EGC Audio Essay for Jan 31, 2005 – “Why I Don’t Believe in God”

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC episode for January 31, 2005. This is the essay on “Why I Don’t Believe in God.” I believe that it isn’t as good as the one that was lost this morning, but that’s no different than I expected. It’s hard to keep that fire while doing something like this all over again. It also became very hard to remember what I’d said in this one vs the first one. So it goes.

Let me know what you think. Was this a downer buzzkill? Did it contain anything of value to anyone? What I really would like to hear is from the Godcasters – not so much a point by point refutation but feedback whether they can empathize with my beliefs and why I feel this way.

34 Replies to “EGC Audio Essay for Jan 31, 2005 – “Why I Don’t Believe in God””

  1. Hey Dave,
    I got a heapin’ helpin’ of that old time religion as a child, but managed to break free.
    My next encounter with religion came when I got sober in a 12 step group, the methodology of which involves a lot of ill-digested Calvinism. As a stone cold atheist, I was often offended, but used the program to get sober anyway.
    When I got fed up with people talking about “God’s plan” at an AA meeting I would share:
    “Right now, as we speak, some little 2 year girl is being raped by her father, somewhere in America. Statistical fact. Um, according to y’all, this is part of God’s plan. Frankly, were I a theist, I’d be pretty pissed at a god whose plan includes raping little girls, giving children cancer, loading millions of his chosen people in ovens, etc. But I’m an atheist, and I’m okay with random horror as a fact of life. Thanks for allowing me to share.”
    Needless to say, this didn’t go over well.

    Caleb from Floriduh

    http://www.calebism.com/wordpress/
    http://www.calebism.com/edalpodcastfeed.xml

  2. i can SO relate to this. Question, was one of the comedy records by “Issac Airfrieght” ? I did their first album art when i freelanced for Maranatha Music. I am an Atheist now also and so much happier than when i was a christian. Im from orange county CA, where that faith was rampart and so distorted. i live i the twin cities now where there are a lot of churches but at least the people more authentic. At least there are some darwin fish emblems on cars like on the back of mine:-) Im keeping this one for the archieves. im starting to podcast and some roughs are at my site.

  3. I have a counterpoint to this whole thing, but written will not have near the oomph that the spoken word does. You have successfully gotten me to follow you into almost every little pastime you have ever had, including (but not limited to) comic collecting, RPGing, Steve Jackson board games, Bible Bowl, Ace of Aces, drinking, DJing and blogging. I wanted to draw the line at podcasting. Now you pull this crap where I can only attempt a decent counterpoint by joining you in yet another geektivity. Unbelievable. I see now why you are Atheist. A man with no soul has no use for salvation.

  4. Hey Dave,

    I also loved this episode. But at the end of the episode, I couldn’t help but think that you didn’t become disillusioned with God, but with religion – specifically the Christian religion. You found you couldn’t reconcile your understanding of God with the various “stories” and “rules” of the bible. I completely understand and relate to that.

    What I find infuriating is the endless self-rightous, judgemental Chritians who seem to be taking over every aspect of American life, especially media. Seems like they completely missed the point…

    There is a retired Bishop from New Jersey who has written a lot of books that very specifically address the issues you mentioned in your podcast. Books like “Why Christianity Must Change or Die”, and “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism” have been extremely helpful to me. BTW, I am not Christian, but rather was born and raised Jewish. However, when I became disillusioned with religion, I went looking for an alternative way to understand my connection with God. That search has led me to a lot of different belief systems, and I’ve taken a little from each one – whatever spoke to me – and that search is not over.

    Thanks for a great show, and for your podcast in general – I always enjoy listening to it!

    Eddie

  5. Hi Dave. Thank you for recording this (a second time). I’m sure this wasn’t the easiest of essays to record, but I think you were 100% correct in thinking that it was better spoken than written. While your commentary was great food for thought, it was in no way a “downer buzzkill”. It takes a lot of courage to speak about such personal and emotional things publicly, thanks again for doing it.

