Thursday, May 7, 2009

Well, I suppose if you redefine the word . . .

atheism, atheist, makarios, miracle, jesus, god, religion, belief
Makarios redefines miracles in his latest post, Do I Have to Believe?

For the record, a "miracle" is defined as an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

Most of the Christians that I’ve met have come to believe in miracles only after they’ve come to know the person of Jesus and His work in their lives. you'll believe once you believe, in other words. we call that circular reasoning. That’s because one of the greatest miracles that we as Christians experience is the real life, real space, real time* transformation that Jesus works in our own lives. and now we've redefined "miracle" to the point of meaninglessness. rising from the dead? a miracle. jesus made me happy? no. The very fact that we believe in, obey, serve, love, adore and worship Creator God is a miracle. No one can bring this about on their own. Atheists agree that, “I couldn’t believe in God even if I wanted to.”

and now we know the difference between hearing and listening. clearly, Makarios has heard what atheists are saying, because i've said that, too. but he's not listening. that doesn't mean that worshipping is an unnatural mental state brought about by miraculous intervention. in fact, worshipping, or at least interpreting natural events as divine, is the default position of human consciousness. what it means is that belief is not something that can be turned off an on like a light switch. you can't believe, or disbelieve, because you want to, any more than one can love, or not love, at will.

On our own we reject the very concept of Creator God. To worship and adore Creator God is absolutely counterintuitive, at least according to what we knew of the world in our pre Christian, pre awareness days. no, it's not counterintuitive. according to psychological studies, atheism is counterintuitive.

Satoshi Kanazawa

You see a bush on fire. It could have been caused by an impersonal, inanimate, and unintentional force (lightning striking the bush and setting it on fire), or it could have been caused by a personal, animate, and intentional force (God trying to communicate with you). The “animistic bias” or “agency-detector mechanism” predisposes you to opt for the latter explanation rather than the former. It predisposes you to see the hands of God at work behind natural, physical phenomena whose exact causes are unknown.

In this view, religiosity (the human capacity for belief in supernatural beings) is not an evolved tendency per se; after all, religion in itself is not adaptive. It is instead a byproduct of animistic bias or the agency-detector mechanism, the tendency to be paranoid, which is adaptive because it can save your life. Humans did not evolve to be religious; they evolved to be paranoid. And humans are religious because they are paranoid.

This is not a miracle- it's a consequence of the way human consciousness works, the way we perceive the world. The only way to consider this a miracle is to redefine miracle to the point of everything being a miracle. In fact, by Makarios' redefinition of miracle, atheism would be the miracle.

Just to avoid the obvious theist objection:

This is not to say that the human bias towards perceiving god in every gust of wind disproves god. It doesn't. Just because we're biased towards perceiving something doesn't mean that something doesn't exist. I'm scared of spiders. Every time I see something out of the corner of my eye, I assume it's a spider. (I spend a lot time jumping.) 99 times out of 100, there is no spider. In fact, at least 90 of those times, it's my own hair. Every so often, though, it is a spider.

*I suspect this to be a rather odd reference to the reality of spacetime.


  1. I think they are trying to create their own dictionary.

  2. Yeah, isn't it great? Just believing is a miracle. Or wait, is it just those who believe in Jesus and the Abrahamic god? belief in *any* god(s) a...miracle...too? Sigh.


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