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Thu Jul 26, 2012, 09:02 AM

 

How to suck at your religion

How to suck at your religion
July 25, 2012 By Marc

Oh dear. Matthew Inman of the marvelous web-comic, The Oatmeal, seems to have experienced that exquisite twitch all modern atheists are doomed to experience — the I-know-what’s-best-for-you-silly-religious-people-come-heed-me spasm. This particular train of thought requires the thinker ignore the vast majority of Christian belief — which is entrenched in reason — and focus solely on minority caricatures of the creationist or the wailing-out evangelical, caricatures firmly established and grounded in The Holy Internet Worldview. Having thus defined the term “religion”, the moral high ground is taken, the sneers are unleashed, and all religious people fear and tremble, for atheism has demonstrated itself as supremely reasonable, authoritative, scientific, and gosh-darnit it’s a wonder everyone just doesn’t convert on the spot. Check it out.

Now I know it’s an impossible task, rebutting with clunking prose what is claimed by fantastic comics, but someone’s got to try, if only for this reason: It’s no kindness to the atheist to let him forever believe that the religious have all the intellectual history of a WBC preacher. I mean goodness, what if he stumbles upon a Dominican? The shock would kill him. Thus and therefore and onwards then, in that frustrating step-by-step manner:



Right, because this here is a totally non-judgmental comic.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/07/how-to-suck-at-your-religion.html

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply How to suck at your religion (Original post)
rug Jul 2012 OP
Lucy Goosey Jul 2012 #1
Silent3 Jul 2012 #21
Lucy Goosey Jul 2012 #22
DetlefK Jul 2012 #2
dmallind Jul 2012 #3
trotsky Jul 2012 #4
2ndAmForComputers Jul 2012 #5
rug Jul 2012 #8
2ndAmForComputers Jul 2012 #10
rug Jul 2012 #11
Goblinmonger Jul 2012 #6
rug Jul 2012 #7
Goblinmonger Jul 2012 #9
rug Jul 2012 #12
Goblinmonger Jul 2012 #13
rug Jul 2012 #14
Goblinmonger Jul 2012 #15
rug Jul 2012 #16
Goblinmonger Jul 2012 #17
rug Jul 2012 #18
skepticscott Jul 2012 #20
trotsky Jul 2012 #19

Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 09:31 AM

1. I understand the points being made...

...but I think a few things are being missed here.

1 - http://theoatmeal.com/ is a (hilarious!) web comic, not a scholarly journal. It's pretty obvious Inman was exagerating for humour, which is what he does, as a comic artist. Maybe Marc at Patheos doesn't need to take it so seriously? After all, some of the other content on the site includes The Motherfucking Pterodactyl Singalong Video, a visual comparison of hammer pants to hipsters, and a love letter to Sriracha hot sauce.

2 - Inman was clearly not saying that all religious people suck; that is explicit in the comic.

But yeah, the whole "I'm judging you for being judgemental!" thing is never an atheist's best argument.

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Response to Lucy Goosey (Reply #1)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 07:49 AM

21. Atheists don't subscribe to a doctrine that says, "judge not lest you be judged".

Last edited Fri Jul 27, 2012, 09:52 AM - Edit history (1)

Pointing out someone's hypocrisy for not following their own doctrine does not create an obligation on the part of the person pointing out that hypocrisy to follow that doctrine.

I'll gladly admit that I judge other people. Everyone (with possibly some rare exceptions) judges other people, at least on some issues some of the time. The main difference is that a lot of people are in denial about the judging they do, or they try to foist their own judgmental attitudes off on their gods, so that when they judge others they can claim to be merely passing on their god's judgment.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #21)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 08:00 AM

22. You make an excellent point.

I think I have a bad habit of being sort of apologetic about my atheism, and it causes me to be a bit deferential to theists. I really should stop that.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 10:00 AM

2. Article is a bit over the top.

"Right, because this here is a totally non-judgmental comic."
Judging an artist for drawing a judgmental comic because he was tired of being judged by your peers.


"We’re looking at 1 in 5 women having been raped, 1 in 3 reporting sexual abuse, 1 in 4 teenage girls contracting an STD, 2/3 of pregnancies unplanned, ..."
The author doesn't mention where he got these numbers from. And the rates on STD and unwanted pregnancies would be lower, if faith-based solutions were ignored and some condoms used.


