The Deplorable God Scandal and the Divine Lost Cause. Part 2: How the Megadisasters of the Innocents Disprove the High Moral Status of Religious Worshippers. A Decency and Science-Based Analysis
Independent researcher, Baltimore, MD
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Abstract: Even though experiencing historical declines, worship of a speculative creator continues to be practiced by a majority of humans despite the continuing lack of compelling evidence that the entity if it exists is righteous, moral and loving. Scientific statistical analysis was used to disprove the existence of a benign, wise and virtuous creator based on the overwhelming evidence contained in the Megadisasters of the Innocents.. Persistently downplayed or ignored by theologians who are unable to deal with the fatal problem, the suffering and premature death of immature humans and animals is too vast for a supernatural designer to be caring and moral. Having overseen the greatest criminal homicide against humanity, a putative creator lacks the moral authority to ban abortion or murder, or provide sound guidance for humans and their societies. Because any creator is gravely immoral, worship of such a deity in search of divine boons is immoral narcissism, and needs to be abandoned by humanity. This is all the more true because the statistics show that the most atheistic democracies are achieving the best socioeconomic conditions in human history, including the lowest rates of homicide.
Keywords: science, atheism, religion, theodicy, atheodicy, morality, evil, immorality, juvenile mortality, suffering, children, evolution, god, worship, socioeconomics.
Then, having thus made the Creator responsible for all those pains and diseases and miseries enumerated, and which he could have prevented, the gifted Christian blandly calls him Our Father!…. He equips the creator with every trait that goes into the making of a fiend, and then arrives at the conclusion that a fiend and a father are the same thing!
If science exterminates a disease which has been working for God, it is God that gets the credit, and all the pulpits break into grateful advertising-raptures and call attention to how good he is! Yes, he has done it. Perhaps he has waited a thousand years before doing it. That is nothing; the pulpit says he was thinking about it all the time.
– Mark Twain (1962) Letters from the Earth
Part 1 of this analysis adds detail to my Philosophy and Theology enquiry (Paul 2007/9) concerning the suffering and death of immature humans that has been as massive in scale as it has been ignored, as well as that of animals, and how those enormous disasters overwhelm and falsify the possibility of the existence of the Good God billions continue to believe in. This part of the investigation starts by taking a look at some specific theodistic arguments that have been used to try to resolve the problem, then challenges and refutes the morality of worshipping a creator deity, and emboldens atheists to inform the world of the strongest argument against religion.
The Masses of Dead Infants Get the Free Ticket to Heaven Speculation
After the publication of Part 1, and after years of searching, I at long last came across extremely rare theological discussions of prematurity death that actually directly makes an attempt to note and address its scale – the first dating from the 1800s, the new one inspired by that. Spurgeon (1861) observed that about half the children die, although he errantly blames a larger portion on criminal human action. Having cited Spurgeon, Mohler (2006) in lieu of the Indian ocean tsunamis states that untold millions of youth have died, and that millions still die every year. Neither calculated the absolute total of dead youth; the former may not have had the necessary statistical data. Both then try to wave away the mass mortality of juveniles via typically thinly supported, ambiguous lines from scriptures, and the obvious goodness of God’s grace. Spurgeon emphasizes the enormous number of child’s souls that must be in heaven. In admitting both the scope of the disaster and opting to speculate that masses of kids go straight to God’s place Spurgeon and Mohler have done a good job of helping wreck and overturn Free Will Theodicy while not mentioning it in their texts, which is a reason its proponents have ignored Spurgeon ever since, and will presumably attempt to dodge the issue for as long as they can. That Spurgeon and Mohler may well the sole theodists who come anywhere close to discussing the statistics emphasizes how the rest of their cohort cannot deal with the dreadful numbers.
The Devil Did It Hypothesis and its Falsity
On the one hand it is painfully obvious that the world is all too often a very cruel place, and many naturally wish to avoid blaming their beloved God they want to get things from, so many laity proffer the folk belief that Satan is the source of the problem. This thesis does not find wide favor among intellectual theodists. All entities including Satan are the creations of the all-knowing and all-powerful God, who can at any time prevent or alleviate any actions his creation Lucifer takes. The deity does not do so because the actions of Satan are integral to his utopia project, the latter provides humans a strong test of their free will — in effect the devil is God’s employee, the former serving even if it does not like it the purposes of the latter. If a person hires a known arsonist to maintain the residential building they own, and the arsonist then sets fire to the structure and half the children die, then the landlord bears substantial legal and moral responsibility for the tragedy. A person who knows that an assistant is committing murders that serves the former’s purpose is culpable in the homicides. It follows that the ubercreator is fully responsible for any Satanic acts/ And blaming the devil risks hell directing blasphemy because it attributes godly powers regarding the design of living beings to Lucifer that Abrahamic dogma states his creator alone holds. The FWH does not resolve the issue.
The Skeptical Theism, Dumb/Rebellious Humans, Brilliant Moral Creator/God Works in Mysterious Ways, It Could Have Been Worse So Don’t Complain About It, Only God Can Give Humans Morality, Humans Are His Property, God Cares/Jesus Suffered for Our Sins, and Beauty Hypotheses and their Falsity
The slander that humans are not smart enough to figure out why their putative divine designer created a planet that has knocked off half the children et al. is the classic — and cynical — example of telling people to not think too much if at all about why things are not going as well as one should think lest it cause a person to come to a sound and logical conclusion that there is no such thing as a loving god and its heaven. In parallel is the common thesis that the ubermind’s super sophisticated morality is not the same as that of its doltish human creations, and beyond the latter’s feeble comprehension. This is a reason Christians often refer to themselves as being children, sheep or fish of limited mental and moral capacity especially relative to God. Popular of late among theists is the seemingly erudite Skeptical Theism (Draper 1996, Law 2015) that proposes that the reasons that an infinite intelligence allows evils is beyond mere human comprehension. All of these are really nothing more than minor variations on the old line that the really smart creator works in ways that are mysterious, which is ethical evasion and enabling that allows such moral relativism as theists supporting venal political leaders when they tout policies that support their brand of theism. The combined contentions are intrinsically illogical in that people are being told that they must make an enormous, critical moral choice that will cause their eternal life to either be really good or bad. Yet their supposed creator for reasons that do not make sense equipped those who must make the one right choice with low power brains not capable of fully understanding the situation even in the very rare cases they are well informed about it. So humans are to a fair extent making a Pascalian wager in a game they cannot truly understand. That is radically unfair. And a violation of the FWH because true free choice is possible only if one has access to all the necessary data and is fully capable of then determining what really is the best choice. It has always been peculiar that a perfect God that should have no need to alter its circumstances is manufacturing far lesser, vulnerable and defective beings that it knows will be strongly preprogrammed by genetics and brain development to be “sinners” who lack sufficient capacity to understand and reliably to do the right thing, and when they predictably often are bad boys and girls severely punish them for doing what he knows will happen. Note that the people are too dumb to get God’s ethics is not universal among theists, the latter often proclaiming that His morality is so obvious, straightforward and as plain as day that anyone can understand it, including by reading its unambiguous scripture in order to develop a personal relationship with the Lord Creator. Sometimes the same theists cite whichever hypothesis best serves their immediate purposes as is convenient at differing times and places.
Actually being the products of bioevolution, we big brained apes are certainly not superminds as are the gods we very probably made up. But we are not as dumb as the theodists in their self-serving arrogance – as they claim to merely being doing the work of the perfect god they conveniently cannot show exists – pretend we are. One does not have to be a moral genius, humble common human decency will do, to have not the slightest problem comprehending that a creator that at best stands aside as tens of billions of children are tortured to death on the kid toxic planet it created, while trillions of animals get the hell beaten out of them, is just plain wrong, wrong, wrong. The tremendous scale of the disasters of the innocents is just too big to not know what are its moral implications, and the Dumb Humans Hypothesis and its relations ares overwhelmed and sunk like the HMS Hood at the Battle of the Denmark Straits. Indeed, it is the creator character that obviously exhibits moral stupidity of the highest order – this is fully compatible with the designer being a fictional invention of human minds. The truth of this conclusion is verified by how the theodists who tell us to not question the ways of god studiously avoid the Megadisasters of the Innocents – their brains are quite capable of realizing it overwhelms the weaknesses of Skeptical Theodicy et al, and in doing so disproves the goodness of their hoped for creator. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist much less a God to figure that one out.
Closely related to the Dumb Humans Hypothesis is the Rebellious Humans Hypothesis that sees H. sapiens in all our defects is commonly yet unreasonably defiant against our creator who only wants what he in its infinite wisdom and virtue knows is best for us (as per Craig undated). Again there is the deep illogic of a perfect deity creating defective lessers that are prone to be perpetually uppity. And why should humans not be recalcitrant against an autocratic designer that is not only barbaric to children and creatures, but so stupid that it sabotages its own utopia project? Instead the reverse is true – all decent people should reject worshipping and seeking benefits from a mass kid killing and animal abusing deity, just as all should rebel against a human tyrant. It is those who are complicit in the crimes of the Lord creator if one exists who are immoral, and their contention that all must laud its high morality are guilty of propounding autocratic disinformation. More on that latter in this essay.
Craig (undated, 2012) provides an example of the attempt by theists to portray those insubordinate persons who dare not believe in things mysterious and supernatural, as being so overly concerned and emotional about the evil of the world that they irrationally deny the hard theodistic logic that shows why the disasters of the innocents are a sad but necessary good — rather like the incendiary and atomic bombings of German and Japanese civilians was an unavoidable means to ending the second world war with as few overall casualties as possible (a claim that is militarily and historically very dubious). That is as rich as it is sardonically supercilious. It is those who are deep into the psychological search for earthly aid and comfort that is the most potent force driving the popularity of theism (Paul 2009a,b), plus their (understandable) fear of total mind death, who have the sheer chutzpah to claim that their ideological belief in the theoparanormal is more rational than science-based atheism. Their contention cannot be taken seriously.
This is not to pretend that atheists are entirely unemotional about the evil that God if there is one is allowing to wreak havoc on kids and animals. Nothing wrong with being displeased with that, of course. After all atheists are humans, not automatons. Where Craig et al. are yet again perverse is in trying to make the normal discontent against cruel creation into a defect, when the actual problem is that theists who really think there is a creator are not only not seethingly angry as they well should be about the horrors their beloved gift giving Lord is perpetuating, they are doing so in their self-servicing search for divine boons. Craig is all the more cynical in tut-tutting the errant emotionality of atheists over the vastness of creation’s evils, in that his own Reasonable Faith website is linguistically laden with deity lauding florid language carefully crafted to emote loving admiration for the creator and craving for His Heaven, and is visually graced with manipulative images cleverly designed to inspire the proper emotions of divine comfort and peace he hopes will lead his readers to a relationship such as it is with a deity that may well not exist and uses mass violence if it does. Most common are pleasantly nebulous profiles of birds flying against a white background. Not presented within theomarketing are images of the bodies of countless children and creatures that God in his infinite wisdom has allowed to be ravaged by his nature. If Craig ever again wishes to charge atheists with emotionalism, he needs to drop the pretty birds et al.
