Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

oh god...

Responding to the discussion in the previous post, Icy Vovo emailed me the following which I thought deserving of a new post:

A leader should provide vision and integrity. Propaganda is the enemy of integrity. The Pope leads with weakness as he lacks integrity. He is not worthy to represent God on earth. He needs to be reminded 'Thou shalt not lie'.

My response to Icy Vovo is: Is God a lie? Who/what is god? I pose these questions because if God is a lie, then all those who claim there is a God are waging pure propaganda and are therefore enemies of integrity.

It's a minefield, I tell ya...


Blogger John Myste said...

I am an atheist, so I don't want to be too nice to the Big Fellow, but God is not a lie, even though He once may have been (or maybe not).

I have faith that most of those who profess their faith in God are genuine. I also have faith that there is a ton of opinion and little truth at our disposal.

My faith tells me that God does not exist. My reason tells me that a good number of specific Gods do not exist.

My ambivalence tells me that my faith and reason routinely make things up and not to believe either of them. However, my faith and reason are not liars. They are as genuine as a theist’s God.

April 12, 2011 8:47 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Hi John, welcome.

When you say you don't want to be too nice to the Big Fellow, you are implying god exists. Not very atheistic.

If there is no god, then the assertion that god exists is a lie. Believing that a lie is the truth does not stop it being a lie. Nor does it make the believer an less of a peddler of lies.

April 12, 2011 9:11 AM  
Blogger John Myste said...

I must respectfully disagree, sir. A lie is an intentional deception. Those who believe in God are probably mistaken, but they are not intentionally deceiving anyone.

As for my Big Fellow, reference, I was nodding to the personification of God. The personification definitely exists, just as the concept of Santa Clause is real, even though Santa Clause himself is not. An attack on the personification is often offensive to those that worship it.

I assure you that I am an atheist. Roughly half the posts I write are satirizing a fundamentalist belief in God in one way or another.

If I am mistaken about the Christian God, I am hell-bound with no chance of parole, God help me!

April 12, 2011 9:17 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Ok, let's come the "lie" thing this way:

I call a believer a liar and challenge him to come up with scientifically acceptable evidence and a logically sound argument for the assertion that there is a god.

He declines the offer (because he knows he has nothing), yet he continues to assert that there is a god. How is he not a liar?

April 12, 2011 9:40 AM  
Blogger John Myste said...


Correct, he is NOT a liar. I wrote an essay about this concept, but applied it to the homosexual debate:

Speaking in Tongues

I will speak of the Christian believe because that is the one with whom I am most familiar. In most cases, he claims to believe and he does believe, so there is no intentional deception. He claims to believe in God because he has “faith,” which means that, by definition, he is not alleging that he has proof. (And I am aware that some foolish Christians claim to have evidence. They also are not lying, as they think they do have evidence). One Christian explained it to me this way: he does not have evidence he can share. He has Internal Evidence.

I cannot debate faith with reason. The faithful cannot debate reason with faith. We are using two completely different technologies to seek truth, and neither of us considers the other’s tech to be valid. Neither of us is a liar. We simply think differently.

April 12, 2011 11:05 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

With respect, John, I'll stick to my postion which is that if one asserts that god exists, the onus is on that person to provide a scientifically and logically sound argument for that assertion.

If one cannot, or will not, yet one persists with the assertion, then until one proves otherwise, I shall call such a person a liar.

Belief does not come into it.

For instance, libel laws: If I say something libellous about you, and I cannot prove it, I am deemed to have uttered defamatory lies. In fact they are deemed by the court (and the plaintiff) to be lies unless and until I can prove they are true. In a libel suit, saying you believed he murdered his wife won't get you off the charge of libel.

I apply similar rigour to those who wish to go around asserting there is a god and think they can escape the onus of proof with such bullshit.

They can believe all they like, but then they should not claim to KNOW that there is a god and admit that they merely BELIEVE there is a god. Believing and knowing are two very different things in my book.

April 12, 2011 1:38 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

And another thing, John...

This whole "faith" thing looks to me to be just another word for "bigotry".

Do you have any views on that?

April 15, 2011 7:10 AM  
Blogger John Myste said...

My last comment from last week and my response to this are in your spam filter. Only a few line comments go through.

April 15, 2011 7:31 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

There is some kind of problem and John's comments arrive in my email but do not make it into this blog. I have no idea why that is. I hate Blogger.