  6. I’m sure there are many more who think as you do but are in so fear of religious persecution, don’t speak up. Wait a minute! Wasn’t one of this nation’s founding priciples about freedom of religion? Shouldn’t part of that particular freedom is the right to have no religious beliefs?
    I’ve seen no detractors so far. Come on folks, prove Dave wrong if you can!

  7. .. and there are times where the spoken word, makes a far clearer statement, than written.

    Organised religion is the worst thing to occur to “faith”. I heard a lot of myself in your podcast, and that’s something special and cool and every other word I can think of.

    Awesome ‘cast man.. If only I could speak as eloquently and clearly as you.. Yes.. I have much to learn šŸ™‚

  8. If you listen to podcasts, this is the podcast to listen to next. #

    Dave Slusher most honest and open podcast to date.. His thoughts mirror mine in so many ways I lost count.

    Go.. read the post, and listen to the podcast.

    Dave, you rock.. peac…

  9. CLICK HERE to hear Madge discuss God, Vaginal Yeast and Everything. Also Taylor E. Ross, Dave Slusher, Mae West, Lenny Bruce, Bush = Dumb. Eat this hot ass!…

  10. CLICK HERE to hear Madge discuss God, Vaginal Yeast and Everything. Also Taylor E. Ross, Dave Slusher, Mae West, Lenny Bruce, Bush = Dumb. Eat this hot ass!…

  11. Brilliant Podcast over at Evil Genius Chronicles with an essay on “Why I Don’t Believe in God.”.
    Nothing for me to say really, best just head on over and listen to it….

  12. Dave, long time listener first time caller. This podcast was really interesting. I thought it extremely brave to bear yourself to the world in such a frank and honest manner. From a fellow atheist… Amen!

  13. Evil Genius Chronicles – EGC Audio Essay for Jan 31, 2005 02 01 2005 One of the more open and soul-bearing (+searching?) podcasts my ears have had the fortune of hearing. Yet another fine example of how web and audio…

  14. It was basically a spoken-word essay, right? Like something the performance artist Spalding Gray might do, but more off the cuff. And I think, with a subject like this, going off the cuff makes the point more effective, because it’s coming more from your gut than your intellect. I agree with every single thing you said and I remember the moment it hit me that I was no longer agnostic but an atheist. It was during a radio interview with the film director David Cronenberg and he pointed out how much more intense the concept of ethics is when you recognize that no god has ever actually helped us figure out what’s good and what’s evil – we humans have had to figure it out on our own and we take responsiblity for our mutual agreements about these things every day. This is our world and our time, all we get, and we have to use our minds to make it work.

  15. I just had to shake your hand on this brave essay. Lots of food for thought, i’m glad common sense has’nt gone a miss in america. You know your going to follow up with other one really soon

  16. I am listening to this post right now and I wanted to drop in a quick note. No you are not the only one that thinks the Jesus story doesn’t make much sense.

    God putting himself in to a human body and allowing the body to dies is no sacrifice at all. Jesus did not do us any favors in my opinion even if all the writings are true.

  17. Hi, Dave:
    Since you did basically a “one-take” podcast, the Audacity debacle notwithstanding, I’m replying after listening once. I had to think about this one for a while.

    First, thanks for what you accomplished here:
    1) No Red State/Blue State stereotyping drivel (I thought I’d never use the term “Red State/Blue State”); such discourse only engenders flame wars and name calling.
    2) No “If you believe in God, you obviously aren’t intelligent/rational/.” Related, but not identical to 1) above.
    3) You didn’t entitle the essay “Why there is no God”.
    4) You eloquently described extremely personal items without offending anyone.

