On "Fruits of the Spirit"
by Jody Nagel
Christians claim that the "proof is in the pudding," so to speak, that the correctness of their (non-exclusive) monotheistic god-hypothesis is in the "fruit" produced by their belief system: kindness, contentedness, generosity, etc. These traits, they argue, are "gifts of the spirit."
Of course, this does not remotely constitute a "proof of God" at all.
The two classes of persons that disagree would be those that disagree with the "cause" and those that disagree with the "effects."
Those that "disagree" with the effects are all those selfish, evil people that intrinsically reject kindness and generosity in favor of their own selfishness. One does not have to be a Christian to be repulsed by such as these.
Those that disagree with the cause are all those who, like Nietzsche, reject the notion of gods, spirits, and supernatural entities and, yet, believe that humans are responsible for creating their own ethical natures, their own meanings for life, and their own heaven on Earth. There are so few ethical "humanists," however, that these people lack satisfying fellowship. Their social natures, which are like those of any other human being, and which have been inherited through evolution, are left unfulfilled. They become bitter, and end up seeming to disagree with their own stated principles. In the end, they seem not to produce any "fruit" that a Christian would recognize.
The "fruit" of contentment, therefore, is not a sign of any god's existence, but, rather, merely an indicator that religious people live within a sufficient power structure to provide them with sufficient fellowship to enable their feelings of contentment. The rare Humanistic Atheist lacks such a network of power structures, such as churches, and, therefore, seems to be less effective at creating these "fruits of the spirit."
The "fruit-producing" difference between Christians and Humanistic Atheists is merely a difference in the quantity of human fellowship experienced. There is no proof of god-or-spirit-involvement one way or the other. If there were many Humanistic Atheists and extremely few-and-far-between Christians, the tables would be reversed. Christians, as usual, continue to produce circular, self-justifying arguments, and they remain as wrong as they ever have been.
Dr. Jody Nagel
November 10, 1999