“Religulous” — Irreconcilable Differences

About twenty years ago, I was chatting with a colleague of mine about another co-worker. My friend told me, “Jimmy thinks that every night while he is asleep that his soul rises out of his body and travels the world, only to return to his body by the time he wakes up in the morning.” He laughed uproariously and I joined him in laughter as I said, “Yeah, that’s funny. Kinda like that story about the guy who was born of a virgin and then got killed and rose up into the sky a couple of days later.” I kept laughing, my friend did not. He stopped dead in his tracks. I wasn’t deliberately laughing at his religion. I was making a point of how dare he ridicule the supernatural beliefs of someone else when his own belief system was far from scientific.

So, it’s no wonder that I was eager to see Bill Maher’s new film, “Religulous”, a deliberate melding of religious and ridiculous. Bill’s claim is that this film will not offend believers. Honestly, I doubt that. The film is at once mocking and devastatingly critical. Some highlights:

  • A “reformed” homosexual talks about how he helps gays fill the emptiness in them that makes them gay.
  • Bill visits what can only be called a religious amusement park complete with tourists snapping pictures of the re-enacted crucifixion.
  • We hear from a man who claims to be the second coming of Christ (and has lots of praying and paying worshipers following him).
  • We’re introduced to a stoner  priest whose only real religious tenet is getting high.

Bill does not play favorites in the film although he is a bit hard on Muslims. There are two very striking moments. During the crucifixion re-enactment, the camera pans up from “Jesus'” suffering body to the sky where a jet airliner is flying overhead. Later in the film we visit a holy Muslim site in Jerusalem where someone starts running a vacuum cleaner. Bill’s intent is clear — to contrast what he considers to be fantasy, with the scientific realities of the modern age.

The film’s tone changes from gently mocking at its start to darkly horrifying at its conclusion. Bill’s verdict is that “the end of days” will not come because of any divine decisions. It will come because deluded people with fairy tales in their heads will destroy our planet in some realization of misguided prophecy.  You leave the film either dismissing Maher as an intolerant non-believer or agreeing with him that our collective refusal to say “I don’t know” about the mysteries of life and death, will eventually get us all killed.

Most of all, however, you come away from the film understanding that faith really cannot be discussed or debated. Many of Maher’s interviews look like two people speaking totally different languages. With the exception of a few religious hucksters and a very funny and practical vatican priest, all of Bill’s interview subjects evidence an impenetrable barrier of blind faith. These folks can no more understand Bill’s skepticism than he can understand their belief in angels, prayer and speaking in tongues. (The “amusement park Jesus” did get Bill thinking though. He compared the father, son and holy ghost to the different manifestations of water: liquid, steam and ice. Bill was impressed with the analogy although he eventually dismissed it as hokum.)

As the film ends, amid pictures of suicide bombers, atomic explosions and utter chaos, Maher pleads with the 16% of the US that do not affiliate with a particular religion to rise up and put a stop to what he believes will bring an end to us all. Surely, Bill knows that no one in that 16% will make any more headway than he did. It is truly a case of irreconcilable differences.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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38 thoughts on ““Religulous” — Irreconcilable Differences

  1. I disagree that believers and unbelievers can’t talk … it depends on who you are. A movie like “Religulous” (based on what I’ve heard — I’ve not seen it) or a book like “The God Delusion” (which I have read) is not meant to promote conversation, it’s meant to mock believers. On the other hand, I’ve had some wonderful conversations about faith with atheists or members of other faiths.

    I don’t understand atheism. I do understand, though, why people don’t get my faith.

  2. Wickle, you have a point that two thoughtful people can discuss just about anything. And no doubt, Maher’s “attitude” definitely had to be a factor in his interviews.

    However, I think my point was more about persuasion than discussion. Maher’s film, to my way of thinking, makes it clear that literally-minded religious people will not be persuaded away from their beliefs nor will agnostics/atheists. There can be lots of good discussion, which nourishes the mind, but very little persuasion.

  3. That’s a good point; that people generally won’t be persuaded. However, It seems to me that the great majority of atheists have been persuaded. Most of us were taught some religious belief or other from childhood and eventually came to see it as having no basis in reality.

    It almost makes me hope for this rapture thing, just to get a bunch of the people holding us all back out of the way.

  4. Of course, Postman, a lot of us believers don’t feel the need to insult atheists at every opportunity. If you’re looking for the people “holding us all back,” a lot of them are secular.

