Rich Debunks His Own Theology

Rich used to believe and preach that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in god. Now he doesn’t believe that, and obviously doesn’t preach it anymore.

I don’t remember who I stole the illustration in the sermon from, but here’s how it would go:

(Preacher Mode ON)

Imagine you have the finest Rolex watch ever made, and I run it through a super-powerful shredder that rips it into tiny pieces no larger than the head of a pin, or the eye of a needle.

Then I give you the expensive pile of metal, tightly sealed in a plastic box, with the instructions to shake the box until it becomes a watch again. But not just any watch, YOUR watch, and running at the correct time.

If you have any sense, you will tell me that is impossible.

I agree.

Now, Imagine how much more complex the human hand is than your watch. Or the eye, for that matter. And the human brain.

I find it much easier to believe shaking watch bits in a box will produce a watch than thinking the emptiness of space will spontaneously produce atoms and molecules from nothing, then those will rush together to make a hand, eye, brain — whole humans, not just running with the clock set, but LIVING.

But go a step further, not just living, but living in a planet that yields to the efforts of that hand, and gives man his desires — a planet that can be understood by that brain, so man can make things that bring him comfort and pleasure. But not just that, a planet that is not only pleasing, but gorgeous to that miraculous eye.

(Insert half an hour of random non-sense “Tide goes in, tide goes out,” statements, catch the praise singer’s eye, start altar call)

(Preacher Mode OFF)

There are people who still feed me my own lines and ask HOW can I not still believe that.

If all you do is listen to my argument, it sounds good (to believers who don’t believe god allows critical thought). But the second you start to think about it, it falls apart.

Here are some reasons why.

First, it assumes the end product before the process begins. The universe does not operate with the concept that man is the completion of it’s process, and earth is the height of its potential. The universe just is. When the big bang happened, it didn’t happen with goals and specifics in mind. There was no mind. There are no goals or specifics. It just is. What we are is a product of where we are and that is a product of trillions and trillions of random events over untold eons of time.

Next, to compare shaking a box filled with a limited amount of stuff to the practically infinite energy and stuff in the universe is a foolish analogy.

There is nothing going on inside that box that could produce a watch. There is no heat to melt the metals, no chemical processes to combine stuff, nothing that can possibly cause a watch to pop out.

With the universe, there is perhaps unlimited space, time and chemical process of all types happening. And while these processes seem best at creating black holes and piles of gunk, those piles of gunk find some order and become other stuff, like stars and planets.

I recently had a christian wrongly quote “facts” about how a single change of unmeasurable proportions in the earth’s position to the sun, the angle, speed or rotation would render the planet unsuitable for any life at all. First, that isn’t even true. Scientists have discovered that there is a pretty wide range of things you could change about the earth, and she would still be suitable for life.

But even if it were true, all that would mean is that earth was not a planet with life on it. It wouldn’t eliminate the possibility of other planets hitting that magic “life-spot” in relation to their stars. When you put the argument to the entire scale of the universe, it loses it’s punch.

Finally, the box illustration assumes everything that is in the box is all that is needed to make a watch. That’s not true.

There are tons of rock that were mined to get at that metal, and that’s not in the box. There are centuries of human knowledge and study that went into making the watch, and they aren’t in the box either.

There’s a watch factory that is strangely missing from the box. Basically, while there is a shredded watch in the box, there isn’t anything in the box that can make a watch.

The universe is just the opposite. There’s plenty of stuff to make worlds and stars and moons and hands and eyes and brains. Not only are the raw elements and atoms and molecules there, but the processes needed for them to come together are all there as well.

I realize my writing here is not anything close to scientific. I’m not trying to write science.

One thing I’ve realized is that in our religious lives, we signed on to arguments like the one I cite above, and sometimes we hear them again, and they call to our sense of familiar. We might catch ourselves thinking for just a moment, “Maybe the eye IS too complex!” Then we banish the thought as silly.

Just like we were taught in church to do with thoughts that go contrary to our current way of believing.

This article really isn’t about creation versus cosmology, or creation versus evolution. It’s about having the courage to look at the arguments that once comforted your christian heart, and googling and reading your heart out to find true answers that may not be as comforting at the moment, but will take you miles, even light years ahead in your ability to skeptically understand the world around you.

