It is not easy being religious

The Onion points out that religious people often have to deal with tricky decisions that for us atheists are no-brainers.

Reluctant to transcend his station as a mere mortal and interfere with the vicissitudes of fortune, local lifeguard Blake Dunphy confided to reporters Tuesday that he found himself mentally shackled by the question of whether to save a swimmer currently thrashing for his life or allow destiny to take its course unfettered. “Though this man sputters and flails before my eyes and the path to his salvation lies readily before me, the broader question remains: Who am I, a mere earthly being of flesh and blood, to determine whether my fellow man lives or dies?” Dunphy mused, wondering if it was not, ultimately, the hand of fate that placed an inexperienced swimmer in the deep end in the first place. “Surely a decision of such existential import rests solely on the shoulders of an all-knowing, all-seeing god, which I certainly can’t in good conscience pretend to be. Furthermore, can it even be stated that I—or any being subject to divine decree—actually possess the free will to impel myself from this chair and rescue another, or are all such outcomes preordained by the stars themselves?” At press time, Dunphy was saved from the burden of choice by a mid-afternoon shift change.

But in another report we learn that god is doing his part to alleviate suffering by pledging $5,000 to the American Cancer Society for cancer research, saying it was “the very least [He] could do”.


  1. Loqi says

    …saying it was “the very least [He] could do”.

    Nonsense. He could have prayed.

    Of course, I think donating $5,000 is actually well beyond the *most* that he could do. Overcoming nonexistence to donate money is rather impressive, even if it is a tiny amount for someone who is the central figure of a trillion dollar industry. So props for that, I guess…

  2. moarscienceplz says

    No no no. This is all wrong. It is evilutionists who refuse to save drowning people because their prophet Darwin told them that only unfit specimens die. They all worship the doctrine of Survival of the Fittest, doncha see, and thus they celebrate death.
    /sarcasm (in case anyone can’t tell)

  3. Jockaira says

    A great American, Abraham Lincoln, might be of some help in these “tricky decisions.”

    “If I do good, I feel good. If I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”

  4. Menyambal says

    Yeah, I read a book once where a dog was dying, and somebody decided to put it out of its misery. A mystic prevented the act of mercy by babbling about the dog’s fate. As described, the dog’s path could just as well have been to meet the merciful one, and to bring some new awareness to that person’s life through helping the dog.

    Once you start with mysticism, there really is no place to stop. Same with religion, which is mysticism in a jacket and tie.

  5. dannorth says

    Apparently this problem can also strike philosophers. I recall a story about a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who while taking a walk saw his teacher who had fallen into a ditch and couldn’t get. He considered the situation for a moment before walking. Others students helped the teachers and when they blamed their colleague for his attitude the teacher scolded them and said he was right since not knowing would be better if he helped the teacher he wisely refrained from action.

  6. rizdek says

    “the very least [He] could do”.

    And never let it be said that [He] didn’t do the least he could do.

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