Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"The Real War" (3/2002)

I think with all the talk about Christianity and Islam being at odds with each other, about "the West" being at war with the Muslim world, and about all the "us against them" posturing that's going on, we are losing sight of what's really going on here. The terrorists are using the people they recruit to engage in violent acts against those they see as not whorshiping God the "right" way, and our own government pits our entire civilization against the terrorists, and paints a picture of one culture against another (much like they do in the overblown "culture wars") to foment jingoistic hatred. But all of this bluster and shouting masks the real war that's going on.

That war, the one we should be concerned about, is not us (the supposed universal Christian "us") versus the Taliban, or us versus al Qaeda, or us versus Islam in general. It's the war between those who believe that serving God's will is more important than the health and well-being of humanity, and those who know better than this and think otherwise. All theophiles, whether they be fundamentalist Christians or extremist Muslims, are on the same side, because they all have the same goal—to bring about conflict between people based on ethnic and religious boundaries, at the cost of our collective and individual freedom and happiness, all for the glory of God.

Their leaders are categorically not interested in bringing about peace; they relish the thought of conflict between us. Bush gleefully sees himself as a war President, and sees the resurrection of the US's military-industrial complex to the status it had back in Nixon's day as a primary goal. Bin Laden has no desire to free his fellow Muslims or bring about any benefit in their lives, he is encouraging them to suffer and die for the glory of their God. More important than choosing sides in this battle between bullies is choosing not to choose sides, electing instead to reject the very notion that we should be in conflict with each other over what God tells people to do.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

God is like the family patriarch who runs a family business and expects all his "children" to continue to work for him forever. When his children elect to go out into the real world and find their own way (as is their right of course), he not only seeks to keep them from doing so—discouraging and even lying to them about the outside world to keep them reined in—he also reaches out into the world to thwart their efforts to live their own lives.
"Why We Don't Proselytize to Theophiles" (5/2003)

What people don't seem to get is that I am not in any way at all interested in proselytizing to theophiles. For most of them, there is no hope of their changing their minds about their beliefs—so entrenched in them have they become that it's virtually impossible to get out of the rut. And even if I could: listening to some of these people speak out about the beliefs they hold now—would I want them to stand up for maltheism, given the way they argue, the way they present their opinions, and the way they treat those who disagree with them?

No, the intent is definitely not to proselytize to such people. Their vanity may lead them to assume that they are "targets" of Maltheist "evangelism," but nothing could be further from the truth. Given their attitude towards religious belief, they would be counterexamples of everything Maltheism actually stands for.

The real intent is to simply give voice to the notion that God is not all he's cracked up to be, to let others who have already considered this notion (or are on the verge of doing so) know that they are not "crazy" for believing it nor alone in considering it. Theophilia thinks it holds a unchallenged monopoly on religious thought among the human race. Each group may violently disagree with each other and even hate each other (as God commands them to) but one thing they "agree" on is the erroneous belief that God is good, and challenges to that supposedly "universal" anti-glue that bonds these people together in the act of separating themselves from each other are the greatest "blasphemy" imaginable.

We need more blasphemy like that in the world.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

"The Myth of 'Necessary' Evil" (1/2003)

Taken from Paul Zimmerman's notes in the early part of 2003, combining several entries into one for completeness. This entry provides a rebuttal to the belief that God needed to create evil in this world, as an excuse for his not making a world without evil in it. Here is a link to one of the original posts on Beliefnet from which this was derived.

I was recently asked the converse question to the (supposedly unanswered) question associated with the problem of theodicy. While that question asks "If God is good and as powerful as he claims to be, why is there evil and suffering in the world?", the converse question is "If God is bad (as Maltheism asserts him to be), why is there good in the world?"

Allow me to present an answer.

Theophiles would tell you that "good needs evil in order to exist." They use this as an apologetic excuse for why God created evil—he "had to." They also claim that if he did not create evil, there would be no free will.

Both these claims are patently false. Good could certainly exist without evil, but would not "stand out" as something distinct from "anti-good" (ie, evil) if there were no evil. It would not be labeled as something "special" distinguished from some "opposite," but it could and would still exist.

The notion that free will requires the existence of evil is also nonsense. Those offering it assert that, without evil, we would have no free will, and thus be "robots" or "slaves." This notion makes it sound like there are only two choices, to do "the good thing" and to do "the evil thing." In reality, there is a near infinity of possible choices, even if you remove all the "evil" choices (or, more accurately, if the world had been created so that nothing resulted in harm and evil).