It is worth noting that I am not angry at or hate God for killing kids, it not being possible to be such concerning a very probably illusory being. Much as I am not upset at Sauron for being such an evil bad boy in Tolkien’s fiction, while the all too real Christopagan Hitler whose lethality was miniscule compared to that stemming from Natural Evil I loathe and despise. It was the skeptotheodist Twain (1962) who first alerted me to the incompatibility of the dreadful disease load of the planet with a good creator – as well as the depraved nature of the Bible — and that realization was fascinatingly logical in the Vulcan tradition. Where my intense exasperation edging towards anger and serious sadness is directed towards is at those people who worship the afflicter of innocents in search of benefits, while claiming to be promoting truth and high moral values that lead to better societies in direct contradiction of the evidence. It is like the errant Communism that has faded, as should all mythical theism.
Next on the list of problematic theodicies is the It Could Have Been Worse So Don’t Complain About It Hypothesis — which is a subset of the Best of All Possible World’s Hypothesis – that contends that as bad as creation may seem to be, maybe it could have been even worse (Craig 2012 being an example). But as noted above the Children’s Holocaust is about as terrible as possible because higher juvenile morality would have risked the extinction of H. sapiens. Nor did the belated connection between the hemispheres work at all well for the aboriginals of the Americas. And the terrorizing of animals over hundreds of millions of years could not have been even much more dreadful without aborting the animal world. If the intelligent creator is real and is brilliant it should have been able to do far better in setting up its free will dependent utopia plan.
Then there is the classic Only God Can Give Humans Morality Hypothesis. Among the most popular conceits of theism is that only a perfect transcendent creator can be moral, and transfer that to humans, which if they did evolve willy-nilly could not possess such (as per Lewis 1957, Giberson & Collins 2011, Craig undated). This hypothesis is as nonsensical as it is beloved among supernaturalists. There is no a-priori reason that a creator would be moral versus amoral or immoral (Law 2010), if anything the first is statistically less probable than the next. The empirical evidence of the Megadisasters of the Innocents leaves no doubt that the first paranormal fantasy is patently errant, leaving the second and/or third certainly true if there is a purposeful creator power. It is abjectly impossible for a cruel divine designer that is not moral to teach humans how to be such, so if there is a creator that is moral defective, then we humans are as moral as we are despite the entity, not because of it. That is all the more true seeing as how it is humans who have striven to save the lives of billions of children that the supposedly intelligent creator did not lift a divine finger to aid, leaving many people more moral than their putative divisor – if anything it is the latter that has moral lessons to learn from the former.
As for how human morality evolved, that is not hard to explain using reality-based modern evolutionary science. The evolution of primates and especially hominids involved increasing collaborative sociality based on rapidly expanding neural networks. Within Homo one species, H. sapiens, became hypersocial via hormonally driven behavior modifications linked to anatomical features – similar to the domestication of animals – that produced a unique degree of intraspecific friendliness often expressed as feelings of love (Hare & Woods 2020). That blended with the functional Golden Rule to give modern humans a competitive advantage over other members of its genus. Biological and cultural evolution cannot generate perfect results. Brains are complex and circumstances unpredictable, so the same niceness hormones often backfire and produce dysfunctional behaviors; the oxytocin without which human love cannot exist also drives jealous and protective rages. Sociopaths with abnormal hormone levels try to game the cooperative system in their favor by exploiting others with mixed results. Thus the constant play between good and bad elements within human societies and individuals.
Fantasy theories that a supernatural creator that for no particular reason is perfect in its morality is required to explain flawed human morality are as unnecessary as they are barren, being equivalent to the fairly widespread beliefs that aliens dispatched the dinosaurs to clear the planet for mammals and thus humans, that the latter could not devised and constructed precisely laid out giant pyramids around the globe without the aid of extraterrestrials, and the same for back engineering modern hi-tech aircraft from crashed alien machines or instructions. Human morality and love is not provided by mystical magical god/s. It is the practical evolutionary physical product of self-domestication via real world biochemicals that generate a pragmatic and imperfect social ethics. Which some of us big brained primates then over-obsess into the grandiose fancy that a super moral force that utilizes mass suffering for reasons unclear, must have endowed us with morality. Making it the more ironic is that it is the same hormones that human love cannot exist without that make it possible for many to imagine they are in deep ardor with a fictional entity divine or earthly they never meet. When it comes to explaining why people are reasonably nice to one another most of the time, science-based actuality trumps supernaturalistic opinion
In Abrahamism the righteous creator owns its creation that it is the universe, including its inhabitants animal and human. In this Humans Are His Property Hypothesis we humans should be unquestioningly grateful for whatever our owner bequeaths us, even if that includes suffering misery in megadoses. If that is true then parents should be able do whatever they like with the children they create, all the more so if we are the products of nature rather than a supernatural power. This argument is not a moral one, it being about power, those that possess it can do what they wish with those who are relatively weak, whether that be to the benefit of its creations, or the opposite down to outright cruelty.
As explained above in the section on assessing the data, in any moral scheme the divine designer is in effect a landlord that of course must put priority in doing all it can to ensure the safety, comfort and freedom of the residents of the universe it created. If a person built a large residential building to house previously homeless families, but the structure was so defective that it wiped out half the residing children as well as abusing the pets, the landlord would be up on criminal charges. A utopian autocrat that rules a shining modern nation in which half the children die is subject to criminal charges. Same for parents and animal owners who are negligent or deliberately abusive, even if they rescue the creature from dire circumstances – such is the practice of some arsonists. The rule that the powerful have no moral choice but to bend over backwards to properly care for their charge is so basic that it is astonishing that most of the people on the planet do not realize it. The key reason for that mass moral abrogation is the search for benefits from the sky god.
As depraved as is any scheme that puts people in the position of being subjects to be treated at the whim of the autocracy, the Humans Are His Property Hypothesis neither justifies the Megadisasters of the Innocents nor supports the FWH.
Returning for a moment to the Blame It All On Sinful Humans Hypothesis discussed in Part 1 relative to the tragedy of the animals, that humans are supposedly all involved in the Original Sin of The Fall – which is not part of Mormon doctrine — is unfair and patently barbaric collective punishment that is all the more undeserved when applied to children. Whose being dispatched at a 50./50 ratio is far beyond the bounds of any moral reasoning, any mistakes of their ancestors being trivial in comparison. Nor does this theodicy do any good for the FWH.
And of course there are The God Cares and most of all the Jesus Suffered for Our Sins hypotheses. Craig (undated) gives a summary.
God does not stand idly by, coolly observing the suffering of His creatures. He enters into and shares our suffering. He endures the anguish of seeing his son, the second person of the Trinity, consigned to the bitterly cruel and shameful death of the cross. . . . in order to overcome sin, and death, and the evils that afflict our world…. and to confer on us a life more glorious that we can imagine. He was prepared to suffer on our behalf, to accept suffering of which we can form no conception. You see, Jesus endured a suffering beyond all comprehension: He bore the punishment for the sins of the whole world. None of us can comprehend that suffering. Though He was innocent, He voluntarily took upon himself the punishment that we deserved. And why? Because He loves us. How can we reject Him who gave up everything for us?
This thesis is as deeply cynical and immoral on multiple levels as it is typically floridly grandiose theodistic marketing crafted to deceive. The Jesus of the gospels “gave up” nothing in that he remained the heavenly God, the period of torture on the cross was brief and less than that experienced by countless individual humans some of whom I know, and animals, it was a mere trillionth or less than that which has been afflicted on the innocents. As noted earlier in the analysis that the creator “shares” the pain does the tormented animals no good – unless they do become C. S. Lewisian talking beasts perhaps. Humans do not deserve any punishment for the agonizing terminations of all but a small fraction of the tens of billions of kids who have died and far vaster number of animals that have been tormented to death. It is God who if per very minor chance is real does deserve punishment for the vast brutality that is His Sin – a criminal grade sin compared to the often trivial or not immoral human actions we are slanderously gaslighted into believing are serious sins justifying retribution and requiring forgiveness — and Jesus as God is nowhere near being innocent, being responsible for the megacatastrophes of the children and animals. And the Jesus sacrifice if it happened was both nothing compared to the sacrifice of the children on the altar of his heaven program, and after half of humanity had already died rather late – too late to accord with the FWH. That God “loves” the children whose mass deaths he oversaw is a perverse claim that indicates that the writer as per many Christians does not understand and/or care what the word really means. As for what he does understand, note that Craig reveals his and other Christians real motives when he slips in the key reason that people should be in with the cruel creator despite its perversions – a fabulous eternal existence – Craig knows his audience and what he and they really want never mind all the agony involved whether people and animals like it or not.
A particularly interesting item of theodicy that run right into the Megadisasters of the Innocents is The Beauty Hypothesis. Theists professional and lay have for millennia waxed rhapsodic about how the beauty characteristic of much of creation is powerful positive evidence for if not proof of the existence of a perfect transcendent creator. How could it be otherwise? Such beauty cannot be the result of mere chance, or the product of a wicked mind. The leading American proponent of this premise was the devoutly Christian John Muir, a European immigrant who came to see the spectacular scapes of the American west, Yosemite Valley best of all, as potent proof of God’s magnificent works — “God’s Country” that when made into travel destinations would help Americans better appreciate the truth of the divine creator.
The numerous defects of the Beauty Hypothesis start with how splendor is a highly arbitrary artifice of the human mind subject to dispute, beauty being in the eye of the beholder. An example are the alpine mountains that are to most modern western minds examples of great grandeur. But that is a recent conceit. Virtually no Renaissance art features the Alps in a favorable light — note how the mountains in the Mona Lisa are distant and vaguely foreboding, which was the norm when great heights were included in paintings of the period. Mountainous regions were seen as the wrecks of God’s wrathful flood, terrible places of many dangers poorly suited for large populations of God’s most critical creation, humans. God’s true country were the placid farmlands full of his human creations and dotted with towns centered on places of worship. The view only began to change during the onset of the Romantic period in the late 1700s and 1800s, as industrialization caused many to begin to appreciate wildscapes as pristine refuges. That was boosted with the competition between the newly independent Americans versus Europeans lead by Thomas Jefferson and Count Buover over boasting rights concerning who lived on the better continent. The contest contributed to the former sending Lewis and Clark to assay the reports of an immense mountain range in the newly acquired territories, the revealing of the Rockies giving Yankees bragging rights. That western Christendom shifted from considering alpine scenes as dreadful to sublime exposes that arbitrary beauty is not a reliable means to measure the existence or ethics of a supernatural creator.
There is also the issue that much of the planet is not all that lovely. Substantial tracts are mediocre – a road trip across the west Texas flats by this analyst found them to be short of even that. Fictional planets crafted by artistic human creators of special effects such as Pandora (Avatar) are sometimes superior to the best that the planet created by mindless natural processes has to offer. That such are true challenges the notion that a divine creator possesses an exceptional level of creativity.
