Sunday, 9 September 2012

Time to get back to laughing at superstition.

Well, in all the hysteria and ill-feeling surrounding Atheism Plus, I've grown almost nostalgic for the sort of stick I usually only get from religious people.  When you've grown accustomed to "you're a murdering whore and you'll burn in hell", "gender traitor" and "chill girl" (which latter I rather like, actually) can only ward off the cravings for so long... and I'm jonesing for a meaningful argument now.

So, I thought I'd ask everyone - here and my lovely peeps on Twitter - a question.  Well, two, actually, though they're related.

1: What's the single dumbest/silliest/wrongest/funniest/most infuriating argument you hear from believers in defence of their faith, and why? (And if you'd like to explain how it's wrong, please do so of course!)

2: If you could wave a magic wand and make every religious/superstitious person in the world understand just ONE thing, what would it be and why?

I think it'll be interesting to see how many of us hear the same arguments, which ones annoy us most and which are most common.  We all have slightly - in some cases even widely - different reasons for opposing religion, it's always fascinating to hear how other people think about things.

Please let me know what you think!


  1. Okay, Lucy, I'll bite.

    1: In my case, it's religion specific, and thus requires a bit of explanation.

    Besides its "Book of Mormon," that cult has other scriptures: the "Doctrine & Covenants" and the "Pearl of Great Price." The latter contains the "Book of Abraham," a "translation" that Joe $myth did of some ancient Egyptian papyri. As he himself claimed:

    "A Translation of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of Egypt. The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.”

    Unfortunately for the cult, in 1967 the original papyri were discovered in the archives of the NY Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. The receipt showed that they had been purchased from Joe $myth's widow, Emma, a few years after his death. Lo and behold!

    Consequently, legitimate Egyptologists have now examined and translated those papyri, and what did they determine? That they have nothing whatsoever to do with Abraham: they are typical, ordinary, Egyptian funerary documents, written millenia after Abraham's time. Joseph $myth's "translation" is a complete and utter fraud.

    So what infuriates me? That when confronted with the evidence, Mormon apologists now resort to blatant rationalization to explain it away, i.e., that we have been "misinterpreting" Joe $myth's use of the word "translation." The papyri simply got his "revelatory juices" flowing, stimulated his receptive powers, were a kind of divine radio antenna to tune into Abraham's actual writings --that are now lost to the world.

    What a crock of caca. Stare the facts right in the face, and still live in denial rather than admit that Joe $myth was an unconscionable con man and a fraud.

    It is a rare instance among religious controversies in which the scientific evidence is so irrefutable, so solid that it would stand up in a court of law. Yet "faith" still prevails? How can Mormons NOT be embarrassed to perform such irrational somersaults?

    2: That feelings, emotions, hopes, desires, intuitions, inner promptings, answers to prayer, burning in the bosom, still small voices NEVER constitute a reliable means of determining TRUTH. Unless and until there are scientific, verifiable, cold, hard facts to substantiate the truth of any belief, the wisest and healthiest position is to remain skeptical of it.

    Yeeeow! That is one big BITE! Ooops.

  2. 1) 'My belief has plenty of evidence'
    Usually means the speaker has no idea about evidence.

    2) 'Atheism'
    I get bored explaining that it is not a religion, it is not a belief in something else, it is not organised, it has no leaders.

  3. The dumbest argument I encounter from theists is usually "Scientists/skeptics are supposed to be open-minded, but you're rejecting the possibility that evidence-free claims are really true!"

  4. 1) I don't know many intellectually rigorous believers so the most sickening reason I come across for sustained belief is simple brain washing and lack of will to question, sometimes out of fear. My truest friend won't even allow discussion on the point believing I will be damned.

    2) We would benefit from everyone seeing that "I believe in X" is in every way identical to "I would like X to be true". Both statements contain exactly the same information.

  5. I was invited into a church by a woman standing outside one.
    "No thanks. I don't believe in magic."
    "What? You don't believe in God?"
    "That is correct."
    "There is a God. Who do you think people are talking about when they are upset and say, 'Oh my God!'?"

  6. 1) "God moves in mysterious ways" as a cop-out when they can't rationally discuss something.

    2) That morality does not depend on believing in a god. I find it insulting when religious people suggest that because I don't believe in an imaginary creator, that I have no morals. Does that not imply that were they not religious, that they would go out and steal, kill and do harm to others? What does that say about them?

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