The format for today’s Quazy Quistian Question is going to be a little different than usual. I'm confident that most of you will be able to adjust, but, even if you can't, I’m gonna begin with a playlet. We can use my father’s barn to put it on if Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney will supply some singing and dancing.
(Scene: The comment thread following a post titled The Morality of Christianity on a blog called Christianity is Confusing. )Yesterday, Philly and I spent a few hours arguing with a Christian who insisted, among other unfounded assertions that he pulled out of his ass, that there was no evidence for the existence of wind. Believe me, you don't want to read the comment thread at JP's blog unless you think the best way to get a haircut is by tearing it out in frustration.
Michelle: Atheism is the belief system of the Communist Manifesto. More wars have been started from the Communist Revolution throughout the world.
TheDeeZone: There have many wars started by comunisist. The offical religion of communism is atheism.
The Exterminator: Michelle said: Atheism is the belief system of the Communist Manifesto. The Dee Zone said: The offical religion of communism is atheism. Could either of you refer me to some evidence on this, because I can’t seem to find it.
Michelle: I did a quick google of marxism + atheism and found over 800 published works. Keep looking. My source, you may not like, but I’ll give it to you anyway: A Christian Manifesto by Francis A. Schaeffer
TheDeeZone: My sources: Numerous history textbooks that I have either had as a student or taught from. My husband the historian. People I know that have been to, lived in or are from former communist countries.
The Exterminator: Michelle said: Atheism is the belief system of the Communist Manifesto. The Dee Zone said: The offical religion of communism is atheism. I asked for evidence. I didn’t ask for your sources. I asked for evidence. Acceptable evidence of Michelle’s statement would have to be found in The Communist Manifesto itself, since she specifically named that book. Evidence of Dee’s statement would have to be found in some official international communist document that applied to communism in all its manifestations, since she made a blanket statement about an “official religion of communism.” No offense, but one’s husband the historian is not evidence. Numerous unnamed history books are not evidence. Anecdotes from people who have been to or lived in communist countries are not evidence. A Christian Manifesto is not evidence. A Google search is not evidence.
Michelle: I’m not doing your research for you. The books are out there, read them. I’m not writing a paper on the subject, so I’ve not documented references. Sorry.
The Exterminator: Well, Michelle, you’re the one who made the assertions, not me. Either you can back them up with evidence, or you can’t. If you can’t, just say so. If you can, provide the evidence. Simple.
The Exterminator (after a few minutes): Michelle, I’m not being 100% fair to you, because maybe I haven’t explained clearly why the onus is on you to back up what you said. This information is for everyone here, not only Michelle. Let’s say that someone makes a statement: A miniature elf that no one but me can feel, sits on my shoulder and tells me what to do. Now, you and I doubt that. So we ask that person to prove what he says. He says: “No, you disprove it.” Of course, we can’t, even though intuitively we know that the statement is nonsense. But his asking us to disprove the statement is beside the point. He made the statement; the burden is on him to provide evidence. Otherwise, our natural response is to disbelieve it. If that were not the case, we’d all be walking around all the time trying to prove that the moon isn’t made of green cheese and that there isn’t really a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And that there are no invisible, intangible elves on people’s shoulders.
TheDeeZone: Sounds like you have your mind made up & will accept no other opinion. I don’t have access to the textbooks I have taught from & can’t really remember the names other than World Geography & World History.
The Exterminator: I don’t have my mind made up. You’re free to change it any time. Just provide some evidence.
In any case, since banging my head against the wall made my skull unattractively asymmetrical, I thought I might straighten it out by finding a reason to continue pounding on it. So, shooting for that appealing flat-top look, I moseyed over to the blog I cited above, and found my way to that post and comment thread. A few days ago, I'd left a request for evidence, not because I actually gave a shit, but just to be a wise-guy. I'm sometimes prompted to do mischievous things by the invisible, intangible elf that sits on my shoulder. Those of you who have your own elves know exactly what I'm talking about, right?
Anyway, you've read the result. Now I'm beginning to think that some Christians disdain all evidence about everything, not only religious matters. This might be a clever ploy, because if they admit that they accept evidence for anything, they'd have to at least wonder why there's none to support their silly beliefs. On the other hand, it might not be a clever ploy; it might just be stupidity.
Quazy Quistian Question # 4:
In order to justify their beliefs, must Christians dismiss the validity of evidence in all instances, even those that are unrelated to religious matters? Explain your response.