Then there is the problem that beauty is not consistently associated with the good. Many modern westerners consider creatures that make a living brutally killing other animals — cats, wolves, raptors, orcas, sharks – among the most beautiful animals. And the comparably attractive looks of gracile herbivorous gazelles, antelope and deer are the evolutionary result of trying to escape the prior butchers. Thunderheads and some volcanic eruptions can be perceived as visually appealing. Weapons of war are often considered objects of beauty; finely crafted swords, recurved bows, sail frigates and ships-of-the-line, fighter aircraft such as the elegant Supermarine Spitfire. Accounts from the Union line at Gettysburg describe the splendor of the beginning of Pickett’s charge that lead to awful slaughter. The lovely plantation mansions of the antebellum south were the product of vicious slave labor camps. If a dictator oversees the construction of beautiful buildings that does that justify his rule? Of course not.
While beauty is arbitrary, suffering is not. Few disagree that the agony of severe illness or injury, or the chronic stress of the fear of predation, or the death of children, are not ugly events almost all wish to avoid. As I noted in the P&T analysis whatever the cause of the Children’s Holocaust it has been objectively as ruthless as merciless, in that it lacks either ruth or mercy.
With beauty a subjective perception sometimes associated with deadly circumstances, it does not come close to overcoming the brutish reality of the tremendous misery and premature death on planet earth, when it comes to assessing the morality of a creator that is responsible for the dire situation. The FWH is left wanting.
The Weak Creator Hypothesis and its Falsity
So far we have largely been examining that fantasy-based belief the supernatural creator is perfect in all respects, including being omnipotent. As popular among theointellectuals and the laity as the conceit is, the premise stretches credulity. The possibility that a transcendent creator of any type exists is itself extremely speculative, to add to that that it for some reason happens to be absolutely flawless only piles on to the degree of specious supposition. The only way to logically conclude that the creator really is perfect is if the evidence in favor of such is so overwhelming that it has to receive an A+ on the morality and competence grade scale. Instead the opposite is true.
What remains is the possibility formally titled Finite God Theodicy that a reasonably albeit not perfectly moral creator does exist, but that its creation is seriously defective because the entity does not possess the power to provide adequate safety for his creations, as famously and radically argued by Kushner (1983, also see Chartier 2006). If a designer entity generates a habitat knowing that it will result in mass and intense distress for most of its cognitive inhabitants, and the power lacks the means to greatly reduce the agony, then the basic morality of that act is highly dubious from the get-go. Further crippling the hypothesis that the moral creator cannot save the situation it created is that doing the obviously right thing is not all that hard to do. We mere mortal humans — many of whom truly love and care for children in a way no creator does — have largely solved the problem of juvenile mortality via sanitation, vaccines and antibiotics, no immense supernatural power has been required. If there is a creator with the tremendous power to produce a universe and a biosphere it could have easily taken steps to defend kids, such as equipping them with effective immune systems, or at least told humans from the start how to best protect their loved little ones. But the scriptures that many contend are the wise Word of God do not bother to provide instruction on how to minimize premature mortality. Instead Jesus decries the washing of hands before eating (on trivial theological grounds). For a designer power to not be able to tremendously reduce planetary suffering requires that it be incredibly incompetent, at the level of humans before the advent of modern medicine – this is entirely out of accord with the tenets of standard monotheism, especially the Christo-Islamic variety. After all, if the “intelligent” creator is such an impotent idiot then it is extremely defective, the level of inept idiocy being so extreme that a creator of such stupidity is too implausible to be a viable hypothesis, much less worthy of worshipful adoration. Nor is the FWH given a boost. A not powerful enough to do the job right creator at best gets a pathetic D rating on the morality scale, and that may be being kind.
The Best of All Possible Societies Hypothesis and Its Falsity
Since the emergence of organized religion, it is has been the common contention of governments, clergy, creationists and laity (including some nontheists) that mass popular belief in the existence of a creative power that provides sound moral guidance, threatens earthly and/or post death punishment for improper behavior, and/or promises planetary and eternal rewards for proper behavior, is at least advantageous to, if not absolutely critical for, the existence of well-functioning, pacific, prosperous societies. Only wide belief in such extraordinary and wise powers can ensure that populations of the inherently and all too obviously foolish humans that for reasons never plausibly explained the perfect divinity fashioned, come to consist of responsible citizens capable of the loving altruism they need to work to together to make human matters as good as they can be on earth. It is proclaimed that religion, especially Christianity, has played a critical role in the advent of democracy, and the ending of slavery and the promotion of civil and human rights. A subset of the Best of All World’s Hypothesis, this Best of All Possible Societies Hypothesis (BAPS) has neither been based on sound argument, nor historically or statistically substantiated.
A number of large scale studies have directly tested the Moral-Creator Socioeconomic Hypothesis (MCSH), this subset of the BAPS contends that the rise of popular nontheism in portions of the world over the last century, including the first world democracies, has degraded societal and economic conditions – as implied by President Eisenhower when he denounced the then new phenomenon of Swedish secularism. Conversely the USA is often lauded for its exceptionalism founded on its Godly American Way. That global living conditions have in general actually been rising at a rapid rate (as documented by Pinker 2012) in parallel with mass secularization (as documented in Barrett et al. 2001, Paul 2018a) and rising support for bioevolution itself directly disproves both the MCSH and BAPS. So do the generally improving conditions in the USA as the population has rapidly secularized in recent decades. All extensive cross-national studies, using dozens of indicators of socioeconomic conditions, since around the turn of the century have found the more atheistic and proevolution nations are, especially among the developed democracies, the better off the populations tend to be in terms of lower mortality rates including juvenile, better health indicators, lower medical expenditures, better mental health, less illicit drug use, lower STD infection rates, less teen pregnancy, lower rates of abortion, less intentional homicide, less incarceration, less divorce, more gender equality, less poverty, lower economic disparity and more upward socioeconomic mobility (Paul 2009a,b, 2012, 2014 and refs therein). The most theistic first world nation, the USA, is the worst off or close to it in most regards, with those countries where majorities are nonreligious if not atheistic are doing the best. Broadly similar patterns apply to the American states, and to the world at large. No similar scale study refuting the strong correlation between more nontheism and better overall conditions has been produced despite challenges to do so, such not being possible.
The correlations firmly disprove that mass theism must be present for societies to run well. As for why that is, and what are the causal reasons for the correlations in which more popular piety is strongly prone to be associated with inferior societal circumstances, the situation is complex (Paul 2009a.b, 2012, 2014). Modernity in the form of science, education and especially improving real world materialistic socioeconomics appear to consistently and powerfully degrade popular interest in speculative supernaturalistic religion, leading to pragmatic secular socioeconomic policies that further improve the conditions that then further suppress religiosity. This pattern means that it is literally not possible for a highly religious society to be highly socioeconomically successful by modern standards, because the latter always suppress levels of theism, which is why no such societies exist and almost certainly never will.
In theism, Christianity very much so, charitable giving is commonly strongly promoted as a religious altruistic duty. That is turn is widely touted as a major societal benefit, with theoconservatives proclaiming that private aid is superior to public. But the correlation between more social charitable giving and socioeconomic conditions is negative in the developed democracies, the opposite being true when government social spending is assayed. This is because charities are very financially inefficient for various reasons including the need to spend much of what they take in to garner yet more contributions, misplaced priorities driven by the needs of fund raising, a lack of sufficient scale, and substantial fraud. The poor performance of faith-based charity compared to pragmatic, secular government is a clear but neglected example of how religion is not all that it is proclaimed to be.
That the BAPS is not working well is made apparent via other recent and current events. Since the end of the Cold War most of the war and terror afflicting the globe has a major religious component driving it, with all but a small percentage of the deaths attributable to theists. Islam continues to back an array of autocracies (Paul 2012). Right wing elements in Europe are citing the continent’s Christian heritage as justification for their ethnoracist nationalistic policies, while churches back autocratic politics in Russia and eastern Europe. The same is true in central and South America. In India it is Hinduism, in Burma Buddhism. It has been exposed that major churches have engaged in large scale depravities including various forms of abuse of children in both hemispheres. The Catholic Church developed deep ties with organized crime in the 1900s via its notorious unregulated money laundering Vatican Bank.
That religion does at least as much societal bad as good, and probably more of the former, is compatible with its scriptures and historical record. Over the millennia organized popular theism, including Christo-Islamic in many cases, in the form of scripture, doctrine and lay opinion, has in the main strongly endorsed, tacitly accepted, or tolerated autocracy and suppression of human rights and freedom of thought, expression and action in many areas of life including religion, politics and sexuality, autocrats who are gravely corrupt, state and religious terrorism, extreme torturous and deadly punishments for crimes including of low level, human sacrifice, slavery including based on ethnic status, misogynist patriarchy including forced sex for women, ethnoracism including anti-Semitism, fascism including Nazism, unprovoked wars of conquest and ethnic cleansing, genocide, intentional homicide, looting, deception, manipulative propaganda, moral relativism and acts of convenience, habitat destruction, abusive exploitation of animals all the way to extinction. The Good Book is so riven with dreadful morality that it is literally a major recruiting tool for atheism – numerous JudeoChristians who read the entire tome for the first time are so horrified and disgusted by its contents, and about having been misled about its depravity by clergy, that they convert to nontheism (as per Sweeney 2006). The Bible is just the kind of mixed im/moral message tract that is a toxic sociopsychological primer for producing inconsistent and often bad results. It has been the advent of secular values and forces over recent centuries that have played a leading role in improving the situation. For example Christian testaments and doctrine are clearly compatible with legal slavery as explained by the Holy See in 1866 justifying its retention in Latin America into the late 1800s, which is why the faith did nothing to stop it for nearly two thousand years; Smith (1776) correctly predicted that the secular economic power of large scale corporate-consumer-industrial capitalism would soon render the institution obsolete.
A thousand years ago when virtually all who dwelled in Europe outside of Spain or the southeast were followers of Jesus and the continent was the center of the fantasy, the land was wracked by poverty, ignorance, serfdom and slavery, petty feudal wars and crime rates so high that a historical researcher of homicide labeled the citizens “the Wild Bunch” (see Paul 2009a). That makes perverse sense in that Jesus character massively touted by a colossal propaganda campaign as the acme of perfection and the Man of Peace adored by billions, committed animal abuse (by drowning a herd of pigs), expressly denied being a man of peace and claimed to have brought the sword and division by turning people against one another, entered Jerusalem with an armed entourage (swords), and fashioned a painful weapon of terror (whip) to drive the people and animals away from the Temple, rather than staging a peaceful protest as per Gandhi or King.