  5. I have got to see this. Mike will be here next week. Maybe we’ll see it together.

    Also, Postman makes a good point about the large majority of us having been persuaded. I’m certainly in that category.

    Thanks for posting this, and for dropping me the link. 😀

  6. Well, I haven’t seen the movie and have no intentions of doing so, but I did hear an interview Teri Gross of Fresh Air did with Bill Maher and I can say this. The man did the movie with one purpose in mind. He was out to make fun of religious people, not openly discuss their faith. It was very clear from what he said and how he said it that he is very critical of religion and religious people. He was not trying to discuss anything but was just trying to ridicule religion.

  7. Lottie and Postman, I’m still not sure I can sign up for the “persuasion” argument, particularly where atheists are concerned. I mean when was the last time you saw a bunch of atheists knocking on doors proselytizing disbelief to people … trying to convert people to secularism? 🙂 I think most people who grow up in a religious household come to atheism either through a traumatic event in their own life or just an epiphany of sorts. I don’t think they get persuaded away from religion. (Lottie, from what I read in your blog on the subject, this seems to be the case with you.)

    Larry, you of course have every right to not see the film but your refusal to not even consider Maher’s perspective speaks to the communications logjam to which I alluded in my review. Yes, there is an element of ridicule in the movie, but there is also the sense that Maher has spent much of his life thinking about this. He does not come to his views flippantly. One of the commendable aspects to the film is just how well informed Maher seems to be. This is not a man who never read the bible. I submit, if you can stomach Maher’s “wise ass” approach to the subject you might come away from the film with a greater appreciation for your religion, especially to the degree that your religion does not resemble some of the more extreme examples highlighted by Maher.

  8. I think I’m with Larry on the film. I used to watch “Politically Incorrect” at times, and kind of liked Bill Maher. However, everything I’ve heard is that he’s just making fun of religious nuts, and by extension all believers.

    I might wind up seeing it sooner or later, for the same reason that I listen to Rush Limbaugh — so that I really know what I’m saying. But I can’t say I’m terribly enthusiastic about it.

    I don’t feel too guilty about that, either. I don’t know a lot of atheists who pick up C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” or other commentaries and such.

  9. R,

    I see what your point. I missed part of it before. I still have to say I was persuaded, at least to some degree, though. The account posted on my blog is a very condensed version written only to address the question of whether or not anger played a part in my becoming atheist. Maybe I’ll write a more detailed account one of these days.

  10. Just to clarify: when I said I see your point, I was talking about atheists proselytizing. Many (if not most) atheists I’ve ever encountered take serious issue with the assumption that a traumatic event caused them to become atheist. Even in my case, I very specifically pointed out that the event itself didn’t cause to me to become atheist, but that it lead to my being angry with God which means I was not atheist, by definition. The anger was the beginning of a lengthy processes which, over a period of time, lead to my becoming atheist. I think that’s very important distinction because far too many theists accuse atheists of “just being angry with God” when that simply is not the case.

    I really should write a more detailed post about my experience. I said in the beginning of the one that I have up now that I know how easily it can and will be misconstrued, so it may be time for some clarification.

  11. Rutherford,
    I understand what you’re saying about persuasion and you’re right in that no “Nada’s Witnesses” come round to draw us into the reality-based world; however, we are persuaded to some extent by arguments we hear or simply by our own inner thought processes.
    As for traumatic events – I can’t really give a worthwhile opinion on that. For me, unless you call spending my freshman year in college at Abilene Christian University – (shudder) – a traumatic experience, it was simply all about realizing how ridiculous and highly unlikely a sky-daddy is.

    Wickle,
    I saw Religulous hoping to hear something new from either side of the argument, and didn’t. Same-old, same-old. Although I did find bits of it quite amusing.
    Your charge of insults, though, is a little raw. Explain to me, if you can, why a president of the US can say that atheists shouldn’t be citizens? Why believers nearly constantly tell us we’re going to be roasted in Hell for all eternity while being intermitently buggered by demons with barbed peni; yet we can’t point out that all observable fact is against your beliefs without being called big meanies?

  12. however, we are persuaded to some extent by arguments we hear or simply by our own inner thought processes.

    Exactly! This was the case with me.

    There are many ways by which people are persuaded. It doesn’t necessarily require a knock at the door by someone on a mission to do so.

  13. Postman,

    why a president of the US can say that atheists shouldn’t be citizens?

