>I understood the point of the cartoon, I just chose to ignore it because the alternative discussion (the one we're having now about religion) is more interesting IMO. Please don't call it pointless. It's far from pointless. It's an exchange of ideas and beliefs that can help us get to know each other and understand each other a little more.
Timothy, I think I get your frustration. Cynicism is very in-vogue at the moment and people are quick to dismiss evidence for lots of things, including Christianity. But I feel like sometimes cynicism is a defense mechanism. I know that if it was ever proven beyond a reasonable doubt that God existed I'd be extremely shocked, and everything I understand about the world would be thrown completely out the window. I don't know if you've ever read Alan Moore's Watchmen but a similar thing happened when a god-like figure appeared in that world: people's first reaction was to freak out. I think to a lot of people God is actually terrifying.
I do have a question though. How do you account for other religious texts such as the Q'uran and Buddhist scriptures? Do you think Mohammed and Buddha may have existed as well or do you have a different opinion? (I'm not being accusatory here, I'm genuinely curious.)
As for the topic of feeling superior: we do it to mask our own flaws and insecurities.
(Anonymous 12:48AM & 7:05AM)
>Does anyone else find it ironic that so many people commenting here are emphatic in the expression of their beliefs and yet few are willing to toss aside anonymity to claim them?
Not a judgment. Just an observation.
>Anonymous 12:24 PM, you’re welcome to read what Ron Rosenbaum said about atheist faith if you wish. You may also want to read what Albert Mohler said about what he said. Rosenbaum makes a good point about atheists demonstrating a childlike faith in assuming that science can answer the question of why there is something instead of nothing.
You seem concerned about statements of belief vs. knowledge. I suppose I can see that point. There is an agnostic who doesn’t see evidence that there is a God but believes there isn’t and there is an agnostic who doesn’t see evidence that there is a God but believes it is unknowable. Then there’s guys like me who become very frustrated and ask “Just how much more evidence do you want?” So many people dismiss the evidence that is there. For what? The interesting thing about evidence is that unless we witness something first hand we must believe the witnesses to claim it as evidence. I didn’t witness the America Civil War, for example, so I must rely on the account of witnesses. Of course, I have the option of rejecting their accounts or I could say that we can’t really know if the war took place or not. There are millions of witnesses who can tell you about their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. There are also the eyewitness accounts in the Bible. What the atheist refuses to believe and the agonist dismisses as unknowable, these witnesses know to be fact.
>Oh such debate!
I agree with others who have said that the general knowledge of what atheists believe or don't believe is quite small. Using a small group of extremist atheists to define the group is kind of like someone using an extremist christian to define the entire christian community.
The cartoon hit the nail on the head. I love xkcd comics.
>This is rather a pointless discussion. However, it does prove the underlying humor of the cartoon though.
And for the record (if anyone cares..lol), I do not believe in religion but am not an athiest.
I'm a person still figuring out the world and my place in it.
I do not care what others believe or don't believe as long as you don't infringe on my free will.
If only the whole world worked that way.
But that's life. You play the card you were dealt.
>"I recently read something about an agnostic who believes atheists have gone too far in their objection to the existence of God because they must assume that everything that is is knowable."
Again, this is a misunderstanding of what atheism is. It's a statement of BELIEF, not knowledge. "Theism" = belief in a personal God, "a" = not.
As writers, we should be attentive to the actual meaning of words and careful to use them correctly.
>Rachelle, I recently read something about an agnostic who believes atheists have gone too far in their objection to the existence of God because they must assume that everything that is is knowable, so my first thought was that this was related to that.
Anonymous 7:43 AM, among the things the Bible foretold about Jesus are the family from which he would come, the location of his birth, the nature of his death, how much Judas would betray him for, and when he would die.
Anonymous 7:05 AM, I think I see your point. Many people believe in Santa Claus with no evidence of his existence and I suppose the rule that he only gives presents to the good little boys and girls helps produce some ethical standards. But if that’s all our belief gets us then we’re missing out on the good stuff. It’s one thing when the biggest consequence of a belief is that you won’t get a Christmas present if you’re bad, but when eternity in hell is on the table, we would do well to look for evidence that will tell us what the truth really is.
>Please tell me you are also aware of the meta joke in the mouse over dialog box. (You have to pause the mouse pointer on the picture to see it.)
"But you're using that same tactic to try to feel superior to me, too!" "Sorry, that accusation expires after one use per conversation."
>I like how your non-post sparked a debate.
>Don't they say not to discuss sex, politics or religion in polite company? But who says we're polite? LOL
>I'm soooo glad that when reading a blog for insight into publishing I get to run into a slew of comments criticizing my beliefs on a totally unrelated subject. Rachelle, I think the comments here totally prove the truth of the comic.
