Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Viewing God Properly

This is a response I gave to a friend on a Facebook thread when he challenged the notion someone of even being an atheist.  He shared an article that stated that atheists fail when they simply reject the vision of God they have contrived and are not open to other visions of God. When folks on the thread did not want to engage in that line of reasoning, the response was "As usual, atheists have no answers when questioned."

I get some version of that rather often, typically from liberal believers.  Anyway, here was my response:

The problem is that they are rather specious questions. Where is the scientific experiment conducted by Leprechaun-deniers that definitively proved that "There are no Leprechauns?” How did they define the Leprechaun whom they state doesn't exist? (I quoted the article, substituting Leprechaun for God)

I do not lose any sleep over not answering such questions. If someone wants to feel they scored points on me when I don’t, enjoy. I have no motivation to spend the effort to believe in Leprechauns when there is no reason to. I don’t believe in Leprechauns… but if I saw one, I would be happy to have been wrong and I think the event would be amazing. It is the same with deities.

To speak of God properly…” Mr. Hart shows he is playing with loaded dice from his first statement. In this sense, he is no different from the varied other theists I have encountered in my life. From the Hell, Fire, and Brimstone preacher, to the pentecostal healer, to the prosperity pastor… they all want to tell me how to view God “properly”. Even believers whom I respect such as Borg, Spong, and Rohr have their own take on viewing God “properly”. In the end, I don’t think these people are telling me about God, they are telling me about themselves… but that is another thread.

I once had an ex-Mormon friend of mine who said, “Mormonism really is a beautiful belief structure… but you have to stay within their box of thinking to make it work.” Many of the arguments made for theism, or against atheism, have this kind of set-up… you have to accept certain premises in order for the argument to work. If someone tells me – “Here is what Atheism is!” and it doesn’t line up with how I think about my atheism, all of their arguments thereafter are meaningless. (I think the reverse is also true, so I rarely go after someone on their theism and stick to my problems with harmful dogma.)

It is similar to when my 2nd-grade students want to tell me a joke/riddle that starts with a question. When I answer in a way they had not anticipated, they start over and instruct me on how to answer “properly”.  In order for the joke/riddle to work, I have to give the right response. When it is over, they are gleeful with their joke/riddle telling skills and I play along, but it is a contrivance.

Any argument where I have to accept a very narrow (or very vague) premise from the get-go in order for the argument to work is a contrivance. Such arguments work for the already convinced, but to those outside the acceptance of the foundational premise, it simply doesn’t sell.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Holy Gwappo

Like Deadpool's buddy... don't count on me to not spill the beans.  I will sing like a canary.

I had a kidney stone that had to be retrieved. They put in a stent and removed it a week later.

Let me tell you... next time I'll keep the kidney stone.

I knew this was not going to be good.  The nurse said he was going to give me a numbing agent... but it shouldn't hurt.

And yet, it did.

So already this was following the pattern of a bladder scope they did on me a few years ago.  They too said the numbing agent wouldn't hurt.  They too said that the numbing agent should keep me from experiencing any real pain from the scope.  So when they told me today that I shouldn't feel much, I broke out in a cold sweat and fought the urge to run from the room.

And yep... it hurt.  Needle being pushed through your urethra hurt.

Apparently, other humans get numbed by the stuff they shoot up your willy... but me not so much.

I was breathing like a woman giving birth and blurting out uncontrolled gasps as that stent grabber pushed its way toward the target.  A procedure that should only be a few minutes seemed to be taking forever.

"We're past your bladder... almost there!" my doctor encouraged while the nurse told me to slow down my breathing.

Then it hit.  THE pain.  The most I have ever felt.

"HOLY GWAPPO!!!" I yelped.

"Holy gwappo??" the nurse and doc said in unison.

"I have no idea what that meant," I laughed painfully.  "Apparently years of elementary teaching filters out swearing even under the most ardent stress."

I have a feeling for the rest of the day I was known as the holy gwappo patient.  🙂

Anyway, that experience made me think of this scene from Deadpool.  I would totally be like TJ Miller's character.

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