Keep your mind open, but enforce a strict door policy.

Discussion (24)¬

  1. botanist says:

    ROFL, just brill again! I read it twice to make sure!

  2. Second Thought says:

    Since they can’t both be right which is more likely, that only one of the books claiming to be the one and final truth is right, or that both of them are wrong? Not surprisingly, I’m with the barmaid on this one.

  3. Ah bless…nice to see the lads agreeing on something..even if it’s that non-believers are wrong.
    See? it’s not love that truly brings people together – it’s mutual dislike of another – hence the irony of “fighting for peace”! ; )

  4. I read this with an open mind and just about fell out of my chair. Way to reveal the hidden assumptions, Author. Way to go.

  5. eddy says:

    And if an open mind doesn’t help, try an open heart next.

  6. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    And if an open heart fails too, a lobotomy tends to do the trick.

    In the third panel, is Mo channelling Donald Rumsfeld?

  7. steve oberski says:

    An open door policy indeed, but there is a pretty stiff cover charge.

  8. Sondra says:

    OOOOOOOOOOh! So that’s what it is! I’M reading in such a way as to make these books implausible. Obviously, I need better reading skills.

  9. Al West says:

    Exactly the same logic is used by Newagers – ‘if you had a spiritual experience, then you’d believe in qi like I do’. It seems to follow from the inability to understand that people can have similar experiences and come to different conclusions about them, which seems like a basic facet of human life.

    Another classic comic, in any case.

  10. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    The problem with too open a mind
    Is it leaves people in a bit of a bind
    Is their brain falls out
    And rolls about
    They become clueless, as others soon find.

  11. Reminds me of an endless argument years ago with a guy called Nicholas Beale, who collaborates in some way that I forget with John Polkinghorne – the argument was at the Talking Philosophy blog and Jean Kazez did most of the heavy lifting. Beale mostly just repeated that we assume no-god and therefore our minds are closed and we can’t do the epistemology right.

  12. Alexis says:

    I once had a discussion with a young Mormon missionary. She suggested that I read the Book of Mormon again, but this time pray over it as I read. She had assured me earlier, though I had not suggested it, that she had not been brain washed. I came to the conclusion that no one needs to brain wash her, because she spends considerable time brain washing herself.

  13. I don’t think that an open mind is the most important part of reading a “holy” book and believing it. I think the most important part is to have closed eyes. I have met people who believe every word in the bible is true. I’ve also met people who have read it all or at least read it extensively. I haven’t met anybody who has read it and believes it is true.

    It may interest some of you to hear that I have been super successful in vanquishing people’s silly belief that the bible is inerrant. I lead in by manipulating the person I’m talking to into affirming their belief that god is wise and good. Then I point out some of the passages in the first six chapters of the bible that make god out to be stupid and evil while espousing my personal belief that these chapters can’t be right for various reasons. But I don’t hammer my personal incredulity or ask the person to share in my incredulity I just set the stage a bit and move on. Then I start talking about history. At first I talk about history as if it is something you can learn from the bible. (Joshua conquered Jericho about 1400 BC). I then segue into the political, textual and archeological evidence that points to the beginning of the Israeli people happening right around 1200 BC. That is when I am ready to drop the hammer. Since I have only talked about the stupidity and wickedness of god from the first six chapters, and I have just shown that there were no Israeli people around to experience the first six chapters, I conclude that it is not the idea that god is wise and good that is in error. The first six chapters are in error.

    I don’t think this approach would work on someone who believed in biblical inerrancy and really knew the bible. But like I already said, I’ve never met someone like that.

  14. Shockwave (@Shockwave) says:

    Maybe you also need special glasses to read them properly

  15. hotrats says:

    I fear that trying to combat belief in Bibical inerrancy will eventually run into House’s Law: ‘If you could reason with religious people, there wouldn’t be any religious people’ – or words to that effect.

