Catheology

Dr. Jim Linville is Chairman of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, and owner of the cat- and atheism-infused website Dr. Jim’s Thinking Shop and Tea Room (how does he get away with that?)

More important, inspired by our discussion of natural selection and theology, he posted a theological LOLcat.:

What a sophisticated cat!

14 Comments

  1. Posted March 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Reading the responses to the recent “Many Voices of Disbelief” thread, one particular conclusion became especially solidified in my mind.

    Contrary to my earlier statements about miracles — or, at least, in addition to them — the real essential defining character of a god is that it is the object of worship. 900-foot-tall Space Jesus might teleport down here and start healing amputees and letting kids use his intestines for water slides, and that’d be really impressive and all…but the determination of whether he’s just a really big “Little Green Man” or a bona-fide god would be whether people try to figure out how he ticks or if they start making burnt sacrifices of their virgin mothers to please his smelling.

    It is thereby revealed that so many of us purported atheists, yea even so many of us Gnus, are really theists of a sort.

    Therefore, please permit me my confessional.

    Baihu is my principal (and principled) god.

    I don’t think I could deny that that gigantic mass of incandescent gas a hundred million or so miles away is also a very, very, very important god to me and to us all — as is this hunk-of-rock spaceship we all live on.

    We all have more gods, some of whom should be publicly acknowledged and others who should remain hidden.

    And now, if y’all’ll excuse me, I do believe my god is demanding the worship ceremony of “the chase of the yellow feather.”

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Marella
      Posted March 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      whether people try to figure out how he ticks or if they start making burnt sacrifices of their virgin mothers to please his smelling

      Some will do the first others the latter. Some of us are scientists and some of us are worshippers.

      • Posted March 20, 2011 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        Indeed, it seems reasonably certain that there will be worshippers for a very long time to come.

        The only real questions, then, are whether what they’re worshipping exists outside of their imaginations, and whether the objects of their worship deserve to be worshipped.

        It’s worth noting that the two questions are independent. Even Her worshippers agree that the Invisible Pink Unicorn (MPBUHHH) isn’t really real, but how can one help but worship She Who has given us everybody else’s holy days to celebrate as our own and Who commands us to eat ham and pineapple pizza?

        Cheers,

        b&

    • Tom M
      Posted March 20, 2011 at 5:29 am | Permalink

      900-foot-tall Space Jesus might teleport down here and start healing amputees

      Promises, promises.

      The one time I need Him…

  2. Sven DiMilo
    Posted March 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    How arch.
    I like it.

  3. Screechy Monkey
    Posted March 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    I can haz Templeton Prize?

  4. Posted March 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    That cat haz nuances!

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted March 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Typical cat. Meanwhile, my canine pal Oscar-the-dog-next-door is content with the reality that I’ll come play with him whenever I have a chance. Perhaps it’s because he’s Canadian by extension – he was rescued by the Canadian ambassador to Serbia’s wife.

  6. John
    Posted March 19, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    I am just pleased as punch that Jerry recognized the amazing and amusing work my colleague at the U of L has been doing. Check out all of his LOLcats—they really are LOL!

    And, yes, the Religious Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge really does have an outspoken atheist and skeptic as its Chair. AS Jim often writes, why would that be surprising? It is after all a department devoted to the study of religions—*all* religions (well, as many as a small department can encompass) as one fascinating aspect of human behaviour and history. This is not to say that there are not members of the department or its complement of graduate and undergraduate students who are religious (i.e., adhere to one or another religious tradition), but that that adherence is of no consequence, as the courses and research are about the fascinating history and tradition of the world’s religions, not their truth value.

  7. Matthew Cobb
    Posted March 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Much as I love lolcatz, I often find that they are often not particularly lolzy, more a stateotm-y (slight-twitch-at-the-edge-of-the-mouthy). This one is most definitely lolzy. I did. But not rofl.

  8. Nadeen
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    So, I am now to interpret the moaning and meowing my cat does trying to get me to sit down and pet her, dammit, as actual prayers to the ceiling cat that I will indeed do what she (my cat, though C.C. could well be female also) wants?

    Enlightenment is interesting, and shallow.

    • Posted March 20, 2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Actually, I’m afraid you’ve got it backwards. Those are commands from your own personal deity to worship her.

      If you know what’s good for you, you’ll obey this very personal call to worship.

      Cheers,

      b&

  9. Dr. Jim
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Woah! Thanks for reposting the cat! I’m honoured!

    I should add here that my “about me” file hadn’t been updated for some time. My turn at being Dept. Chair is over and I’m back to being a regular slob.

    The new dept. chair, however, is also an atheist. As our Christianity prof. says, mathematicians don’t have to pick favourites between the odd and even numbers, so why should we?

    There are very many believers in the guild of Biblical Studies (I’m an Old Testament guy)who can do pretty solid secular work, but alas, not all are willing. There has been a bit of uproar of late since a lot of secular folk like me have been pushing for the major Biblical Studies academic society to finally cut the apron strings of its origins within theological contexts (it actually seems to be moving in the opposite direction!) Anyway, the interested can read about my take on it here:
    http://drjimsthinkingshop.com/2011/03/13/sessions-the-sbl-should-do-without/

  10. Posted March 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Maybe they call what USAmericans call “tea rooms” “cottages” in Alberta, as they do in England. Maybe there is somewhere tea rooms sell tea.


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