    I’m not really familiar with that having happened. However, I will condemn it simply, whichever President said it. That statement is indefensible as a part of how the (secular) country is organized, and there’s no reason for it religiously, either.

    Why believers nearly constantly tell us we’re going to be roasted in Hell for all eternity while being intermitently buggered by demons with barbed peni; yet we can’t point out that all observable fact is against your beliefs

    I’m not familiar with this particular aspect of demonology, either. You’re not, perchance, making fun of any believers, are you?

    Seriously … actually, what you just said is fine by me. That’s a discussion of beliefs. You and I disagree about theology and I’d like to think that we could have a civilized conversation thereabout.

    Nor will I deny that there are believers who are as obnoxious. However, to refer to faith as a mental disorder, or to assume that atheism is automatically a mark of superior intelligence or logical faculty, is what I’m criticizing.

    Obviously, as in any such issue, we each think that the other is wrong. Nothing wrong with that. The question is whether we can do it with respect. From a Christian’s perspective, it should be done with love.

  14. OK, Now I’m really going to step in it. When I cited traumatic event and epiphany as the two major causes of “conversion” to atheism, I deliberately left out what I believe to be the number one reason. I did this quite frankly, to avoid a potential flame war. In the words of David Letterman, “The number one reason people become atheists is ….”

    Common sense. OK … now I know this comes off as rude. But what I’m trying to say is that for most atheists, agnostics and nullifideans (which is what I am) most of the substance of religious belief just does not stand up to any real scrutiny. To the non-believer mind, it is simply fairy tales. I prefer to consider them allegories. That is how I classify the Bible. A good book with lessons to be learned but no more factual than Aesop’s Fables.

    The one thing I share with Bill Maher is a willingness to say I don’t know. That is one reason I don’t classify myself as an atheist because I really don’t think I’m smart enough to tell anyone definitively how the world started or what happens after we die. I do believe there’s more than enough to worry about in “this life” not to spend lots of time worrying about the next one.

    So to Lottie and Postman, I confess to holding back a little since it is hard to call religion a fairy tale without really offending believers which is not my intent. My view of religion is mine and my attitude is, hey, whatever gets you through the night. As long as you’re not trying to sell me, or tell me I’m hellbound (which by the way, Wickle does not do … I have found him to be the most reasonable and yet demonstrative Christian in the WordPress Political Bloggers Alliance) then I have no problems with you whatsoever.

  15. Rutherford, I appreciate what you’re saying, but the use of the term “fairy tales” doesn’t really bother me, as I think about it. I know that that’s how non-believers feel about it, and saying so doesn’t bother me. I reject lots of beliefs, and consider them to be on about the level of a fairy tale. I don’t usually word it that way, but that’s just me. Stating what you believe has to be in-bounds, or else we can’t have the conversation.

    Also, the “common sense” line doesn’t bother me. I actually agree with you. Faith requires getting past human logic. An atheist sees that as a bad thing, or at least an unnecessary thing; I see it as a gift I’ve been given (through no merit of my own, by the way).

    I could elaborate Biblically, but I’ll spare you.

  16. I’d be curious to know how Wickle (or anyone else who would care to contribute) feels about the fundamental driver of religion.

    Is the fundamental driver how do we live the best life we can or is it more about grappling with the mystery of death?

    I believe moral instruction can come from many sources. It’s one reason I get my dander up a bit when some religious folks say “how can you not take your daughter to church? Where will she get her morals?” So religion has no pull for me when it comes to living my life.

    On the other hand, religion has a strong pull for me when it comes to death. While every logical piece of evidence tells me that when you die it’s over, there’s nothing after that, in the same breath I cannot fathom “nothingness”. Unlike the average animal who operates primarily on instinct, we humans have “an awareness of self”. We have a concept of what it is “to exist.” It’s damn hard (and not a little frightening) to imagine the total void that I imagine death to be. So from that perspective, religion holds the promise that there is something after this. It also means that my loved ones lives weren’t just flashes in the pan. That my two grandmothers, my aunt and my own mother are somewhere out there in some form. Very tempting idea.

