Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Religion May Be Declining. But Stupidity May Not Be

An atheist said yesterday, about the Bible: "Nothing on those pages of that book are [sic!] based on fact or reality. Not one thing." He said it in a well-visited public place on the Inter-Tubes, but only one person challenged what he was saying: me. And I don't think it's that no-one else had anything to say about it, but rather that such things are said so often that they have become a familiar part of the background noise, like the ravings of fundamentalist Christians. There's too much of it to deal with it all, and so we shut it out. If none of us had heard a remark like "Nothing on those pages of that book are based on fact or reality. Not one thing." for months, then, perhaps, several of us might've made a concerted attempted to acquaint this person with Ancient History 101. But we hear it day-in and day-out. This time only I responded, while presumably several other people also read the comment, but just groaned and continued looking for someone sensible to discuss things with. Which I find perfectly understandable. That's my usual response when I come across a fundie spouting old-time religion: make a wide berth. Do nothing to catch their attention. Move on.

This atheist had said "Nothing on those pages of that book are based on fact or reality. Not one thing." in response to a fundie who'd said that EVERYTHING in the Bible was true. Then I chimed in saying that both statements were about equally absurd. The atheist then said:

"Really? Do tell me all of the facts that come out of the bible. I know, people really do live to be 900, and all women are descended from adam's rib, and.... well, I'll let you have your turn."

I responded by naming four people named in the Bible who actually existed: David, Solomon, Nebuchadnezzarand Paul.

The turnip responded: "Really now? Cuz you were there and you know. Laughable." And he told me to keep my nonsense in my own home and my church and out of his life and his home. No discussion, no consideration of whether there ever really was a Nebuchadnezzar, just dismissal.

This makes my head spin. Apparently this guy can see no middle ground between believing everything in the Bible and believing none of it. Apparently there is no room in his mind for the concept of an atheist who does not assume, as he does, that there is no factual content in the Bible, zero.

And also, obviously, he knows squat about ancient history.

Both he and I reject religion. Presumably for similar reasons: because we see that belief in God requires a great suspension of logic, and because elementary levels of logic contradict it. But he doesn't seem to get that by flatly asserting that there is nothing factual in the Bible he is repeating the same kind of logical lapse and refusal to acquire even elementary knowledge which make religion so objectionable. The fundamentalist Christian: God said it, I believe it, that settles it. The atheist moron: It's all crap, I'm done. No doubt in either mind, no curiosity for greater detail about the subject. Moron A: It's all true. Moron B: It's all false.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

So you figured out that there's no God. Whoop-dee-freakin-doo, Sparky. You really don't need to be so proud of that achievement. It doesn't mean you're a genius. It's pretty easy to figure that out, and it gets easier every day, because progress is actually being made when it comes to human knowledge. Now that you've figured it out, you still need to keep learning. There is still an awful lot you don't know. There's no shame in that: there's an awful lot the greatest geniuses in the world don't know. But In your case, I would recommend Ancient History 101 at your local Learning Annex, or in your elementary or junior high or high school or university if you're still a student. I would urgently recommend it.

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