4 Ways To See God (and I still don’t)

Which God do you believe in?
Cos we really want to know—
There’s a fellow with a clipboard
And a poll he wants to show—
He’s collecting lots of data:
“How Americans See God”
And he wants to know which version gets the nod.

Is your God authoritative,
And judgmental and engaged?
Is He critical? Vindictive?
Is He apt to be enraged?
Is He distant and hands-offish?
Or benevolent, with love?
But I couldn’t find a “none of the above!”

What a poorly worded survey!
My opinion couldn’t count!
Not a bit—not one iota—
Not the tiniest amount!
Take a segment of the country
And eliminate their views;
And they dare to show this bullshit on the news?

So the closing story tonight on ABC’s “World news” was “A Look at the 4 Ways Americans View God” There’s even a poll, but don’t bother to vote; there is no “none of the above” option. “Americans”, apparently, all believe in some form–one of these four–of God.

C’mon, ABC News. I know you have a religious bias; I’ve written about it before. Today’s link also contains a number of videos of previous shows, each of which demonstrates the same sort of … well, rudeness, frankly. Not “what SOME americans believe”, or the possibility of a “none of the above” on the poll. Seriously, this is just plain bad journalism; it misstates the actual facts, by ignoring the people who don’t fit their preconceived notions.

ABC News, why no “none of the above” option? What are you afraid of? Could it be that there are more nonbelievers around than you are comfortable with?

Too Bad About The Baby…

She’s got perfect little fingers;
She’s got perfect little toes,
With the darkest eyes I’ve ever seen,
And tiny button nose–
She’s more delicate than poetry,
More powerful than prose–
She’s a beauty, and there isn’t any doubt

She’s a miracle in diapers,
As I watch her calmly doze;
Even through her father’s awkward looks
Her mother’s beauty shows
We conceived her in a test tube
So, as everybody knows,
She is soulless, and we’ll have to throw her out.

Via PZ, a tale told by an idiot. What horrible world view could look at a baby and consign it to the trash bin based on something so trivial as an ancient book? I get the feeling that Cathy Lynn Grossman, given the choice between saving the family bible or her own daughter from a house fire, would proudly emerge from the smoke clutching the book with both hands.

Update! It seems Ms. Grossman has read my response, and considers it an out-of-nowhere slap, much as I thought her question a bit of a rabbit-punch to the families helped by IVF. I have responded here.

Jesus In The MRI

The image in the MRI, according to the rumor,
Was the sacred face of Jesus, not a carcinoma tumor;
When the woman needed comfort, she knew Jesus was the answer—
Now, she knows he is within her… and, it seems, so is the cancer.

Actually, I don’t know that the cancer is still in her; if I were her and found my cancer in remission, I know that would be a big part of the story, but I don’t see it anywhere. I hope for her sake that she has the chance to deny that modern medicine had anything to do with Jesus saving her life.

The Next Thing I’d Do

If I were the devil, the next thing I’d do…

Seems that there is quite a lot that can be explained about the relationships among differing faith communities, if you simply apply the Flip Wilson defense: “The Devil made me do it!”

My first take was yesterday’s post:

If I were the devil, the first thing I’d do
(I’d be subtle, and not too apparent)
Is create holy writings that all disagree
And announce that each one is inerrant.

Thinker added

If I were the devil, the next thing I’d do
(as if the first wasn’t sufficient)
is to claim god is always benevolent
and almighty, as well as omniscient.

Me again:

If I were the devil, the third thing I’d do
(when the first two had ceased to delight)
Is to find two opponents, with two different views,
And privately tell each: “you’re right”.

Ring Tailed Lemurian added

If I were the devil, the fourth thing I’d do
(because I’d be evil and love to start wars)
is to find a tribe near some inhabited land
and tell them “It’s holy to me, and it’s yours”.

Thinker again:

If I were the devil, the fifth thing I’d do
(after four, I’m becoming quite nimble)
is to tell one group “Here, eat the meat of God’s Son”
and another “The wafer’s a symbol”.

He then observed, quite correctly, “this is fun!”

So go ahead! Pick any number you like, or use “the next thing”, and have fun!

If I were the devil, the next thing I’d do
(As we make our way up to infinity)
Is tell one group that Jesus is simply a prophet,
And others he’s part of The Trinity

Of course, you can write about other topics than conflicts in religious doctrine. Once you get the devil involved, everything makes more sense!

If I were the devil, one more thing I’d do
(cos I work in mysterious ways)
Is to make fundamentalist homophobes preachers
Disclose they are closeted gays

Organized Religion

If I were the devil, the first thing I’d do
(I’d be subtle, and not too apparent)
Is create holy writings that all disagree
And announce that each one is inerrant.

So I have had a couple of visits from JWs recently. They have given me literature to read (this, and this, for those who want to play along with the home version of the game), and I asked them if they had ever read The Origin of Species. They had not, of course–I asked them to do so before they visited again. The pamphlets they gave me are wonderful propaganda–cherry-picked quotes, selectively edited, out of context… and Behe mentioned as a microbiologist rather than as a creationist (yeah, I know, but which is the more accurate description?)!

But that is not my point today. My point was, when I mentioned Origin, one of them mumbled “that’s just a book”. Which, of course, is true, and which is the whole point. I could have pointed him to tens of thousands of journal articles, other books, websites, magazines, etc., and he could point me to… another “just a book”, bound in black leather, clutched in his hand.

His book claims inerrancy. His book claims to be more than a book. Mine does not. He is desperate to prove his book completely and utterly, literally 100% true. Me, not so much. Disproving bits and pieces of my view brings us closer to the truth. Disproving one sentence of his brings his whole house of cards down around him.

This requirement of absolute inerrancy seems to me the perfect seed for discord. If I were the devil, I would be hard pressed to find a simpler, more elegant way to incite humans to war with one another than to do what organized religion has already done.

A New Verse Form? (and a guest verse!)

From commenter “Thinker”:

If you find the stuff in the bible reliable,
and you trust the clerics: “It’s all we can know!”
If you in your pew with your missus think bliss is
sitting still, never moving, then how will you grow?
You’re proud you’ve accepted, not doubted, what’s touted:
that Truth is eternal and never will change
while we find the iconoclastic fantastic
and your static worldview as something quite strange.

If Old Truth is wrong, well, let’s face it: replace it
with models that fit data better – no sweat!
To us, it’s a quest never-ending: ascending
the shoulders of giants, to see further yet.
If you cannot see what is grand in expandin’
the body of knowledge we humans can share
and, frankly, if you think exploring is boring
as Hell, then in our view, you’re already there!

For those of you who have been paying attention, this is the same form as one I have used three times before–here, here, and here.

It is great fun coming up with the internal rhymes, and it makes me very happy that at least one other person has been enticed into trying the same form!

Now, the thing is, I can’t recall another poem like this–but I am not well-versed (pun, unfortunately, intended) in the various forms rhyme and meter can take. Have you seen such an animal before? Or do I get naming rights? (In which case, I am taking suggestions for names–just one so far, so I want more!)