July 9th, 2010
Thanks to this week’s guest scriptwriter, Albert Mohler (via WEIT).
“So, Mr Mohler – why does life on Earth appear to have evolved? Is that also due to the groaning?”
“No. That is more of a squelchy gurgle. Life on Earth is gurgling squelchily under the effect of Original Sin.”
Because! Thats why…
Thank you, the strip is the perfect TL;DR response to the original sermon.
In the first panel, it should be “appears to be” right? Not “appear”.
@Sach: It’s correct. The helping verb “do” is in third person singular. The helped verb stays in it’s base form.
A great example of theological muddled thinking.
“Why does the universe appear to be…” instead of
“Why does the bible say….when clearly it isn’t”
goaning? and atheists come up with weak and bizarre ideas based on evidence instead of magikal thinking?
I was ‘informed’ that the universe is made to look old because God wants us to think it is old. That’s why God made dinosaur bones and put them underground. Apparently, God plays practical jokes.
I think a practical joker god would be a heck of a lot better than than the Old Testamint god of smiting and smoting…
Yeah, I love it how the fundies’ literalist god suddenly turns gnostic in these situations.
“And our absolute confidence is that there is no question Christians need fear. There are only questions we need to learn how to answer. ”
The mystery to me is that they might consider being afraid. Of what? Of changing their minds? Of letting go of obviously silly ideas? This man has read Dawkins et al. He’s read both sides of the debate. He knows the history of human intellectual progress. He’s not stupid. What is it that keeps him from joinging the twenty-first century? What emotional reward to the fundies get that is worth such denial of common sense? Their God certainly moves in mysteriouis ways.
It’s easy to treat such people with ridicule and contempt. I’m more interested in learning what makes them so committed to stupidity.
Damn, I hate typos:
He knows the history of human intellectual progress. He’s not stupid. What is it that keeps him from joining the twenty-first century? What emotional reward do the fundies get that is worth such denial of common sense?
It’s profoundly maddening to hear self-proclaimed scientists smugly struggling against reason; pounding square pegs into round holes in their attempts to make overwhelming evidence fit discredited, absurd notions.
Also maddening is the fact that the founder of BioLogos [Francis Collins, human genome project] REJECTS creationism and literal bible interpretation.
He left to become head of the National Institute of Health… BioLogos now seems willing to cloak irrational nonsense in a veil of pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook.
As Mohler points out, Christianity can be viewed as a house of cards. If Genesis is wrong about how life came to be, then it is wrong about there being an Adam and an Eve and thus there can have been no Original Sin. Without Original Sin, there would be no need for the Ultimate Sacrifice and Jesus becomes superfluous.
What powerful incentives are at risk for individuals if this edifice comes down? I think you may have been asking rhetorically, but even so I’ll have a try.
Immortality: Not only does the mind get to dodge a final end for itself, but also for loved ones. Gramma is only sleeping dear, she will be waiting for you and you will be together, always.
Ego: We were specially created out of love, by the most powerful entity in the Universe, a Universe which he created just for us. Of course, back in the day, the Universe wasn’t that big of a deal, just one planet with a sun and some lights shining from a dome. Also, I am not a monkey’s cousin!
Hope: If you are a slave or a persecuted minority, if you are poor or are suffering abuse and see no end to it, you are earning a place in Heaven if only you believe. Bonus, those who are hurting you now will be punished for Eternity. You can even watch them, as they get theirs.
Social Acceptance: Walk into most any church gathering, anywhere you go. When you are approached, use the password, “I am searching.” Barring any obvious triggers to their bigotry, like race or ethnicity, you will be tentatively accepted. Contribute a little sweat equity, some cash and accept whatever improbable dogma you are exposed to; and you are in. Instant community. Business contacts. Social gatherings. There are ‘Us’ and there are ‘Them’ and you are now an ‘Us’.
Templates for Living: Any time it is too much effort to gather evidence and come to a conclusion about important things for yourself, you can fall back on what church authorities have already decided for you to think.
