Here is a thoughtful review of “God’s Not Dead” from the atheist perspective. Even from the reviews and the trailer, we can glean that Kevin Sorbo’s character grossly misrepresents the atheist position and fails to have an understanding of basic philosophy, especially about the quote from Nietzsche on which the film’s title is based.
I’m glad this guy readily admits that believers’ “proof” in the afterlife amounts to nothing more than “clues” and “circumstantial evidence” because he sure did whiff on the rest of his argument, issuing one fallacy after another:
If you forward to about the 40 second mark, he builds his case around our desires versus reality:
For example, Bill, human desires. C.S. Lewis said for every human desire, there’s a corresponding reality in nature. We get thirsty because there’s such a thing as water. We crave physical intimacy because there’s sex. The reason we may desire immortality is because it really exists.
In Christian apologetics, this is called the argument from desire, which essentially says that since humans have some kind of inner yearning for the transcendent, a transcendent reality (i.e. heaven) must exist. In logic, this is called an appeal to consequences and is very shoddy logic indeed. First, not every human being thinks living forever is actually desirable. Many believe, and I tend to agree, that eternal life would be woefully boring after the first couple hundred years. To assume that everybody inherently desires eternal life only leads the Christian apologist, as ever, into another fallacy. Second, we get thirsty not because water exists, but because our bodies cannot survive without it.
Third, and most importantly, we all might desire for a pot of gold to suddenly appear in our bedrooms. I doubt we would find many people who would not wish this to happen. Yet, just because millions of people might want a certain reality to unfold, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen or is even feasible.
The pastor then goes on to argue at about the 1:20 mark that the most compelling reason to believe in the afterlife is the fact that Jesus’ body has not been found in 2,000 years. While this is technically true, it’s again based on the false premises that Jesus lived and was executed by the Romans. I’ve shown several times how there is not one single contemporary source outside of the New Testament that verify the Gospels about Jesus, so I won’t belabor the point again. Second, even if we did find the bones of Jesus and could somehow confirm that he was Jesus of New Testament fame, this would only verify that he existed. This discovery would prove nothing about the virgin birth, the miracles or the resurrection. In other words, assumptions heaped on other assumptions equal nothing.
I’ll avoid writing a full review of “God’s Not Dead” until I see the whole movie, but just based on the trailer, it looks like another disingenuous, self-confirming Christian apologetic film that will get high praises from Christians themselves and poor marks from everyone else. I might not get around to a full review for a couple months, however, because I’m not wasting $10 on a intellectually dishonest film made by and for believers.
Just judging from the trailer, I can say that like pretty much every argument from Christian apologetics, the movie begins with a false premise right from the start. No philosophy teacher in a publicly funded school would force a student to take a stance for or against God in general, much less to pass the class. Philosophy includes the study of deism, theism, polytheism, atheism, agnosticism, the Buddhism and numerous other strains of thought that attempt to address being and knowledge. Only at privately funded Christian institutions are students asked to leave their brains at the door.
It’s also no coincidence that Kevin Sorbo, the Christian actor who plays the philosophy teacher, is made to look like this scathing, close-minded egomaniac, while the above-reproach Christian student is really the open minded one. Riiiight.
Here is a Christian physics student who presumably believes in things that — wait for it — defy the laws of physics. Oxymoron?
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., remained defiant in the face of another court order this week that he will probably just ignore. As The New York Times reported it, judge G. Murray Snow of United States District Court “strongly rebuked” Arpaio for not following the court’s previous order and for mocking the judge:
Ten months ago, Judge Snow ruled that Mr. Arpaio and his deputies had systematically profiled Latinos, targeting them for arrest during raids at day-laborer gathering spots and detaining them longer than other drivers during traffic stops. The subsequent order from the judge, who found that the sheriff’s office had violated the constitutional rights of Latinos, came with several requirements, including the appointment of a monitor to field complaints and oversee compliance.
But at the hearing on Monday, Judge Snow said that Mr. Arpaio and the chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, had blatantly flouted his order, pointing as evidence to a video of a briefing that the two men held in October for a group of rank-and-file deputies who participated in a crime-suppression operation in southwest Phoenix. In the video, Mr. Sheridan called Judge Snow’s order “ludicrous” and “absurd,” and compared the restrictions the courts had placed on them to those imposed on the beleaguered New Orleans Police Department, whose officers, he said, “were murdering people.”
“That tells you how ludicrous this crap is,” Mr. Sheridan of the judge’s order, as a videocamera recorded his every word.
