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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Christians say the funniest things!

This is a re­sponse to a re­sponse to this we­b­com­ic ti­tled "How to suck at your re­li­gion". While Oat­meal's com­ic is crass and paints things in broad terms, it's a freak­ing we­b­com­ic. So it's sup­posed to do that. But­the re­sponse is so full of phal­la­cies (and lack­ing in we­b­comic-­ness) that it may de­serve a re­sponse.

I have promised not to be a troll (any­more) so I will try to an­swer in a sen­si­ble man­ner.

Here's the ar­ti­cle I am re­ply­ing to go read it if you wan­t. I will not re­ply to all of it, but will in­stead cher­ryp­ick a cou­ple of para­graph­s.

In re­sponse to the "forc­ing dog­ma" pan­el:

So... re­li­gion is fine, un­less you ac­tu­al­ly be­lieve in it? Should par­ents not pass their po­lit­i­cal, eth­i­cal or moral views on to their chil­dren as well? What parts of par­ent­ing would be left if par­ents were to avoid pass­ing their views on to their kid­s? The irony here is that si­lence is it­self a state­men­t. Avoid­ing any men­tion of God to your kids sends as clear a mes­sage as talk­ing about God: specif­i­cal­ly, it tells your kids that God's ex­is­tence is ei­ther un­true, un­known, or unim­por­tan­t. Be­cause if you knew Him to ex­ist, sure­ly you'd share that knowl­edge, right?

Let's start from the top: you don't know god ex­ist­s. You have faith that he ex­ist­s, but you don't know it for a fac­t. If you knew for a fact that he ex­ist­s, you could not pos­si­bly have faith be­cause faith ex­cludes cer­tain­ty. As your bible says, faith is "the sub­stance of things hoped for, the ev­i­dence of things not seen."

So, do I tell my son god does­n't ex­ist? Nope. I tell him I think he does­n't ex­ist, and that I have nev­er seen r heard of any re­li­able ev­i­dence or da­tum that points to­wards his ex­is­tence, but al­so that some peo­ple do be­lieve he does ex­ist. I told him that be­cause I feel that's a hon­est an­swer. If your hon­est an­swer is "god ex­ist­s", then bul­ly for you, but from the point of view of a non-­be­liev­er you are telling your son a lie, or at best a half-truth. And if you re­al­ly don't know he ex­ists for a fact then you are just ly­ing.

Now, are you sayin that you know god ex­ists fac­tu­al­ly? Based on what? That's the usu­al slip­pery slope for this ar­gu­men­t. The re­li­gious are the ones mak­ing state­ments of fact based on tra­di­tion. To the rest of us, they just seem to be play­ing loose with what "fac­t" mean­s, or what "god" means or what "know" mean­s.

So, no, don't avoid men­tions of god, just avoid ly­ing to your kids if you can.

This next sec­tion is prob­a­bly the worst, be­cause it's just an in­co­her­ent ar­gu­men­t. A kid asks, “Dad, what hap­pens to us af­ter we die?” The au­thor com­pares pro­vid­ing the Chris­tian an­swer to this ques­tion with cor­rect­ing your kid for hav­ing green as a fa­vorite col­or. What?? That just is­n’t a co­her­ent ar­gu­men­t. In what world are those two ideas par­al­lel, or even com­pa­ra­ble?

Ac­cord­ing to the we­b­comic, good par­ent­ing is to pre­tend to be ag­nos­tic, and say that “no one re­al­ly knows for sure.” Of course, if the Res­ur­rec­tion is true, that claim is false. So to be a good par­en­t, you ap­par­ent­ly have to de­ny the Res­ur­rec­tion and em­brace ag­nos­ti­cis­m, treat­ing be­liefs about the af­ter­life as mere mat­ters of per­son­al pref­er­ence like hav­ing a fa­vorite col­or. This is just… stupid. There’s just no oth­er way of de­scrib­ing it. Imag­ine if we treat­ed ev­ery­thing that way. “Dad, what’s 3 x 3?” “No one re­al­ly knows for sure. What do YOU think 3 x 3 is?”

So, com­par­ing life af­ter death with col­or pref­er­ence is stupid and in­co­her­en­t, but com­par­ing it the chris­tian be­lief of res­ur­rec­tion with ba­sic arith­me­thics is a-ok? That must have tak­en some ef­fort to write with a straight face, I'm sure.

