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Dec
07

Battlefield God.

My friend Matt instant-messaged me a link this morning. It was to a site called Battleground God. The tagline is, “Can your beliefs about religion make it across our intellectual battleground?” It’s a series of questions who’s scores are not related to a right or wrong answer, they’re determined based on whether or not it’s consistent with your previous answers. Are you consistent in your beliefs. There’s three possiblities for “scores” on each question. One, you answer consistently and continue. Two, you take a direct hit. This means you’ve answered in a way that is in direct contradiction with a previous answer. Three, you bite a bullet. This means you’ve answered in a way that most would find “strange, incredible or unpalatable.” This, as they state, is based on their opinion of what is considered normal, and leaves more room for disagreement than the direct hit does, because your view on normal might differ from theirs. In that fact, some of the questions and answers can seem hypocritical, since, for example, they talk about following inner conviction. If your answer is in line with your inner conviction and you stated that you follow such things, then regardless of what society thinks, you’re consistent. Which is what the point of the whole thing was in the first place. But it’s all based on perception, and it’s written from the writer’s perception, and therefore falls into their rules. Either way, clickety click, I entered the battlefield.

Battleground Analysis

Congratulations!

You have been awarded the TPM medal of honour! This is our highest award for outstanding service on the intellectual battleground.

The fact that you progressed through this activity neither being hit nor biting a bullet suggests that your beliefs about God are internally consistent and very well thought out.

A direct hit would have occurred had you answered in a way that implied a logical contradiction. You would have bitten bullets had you responded in ways that required that you held views that most people would have found strange, incredible or unpalatable. However, you avoided both these fates – and in doing so qualify for our highest award. A fine achievement!

How did you do compared to other people?

– 160722 people have completed this activity to date.
– You suffered zero direct hits and bit zero bullets.
– This compares with the average player of this activity to date who takes 1.39 hits and bites 1.11 bullets.
– 7.29% of the people who have completed this activity, like you, emerged unscathed with the TPM Medal of Honour.
– 46.07% of the people who have completed this activity took very little damage and were awarded the TPM Medal of Distinction.

There we have it. I’m very consistent. Honestly, I think it’s more that I’m very open, very aware of the concept of perception, and very smart. Here’s why.

Question 1:
Does God exist?

Don’t know.

Question 2:
If God does not exist then there is no basis for morality.

False.

Morality is a personal choice. The dictionary definition of morality is “the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct.” What defines “good conduct.” It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Either way, the entire planet does not believe in God and there is still a standard for such “morality” and consequences for behaving otherwise. If your reason for being moral is that God says you should be and will reward you for being so, more power to you. This does not imply, however, in any way, that without God, no basis for such things exists.

Question 3:
Any being which it is right to call God must be free to do anything.

False.

In my humble opinion, anyway. I have many ideas on what God might be, if there is a God, and not all of them fall into that category. Regardless of anything else, I refuse to limit what God is or would be. Saying God must be free to do anything might not seem like a limitation, but it places the constraint of a label on a creature, that I would assume, probably has no constraint at all.

Question 4:
Any being which it is right to call God must want there to be as little suffering in the world as possible.

False.

Who am I to say what God “must want.”

Question 5:
Any being which it is right to call God must have the power to do anything.

False.

Not all of my ideas fall into the omnipotence category either. This, as well, falls into my refusal to limit.

Question 6:
Evolutionary theory may be false in some matters of detail, but is essentially true.

True.

So science says. I’m inclined to believe so.

Question 7:
It is justifiable to base one’s beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity of these convictions.

False.

This begins the many references to “justifiable.” Justifiable according to what. To justify something is to be able to demonstrate that it is correct or right. This slips into a perception of what exactly constitutes demonstration of such. It’s not often that verbalising one’s inner conviction works in such a manner. So, do people base beliefs on inner convictions regardless of evidence? All the time. Is it justifiable? Not really. But many things are not.

Question 8:
Any being that it is right to call God must know everything that there is to know.

False.

Refusal to limit.

Question 9:
Torturing innocent people is morally wrong.

True.

This again comes to what defines morality. In my opinion, it’s wrong.

Question 10:
If, despite years of trying, no strong evidence or argument has been represented to show that there is a Loch Ness monster, it is rational to believe that such a monster does not exist.

True.

Do people believe, yes. Is it rational, no.

Question 11:
People who die of horrible, painful disease need to die in such a way for some higher purpose.

False.

I just don’t think so.

Question 12:
If God exists she could make it so that everything now considered sinful becomes morally acceptable and everything that is now considered morally good becomes sinful.

False.

Besides my previous limitation refusal, the commonly spoken of God supposedly granted free will. To change something like that would be to change the minds and thoughts of people, since what is considered morally right and wrong was determined by generation after generation of humanity. I just don’t see that happening.

Question 13:
It is foolish to believe in God without certain, irrevocable proof that God exists.

False.

It’s not foolish. People do it all the time. More power to them.

Question 14:
As long as there are no compelling arguments or evidence that show God does not exist, atheism is a matter of faith, not rationality.

False.

There are also no compelling arguments to prove that God _does_ exist, and therefore it’s perfectly rational to be an atheist. By that theory, though, believing in God is rational as well. It all comes back to a perception of what’s considered the basis for “rationality.” Atheists will say that the lack of evidence is the basis for rationality, and the believe with the lack there of is the act of faith. Theists believe God exists, so the basis for their perception stems from that. It’s all relative.

Question 15:
The serial rapist Peter Sutcliffe had a firm, inner conviction that God wanted him to rape and murder prostitutes. He was, therefore, justified in believing that he was carrying out God’s will in undertaking these actions.

False.

Again, what exactly defines “justifiable.” Obviously, he was convicted and received a stiff sentence. So the judge and jury certainly didn’t think it was justified.

Question 16:
If God exists she would have the freedom and power to create square circles and make 1 + 1 = 72.

False.

Limitations.

Question 17:
It is justifiable to believe in God based on a firm, inner conviction even if there is no external evidence that God exists.

False.

People do. To them, it’s not about justification.

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