    For the time being I’m content to believe that this is it. There is no second act. For some strange reason, unlike a chair or a rock, we are all animated for a very short time and then it’s over. When my time comes, I’m certainly ready to be surprised by some better alternative outcome. 🙂

  17. Wickle,

    You have every right and reason to criticize anyone who does assume atheism to be a mark of higher intelligence. However, while I’m sure there are some who do, most don’t, in my experience. So I think you’re kind of stabbing a sack of straw in this instance.
    Of course, I probably shouldn’t talk, as I tend to overstate things for illustrative purposes, (vis. barbed penii, etc.)
    It may be that I’m a little cranky this morning due to weather and lack of tea, but you seem to imply that only Christians can discuss the issue with finer feelings. As Rutherford pointed out, we get touchy when it seems people are saying that we’re incapable of morality. Love, respect, etc. go hand-in-hand with that.
    Perhaps this is one of, if not the greatest, wall between believers and non-believers. We tend to think of you, as a group, as refusing to use your cognitive faculties and you tend to think of us, as a group, as incapable of finer feelings. One on one this doesn’t happen once we’ve learned even a little about each other. yet when we speak of “believers” and “non-believers” we all fall into the lazy habit of lumping everyone together.
    I have an old friend whom I dearly love, but with whom I cannot speak of religion at all. She holds beliefs that I think are so ludicrously beyond the pale, (rapture, etc.), and which are enextricably entwined with her political beliefs that politics is right out, too. I find myself measuring every believer by that yardstick sometimes, though I know I shouldn’t.
    So, all that to say, I’m happy to have civilized conversation with you – even if I don’t think either of us is going to budge the other.

  18. Rutherford, thank you for stopping by my blog, and for adding me to your blogroll–I’ve added you to mine as well.

    I’m a hardcore atheist myself, so yes, I couldn’t wait to see Religulous. I came away unimpressed, to be honest. I expected more?, or maybe funnier?, or maybe not cringing so much, like in the moments when he talked to religious folks like they were stupid. “Of course, I don’t believe that– I’m not ten years old!” Maher said, or something to that effect, to the Jew-turned-Christian shop owner.

    I am a true atheist, or what they call the “strong” variety, BUT I have many dear Christian and Jewish friends, and I’m constantly tip-toeing around the religion topic with them. I’ve been meaning to write about religion myself whenever I get the chance. It’s frustrating to me, that atheists have no real safe haven, whereas Christians have their churches, Buddhists have temples, etc. I refrain from calling religion
    “stupid,” even though that’s not far from what I actually believe, in order not to hurt the feelings of my devout friends. I guess I’m just so used to doing that, that I cringed when Maher blatantly talked to some of the interviewees like they’re stupid. Maybe that really needs to happen, though. Maybe atheists have been holding back for far too long, while we allow Christians to control our government(!) and damn us all to hell…

    This is an excellent review of the film, by the way. Thank you for putting it out there, and opening up the floor for discussion.

  19. Tactic for demonstrating that you’re not interested in actual conversation. Go out on the street, pull a Christian out of the crowd, pile a lot of questions requiring particular technical knowledge about a certain topic, for example Mithra, and then ridicule them for not knowing what you’re talking about.

    Rinse.

    Repeat.

    Maher did not ever demonstrate a willingness to engage anyone with the requisite specialist knowledge to answer his challenges.

    As for his claims that religion will be the death knell of everything? As Vox Day pointed out, historically religion has been responsible for about 7% of wars (source Phillips and Axelrod, Encyclopedia of Wars) meanwhile in the twentieth century atheistic regimes were responsible for killing in the region of 150 million people (as a low estimate).* Coincidentally in New Zealand atheists are three times as likely as Christians to end up in prison.

    *Lest anyone be tempted to respond with the “no true atheist fallacy”** it should be pointed out that the various forms of communistic ideology did differ sufficiently from each other that their rejection of religion (and their willingness to kill anyone who dissented) was all they had in common.

    Bertrand Russel was convinced that for mankind to progress then the barbarism of the Bolsheviks would have to be reenacted in in the west.

    **”No atheist would be a mass murderer.”
    “Point to the 58% of atheistic regimes that were indeed mass murderers.”
    “No true atheist would be a mass murderer.”

    Compare the atheist death toll over a mere century to the Spanish Inquisition (a body atheists salivate over) over 350 years. Around 3000 people were executed over that entire period.

    It’s pretty obvious why Christians can’t converse with atheists. We like facts, atheists like self delusion.

  20. Jenny, glad you found the blog. As you look around you’ll see that I don’t usually tackle religion but I was eager to see Religulous and in light of our country’s obsession with “Islamic extremism”, I thought a review would be a good idea.