For the record, agnosticism is a statement of knowledge and atheism is a statement of belief. The two are not mutually exclusive, and anyone who doesn't know that lacks education on the subject. To call atheists fundamentalist likewise shows a lack of understanding about the word 'fundamentalist' and what atheism really is. But by all means, judge us without really understanding us anyway.
>Personally, I thought the toon was hysterical. LOL
>hmm it is quite interesting that a simple cartoon can spark such a heated discussion. I think that feeling superior to others is the main issue here as well. We are all equals no matter what are differences in opinion may be.
>"…they still have a problem explaining away the fulfilled prophecy of the Bible."
Easy: the Bible isn't factual. The so-called prophecies are vague enough to be interpreted multiple ways.
"We add to that the other prophecies, such as Daniel’s prophecy that foretold the existence of the major world governments before they took power."
Unless Daniel said, "The United States of America," or "Russia" or "China," all he did was show some intelligent guesswork. The Founding Fathers of the US had that kind of insight when they set up our government.
"The very existence of such a book should tell us that God exists, but considering the book tells us that God exists and how we can know God, God can’t be explained away as unknowable."
That's circular logic. "We know God exists because the Bible says so. We know the Bible is right because God exists."
I realize neither of us is going to change our minds about religion. I believe it's all hogwash and deities were created by man to explain the unexplainable, and you believe otherwise. Neither of us can actually prove the other is wrong, so it would be futile to argue further. I'll bow out of further discussion out of respect for Rachelle and the other religious folks.
>What Rachelle said, not to mention that Christianity is not the only religion in the world, folks. 😉
>I like reading everyone's comments, but I find it kind of funny that religion is being debated here. It seems to me that this cartoon isn't about atheism or Christianity at all, but about the way we judge each other and "feel superior." I could be wrong but that's my take.
>For anyone who's never read xkcd before, note that not every cartoon is safe for work. Most are, but there's occasional drawn nudity (even pornographic). Also, if you haven't yet, hold your mouse cursor over the image.
>You've done it Rachelle: no post… plenty of comments 🙂
Thanks for your comment. Having grown up in a non-religious environment I admittedly know next to nothing about Christianity so what you're saying is very interesting to me.
I don't agree that belief is worthless though and I think that us proving whether or not God exists is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. I believe that God (whoever or whatever he/she/it is) created religion as a set of moral guidelines for people to structure their lives upon, and I believe that without religion humanity will become amoral. Having said that, I don't believe God's presence is required for religion to work and I don't believe the concept of God will ever be something humankind is capable of truly comprehending. As long as we simply believe in the existence of some kind of higher power, without feeling the need to prove it, that's all we need to act with morality.
But I do agree with you in that the idea of life as "living, dying and being forgotten" is very dangerous. I think that kind of attitude breeds apathy and the last thing we need right now is for the world to be apathetic.
>Truth is we're all fundamentalists in some way–I think the word is mostly used as a way to argue against a different opinion without actually having to use reason.
>Anonymous 12:48 AM, while agnostics deserve recognition for being less closed minded than atheists, they still have a problem explaining away the fulfilled prophecy of the Bible. There are hundreds of statements in the OT concerning the Messiah and Jesus Christ fulfills every one. Even if we explain some of them away by saying that Jesus knew he needed to fulfill them (It might be worth noting here that he was the son of a carpenter, not a Bible scholar.), so he did what was required to do so, we still have a great many. We add to that the other prophecies, such as Daniel’s prophecy that foretold the existence of the major world governments before they took power. If we had a scientific theory that accurate, we would call it a law. The Bible is no ordinary book. Given that it is so consistently accurate concerning the things we’re able to verify, it is logical to assume a high probability that it is accurate concerning the other things. The very existence of such a book should tell us that God exists, but considering the book tells us that God exists and how we can know God, God can’t be explained away as unknowable.
If all religion does is provides people with something to believe in it is worthless. If that’s all it is, we might as well kill every baby before it leaves the mother’s womb. If that’s all it is, all that will happen to any of us is that we’ll live, die, and be forgotten. But there is a final judgment we all must face.
>Not to add to the mountain of attacks on atheists that are sure to follow: what is more fundamentalist-sounding: that ALL religions are wrong (atheism), or that all religions have at least the hint of the truth (most theistic belief systems)?
>Haha, I like that one! Get out of the box 🙂
>The stick man speaks the truth. Many atheists are just as closed-minded as some fundamentalist religious types and they're annoying because they're hypocritical. They are so concerned with proving that God doesn't exist that they completely miss the true value of religion, which lies not in a real/imagined deity but in providing people with faith, a sense of community and a moral compass.
Agnostic is where it's at 🙂 I'm just sayin'.
>…but that is a post.
I love words.
I love books and publishing and talking incessantly about them.
I love authors and all the intricacies of managing a writing life.
I sell. I negotiate. I coach. I brainstorm.