Assumptions and Conjectures.

ASSUMPTIONS AND CONJECTURES

By Peter Fredson

People say that a god, or goddess, or several of these divine entities, created everything we can see, hear, feel, taste, smell or sense… the entire vast universe with a gazillion galaxies, our solar system, and the earth we infest.  Many people today say that the god is a he, a male… which must be true, since in several accounts he—or a kindred spook—reportedly impregnated an unsuspecting virgin. (We will here, for purposes of telling a story, disregard religions which have goddesses as creators.)

They say a male god did it all from scratch… which was precisely from nothing… and that out of nothing he made the billions of galaxies, this earth and the several million species which inhabit it.  They say he did it by simply speaking, so he must have vocal cords.  They say he created humans in his image, so he must have a penis, testicles, vocal tract, tongue, hair, anus and similar anatomical features. He must have a working penis with heavenly sperm because he raped a young lady about 2,00 years ago, and everyone is still bothered about the issue.

One wonders what he (or it) eats.  And one wonders if he (or it) urinates or defecates… although some cultures, like the Aztec, called gold ‘feces of the sun,’ and some imply that rain is heavenly peeing. The Aztecs said that he liked human blood and hearts, so they sent him choice tidbits frequently to keep him in good spirits (not a pun).

So we evidently have a person with anatomy similar to the Jolly Green Giant, but about a trillion times larger, with the additional feature that he can be in many places simultaneously, can foresee absolutely everything, that he can see, feel, hear, sense everything… that not the smallest bird or insect can fall without his permission and awareness.

Anyone who escapes a serious accident or life threatening situation thanks a god for saving them… as he is all powerful, all knowing, omnipresent… but no one curses and damns him when people get hurt, burned, die or get killed. Although he made and controls everything, people do not blame him (or it) when things go wrong.  That certainly is peculiar.

So people have invented a “good” god, responsible for everything good, and a very bad “god” who is responsible for any kind of irritation, accident, bad luck, sickness or death.  As long as they had invented one, there was nothing to stop them from inventing the other. And then they invented a whole host of minor deities, like angels to star in various TV shows. Certainly the expense, or cost, of inventing one, two or a dozen deities, is negligible, given that nothing more than imagination is involved.

Thus we may have a terrible accident or disease occurring to a person and after a hundred people intervene in the next few weeks, such as physical therapists, x-ray technicians, nurses, orderlies, specialists, etc., and after a million dollars of insurance money is spent on treatment and recuperation, it is rare that an insurance agent is thanked… because a god really did it. 

Whatever happens, no matter how much human effort and talent and time is put into a situation… ultimately the answer is ‘God did it!’  People are simply incidental to this god’s plan, because with his foresight he knew all along that it was going to happen, so he had firemen, technicians, drivers, pilots, nurses, doctors, etc. all standing by to undo what he did, so that he could get the credit for undoing what he did.

It’s a win-win situation for a god.  He can’t ever be blamed, but if people do get suspicious that he is not really all that good, his representatives on Earth have a ready answer ‘His ways are mysterious.  Don’t question them.’

And of course, for anyone that does question his goody goodness, and if they do happen to get struck by lightning, or get a wart, or ANYTHING, his representatives will quickly say, ‘That’s his way of punishing you.’ So in that case it is not a bad god taking sadistic revenge, but a good god who has retribution, who inflicts punishment… but you can’t complain, because you had it coming to you.

And with his human anatomy and all-too human attributes of anger, rage, and jealousy one suspects that with his sexual organs he must occasionally give them a workout.  How many virgins has he impregnated?  Does he ejaculate every year, century, millennium, or longer?  And with his backside, and anus, does he get hemorrhoids just sitting around someplace?

And if he is so huge, so immense, precisely where is he located? Is there an ‘outside’ to the universe that we see, hear and feel… where he lives? Does he (or it) live in some parallel universe but keeps an eye on this universe? Or is he the “inside” of everything, like the magnetism holding all the electrons in place?

They say he created humans in his image, so he must have a penis, testicles, vocal tract, tongue, hair, anus and similar anatomical features. And if he has tongue, throat, etc., does he suffer laryngitis, influenza? Does he have any allergic reactions to cosmic rays?  To star dust? And if he has an anus and a backside, does he fart heavenly farts?  Do they smell?  Does he defecate, and, if so, where? The Aztecs thought he liked human hearts and blood, so they fed him large quantities taken from human reservoirs.

