“Now when students ask how I came to believe what I believe, I tell them that I trace my atheism to my first encounter, at age 7, with the scourge of polio. In 1952, a 9-year-old friend was stricken by the disease and clinging to life in an iron lung. After visiting him in the hospital, I asked my mother, “Why would God do that to a little boy?” She sighed in a way that telegraphed her lack of conviction and said: “I don’t know. The priest would say God must have his reasons, but I don’t know what they could be.”It's not clear why Jacoby inflicts her personal history onto the case for Empathy of Atheists, other than to demonstrate its juvenile roots.
Just two years later, in 1954, Jonas Salk’s vaccine began the process of eradicating polio, and my mother took the opportunity to suggest that God may have guided his research. I remember replying, “Well, God should have guided the doctors a long time ago so that Al wouldn’t be in an iron lung.” (He was to die only eight years later, by which time I was a committed atheist.) “
At the age of 15, Jacoby was dictating the actions required of a deity. A deity must serve her purposes, make her unassailably happy, and prevent all unhappy events. She seems proud of her juvenile pronouncements, and seems to rationalize reasons to sustain them.
“IT is primarily in the face of suffering, whether the tragedy is individual or collective, that I am forcefully reminded of what atheism has to offer. When I try to help a loved one losing his mind to Alzheimer’s, when I see homeless people shivering in the wake of a deadly storm, when the news media bring me almost obscenely close to the raw grief of bereft parents, I do not have to ask, as all people of faith must, why an all-powerful, all-good God allows such things to happen.So even today Jacoby continues in her juvenile comprehension of God by seemingly denying free will as beneficial and functionally placing responsibility on humans for their actions, and she contrarily holds God responsible for all human actions and discomforts - if there were a God. Thus she insists that “all people of faith must” ask, in essence, why God is so mean as to allow free will. She admits later that human responsibility exists, so presumably she actually believes that free will exists. But a God that would allow free will rather than dictate only pure happy outcomes always and forever must not be “let off the hook” of her personal judgment.
It is a positive blessing, not a negation of belief, to be free of what is known as the theodicy problem. Human “free will” is Western monotheism’s answer to the question of why God does not use his power to prevent the slaughter of innocents, and many people throughout history (some murdered as heretics) have not been able to let God off the hook in that fashion. “
Contrary to both many Atheist philosophers as well as theologians, Jacoby thinks that the existence of free will proves that God doesn't exist!
The actual mystery is how these juvenile conceptualizations get published, and why Jacoby thinks that these denigrations of God are beneficial to her claim of Atheist empathy for the parents of murdered children, most of whom are likely not Atheist. Why is denigrating God an act of empathy? Only in the free and completely unencumbered mind of an Atheist.
Certainly, as she claims, it is a blessing – well at least a relief – that she is free from any constraints whatsoever on her life, her morals, and her thought process. If Atheism is anything, it is freedom from any influence outside the preference sphere of the Atheist, including freedom from traditional disciplined logic and traditional morality.
Still, Jacoby is proud of Atheist empathy, and quotes agnostic Robert Green Ingersol, about whom she is writing a book:
That is the ultimate Atheist empathy, to tell parents that their child no longer exists, is gone for good, and so no longer suffers: Your child doesn’t exist anymore; there: feel better now? This is the only thought which Jacoby offers as an example of empathy for the grieving parents. And she has already denigrated the deity of most of the parents: that is necessary for the parents to understand her position, of course, which is self-professed empathy.
“In 1882, at the graveside of a friend’s child, he (Ingersol) declared: ‘They who stand with breaking hearts around this little grave, need have no fear. The larger and the nobler faith in all that is, and is to be, tells us that death, even at its worst, is only perfect rest ... The dead do not suffer.’”
Jacoby fully ignores the real basics of Atheism: You and your child are accidents of evolution; you and your child have no purpose because there is no purpose in the universe. So no purpose was lost with the new non-existence of your child.
And because there is no real meaning other than that which you personally imagine, no actual meaning was lost with the new non-existence of your child: everything that happens occurs due to the position of electrons just before the occurrence.
There actually is no self, so no self was lost.
No consciousness either, because consciousness is imaginary.
And certainly no soul.
At the bottom, nothing was actually lost with the occurrence of the new non-existence of your child.
These are the actual beliefs embedded in the Atheist community, dishonestly buried and not stated here during the defense of Atheist empathy. Do Atheists really think that they are not transparent to even the casual observer?
Yes, Atheists do claim morality for themselves, and then go on to try to force their morality on the world via secular government (Atheist), despite the historical record of the major Atheist governments and their specific non-empathy for human life and suffering. That is the thrust of secular humanism, for example.
