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« We Must Have Hit the Skeptical Jackpot! The RantsSite Updates and Rant Notification Warning »

Lore Notices the Little Things
2005.12.13 (Tue) 15:46

We just read the new Lore Brand Comics strip over on Slumbering Lungfish, which deals with a phenomenon that we've written about before — namely, how people provide answers in polls that are extraordinarily illogical, even within the already illogical framework of their faith-based beliefs. Apparently using the 2004 Newsweek poll that we came across a while back, Lore displays the same astonishment that we felt when we saw the statistics.

Go read the strip now.

Basically, while 82% of people said that they believed that Jesus was the Son of God, only 67% said that they believed in the Virgin Birth. So, if he was the Son of God, but there was no Virgin Birth, what the hell happened? Lore, of course, suggests the answer.

Our example used the same set of statistics, but took into account the fact that the respondents were further broken down into Christian and Non-Christian categories. The anomalies that this distinction revealed were quite shocking. As we said at the time:

35% of those who profess themselves to be Non-Christians claim to believe that Jesus was the son of God? Hello. Newsflash, people — if you believe that Jesus was the son of God, then you are a Christian. That is basically the definition of being a Christian. What the hell do you think you are if not a Christian? We can't even fathom this...

To add to this shock, 24% of these "Non-Christians" also believe in the story of Christmas, à la Linus in "A Charlie Brown Christmas", complete with the virgin birth, the manger, the wise men, the myrrh, the star, the angels, the shepherds — all of it!! If you believe this tale is literal truth, then YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN — go find yourself a crucifix.

Who exactly are these people, and what the fuck is wrong with them? Their answers show quite clearly that not only are they not applying critical thinking to their basic beliefs, they're also not even bothering to try reconciling one element of their belief system with another (most likely because they are totally unaware of the disjunction). To say that they do believe Jesus is the Son of God, but that they don't believe in the Virgin Birth...well, as Lore suggests, that is saying that they think God and Mary shared an extramarital horizontal mambo one evening, possibly involving a lulav, an etrog, and some manna (God's pretty kinky). Yet if you asked them straight up if they believed that, they would almost certainly say no. Similarly, to say that they are not Christians but they do believe in the entire story of the birth of Jesus — the foundation of Christianity — just makes no sense at all. They just aren't thinking. We know, that isn't a shock to most of our readers, but every time we come across such staggering stupidity, we can't help but gawk a little — you know, like passing by a car wreck or a burning building, or, in this case, a car that crashed into a burning building and blew up.


— • —
[  Filed under: % Religion  ]

Comments (11)

The Rev. Schmitt., 2005.12.14 (Wed) 05:15 [Link] »

There's a simple answer to the seeming paradox: a hitherto unknown wealth of satanists in the US.

...Well alright, the Christ-believing God-hating satanists have never really existed, despite the paranoid dreams of certain churches - but a guy can dream.

The reverse situation appears to exist in Britain - a substantial proportion of Christians who don't believe in God. People are nuts.

-The Rev. Schmitt.



The Rev. Schmitt., 2005.12.14 (Wed) 05:18 [Link] »

There's a simple answer to the seeming paradox: a hitherto unknown wealth of satanists in the US.

...Well alright, the Christ-believing God-hating satanists have never really existed, despite the paranoid dreams of certain churches - but a guy can dream.

The reverse situation appears to exist in Britain - a substantial proportion of Christians who don't believe in God. People are nuts.

-The Rev. Schmitt.



The Rev. Schmitt., 2005.12.14 (Wed) 05:29 [Link] »

Oh, fee. My apologies for the double post - I was certain I only pressed 'post' once. I have got to stop doing that.



MBains, 2005.12.15 (Thu) 12:25 [Link] »

I don't know guys... I always thought Mary left God for Joseph cuz the Big G wasn't kinky enough! Brutal, sure. But a sweet li'l jewish girl like her (what was she? 14? 15? when she had the baby J?) would most likely be less into rape and domination, YHWY's specialties, than she would be into the little toys good ol' Joe could make for her.

