Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One Christian's response to The Oatmeal's "How to suck at religion"

The Oatmeal (by Peter Inman) is a super creative, funny, and very potty mouthed blog/cartoonist that I read religiously. :)  His current post is "How To Suck At Your Religion"... well... here's my response:

Pretty good start.  He starts strong by quoting Jesus!  Woo Hoo!... albeit it King James English (which makes it sound way more religious-sy).  Of course the more complete quote is from Matthew 7:1-2 which is really saying "if you judge, expect to be judged back the same way".  Fair enough. 

Here he's a wee bit off base.  Universities were all started as Christian institutions. Christianity and the pursuit of scientific truth have always gone hand in hand.  VERY often when a scientist comes up with a new discovery they run in to opposition from other scientists who disagree with them.  Back in the day the other scientist were priests and other religious dudes. Galileo was a religious dude. 

Today there are folks who don't believe in the Big Bang and they get called heretics by the scientific establishment all the time... and there isn't a church person in sight.  

Science cannot operate in a moral vacuum.  We now frown on experimenting on the mentally disabled even though, back in the day (see what I did there..oh, wait til later) "people of science" were using them like lab rats. Just because you're a scientist doesn't mean you can operate outside the rules of ethics.

 "IF" life actually begins at conception then we wouldn't want to be murdering a bunch of people even if they thought stem cells were really really awesome.  Now, having said that, adult stem cells are turning out to be just as good as fetal ones and all that was needed was someone to start looking elsewhere for answers. "IF" life doesn't begin at conception someone really needs to figure out where does... because even a moron can figure out that it has already been alive for some time when it get's out of mommy's vagina.

Truth is not relative (I can say that because it's true... try saying "truth is relative" and then think about it because you can't actually make it make sense). It's a real, concrete thing. Granted... we may not have a firm and 100% grip on it.. but it's out there.  Mathematics can prove stuff and call them facts. The rest of everything has to go on evidence and then discern the truth.  

Our parents are supposed to teach us the truth. Things like "I believe that if you run out in to traffic and get hit by a bus you will die" are pretty dogmatic.. but they are truth and value based statements.  If your parents are teaching you the truth... be thankful.  If they are teaching you to murder all cartoonists... run away.  Many Christians have this nifty little thing where they insist that people actually choose for themselves to be followers of Jesus.. and then do things like get baptized at that point to demonstrate their own, personal choice.  

As for those who thought dinosaurs were on the ark.... they'll figure it out soon enough that a day doesn't have to mean 24 hours.  Back in the day we understood that (see what I did there?).   The 6000 year old earth people are easy to make fun of... but they are fringey (except in the southern parts of the US of A).

Reincarnation doesn't work in a finite universe.  Don't even go there.  

If the message passed down for 2000 years is actually true... then jump up and down and cheer.  Put it to the test... of wait, you can't because it's about death!  Last time I checked the only authority on death is the one who beat it.  Of course when your kids ask what happens after you die you can either refer to the source of life or just tell your kid to make it up... which then ends up being reincarnation and they think they were Cleopatra...over and over again. Interestingly, they would never come up with "nothing".  

"Hey honey, what do you think happens when you jump in front of a bus?"

"I think it turns into a bunny rabbit and it carries me to the Calgary Stampede".  

Bad parenting.

Ah, the sex card.  Yah, the church has messed up with goofy thinking and teaching on this through the centuries.  But then again pretty much every culture came up with whacko stuff in this department.  However, the Bible wasn't the reason for goofball teaching. Read Song Of Songs and then tell me that sex and the Bible isn't fun.  Go ahead. Try it.   

There are some rules around sex... get over it.  We still don't like adults having sex with kids, however, in some places that isn't a taboo and that's nutbar crazy. There are rules around sex (I'm repeating myself). Society will come up with goofy ones... they always will. Wanna play soccer? (just pretend).  A rule book and a ref is used to help prevent chaos on the field turning a wrestling match or mud wrestling (not that either of those is bad but soccer was intended) .  Great sex has boundaries.   Sexual dysfunction breeds more dysfunction... and then people have to try and cope with it. Coping sucks and can really hurt... and helping people to cope is cool.... and the Christian church has sucked at that.  For that I apologize.

