The Theological Triple Jump
A while ago I was having an interesting discussion with a friend who is also a very devoted Xtian and who sometimes decides that I, as a rather dedicated atheist, need to be shown the error of my ways and be saved by learning to love his Lord like he does.
Our "debates" are usually fairly short and not too confrontational as we are each quite convinced we are right in our respective views of religion and realize that we are very good friends in just about all other respects.
In this case he was trying on one the "godly's" arguments which essentially says that because scientists and science cannot say with certainty how and, or, when the universe and life as we know it came into being, there has to be a "God" who created it. And of course this "God" was of the Xtian variety, and furthermore, was known to be most accessible to followers of the Apostolic Church.
I responded by saying that he was doing a theological "Triple Jump" or as it sometimes is called the "Hop, Skip and Jump".
I explained that because we don't yet know for certain about the very beginnings of ourselves or the universe, we do know a lot more than we did even 50 years ago let alone 2000.
For some, saying, "I don't know, but if we keep looking we'll probably someday learn enough to say with authority, this is how it happened." is not sufficient and they have to make that first HOP and say that there is a "Supreme Force" or "Being" out there somewhere, also known as- "God" or "Gods" that made the universe and all within it.
Some people are quite content with the concept of this force or god or panoply of gods that basically just kick-started the universe about 14 billion years ago, and since then has gone into early retirement.
But others are compelled to take the second SKIP, and find themselves declaring that not only is there a god, but that the "real" god is either Christian (God or Jehovah, or Yahweh, or Jesus, etc.") , or Islamic (Allah), or any of a plethora of others. And further that this god or gods still take an active and ongoing role in the running of the universe and Earth in particular.
But having taken the HOP and then the SKIP most are then seemingly compelled to make the final JUMP from declaring that not only is MY god the only one - the only way he (almost always a "he") will allow the faithful into whatever blissful state he has promised his zombie-ized followers, is to adhere to one of the almost uncountable cults that splinter from the main religion. Christianity into Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Orthodox, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Apostolics, or another of the many. The Islamist jumps into Shi'a or Sunni or Alawite or Sufism or Ahmadiyya or one of the other splinters from Allah's ass.
Hindus into Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism or the rather entertainingly named Smartism.
The upshot of all of this frenetic activity is unfortunately the all too familiar declarations of Victory in this Olympian endeavour followed by stirring demands that all those who have not followed the proper Hop, Skip, Jump procedure into the proper delusional cult should be either forcibly retrained to do so, or required to participate in another sport – preferably something like Skydiving- without a parachute.
Having lived and worked in places around the world where even expressing a slightly differing viewpoint from the culturally expected religious norm can be cause for violent reaction, I am encouraged by the proliferation of internet sites and secular organisations which allow the “ungodly” to connect with the increasing numbers of like-minded individuals.
Well done to Think Atheist and its cohorts in rationality.