Cherry Mistmas!



ed, 2005.12.16 (Fri) 01:07 [Link] »

This doesn't surprise me at all...my parents (lovely people) are of the 'there probably is no god, but we'll pay lip service to the tenets of christianity' ilk. They were both raised in very religious households, but haven't been to church in years. Nevertheless, when my niece was born, we had to have a full xian baptism. I don't know why. They both (if pressed) believe in an historical christ, but I don't think they buy into the supernatural myth about him. I think it comes down to the simple fact that people don't want to question their unquestioning beliefs...it's sort of the television joke, really. They don't know how it woks, but they need it to. And I suppose it can be quite scary to claim that your parents are simply deluded and wrong...one wonders what Copernicus' or Galileo's parents thoughts of his work...



The Two Percent Company, 2005.12.16 (Fri) 22:36 [Link] »

Rev. Schmitt: Sure, we know about segmenting beliefs, and we know that it can lead to some really odd logical contradictions, but it still blows our minds when we see it in action. And no problem on the double post — it happens to the best of us.

MBains: Great — now we can't stop picturing Mary wearing a thong and holding a dildo and a riding crop. That little vixen.

Ed: No explanation necessary, man. We know exactly what you mean. In fact, you could be describing most of our parents as well (and the recent baptism of one of our nephews). It always seems odd to us that people who are clearly not at all interested in being religious (going to services, praying, and so forth) and who clearly don't buy into 99% of the silly beliefs, still cling in some way to the vestiges of their faith. We can only assume that it has to do with their upbringing — that it's more cultural and habitual than it is religious. We also don't challenge our parents on their sparse but lingering religious beliefs (though we often challenge them on their political beliefs). They know that we're atheists, though they sometimes even try to deny that.



glintir, 2005.12.20 (Tue) 15:49 [Link] »

Um.. I think Rev. Schmitt has worked out the paradox. American non christians believe in Jesus as lord. And British christians don't.

Now if we add up the numbers of both groups I'm sure we'll find that the numbers are nearly equal. This means that the non-christians in the U.S. are holding onto the British faith so they don't spend it foolishly in casinos.

Very clear. Don't know why you all didn't see it before.



The Rev. Schmitt., 2005.12.20 (Tue) 17:53 [Link] »

Indeed glintir, I wish I'd suggested it myself.

(Oh, Heavens - it's a bit late in the evening for facetiousness. I pointed out the prevalence of nontheistic Christians in Britain as a mirror for the same kind of internally inconsistent beliefs, not because I thought they somehow served as an explanation.)



farang, 2006.01.01 (Sun) 19:34 [Link] »

I enjoyed the metaphor of "stopping and gawking" when ever you encounter this level of uncritical thinking.

With a virtually unlimited supply of ignorant Americans, I now know who is always "backing up the traffic."



Jurjen, 2006.07.18 (Tue) 07:48 [Link] »

Seriously late to this discussion, but I do feel the need to point out that the "Virgin Birth" is not the same as the "Immaculate Conception." Of course, that means that 67% of respondents believed it's somehow possible for a baby to pass through a birth canal while leaving the mother's hymen intact, which is not much of an improvement.



The Two Percent Company, 2006.07.18 (Tue) 16:27 [Link] »

Jurjen,

We'll preface this by pointing out that the ins and outs of Catholic dogma aren't usually things that we dwell on, even though (or perhaps because) one of our members was raised Catholic. That said, we should probably lay out what the two terms in question mean, not because we think you misunderstood them (frankly, we don't put much stock in anyone's ability to correctly parse Catholic dogma in the first place), but just to make sure that everybody's got those wacky Christian definitions straight.

The Immaculate Conception refers not to Jesus' conception, but to Mary's. In short, it refers to the belief that Mary was conceived without original sin (hence, she was immaculate from the time of conception). The Virgin Birth, on the other hand, refers to the conception of Jesus. In short, it refers to the belief that Jesus was conceived via a light fandango with the Holy Spirit, rather than from Mary doing the horizontal mambo with God.

In a nutshell, according to Catholic dogma, the term Virgin Birth is used to refer to the divine conception of Jesus, and the term Immaculate Conception refers to the normal sexual conception of Mary without original sin. So when we referred to the poll tracking a belief in the Virgin Birth, we were talking about a belief in the divine conception of Jesus.

No matter what the respondents thought the term meant, we can all agree that the poll responses were exceedingly stupid. And regardless of how you slice it, a belief in the divine conception and birth of Jesus is just plain silly. Arguing "Virgin Birth" and "Immaculate Conception" is like arguing whether Tiamat or Ladon would win in a fight, only less exciting (and involving far less heads).

Anyway, enough remedial Catholic mythology, or we'll have to start wrapping our brains around that absurd Trinity notion.




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