It’s Just Justice – The Wisdom of Mr Dillahunty

It’s Just Justice – The Wisdom of Mr Dillahunty

I don’t want to live in a world where those with power impose their evil intent on the masses and not face any type of consequence. Without God people can easily escape human justice. I can’t buy into that.

You realise pedophiles are immoral, but there are pedophiles who escape from human justice, and therefore it’s good to know that God’s justice is eventually gonna get them.

These are two quotes (paraphrased, perhaps) from a letter by a Christian woman to Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience fame. Here’s a transcript of his response, which he read on the internet radio show The Non Prophets. It’s commonly—and affectionately—referred to as Matt Dillahunty’s Greatest Rant Ever. I’m not sure if it’s his greatest (is it even a rant?), but it’s certainly a worthy response to the common religious sentiment of cosmic justice.

The kind of world you want to live in has no bearing on what kind of world you do live in. If this is your principal objection to worldviews that don’t include some cosmic justice in them—if you’ll forgive the condescending remark—you really don’t understand what you’re talking about.

Life isn’t fair, and the desire for justice that you express is one of the key foundations of most every religion. We’re all aware that sometimes good goes unrewarded and evil goes unpunished. And so, some justice seekers invent a security blanket to ensure that they aren’t mired in depression. It allows them to avoid facing the harshness of an indifferent reality, whether it’s heaven and hell, or karma dictating infinite rebirths; it serves the same purpose.

Some of us prefer to actually face reality. Some of us realise that there’s no good reason to believe that the universe is anything other than indifferent to our existence and our perceptions of good and evil. Some of us realise that dealing with reality on reality’s terms is the only way to make any real improvements in the situation.

Life isn’t fair, and that’s actually comforting, if you think about it. If life were fair that would imply that you actually deserve the bad things that happen to you, and that those who benefit from evil deeds are similarly deserving.

The realisation that there’s no reason to expect justice is what ensures that we take steps to impose justice. The realisation that good isn’t always rewarded is what drives us to reward it when we see it. The realisation that evil isn’t always punished is what drives us to work together as a cooperative society to deal with our problems, collectively and individually, in a way that encourages real change and that hopefully minimizes harmful actions.

Realising that justice isn’t guaranteed allows us to appreciate when it happens, and work toward ensuring it on a more regular basis. Your particular God concept/view of justice represents the height of irresponsibility and injustice. Your chosen religion has us born as reprobates, guilty before we’ve even taken a single breath. Responsible for things we’ve never done. It offers instant, undeserved forgiveness for the most horrible of crimes, and punishes people whose only crime is disbelief… forever.

It advocates slavery, denigrates women, curses homosexuals, orders the stoning of unruly children, sanctions wars of exterminations, condones human sacrifices, and poisons every mind it touches. It includes only one unforgivable crime: disbelief. Is that just?

This justice you so admire is no such thing. It is divine edict. It’s arbitrary, capricious, and ultimately unjust and immoral.

Yes, I realise that there are pedophiles out there who’ve escaped our flawed justice system. Do you realise that your system says that they’re all eligible for an eternal paradise? How does that address your objection? Under the rules of Christianity, the pedophile who escapes justice here can also escape your ultimate justice. Under the rules of Christianity, he may live forever in paradise, while someone who spent their entire life doing good, helping others, and contributing in a generally positive way, to the one and only life we’re sure to get, ultimately is judged unworthy of that reward.

Don’t kid yourself. You haven’t accepted a cosmic sense of justice that alleviates the problem. You’ve accepted one that you believe alleviates the problem for you. It is a selfish justification that shows no regard for real matters of justice.

It is the height of arrogance, and your desire to feel special because somebody up there thinks you’re special. Well, according to the paradigm you advocate, He thinks anyone willing to worship Him is special, with no regard to justice or character.

Go, read Romans. No one makes this point clearer than Paul. The law was established with full knowledge that no one would be able to fulfil it. It was established to demonstrate this inability and damn us further, and then a loophole was established to let some people through, regardless of their standing with the law.

Your religion has made you a slave. It has made you uncaring. It has made you support immorality and injustice while claiming that arbitrary edicts and loopholes count as either. It is a reprehensible lie that poisons the mind and prevents you from understanding reality.

When the scales drop away from your eyes, as they have for many of us, we’ll be here, and you’ll realise that you’re not alone and not to blame.


