Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Conversation with an athiest

You say you are an atheist?
Do you believe in right and wrong?
I'm not sure there has to be a right and wrong.
If someone kidnapped and raped your daughter would that be wrong?
I think you'd have a hard time finding people who would say that is right.
Would the number of other people make a difference there? Is right and wrong determined by the majority?
In practical terms that may be true.
Do you think that majority is always right?
Of course not. The majority might be racial bigots for example. That doesn't make it right.
How do you determine what is right or wrong for you?
I study the issues and go with my gut.
So whatever you come up with becomes right for you?
I suppose you could say that.
One of the functions of God, for people who believe in Him, is to tell us what He thinks is right and wrong. If you get to determine that for yourself, it seems that you are functioning as a god unto yourself.
Well, I'm certainly not going to call myself a god.
Is there any higher authority for you?
There are people I look up to.
But in the end you can overrule them when it comes to your choices and philosophy?
So in effect, you are your own highest authority?
A god unto yourself.
Say what you want.
If you get to be god for you, do I get to be god for me?
Why not? Go for it.
What if there is conflict? What if I want your car? Is your version of right superior to mine?
I'm going to do everything I can to stop you from taking my car. I guess if I win that battle then I get to be right.
You don't really believe right and wrong is determined by the strongest, do you? If I am stronger, you are not going to buy into my religion are you.
So basically, you get to be god for you but you can't really accept me having the same privilege.
Well, I guess that's just tough.
That's some religion you've got there.
Our laws are based on the idea that one person should not hurt another person. That seems pretty basic.
That brings up another question in my mind. What difference does it make if we are happy or sad if we cease to exist at death? If we can't remember a thing, why have laws and go to all this trouble to create a happy environment?
We live in the now.
Do we? Most people live their lives as if it mattered. You seem to be doing that.
Well, it matters now.
Why not go on a binge of some kind and then end it all in a blaze glory? If you are your own god and your life doesn't matter, why not rob Krispy Kreme, rape women and then drive a car off a cliff or get into a shooting war with the police? What if we build a doomsday bomb and blow up the planet? Wouldn't that be just as good an end to humanity?
I don't know what to say to that.
If you are having trouble understanding the appeal of my religion, I am really having trouble understanding the appeal of yours.

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