So, let's go slow­ly on this one. Be­liefs about the af­ter­life are, like most oth­er be­lief­s, prob­a­bly not a per­son­al pref­er­ence, but just some­thing you have, be­cause of, in most cas­es, in­doc­tri­na­tion ear­ly in life, peer pres­sure, and just be­cause you live in a so­ci­ety where that be­lief is nor­mal and ap­proved of.

But what is it your be­lief in the af­ter­life is not?

  • It's not in­­her­ent to "y­ou". If you were born in an­oth­er place or time, you would prob­a­bly be­lieve some­thing else.

  • It's not undis­­put­ed. Be­­cause there ex­ists a ma­jor­i­­ty of peo­­ple who don't be­lieve the same thing, ei­ther by de­­tails or en­tire­­ly.

  • It's not unique. Be­­cause oth­­er re­li­­gions have had sim­i­lar res­ur­rec­­tion be­lief­s.

  • It's not re­li­able. Even if we were to ac­­cept ev­ery­thing the bible says as true that would not mean we know what will hap­pen to you or to me af­ter we die. We would have a tes­ti­­mo­ny about what hap­pened in a few days in the af­ter­life of a spe­­cif­ic per­­son, at a point in the past, as told to some­one by some­one. Is that the same as know­ing what will hap­pen? No it's not.

Let's com­pare that to 3x3 as the au­thor at­tempt­ed:

  • If I was a chi­­nese in the 12th cen­­tu­ry: 3x3 is 9.

  • There is no group of peo­­ple that be­lieves 3x3 is 8 or 10.

  • There has not been in the past any re­al dis­­a­gree­­ment about the val­ue of 3x3. We have not achieved that re­­sult via a grad­u­al im­prove­­men­t.

  • We re­­ly on 3x3 be­ing 9 ev­ery day in our lives. If you drive a car, use a phone, or zip your pants, you are agree­ing 3x3 is 9.

  • We don't ex­pect 3x3 not to be 9 in the fu­­ture.

No­tice any dif­fer­ences? Yes, me too.

Per­son­al­ly, I con­sid­er your faith in god more akin my lik­ing Queen (the band, not the ruler). I was ex­posed to Queen at the right time, it was ap­proved by my peer­s, and I like it. On the oth­er hand, I un­der­stand that Queen is not ev­ery­one's cup of tea, and I don't claim Queen to be the "right" band.

The whole "if the Res­ur­rec­tion is true, that claim is false" line of thought is not log­i­cal. If my cat had wings, then the claim that winged cats are awe­some is false. But my cat does­n't have wings. Does it make the winged cats less or more awe­some that he does­n't? It's not that it's not right, it's that it's not even wrong.

Al­so, Oat­meal, shame on you about Galileo, re­al­ly, look it up ;-)

Santiago Cabezas / 2012-07-26 20:15:

Cuando leo los posts de @RAlsina, me da miedo escribir sin querer una gansada en mi blog, que él la lea y me conteste via el suyo. :P

La realidad es que leí un cuarto de ese blogpost, un cuarto de otro blogpost que hacen algo similar, y... Paré de leer. Es el cuento de la buena pipa. Y así estamos...

Esto me pega de forma muy personal, porque he tenido que lidiar con gente así de cerrada y juzgadora. De hecho, toda la familia de una ex-novia eran híper-religiosos, y el hecho que yo escuchara Marilyn Manson hacía que me miren raro, "satánico" me llegaron a decir.
Curioso: cuando aclaré "Seré SATANISTA en todo caso, no satánico" (haciendo notar que uno es un sustantivo y el otro un adjetivo). La respuesta fue: "¿Ves? ¿Ves como estás en el tema?" *POKERFACE*

Como puse en el wall de The Oatmeal:
"If only closed minds came with closed mouths."

Roberto Alsina / 2012-07-26 20:19:

Eso. Ojito, vos que andás en cosas raras.

Aparte... Marilyn Manson????? ;-)

Santiago Cabezas / 2012-07-26 20:25:

Sí, allá por 1995-1996 el tipo vendía eso de "El Anticristo", pero con un mensaje de fondo que recién años más tarde lo entendí.
Y sorpresa sorpresa: no tenía nada que ver con lo que regularmente se entiende como Satanismo.

Roberto Alsina / 2012-07-26 20:29:

Capaz que era lo contrario a Christo : http://www.christojeannecla...

Kebap / 2012-08-02 14:41:

"Oatmeal, shame on you about Galileo, really, look it up ;-)"
Whats wrong? Galileo seems pictured just fine.

Roberto Alsina / 2012-08-02 14:59:

Galileo was never sent to a dungeon, he served house arrest.