Thursday, March 16, 2017

My Wildest Fantasies Are Theological Discussions

     Hey there, stay-at-home mom.
     Are you both intellectually unstimulated and looking to hone your feminism skills?
     Are you both filled with righteous indignation and really obnoxious?
     Guess what:
     What I recommend is fighting with people in Facebook comments.

     Ha, ha. Just kidding; I would not recommend it to anyone. While I like arguing with people on Facebook, we all have heard stories about the abuse that goes on in Internet comments, and I don't want you to sue me, so don't do it. As for me, I primarily argue with my friends who are thoughtful, polite and awesome, despite being WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!! Engaging in debates online I have learned quite a bit from my comment-section opponents, and have had people tell me that they also have learned things from me.
     One argument I find myself in with some regularity is the wisdom over the value and or truth held within religion, or as it is more commonly known in comment section, "Religious People Are Bigoted Backwards Morons Who Inflict Suffering On Others". These kind of Facebook debates are some of my favorites because they are a rare opportunity for me to engage in philosophical discussion. This could almost never happen in my off-line life. Though my regular companions are certainly thoughtful and philosophically astute, neither Amani nor Warren have a lot of experience with words more than three syllables, so the depth of our discussion is fairly limited. Essentially, Facebook debates are a way to engage in a thought provoking theological conversation that doesn't devolve into requests for grapes.
     This is why I want to debate Ricky Gervais. Well, I don't want to debate the ACTUAL Ricky Gervais, because he seems descend fairly quickly into insults when debating theists, but I do want to debate the imaginary Ricky Gervais that has been living in my head since I saw the real Ricky Gervais debate Steven Colbert on the existence of God. The good news is that I can! In fact, I have been debating pretend-Ricky-Gervais all day.

This is how it would go:

Gervais: “If we take something like any fiction, any holy book, and destroyed it, in a thousand years’ time that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and every fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back, because all the same tests would be the same result.”  (That part's not imaginary. That's how Gervais ended his debate with Colbert, with congratulations from both the audience and Colbert).

Me: Sure, I think a lot of people think that way: religion is flighty and trivial, and science is irrefutable and permanent. However, history would suggest that the opposite. One thousand years ago, even 5,000 years ago, there was religion and it is still very much the same: forces beyond the comprehension of man witnessed through the elements of nature and humanity; the essentials of kindness, gratitude, justice, and sacrifice; the connection between music, people and the divine: the importance of quite reflection. It seems to me that the essential elements are all there. On the other hand, just 500 years ago, people were pretty sure that sickness was a result of imbalanced humors. One thousand years ago, people thought the sun went around the Earth. Science is changing minute to minute. A very large part of what society accepts as scientific "truth" is the result of greed, political agenda, bias, human error, or ignorance. Both religion and science are developed by humans, and humans mess up a lot. That is guaranteed to be the case in 1,000 years as well.

Gervais: Wow! What a well thought out argument. Given that I said that thing about fiction and textbooks in February and it is now the middle of March, your answer was worth the wait. You have given me a new perspective on religion.

Me: Yes, I have that effect on people.

Gervais: You should be the one on Colbert. Let's go right now!

Me: Hooray!

Then I meet Colbert and he and I high-five the whole interview and fly off into the clouds in his hot rod.


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