Probably I’ve missed some, but that’s enough for now.
One thing is for sure, there are a lot of people putting a lot of effort into a lot of competing methods to prop up a house built on clay. Pity. So many useful things they could be doing instead.
[…] ‘n’ Mo(hler) Okay, here’s proof positive that the Jesus and Mo artist is reading this website: reads this website: This entry was written by whyevolutionistrue […]
Atheists is so cute when trying to grasp abstract concepts.
Much scholarly ink was spilled over whether Adam had a navel.
Think about it- if he didn’t, then we are not in his image, if he did he was born…
One solution: God made verything AS IF it had been around awhile (trees already grown, glucose in cells, fossils in the ground, my teeth already grinding in rage etc).
This was debated furiously in congress by congressman Carl T. Durham in 1944. Pictures of Adam and Eve with navels were ruled to be insulting to fundamentalists.
Once again, not making this up. (How the fuck could I?)
Oh, and before I forget:
I like how Mohler takes over forty paragraphs – very, very generous paragraphs – to get to the title question, then defers to “the limitations of time” and concludes with a couple of paragraphs of A Wizard Did It.
Ironically, all of that time spent establishing the necessity of Young-Earth Creationism just makes Christianity look all the more untenable when he can’t answer the question in the end. He accidentally delivered a much better polemic against the religion than for it.
Oh, and then Christians will tout the character of their God, claiming that he’s shown nothing but trustworthiness. What, the God who created such a deceptive universe that testifies against his own supposed words? And then we’re supposed to believe in damnation and redemption? Mohler’s right – the question really IS vitally important.
So sweet of you to say so, Nassar. Is there anything you need any help with? I’d help you out if I could.
Thank you Sum for pointing out where the meat was in that mammoth article. You aren’t wrong about the generosity of the paragraphs either. The longest is 603 words! Their God, that was hard to read.
I think the probable value of Mr Mohler’s piece to the apologists is to provide a resource that they can assume provides an answer to the problem, even if they can’t actually tease it out.
religious believers, like any conspiracy theorist, will cling to what they beleive to be true, despite all evidence – which they will reject, deny, twist and move the goalposts on – all while claiming the lack of evidence is proof of their claims.
An irrefutable argument, conveyed to me by a clergyman, was that since God is all-powerful, he could make the universe appear to be as old as he liked; he created genuine antiques, which include dinosaur bones, geological strata and beams of light that appear to have originated millions of lightyears away. God moves in mysterious ways, and it is not for us to question his motives. I only ask, could He create a rock that is too heavy for Him to lift?
Could god make a burrito so hot he couldn’t eat it? THAT’s what I want to know!
Just worked my way through Mohler’s lecture. I am truly shocked at the energy put into the mental gymnastics he uses to set up his position, recognising the problems with reconciling the literalist reading of the bible with the scientific worldview in an effort to justify the complete rejection of a millennium or more of advancement.
what a dick.
“since God is all-powerful, he could make the universe appear …”. What I’d like to know is, why didn’t he then also dictate a book that just fitted a few of the observations we can make with our eyes? This, and the theological inferences of the burrito question, is what I would like our local theologians (is that even a study?) answer.
(oh, and ‘Kristian’ is my given name, not some hidden confession of belief)
Necessary Evil, I hope he/she played that ace right at the beginning so you didn’t have to waste time getting there. I’m reminded of some of the incredibly meticulous explanations I’ve seen of how Noah’s Ark could’ve actually held all of the animals it was supposed to… But when it comes to the question of, for instance, how Noah could’ve rounded them UP in the first place, well, God did that part – it’s right there in the book! When a person’s belief system rests on a being who has complete control over all reality, why do they bother making materialistic arguments about anything ever? As soon as they encounter a materialistic point they CAN’T defend against, they’ll just whip out the divine-intervention card anyway, leaving their opponent frustrated and them just as happy in their ignorance as before. Young Earth Creationism is no exception to this rule.
