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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

The title of this piece has to be among the most common of retorts, offered by believers when someone like us – atheists, agnostics, freethinkers – looks at God’s Plan™ and wonders at the rationality of such a “plan.”  One can generally expect a chorus of “God’s Ways are not our ways,” as well (just so you know), even as we get the same stuff from the bible:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
-- Isaiah 55:8-9

On top of that and many other verses, Yahweh makes it personal when dealing with Job and all the travails which Yahweh gave Satan permission to subject him to:

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.  Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
-- Job 38:4-5

The bible generally does a pretty thorough job of instructing us supposedly clueless minions to follow Yahweh’s example and not stray from it or question it.  “Obey his commandments” becomes a repeating theme throughout both testaments.  The problem is that said commandments and supposed heavenly proclamations too often fail logically and from even a common-sense standpoint:

All this could be part of a plan. There is no way an atheist can prove it’s not. But it’s some plan, isn't it? With mass destruction, pitiless extermination, annihilation going on all the time. And all of this, set in motion on a scale that’s absolutely beyond our imagination, in order that the pope can tell people not to jerk off.
-- Christopher Hitchens

So, who are we, that we can make such judgment?  We’re thinking human beings, beings who have evolved the ability to observe the reality around us, study it, analyze it, and come to conclusions which are remarkably repeatable and frequently predictive of other phenomena offered up by the universe.  The fact is that there is no holy book on the face of this planet that ever anticipated humankind’s intellectual and skeptical development.  Not a one of them ever recognized or was able to stave off those qualities of curiosity, of drive, of the level of determination exhibited by one individual or another of the human race to pursue a problem or a question, regardless of censure from religious quarters, because That Person Wanted To Find An ANSWER.

This is where religion, particularly evangelical religion, shoots itself in the foot entirely too often.  Its answer to practically every question of a scientific or technical nature is, of course: “goddidit.”  That said response actually provides neither explanation nor genuine ANSWER is obvious to anyone who cares to have their intellect engaged, and sadly, this is not a surprise, especially.  Religion doesn’t adapt to new situations or discoveries very readily; indeed, it tends to react to them negatively.  It does so because such innovations or revelations may disrupt its desire for the status quo, for a continuance of life as the bible or quran or torah saw it, thousands of years ago, when men and women were ignorant of the mechanisms which drove this reality, and most of them were disinterested in discovering and quantifying what those mechanisms were and how they worked.

Still, there were those few here and there: Eratosthenes, who measured the diameter of Planet Earth, over 2,000 years ago, with what then could be considered remarkable accuracy.  Galileo, whose telescopic observations of Jupiter revealed that our planetary home was not necessarily the center of the universe, nor even the center of our own solar system.  Isaac Newton, whose contributions to optics and kinematic physics and mathematics may have lifted up human understanding more than any other one single contributor, and the list goes on and on.  As history has testified, this process feeds on itself, accelerating as the cache of human knowledge builds upon its own understanding, to the point where it has been said that the number of new discoveries in the past 100 years eclipses ALL of those revealed in the time before then.

“Goddidit” has stood against this wave of learning so far, but it’s ability to do so, going into the future, is questionable at best.  It is something like the trope of the irresistible force against the immovable object, except that here, the “object” has no foundation in reality and has been maintained only by the insistence of those who want to believe in that object.  Meanwhile, those who reject that belief, who want to explore the evidence in front of them, is rising, perhaps to the point where a paradigm change from religion to rationalism among the general populace becomes more possible and likely than it has been to date, a time when a simple expression from a brilliant astronomer has the opportunity to become the foundation for humankind’s departure from adolescence and its embrace of adulthood:

I don’t want to believe; I want to know.
-- Carl Sagan

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