Does he sneeze? Does he pick out boogers from his nose?  If he impregnates someone with AIDS, will he get it and die?

Some people have suggested that he IS dead.  Others say he is merely dozing and just lets the universe run after winding it up.  Others say he is so old that he is now senile and no longer gives a good god “damn” about the universe.  He is no longer interested in the toy he created and simply wishes to be left alone, with his memories of ancient conquests of the Jews, thinking about Babylon, and Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Tower of Babel that threatened to reach up to heaven so that is why he confused all the languages.

Oh, he must have lots and lots of memories. Like killing all the new-born of a society, like sending vicious plagues, a life-destroying flood, parting the Red Sea, and all sorts of other escapades and rapscallion adventures that he initiated, especially his joking ways with his ‘chosen people’ which some people (overly-sensitive) believe shows that he is vicious, vindictive, cruel, over-bearing, arrogant, whimsical, and downright mean and nasty.

One then wonders at the probable sarcasm of being a ‘chosen people.’  Certainly they would have been much better off without his ‘aid.’  To keep them for generations wandering around in a desert, even if he did give them manna mush to eat, is hardly reward for their loyalty and devotion, even to this day.

But, as is often remarked… people are funny! The only thing funnier is that people blame or praise gods for everything that happens to them.

A peculiar assumption is that this god is all-everything… all-powerful, all-seeing, all-hearing, all-knowing, all-present everywhere, knowing everything in advance, for planning everything down to the smallest sparrow falling, and perhaps even for an individual leaf of a tree falling in a specific location.

Yet an enormous monstrous monolithic being, more powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, that knows all, sees all and does all… apparently needs help.  Help from a television fundamentalist who collects millions of dollars from dotty old pensioners, as “seed”… to ‘help’ God or Jesus or some other supernatural being.

And the assumption is that these oily con men can ‘help’ an all-powerful supernatural entity that can make a billion galaxies… that these slippery Sams can help a god with their thousand dollar suits and Lincoln Continentals, Lear Jets, gold-plated bathroom faucets, and air conditioned Doghouses… can somehow “help” a good god defeat a nasty god.

We might ask if the “coming” of this lord or god back to Earth, which has been forecast nearly every year for the past two thousand years, will result in the televangelists, priests, reverends, pastors, etc. emptying their bank accounts to present them to their lord or god?  Will the lord or god ever get the savings bonds, tons of paper dollars or pesos or huge bags of gold or silver coins that had been collected FOR him or it?

My question is, will ‘the Lord’ or ‘God’ ever see a red penny of any of the loot?  Another question is, ‘Exactly how does buying a new red Ferrari or a Lear Jet help Jesus?’

But a more fundamental question is: ‘How is it that some all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing, omnipresent god does not strike instantly dead these insolent arrogant little creatures that would dare to presume to ‘help’ such a god?’  Unless, of course, you ask ‘Does such an entity exist?’

The preachers, yes, we see them, we hear them, incessantly trumpeting the ‘good news’ and even more incessantly begging, asking, appealing, demanding more and more cold cash.  We observe that they obtain a good living, some a fabulous life, for telling stories, simply repeating old myths and embellishing them with modern idioms.

But, we do NOT observe any supernatural entity.  We cannot see, hear, feel, or smell any.  Although some highly overpaid story teller may state that he personally witnessed a Jesus that was a mile high, (much larger than the Jolly Green Giant) we attribute this to a highly developed imagination, or to a deep psychological disorder, or to simply lying for advantage.

So when some high-stepping bible-thumper asks, begs, pleads with you to send him “seed” because he (or she) is going to “help” an omniscient omnipresent entity, and that by sending him your hard-earned retirement cash you will contribute to the unending infinite glory of this entity, then the logical response would be to stand back a few inches, hack up a loogie, and spit right in the bible-thumper’s eye.

17 thoughts on “Assumptions and Conjectures.

  1. LMAO!!!  I love the progressive vision of tolerance!  SEB is going downhill if this kind of ignorance makes front page.  raspberry Better get a handle on your ‘Guest Posters’, Les. (especially in light of the fact that you proclaim to desire factual evidence in conversation)

  2. Nothing gets posted without my tacit approval so if it’s here it’s because I put it here. The questions and conjectures in this entry are not all that different from many I’ve come up with myself in the past. I’m willing to bet most of them have crossed the mind of many atheists at one point in time or another.