    Just a few observations:
    Struggles with one’s faith are common: Martin Luther, Mother Teresa, Paul the Apostle, myself, and even Jesus had ’em (remember His prayer in Gethsemane).
    It seems to me that many of the points you raise are related to your observations about members of organized religion; I’ve seen many of the same things myself. I don’t think that their behavior invalidates the underlying foundation that exists; hypocritical behavior (or being a “shitheel”, as you put it – I’m dying to use that phrase, unless you’ve got the trademark) exists in every organization that expects a certain code of conduct; it does not mean that the underlying tenets are wrong or have no basis. “By their works they will be known.”
    I also got the distinct sense, that would be hard to convey if this essay hadn’t been an audio one, that your not believing God is where you find yourself now, rather than a final “I’m not gonna believe ever again, and I’ll fight it to the death” kind of statement.
    God’s plan is not obvious at all to me sometimes, either; nontheless, I think it’s there, and that someday, at the proper time, it will be revealed. This is my own personal struggle, to attempt to divine what that plan is, and what I’m supposed to do – to live one’s life as a reinforcement to those who believe, and as a positive example to those who don’t, and to do so quietly and humbly. There’s no fish or rapture-related bumperstickers on my car.<b>
    We, Nancy & I, believe in God, and it’s not an easy thing to actually live that belief, and speaking for myself only, I’ve not done a good job at it.
    We are keeping you in our prayers; no tracts will arrive on your doorstep, you won’t be subscribed to any religious mailing lists, and we both love you.
    –Ken & Nancy–

  18. I’m a little behind on listening to some of the podcasts that I get in, but I just finished listening to the Evil Genius Chronicles January 31st episode. If you haven’t heard it, yet, you need to! He recorded an audio essay entitled “Why I Don’t Be…

  19. I’m too overwhelmed to respond to everyone individually. Thank you all for the kind words and the support. I honestly could not tell if I was doing anything worthwhile at the time. All I can do is put it on the line and be as honest as possible. To be compared to Lenny Bruce and Spalding Gray (both men great heros of mine) is too kind to be true, but highly appreciated.

    The main thing I gained by doing this in audio rather than text is having the confidence that it wouldn’t come off as flip. I was worried that it just would come off smarmy and assholish, but spoken you can really hear that this is important stuff to me.

    Thanks again. It was difficult to do this (twice!!) but I’m glad people found it worth the effort.

  20. I just listened to this show and it is the first podcast of yours I have downloaded. I stumbled across podcasting after hearing about it on NPR about a week ago and already I’m hooked. Let me say first thank you for doing your show and for sharing such an intimate topic, in these times it is a brave thing to do and that is not overlooked by me and many others too I’m sure. I offer you my support and you have a new fan in me. I’m interested in hearing what you have to say and look forward to your next show.

  21. Dave, Believe it or not I’m a Christian AND I really appreciate what you have to say here. I think every pastor in US needs to listen to this. Not to “refute” you (that would be asinine), but to hear you. We who call ourselves Christians have propogated some really crappy theology. I empathize with where you are. Our lives do not reflect what we claim to believe. I’m sorry.

  22. You’re getting this mid-March blogging activity because the outchurched.com folks just spoke of this ‘cast in glowing terms so I ran over here and listened. I’m sure others have and will too. While I’m still digesting a lot of this, there’s this one-two punch. I’m still swooning from amazement that you (and Ryan and Dan who sent me here) are actually posing such well-formed questions, and I’m not yet ready to begin the process of even how to figure out how such a thing can either be answered or at least excused in today’s argot.

    Like caleb who commented supra, I did a turn–a pretty long one actually–in AA, and fought the fight to keep it “spirtual and not religious” when most of the meetings were held in churches and the cross-traffic between the religious services and the drunks-in-the-basement was pretty extensive. The beginning of my disallusionment came when I “pitched” and suggested that we perhaps need to update the big book. When the literature is so male-dominated that one chapter begins “our womenfolk tell us,” there comes a time that an organization as a whole needs to “take its own inventory.” That time wasn’t yet, at least according to the guy who wanted to hit me with a chair. Maybe for AA, that day cannot come.

    Sometimes, I think about what’s going on here in–dare I say–alternative religious podcasting, and it scares me. Your comment about being an engineer, the line: “the math works for me” that Dan over at ourchurched is fond of; this is a cross-pollination. If you’re into early pentecostal history, its Azusa Street and Bonnie Brae, where black churches and white churches got together at a time when spiritualism was in the air, and gave birth to something new that they both took away and nurtured in their own ways.

    There’s something unsettling about the incompatibility of free will and determinism being dicussed by people who know what a truth table is in a world where mass understanding of quantum physics is just around the corner and the answer to a creationinst quoting Einstein saying god wouldn’t play craps with the universe is, “Why the hell not? He brought the dice.”

