This is an actual argument quoted in the comments of Jerry Coyne’s website, whyevolutionistrue.com – but it’s from a few weeks ago, and I can’t find it now. Will credit if it turns up.
I’m honored that the creator not only reads this website, but also the comments! If you know the comment the artist is referring to, put it in below. It must be a quote from some muddled theologian (or are those two words redundant?).
In the meantime, this week’s cartoon again begs the question of God’s existence in the proper sense.
The new Jesus and Mo strip, called “science”, deals with “presuppositionalism,” (or “presuppositional apologetics”) defined in the strip. (You can also read about it here, and it will come up in a post later today when we learn that Christianity was necessary for the advent of science because science began as a way to understand God’s plan and his Roolz.)
The whole presuppositionalist enterprise is indeed question begging, as it presumes the truth of Christianity.
Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “live”, has a caption on the Patron site, “It’s an abusive relationship.” And indeed it is: God is like a husband or father who is sometimes loving, and, at the same time professing to love you, beats the hell out of you. As they do so often, they’re performing onstage, and, as usual, they’re completely oblivious of their own hyprocrisy.
I used to be a beg-the-question pedant, but there comes a time when you just have to go with it. ‘Assumes the conclusion’ is clearer anyway.
I’m still a beg-the-question pedant, but I agree with the artist that “assumes the conclusion” (the traditional meaning) is clearer, since everybody now thinks that “begs the question” means “raises the question.” Best to not use “begs the question” then, and use either “assumes the conclusion” or “raises the question.”
And, as usual, Mo commits the very act he’s decrying. . . .
The article, from BBC Sport, reports that, in the European beach handball competition, the Norwegian women refused to wear the required bikini bottoms in a match against Spain, opting for shorts instead (see photo below, with Norwegians in red and Spanish in black). The Norwegian team was fined €1500 for disobeying the rules.
Men, of course, can wear shorts; here’s the difference in the traditional outfits for men vs. women. Is there any reason to mandate this difference save to allow male viewers to ogle female bodies?
Likewise, Germany’s female gymnasts wore unitards instead of the traditional leotards. Here’s a photo showing the traditional vs. unitard outfits in the German gymnastics Olympic trials:
Male gymnasts, of course, can dress more modestly, like this:
Now a few readers have said that, for them, a plus of watching women’s beach competitions or gymnastics is the chance to see skin. But ask the women: I bet they generally don’t like it, and some certainly don’t like it, preferring to have their talents rather than pulchritude on display. And there’s no excuse for mandating skimpy outfits for women. Uniforms should be regulated, of course, but designed not to expose bodies, but for comfort and to facilitate performance.
But I digress. Here’s Mo doubly upset by the “shameless display of female flesh” in the Olympics. And, of course, he’s hypocritical in his cognitive dissonance.
The trope, of course, is C. S. Lewis’s (in)famous “Liar, lunatic, or lord” passage from his book Mere Christianity, also known as Lewis’s Trilemma. Here it is:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.
Now isn’t that convincing?
I remember when I read the book as part of my research for Faith Versus Fact, and I read it because Mere Christianity is supposed to be the best selling and most popular book on Christianity save the Bible itself. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that there are other possibilities beyond Lewis’s three, including Bart Ehrman’s thesis that Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher who may have believed what he said, but didn’t claim he was God himself. You can see other criticisms at The Secular Web.
All in all, I was pretty appalled that people were taken in by C. S. Lewis’s arguments for Christianity in the book. It was like The Little Golden Book of Jesus for Brits. Grania, a lapsed Catholic, always said that Lewis was popular simply because he was one of the few theologians who could write for the average person.
But on to the strip, in which Mo gives Jesus a zinger:
The entire paragraph quoted, which is Martin Amis writing from Pakistan.
Religion is sensitive ground, as well it might be. Here we walk on eggshells. Because religion is itself an eggshell. Today, in the West, there are no good excuses for religious belief – unless we think that ignorance, reaction and sentimentality are good excuses. This is of course not so in the East, where, we acknowledge, almost every living citizen in many huge and populous countries is intimately defined by religious belief. The excuses, here, are very persuasive; and we duly accept that ‘faith’ – recently and almost endearingly defined as ‘the desire for the approval of supernatural beings’ – is a world-historical force and a world-historical actor. All religions, unsurprisingly, have their terrorists, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, even Buddhist. But we are not hearing from those religions. We are hearing from Islam.
And in the cartoon, Jesus and Mo manage to disparage each other:
And a bit of her kvetching in the House of Commons about “hurt feelings” when the Prophet (peace be upon him) is insulted. This is an excerpt from the AA (Anadolu Agency) report:
“As a Muslim, for me and millions of Muslims across this country and the quarter of the world’s population that is Muslim too, with each day and each breath, there is not a single thing in the world that we commemorate and honor more than our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him),” she said.
Shah drew comparisons between the British people’s attachment to figures such as Winston Churchill and Oliver Cromwell and Muslims’ love and endearment for their prophet.
Just as this new law aims to protect historical figures of the UK, the same protection should be extended to figures and individuals that hold importance for other communities, the lawmaker stressed.
“When bigots and racist defame, slander or abuse our Prophet (peace be upon him), just like some people do to the likes of Churchill, the emotional harm caused upon our hearts is unbearable. Because for 2 billion Muslims, he is the leader we commemorate in our hearts, honor in our lives and forms the basis of our identity and our very existence,” Shah asserted.
The thing is, it’s not illegal to mock or make fun of Winston Churchill or Oliver Cromwell.