Dan Barker - On Needing A Personal God

I’ll admit my ignorance, before today I was unfamiliar with Dan Barker or his
Freedom From Religion Foundation. I stumbled on a short video of him responding to the typical scripture talk -
and it seemed such a clear concise formulation that I feel like trumpeting it around a little.
Hope you all don’t mind.
Anyone have any thoughts?
Incidentally, I’ve given it an introduction that relates faith-based thinking with denial of science over at my place.
Monday, July 14, 2014
The Unspoken Backbone of Climate Science Denial
http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com/2014/07/backbone-climate-science-denial.html

Dan Barker
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hpI-OdwxDw&feature=youtu.be
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<blockquote>2:15 - ... maybe there was this self-proclaimed messiah named Yeshua, ...
2:30 - But the things that he said were put into his mouth many many many many years later. One thing he said, if he said it, that I think is actually worthwhile.
<blockquote>He (Jesus) said: They who are a whole, those who are healthy don't go to a doctor.
It's only they who are sick.</blockquote>
Christians have a pessimistic view of human nature,
you (Kyle Butt) think human beings are sick and need a doctor to be fixed up,
you (Kyle Butt) think there's something wrong with us and we need to be "saved"
you (Kyle Butt) think that if we would submit to the doctor that he would heal us
But we atheist and agnostics don't view ourselves as sick, we don't view ourselves as sinners, we don't feel a conviction of wrong. We make mistakes, we don't buy into this supernatural mythological lie that you people are promoting that there's actually something spiritually wrong with humanity.
3:25 - Suppose you were convicted of a horrible crime, you were in prison, and then you learned that you were being released, 'wow, you'd feel free. Wow, I'm being saved, you'd feel wonderful and I would feel better too.
But what would make you feel better, knowing that you'd been released because of the good graces of the Governor who decided to bestow mercy upon you and pardon you and let you free, which would be pretty neat if that happened. Or knowing that the reason you were being released was because you were found to be innocent of the crime in the first place. What would give you more dignity, what you make you feel better for the world to know,
'Hey I didn't even do that crime' ?
4:00 - That's how we atheists and agnostics are, (holding up the Bible)
we don't buy into this ancient primitive book of contradictory and unhistorical, unscientific words. These are just words on a page.
This book was written by human-beings, human-beings make mistakes.
What, were they exempt? Were they super-humans or something?
Did they never misinterpret? Did they never goof?
Why are you conferring some supernatural authority to these human beings - their in all religions as well.
4:30 - If you look at the Bible, with not a bias of faith and loyalty, you can see very easily that this is not a reliable book to base our life on.
But most of your arguments are based on quoting the scripture as if it were some kind of magic talisman - oh quote the Bible that will make everything important.
Well it doesn't!
And if you buy into that myth in the first place, if you don't see yourself as sick, if you don't see yourself as needing a savior, if you rise above that toddle mentality of putting yourself down, of denigrating your rationality, denigrating you... whatever urges you have to sin, and we all have them.
5:00 - But view yourself neutrally as a natural creature in a natural environment doing the best we can to truly figure out how to be moral human-beings with reason and compassion, then you could be a better person. I'm not saying your a bad person, but get rid of the baggage, get rid of the monkey off your back. And take some advice of Jesus, don't be one of the sick people that has to go to the doctor.
Clap your hands and say I did not commit the crime.
Most Christian are afraid that people are going to start thinking for themselves, the Bible says very clearly, Paul says "Bring into captivity every thought onto the obedience of Jesus Christ." Captivity is not freedom, and in Proverbs, "Lean not on your own understanding.
Most Christians are afraid that people will think for themselves, most atheists are afraid that they won't. Dan Barker</blockquote>

I don’t think that a lot of christians believe in heaven or they would not be going to the doctor all the time. :slight_smile:

Or mourning so much when an old, sick loved one dies.

Or mourning so much when an old, sick loved one dies.
Depends on your definition of Christian; Dr. Bart Ehrman said that before becoming an agnostic, he was a liberal christian (he didn't mind if his beliefs were factually wrong). So if your in the latter bunch, pretty easy to imagine why they would be crying. That and also people will miss their loved ones, regardless of wherever they go. :(

sounds nonsensical to me on both counts: not caring if your beliefs are not true and mourning someone you believe is better off after death.

sounds nonsensical to me on both counts: not caring if your beliefs are not true and mourning someone you believe is better off after death.
I think you're being hard on people and their emotions--over which they have no control. A person can mourn the absence even of a loved one who is still alive but who is far away or otherwise unavailable to him or her. I don't think it really matters if the person believes their loved ones are "in a better place," he can still mourn the absence and the loneliness and sadness that creates. Lois

Of course you’re right, Lois, but I can also see Darron’s point. While people can be quite emotional about a loved one moving away and knowing they’ll never see the person again, the amount of crying doesn’t seem to be close to the level and extent of wailing that the religious seem to have on a death.
Occam

What I see Darron saying is, religion doesn’t work. It’s supposed to provide some solace about the “better place”, but it only works as well as any avoidance behavior. Any claim to belief is only a desperate attempt to convince themselves it’s true by convincing others and hoping everyone goes along with it.

Perhaps a more in-depth examination of the belief in an afterlife or non belief in an afterlife and how it effects the morning of a dead or dying loved one, could be more interesting and realistic if it had more differentiation. In other words, discussing this in binary terms is kind of pointless.
Most likely, not all Christians believe in an afterlife with the same level of devotion or certainty that would truly render the passing of a loved one as a joyous and not sad event. I imagine that levels of joy and sadness are highly correlated to how strongly or not that belief is held by the person experiencing the passing of a loved one. I have been at Mormon funerals that definitely included people who absolutely did not mourn the loss but “rejoiced” at the passing of a loved one. I’m not saying it was the norm by any means. Most people were mourning. Also, the rejoicing to mourning ratio was usually calibrated in relation to the age of the deceased. Old people were released from this “veil of tears” that is our mortal existence while the young were mysteriously called home early for some unknown Devine purpose. In any case it always seemed to me that this was just a simple coping mechanism that worked or did not work only by individual degrees. But most people were not comforted by this belief in my experience. I think it is indicative of how most people’s faith comes with varying degrees doubt. I think there is a large fairly quiet group in every religion that have not ever explored or examined where they actually stand on many issues of faith. They just go along with how they were raised.

What I see Darron saying is, religion doesn't work. It's supposed to provide some solace about the "better place", but it only works as well as any avoidance behavior. Any claim to belief is only a desperate attempt to convince themselves it's true by convincing others and hoping everyone goes along with it.
Exactly. I don't blame people for mourning. I mourn when I lose loved ones, but I accept the loss more rationally and maturely than the strongly religious people I know.