Last night (Sat.) I caught part of an Al Franken routine in which he read Trump's latest tweets about a new drug that he has heard about. Franken quoted directly from the tweets, but I have to paraphrase them. And, yes, I know that those tweets are not real, though as always with Trump that can be difficult to tell.
Trump tweets about a new surefire cure for corona virus that he has just learned about. This is a drug that has been around for many decades and has been in more clinical trials than any other drug. And in those tries it has proven to cure all diseases. Whatever ails you, this cures it.
Its name is placebo. And it is very effective. It is so effective that they even have a name for how very effective it is: placebo effect.
Fauci approves of it. Birx approves of it. Fauci gave Trump a placebo tablet. The tablet tasted a bit sweet. Fauci told Trump that now he is immune to corona virus and to demonstrate the effectiveness of placebo Trump should go to a major hospital and personally visit all the COVID-19 patients and shake their hands. Trump thinks that is a very good idea and is making arrangements for that visit. Pence also thinks that it is a very good idea and wants to help make the arrangements.
Edited by dwise1, : a name that describes how effective it is
I wanted to remark about something Tangle said in Message 136 of Covid-19 and religion., but then thought better of making an off-topic remark -- that despite mike the wiz apparently having already pulled it off-topic.
But hey-ho; just for starters, atheists do not have any version of god.
My quibble is that when atheists do discuss characteristics of this god-thingee, we must refer to one of the many versions that theists present us.
A classic and humorous example is from the book, Catch-22 (link is to the SparkNotes that I'll be using here). While a cadet at the Santa Ana Army Air Base (local history for me, though I had never heard of that base before reading the book), Yossarian has an affair with the wife of Lt. Scheisskopf (who is true to his name), Mrs. Scheisskopf. At one point, they get into a heated argument: although they are both atheists, they don't believe in different versions of God -- Joseph Heller did a lot of word play, which is part of the joy of reading the book, and which you just now saw and will see below.
quote:In one of the novel’s manifold contradictions, two atheists, Yossarian and Mrs. Scheisskopf, argue over what kind of God they do not believe in and address the nature of God in a debate. The God in whom Mrs. Scheisskopf does not believe is good and all-knowing, whereas Yossarian’s deity is bumbling and confused. Yossarian’s argument is typical: that a truly compassionate God would not have allowed all the unpleasantness and pain in the world. But the details that Yossarian uses to argue his point are unusual: he asks why God would create phlegm, tooth decay, or incontinence. Yossarian is not just angry with the God that he does not believe in, but he also ridicules him. Mrs. Scheisskopf, on the other hand, prefers not to believe in a good and righteous God, arguing that if one is not going to believe in God, one might as well not believe in a good God. In this way, the idea of God can be useful, even if it is not accurate. The contrast between the chaplain and his assistant, the atheist Corporal Whitcomb, further develops this paradox. The chaplain, who does believe in God, has a very quiet, nonintrusive manner as he ministers to the men in the squadron, which does not turn many men toward religion. Corporal Whitcomb, on the other hand, wants to enter into a full-scale religious campaign, which would include revivals and form letters sent from the chaplain to the families of men killed in combat. Like Mrs. Scheisskopf, Whitcomb’s lack of belief in God allows him to see religion as a useful tool.
Not having much time to track down the full text, here is an excerpt that I found from that argument:
quote:“What the hell are you getting so upset about?" he asked her bewilderedly in a tone of contrite amusement. "I thought you didn't believe in God."
"I don't," she sobbed, bursting violently into tears. "But the God I don't believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He's not the mean and stupid God you make Him out to be.”
It's a fun thing and speaks to the many different gods that believers even in the same religion believe in. The version people believe in is generally the one they were brought up to believe in. Faith's god is not GDR's god.
But no, atheists don't have versions of gods they don't believe in. Tho' I suppose if there was a god I wanted to believe in it would be GDR's and not Faith's. Different personalities seem to be drawn to different versions.
Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona
"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android
"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed. Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved." - Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.
But no, atheists don't have versions of gods they don't believe in. Tho' I suppose if there was a god I wanted to believe in it would be GDR's and not Faith's.