Further, remember that God claims to offer his followers a place of infinite bounty where there is no evil but where we are NOT robots or slaves! Is God lying about the existence of this place? (It also begs the question: why would an omnipotent benevolent God put his creations in the place with evil and suffering in it rather than in the place without those things that he also created?)

Now, having said that good does not require evil in order to exist, let me demonstrate the converse—that evil DOES require good to exist.

While good does not depend on the existence of a contrast between it and "non-good" to make it exist, evil depends on this very contrast. It needs good in order to thrive and survive for any substantial amount of time. In fact, evil could not exist in a world without good! Can you imagine a world that is totally evil? It would disintegrate itself in an infinitesimal amount of time!

Imagine a world, for instance (as horrible as this might sound), where all newborns of all species are stillborn. (Note that as horrible as this sounds, it is far from being "as evil" as the world could get.) First, it would only last for one generation (or non-generation), if that long. How long could such a universe sustain itself? The stillborn babies could not reproduce and give birth to a further generation of stillborn babies, could it? The evil would be terminated by its own excesses.

Second, the presence of a mechanism for birthing new beings implies the possibility of birth and regeneration. The evil exists in the failure of a mechanism that should bring about good—as in new life. If nothing could ever be born, because the world was not set up to create and generate new life, the evil of a baby coming into the world stillborn wouldn't even be possible. If dead entities simply "gave birth" to other dead entities (eg, rocks coming out of other rocks), where there was no reasonable expectation of life emerging, would this be "evil?" Of course not. It is only within a world in which is life is possible but denied and thwarted that such a thing can be considered evil.

Evil IS evil because it lives off of good, in a parasitic fashion. It tries to take what has been produced by the good from the good for its own ends, without compensating the good or benefiting it. That is, by definition, what makes it evil. That is what evil is.

Thus, the question "If God is bad, why is there good in the world?" is easily answered: because evil requires the existence of good in order to sustain itself. And when God seeks to exploit us and feed off of our whorship forcibly solely for his own ends while claiming he is doing it "for our good," this is an example of evil.

"Imagine if you would: Religion and the X-Files" (11/2001)

Imagine, if you would:

The world is under attack from an extraterrestrial force, not of this Earth. Those in charge deny there is a problem, deny that there is anything wrong. In fact, unbeknownst to us all, those in charge are collaborating with the enemy.More than just collaborating: they are acting as the enemy's fifth column, propagandizing to us the notion that this alien foe is really our friend, and that we should joyously embrace eternal servitude to this monstrous force.This sounds like the theme of the long-running TV series "The X Files," or the plot from a new Oliver Stone movie, doesn't it?Except it's the way things really are in this world, and the way they have been for centuries.The extraterrestrial force is God. The collaborators are the God whorshippers who tell us, despite all evidence to the contrary, that God is good, worthy of our devotion and supplication.They tell us, despite all the evil God has wrought upon us (and all the good he takes credit for that happened naturally with no assistance from him), that we should whorship him, obey him, fall in line and accept him.

Did Chris Carter (creator of the X-Files) present us with a literal description of the UFO phenomenon as factual history? Or was he offering a metaphor for the way God and his whorshipers have crushed the spirit of mankind for millennia?

Does it make you wonder? Probably not. Most people are so fixed in their intransigent mindsets about the obvious goodness of God that they would never give thought, despite all evidence, to the notion that God might not be what he says he is.

Greetings to all.

Having worked out various details, I am finally getting ready to post excerpts from my Dad's writings here on this blog. The first of these will be posted later today, with more to come. I hope you get something positive out of the things my Dad had to say.

--Craig



Monday, September 06, 2004

Introduction from Craig

My name is Craig Zimmerman, and I am Paul Zimmerman's son. My Dad was the one who posted for many years on the Usenet, on Beliefnet, and elsewhere on the subject of Maltheism. Some think he's the one who coined the word Maltheism many years ago, but we're honestly not sure. He's definitely regarded by many as a founding father of the movement.

As many of you already know, my Dad was killed by a hit-and-run driver in July 2003. Though the driver was never caught, we suspected it was one of the many local religious zealots whom Dad had offended with his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom FROM religion, and most especially Maltheism. There were many, both locally and around the world, who took issue with his hostility towards ideologies that made belief in some God more important than human freedom and happiness. It seems that night they all had an alibi.

My Dad made both a lot of enemies and a lot of friends over the course of his life. But virtually all of his enemies were transient, attacking him for brief periods and disappearing when they grew tired of launching tirades against him. He was someone who knew not only how to fight back in kind when he had to, but also how to rise above the lowest common denominator. He demonstrated through words and deeds how genuine human tolerance was superior to supplication to any irrational authority that encouraged intolerance and hatred. He would not only explain in words why those who attacked him were wrong, he would show through his actions why what he believed was right.

