I’m the Literal-Minded, Intellectually Cramped, Irrational One

Crackergate (yes, if you’re tired of hearing about it, you can stop
reading now) seems to have exposed an unbelievable amount of
wackaloonery.


The one that floored me today was
this piece
at catholicism.about.com, in which Scott Richert flatters me with a
whole post devoted to answering a
comment of mine.

It turns out that I’ve “fallen prey to an unthinking faith” because I
happen to think that the reason nothing happens when you put a nail
through a eucharist is, well, that it’s just a piece of bread.

In reality, as Richert explains, it’s because the bread really
is Jesus Christ, supreme lord god ruler of the universe, who can
destroy entire galaxies with his wrist,
who came to this particular tiny blue speck to allow himself to be
ridiculed, persecuted, and painfully executed, in order to save us
from his dad.

Since his plan the whole time was to get himself killed that one time,
Richert explains, it makes sense that he would stoically endure being
pierced with a nail and thrown in the trash by PZ Myers, without so
much as uttering an “ouch!” or
tearing the living room curtains.

As excuses for the lack of evidence for God, this is par for the
course. I couldn’t resist leaving a comment:

I know exactly what you mean. Just last week, a friend of mine took my official Paramount authorized Star Trek Communicator (™), switched it to the emergency channel, and called Captain Kirk a coward. He said that the reason Kirk didn’t reply is that Star Trek is fiction (it’s not just Star Trek, by the way: he thinks Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy, etc. are all just fiction as well).

Then I told him, if you grant for the sake of argument that Star Trek is real. Recall, then, episode 71, “Whom Gods Destroy”, in which Kirk and Spock beam down to an insane asylum with an inmate who can change shape to look like anyone. At the end, Kirk couldn’t trust anyone, not even his best friend Spock (and a good thing, too, since the inmate was impersonating Spock). That’s why he set up the challenge/response password before leaving the Enterprise.

How could we expect this same James Kirk, who has enemies everywhere, to answer every two-bit punk who manages to get his hands on a Communicator? Insult him back? Beam down and punch him out? Send the Enterprise to shoot phasers from orbit?

Of course not. Only a child would think so. And yet, my friend and the people who laughed at me claim that since Kirk didn’t answer, that “proved” that Star Trek is fiction. Who has fallen prey to an unthinking faith here?

At this point, you may want to read
the whole thing
and see what you think.

You’re back? Okay. Now, note what Richert is saying: this
college-educated grown-up, living in one of the most
technologically-advanced countries the world has ever known, at the
beginning of the 21st century, apparently actually believes that a
piece of bread is a living, sentient being; and that stabbing this
piece of bread actually hurts someone, the same way as if someone had
stabbed him.

Pause to let that sink in.

If this is true (and I’ve left a comment asking whether that’s really
what he believes (Edit: his reply says, in essence, that stabbing a
host doesn’t actually hurt Jesus, but it does make him unhappy)), this
is the sort of primitive superstition that you might expect to find in
a medieval history book, or a guide for anthropologists (“Don’t take
pictures of Koto’riku tribe members: they think that photographs steal
a person’s soul. When visiting the Yapadecu tribe, don’t disturb the
stones by the village: they believe that’s where the volcano god’s
evil twin is imprisoned. When studying the Catholic tribe, make sure
to eat the bread and wine: they believe it to be a god who wants to be
eaten.”).

This is lunacy. It’s blithering, bugfuck, batshit craziness. I used to
think Catholics were less crazy than snake-handlers and
Scientologists, but apparently I was mistaken.

Scott P. Richert, you are a superstitious twatwaffle.

Can someone please remind me why I’m supposed to respect religious
ideas? Is it because if they had to compete on a level playing field, no one would believe them?

(Update, Aug. 10, 2008: apparently Scott decided I was worthy of a second post, in which he argues that Christians built the marvels of western civilization, and therefore the bread really is the creator of the universe. Step three: profit!)

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3 Responses to I’m the Literal-Minded, Intellectually Cramped, Irrational One

  1. mandrellian says:

    “When studying the Catholic tribe, make sure to eat the bread and wine: they believe it to be a god who wants to be eaten”

    Gold 🙂

    I’ve often found it gives me a lot of perspective when viewing certain religious groups as one would view a tribe on a National Geographic TV special, or imagining they’re some strange cult in a Star Trek episode… “Ozmodiar sent his only son Tharg (who was also Ozmodiar) to our binary system from the kingdom of Ph’lan to be persecuted, betrayed by his best friend, tortured and executed by the semi-reticulated Aquazians so that we may all be spared Ozmodiar’s eternal wrath, which was incurred when our ancient ancestors Blazgor & Freen consumed the sacred Gnorr vegetable, staining us all with their infinite guilt! Let us pray, in Tharg’s name … ”

    I’ll be back, nice work 🙂

    .m.

    Like

  2. Cyde Weys says:

    Nice post and nice comment. I try not to think about religion too much because it infuriates me so much. You think people are reasonable, then the topic of religion comes up, and you hear the most ridiculous things. It’s amazing most people manage to live productive lives in spite of it.

    Like

  3. Can someone please remind me why I’m supposed to respect religious ideas? Is it because if they had to compete on a level playing field, no one would believe them?

    That says it all. Religion is “immune” from criticism because it can’t stand up to criticism. When I was growing up, I was punished if I asked the wrong questions. Made to feel guilty if I had a thought that was contrary to our doctrine. You’re not allowed to ask questions. You’re expected to believe what you’re told. That’s not respect. It suppression.

    Like

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