1 thing militant agnostics need to stop saying

Many thanks to the Facebook-Page „Pissing Off The Religious Right“. As far as I understand, this is their image.

There’s another article I had already decided not to discuss here, but then I found the above picture and no other pretext for using it realized that I haven’t contributed to religious debate for quite some time, and that this might even be a good opportunity to defend some religious positions, which is rare and noble indeed, and since I like being both those things, here we are, so let’s dig into

4 Things Both Atheists and Believers Need to Stop Saying!

Gladstone (which is, apparently, the author’s pen name at cracked.com) starts off with a textbook example of militant agnostic argument:

For a moment, take a step back and forget all the ideas that come to mind when you hear the word „God.“ Forget about organized religion and everything that flows from it. […] Just a force in the universe, not only more powerful than humanity, but greater than anything we have known. Something beyond mere biology with the ability to create worlds and predetermine tomorrow’s history. By definition, it’s almost too much to comprehend

See what he did there? So we’re supposed to forget all the ideas that come to our mind when we hear the word „God“ (which, by the way, is not at all what he tells me to forget about in my case) and instead accept the ones that apparently come to his mind when he does. The idea behind this is not all bad. On the contrary, I welcome this attempt to tell us what he’s talking about right in the beginning, but I think he could have done this without quite so much pomp, for example by just saying: „When I say „God“, this is what I’m thinking of“ without implying that all the other ideas are wrong and his is the only pure and correct one. Could he? No, of course not, because that would have impaired his ability to tell everyone else they need to shut up about their idea of God because it’s different from his. You’ll see.

By the way: „By definition, it’s almost too much to comprehend.“ Um, what? Your definition, such as it is, didn’t say anything about comprehension, and if it’s „almost too much to comprehend“, it’s not, so what were you planning to tell us by this remark?

After all, God — like the Loch Ness Monster or that Canadian girl I lost my virginity to junior year — can neither be proven nor disproven.

Oh. Great. It’s going to be one of those articles, isn’t it? What? Yes, of course I already knew. Don’t spoil my act, just let me pretend to be disappointed for dramatic effect.

I don’t need to explain everything wrong with this idea, do I? I’ll save us all some time by limiting myself to one aspect: Isn’t it completely, glaringly obvious that, of course, all of those things can be proven? They can be proven by the trivial and completely, glaringly obvious act of showing them. If anyone were to produce the Loch Ness Monster, if Gladstone were to introduce us to the girl, if any being beyond mere biology with the ability to create worlds and predetermine tomorrow’s history were to show up and give a demonstration of its power, their existence would be proven, as far as anything can be proven in reality. Stupid standard militant agnostic claim refuted, moving on.

But that doesn’t stop people. And while I can accept whatever’s in people’s hearts, there’s no reason the rest of us have to keep hearing about it.

Yes, Gladstone, I can only imagine your plight. It must be quite difficult to accept that there are people who feel the need to tell others what they’re wrong about, and why. So please, start telling us what other people are wrong about, and why.

#4. Devout: God Hates X

Well. Alright. I don’t think any believer has ever said that to me about anything, but then I live in Germany. Might be different in the US. So what’s wrong with this?

The devout can believe what they want and even teach it to their children.

Why Gladstone, that’s mighty generous of you, not caring about what horrible things other people teach their children. I can’t stand the little suckers, either.

But that doesn’t give anyone license to use their God as a weapon.

Except against their children, of couse. Those, they can abuse all they like, as long as you don’t need to hear about it, right? But I interrupt. Certainly, you were about to explain how someone telling us about the god they believe in is using „their God as a weapon“.

These are the people who actually believe in an omnipotent Creator and the only thing inspiring enough for their protest sign is what that Creator hates? Why would anyone want to hold that up to the world?

Not? Okay, let’s forget about the weapon and answer your question: I could imagine many reasons. One of them would be to warn the world of the consequences of their actions. If I believed in a God who hates and punishes gay people, I would think it very unkind to not tell them that they will be punished for what they are doing. Another reason would be to tell the world about what I think is right, and I they think is wrong, so they stop the wrong things. You know, about the same reasons you’re writing this article, probably, holding up to the world what you hate.

But there’s another problem with defining your faith by who your God despises: How do you know?

And here we have it again. You’re free to believe in any god, of course, and Gladstone would never deny your right to do so, as long as you don’t actually believe anything about him, or her, except for the things he believes, of course. Those are fine. He can make up stuff about your God without any justification, but if you start claiming things he doesn’t like, you damn well need to explain how you know them. And don’t you think your Holy Book is an answer! That doesn’t count unless

you think the New Testament, the Koran or whatever other holy text you follow is impervious to misinterpretation

because, obviously, you can only claim stuff if there is absolutely, positively, 100% not the slightest chance of being wrong. So unless you think that your country’s penal code is completely impervious to misinterpretation, you really shouldn’t stop other people from commiting crimes, because how do you know they are?

Next forbidden sentence:

#3. Atheist:God Is Not Great

Awwwww… Not that one! C’mon, we all love the Hitch, don’t we?

