Friday, June 16, 2006

The existence of God as evidenced through the intelligent design of a banana

I have heard it once said that atheists are humorless. I don't know about that, I think alot of us have a really good sense of humor. Hell, you have to just to stay sane in a world of clashing religious fundies! Anyway, the blogger the Atheologist I think has alot of humor on his blog.

So thanks to The Atheologist: Evangelist Inadvertently Turns Christians Into Homosexuals who has posted a link to this hilarious video of evangelist Ray Comfort and his TV star friend Kirk Cameron arguing that we know god exists because the banana was perfectly designed for human consumption. Follow the link to the video at google video,
the banana argument is in the first five minutes or so. It has alot of homoerotic undertones and is hilarious.

The rest of the video is also kind of funny. They beat the intelligent design creator argument to death, and it revolves around some silly straw man arguments about atheism and atheists. First they argue that there really are no atheists, because nobody can claim to have absolute knowledge, so atheists are really agnostics.
Of course, I don't think I have ever heard any philosophically informed atheist claim to know without a doubt that that there is no God. Most atheists don't make absolute unsubstantiated knowledge claims, we leave that to the believers. Instead we, or at least I, argue that based on the lack of evidence for God's existence, and the weak arguments put forward by theists, God PROBABLY does not exist.

Another tactic they use is to interview alleged atheists on the street and on a college campus, submitting them to "the atheist test". They ask their victim "are you a good person?" the victim says "yes", and then they ask if they have ever stolen or lied, and the unwitting victim admits that they have. They then go on to argue that because the victim has lied, that makes them a liar, and if they have stolen, that make them a thief, and therefore they are obviously not a good person. This leads the interviewer into attempting to cajole the victim into admitting he is a sinner in need of salvation.

Obviously there are many problems with this line of reasoning. Most people have at least lied and have probably stolen at least once in their lives. This of course does not define their entire character. Then there are the notions of sin, salvation, and its alleged alternative, eternal damnation. Which is all poppycock that I won't get into at this time.

Anyway, it might be a good idea to watch the video just so you know what an evangelist might throw at you!


Greg said...

I'm not trying to change your mind... but simply to expand on some of those idea from my understanding of the Bible....

Contrary to popular belief, the biblical definition of a sinner is simply one who has missed the mark. It has it's origins as an archery term. Most people think they've lived a reasonably good enough life to get into heaven (if they believe in it, anyway). (tongue in cheek)Cause you can always point out someone else you know who has clearly lived a worse life, right? (tic mode off)

Here's the problem with that... how good is "good enough" to gain God's approval? In most religions of the world, aside from Christianity, you work your way to "eternal happiness" (heaven or whatnot). Most religions, of course, don't really define "good enough". Christianity says that "good enough" is perfection -- that no one can be good enough. So if you've done any of those things, even just once, then you've "missed the mark" and therefore, fallen short. Doesn't mean that you're a horrible, evil, vile baby-killer scum eating whatever... just means that you're not perfect. Welcome to the world, huh? :) And with us all being "not perfect" (i.e. having missed the mark, i.e. sinners) we have a need for someone perfect (without sin, who hit the mark without missing) to pay the penalty for the things we've done. That's where Jesus comes in. Believing that he lived the perfect, sinless life that we never could, and accepting what he gained from it (entrance into the presence of God, where no sin can be) is "salvation". Hell is defined in many ways in the bible, but at it's simplest, it's simply being apart from God. Heaven is not so much defined as a place far off for when we die, but as having a relationship with God. Thus, we can really be in Heaven or Hell, here and now, on earth. There is talk of a "new heaven and earth" (and hell) that will be there later, but that's another matter entirely.

Most religions are about what you can "do" -- Biblical Christianity distinguishes itself by being about what was "done" (by Christ, because we could never do it).

It's late, and I know I've rambled some, but I do hope this makes sense, even if you don't agree with it. There are a lot of people out there with a lot of wacky ideas about what God said, or what the church has told them to do... and a lot of those wacky ideas have no foundation whatsoever in the Bible... it's a shame, but it's true. As opposed to the "athiest test" (never heard that one) -- here's the Christian test... Jesus said you'd know his disciples by the love they have for one another. Later he said that we're not just to love our neighbors (friends) but everyone (including our enemies). So... if they're not showing the love of Christ, they're not Christians. Period. I could call myself a martian, but it certainly wouldn't make me one. ;-)

Sheldon said...

Hi Greg,
Thanks for stopping by. Lets be honest, you are trying to change my mind. As far as I am concerned that is ok. My mind is ready for changing on anything with the right evidence and/or reasoning.

I do recognize that Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron's theology may not agree with other Christians. Apart from the concept of sin. My criticism was directed specifically at their reasoning that past transgressions of stealing or lying makes a person a thief or a lyer. No, habitual theft of lying make a person a thief or a lyer.

I do understand the Biblical concept of sin. To further your valid point, we as humans according to the Bible are not perfect because of the original sin of Adam and Eve. We inherited our status as sinners even if one is basically a good person. This is correct, is it not?

But in the end, this still does not make any sense. Why should one be condemned for the sin of their ancestor. Would it make any sense to send the child of a murderer to prison for the crime of his father? Yet, the God of the Old Testament killed all the first borns of Egypt for the crimes of their fathers. Even if taken to be simply metaphorical, its still ridiculous. Don't you think.

You say: "And with us all being "not perfect" (i.e. having missed the mark, i.e. sinners) we have a need for someone perfect (without sin, who hit the mark without missing) to pay the penalty for the things we've done."

But why should this be so? Why even presume we should or can be "perfect"? It is up to us as humans to enforce penalties on people who break laws or do harm to others. It is up to us, as individual humans to learn from and correct the wrongs that we have done to others. And to attempt to not repeat those wrongs. Imperfection is just one of the things we have to live with as human beings.

Anyway, thanks for your comment Greg. I appreciate your respectful sincerity.