    It’s funny that you mention atheists having no safe haven. Part of what concerns me about organized religion are the churches, temples, synagogues, etc. It’s the “group-think” that troubles me quite a lot. If a bunch of atheists gathered together regularly, I’d probably just classify them as another religion. 🙂 Still I see your point about non-believers lacking a “support group”.

    Since I watch Bill Maher on HBO every week, the film delivered pretty much what I expected except for Bill being better versed on religious doctrine than I expected. He comes to his “disrespect” from a well informed perspective. I think some of that “stupid” vibe you got from the film comes from Maher expressing the frustration that a lot of non-believers feel when they are confronted with grown men and women talking about
    Eve coming from Adam’s rib, etc. We’re getting a pretty scary dose of this in the current election where Sarah Palin and much of her congregation truly believe that all the saved folks will end up in Alaska.

    In any case, I’m rambling ‘cos it’s past my bedtime. 🙂 I think we’ve achieved a lot in this discussion thread in that no one has yet accused anyone else of being anti-American. 🙂 For that, one has to visit the Chamber.

  21. Postman –

    Fair enough. The use of the terms “believer” and “non-believer” are, necessarily, too vague. Obviously, there are different groups within each general category. I certainly don’t want to be lumped in with “Joel’s Army,” and the gulf between Nietzche and Dawkins is huge.

    For the record, I am a Creationist and I believe that Eve was formed from Adam’s rib. To be perfectly honest, part of me doesn’t get why that’s harder to believe than that random molecules just happened to get together and happened to form into nucleotides and proteins, then happened to turn sentient.

    The ultimate difference, of course, is belief in God. Since I believe in an omnipotent God, it doesn’t make sense for Him not to have created humanity. Without that belief in place first, of course you wouldn’t believe in that kind of creation. That’s what the other part of me gets.

    I don’t think anyone has been converted to Christianity by way of Creationism.

    I also agree with Rutherford about Palin’s church support. A lot of that is scary.

  22. It’s pretty obvious why Christians can’t converse with atheists. We like facts, atheists like self delusion.

    That’s rich coming from someone who believes in an invisible sky daddy along with a slew of other things that require the complete denial of facts and dismissal of reason.

    Of course, the breakdown in communication couldn’t possibly be, even partly, because of Christians like you who get a kick of lumping atheists together as criminals, mass murderers and war-mongers. No, that just fosters all kinds of open dialogue.

    And this probably doesn’t have anything to do with the inability or unwillingness to communicate either, but I tend not to take too seriously, someone who spews claims and statistics without citing sources that I can examine for myself (links are customary in this setting).

    Thanks for getting the conversation started.

  23. Hi again Rutherford, I don’t usually discuss religion myself, although I’m new to blogging and I do intend to bring up the topic sooner or later. I wouldn’t so much as want an atheist congregation-of-sorts(!), but it seems that I am always a quiet minority among religious folk who look upon me as someone who is simply trying to ‘rebel’ and have ‘nothing to believe in.’ It’s very difficult to have rational discussions with my Christian and Jewish friends without tearing down the foundation of everything they’ve believed in, so instead, I let them “win.” And perhaps… my problem is that I’m tired of that!! Giving in, that is, and not pursuing the issue for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. My reasons… our reasoning and our logic, would tear apart everything they’ve ever known… so, I’ve chosen to be “kind/respectful” rather than “honest,” throughout my adult life. It’s frustrating. Anyway, I’m rambling too! Thanks again for this great review of the film.

  24. Jason, Jason, Jason …. good googly moogly! Where to begin?

    Well Lottie (thanks Lottie) took care of one item for me. You cite atheists’ rather poor record with respect to “peace on Earth” but you don’t give us anywhere to learn more. All your stats were news to me which is not to say they’re wrong but I’d like to see where you got them.

    Maher did not ever demonstrate a willingness to engage anyone with the requisite specialist knowledge to answer his challenges.

    OK, I assume from this comment, you saw the film? I ask because loads of Christians decried “The Passion of the Christ” without ever having seen it. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you did indeed see “Religulous”. Could you please explain to me what requisite knowledge is required to answer the question, “Do you really think Noah put two of every animal on an arc?” I would submit there is no requisite knowledge required other than a belief in a God that can create a world in which such unlikely things happen. That is a leap of faith that religious people are willing to make, and non-believers are not. I assure you, if Maher had restricted his interviews to biblical scholars, the results would not have been much different.

