the authority of God.

But that doesn’t mean we should just give up and shit in our hands. You can do something. You can learn something. You can figure something out. That means you should try, because trying to arrive at truth translates into trying to live. The more truth you understand the more you’ll grow. The more you grow the more truth you can understand.

So if there is a God then you should seek to understand the universe. You should seek to understand yourself. You should seek to understand what you can be come and then seek to become that. Do those things and not only will you live a quality and meaningful life but you’ll fulfill the purpose for which your Parent gave birth to you. Aside from that, help others to do the same, and don’t hinder anyone from fulfilling their potential. Aside from that, exercise your free will to choose how you want to enjoy life without worrying about the haphazard moral standards of any archaic, brutal, tribal, warring theocracies that heaped untold wealth, power and prestige on their scientifically ignorant leaders.

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How can the universe and life exist without God? What’s the purpose?

Agnostic Atheist = I don't believe any God exists, but I'm not claiming that I might be wrong. Gnostic Atheist = I don't believe any God exists, and I know they don't exist. Agnostic Theist = I believe there is a God, but I'm not really sure. Gnostic Theist = I believe there is a God, and I know God exists.

Can the universe and life have meaning if there’s no God? If there is, the only way we’re going to find it is by analyzing the physical universe and seeing what clues it holds.

In this universe everything happens because of cause and effect, and every naturally occurring event can be broken down into mathematics. Thus, every cause in nature can be viewed as an equation, and every effect in nature can be viewed as the solution to that equation. Now, if we trace the cause and effect equation of the universe all the way back to the beginning I suspect the equation will reduce itself to the simplest mathematical equation possible: 1 or 0? You could also represent the equation as, “on or off?” If you want to be poetic about it you could represent the equation as, “To be or not to be?”

If that was indeed the original equation, we know the answer was 1. If the existence of the universe was the solution to a mathematical equation, then the structure of the universe would also be the solution to a mathematical equation, though the solution to that equation is as extensive and intricate as the universe itself.

But how could this be? Wouldn’t God need to exist in order to formulate these equations, to solve them and to apply the solution? Well, wouldn’t 2+2 still equal 4 even if nobody were there to ask or answer that question?

Let me propose a radical theory. Try to imagine the universe before the Big Bang where nothing, not even the laws of nature existed. The only thing that existed was potential. That potential begged the question of existence, and the mere possibility of the question’s existence made the question a reality. Once that question came into existence it begged the next question, and then the next and then the next. In a moment or possibly over the course of infinity (which would have been impossible to distinguish the difference between at that “time”) every possible equation came into existence. After every possible calculation unfurled an answer was reached. Then, by its mere potential to exist it became a reality…and there was a Big Mathematical Bang that unfurled a big, mathematical universe that reflected the mathematical nature of its origins. On a side note, I can also imagine that just before the final answer was reached an infinite number of potential universes flickered in and out of existence as all but one solution were posed and then ruled out by the inherent mind/program/nature of the universe.

Now, based on the scenario I just posed you could infer that the calculation of the universe was the mind of God at work, and surely, if you make the definition of the word “God” vague enough and reverse engineer its definition to fit the evidence at hand then yes, you could say that God created the universe. However, this is more of a problem for traditional theists than it is for atheists because this God doesn’t leave you with anything to worship other than impersonal mathematics. It doesn’t leave you with any source for moral codes other than your own logic, and it doesn’t leave you with anyone to be held accountable to other than yourself. In fact, the concept of God becomes completely redundant.

I’m not saying that this is the Great, One and Only Answer to All Things. What it is, is a theoretical explanation for how the universe could have come into existence without the presence of a traditional God. And even if the creation part of this scenario doesn’t pan out to be true, the picture of the universe it paints after the Big Bang fits all the evidence we’ve observed in nature.

Now, with a mathematical view of the universe in mind, let’s look at the question of life. The first thing that must be said about life is that in a mathematical universe in which nothing happens outside of cause and effect, the existence of life couldn’t possibly be an accident. If we assumed that it was then we may as well also assume that the freezing point of water accident and the rotation of planets are accidental. However, everything that happens in the universe is bound by the laws of nature. It would fit the scientific nature of the universe more elegantly to assume that the existence of life was the solution to a mathematical equation that fits into the inherent mathematical design of the universe that has existed (at least) since the Big Bang.

I believe scientists will eventually reverse engineer our DNA to the point where they can unlock the equation of how life exists. Once we do that, we’ll be able to engineer (“engineer” would be a more accurate term than “create”) new life forms out of inanimate matter. There are some exciting implications to that statement, but the main reason I bring that up is to point out that answer the question “How was life created?” is just a matter of details. The big question is “Why was life created?”

If God existed, we could learn about Him by listening to His self-proclaimed spokesmen or try to deduce clues to his nature and motives by analyzing the universe He created, but in the end all our theorizing might be completely wrong. There’s no way to know for sure. If the universe we live in is absurd, romantic or nihilistic then all our theories about the meaning of existence would be equally void. The best case scenario to build a reasonable theory about the meaning of existence is in a mathematically designed, scientific universe in which God does not exist.

It just so happens that all the empirical evidence points to the conclusion that we live in a mathematically designed, scientific universe. Immediately that tells us that life has some kind meaning, because nothing happens in this universe without a cause, and there can’t be a cause without some sort of reason.

What makes deducing a logical explanation for the meaning of life is its simplicity, not its complexity. If you want to understand the purpose of life then just take life out of the equation. What would change if life didn’t exist? Nothing. We serve no purpose outside of ourselves. So our purpose must be to accomplish something that serves no other purpose outside of us.

It would be illogical to conclude that the meaning of life is to reproduce. If the meaning of your life is to have a baby, and the meaning of that baby’s life is to have a baby, and the meaning of that baby’s life is to have another baby then the process keeps delaying purpose to infinity. So the purpose of our existence must be something immediate. Also, mathematically speaking, every human being is the same. The reason for one person’s existence must be the same as everyone’s. More to the point, mathematically speaking, every living thing is the same. So the reason for one living thing’s existence must be the same as every other. So the meaning of life must be something personal, immediate and universal.

On one level we can say that the meaning of existence is to exist. That is to say that existence is not a means to an end, it’s an end in and of itself. You’re here to experience existence. What does that mean you should do with your life though? Sit on your roof and stare at the clouds all day? Not necessarily, because the more your mind and body grows the more acutely you’ll be able to experience existence. This goes for all living things. Everything is born, grows and dies. The big difference between humans and other living creatures is that we can choose whether or not to grow. That’s your freedom, but choosing not to grow will defeat the purpose of existing. And if all this work went into creating this incredible universe to give you the opportunity to grow we can deduce it must be a very important goal, the accomplishment of which is its own reward.

So what does this mean? That there’s some ghost in the machine that has decided to create living beings who can experience their own existence out of the goodness of its computation? That’s one possibility, but remember that we sprouted from the universe and are made of the same stuff the rest of the universe is made of. We’re not children of the universe. We are the universe. The matter in our bodies has existed since the Big Bang, and the logical structure of our bodies that allows us to be self-aware was formulated before the Big Bang. We’re the spirit of the universe. We’re the eyes and ears of the universe.

We exist because we’re the fulfillment of the universe’s calculation that it is good to be alive, aware, and posses an individual identity with individual wants. “We” have been working on fulfilling the meaning of life since before the Big Bang and through the cooling of the universe. We finished 99% of the work when we were born. Now all we have left to do is grow and be ourselves. See, that wasn’t so complicated.

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