Getting others to believe what you believe does make you feel better.  Ask an Amway salesman.  However, if you know the truth, getting others to see the truth is good...regardless of whether it's in line with your beliefs or not. Like... "there is a tidal wave coming"!  If it's true then "thanks for sharing".  If it's not true then you're a jerk looking for attention. Christ profoundly disagreed with the religious people of his day... even called them names... but never wavered from treating them with love.   It's the Christian way... other faiths...not so much.

OK.. I'm pretty sure this cartoon is all about making fun of others for their beliefs...call me crazy.  Moving along.

Everybody votes on their religious beliefs... everybody!  It's called your worldview and, regardless of what you believe or not believe, it dictates things like how you will vote.  

OK... I'll give him credit for even doing this much.  Stick to poking fun at Christians (like everybody else)... at least you know that, if they are actually following their own rules, you are perfectly safe.

So, remember all those people who were murdered for their faith?  I don't remember it looking anything like this.  Like... nothing.  Maybe people do this... but that's because they are off their very heavy doses of medication!  People dying for their faith are often doing so because they refuse to be violent back... or because they are protecting someone else... or because the other person refuses to hear a different opinion.  People die, normally, for what they believe.  Whether it's a DNR order after a stroke or because they believed a bunny rabbit on the road is more important than staying on the road. Perhaps a better question is "is what you believe worth dying for?". If it ain't... then don't.

And here we find the rub.  Murdering is anti-Christian.  Killing in the name of Jesus is... anathema.  Christ was pretty clear on the "love your enemies" stuff. Period. All other religions are, well, fair game.  

And the extremely religious statement "the fact you are a bag of meat" is, well, telling.  Telling that the author's religion is the wonderfully affirming form of non-religion called atheism/agnosticism.  It's not a fact (facts only belong in mathematics) that we are just a bag of meat.  Not even close to a fact. It's a religious statement based upon, what I hope is his evaluation of the evidence (but I doubt it... but I hope).

What if Christianity is true?  Doesn't that change everything?  Doesn't that mean that the universe isn't a cold, non-personal, hell hole that didn't magically appear out of nothing (impossible, by the way, even with a Higgs boson in your back pocket) but rather was designed by a deity that put us on the only blue speck of dust in the only spot in the universe that could support our sorry butts.  By a deity that actually does care?  

And if it is true... why the heck not share it?

The truth will set you free.

Oh, his next to last point that one's religion should be a benefit to the world is spot on.  The biggest benefit the world can, and will, ever gain... is Jesus.


Anonymous said...

It's an internet comic, don't get butthurt about it.

Anonymous said...

I love those types of comments "dude it's an internet comic, don't get butthurt about it." The fact of the matter is comic or not the "comic" (I put that in quotes because it is not in the least bit funny)was nothing more than unnecessary, arch and catty slander against something a lot of people hold dear. I for one am sick and tired of the mindless crap this comic portrays. The outright misrepresentations and lies contained in this "comic" are incredible and deserve a firm, rational and calm response

Anonymous said...

"The best thing the world will gain" lololololol. Yeah, I mean, the guy only delayed the modern age for a few hundred years while his church members got fat and ordered that thousands of people were murdered. What a savior. And now only a tool to protect ignorance.

Joell Haugan said...

Anon.... if you want to play the "religion murdered thousands" game you will need to know that the atheists have out-murdered all "religious" wars by a 4 to 1 ratio.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! And gays and atheists outnumber religious people in prisons by a 500:1 ratio. And no, I won't give you sources for my outrageous claims!

There have been no wars because of "atheism" with the intent to wipe out religion. There have been atheist leaders, but they didn't start wars to end religion. That's not to say that religious oppression doesn't exist. It very much does. But as far as people killed, it doesn't even compare to the number that has died from religious wars.

Oh and I hope you aren't one of the people that sites Hitler as an atheist and all his crimes as a result of atheism. If you do a little research you will find that he considered himself Christian. Oops.

Anonymous said...

Sir/Ma'am, maybe if you did YOUR research, then you'd see that Hitler thought Christianity was the bane of humanity. Actually, he tried to purge Christianity of all Jewish elements (e.g. Old Testament, etc.) which is not being Christian. To be Christian, you follow God's law to the best of your ability, knowing that Jesus died for you and you are forgiven for your sins. Yeah, I know what you're thinking 'HAHA how stupid so you're saying that I can kill somebody and I'll be okay according to Christianity because I'm forgiven LOL' No. You still need to do what is right. That's like someone thinking 'Oh, since I'm atheist and there really is nothing after death I'll just go shoot some people and kill myself because there are no real consequences for my actions' Stupid, right?