Monday, February 7, 2011

QOTD: Clubhouse psychology

Quote of the Day:
The good news is that they all mostly agree with one another. The Bible is about a god who is trying to get people into his heaven by asking them to believe a story about his son being killed and rising from the dead.

The bad news is that the story makes no sense. I'll give them the existence of their god as a premise, just as I'd grant Herman Melville the existence of Ahab as the start of his story. But what follows doesn't work. This god has a son — there's a whole story there that is glossed over. It rather anchors the deity into the prosaic, doesn't it? He's a discrete being with an anthropomorphic capacity for procreation. OK, let's just give them that as a premise, too, although my experience with theologians is that they'll sit there endlessly arguing with you over that detail.

But then it gets sillier. He sends this son to us to die. He dies? So he's not an immortal god? Oh, wait, he doesn't really die, he bounces back a day and a half later, and again, Christian theologians will weeble at you incessantly about how Jesus really is their god, their one true god, who is part of a trinity.

And then that bit about his death "redeeming" us? No way. That makes no sense. If I commit a crime, having someone else suffer 2000 years ago for some other crime that is completely unrelated to what I did does not have any logical connection at all to absolving me of guilt. It's simply crazy talk, theological noise.

I have my own one-sentence summary of the Christian bible. It actually fits well with human behavior, unlike the prattling nonsense of theologians.
Here is a long tome containing fractured history and arbitrary and patently ridiculous rules that, if you say you believe them, will represent a costly signal to indicate that you are a committed member of our tribe.

Or if that's too long for you, "Be stupid and belong." Theology then fills the same role as frat-house hazing or blood-brother rituals, and all the contributors to that list of summaries can be proud brothers together in blissful inanity. It's clubhouse psychology. - PZ Myers

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