    As an aside, if you’ve ever read “Inherit the Wind” or studied the Scopes Monkey Trial upon which the play was based, you’d know how futile it is for a secular individual (Clarence Darrow) to cross examine a religious one (William Jennings Bryan) on the “facts” of the matter. Bryan ended up looking foolish not because his beliefs were foolish but because his beliefs were based on faith, which cannot be used in an argument of science. The two modes of thought, faith and science, exist on two different planes.

    The problem with bringing communism into the discussion is that many of the regimes you’re thinking about restricted the free practice of religion. That is, I believe, despicable. That is not America. And so far, I have not seen anyone in this discussion advocate the restriction of religious practice. I don’t think religion belongs in our politics but that is a different story.As long as I’m not coerced into being religious, those who are religious can do what they please.

    Finally this tit-for-tat approach saying that “well YOU atheists killed lots of people so you can’t talk about our evil deeds” just doesn’t fly. If some religious folks weren’t so hung up on having the “only” answer … the only God … and the need to make everyone else share that belief even at gunpoint if necessary, there wouldn’t be a problem. One of the more fascinating parts of “Religulous” that I left out of my review was the idea that Christianity isn’t even “original”. It borrows lots of ideas from religions that preceded it, including the notion of a messiah. So again, this approach that “my God is the only true God” causes religious folks a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

    I still say the best philosophy is live and let live so long as no one is getting hurt in the process. If you want to believe in Jesus and Tom Cruise wants to believe in aliens and I want to believe in myself and the power of positive thinking, so long as we don’t hurt each other, what’s the harm?

  25. Speaking of religious ideas not being original, there’s an excellent documentary that deals with just that. It’s called “The God Who Wasn’t There” – http://www.thegodmovie.com/ – and covers the subject quite thoroughly.

    Also as an aside, Rutherford, I played the Scopes character in “Inherit The Wind” some years ago and every performance the actor playing Darrow showed a rock to someone playing an expert in the courtroom, purely as stage business, and whispered “How old would you say this rock is?” One night, toward the end of the run, the expert whispered back, “It couldn’t possibly be more than 6,000 years old.”
    It caused a slight hiccup in the action while Darrow had to keep himself from laughing.

  26. Postman:

    Thanks for that link! I watched the trailer and then found a ten minute clip on YouTube. Awesome! I’m going to post about it on my blog tomorrow.

  27. Jason,

    “Self-delusion”?

    First of all, your comment could easily be reversed by atheists, and it really isn’t constructive. Jesus didn’t make a habit of insulting people, except the religious leaders. I think that that’s a model we should emulate. Don’t be a Pharisee.

    … or a jackass.

  28. Timotheus,
    What a most excellent wit you have. Perhaps you could drive home your rapiere-like humour by adding that we are obviously terrorist-sympathizing socialists. Encore!

  29. It caused a slight hiccup in the action while Darrow had to keep himself from laughing.

    Postman, despite the actor’s urge to guffaw, one of the admirable qualities of “Inherit the Wind” was that ultimately the Darrow character had compassion for the Bryan character. If you recall, the character, patterned after H:L Mencken I believe, gloated about Bryan’s humiliation and Darrow’s character scolds him for it. Darrow appreciated the sincerity of Bryans beliefs, even though he had to destroy him on the stand in order to defend his client.

    I think we do much better in conversation with believers when we avoid mocking at all costs. Even I was slightly guilty of this in my answer to Jason where I used the Noah’s Arc example. We walk a fine line in this discussion between expressing our disbelief while still being respectful. I think that is the dilemma that Jenny of Culturepress finds herself in. She wants to be more expressive about her atheism but does not wish to offend. It’s a tough tightrope to walk.

  30. I know this discussion thread ran out of steam a while ago but I stumbled upon the following quote by a 19th century French author (Jules Renard) and I got quite a kick out of it. For any of you who might be subscribing to the comments section of this entry, here it is.

    “I don’t know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn’t.”

  31. “I don’t know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn’t.”- Jules Renard 19th century

    “Uh oh.”- Jules Renard, March 22, 1910

  32. LOL

    Timotheus, I doubt Jules said this right before he died but I bet you think his soul said it immediately afterward. Then again, wouldn’t that suggest Jules was about to meet up with an ego-centric vengeful God?

  33. Rutherford,

    No, it suggests that he met with the God who sent His son to die for him. Why do you suppose that Jules disliked this portion of God’s reputation?

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