“We must speak up as atheists in order to take responsibility for whatever it is humans are responsible for — including violence in our streets and schools. We need to demonstrate that atheism is rooted in empathy as well as intellect. And although atheism is not a religion, we need community-based outreach programs so that our activists will be as recognizable to their neighbors as the clergy.”
“The atheist is free to concentrate on the fate of this world — whether that means visiting a friend in a hospital or advocating for tougher gun control laws — without trying to square things with an unseen overlord in the next. Atheists do not want to deny religious believers the comfort of their faith. We do want our fellow citizens to respect our deeply held conviction that the absence of an afterlife lends a greater, not a lesser, moral importance to our actions on earth.”
Because modern Atheists corrupt actual logic at every turn it can be seen that they already are emotionally driven and not, in fact, rational.
“Today’s atheists would do well to emulate some of the great 19th-century American freethinkers, who insisted that reason and emotion were not opposed but complementary.”
Atheists always advocate for the change of the behaviors of other people, never for the development of decent, strong personal character traits for themselves or the youth currently being educated. Of course those above stated causes are valid; religious people advocate for them too. But one difference is in the emphasis on character development vs. the emphasis on channeling other people’s resources to the problem.
“Robert Green Ingersoll, who died in 1899 and was one of the most famous orators of his generation, personified this combination of passion and rationality. Called “The Great Agnostic,” Ingersoll insisted that there was no difference between atheism and agnosticism because it was impossible for anyone to “know” whether God existed or not. He used his secular pulpit to advocate for social causes like justice for African-Americans, women’s rights, prison reform and the elimination of cruelty to animals.”
“Today’s secularists must do more than mount defensive campaigns proclaiming that we can be “good without God.” Atheists must stand up instead of calling themselves freethinkers, agnostics, secular humanists or “spiritual, but not religious.” The last phrase, translated from the psychobabble, can mean just about anything — that the speaker is an atheist who fears social disapproval or a fence-sitter who wants the theoretical benefits of faith, including hope of eternal life, without the obligations of actually practicing a religion. Atheists may also be secular humanists and freethinkers — I answer to all three — but avoidance of identification with atheism confines us to a closet that encourages us to fade or be pushed into the background when tragedy strikes.For Atheists and secular humanists, empathy is theoretical. They have theoretical empathy for “victims”, and that makes the Atheists “saviors”. That is the moral basis upon which Atheists claim superiority.
We must speak up as atheists in order to take responsibility for whatever it is humans are responsible for — including violence in our streets and schools. We need to demonstrate that atheism is rooted in empathy as well as intellect. And although atheism is not a religion, we need community-based outreach programs so that our activists will be as recognizable to their neighbors as the clergy. “
But it is empirically demonstrable that Atheists are not functional empaths in the sense that they go out to actually help these victims as individuals with anything more than other people’s resources. Atheist giving is functionally non-existent, being documented at the level of two latte’s per month.
No, Atheist philosophers do not even agree that Atheist lives have meaning, much less debate what gives meaning to Atheist lives or the lives of the herd. Meaning is not a material quantity, and all of existence is material in the Atheist mind. So Atheists might ask “how did we get here” (not why), but deny that there is any meaning or purpose to it all. That all fits with the Atheist insistence on abortion availability without consequence, and the Emmanuel brother’s evaluation of infants and elderly as valueless and not worthy of the investment of healthcare: lives have only the value which Atheists allow them to have.
“In his speech at an interfaith prayer vigil in Newtown on Dec. 16, President Obama observed that “the world’s religions — so many of them represented here today — start with a simple question: Why are we here? What gives our life meaning?” He could easily have amended that to “the world’s religions and secular philosophies.” He could have said something like, “Whether you are religious or nonreligious, may you find solace in the knowledge that the suffering is ours, but that those we love suffer no more.”
Somewhere in that audience, and in the larger national audience, there were mourners who would have been comforted by the acknowledgment that their lives have meaning even if they do not regard death as the door to another life, but ‘only perfect rest.’”
In fact, some Atheist philosophers do not agree that there is any discernible difference between something that is alive and something that is not alive, unless it is the object’s possession of DNA (which is not a good indicator, since dead things have DNA too). Neither the concept of “living” nor “meaning” are material concepts. So neither “lives” nor “meaning” are a given existence to “Atheists” as a demographic category.
How is it possible to claim that a worldview which has no concept of value for life, meaning, purpose, or non-material existence has the non-material characteristic of empathy?
Is it possible that Atheist advocates such as Jacoby do not even understand the actual consequences, theoretical and real, of the Atheism which they promote? Or is their gross misrepresentation deliberate? Or merely irrational?
It’s difficult to know for sure, but ‘irrational’ stands out as a frontrunner in the list of possibilities.