Yesterday morning while I was having my morning shower I found myself wondering about the atheist and the skeptic movements. In particular, I was pondering why we tend to disagree so vehemently on so many subjects. In fact, there is very little we agree on. Fundamentally, atheism is a lack of belief in any god right? But us atheist don’t really even agree on that point. Some of us are quite convinced that there is no god, never was, never will be. Others insist that there probably is no god but you can’t really know. Others reckon you don’t have enough information to make up your mind either way. I think the closest we do come to agreeing on anything is the idea that it is much less likely that a god exists than the converse.
One of the things I find most trying about dealing with other atheists, especially in groups, is that you have to defend every single point you make since very few people ever agree with you completely. You very infrequently experience agreement purely for the sake of a feeling of community. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it forces you to avoid making statements for the sake of making statements and to seriously consider what it is you want to relay; your logic, thought process and conclusions will be questioned and best you be prepared to back everything up with some convincing evidence. This can sometimes makes informal conversation… exhausting.
“How much easier the religious have it”, I briefly thought with a pang of self-pity, “the Christians especially get to go to church and everybody just gets along and agrees…”.
Then I laughed. Hard.
I’m going to pick on Christians now because they’re in the news again. You see, at the core, Christians have something fundamental in common. They all read the same manual, the unchanging perfect words of the almighty creator of the universe; the super being who can do no wrong. You’d think, then, that they all agree and get along.
Christians do not agree and they do not get along and I find this hilarious to say the least.
There is a church in Auckland city that puts up some pretty risqué billboards; you can check out their site here: http://stmatthews.org.nz/. Now, I can appreciate this, at least they’re trying to get their Christians to think about what they’re doing a bit. The latest billboard was of the virgin Mary with a positive pregnancy test.
You might not think there’s much to that. Christians do, after all, believe a virgin, Mary, was impregnated by the almighty creator of the universe and bore its son whom they called Jesus Christ. Mary, virgin, pregnant. If you’re a Christian, that’s what you believe and that’s what the poster shows: Mary, surprised, pregnant.
Apparently not. One Mr. Arthur Skinner from the Catholic Action Group took great exception to this poster. “Blasphemy!” cried Mr. Arthur Skinner. He was, in fact, so pissed off with this blasphemous affront to his personal version of Christianity that he took to the poster and cut the positive pregnancy test right off. Clearly, the poster is now much less blasphemous since the removal of the proof of pregnancy… or something.
The "blasphemous" billboard - Before
The "blasphemous" billboard - After
From the New Zealand Herald article at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10773887
Catholic Action’s Arthur Skinner, from Whangarei, said they were protesting because the image was blasphemous.
Strange, it was put up by Christians who obviously didn’t find it blasphemous… I guess Mr. Arthur Skinner must have a different line to the almighty that says something else. Which, too, is a little strange, no?
Yesterday, stunned passers-by watched as a scissors-wielding zealot slashed the billboard and tore off a large chunk.
Skinner later claimed responsibility for the incident. He was believed to have earlier phoned St Matthew’s vicar Glynn Cardy to say he would “roast slowly in hell” for erecting the billboard.
“He told me I would burn in the fires of hell, that would be my final destination,” Cardy said.
Let us consider this situation for a moment. Both Skinner and Cardy claim to worship Jesus Christ. Both of them claim to have Jesus as their personal lord and saviour, to have a personal relationship with him. Seems to me somebody should just ask Jesus if he has a problem with the poster or not. Get an answer and have the deity in question settle the dispute. Seems pretty damn straightforward to me. Pray, get Jesus to tell each of them at the same time if the poster is ok or not. Simple right?
“It doesn’t work like that”, I hear them say. No? Then how the fuck does it work if you both speak to the same freaking god? If your god can’t even settle this one little dispute between devout followers amicably, what, precisely, can he do?
You see, here’s the problem with religion, Christianity in particular. They all (mostly – the Mormons had to go write their own addition to the unchanging words of the almighty) read from the same (by ‘same’ I really mean ‘similar’ since some of them took liberties in the many translations…) unchanging perfect word of the almighty creator of the universe. They all have a direct line to Jesus Christ who personally saved them and with whom they have a relationship with. And yet there are over 38,000 Christian denominations.
I shit you not. Thirty eight thousand different denominations. Thirty eight thousand different interpretations of what, exactly, it is, that Jesus Christ and his dad want from the world.
Some of the major Christian disagreements
Look, Christians, if you people can’t even agree on the basics, how the fuck do you expect to convince us unbelievers of The Truth (… as you currently see it anyway…). Tell me, which one of you has it right at the moment? Yea, of course…
Some of the major Protestant disagreements. Seriously. They even read the same holy book.
Disagreement and discord, those are very human characteristics. It is normal for human beings to disagree, to see every little thing differently. The way you view the world is shaped by unimaginably complex processes. Things like physical brain structure, brain, body and environmental chemical levels, hormone levels, altitude, electrical signals, external stimuli, culture, family, surroundings, the food you eat, the stuff you drink, the gasses you breathe, the things you’ve read, heard, watched, the parasites you carry, the diseases you’ve had, the diseases you currently have and all of this over the span of your entire life.
How could we NOT disagree? We are so fundamentally different, we have to disagree. If there was no disagreement what so ever, that would go a long way towards proving the alleged divine origins of religion since it would take a massive miracle and an almighty super being to get humanity to agree completely on any given point unquestioningly. That there is disagreement among the faithful says everything that needs to be said about that ‘faith’.
You Christians do not have a personal relationship with the same deity. You, fucking, do, not. It’s clear as daylight to anybody who looks. Grow up, accept that. There is no god. You’re making that shit up.
We do not agree on anything and we never will. The ability to compromise and work together despite our disagreements, that is what sets us apart. That is what makes us special.
“The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it.” — Voltaire