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April 24, 2012 / George

Joe The Unbeliever – A Rebuttal To A Video A Nice Christian Rapper Made About Me

I wrote this in 2009 on my old blog, but I wanted to repost it… so here it is: my very long and detailed response to Crucial, who made a video about me called “Joe the Unbeliever”

Crucial,

First, thanks for the direct talk. I’m not thrilled with being “Joe the” anything, since I despised the whole “Joe the Plumber” nonsense as it was happening and hoped to forget that it ever did. However, that aside, let’s get to the details.

Let’s deal first with the Awesome fun Bible fact that started this conversation. You give Bryan “big props” for posting it, even though its veracity, to be nice, is what we’ll call “dubious.” For starters, the Snopes link that Bryan himself posted, with the comment that “its all true with exception of Psalm 118 being the center chapter,” says nothing of the sort. In fact, it points out that the whole thing is nonsense, since the chapter and verse numbers were added long after the texts themselves were compiled. Now, I’m sure that almost anyone can look at that and realize it’s nothing more than an exercise in mutual back-patting for people who want to believe everything that supposedly looks like evidence to their faiths, so let’s move on.

At one point, you say “Joe the Unbeliever can represent all believers in this case.” I assume you mean all unbelievers, so I’ll just take that as read. You mention that I listed “all of these things that god has supposedly done.” Now, I don’t think I need to point out that everything I accused your god of doing is in the bible. Obviously, I don’t think he did any of those things, since I don’t think he exists. However, everything I mentioned is in the bible, and I would hope that to be such a proselytizer, you would have read the entire bible and would know the quotes I refer to, but here’s one example of the many items I mentioned in the comments:


Awesome fun bible fact: god’s a horrific monster! (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

“As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.”

I think that it’s pretty valid to say that this is an angry, frightening, vengeful, and destructive god, no? Your response was confusing to me, and I’ll post it here for reference:

It’s odd how the miraculous things of God are played down by unbelievers who view it as “fake” or “made up” but when it comes to seemingly bad things about God or scripture, they speak it like it’s true. I praise the Lord though b/c ultimately, no matter what you believe, in the end, “every knee shall bow” and “every tongue shall confess”…

As I pointed out in my response to that, I don’t believe god did any of those things, so that makes no sense. You, however, profess to believe that the bible is the true word of your god. Therefore, you do (or should to be considered a believer) believe he did those things.

You are also less than forthcoming when you say that I referred to god “allowing” pillaging of villages, etc. Your god did not just allow those things, he commanded them, as I showed in the Deuteronomy quote. That, of course, is one of many situations in which your god has allowed, yes, but also asked for, encouraged, and demanded torture, slavery, murder, and euthanasia.

Also, I know it’s just a semantic difference, but I do think it’s important. You say that I indicated that I couldn’t “believe in” a god who would do all of those things. That’s true, I don’t believe in him, but my disbelief isn’t because of the horrible things the bible says he did. My disbelief is because there is no evidence for your god’s existence, and every single argument used to “prove” his existence is logically flawed. This has been shown time and time again by thousands of people, so I won’t try to belabor that point here. What I said was:

if the god of the bible, yahweh sabaoth, war god of the Canaanites, destroyer of worlds, murderer of the children of entire nations, *did* exist, you better believe the first thing I’d do is run. Run, hide, and tremble, because if there’s anything Christians are right about, it’s that (assuming he exists) he is to be feared. I certainly, however, would not worship such a horrifying entity.

The difference between not believing in and refusing to worship are very distinct, though, to clarify again, I also do not believe he exists.

You reference my calling your god a “sky fairy” and say that you “don’t believe in fairies either.” This may be true, and obviously that is just a sarcastic moniker. However, I would put a million dollars on your believing in fairies if they were in the bible. As it stands, the bible does not mention fairies as such, but it does mention giants, behemoths (though this could be referencing dinosaurs), dragons, satyrs (half man, half goat), sea monsters (leviathan), unicorns, seven-headed, ten-horned beasts (though to be fair, that was in a crazy, psychedelic flashback type situation, probably induced by ergot-laced bread), zombies (dead risen from the grave, including Jesus), flying serpents, and maybe even aliens (Ezekiel).

