Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Warning: Christians may be offended by this post. Do not read if you are sensitive about faith. If you read it anyway and get pissed off at me, don't say I didn't warn you.

I enjoy a good, logical debate. I particularly enjoy debating about religion, mostly because it's hard to find somebody who will talk about it openly. But there is one thing that I don't like about debating with Christians. (This is a generalisation, and obviously doesn't apply to every Christian.) They never seem to fully comprehend that they're talking to somebody who does not believe in God, and does not regard the Bible as an adequate source or proof of anything. They use God as his own justification, arguing in circles without saying anything real. They quote the bible to give reasons for their faith. That's like quoting Star Wars to prove that Luke Skywalker exists and has Jedi powers. "The force is strong with this one" and "God loves you" are on equal footing with me. Give me something real.

You see, it's like this: I reckon Jesus of Nazarath probably did exist. Although I'm pretty certain his mum wasn't a virgin in any literal sense. Jesus sounds like a pretty decent guy on the whole, but he obviously stirred up enough trouble to get himself crucified. As did thousands of others in that time and place. In his case, it was probably because he had a mental illness or smoked too much weed and thought he spoke to God. I envisage Jesus as like the leader of a band of hippies (aka apostles), all so doped up they believe everything he says he sees. Then the Romans catch up with him, do the deed on the cross, and suddenly the hippies are missing their visionary leader. Given the human penchant for dramatisation, they begin to tell their friends, relatives, anybody who'll listen, about this awesome dude, totally rad, but the bastards killed him, right?! An outrage, man, it totally sucks. Gradually over time, with hundreds or thousands of re-tellings of the story, people forget the hippies and the pot smoking, and only remember the bits that make them feel good about the shitty life they're leading: heaven, god's love, etc. It'll all be better after we're dead, I'll never have to push out another screaming brat again, or work until my fingers bleed just to feed my family, or see my youngest child freeze to death for lack of a blanket. That sounds great! Sure, I'll believe in a God that'll do that for me, when all I have to do is... what?! No sex outside of marriage?! Oh, fine, I guess it's worth it... Be nice to my neighbour? Sure, in this day and age I'm probably going to need his help, best to keep him on side... and so on. A few more rules thrown in to make living in that time and place a bit easier, and we've turned the whole she-bang into a religion. Several religions, actually. With all the different interpretations and denominations out there, who's to say my flippant little effort isn't just as valid?

12 comments:

elizabeth said...

"That's like quoting Star Wars to prove that Luke Skywalker exists and has Jedi powers."

LOVE IT

Andrew said...

I might have got the wrong message - but does this mean that you want me stop saying "May the force be with you"?

Stace said...

Andrew - certainly not! Or May the 4th be with you, either. :)

fathorse said...

I'd love to, but I won't even start, because it would go on forever and reveal me as the argumentative, freaky geek that I am. In short - I not-so-secretly agree, and so long as we also agree that, regardless of their truthfulness, christianity and other religions are a good thing in as many if not more ways than they are a bad thing, then I shall say no more and smile and nod :) *nods*

(it's soooooo true about the star wars thing. Except I actually knew someone at school who believed in the force and was training as a jedi knight. Oh yes. That's devon for you.)

Stace said...

Fathorse, I'm interested in how you feel religions are a good thing. I acknowledge that they give us a reasonable moral code by which to live, is that what you're referring to?

Frank Baron said...

I'm a firm believer in whatever gets you through those long, dark nights of the soul -- as long as nobody else is hurt in the process.

I believe all of us, even atheists, need something to believe in - even if it's the belief that there's nothing to believe in.

;)

Andrew said...

Are you on your P's?

Andrew said...

Sorry, should expand... Read Lletna, thought L? Congratulations.

fathorse said...

well yes, that. And also that, if you look back at history and take out all the religion, you are left with precisely nothing. Except perhaps the Falklands War. Unless you think that nationalisms are religious (if you do, I commend you - you are most excellent). Basically, if you don't have religion (or at least religious thought), you don't really have human beings either. Or civilisation. We can't live together unless we agree on something at some fundamental basis...

I told you, this could take a long time... :)

Stace said...

Andrew - Still on my L's...

Frank - I'm not sure I agree... If belief in something including nothing were that important, there would be more "atheists" than "non-religious" people. Something like 11% of the world's population care little enough about religion or belief to be non-religious. Only about 2% identify themselves as atheists. In other words, 2% of people believe strongly that there is no God, while 11% of people are apathetic or have no belief in anything.

Fathorse - not sure I follow. Then again, I'm perfectly certain you know more history than I do. But if I look back at history and take out religion, I take out wars and genocide along with it. That seems a reasonably good thing. However, on further reflection, Aidan asserts (probably correctly) that every scientific advancement made by humankind has been driven by war. So are you saying that without religion, we wouldn't have the wheel?

Hilary said...

Or metaphors bewitch you! ;)

elizabeth said...

I have tagged you ;-) - and answered a little more of your query on my blog in the process I should think...