Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ranting about elephants.

I spent a fair chunk of time on the phone with Possum#2's friend's mother (let's call her Jane). Jane and I have talked numerous times. I've known her for several years. Anyway, Jane is a nice enough lady, but she's really pushy when it comes to religion. She had called me because "the message" for the congregation of her church, today, was "perform an intervention on your atheist neighbor! NOW!" Well. Ok. I embellished that a bit. The real message was: "Bringing (the nebulous) THEM into the fold."

She set up the conversation with flattering comments: "I know you're very intelligent." (Why, thank you!) "I know you only seek the truth." (Um...yes?) "I know you wouldn't want to miss a book that had the truth." (Oh crap. Here it comes.) "So, I've taken the liberty of getting this book for you... I really think you'd like it." (AHHHHH!) "Can I drop it off on the way to the supermarket?" (RUN!)

I asked her a little about the book and it is titled "The Case for Christ".
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0310209307/sr=8-1/qid=1156125508/ref=sr_1_1/102-3102271-8016958?ie=UTF8

As luck would have it, I've already read this nugget of Christ-love. I asked Jane if SHE had read the book? "Oh, yes! We read it in our bible study." (Uh huh.) Now, I don't have a problem with her believing in God/Christ/whatever. What bothers me is her classification of the book as "truth". I asked her why she believes it to be true. She reponded that "It was just such a pleasurable read about Jesus Christ..." and "...it inspired her." When I proposed that emotional reactions don't always support truth, she responded with confusion. I told her that, when I read the book, I found it to contain some emperical data, but nothing that could be backed up by unbiased history or science. More than that, the reference used by the author was often the Bible itself. She was confused because I didn't subscribe to her belief that the Bible can be used as a reference.

Move forward in the conversation and she said, "well... if you won't read it, then I guess my job is done." WTF?!?! I said I'd already read it. "No. You didn't read it with an open heart." *boggle* Again,...what's with the emotional pleas? I fail to see how the status of my tricuspid valve in any way relates to a book being based in truth or falacy.

This brings us to the elephant commentary: she made a comment, in closing, that "Knowing truth is like eating an elephant,...you have to eat it one bite at a time." Holy-bad-analogies, Batman! I begged her to expand on that gem of wisdom. "You know. Like you wouldn't eat an elephant all at once,...the same way, you can't expect the truth of God to fill you all at once. You have to take it one bite at a time." *sigh* I wished her well and hung up the phone.

There is another option, for those faced with eating an elephant: DON'T EAT THE ELEPHANT! Eat something else. The elephant might be poisoned. The elephant might taste like...well, elephant! The elephant might give you tapeworms. You don't HAVE TO eat the elephant to survive. Your happiness does not lie in swallowing two tons of elephant.

I'm a Blog of the Day!

4 comments:

rob@blogoftheday.org said...

Great blog! I've added a link to your blog on Blog of the Day under the category of Rant. To view the feature of your blog, please visit http://blogoftheday.org/page/112007

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Thanks, Rob! ;) Welcome to my mini van.

Erin said...

You should tell her that you just read a book full of the truth that you really enjoy, and you'll drop it off at her house tomorrow. Then tell her it's called The DaVinci Code and step back and wait for her head to explode.

Kazim said...

There is another option, for those faced with eating an elephant: DON'T EAT THE ELEPHANT! Eat something else. The elephant might be poisoned. The elephant might taste like...well, elephant! The elephant might give you tapeworms. You don't HAVE TO eat the elephant to survive. Your happiness does not lie in swallowing two tons of elephant.

More to the point, actually: You don't need an entire elephant to verify that you simply don't like the taste of elephant. Once you've determined that part of the elephant tastes crappy, your evangelist friend would probably say "But that was just the one bite you had! The rest of the elephant is delicious!"