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Oct 06 2013

Through God-Colored Glasses

The Skeptic's Annotated Bible

This morning I took part in the Atheists Talk interview of Steve Wells, creator of the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible. I’ve been a big fan of the SAB website for several years, mostly because of the “categories” that he has put together to capture the different messages that are presented in the Bible. For instance, if I want a quick list of scientific and historical inaccuracies in the Bible, or passages that threaten, blame or harm women I can reference the SAB. I want to pick up a copy of the hardcover print edition because I find that format very appealing for perusing whole chapters. Okay…if I’m honest you can already do that with the website. Really I’d just like to see the pretty leather-bound hardcover version on my bookshelf next to my King James version. And if the Skeptic’s Annotated Quran and Book of Mormon are ever released in hardcover (Wells has wepages for both of these books as part of the Skeptic’s Annotated series) I can have the whole set!

During the interview I was keeping an eye on the Facebook and Twitter because sometimes we’ll get comments or questions for the show through social media. I have to be careful because every once in a while I’ll see something during the show that almost makes me lose my shit on the air. Today was one of those whiles. From Facebook:

two-third cupImage transcription, a screen cap from a Tumblr:

How Awesome is Our God?!! He even cares about the littlest things in our lives… I needed 2/3 cup of milk to make my recipe tonight… And this was all the milk in the carton… Exactly 2/3 cup… EXACTLY! I mean, EXACTLY!! Wow! God is GOOD!

[picture of a pyrex measuring cup filled with approximately 2/3 cup of milk]

[Response by] eltigrechico:

this actually makes sense.

people go ‘why does God let bad things happen?’

its because while some poor bastards are being herded into a mass grave somewhere God is busy making sure Kathy in Dunghole, Wisconsin has exactly the right amount of milk for her recipe.

you gotta pick your battles

My first thought was: POE. I found this screencap on a couple of different websites, and I started to dig in to try to find the source, but then I went, Fuck it! I’ve got better things to do on a Sunday! I know people who think like the OP (and not just on the internet, y’all. Just last week one of my coworkers told me that she had prayed to God the night prior that we’d have enough buffer to run our study. And praise Jesus, we did!), so let’s just go forward under the assumption that this is real, k?

So yeah…the response is spot on. If you’re going to say that god is responsible for all things in our lives, then go ahead – praise him for the good. But he also gets to answer for the bad shit. This is philosophy 101 – the Problem of Evil right? But  to praise god for the coincidence of having the right amount of milk for a recipe? That ain’t exactly some loaves and fishes-grade work going on. God phoned this one in.

I’m having a bit of trouble getting over the type of worldview that lets one’s mind wander to god for every little thing. It’s just…silly. It’s not like this woman offered up a muttered “Thank you, God” under her breath and kept making dinner. Nope, she was so moved and awed by the wonder of her heavenly father’s influence that she was compelled to stop working on her recipe, take a picture of the miraculous event and draft a status update on Facebook so she could share this blessing that God has bestowed upon her and her family.

It’s not just silly. It’s blind and privileged and unexamined and obsessed.

This is one of the reasons I’m glad for god-free spaces. We’re not always right, but at least gods are off the table when we talk about things like coincidence and confirmation bias.

BTW – one of my favorite responses to this post over on FB was “That’s no 2/3 cup. You need read the volume at the meniscus. Where’s your god now?”

4 comments

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  1. 1
    rpjohnston

    I’d bet it wasn’t Poe, too, since I had a friend who was exactly like that. One post went approximately thus:

    “My bus was running late today and the supermarket runs out of barbacoa at 10….. I was so distraught I was in tears because I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it in time……. but then I got there and there was some Barbacoa left! Remember, God is always looking out for you :)”

    And yes, it was definitely a serious post, one of many such.

  2. 2
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I wonder who takes care of things if you aren’t praying to gods but saying, “c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon…. yes!”

  3. 3
    coragyps

    Well, rpjohnston, at least your friend was concerned about something important. God likely does not look out for those in need of creamed corn or turnips.

    But barbacoa, I can see His deep concern.

  4. 4
    lochaber

    My first thought on seeing that (or, maybe second, afer: “That person is an idiot”) was also about how they need to retake highschool chemistry, and relearn how to measure liquid volumes.

    Glad someone else noticed that.

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