May 13th, 2015
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Is that a double entendre? Are J&M turned on by intelligent women? The barmaid had better watch out. We all know that lustfulness in the religious is followed by the violent repression of those targets of desire.
Yup. I’ve seen this many times. It is astonishing how firmly folks will hang on to obviously mythical stories. I think it has to do with insecurity. The more fundamentalist one tends to be, especially in Christianity and Islam, the more they tend to belligerence when confronted by obvious facts and “cling to their guns and Bibles.”
I consider this analogous to child-like responses from deep stress caused by the tendency of logic to pull them away from the teat of the Cosmic Mother. Quite similar to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
Having read “studies” on the efficacy of prayer written by Christians and having read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion,” which gives the opposite results, I did some research and wrote an article. Didn’t really make a splash. The original posting is here: http://new.exchristian.net/2014/02/god-is-deaf-god-remains-deaf-and-we.html
@ Max T. Fur: Just read your article (Deaf god, remains deaf…) very informative, concise and well written, enjoyed it very much. Well done sir. It’s amazing how many christians actually truly believe that the whole ‘do unto others…’ concept was unknown in the world before their ‘saviour’ uttered it. Of course church leaders won’t do anything to change that misconception.
This intransigence then extends to their other entrenched mindsets of self interest and distrust forming a vicious circle in their reluctance to open up to new ways of thinking about life, the universe and our place in it.
@ Author: another classic, keep up the excellent work.
Humans often enjoy and grow to rely upon the security of the mental chains that bind them, makes them feel ‘part of something’. Faith is an amazing tool for making people proud of their wilful ignorance and reluctant to explore or question anything that their manual states as ‘fact’.
Max T Fur, in your article your initial premise is well stated, but it is a pity that you did not develop it with more scientific and statistical rigour to make it more persuasive to those who may doubt it – viz the cartoon above. Thereafter you descend into wooly thinking and sheer ignorance (I refer particularly to your responses in the comments section regarding male ejaculate – could you not have checked this out before commenting?), which does little to enhance your argument. Educating the children into the philosophy of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is great in theory, but at the moment this will only gain traction in the relatively civilized parts of the world which would then find themselves at even more of a disadvantage to those of the lesser civilized parts who would joyfully leap in and kill us off. Regrettably in practice “do unto others before they do it to you” is more practical and more likely to ensure the continuation of the kind of lifestyle which enables us to have such noble ideals as that which you propose.
This applies to more than just religion: I see this happening to peoples’ opinions about politicians or actors, for example, their thoughts on science, etc.
Another great punchline. Thanks again.
A pair of solid citizens.
Every belief system is based on assumptions
No way around those perfersterous junctions
Despite bringing the grief
Atheists have a belief
In something that allows them to function.
Ah, the “backfire effect.” Sounds like the Barmaid has read When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions, by Brendan Nyhan & Jason Reifler. I have yet to read it, but I learned of it via a comment by martens misses all her friends at http://www.gocomics.com/mattdavies/2015/01/19
OK, so I have to ask; how do I, let alone anyone I debate with, know that I’M not guilty of this effect when I say there probably is no God? I mean, I’m fairly sure no believer has yet given me any evidence at all, let alone evidence I can then use to solidify my belief, but how would I know?
MALDITOS SEJAM VOCÊS TODOS!!!!
I don’t know if it’s just me, but “beliefs solidifying” has a certain double meaning edge to it?
I can almost see a twinkle in their eyes.
It’s not just you. Never mind ‘twinkle’, count yourself lucky we haven’t had the Blinking Mo effect
Yep, I can see their resolve stiffening as we speak.
Markywarky, good point. I think that the reason why my dad calls himself “an agnostic with atheistic tendencies” is that (he thinks) he’d change his mind if he knew of evidence (or a convincing argument) supporting the existence of one or more deities.
As for what evidence or argument would be convincing, I don’t know, either. If I have time, I might go through the comments on previous J&M cartoons to see if this has been discussed before.
Oi! You lot! What would it take to convince you that one or more gods exist? I think the first step is to define the term “god.” How would you define the term? Given that definition, what evidence or arguments would then be required to convince you that “god” exists?
Time for me to get back to work. (Great excuse for not trying to answer my own questions, huh? Almost as good as “I hear my mom calling me.” 😉 ). Next time I drop in at the Cock & Bull, I look forward to finding out what my fellow pub-goers think about this.
For now, I’ll just note that, whether or not any deities exist, there will always be forces beyond human control. Current examples of such forces are earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, sun spots, gravity, tectonic drift, etc. We cannot know everything; even if, one day, we can control these forces, there will still be others beyond our control. There is a theory that humans developed the concept of gods in an attempt to explain forces beyond their control. If a “god” is a force beyond human control, then gods do exist, but they are not the same as J’s or Mo’s god, because J and Mo have a different definition of “god.”
How would you define the term?
I would define the term ‘god’ as something imaginary that deluded people invent to justify their violent behaviour and intolerance
Given that definition, what evidence or arguments would then be required to convince you that “god” exists?