    I’m assuming you’re not happy with last paragraph which suggests spitting in the eye of clergymen who endlessly cajole folks to donate money to their causes. I personally know quite a few believers who would agree with that sentiment. Asking for donations to help run a local church is one thing, but the televangelists who live very well off the goodwill of their congregations is another issue altogether.

    But please, enlighten us with the problems you have with this essay—if you’re not too intimidated to do so.

  3. I rather doubt “lmao” will be back to respond and my question is quite off topic, but if he does I hope he can tell me what language Adam and Eve spoke? Also did they have belly buttons? It’s been bugging me for a while and I can’t find anybody who seems to know. I tried asking god but I just got the answering machine.

  4. Just a quick comment.  LMAO wants “factual evidence.” At this time of year I would very much like him to give us “factual evidence” of divine sperm, eternal virginity, the existence of any deity,etc.  Not just verbal assurances, or statements that “It’s in the Bible,” but photos of the 70o-foot Jesus that Oral Roberts, and no one else, saw.  That’s a For instance. Hard factual “hanging” evidence is what I would very much like to SEE. When LMAO gets it I’m sure he’ll parade it for us to see. Just like when OJ finds the Real Killers.

  5. Woah !
    Oral Roberts….
    Isn’t he the guy that claimed that if he did not recieve some millions of dollars in donations god would kill him…

    I think he even got the amount he was asking for.

  6. peter,

    They say he created humans in his image, so he must have a penis, testicles, vocal tract, tongue, hair, anus and similar anatomical features.

    Not necessarily, some (I believe it was Descartes echoing Duns Scotus) have argued that we are “made in God’s image” in that we were given an equal amount of will as “God”.  We can will anything much as “God” can, it’s just that we don’t have the ability to bring everything that we will into existence.  As such we’re not physically similar to “God” but we’re somehow identical to it in some essential manner (namely in that we possess a similar sort of “infinite” will).

  7. I just realized that the first sentence of my previous comment was vague.  “Not necessarily” should be read “The above isn’t necessarily the case”.  Sorry about that.

  8. My pet peeve in this respect is modal logic. It never ceases to amaze me how far the conflation of English language with logical operators of the same name carries – you can lie even more convincingly than with statistics.

  9. elwed,

    That’s why I tend to refer to operators as ‘box’ and ‘diamond’ versus ‘necessary’ and ‘possible’.  That extends to the Boolean connectives as well, it makes it tons easier to teach logic when you talk about ‘spike’, ‘hook’, ‘wedge’, ‘triple bar’, and ‘tilde’ versus ‘and’, ‘if…then, if and only if, and ‘not’.  People tend to read in natural language conventions when you use familiar terms to refer to operators.

  10. Replying to Peter Fredson:

    Well, no. You can’t replace different vague entities with the same replacement word without destroying the logical structure. This here works though:

    Not necessarily, some (I believe it was Descartes echoing Duns Scotus) have argued that we are “made in BLAH’s image

  11. Your analysis is more detailed and sophisticated than mine.  My scan is brusque,… if something looks like vague crap then I target it as such. Perhaps I miss some of the fun in “doing” detailed logical analysis but my aim is to get through “unnecessarily” complex statements to extract what kernels of grain they may contain without swallowing all the chaff. I can appreciate your more academic approach but as a teen-ager in Wisconsin I learned to use a broad-axe to cut BIG chips to fell a tree and I guess I tend to do that in other realms of behavior.

  12. I really did’t mean to offend you and hope that I haven’t. Also, for sorting out really inconsistent and vague statements, your method of course does work. It’s just that I like to do detailed analyses, they’re less easy to refute – while easier to ignore as well grin

  13. Guido:  We are on the same page, I believe. No offense taken. This morning while sitting on the edge of the bed, getting ready to face the dawning, I thought of an analogy to explain my rough-n-ready approach to vagueness.  When I eat a sausage, and the first bite shows that there is something unpalatable, I do not continue to taste what the rest of the sausage might contain, but spit out the first bite. It could be argued that the rest of the sausage might be perfectly delicious, but I’m not willing to give it a try.
    Peter

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