Rain Magic

Every so often, sophisticated theists will say that Dawkins, Hitchens, etc. misrepresent religion, that God is not an invisible sky-daddy who grants wishes, but some ineffable essence working within the laws of nature, or some such (see here, here, here).

And then something like this comes along:

That would be Gov. Sonny Perdue, who has asked Georgians to pray for rain today, and at lunchtime will convene with various religious and political leaders on the steps of the state Capitol to seek divine intervention in the state’s months-long drought.

There’s probably a polite way to say this, but I won’t (maybe I’m just cranky because it’s raining in Maryland, rather than in Georgia where they could use it): these people believe in magic. Primitive, superstitious magic, where if you say the right words and make the right gestures, the great sky spirit will grant you your wish.

Right here, in the United States, at the dawn of the 21st century. In the sixties, people thought we’d have flying cars. Instead, we have rain dances.

And this isn’t some fringe group. Not only does Governor Perdue believe that rain dances work, enough of his constituents do that he hasn’t been laughed out of office.

So, all you sensible theists out there, why aren’t you policing your own? Why aren’t you pointing out to these superstitious fools that what they’re doing is no different from spreading mistletoe on the ground and chanting? Pastors, why aren’t you educating your congregations and telling them that no, God doesn’t work that way?

In a recent speech, Daniel Dennett suggested referring to non-brights as “supers”, because they believe in the supernatural. But perhaps “super” is short for “superstitious” as well.

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3 Responses to Rain Magic

  1. John says:

    Yeah I’m sensible.
    Sensible enought to know that if the Governor wants to pray, he has the right to.
    Sensible enought to know that if he wants to ask his constituents to pray… he has the right to.
    Also sensible enought to know that if you do not believe that you have the right to respectfully decline, rather than attacking this fellow for his personal choice of faith.
    Yours is the kind of attitude that has and will continue to mar the good name of atheists all over America.

    Like

  2. Fez says:

    John,

    Yeah I’m sensible.
    Sensible enought to know that if the Governor wants to pray, he has the right to.
    Sensible enought to know that if he wants to ask his constituents to pray… he has the right to.
    Also sensible enought to know that if you do not believe that you have the right to respectfully decline, rather than attacking this fellow for his personal choice of faith.

    Yet not sensible enough, in three separate occasions here on ooblog, to extend the same consideration and courtesy to those who are sick and tired of having multiple variants of the Christian Agenda shoved down our throats.

    Newsflash for you cupcake; if you put yourself in the public eye in the United States there will be plenty of folk lining up to use your activities as a source of material for humor and ridicule – actions fully protected by the US Constitution. Extra points for covering a publicly elected official putting out the call for divine intervention. Comedy. Gold.

    Do you have an answer to the quite reasonable question posed by arensb?

    So, all you sensible theists out there, why aren’t you policing your own? Why aren’t you pointing out to these superstitious fools that what they’re doing is no different from spreading mistletoe on the ground and chanting? Pastors, why aren’t you educating your congregations and telling them that no, God doesn’t work that way?

    Like

  3. arensb says:

    Sensible enought to know that if he wants to ask his constituents to pray… he has the right to.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t, not in his role as governor. Separation of church and state and all that. If he wants to pray on his own time, that’s fine. But government officials pushing religion is not okay.

    Also sensible enought to know that if you do not believe that you have the right to respectfully decline, rather than attacking this fellow for his personal choice of faith.

    If Perdue had performed an actual rain dance, rather than a metaphorical one, or if he had sacrificed a chicken to implore Manitou to send rain, would you still defend his “personal choice of faith”? Or would you have denounced him as a superstitious assclown?

    If the latter, then what exactly is the difference with what he did? Is it just that he believes the same myths as you do?

    Like

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