Anyway, here's what John said:


I agree that believing and knowing are two different things. You honestly contend that you know their god does not exist and they honestly content that they know that He does. Neither person is lying, or intentionally deceiving. They are not contending that they can prove with reason what their faith tells them. With libel you are harming someone with statements that you cannot show to be true. You cannot show that their god does not exist and they cannot show that their god does exist. No statements are libelous and no statements are lies. Either you or the theists are wrong. I use reason and side with you in that the theists are mistaken, not liars. I do not call someone a liar for being mistaken. Humans, theist, you and me, are mistaken about many things throughout the day. If that is the criteria we are going to use, then we are all liars.

I'll stick to my position which is that if one asserts that god exists, the onus is on that person to provide a scientifically and logically sound argument for that assertion.

I completely agree with you, sir. Using the formal rules of logic, the burden of proof lies with the theist. Fortunately for the theist, he is not using the rules of logic, but the rules of faith. The rules of faith require no proof at all, which is exactly what he offers. He says he is certain that God exists and the reason is that he has faith. To say otherwise, would, in fact, be lying. If he tells you that he is certain of the things that he actually is certain of, how is that a lie?

I know I sound like a closet theist. God forbid! I am not. My very last post satirized the theists literal interpretation of genesis. I just finished posting a long comment on another person’s blog where I satirized a philosophical opponent’s argument about a political issue as “faith-based.” I do not respect the reasoning ability of most theists. However, I recognize their honest use of a method other than reason to form an opinion. I see their faith and I believe they honesty do have faith and that they are not just making it up, or in other words, lying.

I apologize for beating a dead horse in this matter. Clearly we are not going around in circles. I am not unsympathetic to your opinion as it is very close to my own. The only real difference is one of semantics.

... and I do not see faith as bigotry, but bigotry often accompanies it.

April 15, 2011 7:39 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

I define bigotry as the refusal to shift one's position despite the presentation of logical and rational arguments indicating a change of position is called for.

In keeping with that definition, "faith" is "bigotry" dressed up in a gaudy dress.

I argue that both theists and atheists are practicing bigotry.

I assert that the only rational position one can adopt is the agnostic one.

April 15, 2011 7:56 AM  
Blogger John Myste said...

Bigotry is questioning the worth, intelligence of someone or just hating them because they do not think like you.

Having faith is not bigotry. The faithful and many atheists and agnostics, are, however, bigots.

We don't get to choose personal definitions of lie and bigotry.

April 15, 2011 8:36 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

"A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions..." Wikipedia

Theists are obstinately and (many)intolerantly devoted to their opinion that there is a god. They haughtily disregard the rules of logic and reason, i.e. the very things which were responsible for "The Enlightenment"

Ditto for atheists.

I therefore equate that to bigotry.

You cut them way too much slack, John. :-)

April 15, 2011 9:12 AM  
Blogger John Myste said...

Wikipedia is not an authoritative source. I can post an article there redifining bigotry. The definition I gave is the classic dictionary definition. The word you just defined is opinionated, which also is not bigotry.

April 15, 2011 12:26 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

John, The Australian Concise Oxford English Dictionary (1988) defines bigot thusly:
"obstinate and intolerant adherent of a creed or view."

I rest my case. You're quibbling.

April 15, 2011 12:52 PM  
Blogger John Myste said...

Thank God you rested your case. Now I can quibble with impunity. No in actual practice calls bigotry the act of believing your opinion. The definition you gave, intolerance of the ideas of others, is exactly what the word means! Perhaps in Australia it means something else also, like to pet a kangaroo. However, when someone here in America calls someone a bigot, they mean intolerance of another’s view, as if not thinking what I think were some kind of offense. Therefore, your Australian definition is closer to reality. Get it, mate? Heh, I thought so.

Remember, sir, you are not allowed to protest once your case rests. It is simply not allowed.

April 15, 2011 1:05 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

I unrest my case.

In the ENGLISH speaking world, America is well known for the way it bastardises the ENGLISH language.

This is an ENGLISH language blog. We speak ENGLISH here.

Here, we are not responsible for the ignorance Americans may possess when it comes to their inept attempts at speaking ENGLISH.

Do yourself a favour John, and google "obstinate and intolerant adherent of a creed or view".

It's a great way to learn ENGLISH.

You're starting to resemble a bigot. Americans are often characterised as bigots.


April 15, 2011 1:37 PM  
Blogger John Myste said...


