Guided Misconceptions

September 8, 2009

I was stumbling around Facebook the other day when I came across a link from one of my friends. It was a clip telling a story about someone in America who had to attend a class run by his atheist professor. If you dont feel like watching the clip, the basic overview of the story is; the poor guy was scared of being made a to look like an idiot in front of the class as (for some ridiculous reason) this professor at the end of every year attempted to ridicule and demean his students faith of choice (however, in this instance we are talking mainstream western religion). Long story short, the guy stood up for his beliefs and the professor was made a fool of during his ‘Ill Prove God Doesnt Exist’ demonstration with his chalk not breaking as he expected.

The title of the clip is ‘This Should Keep Us All Thinking’. And it did keep me thinking, however not in the way that the author would have intended. I was so deep in thought at one point that I missed the Reid Highway exit on the Mitchell Freeway, haha. In the end, after talking about it with Fran I came to realise what was bothering me about the clip…

Everything.

Now Im not anti-christian, nor am I anti-atheist but the entire clip really bugged me… and Im talking about both sides, the atheist professor elements of the story as well as the christian (or more to the point the author of the clip) side to this tale.

Firstly, this professor. Why did he feel the need to demonstrate is obviously ‘superior’ (note: Inject as much sarcasm as humanly possible into that word) intellect by saying (paraphrase) ‘Wow, look God definitely doesnt exist if this chalk doesnt break when I drop it’. This is what I like to call ‘Stupid Atheism’.

Stupid Atheism is when an atheist uses supposed logic to prove God doesnt exist, in a situation where the laws of nature are obviously not going to work in the favour of the God Scenario (ie. the chalk staying intact). Ignoring the fact that chalk is brittle and thin and there are times where a simple flick can break chalk, the simple force of gravity forcing the chalk to hit the floor at a certain angle/level of force is going to make it break… To prove/disprove God based off this flawed argument is the very oppositeof what these atheists think they are trying to do… And it bugs me. Greatly.

Conversely, the christian side of this tale is just as open to debate as the atheist side. I hesitate to call it ‘Stupid Christianity’ because faith by its very nature is illogical, so technically christians are acting as expected (note: Im not implying they are acting stupid, but acting how their faith dictates they should, whereas atheists are supposed to be using logic in their arguments and faith/religion doesnt always follow logic). In any case, basing their argument (in this specific situation) off the fact that the professor happened to drop the chalk and it stays intact, is just as flawed as the professor feeling fully justified in saying God doesnt exist when the chalk doesnt stay intact. Statistically speaking at some point the chalk will stay intact, similar to how when you drop a plate on the floor sometimes it doesnt break. Thats just the way it goes…

These are what I call Guided Misconceptions; Manipulating people into accepting certain situations based off flawed arguments.

In addition to this, the tone in which this video is (to my ears) very smug, and self-satisfied. It feels like in sharing this video the author is patting himself/herself on the back thinking: See how right I am in sharing this video, everyone can a) see my faith and b) surely understand that because this video covers a coincidence its watertight proof of God!

Ive come to the conclusion that true faith is very much a personal thing and it needs to come from the person, rather than outside influences. To try and base it (or even be persuaded) off a clip off YouTube relating a supposed story from somewhere in America is highly flawed in the least. In a situation like that, when the faith is truly tested its probably going to fall down like a house of cards. If thats what the author intended with sharing this story, then Im not sure if they truly understand what faith is, how it comes about and what it represents to the person. Even worse, passing this video around with the general feel of ‘look how right I am’ further detracts from what the author is trying to accomplish. I understand that the video is trying to say that faith is rewarded, but what about a video that encourages research and true understanding about what religion and faith are and how they can help you in life (or alternatively deciding which faiths are simply not for you).

This isnt limited to the western faith either, I think that its best to research all avenues of faith and decide which is best for you. Recently the Eastern faiths and philosophies have started to appeal to me, so I think Ill start delving into the world of Taoism and Buddhism.

Im not sure what category I fall under when people say ‘what do you believe in?’. I tend to think people find their own path towards God, and each way is different. And it most certainly is not a case of who is right and who is wrong, nor someone saying ‘I am right, and you are wrong’. Understanding affects people in different ways, and I wish both hard-line christians and athiests would get this and just stop constantly trying to one-up the other.

I think my beliefs are cherry-picked from each of the faiths (Western and Eastern). There are some issues with Western faiths that I simply cant resolve (due to my somewhat scientific upbringing), and I dont know enough about the Eastern religions, hence my hesitance to say ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’.

I dont want people to get the wrong idea with this entry. I am nottrying to bash one faith or the other (although I do have issues with Christianity, but thats an entry for another day), I am simply highlighting the deficiencies of the arguments for/against God by atheists and christians and trying to encourage people to research and truly understandwhat it is they are doing (this goes for both people of faith and atheists) before shooting off their mouth (or in this digital age, their keyboard).

I love talking about religion, to the point where I could talk about it with random strangers for hours (and actually have on several occasions), so if you have a different opinion and want to talk about it, by all means leave a comment in the comments section and we’ll start up a discussion, I welcome all opinions and comments 🙂

Note: this is a discussion not a mud-slinging match, any derogatory comments to any faith will be censored mercilessly.

Night all 🙂

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Greed FTW

June 30, 2009

Ahh greed is a funny thing. The bigger the number, the more suckers wanting to win. I was one of the 1 million West Australians (ie. Suckers) participating in tonights epic $90 mill Oz Lotto MegaDraw.

I think I won, maybe $50. And to be honest Im pretty happy. Of course I would love more, but if I get enough to balance what I put in, there’s no loss.. and I had heaps of fun along the way.

I was watching the live results on TV tonight and there was a woman from the OzLotto offices speaking about the statistics of tonights MegaDraw. I believe she said that Aussies (in W.A. alone I think) had spent 23 million dollars in the basically 1 in 45,000,000 chance of hitting the jackpot.

And it hit me… 23 million bucks. Wow. Could you imagine if every aussie banded together and really wanted to get rid of poverty and hunger in Australia?? (not to mention the other places in the world, but I think we need to fix ourselves before trying to fix someone else)

Shit, if we just pretended there was a 90 mil megadraw every few weeks, we’d knock that shit off inside a year.

Ignorance and apathy are wonderful things…

Sorry if it sounds like Im getting up on my pedestal (the My Pedestal tag is a poke of fun at myself 😛 ), but maybe next time there’s a massive draw like this, stick some of that money into some random charity. God knows there are thousands of them out there… And Im not saying dont buy a ticket, that would be just silly! But one person today I saw spent $1000. Seriously, wtf?

Good luck everyone (who hasnt already checked their numbers 😛 )!