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November 14, 2002

Be Careful What You Ask

Be Careful What You Ask For

The Shroud of Turin has been declared a medieval fake, again. The new study didn't address the pollen study that indicated that the shroud had a pre-8th century origin in the Middle East, so it seems a bit far fetched to declare it a a fake based on a re-interpretation of the data from a carbon-dating test*. Not that anyone noticed. We'd care if the "real or fake" discussion centered around some Hollywood cleavage, but when it comes to actual proof of the physical existence of Jesus, the whole debate is....tired.

We're pretty sure Mohammed existed, right? That's done a world of good for his religion, hasn't it?

Here's a story. I read it long ago as a child, or Dad told it to me. I forget which, but I can't find it anywhere on the Net, so maybe it was part of the families oral tradition. I'll tell it to Ngnat one day when she asks me about Jesus. Hopefully I've remembered it more or less correctly

One day God got tired of hearing people question his existence. So he re-arranged the stars in the night sky so that they said "God Is". When the sun set that night, people all over the world saw the miracle in the sky and fell down on their knees and worshipped him as never before. Every night for years and years the people looked up into the sky to see the proof of the existence of their maker, and they would fall to their knees and worship him. This went on for years, and years, until one day a little girl looked up at the night sky while her family knelt down around her and said

"So what?"

Christianity is a religion based on faith. Actual proof would destroy the need for faith. Having proof of something means that there is an physical explanation for something, and that's the realm of the scientist. Proving the existence of God, or non-existence as an unthinking atheism would no doubt prefer, in the long run makes him no more mysterious and powerful than a bacterium.

Of course, destroying the power of who claim to know his will might be worth it. It would be nice to force Jerry Falwall and John Paul and all the other Imams of religion to find honest work.

*Years ago I ran across one of the young-earth creationists who looked upon an anthropology major as so much red meat to be chewed up and spat out in defense of his GOD. You find them now and again in the south, even in Chapel Hill. Practically the first thing out of his mouth was what I can only classify as a Christian urban legend.

"Scientists" he said, in a sneering, Draco Malfoy tone that left absolutely no doubt what he thought of them. "Did one of them c14 tests on a 1986 penny. You know how old that test said that penny was? Ten Million years!" He leaned back with his arms crossed and a shit-eating grin, convinced he's shown the college boy what's what.

I informed him that using a c14 test on a penny about a rigorous a test as using an AIDS test to detect HIV in his truck's transmission fluid. For those of you who would a like a fuller explanation, c14 tests are performed only on organic materials, not metals.

"And besides, how old do you think the copper in your 1986 penny is? Did Jesus create it that day just for the test, numbnuts?"

But it was too late. I'd mentioned AIDS, which allowed him to switch the topic of monologue to "Them queers", without having to acknowledge that he was a complete dipshit.

Hell, he probably still uses that penny story.

Posted by Bigwig at November 14, 2002 01:57 PM | TrackBack
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