    I’m sorry you didn’t get more reaction from traditional religious adherents, particularly pentecostals and charismatics. The closest you got was Ken and Nancy keeping you in their prayers. All through their posting I had this feeling they were asking the wrong question; while they may pray as they wish, it makes a lot more sense to me that they pray over your plan for god’s life, rather than the converse.

  23. Well, I think that I got a few readers attention. This is a topic that I heard on a blog by David Slusher. This is the post that he podcasted. You have to download the podcast.”Evil Genius”. It’s a podcast (meaning that its in audio) about why the author doesn’t believe in Jesus anymore. Note that I say anymore….its the first time that I have heard of a person having had religious beliefs and observe what he considers as contradictions in not just in Christianity but any other religion. What makes it different, is that this person David Slushing, was…

  24. Very good.
    Very smart.

    Please read “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. If you know anything of the man, you’ll know that he was once agnostic. Many read Lewis merely for pleasure, and he certainly offers that. Others search his books for answers to questions about eternity and humanity’s place in the cosmos. The fact that Lewis, a professor at both Oxford and Cambridge, possessed a keen intellect strengthens his credibility in many circles. That this brilliant agnostic came to recognize the validity first of Theism, and then of Christianity, provides an amazing testimony.

    “Mere Christianity” is a fairly quick, yet heady read. It helped me. Not that you need “help”; but maybe give yourself the chance to read this book and then record another podcast.

    Peace,
    David

  25. Say, Caleb, I have a what-if for you. First, though, let me make it clear that I am NOT a Calvinist; in the most extreme form thereof, their denial of free will makes all moral statements meaningless. But having said that, I have the following to say about cancer and little girls being raped:

    1) My first wife was taken by cancer. She died still believing in God’s goodness, and she was VERY far from being an unintelligent woman. I have experienced forms of comfort in my loss which you would consider delusional, but at least they are not based on any childhood indoctrination; I was raised by agnostic parents, and became a Christian because evidence convinced me the way it convinced Josh McDowell.

    2) If God appeared to you visibly, and said, “Okay, I’ll prevent all future molestation of children by eliminating all free will, including yours,” would you be so eager to pay THAT price to eliminate evil? Without free will, there can’t be love or compassion either (which is why Calvinism is almost as loathsome to me as it is to the atheistis majority here).

  26. I hate typos! In my previous, where you see “atheistis” at the end, I of course meant to say “atheistic.”

  27. I really enjoyed listening to this. Honesty in all forms is refreshing. I agree with many of the complaints about christianity, particularly what is now called the extreme fundamentalist church (a misnomer, but we won’t go there), but I feel that a little more honesty is required. I have found that, more often than not, those with a problem with god usually have more than simply intellectual objections. I’ve seen over and over again that the root of a person’s atheism often stems from past hurts and the idea that God is at fault IF he even exists. What follows the agnosticism is usually a refusal to believe, which feels to me like a way to stick it to the man since that’s really what he’s wanting – belief. The question that requires honesty is this: Is your unbelief founded on empirical evidence or, like those who do believe, is it founded on faith in what “seems” right to you? I contend merely that empirical evidence doesn’t have anything to offer the one who seeks to know what he should put his faith in. Either there is no god and consequently no evidence for or against, or there is a god who wishes belief to be something founded on faith rather than empiricism. Either will explain the situation we all find ourselves in and I believe all who have chosen a side have done so on faith. So we must ask ourselves, why have I put my faith in a godless universe, or why have i put my faith in [insert the name of your chosen god here]? For many of us, it comes from our past experiences, which is fine, just accept the truth and continue to seek the truth – it’s all we can do.

    So you don’t believe in God, but it’s not because it’s sensless to do so, but rather because you don’t think it is sensible (very different things of course). I think you agree with me here, but just wanting to clarify.

    As for the atheist honor, I say that christians who do what is right out of fear are mislead, as are those who feel superior to the unbeliever or trumpet their views on the street. Their behavior is not a good metric for the truth of their belief systems for, like us all, there is a misallignment between the thing they ascribe to and how they behave.

    Just my 45 cents,

    -Josh

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