Spectator I: I think it was “Blessed are the cheesemakers”.
Mrs. Gregory: Aha, what’s so special about the cheesemakers?
Gregory: Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.
Monty Python, Life of Brian
Viddy of the day to start things off. The sermon on the mount scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian:
Started off with religious fun because there was a short discussion about religion that went on at my temp job today. A slightly overwrought atheist arguing about god and religion with a firm believer in god, talking about the bible. Sometimes this is a good discussion to be in, but this time it was a hair curious, and since I was on the outside just listening, I decided to not butt in and add my 2½ ¢. The argument was about the truth of the word of God, and whether it can be taken as literal truth or not.
The argument was basically that you can take the bible literally… sometimes. Example: A day is not a day to god, and therefor a day could be thousands of years in the bible, such as in genesis, when dealing with the creation of heaven and earth, or it can take human days, as in the death and resurrection of Christ. The argument was put forth that god told Adam he would live just one more day, and then he lived 900+ years, because that is what one day is to god.
I found that a bit curious, but I kept silent.
The other side of the argument was not argued well, if it could be said it was argued at all. The young man arguing against the literal truth of the bible was overwhelmed from the outset when he spoke. He was almost trying to make several points at once, and as a consequence he didn’t make any very well. He kept on trying to argue in this very cyclical manner, trying to make several clever points that lead to a main point, but was cut off each time by the believer, who wanted a more straightforward argument.
Could I have take the atheists place? Sure. I’m not sure I would have done much better though. A man who is convinced of something will not listen to the other side of the argument without overwhelming evidence against his particular point. Not being all that knowledgeable about the bible, at least not well enough to argue about one day being 960 years to god anyway, I am not sure I could have swayed him. Even if I wanted to. And I would not do that.
I will not bother a person and their beliefs, especially not a person I otherwise respect. I like both of these characters, couldn’t hurt either one by either scolding or scoffing. That’s not right, ya don’t do that.
Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others.
Which leads me to talk, just for a minute, about my personal beliefs. About God’s existence, and you’ll have to read to the end of this bit to find out. I have in past claimed atheist views, but in past I have also held a firm belief in God. I just …. I want there to be a God, it would be really nice if there was one. This world, and my life could really use a benevolent immortal all knowing all powerful being in it. But i don’t expect it, don’t look for it, at least not for myself, and don’t depend on God for that which I can handle myself.
I feel like I would be betraying a trust if I simply said I don’t believe. But I feel like I would be betraying the truth if I said I do believe. So I usually do what most people do when faced with any level of real cognitive dissonance. I walk away from it.
Not this time though. One has to make a decision and stick with it, and since I can see no clear evidence of the hand of God in any work here in my life or anywhere on Earth, I must decide against. I have stated in past that I have no real belief in the afterlife, so this is really just an extension of that general mindset that sees no evidence, and seeing no evidence, cannot believe.
That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in miracles, or in goodness, or morality (even with all that I stated yesterday), just not God.
That’s it from Uncle Mikey! G’night America!