Here’s a challenge. Think about the “arguments” for your previous faith. Post them here, with your argument why they are bogus, and let’s discuss.

Extra credit: Rip my “watch in a box” argument up!

Let’s have fun!


Would you like longer episodes?

How would you feel about longer podcasts? We have several really good interviews in the recorder that NEED to be kept together to keep the relevance of the stories intact. I can break them up, but I don’t feel like that does justice to the teller or the listener.

I’m finding as I speak with more people, and get them to tell their stories, that it takes more time than our traditional 20 minutes. I really want to bring the stories together as a solid unit rather than breaking them up.

They would be about an hour, or actually a little under. Please comment and let me know.

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Come LAF with us Thursday night!

Some good friends of ours host the Ask an Atheist show here in the Seattle area.  Recent news is that because of a funding cut to the public access facilities they use, they will be moving the show to a local radio station. Ask an Atheist needs to get some funds together to start up the show so they are hosting a  benefit at the Tacoma Comedy Club this Thursday night (Dec 9th) at 8pm and we will be there. If you’re in the area, please come down and LAF with us! We would love to see and meet you. If you’re not in the area, and would like to help out, you can make a donation using the Paypal button on their site, below.

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I didn’t fall from grace…

Early when I was leaving the faith, while the faithful were still leaving me, I wrote this as an explanation and apology for my actions.

I’ve come a long way since that time, but it has a burn to it that I don’t feel anymore. I’m glad it isn’t burning anymore.

From the past….

I didn’t fall from grace. I did a 10.0 triple back-flip off the high dive. 

Becoming an Atheist was the most difficult and painful thing I’ve ever done in my life. I didn’t get pissed off one day and tell god to go to hell. It was years of using a jagged pruning saw to rip away bits of my heart … becoming the worst thing a human can be, and realizing that is me, an Atheist. 

An atheist who never raped a boy (or girl for that matter) like priests routinely do. 

An Atheist who’s truly not arrogant, who realizes he doesn’t know anything about anything, so unlike his former christian self, he doesn’t have the message to save the world. 

An Atheist who won’t say with a beyond-haughty smirk that he has a direct line (I was a prophet, you know, told people things I couldn’t know, healed cancers, yeah, that WAS me.) to some spirit that knows all and has all power and IS love itself, yet cares more about a white American’s nasal irritation than he does about millions of nonbelieving Africans dying of AIDS. 

An Atheist who’s an awful father but still a better father than The Father. You see, I never tortured my daughter one minute. But “god is love” created a world knowing (all knowing!) he would get to torture billions of souls – his children – for EVER. So I live a few thousand miles from my daughter and we speak occasionally, so yeah, I’m a piss-poor dad and a son-of-a-bitch. 

But I won’t burn a single soul in hell forever. 

And I promise I won’t kill my only begotten daughter to help me get over the fact that someone ate an apple from my tree. But if I did brutally murder a child because someone ate my apple, how would a jury take that? Would they call me a good father? But that’s what your book says your father did to his only begotten son. 

No, I’m not the least bit interested in talking with religious “connected” gurus who think that father is good. That father’s only excuse is that he doesn’t exist. 

I know this sounds bitter. I’m really not.

I’ve had some ugly things happen in my life, some my fault, some beyond my control, but my life is beautiful. I love life. when I turn on a fan or light, I realize someone had an idea, worked hard to invent it, got it into production and sold it to me to make life better. 

I too, owe my best to make life better for others. 

When buy a homeless guy a room for the night, give him a meal and laundry money, I feel good. I feel bad when I can’t help. 

I’m an Atheist. 

But maybe I’m not such a horrible human after all. Because I’m not waiting for god to fix it, or take us out on doomsday, I’m more active in making the world a better place, in an insignificant way, certainly… but I’m just getting started. 

Please don’t be offended. Real friends can have differing views, and remain friends. If not, I understand. My wife, her whole family, two “soul mates” and a heavenly host of others have chosen to forget me because I dove into forbidden waters. 

But the water is cool, still and peaceful.

And I can swim alone if I need to.