Listen to the “rant” here. Yeah, I wanted you to read it rather than listen 🙂


9 responses »

  1. I’m a theist who believes in reincarnation. As such, I clarify Christians’ statements regarding God’s providential attributes by noting that it only holds up in the eternal context. (I don’t apologize/evangelize my particular beliefs to them.) Yes, religion functions as a Marxist opiate for some if not all believers, but that doesn’t undermine its many other values or its veracity in general.

    Relating to the pedophilia context, my (Maryland) friends often tease me when I wear Penn State gear. I used to teach for the university, and I have to remind them it’s more than a football machine.

    • On my journey to full-on atheism I did look hard at the idea of reincarnation – it certainly makes a lot more sense than the ridiculous notions of salvation of Christian dogma.

      In the end, though, it’s still the same product of a desire for justice in an unfair cosmos, and wishful thinking on our mortality.

      • It’s weird how perceptions differ. Reincarnation makes even less sense to me..

        Yeah, Matt’s first line says it all, “The kind of world you *want* to live in has no bearing on what kind of world you *do* live in.”

        Thanks for commenting, Mike.

    • Hey funnyphilosopher,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The value that religion provides is, however, undermined by the demonstrable harm that religion causes. And equivalent, if not greater, value can be gained by secular means.

      The notion that people need religion is fallacious (and insulting, if you think about it). People do not need it, they just think they do. The many happy, fulfilled, productive, and moral atheists (a fast growing demographic) stand as evidence.

      The veracity of religion? Here religion undermines itself, again. No truth has been demonstrated (only claims to truth), and many falsehoods have been exposed.

      I’m interested to know why you believe in reincarnation. What evidence is there to warrant belief that you’ll be reborn?

      I’ll close with two Carl Sagan quotes, which may apply to reincarnation too:

      “I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.”

      “For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

      Yours in reason,

      • Look up Ian Stevenson for starters. Then Edgar Cayce. When I taught on the topic, I’d cover the 5 or 6 traditional arguments for starters. But then I’d distinguish between the public proof that such arguments constitute and private proof. For most, it’s the private proof of religious experience that’s compelling. But why should anyone take someone else’s word on the topic?

        For me, the only thing that could dissuade me from my belief in God (in general) is if God told me that He/She/It did not exist.

        Also, William James’s THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE is a very good work. Quite long, but relatively easy reading as far as philosophy goes.

      • “For me, the only thing that could dissuade me from my belief in God (in general) is if God told me that He/She/It did not exist.”

        Oh dear. Will you believe God, if he says to you, “I do not exist”? I’m sure you can accept that your statement is nonsensical. I read that to mean that nothing will change your mind…

        I’ll look the authors you’ve listed. Thanks.

  2. I DID listen to Matt’s ‘rant’ on YouTube a couple weeks ago, but for some reason, some things come through better in print than they do by hearing them. Just my quirky brain….

    I was, as Matt, raised in a faith/religion; mine was German Lutheran. I’ve worked my way through Baptist, Charismatic, Messianic, and the little-known “Yahwist” beliefs, before coming out the other side as agnostic. And the ACA, on YouTube, has had a lot to do with that — mainly because they enabled me to admit to MYSELF that my ‘faith’ was empty. It also made me re-examine my perception of mortality.

    I’ve had a few bouts of depression, one or two of which required some ‘outside help’; about a year and a half ago, I had a sit-down with a psychologist with the VA, and he asked me a very pointed question: “What do you think would happen if you were to die on the way home from here today?” I told him I wouldn’t have to endure going to my job anymore. (And, in the next second, I started to see my blended/extended family’s reactions in my mind, and it wasn’t pretty.)

    But the idea that goes with atheism, that when you’re dead, you’re just dead, has a certain comfort to it — not that I LONG for it, but it keeps it simple: there’s no wondering where you’ll end up! It’s also, for me, a FLIP on Pascal’s Wager — if I discover that there is no ‘God’, then I don’t feel cheated, and if I DO discover that the Judeo-christian ‘God’ is indeed real, I know more than his followers do, because their own BOOK says NOWHERE that you’ll burn forever. The ‘penalty’ for unbelief is…oblivion. The soul AND body is destroyed in ‘Gehenna’, the grave.

    The lady Matt answers talks of ‘justice’; well, JUSTICE can be backing down a bully, or having a happy lifelong marriage with that one person your family told you was no good. But the concept of justice does little to enhance the quality of one’s life overall. The benefit is short-lived, and the lack of it is something you just have to adjust to, making you stronger as a person.

    I’d rather have a life of passion about things, events, people — not the material things themselves, but the life experience they can sometimes provide, for instance, a simple bike ride — and look back on my life in old age and be content. THAT’S a life well lived!

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