The Bible-Thumping Know-Nothing Visits the University

Today, as I followed a policeman checking on a crowd gathering around the central fountain of my university, I noticed a man standing on the elevated edge of the fountain with a large placard, and I began recognizing some words sewn all over his black jacket. The first ones I could read were on his back, and were written in large yellow block letters: “FEAR GOD.” I thought, “Oh, great – another loud-mouthed religious fanatic.” All over this man’s jacket were religious slogans. His sign was more offensive (it condemned a diverse range of people such as lesbians, “Jesus mockers,” “money lovers,” “sports nuts,” “sex addicts,” and “pot-smoking little devils”).

The crowd was mostly making a joke out of him, mocking him, and hurling obscenities at him. Some others in the crowd were either laughing or starring dumbfounded at the man’s dogmatism. The hardest thing for me to watch was moderate Christians attacking his arguments with their moderate interpretation of the Bible. One does not solve the problem of religious fractures in our world with more religion, which is exactly what one Christian girl did. She got the support of the crowd in quieting the man so she could speak. What followed was a wishy-washy, Born-again Christian sermon interspersed with “God exists!” and “God is real!” (exclamations which, I must admit, sounded very childish and desperate). After her desperate pleas that people acknowledge Jesus as their “Savior,” she led a prayer that went something like, “Jesus, you are my Savior, my Protector…walk with me. Amen.” I heard many low whispers repeat her prayer, and I was in shock that she had just created a new clutch of Born-Again Christians. Had she not been there, maybe more people would have questioned or eroded their faith by seeing this know-nothing spout his breathtakingly arrogant and dogmatic mind-rot. The man supported her speech, but then stated that she was partially right about what the Bible said (this is not surprising because he is much more radical than her).

Throughout this episode of religious stupidity, my friends and I tried using paradoxes and Biblical contradictions on him to expose the weaknesses in his radical creed for all to see. However, we had foolishly assumed that we could use logic, reason, and evidence on him. I gave him the problems of theodicy, as stated by Socrates and Epicurus, which he ignored. I futilely recommended him to read Judges 1:19. And, when he loudly proclaimed the Earth was 6,000 years old, I told him that was 1,000 years after the Sumerians invented glue. These last two cases are the most amusing to me.

When an appeal to reason failed (which consisted of explaining to him that he could see biological evolution in action by simply (1) applying an antibiotic to bacteria, which were previously exposed to a plasmid that encodes for resistance to the antibiotic, and (2) observing that the only bacteria alive and reproducing after a certain time were the same ones that inserted the plasmid into their DNA), I tried using basic logic on him.

To get the man to reject God’s omnipotence, I first asked him whether he believed God is omnipotent. He said, “Why are you asking?” I said, “I just want to know.” “Yes,” he said. Immediately I countered, “Read Judges 1:19.” Suddenly, I was in shock with my mouth agape as he yelled, “But, He can choose to be not omnipotent!” He did not realize that it is impossible for God to choose to revoke His omnipotence. Omnipotence, first of all, is a contradictory attribute. One only needs to ask, “Can God make a taco so spicy even He cannot eat it?” If yes, then He is not omnipotent. If no, He is still not omnipotent. Therefore, omnipotence is a contradictory condition. The man responded with something like: if God was omnipotent, he would be too powerful for Creation to handle all that power, and it would be destroyed. He totally ignored his violation of the Laws of Thought (a label that is misleading because they are not actually laws about the way we think; they are just laws that, when we think in accordance with them, we think truly.) Some of the Laws of Thought are: (1) Whatever is, is. (2) Nothing cannot both be and not be. (3) Everything must either be or not be. These are simple, basic self-evident logical principles, yet the man completely violated them when he said he believed God to be omnipotent, and that God could “choose” to be not omnipotent.

To the Sumerian argument, he spouted some false history (similar to the myths used by the Nazi’s in their Nazi Primer) that the Hebrews intermarried with other people to form the Sumerians. Did he forget that the reason students learn about the Sumerians first is because they are considered to be the first civilization? After that, students learn about the Akkadians and Sargon, who made the first recorded empire (incidentally by conquering the Sumerians). I did not even mention ancient Chinese civilization. According to the man (with “ten years of science education”), the Earth was curiously created after the start of recorded history.

Reflecting on this know-nothing’s bigoted, anti-rational, and anti-intellectual behavior and speech, I reinforced an important lesson in my mind: once the tethers of reason and evidence have been cut, one is lost in a sea of delusions. There is little hope that one will once again come into firm contact with reality, unless it rudely collides with the person through a sudden catastrophe. Bertrand Russell wisely opined that the reason fanatics will always fail is because either what they aim for is impossible, or what they aim for is possible, but they are too unscientific to use the right means to achieve the aim, or (a third possibility) they rouse the hostility of those they intended to coerce. I hope that this man is saved from his delusion (something I highly doubt will happen), that more people come to see what a miserable sham his belief system is, and that more people are inspired to spread the gospel of reason rather than his gospel of hopeless inanity.

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~ by jsacc001 on December 3, 2008.

2 Responses to “The Bible-Thumping Know-Nothing Visits the University”

  1. Man, you should try what I do. You can’t fight rampant illogic with logic… if logic worked on these people, then they would not be in the sad position they’re in. You have to fight them on an equal front.

    I have chosen volume. I like to get right next to them and drown them out with song. My personal favorite is singing “Nowhere Man” by the Beatles at the top of my lungs.

    I’m serious, get a group of like 4 people together and give it a shot

  2. Love your weblog.

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