In contrast to the thankfully fleeting relationships he had with those who considered him their enemy, those who considered him their friend remained so throughout the course of his life. He could always be counted on by those he knew and loved for moral support, guidance, and assistance whenever possible. He was a loyal friend, a devoted husband, a caring father, a loving grandfather, and the best teacher anyone could ever hope to have.

His religious beliefs grew not out of ignorance of religious teaching, but out of intimate exposure to it. Like many of his generation, he read the Bible put in front of him and noted its self-contradictory and hypocritical nature. While many of his peers became atheists, concluding from the Bible's inconsistencies that God did not exist, he went down a different path. The inconsistencies, to him, could be explained by a duplicity on the part of the author. Why NOT consider that possibility, he asked? But when he posed that question, he was shouted down and berated for doing so.

His critique of Nixon's memoirs years later still stands as a seminal work on the reasons irrational authority must be questioned. The arguments of those who suggested we not dare to question the President of the United States are no different than those who still suggest we not dare to question God. But the self-aggrandizement, the rationalizations, and the duplicitous accounts of what happened as found in Nixon's memoirs have parallels throughout the Bible.

My Dad's beliefs, while surely unconventional, were rooted in the greatest sense of pride in humanity and the utter disdain for any force that would diminish us as people. He began recording his sentiments on God and religion as a teenager, and with the advent of the Internet he found a way to share them with the world. On and off over the last twenty years, he wrote on the subject in online forums, articles, and books. He also found time to marry our mother and with her raise both me and my sister Kate.

While most found his idea that God is unworthy of our devotion to be blasphemous, and often tried to silence him for voicing it, many acknowledged the merits of his philosophy. Among these were a number of atheists, as well as honest students of religion who recognized that Maltheism is perhaps nothing if not a shamelessly honest effort at theodicy. Dad had many devoutly religious people in his life that he could honestly call friends—including his second wife, Helen.

That he was able to build bridges with people whose beliefs differed so radically from his own is a tribute to what he was trying to do in life—to emphasize our commonalities, and ignore our differences. To encourage cooperation and tolerance, and discourage dogmatism and hatred. To foster intellectually honest dialog, and eschew deception and ignorance.

After a long respite from writing on the subject of Maltheism, he returned to voicing his opinions on the subject in September 2001 when he joined Beliefnet. The events of 9/11 affected him deeply, as they affected us all. As he frequently did, my Dad saw through the smoke and mirrors and realized what was really going on. Although there was a war between fundamentalist ideologies in east and west battling for world control, this was not the important war.

[The important war] is between those who believe that serving God's will is more important than the health and well-being of humanity, and those who know better than this and think otherwise. All theophiles, whether they be fundamentalist Christians or extremist Muslims, are on the same side, because they all have the same goal—to bring about conflict between people based on ethnic and religious boundaries, at the cost of our collective and individual freedom and happiness, all for the glory of God.

Their leaders are categorically not interested in bringing about peace; they relish the thought of conflict between us. Bush gleefully sees himself as a war President, and sees the resurrection of the US's military-industrial complex to the status it had back in Nixon's day as a primary goal. Bin Laden has no desire to free his fellow Muslims or bring about any benefit in their lives, he is encouraging them to suffer and die for the glory of their God. More important than choosing sides in this battle between bullies is choosing not to choose sides, electing instead to reject the very notion that we should be in conflict with each other over what God tells people to do.
The biggest fear my Dad had was that the war between God-lovers and the aptly named humanists would go unnoticed in the shadow of the better promoted more obvious war, and that we would all surrender passively to the idea that we needed to take sides in that more obvious war. He died not knowing if this would happen in the long run or not. Though things have improved since the jingoistic pseudo-patriotism of 2001-2002, it's hard to say whether or not his fear was warranted.

My Dad was grateful to Beliefnet for providing him with a forum for presenting the Maltheist perspective. Since then other boards have sprung up, and Maltheism has made its presence known to the world. The word has entered common discourse, and there are several entries in Wikipedia (
http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maltheism) on Maltheism and related subjects. He believed passionately that our rights as human beings were paramount, and that those who sought to suspend or eradicate our rights solely to promote their own agendas should be exposed for what they are, the consequences of those agendas laid bare for all to see.

On a personal level, I will never forget what my Dad taught me. To shirk invalid assumptions and recognize them when others make them. To confront irrational authority and question its legitimacy when it is abused. To fight for our personal freedoms, the freedoms of our loved ones, and the freedoms of the human race as a whole, with wholehearted passion and commitment. But most of all, to love those we hold dear, and treasure their presence in our lives. We will all continue to miss him.