[…] think about science and religion because they ask different questions and all of that blather. Jesus and Mo have a nice take on the latest bit of apologetic forced on us from the Templeton Foundation through […]
The answer is: “It look so old because the Flying Spaghetti Monster create it already old!” (He was drunk when he did that).
Also because: what kind of sin can the fossil radiation have?
@Darwin Harmless. The most common thing I have heard in relation to evolution is “Doesn’t this undermine morality?” It’s not only the religious who assume this, but they are more up front about it.
A lot of supposedly materialist individuals have the same worry- that what we think is important about being human cannot survive scientific inquiry.
Poor Richard has tried and tried but still can’t come up with a sin that is at all original.
Father used to say that if God could create all this crap [sic] He could easily give it a history. Presumably a future, too.
P.R. says “All superstitions are funny until they are taken seriously.” Keep your heads down, kids.
PR; in these days of the intertubes, researching whether your sins are original is an increasingly frustrating experience. Back in the good old days, you could be reasonably certain that if you just put some effort into it, you could think up sin original enough for noone to have heard of anything like it. Alas, no longer. Now even our most inventive sins have become memes :’-(
daoloth, morality has very little to do with religion and everything to do with evolution.
We have had to co-operate in order to live to breed, so the folks who were most co-operative had the advantage of more resources, being able to specialize in labour and have the offspring.
co-operation includes not killing, stealing or otherwise harming others, lest ye be booted out of the tribe.
with so many people now, we’re in too many rats in the cage syndrome and co-operation is off – and it’s not even “me against you”, but “me instead of you”
@ Nina. I agree with you, of course.
What intrigues me is that we have evolved to be self-deceptive. We can’t feel the truth even when we can appreciate it. It’s like an optical illusion that persists in the teeth of its explanation.
For some reason the “the sky fairy underwrites your morality” has more bite than the “millions of years of reciprocal and kin-selection requirements underwrites your morality” explanation; in most peoples eyes.
I think that saying that “I love you” means (roughly) that our genes have been seeking each other out for a billion years is more romantic than “we are soul mates matched by mystical forces”.
But maybe this is a temprament thing.
Problem is that “cos god sez so” doesn’t answer the morality question, it merely sends it back a level. If god defines right and wrong, the obvious next question is: what criterion or standard does he himself use? Or does he just improvise? This is in fact the viewpoint of many believers, who are happy to say that genocide and slavery are OK if “god sez so”. I’ve heard an otherwise impeccably decent man rationalise the Canaanite genocide in this way. Not only can religion not explain morality, it downright perverts it.
What could be worse than murderers, thieves, rapists, bigamists? Oh that’s right; a cartoonist…
“Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” cartoonist on Al Qaeda-backed hitlist.
YECs grabbed (intellectual) defeat from the jaws of victory. Genesis doesn’t say when the ‘Big Bang’ happened – only that it occured ‘in the beginning’.
@Mr Gronk. Yes, Plato’s argument in the Euthyphro has never been satisfactorilly answered. I have much more fun asking people what use god is (which they dont expect) rather than “god doesn’t exist” (which they are used to and have ready, if daft, answers).
Groan. Do I hear the sound of straws being desperately clutched …
@ Crusader Rabid – I thought that was a baseball term…..
@Daoloth; I tend to ask people “What does your god do?”
Most people will tend to agree that their gods don’t do anything with independent or objective existence outside of their own psyche. And even fierce believers will tend to answer the question honestly – even if the honest answer leaves you (sometimes even them) convinced that their god/gods are psychological support mechanisms.
What is a common answer to “what use is god”?
[…] Just… don’t. This universe I built just 6,000 years ago is ageing prematurely? Groaning? Are you saying that I can’t build a universe that won’t shrug off a little sin? […]
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Did we expect Genesis to devote a chapter to dinosaur bones?
@woody: Yes. the omniscient godly inspirer of the buy-bull should have seen these questions coming, and addressed them in one of the many drafts of its shitty attributed work.