You say you do, however, believe in a “just and sovereign god, who has throughout the ages demonstrated his characteristics in many, many ways.” Well, as I’ve pointed out, yes – he has demonstrated his characteristics.

You then mention Proverbs (you were right. 3:5, to be exact).

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

Well, obviously, this is what you and most religious people do. I think that’s obvious. However, to me, it seems insane. It’s saying not to trust your own knowledge, what you’ve learned throughout your life and from your culture’s history, not from your own mistakes and your own successes and your own failures – but just trust the lord. Wow. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that everyone doesn’t do that, or else our entire planet would be ransacked, and we would be all blindly following a collection of writings ranging from two to several thousand years old, written in a time when slavery was great, women had no rights, no one understood germ theory or basic sanitation, food could not be preserved in any real way, and everyone died at around 30-40 years of age.

Proverbs 9:10, which you also cite, says

Fear of the lord is the beginning of understanding.

Well, I think my response to that would be the same. You’re saying that it’s ok to be afraid of this relentlessly angry and evil being, because somehow being afraid of him will lead you to understanding. Well, that actually makes more sense than the last quote, because being afraid of an all-powerful entity who will turn you to salt for looking in the wrong direction is, most likely, a good way to begin understanding how very awful and dangerous he is.

A bit past halfway, we get to what I really think is the crux of the issue. You not only think that god should be allowed to act this way, you have actually been convinced that “these are people who deserve it.” You’re telling me that the men, women, and children, and every land animal on the planet, must have all deserved to be drowned in a violent flood? You’re telling me that just because the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were “wicked,” every single one of them deserved to die? Yes, I know that Abraham tried to save the city but could not find enough “righteous” people, according to the story. It does take a great amount of faith to believe that not only was god justified in deciding an entire city of men, women, and children could be destroyed based on one man’s inability to find enough “righteous” people in time, but I guess those are the breaks, right?
Oh, and of course, all of the first-born of Egypt “deserved it” too, right? And I suppose that Lot’s daughters “deserved” to be raped by the men of the town so that god’s angels would not be harmed? And, of course, Lot’s wife “deserved” to be turned into a pillar of salt, so that god’s chosen “righteous” man, now widowed, could leave town with his defiled daughters. I’m sorry, I’m not seeing it.

You then go on to say that though god has tormented, slaughtered, allowed the rape and enslavement of so many thousands, he has also equally shown love, compassion, and grace. So you’re saying that, on the whole, it evens out? You say, very passionately, that mankind has brought god’s wrath upon itself, that god wants to be good to us, but we just keep screwing up. He doesn’t want to kill and torture and enslave us, and he doesn’t want to send us to hell, but we just won’t listen, right? I point you toBattered Person Syndrome:

In lay terms, this is a reference to any person who, because of constant and severe domestic violence usually involving physical abuse by a partner, becomes depressed and unable to take any independent action that would allow him or her to escape the abuse. The condition explains why abused people often do not seek assistance from others, fight their abuser, or leave the abusive situation. Sufferers have low self-esteem, and often believe that the abuse is their fault. Such persons usually refuse to press criminal charges against their abuser, and refuse all offers of help, often becoming aggressive or abusive to others who attempt to offer assistance. Often sufferers will even seek out their very abuser for comfort shortly after an incident of abuse.

Crucial, and all of you who agree with him that we bring this on ourselves, I just have this to say to you: It’s not your fault. You can leave him. We will protect you, and he will never do this to you again. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.

Speaking of battered persons, you also defend parents who beat their children. That’s up to you, but I doubt that child protective services or most of the developed world would agree with you that when you see a child being beaten, you shouldn’t just focus on that, because “you don’t know the whole story.” I won’t even try to discuss your mentioning of “the emo girl in your school,” because I think it’s silly and not very relevant.

Let me point out again, since you say again near the end that you think that a few verses about god being a meanie are “the justification for my unbelief.” They’re not. They’re the reasons why I’m glad that your god doesn’t exist. I’m glad. He’s a bully. A maniacal, indecisive, violent, evil, omnipotent, omniscient bully.

