In a discussion with a christian recently, they brought up Psalm 14, as a “point” for their side of the debate…
1The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
2The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
3They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
At the time, my first reaction was to say that I was unaware we were allowed to use a book of fiction to make a point, and that I’d like to quote Harry Potter if he did not mind…
Obviously that did not go over well, but after a few minutes (long grueling minutes of banging my head repeatedly against a wall) he finally came to understand that I view the bible in much the same way as he would view the koran, Bhagavad Gita, Veda, and yes Harry Potter… So he eventually dropped quoting “scripture” at me, and settled into other arguments (which were equally ineffective, and which may be the subject of another post, not this one).
But it did make me want to take a further look at what he quoted (even though he only quoted a small portion, I’d like to look into it a bit further than he did).
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
A fool is defined as: a person lacking in judgment or prudence
We’ll start with this dictionary definition, “a person lacking in judgment or prudence”. This is seemingly one of the basis for Pascal’s Wager. Since you can’t “know” for certain, the prudent thing to do is to believe (as if somebody can truly believe something at will).
One way to define a lack of judgment or prudence might be to look at crime statistics and prison population. Despite the non-believers being roughly 15% of the US population, they make up less than 1/3 of 1% of the US prison population.
But there is a more commonly used version of fool, and that is somebody of lower intelligence. We can look at intelligence two simple ways, the first being based on IQ scores, and the second being to look at scientists, who are generally considered to be more intelligent than the general population.
In looking at IQ: Atheists scored 1.95 IQ points higher than Agnostics, 3.82 points higher than Liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than Dogmatic persuasions. While these numbers are not definitive proof, they certainly imply a correlation (if not a causation).
And when we look at scientists, among other things we notice an obvious trend.
They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Among many others Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are both atheists. And yet the Gates Foundation, which both of them have contributed tens of billions of dollars each to, seems by any standard definition, to be doing good.
The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
This seems a bit repetitive, but let’s go another direction. Perhaps giving money is not “good”, let’s try another definition of good. Since we are talking about the christian bible, one might reasonable assume that references to god are specifically the christian god. So in reply, I give you: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. I think it would be difficult to find many people in history that have done more “good” than Mahatma Gandhi.
Now none of this had to do with arrogance, so where did I get the title from? Well it’s fairly simple.
If one states that only fools do not believe the same as then, and that the non-believers are incapable of doing good, they are implying that they are in fact both wise and good. And to back these assertions up, they have only a work of fiction.
I’d call that the absolute height of arrogance…