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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.


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