The above observations do not deny that religious forces and persons have not at certain times made important contributions to improving human circumstances. Or that atheism which is a morally neutral hypothesis regarding the probable nonexistence of deities does not have its downside, especially in the form of nondemocratic communism (which would never have become a serious matter if not for the gross incompetence of the devoutly Christian Czarist regime, and the cynical shipping of Lenin to Russia by the Christian German government; note that claims that Hitler and his Nazism were atheistic are patently false, and he and his party received extensive aid from European churches for political and financial purposes). Currently the government that poses to greatest threat to a decent and democratic world order is the atheistic Chinese dictatorship – which the Catholic Church has come to accommodations with. What this analysis establishes is that when it comes to its societal utility, theism has not proven superior to the alternatives, and may well be inferior. Telling example: theists endlessly proclaim that it is only the dictates of the God that is responsible for the sacrifice of tens of billions of children that prevent humans from making murder common. But the lowest rates of intentional homicide – ongoing and probably in history, and likely the lowest that are possible among we big brained apes – are found in the most atheistic democracies. The thesis that atheists cannot run sound, successful pacific societies is an outright Big Lie that never should be repeated.
That the Best of All Possible Societies Hypothesis wing of the FWH has proven a big bust is not at all surprising. It is so obviously a very bad idea to rely on the guidance and power of a creator when it is very improbable such a thing exists that doing such is highly unlikely to work out well. All the more so in that the divine creator is near certain to be a fantasy invented by bronze and iron age tribal men whose societal thinking was archaic. If a transcendent designer does exist, then the Children’s Holocaust and other Megadisasters of the Innocents prove that its performance has been so spectacularly inept and immoral that it is at best extremely incompetent, and at worse evil and criminal. It follows that following the recommends of such a power are not going to work out well in the aggregate. Only if a divine creator is proven to be both real and good is it advisable to follow its instructions – the first is very improbable but not entirely impossible, the latter is impossible because the catastrophes of the innocents prove otherwise.
We All Know Better
Time to cut to the chase. All this intellectual chit-chat has its intellectual and ethical place. I find in mentally stimulating. And to take on the theodists and the colossal theism machine, it has to be done in all its careful detail. But in the end it is really not necessary.
We all know it. We all know that you don’t waste the kids. That it is basic decency to protect them as much as is practical. Of course life is a risk, and children will die crossing the road or climbing a tree. But what anyone of minimal decency knows is that no project is worth whacking off half the children. Duh. And you theists who denounce child sacrifice when it is convenient and ignore it when it is not know it, just as many know that their pet conspiracy theories are actually dicey. The question is if you will admit it, to yourselves, and to the world.
And don’t beat your dog, even if your indecent Lord Creator is Ok with tormenting the creatures great and small.
No Way Around it, the Megadisasters of the Innocents Debunks All Theodicy and Disproves the Good God Hypothesis
Returning to the intellectual discourse, objective skeptotheodistic analysis reveals that the dictatorial God’s Great Utopia Project is a catastrophe as frequently abusive, outright cruel and terroristic as it is unavoidably futile – it makes an acme of human hubris, the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, look very good in comparison. In its illogical, the-ends-justifies-the-horrendous-means adventure to populate its paradise only with worshippers who want to be there, the narcissistic putative deity is overseeing a morally relativistic project that strips most human conceptions that very same free will, in tens of billions of cases by means so brutally torturous that they strip children of their dignity. And if the ineptly foolish deity then allows the slaughtered innocents into paradise it is packing the place with unprepped pious robots.
A transcendent creator who constructs a universe for a moral purpose is a de facto landlord who is entirely responsible for the comfort of safety for the inhabitants of its property, which in this case is earth if is the product of such as supernatural power. It is its duty to maximize the safety and comfort factors as much as possible. It can be argued that those who are most innocent and defenseless while having the cognition to know they are suffering, children as well as creatures, most require protection. That a creator especially omnipotent allows the loss of even one child is morally dubious on multiple levels. Such is also in direct violation of, as FWH theodicy contends, the designer’s own critical plan to use the free will of its human creations to determine whether they reach its utopia. Statistics do matter – the person who murders many is subject to punishment more severe than the person who murders one. If the losses are tremendous in scale the level of morality sinks to mass depravity. And to extraordinary practical incompetence because the mass loss of mature free will eviscerates the system for getting to the heavenly utopia, the details depending on where the souls of deceased immature end up – another item that theology remains disturbingly obscure about, there being no benign logical solution.
The sad statistics prove that if there is creator it has spectacularly failed in its responsibilities and duties as a lord of the cosmos it devised to its most vulnerable inhabitants on little planet Earth. The planetary situation is a catastrophe of logic and decency for which there is no sensible resolution that incorporates a brilliant and good designer. Instead it devised a perverse scheme in which its grandiose utopia scheme required child sacrifice of awesome dimensions. With a creator in effect waging war on kids without doing a thing to minimize the disaster, the sheer scale of the Holocaust of the Children on its own and unadorned simply and clearly renders the existence of a Good God of wisdom, honor and mercy impossible. Because it is of such extent, it is not possible for the mass misery, premature death and denial of mature free will to be justified by any project, it being a classic and the most extreme case of the-ends-justifies-the-means moral relativism combined with cosmic incompetence – nothing mere humans have done has come at all close to matching the immensity of the depravity God has wrought. In fact, while it is the supposed creator who has callously if not evilly been killing of children like flies with so signs of doing anything to stop the ongoing slaughter, humans have proven far more caring, merciful and loving by going to tremendous effort to save the children via the hard work of modern medical science – consider that hospitals with Mercy in their names are operated by humans, there is no evidence actual deities have anything to do with them. What may be the fate of immature souls who for some reason die while young, whether they being entirely extinguished, condemned to a hell, sent to a pleasant location that is not a hell, or given a free ride to the place that is the best, does not solve or excuse the mass suffering of children, it only exacerbates the problem. Likewise, the mode by which the proposed creator is conducting its bungled utopia project, whether it be Biblical special creation, supposedly intelligent design, or the semi-randomness of natural processes, only slightly modifies the scale of the culpability rather than alleviates or eliminates it; any deity with a plausible level of power has committed at least negligent and probably intentional homicide on a mass scale, constituting the greatest crime and injustice against humanity.
Also failing as theodicy are animals do not really suffer that much, or get immortal souls as a reward for their being put upon, the balance and beauty of nature, that the God’s property that are humans are too morally obtuse, easily upset, and rebellious to dare critique Its moral qualifications, that the sacrifice of Jesus makes up for the sacrifice of the children and beasts, things could have been ever worse, that the Devil did it, or that God is too weak and impotent to set matters right.
It is abjectly impossible for there to be a Best of All Possible Worlds in which all, much less the majority, lack free choice. Therefore, if there is a creator there is no doubt it does not truly give a damn about free will — or murder, or abortion — and the entire fantasy house of theodistic moral card comes crashing down. All the more so because one cannot try to use the need for adults to exhibit free will even if they commit terrible crimes on other humans. People are not at fault for grossly defective reproductive and juvenile immune systems, or for a planet steeped in lethal parasites, bacteria, and viruses, again it is people who have done what is humanly and humanely possible to make a safer world. It is no wonder the scriptures never address the issue of dead children both when it come to their earthly trauma or what happens to their souls. The ancient concoctors of those texts must have thought of the problem, realized they could not explain away this yawning logic/morality gap, and decided not to mention it in the calculatingly correct hope than countless peoples would happily ignore it; note that they may have done so on the premise that the subject would soon become happily moot with their errant belief in the imminent onset of the end time, the subsequent chronic absence of which led to the theodicy which continues to ignore the awkwardly inexplicable moral poser. And consider that if the scriptures really were the Word of God, then the perfect latter should have had no trouble explaining the conundrum to its creations, the absence of the attempt is another refutation of the wise creator’s existence. Not do the texts condemn abortion, and termination and post birth murder are condoned when non-Jews including pregnant women are put to the sword before and during the genocidal conquest of the Promised Land.
With the sentient Moral Evil performed by humans being fractional compared to the mindless Natural Evil the super sentient designer finds acceptable, the creator’s Moral Evil is unmatched. Ergo, to expand on the earlier statement, any divine transcendent creator who created our cosmos and planet earth is wholly responsible for far and away the greatest violation of basic human rights especially of the children, and correspondingly the most terrible crime against humanity, the sacrificial Holocaust of the Children, and the criminal immensity of the similarly sacrificial Brutalization of Animals. It follows that a creator god is multitudes more sinful and evil than the humans that the inventors of the fictional being cynically and falsely flip all humans as being.
That we live on a planet plagued by ruthless killing diseases, parasites, predators, and disasters is compatible with the following. There is no supernatural creator, and the mindless physics of the universe and evolution have stuck us with a dangerous world of a whole lot of suffering, one that slaughtered half the children born until modern medicine largely put a stop to that. Because no one is in charge, enormous amounts of bad stuff have happened. Or, the divine designer is sufficiently immoral to either directly create, or allow the evolution of, torturous killing organisms for no critical reason biologically or morally. It’s one or the other.
The cumulative impact of the massive body objective evidence on hand – 40-70 billion dead children, a quarter to over half a trillion naturally aborted preborn, trillions of traumatized nonhumans -– is not of an ambiguous nature that allows one to conclude whatever one wants, or to not reach a solid conclusion; as can be done when it comes to scientific questions such as whether humans have free will or not, or what is the nature of dark energy assuming that exists. Working aircraft totally disproved the once widely held hypothesis that human carrying machines of the air are impossible or at least impractical. The statistics of the Megadisasters of the Innocents likewise obviously and abjectly disprove the Free Will, Best of All Possible Worlds, Humans as Obtuse Rebellious Property, Beauty and Balance of Nature, Blame Satan, Weak Creator and other theodicy hypotheses as popular as they continue to be, while socioeconomic statistics disprove the still widely held Best of All Possible Societies societal hypothesis. The Good Creator Hypothesis that relies on the prior theories is refuted. These conclusions are so well documented and obvious that they constitute hard facts, and there should be no more controversy over the truth that a good creator does not exist than there is regarding the planet being a sphere, or that Hitler and Mao were very cruel immoral men – ideas that are opposed by only fringe movements. Because the adverse cost/benefit ratios recorded by high quality data are so overwhelming skewed into the negative zone the existence of a perfect uberpower is inherently impossible, so — using the criteria established in Part 1 –assigning an A to any creator on the morality/competence scale is nonsensical, even a mediocre B or C are far too generous, only a D or most likely F are appropriate. The Megadisasters of the Innocents truly is fatal to the Good God Hypothesis, which is as thoroughly false as is the Geocentric Theory, or the planet having made only a few thousand ellipses around the sun since the formation of the solar system, or Lost Cause ideology.