You cannot unrest a case. It is simply not allowed. Secondly, I accept your Australian definition of bigotry as “intolerance of someone else's opinion.” We have both common usage and dictionary corroboration of this definition (and you and I both agreed on it). However, then thinking God exists is not bigotry. Not tolerating someone else’s faith could easily be construed as bigotry, but I did not want to go there.

And again, once rested, you cannot unrest a case. It is simply not allowed.

April 16, 2011 12:59 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

"It is simply not allowed." ??? _You_ think that _you_ are the arbiter of what is or is not allowed in _my_ blog? Is this more of that world famous American arrogance and hubris, John? I am gobsmacked.

Have you read The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer? One can glean some amazing insights into the American psyche from that book. Written by a pair of unlobotomised Americans it was.

But we have digresssed...

Here's how it is, John: In this blog, in this discussion, the term 'bigot' shall mean 'one who, in the face of superior logical and rational argument, pig headedly refuses to abandon a view which the rest of the thinking world had deemed to be a dead duck.' It goes without saying that such a person would invariably be an intolerant bastard as well.

Now, it follows that if one is not going to abandon all logic and reason, that one must adopt an agnostic position on the subject of the existence or otherwise of an entity called 'god', whatever we are having that mean this week.

I win. You lose. The Enlightenment lives on for yet another day.

April 16, 2011 7:07 AM  
Blogger John Myste said...

Damn it all to hell! The race has been called and I have been declared the loser. Worse still, I lost to someone who already withdrew a while back!

If I had been given the opportunity to vote, we certainly would have had a tie; but, unfortunately, I was disenfranchised in my absence and the race was decided.

I ran a good clean campaign. I am proud of all of you who supported me, and I promise you this: I will run another day. I would like to congratulate my opponent and I want to let him know that I will stand behind him. I hope we can work together, to make this country a better place going forward.

God bless you all and God bless America.

April 16, 2011 9:28 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Now that we have established that neither theists nor atheists have what it takes to prove their case for or against the existence of a god (whatever that is) in the Court of Logic and Reason, we can revisit the original post i.e. is god a lie?

Let's rephrase that: "Is it a lie to claim there is a god?"

In the Court of Logic and Reason, anyone who is aware that they have no acceptable proof is therefore lying if they claim there is a god.

Be aware that authoritatively claiming that there is a god is not the same as voicing one's personal, logically and rationally unfounded belief that there is a god.

Since we were talking about the Pope's very authoritative assertion that there is a god, and rightfully assuming that Mr Ratzinger is fully aware that he has not one iota of proof for that assertion, we must declare that he is willfully lying in order to keep the megabucks flowing towards Rome.

He will now send the Head Inquisitor after me.

April 16, 2011 10:31 AM  
Blogger John Myste said...

Had I not already lost, I would again challenge this definition of a lie. However, I believe the desire to accuse the faithful with lying is ad hominem. I cannot make the case, though, as the debate has already ended in my defeat.

April 16, 2011 12:35 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

You quit too easily.

If one asserts something to be a fact when one is well aware that one cannot know it to be a fact, how is such an assertion then not a lie?

Methinks thou runneth for cover, John.

April 16, 2011 1:11 PM  
Blogger John Myste said...

Were I able to continue, I would point out the obvious fact that thinking you know because you think you experience God is not a lying. It is having faith in what you think. Having faith in not dishonest. To have faith that a “truth” is certain and deny it would be. You are calling them liars because they will not deny their faith, or in other words, because they do not lie. Ironic. I wish I could respond in this way, but I cannot.

April 17, 2011 2:27 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Why do you feel you cannot respond?

As to your comment, you miss my point.

My point is that theism and atheism are both "isms" which function from belief. i.e. they are belief systems. "Religions" if you will. Fine. Just stop carrying on as if they are the Absolute Truth. Have the honesty to say "I don't know, I merely believe."

It is when the believer claims to know (that there is/is not a god) that I invoke the onus of proof.

The pope not only claims to _know_ that there is a god, he claims to be god's direct representative on earth.

Therefore I subject him to the test of logic and reason. A test which his beliefs fail every time. I further assert that he is knowledgeable to the point where he knows his beliefs cannot be logically or scientifically proven, yet he attests to their absolute truth. This is what makes him a liar.

"Faith" does not give anyone license to attach the label "Absolute Truth" to their beliefs and then flog them off as such. That is where the lie creeps into the equation. The lie of false advertising.

April 17, 2011 12:55 PM  

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