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
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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:
Awwwww… Not that one! C’mon, we all love the Hitch, don’t we?
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?
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?
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
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.
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.
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
Oh for the love of Christ …
[via Atheist Media Blog]