  16. Hotrats I hear what you are saying and agree. But I am agreeing with your whole post and not with House’s Law taken by itself. If I restate House’s law in the context that you framed it then it reads something like; in trying to reason with religious people you eventually reach some ground over which they can’t be reasonable, otherwise there wouldn’t be any religious people. So I find your word eventually to be a key word. So obviously I am not going for a complete de-brainwashing / de-conversion. But I get satisfaction from having a person agree that some silly beliefs should not be espoused (even though others still are).
    For years now I have a near perfect record on being able to talk people out of belief in the Noah’s ark story. My experiences don’t lead me to believe that I am some fantastically convincing de-proselytizer. It has been my experience that the story is too stupid to survive a few minutes of scrutiny by most intelligent people. Yet I meet intelligent people who believe the story. The inescapable conclusion is that these people have never given it a moments critical thought.
    Bottom line is that although I agree with your assertion that I will eventually hit a wall, I still think it is valuable to get people to critically evaluate and discard some of their silly beliefs.

  17. eddy says:

    In addition to special glasses, probably highly rose-colored, turning on a spiritual light would also help.

  18. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Floridakitesurfer, as well intended as they are, and save for the occasional success, all that your methods can really acheive is to help the believers divide the stories in the holy books into truth/analogy/miracle.
    For a really funny debunking of the Ark myth, I recommend watching Ricky Gervais’ Politics. You’re sure to find it on youtube.

  19. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oh, almost forgot: welcome back Nassar.
    See, hotrats, now that’s the right way to do it wrong 😉

  20. FreeFox says:

    My latin teacher in school (who was a catholic) had this great “open mind” theory about young people and religion. Berlin is predominantly atheist (socialist) / lutheran / muslim, very few catholics here, mostly from Poland. So his theory is that all young people should be open minded, like an open pot, and they should let all ideas fall in and then roll out again, try cults and sects and philosophies… UNTIL catholicism rolled in… then they should have a responsible adult in their life to firmly put a lid on that pot. ^_^

  21. Ketil W.Grevstad says:

    Happy new year everyone 🙂

  22. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, and was your Latin teacher wont to run around shutting the doors on empty stables too?

  23. jolly says:

    I appreciate the cartoon. I think many critical thinkers would like it, including non-religious and religious people. Floridakitesurfer raises the issue of “believing” in the Bible/holy books. I have two degrees (Bachelor’s degree in religious education and a Master’s degree in divinity). We studied ancient history, ancient languages (Greek and Hebrew for me), world religions, literary and Biblical criticism, literature, philosophy, psychology etc. Higher education should bring out the critical thinker in a person whether they are reading religious documents, reading scientific documents, listening to a political commentary on the TV, or reading a “true” story on Facebook. There are non-religious or devout atheists who are not critical thinkers, just as there are religious people who are not critical thinkers. One of the main problems with reading an ancient text is recognizing both genre and context. (Two of my siblings are English literature professors and run into this issue all the time with their students.) The creation story is at least two versions of a an oral story that was handed down over generations to a particular people and then written in a/n (ancient) language that is foreign to most of it’s readers . It is not written as a scientific document. Just like if I read Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal as an authentic historical argument for “cannibalising” Irish children–I’d make ridiculous conclusions. We don’t always read things as they were intended or understand the people/culture for whom they were written. The Bible and other ancient religious texts are all the more complex because they are writings from over hundreds of years based on oral narratives, with many authors, in a variety of genres, from different periods in history, which were chosen among other writings and then placed together (and edited to some degree or another) in the format of a book by a group of religious/political leaders. These books should be read, whether or not you are gleaning spiritual/religious meaning and values from them, as the basis for interpreting both occidental and oriental cultures. I have derived great spiritual benefit throughout my life from reading the Bible and belonging to various Christian communities. It’s not about not having an open mind when we read documents (we always should), but what is meant by having an open mind. And I think Mo is suggesting that religious authorities have historically wanted us to read with an “empty mind” by using the terms “open mind.” In fact, in the past only the elite were to actually read the documents and then “tell” everyone “what was written” and what it “meant.”

  24. Dr_John_the_Wipper says:

    I am guessing those “special glasses” need to be filled with some stuff more potent than any of the standard alcoholic beveridges…


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