You encourage nonbelievers to read more about god, to press further into who he is and what he’s about, etc. Honestly, that’s what I’ve done, and that’s why I don’t believe in him and am glad that he does not exist. Finally, late (but better late than never), my very long and detailed response to Crucial, who made a video about me called “Joe the Unbeliever”

Crucial,

First, thanks for the direct talk. I’m not thrilled with being “Joe the” anything, since I despised the whole “Joe the Plumber” nonsense as it was happening and hoped to forget that it ever did. However, that aside, let’s get to the details.

Let’s deal first with the Awesome fun Bible fact that started this conversation. You give Bryan “big props” for posting it, even though its veracity, to be nice, is what we’ll call “dubious.” For starters, the Snopes link that Bryan himself posted, with the comment that “its all true with exception of Psalm 118 being the center chapter,” says nothing of the sort. In fact, it points out that the whole thing is nonsense, since the chapter and verse numbers were added long after the texts themselves were compiled. Now, I’m sure that almost anyone can look at that and realize it’s nothing more than an exercise in mutual back-patting for people who want to believe everything that supposedly looks like evidence to their faiths, so let’s move on.

At one point, you say “Joe the Unbeliever can represent all believers in this case.” I assume you mean all unbelievers, so I’ll just take that as read. You mention that I listed “all of these things that god has supposedly done.” Now, I don’t think I need to point out that everything I accused your god of doing is in the bible. Obviously, I don’t think he did any of those things, since I don’t think he exists. However, everything I mentioned is in the bible, and I would hope that to be such a proselytizer, you would have read the entire bible and would know the quotes I refer to, but here’s one example of the many items I mentioned in the comments:


Awesome fun bible fact: god’s a horrific monster! (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

“As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.”

I think that it’s pretty valid to say that this is an angry, frightening, vengeful, and destructive god, no? Your response was confusing to me, and I’ll post it here for reference:

It’s odd how the miraculous things of God are played down by unbelievers who view it as “fake” or “made up” but when it comes to seemingly bad things about God or scripture, they speak it like it’s true. I praise the Lord though b/c ultimately, no matter what you believe, in the end, “every knee shall bow” and “every tongue shall confess”…

As I pointed out in my response to that, I don’t believe god did any of those things, so that makes no sense. You, however, profess to believe that the bible is the true word of your god. Therefore, you do (or should to be considered a believer) believe he did those things.

You are also less than forthcoming when you say that I referred to god “allowing” pillaging of villages, etc. Your god did not just allow those things, he commanded them, as I showed in the Deuteronomy quote. That, of course, is one of many situations in which your god has allowed, yes, but also asked for, encouraged, and demanded torture, slavery, murder, and euthanasia.

Also, I know it’s just a semantic difference, but I do think it’s important. You say that I indicated that I couldn’t “believe in” a god who would do all of those things. That’s true, I don’t believe in him, but my disbelief isn’t because of the horrible things the bible says he did. My disbelief is because there is no evidence for your god’s existence, and every single argument used to “prove” his existence is logically flawed. This has been shown time and time again by thousands of people, so I won’t try to belabor that point here. What I said was:

if the god of the bible, yahweh sabaoth, war god of the Canaanites, destroyer of worlds, murderer of the children of entire nations, *did* exist, you better believe the first thing I’d do is run. Run, hide, and tremble, because if there’s anything Christians are right about, it’s that (assuming he exists) he is to be feared. I certainly, however, would not worship such a horrifying entity.

The difference between not believing in and refusing to worship are very distinct, though, to clarify again, I also do not believe he exists.

You reference my calling your god a “sky fairy” and say that you “don’t believe in fairies either.” This may be true, and obviously that is just a sarcastic moniker. However, I would put a million dollars on your believing in fairies if they were in the bible. As it stands, the bible does not mention fairies as such, but it does mention giants, behemoths (though this could be referencing dinosaurs), dragons, satyrs (half man, half goat), sea monsters (leviathan), unicorns, seven-headed, ten-horned beasts (though to be fair, that was in a crazy, psychedelic flashback type situation, probably induced by ergot-laced bread), zombies (dead risen from the grave, including Jesus), flying serpents, and maybe even aliens (Ezekiel).