The Divine Lost Cause
There are numerous parallels between the ongoing Lost Cause conspiracy of the old South, and of the old religions that constitute an epic Lost Cause intrigue of its own. Going back to early colonial times, the antebellum south and Confederacy were terror states, depraved Christian societies of Bible based mass racial enslavement which is a form of legal kidnapping, deprivation of all civil rights, forced labor, chronic rape and premature mortality under usually cruel conditions including brutal punishments, enforced by threat and use of private and government brutality (Baptist 2016). All the while claiming without adequate evidence that slavery was good for the enslaved when the real benefactors were whites — sometimes sincere although they should have known better, often cynically exploitative when they do – who profited in many practical ways from the own and rent a slave culture. A mass misinformation campaign including the clergy worked to convince the enslaved and whites alike that bondage was good for the former. With the southern states readily violating states’ rights when it defended their institution, a core intent of the Confederacy was to establish a slave empire extending into Latin America. After the failure of the scheme southern whites failed to do the right thing and abjectly apologize for the obvious errors of their ways while doing all they could to welcome blacks into the American democracy. Had they done so there is little doubt these United States would be a vastly better off nation. Instead they conspired to develop the cult mythos of the Lost Cause that attempted to cover up the depravities of slavery to the point of making it seem that, except for the legal slavery thing which went too far, was overall all a wise and honorable project. Integral to this effort is to downplay the massive and torturous abuses of slavery. The result was the Jim Crow lynching apartheid terror state the barbarity of which was as close to slavery that the white Christians could achieve (Dray 2007). Christian ethnoracism was so deeply inset into western society that it contaminated science well into the 1900s. The result of this fantasy-based scheme is the incessant societal mess we are living through today.
At least the old south and CSA were real items. Theism is a much older and far larger conspiracy based on air, both open in terms of organization, and hidden in that laity is too accepting of mysteries without question, initiated by primitive peoples who did not know better, to promote the glaring fiction that not only does a divine creator exist for reasons unknown, but that somehow it happens to be perfect in all respects, and do not by any means pay close attention to the depravity of his creation, which includes mass suffering and considerable terror leading up to premature death. Adding to the terror aspect is the torturous hell envisioned in some theism. All the while telling people this is all for their own good when the real benefactors are elites — sometimes sincere although they should have known better, often cynically exploitative — who have been using the scheme to acquire power, influence and money; such is no different from corporations gaslighting gullible and inclined people to think tobacco, nonuniversal health care and fossil fuels are not so bad. This perverse mythos is being continued on a mass global scale despite science having undercut any reason to conclude that any form of a devisor of the universe or our planet exists, the data further shows that planetary situation has been and is so barbaric that a powerful creator cannot be moral, more data shows that the most atheistic democracies are doing the best, and the demographic stats show that theism is plummeting among populations especially those that are well educated. The biggest of all conspiracy theories and myths, pseudoscience, paranormalism, and outlandish fake news propaganda machine ever devised, religion is the ultimate Lost Cause. The result of this fantasy-based cult is the incessant mess we are living through today.
What Really Got Us Into This Earthly Mess
There is no divine creator of our universe, that being no more plausible than ancient extraterrestrials having been involved in developing the current state of humanity, or any other speculations paranormal or supernatural. Either our cosmos is natural in origin, or is the result of a physics experiment in another universe, or is a simulation being run on some form of extrauniversal technology. In none of these probabilities is their serious moral intent behind the creation, it being amoral whether natural or artificial, accidental or intentional. Whether as is statistically very unlikely our universe is unique in all existence, or one of an infinite multitude that generates universes of varying un/suitability for life, our enormous cosmos is very inefficient as generating organisms, which appear to be limited to very small habitats under very special circumstances. The universe is therefore not fully fine-tuned for intelligence, lest of all by an extrauniversal intelligence. It is quite possible that only one high level cognition has appeared on one of these habitats in the observable universe. Even on those planetary environs that do produce high level intelligence, conditions are marginal because the natural processes involved are mindless and correspondingly unmoral. So the same biosphere that is tolerant of life including intelligent is also highly toxic to such in many aspects, ruthless microbes most of all, with the process of natural selection and other events resulting in the early death by often agonizing means of most life, denying most of the high cognition examples whatever mature free exists – one item that is rather mysterious is why children are so ill equipped to resist infections. Ergo this universe is barely sufficiently tuned for the existence of intelligence under marginal circumstances, and with no great moral mind in charge of the show, things bad as well as good happen.
Human morality and ethics evolved as the result of selective forces favoring high levels of social collaboration via self-domestication that if not operative would have precluded the appearance of such a large brained primate in the first place, and gave our uniquely friendly and loving species a competitive advantage over other creatures – alas a side result of the intraspecific cohesion made possible by all the biochemical based niceness has been very adverse consequences for much of the rest of creation to the point the planet is being overheated. In other words morality helped give up the big brains that made ethics possible, not supernatural forces. But being apes that evolved to dwell in hunter-gatherer tribes, human mental capacities have limits rather than being infinite as they logically would be if created by an infinite intelligence; in rare cases they are able to delve into the physics of the universe, and can normally run civilizations albeit marginally. A primary feature that distinguishes humanity from other creatures is an addiction to the materialism made possible by our unique combination of very high cognition, bipedality, and opposable thumbs that allowed the species to construct those civilizations. Also critical is the similarly genetically programmed ability of humans to acquire very complex language skills. Not nearly so genetically programmed, theism is a much less critical human speculation – being based on mutlifactors including a tendency to overdo pattern recognition, lack of scientific knowledge combined with a propensity to holding obstinate opinions despite the evidence, the latter encouraged by misplaced oxytocin driven feelings of adoration for entities that are not present, cultural tribalism, a desire for ultimate retribution for those who violate societal rules and often get away with it, fear of death, power politics, and most of all a psychological coping mechanism that involves seeking aid and comfort when most live under sufficiently dysfunctional socioeconomic conditions. Hence theism is an optional opinion highly popular only under the last societal circumstances and not always then. Organized religion may have played an important role in the formation of civilization, but it has proven highly compatible with autocracy and political repression, misogyny, racism, slavery, sexual repression, and war. That the last may have played an important role in the formation of civilization and modernity (Morris 2014), as may have alcohol (Paul 2018b and refs therein), emphasizes the nonmoral nature of religion. Due to multiple causes related to modernity theism is at an all-time low in popularity and sinking. A key factor in the decline of religious supernaturalism is that theism is both a scientifically undocumented fabrication, and that the fantasy involves a cruelty factor that further turns people off – that despite and perhaps in part because of the frantic efforts of theodists who persist in presenting deeply biased, morally reprehensible and illogical ad-hoc efforts to wave away the fatal flaws of theism, rather than do the moral objective thing and drop the archaic mythos. Further undercutting religion is how the most ungodly and therefore more pragmatic democratic societies are enjoying the best socioeconomic conditions seen in human history in direct contradiction to the dire warnings of theists.
The above is an data based, relatively straightforward, scientific account that contains no deep moral contradictions, and is far superior to wildly speculative and internally self-conflicted theistic creation myths.
The Immorality of Worshipping the Incompetent God/s in Search of Gifts
Another and critical reason the Best of All Possible Societies Hypothesis has not been working well then and now is one that is logical and unsurprising. A core reasoning behind the premise that theism is societally efficacious because of its deep morality is in reality critically flawed. An obvious truth that is regularly waved away is that in few if any religions are true adherents altruistic.
It is common for worshippers to claim that they are principled, truth seeking moral absolutists and virtuous altruists who “serve God.” That self-serving characterization is incorrect. Religions including Abrahamism are transactional deals in which adherents hope for and expect boons and services in exchange for fealty to the requirements of the autocratic creator power, whatever they may be, and whatever the means the deity is using to achieve its aims. They are grandiose self-help schemes in which the very highest priority for a given adherent is to arrive after earthly death in a blissful divine heaven via deep if not abject loyalty to the chief of paradise, all others items are subordinate to the one great goal. It is not possible for mutual reward schemes to be principled, morally absolutist, and altruistic, they being highly self-aggrandizing for all parties. That does not mean that all transactional schemes are automatically defective – the Golden Rule is a pragmatic I’ll scratch your back in the hope you will do the same in return means for running societies, as are business deals and many personal arrangements such as marriages. But those are not high morality. And when they involve an autocratic power whether human or transcendent they are inherently corrupt to some degree, always pernicious, and potentially dangerous. The specific problem with popular theism is that believers are trying to cut a narcissistic deal with a child and animal massacring deity in order to improve their future condition. No different than a person doing the bidding of a murderous dictator in order to gain gifts while avoiding punishments, all the more so when they do so with enthusiasm — that’s cowardly moral depravity.
A person who believes that worshipping Christ, for example, is the means to attain a transcendent utopia is trying curry favor from their designer, here on Earth, and in the hopes of a superb eternal life. Because devout believers are persistently seeking rewards, they are inherently self-aggrandizers, and none of their actions no matter how good or brave they may be is truly honorable and noble, and is never close to fully altruistic, since any act they perceive as in compliance with the creator’s rules are seen as potentially improving the adherent’s odds for obtaining rewards – in principle, only hardline atheists can be true altruists. While rewards based theism cannot help be a form of low grade corruption, the absence of full blown altruism and heroic nobility is not always a grave defect – it may well be that no one achieves it, and most theists are reasonably decent folk — but the next factors are much more serious.
The scheme is undemocratic, in that the Lord creator is a terror utilizing autocrat that must be obeyed in all respects in order to ascend to paradise. There is correspondingly no discussion of democracy in Abrahamic and other scriptures, governance by the vote was first invented by Europagans as a practical political maneuver after overthrowing a dictator with no religious implications. It follows that theists Abrahamists among them have long been tolerant on autocracy, events in certain nations since the late 1700s being an aberration. The autocracy friendly side inherent to theism is a form of grave corruption, which all autocracies involve. And followers of a Lord Designer are perilously prone to be tolerant of, if not advocates of, oppressive earthly governance. Offering enthusiastic obedience to a celestial dictator is at least as immoral as doing so to an earthly one – the former being oppressive and ruthless on a far larger scale.
Also serious is the next dynamic. Because the only true goal of devout believers is to gain access to heaven, they cannot refuse to obey any instructions that they believe to be from their transcendent dictator, regardless if it is moral or not. For example, in the Bible the Israelite warriors are instructed by the creator to mass execute apostates, and to conduct unprovoked conquest involving genocidal ethnic cleansing including capturing and liquidate entire populations including the sucklings, as well as preborn since some of the women would have been pregnant, enslavement of captives, and looting.
Those seeking heaven are not, therefore, morally independent from the dictates of the faith they are following. Ergo they cannot do what is moral if it risks their losing access to paradise, because if they do commit a moral, kind act, including actually altruistic, that is not allowed by the creator then they will be banned from an ideal afterlife. As a result the pressure to commit acts that are immoral and even cruel can be intense. An example of the problem is portrayed in the climactic scene in Huckleberry Finn. Huck believes in heaven and hell, and further believing that Christianity is proslavery, he understands that not returning Jim to his owner is sinful. Had he done so his ratting on his friend in his hope to reach heaven while dodging hell would have been corrupt self-aggrandizement. But he cannot bring himself to turn in his good and decent animist friend, so he decides not to, thinking “All right then, I’ll go to hell.” In doing so Huck cuts himself off from Christianity by committing a truly altruistic act of a self-sacrifice of a type that no devout Christian can commit. All hoping for heaven are corrupted in that manner, only those who reject the theism can avoid the moral trap.