"So how does one truly suck at their religion? By following the advice of Mr. Inman and deconstructing our religion until it becomes agreeable to the current standards of the world. We are to be happy, helpful, and full of purpose. Never mind believing ourselves to be right."
1. Why would anyone have a religion if it does NOT make him happy? When a hundred children embarked on their famous "children-crusade" to cleanse the Holy Land with the power of belief, would they have done so if the religious doctrines the had memorized filled them with revulsion?
2. Last time I checked, "being helpful" was an idea that originated some 2500 (Confucius) to 2000 (some middle-eastern cult-leader named Jesus) years ago.
3. How can we not be of purpose when God supposedly has a plan for all of us?
4. "Being right" is a superstition only extremists claim, be they religious or atheist. The modest ones draw their power from the opposite: the doubt.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 10:28 AM

3. Please describe specifically Christian beliefs that are "entrenched in reason".

And of course, reason us through the reasons for them being entrenched therein.

Specifically Christian beliefs do not of course include things like "be nice to people", which in both theory and in practice is included in many other beliefs, often more successfully. Unique to Christianity we have what that is reasoned, or even reasonable? Homoousios? Chalcedon's refutation of monophysite assumptions? The sacrifice of a part of a god so another part of the same god could change his mind about what to do with humans that he created, and over which he had ultimate authority already, but only if they buy into the first-mentioned part of him's sacrifice, especially after being inspired by yet a third part of the same god? (for those getting all puffed up about this description, please note that it is completely free of negative words and entirely correct doctrinally. Priests and pastors say exactly the same thing, and a lot of Nice Capital Letters and Gosh You Are So Big, Lord sycophantics change nothing about the basic meaning).

Heck let's even look at the preaching for these unique reasoned ideas. We have some fairly basic rehashes of "can't we all just get along" stuff that was common centuries before. We have some vague and often conflicting bits about the nature of JC himself that are certainly unique but hardly close to reason let alone entrenched in it. We have some derivative promises of a glorious kingdom to come that are neither all that unique or based on anything but hope and promises.

So what bits are the entrenched ones?

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 11:31 AM

4. Funny comic!

Thanks for the link to the hilarious article trying to critique it, too.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 12:19 PM

5. Thank you for expressing your reaction.

Gave me a big smile.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 03:53 PM

8. What makes you think that's my reaction?

 

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Response to rug (Reply #8)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:08 PM

10. Call it a hunch.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:09 PM

11. Ah, you have another way of knowing.

 

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Response to rug (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 02:47 PM

6. In a debate, I'd

 

take The Oatmeal over "Marc" any given day.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #6)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 03:52 PM

7. I'm not surprised you like cartoons in a debate.

 

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Response to rug (Reply #7)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:01 PM

9. Wasn't talking about the cartoons.

 

I'm not surprised you posted part of an article from someone who doesn't understand (or doesn't care) that a certain genre of literature is given to specific rhetorical devices and then tries to discredit that literature based on the rhetorical devices it uses. Seems right up your alley.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:12 PM

12. Oh, an Oatmeal cartoon is now "a certain genre of literature".

 

Let the curriculum committee know.

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Response to rug (Reply #12)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:16 PM

13. What does that even mean?

 

Are you saying that cartoons are not a genre with different techniques they use? Or that they aren't literature?

I suppose graphic novels are below you, too.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #13)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:24 PM

14. It's plainly written.

 

Attempting to portray this Oatmeal cartoon as a specific genre of literature which should be understood as employing "different techniques" is a laughable parody of a post-modernist hipster deconstructiong the latest edition of Cracked.

I assume you know what a curriculum committee is. Ask them what they think.

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Response to rug (Reply #14)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:44 PM

15. Well, OK, if you want to get technical

 

cartoons would be a sub-division of a sub-genre of literature, but that seems like a pretty fine point to quibble over.

That you don't want to consider a cartoon as literature is a laughable parody of the old fart sitting on his lawn yelling at the young'ens to get off.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #15)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:57 PM

16. No, as a rule I admire cartoons.

 

So much so I see the failed attempts in this one.

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Response to rug (Reply #16)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 05:09 PM

17. So your attach on my post was what then?

 

Just you being a dick to me?

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #17)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 05:21 PM

18. Debates do not consist of cartoons.

 

And did I read you correctly? Are you actually complaining about someone "being a dick" to you?

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Response to rug (Reply #18)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 07:32 PM

20. Tell that to every political cartoonist in the country

 

Debates consist of many things that are apparently beyond your comprehension. There are many ways of making a point, not all of them as deeply serious as your posts.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #17)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 06:27 PM

19. That's just what he does.

And he does it well. Raising the tone and all that, ya know.

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