Arrogant Faith

Growing up, I was taught by my LDS parents and teachers that the LDS faithful would one day be commanded by The Prophet to return and reclaim Independence, Missouri.  I was told that we may even have to walk there as our ancestors had.  That the journey could be just as hard as our forbearers, but that, as The Faithful & Elect, we would be protected and blessed.  I was told that we would listen to our prophets and we would do as we were commanded.

What would you be willing to do if commanded by your religious leaders?  What wouldn’t you be willing to do?  If they speak for and behalf of The Almighty God, who knows all, shouldn’t you be willing to do absolutely anything?

“If God told you to kill your child—would you do it?” — Penn Jillette

I wouldn’t.  Not if He personally came down, 100% proving His existence and power, knocked me out of bed, and told me that, if I didn’t murder my daughter with my bare hands, He would torture me for eternity.

I would hope I could even muster the courage to spit in His almighty, but definitively evil face.

The story of Abraham is truly terrifying.  Believers teach it as a story of faith; that we must trust to God, who knows best.  “But, Heavenly Father saved Isaac.”  No.  Abraham had murder in his heart.  A willingness to cut open his innocent and only son.  Not a desire, but a willingness.  A blind obedience to commit an act of pure evil if only commanded.  God didn’t save Isaac; He merely changed His mind.

Mr. Jillette asks the question above to illustrate, if you would not murder your child at the command of the god you claim has the right and authority to command your actions, you are probably already an atheist.

If a religious leader in whom you trust told you that your God had commanded your family to sell all of your clothing and belongings and live unprotected in the winter mountains? That God had promised to provide for you? Would you do that?  Would you willingly put your family in mortal danger?  Trusting in God to provide?

If the religious leader commanded that you, not even kill, but pointlessly harm your child in some small way?  That God had promised you blessings without number for an earthly demonstration of your faith, would you do it?

If a man you *knew* to be a prophet told you to turn and rant and rail against your child, just because of whom they love?

Would you do it?

Or, instead, would you love your child regardless, and help them to grow up happy and healthy?  Loving those they loved and who made them happy – regardless of what a man who doesn’t know you, and doesn’t know your child, chooses to say from a great and spacious building?

“It’s not arrogant to say that you can’t figure out the answers to the universe with your internal faith. It’s not arrogant to know that there’s no omniscient, omnipotent prime mover in the universe who loves you personally. It’s not sad to feel that life and the love of your real friends and family is more than enough to make life worth living. Isn’t it much sadder to feel that there is a more important love required than the love of the people who have chosen to spend their limited time with you?”– Penn Jillette

4 thoughts on “Arrogant Faith”

  1. I think your article should be called : “IGNORANT FAITH” not ARROGANT FAITH !!

    You obviously have NO idea, that when GOD asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, it was a PROPHETIC example of GOD giving his only son !!

    I may not be able to figure out all the answers to the universe, but I know HE who has MADE the UNIVERSE and ALL that is therein.

    You made an ENORMOUSLY ARROGANT statement: saying : it is” NOT ARROGANT to KNOW that there is NOT an OMNISCIENT, OMNIPOTENT, prime mover who LOVES you personally”
    * That my friend is the HEIGHT of IGNORANCE and PRIDE !!!🐃



    1. I think it is a better example of God commanding an evil act (the murder of an innocent child) and expecting blind obedience to that clearly evil commandment. Would you do it? Slice open your child because you believe that God commanded it?

      “With or without it [religion] you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” – Steven Weinberg

      Abraham never would have been willing to commit that murder except that he was ordered by God to commit that evil act.

      I believe most believers truly have good in their hearts, and would never commit such evil; even if commanded by their leaders or their god. But, if you wouldn’t, as Penn observes, “You might already be an atheist.”


  2. The unconditional love you have for your child is commendable. All parents should love that way.

    About Abraham,
    Paul the Apostle speaks about him in Hebrews 11:17-19 “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.”

    We know that Issac was the only son of his beloved wife Sarah. Issac was promised to him by God. Genesis 17:19 “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” We also know that Abraham loved Issac, God refers to Issac as “thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest” in Genesis 22:2

    We know from Deuteronomy 12:31 that God hates and abhors child sacrifice.

    Another interesting note, there isn’t an exact age put on Issac. It’s commonly believed that he was older then 20 based on the timeline of events, but it’s not an exact age. A 20 year old, could have easily outrun his over 100 year old father. Issac was a willing sacrifice, and most likely not a little kid. He was carrying enough wood for a human sacrifice, can most 5-7 year olds do that?

    So why was God commanding this? I would dare say the point was to prove that Abraham trusted in God above all else. Of course this story is symbolic and prophetic, but it’s also literal. James 2:21-23 “His faith was made complete by what he did”
    God already knew Abraham had faith in him, so why did God need to test him? It proved Abraham’s faith, so that Abraham, his family, and all future generations would know that he was faithful.

    God has the right to take a human life. Abraham had known God for a long time, and knew God had the right to command this, but just like the before mentioned verses say Abraham knew his posterity was supposed to come from Issac. He had reason to believe that God did not intend for Issac to die permanently.

