Monday, September 22, 2008


There are so many idiots out there, such as Bill Maher, who take scripture literally, and then attack it for being so literal. As such, when he attacks religion, he is really attacking his own stupidity.
--Gagdad Bob

Don't all Christian churches teach that what the Bible literally says about the nature of Jesus and his purpose on earth is literally and not simply metaphorically true? If so, how is Bill Maher the "barbaric idiot" Gagdad says he is when he accurately characterizes the teachings of institutional Christianity and the beliefs of its members about Jesus?

I agree that there may be something "barbaric" about Maher's blatant mockery of Christian teachings. But don't we find the same "barbarity" in Gagdad's mocking attacks on atheists such as Maher and on Muslims? However, doesn't the barbarity lie not in the criticism of false or dubious beliefs per se, but in the disrespectful if not hateful treatment of the "children of God" who hold them? And when Gagdad disparages another for perpetrating the same misdeeds of which he himself is guilty, doesn't he compound his own barbarity with hypocrisy?


Tom said...

There are churches -- and to a greater extent, folks in the pews -- who are casual about Biblical teachings. Most express faith in Genesis yet believe in dinosaurs, for example.

But at the Baptist mission where I'm staying, literalness is the rule. Funny thing is that what the Bible means is contentious, especially in this new age of scholarship on the gnostic books that didn't make the cut with the Nicene Creed [i.e., books that aren't at least vaguely amenable to the only book in the New Testament that says that Jesus is divine, that mess the Gospel of John]

Gagdad Bob has slipped off his perch, again. Maher is right in mocking what the many right-wing nutjob Christians believe, and by so doing properly calling into question the sanity of casual Christians who hang onto threads of belief because, like Pascual, they want at least a lotto-longshot chance of getting a mansion in heaven instead of being boiled in a cauldron for all eternity.

lance said...

Not all Christian churches believe in a literal translation of the bible. It is easy for someone like Maher to pick one easy target and really literally translating the bible is a super easy and simple target. He would impress me if he would go after perhaps a harder subject. To attack someone because they believe in a literal 7 day creation story is just silly and really pointless.

Nagarjuna said...

As I said before, Bob doesn't want me to "take it to" him over there, and, out of respect for his wishes, I question or disagree with him here. And when I do, he sees it and sometimes comments here under another name. Rest assured that I didn't stop posting there because I felt intimidated or shown up by Bob and his fellow "Coons."

Now, of course, you might say that if this is true, it's because I'm too stupid to know when people are "mopping the floor" with me. Maybe I am. Maybe Bob's right and I'm just an out-and-out "idiot" or, at least, "moron." He doesn't seem to be able to make up his mind which.

But, as always, you have an open invitation to show me just how moronic, stoopid, or idiotic I am or my opinions are. Funny thing is, you never do it.

I ask you to cite even one example of where they "mopped the floor" with me over there. Let's examine this example together and discuss it. Let's see if your allegation holds up. Or, if that's too much of a strain for you, you can explain to me how my "Hypocrisy" post is wrong.

And let me make it clear that you are now required to back up your allegations against me with examples. If you fail to do so, not only will you no longer be allowed to comment here, but your previous comments will ALL be expunged. It seems that someone must step up and impose some discipline on your unruly nature.

So, come on "Todd," explain to me how my "Hypocrisy" post is wrong, or cite an example of where Bob and his fellow Coons "mopped the floor" with me over there, or you're history, my boy. Or is it girl? :-)

Nagarjuna said...

I agree with you that not all Christian churches teach that the entire Bible should be interpreted literally. But you can you name me one Christian church that teaches that the Gospel accounts of Jesus as the unique human incarnation of God sent here to redeem us with his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection are not literally true, whatever additional metaphorical meaning they might have?

Nagarjuna said...

I don't know of any Christians worthy of the label who aren't fundamentalists in how they view the historicity, nature, and earthly purpose of Jesus, although some may not be as fundamentalistic about all aspects of the Bible as are your friends at the Mission. And it is this fundamentalistic reading of the Gospels and related stories about Jesus shared, so far as I can tell, by virtually all Christians that Maher was mocking.

Now, I happen to think that he shouldn't mock these beliefs. But I think that substantive criticism is very much in order and that the Christian belief in Jesus provides the shakiest foundation for the entire theological and institutional edifice built upon it.

I also believe that Gagdad Bob is a brilliant and learned fool with an unfortunate inclination toward hypocrisy. But I believe that he can do better, and, perhaps, someday he will.

Tom said...

I agree that most pew sitters are orthodox in what the say they believe, but most are casual in their beliefs, accepting contridictions in the totality of what they believe. For example, they hail both science and Christianity and gloss over, in their own minds, the conflicts between the two.

While Maher's words are "mocking" -- Maher is a mocker, afterall -- what he says tautly points to absurdities in orthodox belief. It's fair game to take on the Fundies, and a worthy effort.

Maher's belief set probably has absurdities of its own. Maher is likely a physicalist with no sound theory to explain the experience of consciousness.

Nagarjuna said...

Sorry, Todd. No more comments posted from you unless and until you meet my challenge with some beef. Where's the beef?

Nagarjuna said...

Tom, you raise an interesting question for me. You say, in effect, that Maher is in the business of mocking things that deserve to be mocked, and that this can be a good way to expose "absurdities."

I admit that I enjoy Maher's mockery. But I wonder what mocking people's religious beliefs achieves. Does it help them or alienate them from potential insight? Does it help the mocker and those who revel in his mockery, or does it strengthen the ugliest parts of their nature? When we mock someone, do we move closer to him and him to us in mutual empathy and lovingkindness, or do we grow ever further apart in mutual distrust, hostility, and scorn?

If fundamentalistic religious beliefs are absurd, are there better ways than mockery to expose their absurdity?