Given that definition, it follows that the existence of ‘god’ is none
We cannot know everything
well it is possible that we could eventually know everything, its just that we would have no way of being certian that it was so
the same limitation restrains an ‘all knowing ‘ ‘god’ – it might know everything but it cannot know if it does or not
of course a ‘diety ‘ that knew everything would also know what it doesent know
which excludes the god of the bible – cos gen 3:9 indicates a lack of ‘all knowledge’
the punchline =
creationists also have a lack of all knowledge, from this it could be inferred that
creationists relate to ‘god’ in some way
If the members of some particular religion were all always healthy, prosperous and faithful. If these same people were unusually ethical in their dealings with others, or when failing to be so, their health and family lives deteriorated to the levels found in the general population of the society where they lived. If God’s Chosen People were obviously Blessed with better lives when they practiced what they preached that would be one proof.
If the supernatural Supreme Creator of the universe could provide a coherent guide book that each person could read in their own language, and everybody understood that it said the same thing. That would be another proof.
If people committing major sins were struck down on the spot that would convince most people.
e.g. killing in anger – you are struck dead by lightning, killing through psychopathic greed – you are rendered mute and quadriplegic by a lightning strike.
@plainsuch, I think it can be put in simpler terms than that; if reality matched any hypothesis put forward by any religious group, that group’s beliefs would in all practical terms be proven.
In other words; if the hypothesis stood up to attempts to falsify it, it’d be valid.
But they all plainly not only include claims that are not falsifiable, large parts of their hypotheses HAVE been falsified.
That is the basis of my atheism, and, I think, the answer to my own question above – I apply the same standards to religious claims as to other “facts”, and find that they all fail to stand up to scrutiny.
@Markywarky, although you already answered your own question, I was about to say just the fact that you are asking is a good sign. Being willing to review new information together with previous information and do a new analysis to see if the conclusions need to be changed.
@two cents, I’m not sure the most interesting question from a practical perspective is actually whether there are one or more gods or not. We might be too limited in several aspects to ever know for sure, even assuming that the world we perceive actually exists. Lack of evidence could mean they don’t exist, but also that they don’t particularly care or have rules of non-interference.
But even if there are one or more powerful beings, why would they require worship and obedience from us as many religions claim? If they do, does that make them narcissistic and possibly even sadistic in some ways? The Greek/Roman gods certainly were at times. In fact, if we were created in any god’s image, that’s probably what that god would be like – capricious, somethimes benevolent, sometimes mean.
Eternal torture is a powerful threat, but is power and threats alone a good reason to worship or obey? And why are there always human intermediaries telling us what to do and enforcing the rules? An omnipotent being should be perfectly capable of conveying the message to us all simultaneously without any messengers. Unless it is lazy possibly. This good, heavenly father type god that is portrayed – wouldn’t he at least release some updates to the holy manual when he sees how it is being misinterpreted by some of his followers? Even if there is something like a free will paradigm to keep him from interfering actively (Theodicee) he could at least improve the instructions. And why would a monotheist God be male – what is the point of a gender if you are the only one of your kind? Or is that why so many people seem to think masturbation is divine? So many unanswered questions… and I’d say the burden of proof is on those who want to impose their will on other people. Not just that a god exists but that it is an omnibenevolent god. Why do we keep admiring the Emperor’s new clothes in so many ways?
This a long reply to wnanig’s post. If you want to skip it, I won’t be offended.
wnanig, I figured it’s important to start by defining “god” so we could determine whether or not any gods exist. (After all, if I don’t know what “talerzy” means, how can I tell whether any talerzy* exist?) If any gods do exist, one of the follow up questions about each one would be, “what does god X of N want from human beings in exchange for treating us well?” Depending on the definition of “god,” god X of N might not want anything at all, and/or might not have the capacity to care about us at all.
I think humans anthropomorphized the powers beyond their control and then tried to guess what those powers wanted based on what powerful humans were known to want.
Humans have a tendency to anthropomorphize things. Even today, we say things like “that car wants to pass me” (when it’s the driver of that car who wants to pass), or “that pencil likes to roll off the table.” If the Greeks noticed the power of the sea, anthropomorphized it, and named it Poseidon, they might see Poseidon as sometimes kind and sometimes cruel. However, their mistake was to anthropomorphize it. The power of the sea is not a person. It does not think (rationally or otherwise). It does not have emotions, and it does not care about human beings. It cannot be enticed or persuaded to do what we want. But humans may have gotten the impression that it could be swayed, if the sea happened to do what they wanted after they said a certain prayer, made a certain sacrifice, etc. If the superstitious practices “worked” often enough, they may have become religious practices. (As far as I know, only the Hebrews said that we are created in god’s image. The reasoning may have been that humans can create things (tools, houses, etc.); if there is a Creator of everything, humans must be like that Creator.)