    “Humans can take life, but we can’t bring the dead back to life, nor can we control what happens to someone after they die. A human’s killing another human is a destructive and irresponsible act, for once we kill someone, we can’t undo it or control the harm that results.
    God, however, has greater abilities and knowledge than we do, including control over life and death. If God kills someone, he is able to bring them back to life or to place them in any sort of afterlife he chooses. God’s use of death is comparable to someone burning a fire in a fireplace: it can be controlled, lit or extinguished at will, and used for a purpose. In contrast, humans’ use of death is like setting fire to a dry field: the fire rages out of control, and consequently is dangerous and destructive.” (

    Religion, and religious extremists have caused many problems historically. I think some atheists can fall into a trap of believing that most or all of the major atrocities of the world have been done in the name of religion. This site has good information about that

    I think of the classic villain from The Hunchback of Notre Dame of Claude Frollo. Claude Frollo was selfrighteous, and evil. He justified his evil intentions through religion. He was racist, and he raised the Hunchback to think he was a monster and nobody should ever see him. Was it religion that corrupted Claude? Or was Claude corrupt and tried to justify his actions through religion? I think it’s an important question to ask. Because there will always be people who do bad things and try and justify themselves one way or another.

    You stated “If the religious leader commanded that you, not even kill, but pointlessly harm your child in some small way? That God had promised you blessings without number for an earthly demonstration of your faith, would you do it?” I would not. I do not trust religious leaders enough for that, and I don’t think anyone should.

    You also quote “With or without it [religion] you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion”
    I’m don’t 100% agree with this quote. “good people” can end up doing bad things for a lot of reasons. A study of Psychology can explain a lot of the driving motivations as to why “good people” do “bad things”. This link goes over 14 psychological forces that lead good people to do bad things, it’s not a super in depth article, or the best research article, but I think the information is good.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


    1. We’re getting a bit in the weeds here. I’m not arguing that there is a immoral god. I am arguing that, faced with the severe lack of any rational, reasonable, or scientific evidence for a deity, and faced with the overt indifference of the universe (good things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people, bad things happen to bad people, bad things happen to good people), it seems that there likely is no such being at all.

      I do not believe that a god created childhood leukemia. I believe that is a fluke of biology; just as one would expect from an imperfect, evolutionary process that copies complex molecules. If you believe in a god as the creator and designer of all things, you have to believe that He *did* create childhood leukemia. That He created the parasitic worms who drill into the eyeballs of children, blinding them for life. That a being would do that seems pointless, cruel, and, since there is no evidence for it, unlikely in the extreme.

      I have read some of the apologetics you point to. If you study the logical fallacies, you will find them represented in abundance. Moving goalposts. Shifting of burden. Special pleading. Think of all the LDS apologetics you’ve now read. Do you see any commonalities?

      God used to be all-powerful. But now, since we now recognize that as a fallacious and illogical argument, He’s “maximally” powerful. He used to appear to people all the time, back before recording devices, etc., but now, it’s a “new covenant”, or some other convenient excuse.

      The Book of Abraham used to be a direct translation of Egyptian papyrus. But, now that we can read hieroglyphics, it’s an “inspired translation.”

      My dad was given a blessing that he would live for many more years the night before he died. But, “It’s God’s will. Thy will be done.” I wonder what our religious friends would have said had he lived? Special pleading. Moving the goalposts.

      Abraham is appalling, and it doesn’t matter how old Isaac was. Doesn’t matter if he was willing or not. God commanded an inherently evil act; the murder of an innocent. Abraham was willing to do it. Assuming Abraham was an otherwise good man, it took God (religion) to make him willing to commit an act of evil.

      Yes, that quote is simplistic. There are many other irrational beliefs that can cause good people to do bad things; nationalism, xenophobia, sexism, bigotry, racism. I think, however, the point is made that otherwise good people can often be convinced to perform evil deeds because of irrational belief. Hence the importance of ensuring that your beliefs are rooted in reason and rationality. Hence the importance of withholding believe until good, reasonable, rational evidence is produced.

      In your analogy of Claude and The Hunchback, having not read the book, and going only by your description, Claude was already an evil man who used religion to commit further evil. In this case, religion is blameless. How about Brigham Young? Was he a true believer? Who honestly believed that Blood Atonement was essential to God’s plan? No way to truly know, but I think the men at Mountain Meadows were true believers… Most were probably “good men” lead to do unspeakable evil by irrational belief; in their leaders, their prophet, and their god.


      P.S. – I would be highly skeptical of the’s understanding of science, biology, and zoology. He absurdly states, “No other mammals kill arbitrarily.” This is blatantly false. Look up chimpanzees and wolves, for a starter. Chimps have horrific territorial battles in which many chimps are injured and killed. Wolves will sometimes going on “surplus killings”, killing many, many more animals than they can consume and leaving them rotting in the dust. Other animals, including herbivores, kill one another mating battles.

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