You say you do, however, believe in a “just and sovereign god, who has throughout the ages demonstrated his characteristics in many, many ways.” Well, as I’ve pointed out, yes – he has demonstrated his characteristics.

You then mention Proverbs (you were right. 3:5, to be exact).

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

Well, obviously, this is what you and most religious people do. I think that’s obvious. However, to me, it seems insane. It’s saying not to trust your own knowledge, what you’ve learned throughout your life and from your culture’s history, not from your own mistakes and your own successes and your own failures – but just trust the lord. Wow. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that everyone doesn’t do that, or else our entire planet would be ransacked, and we would be all blindly following a collection of writings ranging from two to several thousand years old, written in a time when slavery was great, women had no rights, no one understood germ theory or basic sanitation, food could not be preserved in any real way, and everyone died at around 30-40 years of age.

Proverbs 9:10, which you also cite, says

Fear of the lord is the beginning of understanding.

Well, I think my response to that would be the same. You’re saying that it’s ok to be afraid of this relentlessly angry and evil being, because somehow being afraid of him will lead you to understanding. Well, that actually makes more sense than the last quote, because being afraid of an all-powerful entity who will turn you to salt for looking in the wrong direction is, most likely, a good way to begin understanding how very awful and dangerous he is.

A bit past halfway, we get to what I really think is the crux of the issue. You not only think that god should be allowed to act this way, you have actually been convinced that “these are people who deserve it.” You’re telling me that the men, women, and children, and every land animal on the planet, must have all deserved to be drowned in a violent flood? You’re telling me that just because the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were “wicked,” every single one of them deserved to die? Yes, I know that Abraham tried to save the city but could not find enough “righteous” people, according to the story. It does take a great amount of faith to believe that not only was god justified in deciding an entire city of men, women, and children could be destroyed based on one man’s inability to find enough “righteous” people in time, but I guess those are the breaks, right?
Oh, and of course, all of the first-born of Egypt “deserved it” too, right? And I suppose that Lot’s daughters “deserved” to be raped by the men of the town so that god’s angels would not be harmed? And, of course, Lot’s wife “deserved” to be turned into a pillar of salt, so that god’s chosen “righteous” man, now widowed, could leave town with his defiled daughters. I’m sorry, I’m not seeing it.

You then go on to say that though god has tormented, slaughtered, allowed the rape and enslavement of so many thousands, he has also equally shown love, compassion, and grace. So you’re saying that, on the whole, it evens out? You say, very passionately, that mankind has brought god’s wrath upon itself, that god wants to be good to us, but we just keep screwing up. He doesn’t want to kill and torture and enslave us, and he doesn’t want to send us to hell, but we just won’t listen, right? I point you toBattered Person Syndrome:

In lay terms, this is a reference to any person who, because of constant and severe domestic violence usually involving physical abuse by a partner, becomes depressed and unable to take any independent action that would allow him or her to escape the abuse. The condition explains why abused people often do not seek assistance from others, fight their abuser, or leave the abusive situation. Sufferers have low self-esteem, and often believe that the abuse is their fault. Such persons usually refuse to press criminal charges against their abuser, and refuse all offers of help, often becoming aggressive or abusive to others who attempt to offer assistance. Often sufferers will even seek out their very abuser for comfort shortly after an incident of abuse.

Crucial, and all of you who agree with him that we bring this on ourselves, I just have this to say to you: It’s not your fault. You can leave him. We will protect you, and he will never do this to you again. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.

Speaking of battered persons, you also defend parents who beat their children. That’s up to you, but I doubt that child protective services or most of the developed world would agree with you that when you see a child being beaten, you shouldn’t just focus on that, because “you don’t know the whole story.” I won’t even try to discuss your mentioning of “the emo girl in your school,” because I think it’s silly and not very relevant.

Let me point out again, since you say again near the end that you think that a few verses about god being a meanie are “the justification for my unbelief.” They’re not. They’re the reasons why I’m glad that your god doesn’t exist. I’m glad. He’s a bully. A maniacal, indecisive, violent, evil, omnipotent, omniscient bully.

You encourage nonbelievers to read more about god, to press further into who he is and what he’s about, etc. Honestly, that’s what I’ve done, and that’s why I don’t believe in him and am glad that he does not exist.

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