True. My point is that we do have to address specific versions when we discuss theists' gods with them. One advantage we have is that we can see the wide variety of god-versions that exists whereas most believers can only see their own version.
Different personalities seem to be drawn to different versions.
There was a book co-written by a rabbi, Stupid Ways, Smart Ways to Think About God (1993) -- I saw a flyer about it at my UU church. Basically, most believers have childish ideas about God because that what they had learned as children and, since they never gave it any thought since then, as they matured their ideas about God did not. That's one of the reasons why I keep trying to get believers to start to think, which they will anything they can to avoid doing -- candle2 being the latest example here.
There's also a question of how one had become an atheist. If we did it by examining god-belief and realizing that it doesn't make any sense, thus growing out of belief, then we wouldn't be tied to any particular god-version. But some atheists deconverted in response to trauma induced by the religion of a particular god-version, so they would be more likely to have a specific god-version to not believe in.
But in this scene in Catch-22, instead of theists arguing in disagreement over which god-version to believe in, he has atheists arguing in disagreement over which god-version to not believe in.
There was a book co-written by a rabbi, Stupid Ways, Smart Ways to Think About God (1993) -- I saw a flyer about it at my UU church. Basically, most believers have childish ideas about God because that what they had learned as children and, since they never gave it any thought since then, as they matured their ideas about God did not.
1 Cor 13:11
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
We see it here quite often; the desire for a God that sees humans as special, the God that will intervene and fix things, the God that is GOOD.
But GOD, if GOD exists is not the God(s) and god(s) we human create.
We've heard again and again, If God is not going to help then why should I worship him? We create God in our image because we want such an object to be true. But if the lesson is simply to help others, to do what is right, to acknowledge when we do wrong and try to make amends then what's in it for us?
At the risk of continuing this off-topic tangent, that UU church flyer was a reprint of an Associated Press review of the book taken from the Los Angeles Times.
quote:Among the "stupid" views of God listed in their 117-page book:
God as your personal "cosmic bellhop," ratifying "your every desire," always "ready to serve you" to control others, making in essence "yourself god."
God as "little Mary Sunshine," so don't worry, "little Mary Sunshine will take care of everything for you."
The "proverbial God of wrath, ready to show how much he cares by punishing you, the Marquis de God," despising sinners so much he exterminates them. Adherents of this view blame God's vindictiveness, rather than "our own moral lapses."
"God the general," a "nationalistic god" whose "holy mission is to serve his country. Protect its honor." He's not just defender, but a "self-righteous and meddlesome god. . . . He is the commander of crusades. The leader of jihads."
"God the master of ceremonies," who leads weddings, bar mitzvahs, confirmations, funerals, to be hired by anyone.
This ties into my view of religion, which is that a useful constructive religion is not one that gives you answers, but rather one that gets you to ask the questions. Asking questions makes you think about these things, getting you involved in seeking your answers, and promoting your spiritual growth. When you are only spoon-fed answers, you stop thinking and you stop growing. To question is the answer.
And as too many theists do, the authors offered their own explanation for what turns people into atheists (why doesn't anybody ask us or listen to us when we explain it to them?):
quote:"We still have stupid ways of thinking about God," they say. "The ideas we were spoon-fed as children we now gag on as adults," undermining and destroying belief in many cases.
. . .
To a large extent, atheists seldom reject a credible God but usually "reject some stupid way of thinking about God," the authors say, calling some ideas about God "so ridiculous they are not worth believing."
I would add, though, that it's not so much a matter of children having been spoon-fed these childish ideas, but rather that those are the childish interpretations that children tend to form when being taught something that they don't quite understand.
For example, I remember in a Released Time Christian Education lesson being taught about Abraham gathering stones on a hillside with which to build an altar, so in my mind Abraham was dressed in a black suit with that top hat because Lincoln was the only other Abraham I had ever heard of.
Art Linkletter had a feature, Kids Say The Darndest Things, in which he would ask a question to children around the age of 3 to 8. The only one I remember was one young girl didn't want to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because she was afraid of the witches. Which witches? The four witches: "One nation, four witches stand, ... "
I always warn believers to not leave a kid alone with a Bible. That's just asking for trouble.
Edited by dwise1, : added "to question is the answer" paragraph