Nor can those in search of paradise criticize the creator who holds the keys to heaven no matter how immoral the entity may be. The Catastrophe of the Innocents proves that any divine creator is gravely immoral, but no one petitioning that designer can admit to such. Ergo any such person is morally corrupt in this specific regard.
The inability to critique the creator helps explain why the colossal human sacrifice of premature H. sapiens that is the Children’s Holocaust that no plausible theodistic defense can be devised for, has and is being ignored, which is a form of corrupt propaganda marketing. That is pernicious because hiding one thing leads to hiding another — if being deceptive in such a major manner is acceptable, then other forms of duplicity, as per the tradition of “lying for the church” in order to supposedly keep people from abandoning what some think is best for them if they learn the truth, and/or exposing the institution to damage resulting from the actuality, is acceptable and even necessary while improving one’s access to paradise.
The combination of the grave moral defects of worshipping a creator that is involved in mass premature death and then striving to hide and evade the Megadisasters of the Innocents despite its epic scale via the Great Cover Up, constitutes the Deplorable God Scandal of theism.
The Megadisasters of the Innocents that disproves the Good God Hypothesis and the consequent Deplorable God Scandal help prove that when theists are at least reasonably moral as they often are, sometimes to the degree that they are exhibiting high ethics of great import, they are not so because they are actually following the instructions of a moral creator, because none exists whether there is a universe constructor or not. It follows that when theists act in a moral manner as they fairly often do they are not doing so because of their belief in a creator, but despite their fantasy. That they are behaving well for secular reasons having to do with getting along in human societies in a manner that makes things as all round as pleasant as possible for most individuals. That nontheists are, as statistic indicate, able to function at as at least as decent level on average as are theists, and if anything are running better societies, combines with the impossibility of there being a designer that possesses basic decency to disprove the thesis that natural processes cannot produce morality.
If anything, that those who do not believe in the creator mythos are not burdened by trying to follow the dictates of a depraved alleged entity that has overseen the slaughter of 50 billion or so kids while chasing the corrupting lure of a mythical heaven, may well be making it easier for them to operate pragmatic successful secular societies.
Conversely, being immersed in religions that promise tremendous rewards delivered by a speculative creator that has allowed enormous misery as part of the plan, based on scriptures of dubious origin that incorporate moral tales that range from benign to depraved, is a recipe for the moral confusion and temptations that can produce bad results. If the creator allows billions of children to die for no human fault, and God’s followers obey his instructions to slaughter children while conquering The Promised Land, are human lives really so valuable and genocide so sinful? Why should people treat animals with kindness if the Lord does not? And if He is a Lord who had no trouble with criminal autocracy on earth for most of human civilization, are the new democratic experiments really its desire and necessary?
Because any divine designer has at the least allowed the death of hundreds of billions of preborn, and tens of billions of children, for said God to then order his creations to not allow the same is the ultimate “do as I say, not as I do” morally relativistic hypocrisy, and the entity lacks the moral authority and practical example to instruct much less ban humans from committing either abortion or murder.
With the results of objectively conducted, science based skeptotheodicy so unambiguous that they disprove the FWH and the Good God Hypothesis when it comes to the universe we dwell within, what kind of place and religion could be compatible with them?
A Good Religion
We can further expose the corruption of carrots and sticks religions by constructing a creed centered on altruism. For a religion to be as moral and altruistic as possible and produce an actual best of all possible worlds, it and its creation would need to exhibit the following characteristics. The creator is truly benign and moral, and as per any good landlord creates a reasonably safe, low stress habitat for his creations animal and human that does not incorporate mass torture and premature death of natural or artificial origin. Mature humans are never mentally disabled, and are equipped with true free will not contaminated by powerful psychological drives that render making voluntary decisions difficult if not impractical. The creator clearly informs humans from the get-go that the one pressing request it has for them is to be decent and kind to all others. That to best honor their designer they should lead a good, caring life and so the best they can for those around them, including the beasts. Humans will never receive special favors for worshipping the creator, it does not care whether they do. Absent rewards, any person who risks their well-being to a significant degree to aid another is being truly altruistic. This scheme is not perfect, a situation that is very probably impossible in all existence. But it does allow for good works uncontaminated by the corruption of hoped for rewards and feared punishments.
Of course such a religion either does not exist, or any do they have very few adherents. One must ask why. Obviously lacking any rewards other than being a good bloke is not likely to be a popular draw towards mass piety. It is no accident – and very telling aa to the true self-aggrandizing nature of the faiths and their followers – that the two most popular religions Christianity and Islam are packed full of incentives. And there is little doubt that if they were not they would not be nearly so prevalent. Which says a lot.
An actual religion that may not be fully contaminated by the problem of the creator failing to prevent killing innocents is Zoroastrianism. Its scheme proposes a primary god that is good, but is not all powerful because it is opposed by an evil force that was not created by the top Zoroastrian deity, and has to be battled against for good to prevail. Zoroastrianism does not however allow for true altruism because humans who do the right thing may earn spiritual brownie points for their efforts. And the faith is fast dwindling in the race for adherents.
The Megadisasters of the Innocents Must at Long Last Be Faced By Theists
A primary thesis of this presentation is how it is past time for the people of the world to not know about, much less not widely consider and discuss, and even suppress knowledge of, the greatest terror of all time, the Holocaust of the Children and the associated Deplorable God Scandal. And its grave implications for the moral validity and societal benefits of religions.
For the Good God and related formal hypotheses being absolutely false is not merely of academic interest in a world where most continue to worship and adulate a provisional creator. For the multitudes to claim that a dictatorial god that lords over the ongoing agonizing death of many billions of youngsters is a force of ultimate love and deep morality, whose creation is so worthy of ultimate praise that He is ardently thanked for it, while paying literally no attention to how some 50 billion kids have died under its care and still do so, is patently foolish and wrong on moral, factual and practical grounds. To continue as many still do that all must agree with their ceaseless demands that all believe in and worship the mysterious and cruel yet theoretical designer, and to continue to propose to run societies on the dictates of a power that if not an invention of human minds managed to knock off tens of billions of children, is clearly at high risk of producing suboptimal results.
And it is of course the responsibility and duty of all who have escaped early death and enjoy reasonably healthy adult minds to be as well informed as their circumstances allow, and based on that body of information make intelligent rational decisions while being at least reasonably moral and ethical in those decisions and resulting actions. Seriously believing in a wildly speculative mysterious creator that never establishes its existence, and that said divisor is of the highest morality and provides infinite love when if it actually does exist must be the greatest child killer of all time, and then contending that all should or must adore the child murdering creator while running the society on its dictates, and while doing so expecting boons from the entity, is as intellectually foolish as it is morally corrupt. And is not honorable much less altruistic.
The degree to which garden variety theists often obsess about their personal fates and relationship with God while not paying much attention to the mass misery around them is seen in Craig (2012). A person writes to Craig complaining about how the drawn out death of a relation disabused him of his once ardent faith. Although this fairly common course to atheism is not entirely illogical, it is rather selfish. After all, did the writer not observe the suffering and death especially natural that afflicts others he does not know so well, did he think himself and those near him so special? It is reminiscent of how during coverage of the latest deadly natural disaster no creator put a stop to, that again and again and again folks stumble out of their abodes, thanking God for saving them and their family — and too bad about all the children wiped out down the street that the divine designer did not bother to protect, that being part of its mysterious plan. The transactional self-focus that is central to Christianity is incidentally and tellingly exposed every time a proselytizer who is trying to earn credits with their creator initiates an approach to a potential recruit by asking something along the lines if they would like to be reunited with their loved ones after death in heaven or the like — they rarely ask if the mark would like to help their fellow humans. It is time for theists to wake up and see the vastness of those youngsters God has not saved from tragedy, and continues to abandon to their cruel deaths.
To be specific. In the next 24 hours some 15,000 children will die. That is not a secret, the World Health Organization regularly publicizes the latest stats. If the great designer exists and has tremendous power it could put a stop to the mass death toll very quickly if not instantly. Billions claim to believe in that creator. They honor and enthusiastically celebrate the dictatorial deity that has never stopped the mass death of kids while feeling that they are honorable seekers of the truth and goodness in doing so, yet never blame the creator for its patent cruelty — and most interestingly of all never demand the power put a stop to the deadly daily dissolution of the innocent rather than thanking it for its love and gifts to humanity. Why is that? There are a number of possible reasons — a slack lack of knowledge the size of the Children’s Holocaust and/or thinking that free will prevents the creator from taking corrective action even though not taking that action liquidates that very free will, and many do not really truly believe and at some mental level know the demand is futile because there are no gods. But in the end no devout designer believer can demand anything of their God, their critical goal being getting rewards from the deity without being too pushy about it lest that trigger His disapprobation if they do not timidly express abject fealty and never question its ways. It is therefore not possible for a worshipper to do the right thing, they can only do whatever it takes to get to paradise.
To continue the illustration. The creator believers of the world finally get fed up with our children dying, and do demand their God put a stop to it by, with anger or hope, warning Him that they will abandon their adoration including petitioning for favors if the wastage of the children does not at long last cease. What would happen? Of course nothing. Either because there is no creator which is of course most probable, or because the mass death of children is an integral part of its plan, which will mean that it does as I have explained require child sacrifice to function. Which is why the worshippers will never do the obvious right thing because they cannot do that, since that will expose that the creator either is false, or is morally depraved, as are those who follow him, while aborting their hope of a blissful eternity. The only way to have the potential to be fully moral and altruistic is to either not believe in the existence of a creator, of if one believes in its existence to reject its demands, as did Huck Finn.
Understand that the option of continuing to worship a mythical creator while placing the burden on human efforts to save children is the worst option. If there really is a creator with enough power to save them, then that is the one and only way to immediately stop the mass losses. Even the best efforts by people cannot be nearly so quick and effective.
The other moral option is the one that all believers should do, which many are in this era of increasing secularization are opting for, which is too simply drop designer belief, or at least the worship of any such – note that believing a transcendent creator exists, but refusing to obey the child destroyer, is not immoral although it is intellectually highly problematic. It is always odd and discomforting when people say they are doing something good like aiding children for their deity of choice, which is self-serving. Why not aid the children for the only reason that really counts, purely for the sake of the children, which is actual altruism? I. e. be good for goodness’s sake. In practical terms if humanity abandons the god/s that do/es not care for the kids, then the resources dedicated to worshipping the undeserving power/s can be redirected towards child welfare. Would that not be a very good thing?
To put to another way, do you believers really think that it is virtuous and beneficent to believe in, adore, thank, and request blessings from a creator that has produced a planet that has dispatched half the children?
And if you do, what is the logical and moral explanation?
And the animals. I was driving along a heavily trafficked suburban road. Ahead I saw what I first thought was a leaf being blown along the asphalt by the wind. It was not. It was a squirrel whose hind quarter had been crushed by a car – echoes of the lion cub in the documentary — and it its agony and terror was trying to crawl with its arms to a less hellish place, where if it made it to would suffer long trauma until death. I in all seriousness felt very glad I was not one of those people who are looking for eternal bliss from a creator that would allow that. Do those of you seeking heaven really feel justified in doing so on the backs of the countless animals who have been tormented in that manner? Because the paradise designer had other things to do than protect that squirrel that just wanted to cross the road in its struggle for survival?