Dad started this weblog a year ago this past May, and intended to use it as both an online journal about his work and a news feed reporting critical events to those concerned about personal freedom issues. He never really got to start work on it. If you are interested in contributing to this blog, or to the efforts of the World Maltheist Movement in general, please contact me at
craigzimmerman@gmail.com, and I will try to put you in touch with the right people.

--Craig

Monday, May 19, 2003

My Dad's first and only post to this weblog

Welcome to the Maltheism WebLog.

Maltheism is a belief system whose main tenet is that God exists, but is not "good" (as he claims to be) but rather is wholly evil. Maltheists, in general, believe that the Bible is genuinely the "word of God," but like an autobiography of a scurrilous scoundrel or horrific dictator, the "spin" offered by the text is of necessity biased and needs to be examined with an objective eye. The self-contradictions and hypocrisies rife throughout the Bible demonstrate that God's word cannot be trusted. He exhorts people with commandments like "thou shalt not kill," then orders these same people to kill in his name (or does the deed himself--often blaming it on his mythical patsy, Satan.

There is no "doctrine" of maltheism but there are a number of beliefs shared among people with similar ideals. We do not know whether God is in fact the "creator of the universe" or whether this is just a title he self-aggrandizingly bestows upon himself. Even if he is that "ultimate" creator, of course this does not confer upon him any "rights" over us, as many of his followers might want us to believe. We do not know if God is genuinely omnipotent (this is another of his claims) but he certainly has a strong desire to see us to whorship him and adore him. One might justifiably conclude that God is lying about many of the attributes he claims to have, including omnipotence and infinitude. Clearly he feeds greedily on our whorship, and demands it from us in "exchange" for his NOT harming us, much like a school bully would demand your lunch money in "exchange" for his not beating you up. But who among us would deem the school bully a "saviour" because he refrained from beating you up after you gave him your lunch money! God calls himself a "saviour," but what is he "saving" us from? Why, his own wrath! He invents a world in which we "need" saving--from his wrathful acts against us--for "crimes" of his own imagining (ie, "sins," which are mostly nothing more than things God doesn't like... this week!). Then, he says he can "save" us from his elective voluntary wrath--if we just whorship and praise him.

Maltheism certainly shares a lot in common with many other belief systems.


  • Gnosticism - The Gnostics believe(d) that the God people whorshiped was really a demiurge, a false God who sought to enslave us, and that Jesus was sent by the REAL God to save us from this false God's wrath by teaching us how to get to the "real" God. But if this real God were all he was cracked up to be, wouldn't he just stomp on the evil false God who sought to enslave us. No, unfortunately this sounds like just another shell game--if this were indeed the scenario, we'd have two rival deities seeking the same position of power. Once we "overthrow" the "false" God and install the new one... wouldn't we be in the same boat all over again? Is reality just a tag team wrestling match between two great incorporeal a-holes?

  • Satanism - Most Satanists, contrary to popular belief, do not believe in "being evil." They do not whorship Satan as a deference to evil; they believe, like Maltheists, that God is a sick and twisted liar and that Satan (alias Lucifer--a name which means light bringer) is really on mankind's side AGAINST this bully deity. But this is really just Gnosticism viewed in another way--the "real" God being Satan, and the "false" God being the God mankind unfortunately whorships. Again, is reality just a WWE pay-per-view event of God vs. Satan? (Personally, I believe there is no Satan, that he's just God's imaginary patsy, much like Immanuel Goldstein is Big Brother's imaginary patsy for everything that goes wrong in Orwell's 1984.)

  • Atheism - Of course, atheism simply asserts that there is no God--and with good reason, if you base your arguments on logic, evidence, and the use of Occam's Razor. But for many of us, there clearly appears to be a WILLFUL force in the universe that supplants physical laws at its convenience, thwarting humankind's efforts to work together and accomplish great things. Many atheists look at the Bible and say "if God wrote this stuff, he is a great big liar and not whorthy of whorship." Of course, they would be right in this--but many conclude that "thus" God does not exist. But this is not a valid logical conclusion--the only conclusion you can make from reading the Bible as God's word is that God, if he exists, is not at all what he says he is.

I invite you to visit the links on the right hand side of this page. The Maltheism forum on Beliefnet is a good starting point for learning about Maltheism and talking to other maltheists. There you can find the Introduction to Maltheism. Visit the other links you see on the right for more information.

Be well,

Paul