I take issue with how deliberately and needlessly provocative the phrase is.

Sigh. Yes, of course. Because deliberate and needless provocation is a real problem for you, Gladstone. We can tell. Seriously, do these people not have any remainders of their natural irony detectors left, or do they willfully ignore them?

Also, how illogical. „Hey man, this God you believe in that I totally don’t believe in? Yeah, well, he sucks!“

What’s illogical about it? When people say they think that Darth Vader is not a shining moral example, that they like Harry Potter, or that Sheldon Cooper is kind of anoying, without believing those characters exist, is that illogical as well?

But my main complaint is that most purveyors of this sentiment don’t really have a beef with God.

Oh, they don’t? Funny, I had a different impression.

How difficult can this be to accept? If someone tells me he believes in a god who would turn a woman into a salt pillar for turning around at the wrong moment, is it really needlessly provocative to tell them I think this god is not great? Seriously?

Well, whatever, you know how it goes. Gladstone now tells us that we shouldn’t confuse God with organized religion, because religion is what people do, and people suck, but it’s not what God does, because God is

something in this universe being better, stronger and wiser [and] omething we could strive to be more like

You know, Gladstone, I might be tempted to ask something like: „How do you know?“, or even tell you that it’s … a little illogical to assign attributes to something you do not believe exists, but at this point, I have given up any hope I might have held, so I’ll just go on and see what are the other things you want everything except yourself to shut the fuck up about, hoping this will soon be over.

#2. Devout: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Nothing to do here. All Gladstone does is, again, explain that no one knows anything about their gods, except for himself of course, so no one else is entitled to an opinion about whom God helps. Case closed. Next.

#1. Atheist: God Is a Fairy Tale For Morons

Um… Well, yes, you’re right Gladstone, we shouldn’t insult other people for believing in fairy tales, at least not generally. In fact, you shouldn’t insult other people at all if you want to have constructive debates with them, and you shouldn’t draw premature conclusions about other people’s intelligence because intelligent people can be as wrong as stupid people. I’m really glad there’s at least one idea we can agree on, because I like to believe that there’s something good and worthy in every text someone took the effort to write, and

If you want to convince yourself that ignorance loves atheists as much as the devout just spend some time watching the flame wars between these factions online. Usually not a trace of intelligence.

Oh for the love of Christ …

[via Atheist Media Blog]

7 Responses to 1 thing militant agnostics need to stop saying

  1. Christina sagt:

    Also erstmal, ich werde nichts hierzu schreiben. (Und das nicht nur, weil ich sprachlich nur „Bahnhof“ verstehe.) Aber ich finde den Google-Übersetzer immer wieder toll, das möchte ich hier mal gesagt haben. Zum Beispiel:

    “Außer gegen ihre Kinder, von couse. Diejenigen, können sie alles, was sie missbrauchen wollen, solange Sie nicht brauchen, um darüber zu hören, nicht wahr? Aber ich unterbrechen. Sicherlich waren Sie etwa zu erklären, wie jemand erzählt uns von dem Gott sie glauben wird mit „ihren Gott als Waffe“. “

    Da weiß ich doch gleich Bescheid. 🙂 Hahahahaha…..glucks….haha.

    Süß finde ich auch das hier:

    “Ich kann es nicht ertragen die kleinen Sauger, …. *Prust*

    Wahrscheinlich sind damit wohl Säuglinge oder Babys gemeint…..oder vielleicht doch was anderes……*am Kopf kratz* ….na ja egal.

    Aber, ich will wirklich nicht meckern. Bei manchen kleineren Dingen hat er mir auch schon gute Dienste geleistet, der Google-Übersetzer. Und besser geht es wahrscheinlich technisch auch nicht zu verwirklichen. Schon schön, dass es überhaupt so etwas gibt wie ihn, also den Google-Übersetzer. 🙂

  2. Muriel sagt:

    @manglaubtesnicht: Thanks guvnah!

  3. fichtenstein sagt:

    Liked your take on the article but I gotta say, this was on Cracked which is known rather for the kind of articles that are great for useless pub-knowledge but that’s basically it (One of them even claimed that puns are over and lazy…what kind of asshole would ever say something like that?). I mean, they are such an easy target to complain about, it’s like taking a FAZ-article and…oh well, nevermind, carry on, nothing to see here.

  4. Muriel sagt:

    @fichtenstein: Also, these arguments are typical for a lot of those „don’t be a dick“-types. So this post is not so much about Gladstone and more about all the others like him, so whenever I meet one, I can just hand him the link on a small slip of paper I carry with me wherever I go and say: „There, eat this.“ And when they look at me, confused and ask: „What did I say about pedophilia?“ I can smile kind of embarrassed and say: „Sorry, wrong slip, give me a minute.“
    Or something.

  5. fichtenstein sagt:

    Sounds like a good plan. Wouldn’t it be great to have this stack of cue-cards for annoying topics that you can just hand out whenever people say stupid things? But you’d always need a gigantic bag to carry them around because there are so many stupid things. Oh, but one can dream.

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