Mr. Arpaio spoke next, telling the deputies, “What the chief deputy said is what I’ve been saying,” adding, “We don’t racially profile, I don’t care what everybody says.”
Arpaio said nothing during the hearing, but told the press, “We’ll be appealing this case anyway. Stay tuned.” Rather than hitting Arpaio with a penalty at this hearing, Snow told the sheriff that if his department committed more violations, he would impose restrictions like forcing Arpaio to hire more monitors to ensure compliance. Snow already ordered that one monitor be brought in to serve as a check against discrimination.
To underscore his points, Judge Snow asked that the lawyers on both sides of the case prepare a summary of his order and that Mr. Arpaio and his deputies use it as a training tool, ideally to make sure none of it was misinterpreted. He also asked both sides to sign a letter attesting to the intentions of the order, which Mr. Arpaio’s lawyers said they would have to discuss before accepting.
So in essence, Arpaio is going to more or less continue his hack campaign against Hispanics in his own county, while his lawyers talk about whether to accept Snow’s order. How broken is our legal system when attorneys get to converse over an order before accepting it? What happened to a judge making a ruling as the final authority and forcing compliance, or else be held in contempt? After learning that Arpaio and his deputies remain defiant and probably have no intention of carrying out his order, why was Snow so lenient? Why did Snow just “strongly rebuke” the sheriff and not hold him in contempt? Arpaio needs to be taught the lesson that no one is above the law.
Andrew Cohen, with The Atlantic, made as strong a case as any for Arpaio to be held in content and fined until he complies:
If you or I behaved like this, if we violated a court order so defiantly after a case about willful disobedience of the Constitution, we would be held in contempt. And that’s what should have happened to Arpaio Monday. None of this patient deference to officials of another branch of government. None of this separation-of-powers politesse. The sheriff should have been held in contempt, and fined, until he was willing to publicly apologize (to the judge, at least) and also to convince Judge Snow that he understands at last that the Constitution belongs not to him but to all of the people he serves.
It’s not that he doesn’t get it. It’s that he gets it and still doesn’t care. The more the feds press him, the more the constitutional violations pile up, the more he’s able to lament to his supporters that he is the real victim here. This lawsuit, this court order, surely will be a talking point when Arpaio finally runs for governor. The real victims, of course, are the citizens of color in Maricopa County who still suffer under his yoke. To them, the contents of that ugly videotape aren’t a revelation. They’ve been living with that attitude for years. And if Arpaio wins his next race perhaps all of the citizens of Arizona will get to experience it, too.
The Iraq War could end up costing $6 trillion, at the expense of domestic programs, personal freedoms and a Jeffersonian-like expansion of federal power. One can pretty easily tell just how hypocritical and empty is the rhetoric of neocons and small-government conservatives. Not only has the GOP’s foreign policy platform been disingenuous and akin to saying one thing and doing another, Republicans in Washington have for the last six years essentially collected a check from American taxpayers for doing nothing, whether from cock blocking Obama at every turn, and in some cases, to the nation’s detriment, to wasting time passing nonbinding and symbolic repeals of the Affordable Care Act.
It really is shameless, as Jon Stewart duly notes here:
A 42-year-old woman from Georgia with roots in West Virginia came out on her blog today as an agnostic. Read her full account here.
Notice her lovely conclusion:
Please realize that I won’t cut you out of my life. I won’t try to convince you that everyone should be atheists. I won’t make your religion, or my lack thereof, the main topic of any of our future conversations. I am still the same Heather I’ve always been and will be the same until I die. I will always question, always wonder, always explore. I just want to love, be loved, celebrate, be celebrated, and experience everything life has to offer, and that includes fellowship with family and friends.
I’m a humanist/atheist. I love, I laugh, I rejoice, I cry, I feel, I rage, I wonder. I gasp at the beauty of an early-morning sunrise that bathes the land in oranges, pinks, and reds. I giggle in amazement and joy at watching my children become incredible people. I am soothed and calmed when I jump into the ocean on a scuba dive and am constantly surprised by the diversity and beauty of the life just under the surface. My mind is blown over the incredible wonder of this planet of ours and the life teeming on it. I can still feel all the things those who are faithful feel.
So turn away from me if you feel that you have to. It’s OK. I get it. Just remember that we’re all spinning on this tiny rock together. We need each other. It’s how we’re going to make it through this incredible journey through space and time.
Love and peace to each and every one of you.