Nathan Bond's TART Remarks

Religion: Respect? Ridicule!

Irreducible Idiocy

with 3 comments

January 2007

I have been berated of late by believers (Christians, mostly, as they are the subject of my invective) for statements to the effect that all believers are, at bottom, alike. In fact, I propose that believers are exactly alike.

It is apparently inconceivable, for certain believers unfortunate enough to be exposed to my vitriol, to be pared with, say, the reverend Jannie “you are healed praise the Lord the funeral is next Wednesday” Pelser[1]. It is manifestly inappropriate, I am told, to suggest that all believers can be grouped with, say, the Pope, or Bishop Akinola, or Jack van Impe. Certainly the supranumerous denominational and sectarian multifurcation would indicate my folly.

When I suggested that Benny Hinn and Karl Barth share a common foundational conviction, the response resembled a charismatic rendering of that great scholar’s exclamations amongst the noble ruins of the Kurfürsten Schloss in Bonn.

I am, so believers concur, quite out of order to ignore the many flavours of faith permeating the belief landscape of our day.

At bottom, however, it’s all vanilla. It’s God, stupid…[2]

I propose that to be a believer is to acknowledge the existence of a supernatural being conceived as the perfect and omnipotent and omniscient originator and ruler of the universe.

I submit that such premise is irresponsible and incongruous. It represents irreducible idiocy.

“God” is indeed the premise of both “Benny Hinn” and “Karl Barth” although the manifestation of their respective “faith” is, of course, divergent.

Why, some believers are convinced that infants should be baptised; others are horrified by the idea. Some believers accept, beyond a velleity of doubt that they partake of the very flesh and drink the very blood of the risen Christ during a ceremony they call “mass”; others see the biscuit and the wine as purely symbolic.

Some believers…

At bottom, however, it’s all vanilla. It’s God, stupid… ordinary, garden variety gods and demons stuff: The pus-filled core of the boil.

The God conjecture is not a legitimate alternative weltanschauung worthy of consideration and respect! It simply is not.

Says Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg, “It’s a consequence of the experience of science. As you learn more and more about the universe, you find you can understand more and more without any reference to supernatural intervention, so you lose interest in that possibility. Most scientists I know don’t care enough about religion even to call themselves atheists. And that, I think, is one of the great things about science – that it has made it possible for people not to be religious.”[3]

Once chemistry was established as a discipline, alchemy was simply no longer an “alternative”. Once astronomy was established as a discipline, astrology was simply no longer an “alternative”. Once neurology was established as a discipline, phrenology was simply no longer an “alternative”. After Copernicus certainly a flat earth ceased to be an “alternative”.

Once Darwinism finally explained the redundancy of God, God was no longer an alternative. Darwinism represents, with deference to Sam Harris, a wholesale exchange of ignorance, at its most rococo, for genuine knowledge.

Says Richard Dawkins, “There has probably never been a more devastating rout of popular belief by clever reasoning than Charles Darwin’s destruction of the argument from design.”[4]

Darwin provided explanations of our existence that completely rejected supernatural agents.[5] Verily, verliy, I say unto thee, whomsoever considers “God” as an “alternative” perspective on life and the universe, shall be cast into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.[6]

Shall we pussy-foot around the lunacy that is belief in God?

I, for one, will not!

Fundamentalism, as Harris so vividly points out, is only a problem because the fundamentals of the ideology is a problem. God is that very fundamental. No individual can expect to be being taken seriously when insisting upon a supernatural entity (in whatever manifestation – from ubiquitous curmudgeon to suffused energy) regulating life and the universe. Respecting such folly fuels inevitable fundamentalism; tolerating such silliness puts us squarely in harm’s way.

Sentient people should rise to the challenge of incessantly indicating the irrationality of the God hypothesis; calling foul without fail when its mendacious head shows above the trench of wanton otherworldliness.

[1] The reverend Jannie Pelser is a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church congregation Rant en Dal in Gauteng, South Africa, who firmly established himself on the T. B. Joshua faith healing bandwagon and stated categorically that he was convinced that Joshua was not a false prophet (Beeld, June 28, 2001) and called attempts to discredit Joshua an evil plot (Beeld, May 21, 2001). See TART Remarks, January 22, 2007 – The poisonous fruits of the “Spirit”.

[2] “It’s the economy, stupid!” was the Clinton-Gore campaign slogan in 1992. There was a mild recession because of the transition from a wartime (Cold War) economy to a peacetime economy. The slogan was designed to focus their minds on an obvious fact…

[3] Quoted in Natalie Angier. Confessions of a Lonely Atheist. New York Times Magazine. January 14, 2001.

[4] Dawkins. Richard. 2006. The God Delusion. London. Bantam Press. 79.

[5] Suskind, Leonard. 2006. The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design. New York. Little, Brown. 17 (Quoted in Dawkins. 2006:118).

[6] Based broadly, quite incredulously broadly, I should say, on Mathew

Written by Nathan Bond

April 26, 2007 at 18:15

3 Responses

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  1. Dirk, meeste Christenne bid tot God en sien in hulle gedagte, ‘n Man wat op ‘n troon sit terwyl die 10 gebooie ons uitdruklik waarsku, dat ons geen gesnede beeld van God moet hê … Hulle bid tot ‘n beeld in hulle verbeelding. Om van God te weet, is nie om God te ken nie en God is nie ‘n mens (Nim. 23 v 19 en Hosea 11 v 9).

    Hans Matthysen

    May 11, 2008 at 22:44

  2. Jissis Hans

    Hoe kan die meeste Christene nie vir God ken nie?
    Fok bid hulle verkeer of wil God hulle nie ken nie? Of is hulle dalk in die verkeerde Kerk , of dalk nie uitverkies nie?

    Is jou gotte ( 3 in een) nie maar beperk tot jou eie gedagtes nie

    Dirk West

    May 9, 2008 at 13:23

  3. It is clear to me that you do not know God and all those who don’t acknowledge God. You can not be blamed as most christians don’t know God.

    Hans Matthysen

    May 1, 2008 at 22:59

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