I think that, when human X and human Z meet for the first time, there is a natural tendency for each of them to try to guess what the other wants. X guesses what Z wants based on X’s own wants. X also compares Z to other Z-like humans X knows, and tries to guess what Z wants based on what the Z-like humans want. Once human beings developed stratified societies, most people lived their entire lives in the same class as their parents. They had rulers and enforcers who tortured them if they did not please their rulers. Their rulers seldom spoke directly to them, and they seldom spoke directly to their rulers. The rulers’ enforcers and/or administrators told the people what to do and compelled them to follow the rules. Especially in cultures where few people could read, the written word carried enormous weight. The rulers’ administrators were the ones who read and interpreted the written word. All rulers wanted obedience, as well as money and/or goods. They wanted to expand their territory and the number of their subjects, and used war to gain these ends. Some (the pharaohs, for example) demanded worship. People may have reasoned that, if the most powerful humans they knew did business this way and wanted these things, then the even more powerful gods wanted the same things (obedience, sacrifices, followers, and worship) and did business the same way (using priests to serve as intermediaries, to interpret any sacred texts, to direct the enforcers of the rules, and to control the armies that forced others to convert or die). Of course, the rulers took advantage of this, convincing their subjects to do what they wanted by saying that it was what the gods wanted, and developing the doctrine of the divine right of kings.
Those who read ancient Hebrew know that the God of the Old Testament has both male and female characteristics. To give just one example, the Magen David is made up of both an upward-pointing triangle (male) and a downward-pointing triangle (female). But the People of the Book (Hebrews, Christians, and Muslims) first lived (and, to a greater or lesser extent, still live) in patriarchal societies; the rulers were male, so the People came to think of their god as male. (As for masturbation, perhaps so many people think it is “divine” because that’s the best adjective they can find to describe how very good it feels 😉 . I can’t name any, but there is probably at least one creation myth involving a deity masturbating. As far as I know, though, the god of the People of the Book is never described as masturbating. )
Another theory supposes that human beings dimly remember how they felt in their infancy, when all of their needs were met by their parent(s), who seemed to be omniscient and omnibenevolent powers. This dim memory may have led to the belief in an omniscient and omnibenevolent god.
Wishful thinking is probably a factor, as well. “If you believe it, then it will be so” may have started as a superstition that became a religious belief. Wishful thinking may be one of the reasons why “we keep admiring the Emperor’s new clothes in so many ways.” Another reason may be the desire to get along with others who admire the Emperor’s new clothes.
As for myself, I tend to agree with you that human limitations will prevent us from ever knowing for sure whether or not any deities exist. To me, the answer doesn’t matter for practical purposes. As I wrote in an earlier thread, what does matter to me, here and now, is to build the common good, and make my own days glad**. If I pursue these goals, and it turns out that there is a god and an afterlife, then I hope I am lucky enough that the god will be pleased with what I did in life, and will grant me a happy afterlife. If not, at least I will have enjoyed my life, and I will have helped others to enjoy theirs, both during my lifetime and (I hope) for many years thereafter.
*”Talerzy” is Polish for “plates,” such as dinner plates. Now that you know what “talerzy” means, I think you will agree that they do exist 🙂 .
**This is shameless paraphrased from the lyrics of a hymn. To see the lyrics, go to http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/12/unitarian-universalist-music.html and scroll down to the section headed “For All That Is Our Life.”
And now it’s high time that I got back to work!
Sorry–looks like my technique for specifying bold italic text inside italic text didn’t work. Only “long” should have been bold.
As ShallowEnder once wrote, “I proof-read and preovereedd and even look away so the retinal image dies off then pruffrede again,” but errors still crop up. It should be “shamelessly”, not “shameless.” Oh, well!
“Now that you know what “talerzy” means, I think you will agree that they do exist”
Well, that depends on whether one subscribes to the materialist view of things, I guess. The plates might not exist outside our mind. And I might just be letters on a screen in a dream of yours :-).
I guess that was sort of my point – all these religious ideas are consistent with what you are describing, but I don’t know how likely it would be that an omnipotent being would actually be so – well, human. Even if there are one or more “gods”, chances are religions have still got it wrong in so many ways, and even if they did get some things right you might argue that it does not absolve you from personal responsibility for your actions (in spite of any “just following orders from God” defence). So – it would be nice if people stopped judging other people based on religious beliefs and especially stopped killing each other over it. It would also be nice if we would have the courage to ask just a few more questions about the Emperor’s non-existent clothes (whether or not you – as in the short tale by H.C. Andersen – get defined as stupid for not seeing what does not exist), and that applies to much more than just religion. We need to get as many people as possible thinking for themselves – preferably before humanity destroys itself.
Interesting to know that the Hebrew God is actually a hermaphrodite then. Should make for even more possibilities in the divine activities department :-). Still no peer to share them with though 🙁 as There can be only one… Not sure how puritans should feel about fornication with other species, but it might be acceptable as long as they are virgins… or something. Somehow it doesn’t really work well to apply logic to religion, does it?
wnanig, you may be relieved to know that, at least in the US, the specter of theocracy is decreasing. “The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.” For more info., see http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/
If there really is a God the Father, I’d expect Him to separate the parties in today’s religious wars, send them to their rooms, and tell them not to come out until they were fit for human company. This, of course, isn’t happening, so there isn’t a God the Father, or, if there is, He should be reported to the authorities in Child Protective Services :-/ .
For a moment, I thought that in the fourth panel Jesus said:
“I could feel my BRIEFS solidifying as you spoke”
Must have scared the shite out of him….