Note that the above problems do not afflict just classic Christians, Abrahamists, or monotheists. In Mormon doctrine the God of this planet is not the transcendent designer of the universe, but as Lord of Earth it is fully responsible for its disastrous aspect. Religious conservatives of all stripes are most invested in the faith-based and therefore unsubstantiated belief of a purposeful God that must be obeyed without question, including dismissing the dark side of its creation, in order for people to be saved and societies to succeed based on the perfect morality of the creator. The religious right has further gutted their self-proclamation of striving for high absolute ethics by engaging in sociopolitics of extreme convenience, culminating in often enthusiastic support for deeply immoral and corrupt politicians, often on the twisted basis that God in its mysterious ways uses deeply flawed persons to achieve its greater aims, much as how the children are the casual casualties of the glorious Heaven project. Also fostered by theocons is the Protestant concept of a personal relationship with God that centers on the spiritual connection as the means to self-help betterment while downplaying earthly problems much less working to alleviate them. Particularly deplorable is the Prosperity Christianity that is an outgrowth of the divine personal relationship combined with the American Way of seeking material riches — developed over the last century by the likes of Aimee McPherson, Norman Vincent Peale and Joel Osteen — that pushes people to achieve the earthly wealth made possible for industrial-consumer-capitalism via the God that tosses aside the lives and comfort of the innocents.
But the Deplorable God Scandal does not just apply to theoconservatism and Christian avarice. Any theism that invokes a creator of the universe or at least the planet that has the power needed to prevent the catastrophes of the innocents, even if deistic, or polytheistic, or liberal in sensibilities, is proposing an immoral primary deity or deities. Many who think themselves too intelligent, modern, and/or moral to believe in and worship the traditional patriarchal Gods or gods believe that there is some form of ethical ubermind behind our existence. Such is simply not possible. If there is any form of cognitive power behind human presence then it cannot be profoundly prolife and pro free will, and if it intentionally set up the circumstances of our planet in one manner or another is guilty of mass abuse and homicide of children and animal cruelty one way or another. By opting for low standards of intellectual and moral supernaturalistic thinking liberal theism enables the conservative variety by normalizing sloppy and immoral discourse and devotion. What is the evidentiary logic that renders the widely popular archaic conspiracy theory that a mysterious son of a god that set up our child liquidating planet will miraculously return and set things right on earth while providing a nice afterlife for those sufficiently narcissistic and callous to go along with his cruelty, more plausible than the popular new conspiracy theory that a narcissistic and callous New York real estate developer and reality TV star who rarely attends church will do that deity’s will by exposing and defeating a mysterious deep state of elitist child abusers and consumers? Not only do those who believe in the first lack the intellectual methodology needed to criticize the latter, their egregiously slack thinking dangerously enables QAnon et al. .
Theologians bear a special responsibility for the continuing immorality of the believing masses. Lacking an effective argument for all the suffering and premature death that the nature they claim that the mystery creator created, it is they how have perpetuated the Great Lie that there is a Good and Loving God of by carefully hiding the scale of its crimes against humanity, even after being fully notified of the full scope of the horror.
I challenge the theists especially but not just intellectual to at long last to do one of two morally and intellectually mature things.
Either come up with a truly plausible and objective explanation that directly addresses and solves the problems of the dead immature humans you have been pusillanimously evading for millennia – never again can the FWH et al. be presented without including the mass death of the immature. The requirements for explaining such an extreme set of catastrophes are correspondingly very high, entailing tight, intelligent, objective cogent, logical arguments that do not contain fatal internal contradictions while making actual sense. Of no utility are the glib strings of clichés and platitudes, and the compartmentalization, that dance away from the glaring holes in theodicy typical of the literature. Same dismissal for casual words of sympathy for all those who suffer awfully and die in the flowering of their youth of use as of the human effort to get divine grace and gifts. Strange inane speculations that dead animals acquire language skills and souls only pile onto the credibility problem of theodistic analysis. So best to avoid that while taking into proper consideration modern biological science.
Or do what should have already done, admit that based on the science-based evidence that is now on hand that it refutes the faith-based belief that there can be a good God. From that conclude the following. There very probably is no creator of any sort. If one wishes to worship a speculative designer to evade possible punishments and/or get rewards then understand that doing so is not at all moral and is self-serving. If leading theologians of various stripes publicly abandon the one-sided propaganda that is glorification of God theodicy, such will undoubtedly accelerate the secularization of societies, which considering their largely superior performance will be a generally good thing.
Failing to do one or the other will constitute immature moral timidity and cowardice driven by unsubstantiated fear of the earthly and divine consequences.
The Nontheists’ Task
It is easy to charge those promoting the Divine Lost Cause of speculative supernaturalism with dysfunctional thinking and action. But nontheists have dropped the ball on this one too. To their great credit nontheists have not been participating in selfishly worshipping a mass child killing and animal abusing creator. But they have failed for a very long historical period to do what is their intellectual and moral duty and responsibility — to focus in on and fully expose one of if not the most critical moral defects of theism. That it was not done by this atheist – and only a nonbeliever would do the calculations all should know, so don’t complain about my rationalist orientation dear theists – until just a decade ago, and has since gone essentially ignored by atheism is a serious nontheist scandal; after all theists at least had a reason to keep the issue hidden. There at least should have been a debate among nontheists if there is one to be had. And if the Holocaust of the Children and the pernicious Deplorable God Scandal of theism had been exposed by rigorous skeptotheodicy long ago then we would probably live on a substantially more atheistic and correspondingly more ethical and pacific globe.
Nontheism needs to go beyond just exposing and spreading word to the public about the Megadisasters of the Innocents and how they disembowel the Good God Hypothesis. The theists need to be pressed hard on their negligent morality. It is common among atheists to state that they do not care what believers think as long as they do not try to impose their values on them and the rest of society. But is it really a good idea to cut theists so much slack on their feting a mystery power that has overseen so much misery and premature death? All the more so when theism is an overall societal negative, and using whatever valid arguments against it is an urgent need? All the more so when many theists are trying to retake the mainstream culture they have lost control of? Another common claim is that nontheism is no less moral than theism, even many of the latter will acknowledge that. But that’s a defensive argument that inaccurately gifts theism a big break it does not deserve. Assertive atheism needs to shift to the moral offense. Atheism is morally neutral, but because human morality is all we have it is the best that there ever will be, contingent on however we can improve it. Seeking benefits from a creator god that has overseen the deaths of billions of youngsters and trillions of creatures is inherently gravely unethical. And the moral inanity of worshipped a mass kid killer appears to be having bad societal effects. The righteous claims of absolute moral truth by believers must be liquidated.
How to do so. Make it regular discourse in atheist print and media to raise and emphasize how the Megadisasters of the Innocents, most of all the Children’s Holocaust that as the most dramatic and obviously outrageous part of the horror most likely to move theists, is absolute disproof of the existence of the good creator. Note that repetition is critical to outreach, an educational truth theists are well aware of. Doing that will make the loss of tens of billions of children et al. into a global societal meme that theists can no longer avpid dealing with. Go on to demand that said theists, theologians especially, at long last confront the problem, and either come up with a logical solution, or abandon theism. Be sure to point out how premature death aborts the free will the Lord Creator requires all humans to have to enter his paradise. If they do not produce a convincing explanation then challenge theists to stop the thanking and petitioning of their speculative divine designer for boons, and to put their self-interest aside and demand that their gods put a stop to the mass death of kids. That they may well not do so is not the practical point, that they will not do so is the moral point that further exposes their cynical narcissistic hypocrisy.
Indeed, the aim is to break through the seemingly sophisticated, erudite house of philosophical cards that is theodicy, by putting theists into the immorality box they have gotten themselves into without thinking the problem through, and thereby leave them with no good escape. If on the one hand they acknowledge there is no viable explanation then they deconstruct the moral basis of theism. If on the other hand they continue to evade the problem that further exposes that they are terrified of the terrible truth and have no explanation. If on the third hand they try to argue that godly abuse and slaughter of tens of billions of youngsters is tolerable they further expose the callous depth of the casual moral dysfunction of worshipping the cruel creator, which is not going to do them any good. That they don’t really care that much about unpleasantries that may threaten their fantastical ascension to paradise such as the mass sufferings and deaths of children and animals.
To date atheist advocacy has naturally but negligently tended to focus on the fairly simple argument over whether any gods exist or not. Negligent because the former is not entirely refutable, and because the darkest side of creation is not receiving top billing. With the data on the tragedies now on hand, shifting the focus to how it is not possible for a creator god to be good will have the advantage of entirely discrediting the core promotional reason for theism.
So, here is the atheist anti-theism triple punch going into the future. Hit on how the practical possibility that supernatural powers had anything to do with the origin of humanity and civilization is no better than that aliens did so. In the extremely unlikely event that there is a transcendent creator then there is no way to get around how cruelly incompetent it is. Ergo, worship of such an entity is shameful and needs to be abandoned. For a follow up to these blows, throw in how the most atheistic democracies are the most successful, including low rates of abortion and especially murder.
Confronting theists with their ludicrous ethical decadence should be standard procedure in various debate formats from formal events to media panels, that will force believers to address the issue even if that that means they dissemble, exposing their inability to deal with the problem. On the personal level atheists should feel free to deploy the issue when debating with lay theists if circumstances area appropriate. Of course doing so is not likely to immediately convert proselytizers, acquaintances, friends and relations. But bringing up how one reason you are an atheist is because you decline to worship a being that did in 50 billion children – best to have access to the supporting websites on hand — and so forth puts them on the defensive, may abort the discussion if that is what you wish with you having gained the moral upper ground, and may over time cause them to revise their thinking to at least some degree, becoming more tolerant of your nontheism is nothing else. Take the standard theist tactic of charging atheists with hating and rejecting their creator because we don’t like being told what we can and can’t do. Counter that scurrilous and offensive and flippant stunt with how you are not so morally base as to exploit the deaths of billions of children to get to heaven the way they are willing to, and see how that goes down. If you wish to up the ante and go on the offense ask the theist how they can do so. If the theists talks about the “grace’ of God then give them a few words on how applying that lovely term grace to a power that has trashed the bodies of billions of children is as illogical as it is offensive.
The degree that theists need to be pressed varies, from very high concerning religious leaders, clergies, educators, theologians and politicians who push religion, to not as high but substantial for laity who enjoy good educations and should therefore know that their fealty to a creator is not the honorable principled practice they wish to think it is. Only poorly educated believers have an excuse for not knowing better, they being the victims of the organized and familial religious forces conducting the Great Cover-Up.
An example. A heartland moderate-conservative relation very upset over my lack of supernaturalism asked why that was so. Her intent was not to have a calm discussion about the matter in which she might learn something, she was hoping to expose the obvious errancy of my secular ways. This was not long after I had realized the scale of the Children’s Holocaust around the turn of the century, so I pointed out that I was not into worshipping a god that had overseen the deaths 50 billion kids, a fact she was startled to hear. Her immediate reaction was not express interest in the fact and to intelligently discuss the implications, or even to contradict it, but was too exclaim with exasperation that “God wants little children in Heaven!” But I had scored a point she had no ready reply for, and she immediately left the room. She has never raised the issue in the nearly two decades since, and we get along well enough.
If a theist informed of the tens of billions of lost children and then deploys the they-are-now-in-heaven card or the like wishes to continue the discussion, then ask why does God not simply put every soul in heaven and avoid all the trauma? If the believer says God wants everyone to make a choice about going to paradise then note that directly violates their immediately prior claim that deceased kids get a direct ticket to dreamland and so on to expose the illogic of their religion. You get the drift.
The Children’s Holocaust is a powerful yet so far unutilized weapon that directly refutes a key premise of the “prolife” campaign to strip women of their reproductive rights. A common anti-abortion claim is that God demands protection of the innocents. That is a grand deception in that the real intent of the largely white, patriarchal religious right is to use the claim that abortion is murder to help try to replace the radically secularized current culture that they no longer control with a right wing theopatriarchy like the one that dominated western culture a century ago. To eviscerate the claim that God is against murder including of the unborn, ask them how can that be if the creator has for one reason or another been fine with most pregnancies spontaneously failing, and half the children dying. And how can a theist claim to be prolife when their god has been OK with the mass slaughter of youngsters. After all, proclaiming to be prolife when worshipping such a creator is a height of cynical hypocritical sociopolitical gaslighting.
But don’t stop there. How can theists claim that we must not commit murder because a God angry at human sins such as homicide instructs us so, when one way or another that deity is guilty of a murderous crime against humanity on a scale that dwarfs human efforts in that dreadful realm. Drop that on the lap of the next theist who asks what stop atheists from conducting rampant murder? It may well not outright “win” the argument, but you will have countered their ethical inanity with a superior fact.
That it is not possible for a creator to be prolife or even anti-homicide helps explain how nearly all conservative evangelicals and many conservative Catholics support sociopathic Trump, who has committed mass homicide on the scale of hundreds of thousands during the Covid-19 pandemic via indifferent negligence in failing to fully properly address the crisis on a national basis (although the administration’s Warp Speed project to fast track vaccine development was astonishingly effective, numerous other failings led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the USA, Atkeson 2021). And premeditated homicide by – after his acquiring immunity — holding large rallies lacking face coverings and social distancing that he knew were super spreader events that would led to cruel deaths among attendees and beyond. As the pandemic developed a number of “prolife” theists – many of whom a decade before denounced how “death panels” supposedly associated with Obamacare would result in the callous dispatching of elders – then casually waved away the deaths of soon-to-die-anyway seniors that would result from not locking down nations as an unfortunate but necessary side effect of the need to keep economies thriving. The same Jesus followers have selfishly put priority on their personal liberties over saving other’s lives by refusing to wear masks and socially distance in public spaces. As Christians stormed the Capitol they injured and killed police while searching for elected officials to dispatch. Ergo many if not the great majority of theists who claim to be prolife are far from that, they are so only when it is convenient to promote their policies. That believers in the murderous creator are not consistently anti-murder or truly prolife is not — please note — intrinsically hypocritical. It is perversely internally logical.
And don’t forget to use those mass losses to refute the high morality of the ID creationists’ intelligent designer, and of the evolutionary creationists’ reckless creator.
Although what has and is happening to children is critical, the brutalization of animals has its place as well. When Craig (2011) made the theodist argument that animals do not suffer enough to condemn a creator for the mass cruelty, his debate opponent Laws appears to have been too startled to deliver a knock out counter punch. Craig could have immediately been torpedoed by pointing out that if his callous opinion about the minimal suffering of animals is correct, then it should be acceptable for those who celebrate the creator to beat and otherwise abuse animals. Of course Craig would have denied that, in which case demand he explain why it is moral for his God to allow immense misery among his animal creations, then why are his human creations required by Him or otherwise to be as kind as possible to those same animals? The aim is to box the theists in as to the inherent depravity of their beliefs, there being no logical or decent escape from the base cruelty of a creator if there is one.
The disastrous consequences of the Columbian Exchange has its place, especially when discussing who Christian efforts to Christianize the masses backfires terribly — it is well documented that continuing contact with naïve aboriginals by Christian proselytizers is consistently devastating to them for numerous reasons.
Whatever the exact issues used, the point is to use the terrible truth to help accelerate the withering of mass theism over the next few decades, by facing theism with a potent argument that they have not yet had to cope with, an argument that so totally wrecks the core theist claim to morality that it promises to be the most effective single anti-theist argument that can be utilized. Certainly it should become part of the antitheist arsenal of arguments – to continue to neglect a moral issue of such scale is illogical and reckless on practical and especially moral grounds — and then see how it works over time.
Of course many – but not all — theists will express outrage at the use of the mass death of the children et al to hard critique their beloved and sincere faith. They will claim that their sincere pious sensibilities are being outrageously offended. That will be intellectual and moral cynicism, as well as a blatant anti-free speech and thought expression of cancel culture. God believers are in no position to complain. Organized religion is an enormous, global, well-funded propaganda machine designed to push wild speculations about the nature of creation with very one sided presentations – at the end of the sermon is there the question and answer session typical of atheist presentations? – in which the problematic sides of theism are typically brushed aside, or as with the nonhuman induced juvenile mass mortality are egregiously ignored. That many find comfort in believing they will be looked after by their god is not an excuse because they are doing so on the bodies of the billions who were expended by that deity. At the same time much of theism has regularly disrespected and outright slandered and bashed – sometimes deliberately, sometimes out of callous ignorance — those who refuse to worship deities, and done so to the degree that nontheists are the regular targets of discrimination including being largely excluded from public discourse and politics, and in some situations punished legally and otherwise to the point of death. Resting on stereotypes and tropes, the resulting unwarranted and rank bigotry that is atheophobia has serious adverse effects even in liberal democracies (Paul and Zuckerman 2011). Few fear telling their parents, friends or coworkers they are theists, coming out of the atheist closet risks strife even though it is not the nontheists who are seeking favors from a paranormal criminal being that has been fine with mass early death – it is the false moral and cultural dominance of theism that is as outrageously twisted as it is unfair. It is far past time for you theists who boast of the goodness of the entity you want to give you stuff to be directly confronted, including why you have dodged the Children’s Holocaust for so long.
And why have you?
There is a last issue we hard-nosed skeptics have to address. That being our common propensity to over praise evolution. Many atheists acclaim the results of natural creation and bioevolution as an awe-inspiring equal to godly creation. Although understandable – who is not amazed by the galaxy spanning overhead in a dark night sky, and the sheer beauty of the leopard — it risks being an emotion driven over lauding of the natural world similar to those who imagine a great God is responsible for it. Natural Evil is a real thing regardless of what is or is not behind the existence of our planet, and earth’s positives should not be used to over glorify our biosphere and the cosmos it nests in.
Of course the real reason kids have died like sheep driven to the slaughter is not because there is an incompetent and/or evil creator, but because no one has been in charge of the show, and natural selection depends upon mass premature death. It’s a lousy situation, one that only we humans can alleviate. It is time to do what should have been done long ago. Let us all make the loss of the 50 some billion children a constant theme of the effort to promote secular humanism as a positive force for improving the status of the planet and its inhabitants, while letting the theists know that their supernaturalism is inherently shameful, and their easy to issue prayers are not saving the children. It is human science and hard work that are doing that, and humanity has to labor with more real-world diligence and cooperation to bring juvenile mortality due to diseases, malnutrition and abuse down as far is practical while letting kids be kids – which will result in occasional accidental deaths. It is the way to most honor the forgotten lost ones.
After the publication of Pt 1 an extensive effort was made to present its contents to theologians and the public by various means. The response by the former, many the same as those who ignored the 2009 P&T paper, was negligible, with no evidence that any carefully read it, and only two briefly claiming that the problem of suffering had already been addressed, and one of them declining to consider the subject further after I pointed out that his claims were not correct. An attempt to place a press release with Religion News Service that claims to be objective, fair and balanced failed – which helps expose the pressing need for a Secular News Service. It is clear that the effort by a fearful organized theism to suppress popular knowledge of the children’s holocaust continues. Nor have supposedly secular religion reporters picked up the story. Same for most science reporters, although there may be some interest developing on the story of historical juvenile mortality.
References and Notes
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Law, S. (2015). Skeptical theism – Quick primer for the uninitiated. CFI, https://centerforinquiry.org/blog/skeptical_theism_-_quick_primer_for_the_uninitiated.
Lewis, C. S. (1957). The Problem of Pain. Fontana Books.
Mohler, S. (2006) In the shadow of death – the little ones are safe with Jesus. Essential Christianity, http://www.essentialchristianity.com/31701.
Morris, I. (2014). War! What is it Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Paul, G. S. (2007/9). Theodicy’s problem: A statistical look at the holocaust of the children, and the implications of natural evil for the Free Will and Best of All Possible Worlds hypotheses. Philosophy and Theology 19: 125-149.
Paul, G. S. (2009a). The chronic dependence of popular religiosity upon dysfunctional psychosociological conditions. Evolutionary Psychology 7: 398-441.
Paul, G. S. (2009b). The evolution of popular religiosity and secularism: How first world statistics reveal why religion exists, why it has been popular, and why the most successful democracies are the most secular. In Atheism and Secularity: Volume 1, Issues, Concepts and Definitions, ed. P. Zuckerman, 149-208. Praeger.
Paul, G. S. (2012). Why religion is unable to minimize lethal and nonlethal societal dysfunction within and between nations. In Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Violence, Homicide, and War, ed. T. K. Shackelford and V. A. Weekes, 435-470. Oxford University Press.
Paul, G. S. (2014). The health of nations: An empirical study on the effects of religion and economic policy. Skeptic 19(3): 10-16, http://www.gspauldino.com/Healthofnations.pdf.
Paul, G. S. (2018a). The great and amazingly rapid secularization of the increasingly proevolution United States. Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism 26(1): 1-18.
Paul, G. S. (2018b). A preliminary look at the possible relationship between mass consumption of legal alcohol and the existence of modern democracy: Evidence that the latter requires the former. The Journal of Psychohistory 46.
Paul, G. S. and P. Zuckerman. (2011). Don’t dump on us atheists. Washington Post – online version https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-do-americans-still-dislike-atheists/2011/02/18/AFqgnwGF_story.html.
Pinker, S. (2102). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Penguin Books.
Smith, A. (1776). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. W. Strahan & T. Cadell.
Spurgeon, C. H. (1861). Infant Mortality. Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/education/spurgeon-sermons/411-infant-salvation. That this is as far as I know the only text to address the issue on this hardcore creationist site indicates they have not been able to produce a better explanation since the 1800s.
Sweeney, J. (2006). Letting Go of God. Indefatigable.
Twain, M. (1962). Letters from the Earth. Harper and Row.