Category Archives: Wishful Thinking

God Phishing

If Mano Paul is any good at his day job, he should know how to check the headers on his email from God. Here’s what I found when I looked at all my god-spam:

Received: from somerabbis.il (10.1.1.1) by constantine.rome.it (10.1.1.2); Fri, 11 Jan 325 14:45:21 +0100
Content-Type: multipart/hearsay;
X-Mailer: Nicaean Council Decreer 1.0
X-Complaints-To: nobody@notlistening.net
List-Unsubscribe: hahahyeahright@weproselytizeforever.org

I’m not sure why anyone should take such a chain letter seriously. It could hardly be less believable if it had come directly from Nigeria. Normally, it’s best not to respond to spammers since all it does is confirm that they’ve got a real address and it’ll just invite even more spam. However, in some cases they’re just going to keep spamming anyway so all you can do is try to fight back.

God’s promises of everlasting life are not unlike penis enlargement scams. “Here’s something you really want, all you have to do is give us a little bit of money and swallow these lies pills!” They appeal to the desperate and gullible. But obviously people keep buying, because the god-bothering spam keeps coming.

What is my response? Prove it, God. Prove that your magic penis enlargement scheme is going to give me everlasting life. You’re God, you should know what it would take to convince me, and it’s a hell of a lot more than a legion of deluded converts convinced by nothing more than fourth century chain mail; when I look around, all I see is a bunch of normal-sized dicks.

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You Bet Your Life

Mano Paul doubles down on the afterlife. As in his previous post, Mano is so convinced of the existence of the afterlife that he is willing to bet not only his, but his family’s current lives on it. What’s the harm?

There are no doubt benefits to religious affiliation. A strong community, sense of purpose, and feeling of being part of something greater – these are all innate human desires. But satisfying these desires with religion comes at a cost of dangerous irrationality, alienation, and bigotry, not to mention the lost time spent worshipping a nonexistent deity and suffering unnecessarily by avoiding happiness in this life for some greater reward in an exceedingly unlikely afterlife.

Suppose the Bible claimed the faithful could fly – how many dead Christians would have been enough evidence for surviving believers to quickly claim that it was yet another part of the book that is “metaphorical” and not literally true? That we have no way to test if there really is an afterlife is the only reason Christians still believe this part of the Bible is still literally true.

Suppose there is an afterlife? What testable claims would such a proposition have?

Marco…YOLO

Mano Paul votes for “YOLO” as the worst word of 2012. The poll actually calls for “banishment”, which flips on the boo light for censorship, but in the principle of charity we’ll just assume Mano thinks YOLO is bad and we should feel bad for thinking it.

Aesthetically, I agree, but mostly because my only impression of people who use it comes from Fail Blog : Ugliest Tattoos.

Mano claims that YOLO is Biblically incorrect, yet his quotes (including John 11:25 and John 3:16) in support of his argument only seem to undermine his point. Jesus actually tells us we can live forever! It’s hard to imagine how this refutes the idea that we only live once. This idea of everlasting life seems to be a central tenet of Christianity, judging how often we see posters with the John passage outside of churches.

Let’s extend further charity and assume Mano is taking a philosophical stand on the afterlife. No serious person could doubt that humans experience something that we call death. The debate is about whether what we experience as consciousness lives on despite all evidence to the contrary. Does Mano have any serious thoughts to contribute to this argument other than a couple of sentences from a dusty book of myths? The Hindus have their books of myths, too, equally dusty; on what grounds does he dismiss YOLOAOUYETCOR (You Only Live Over And Over Until You Escape The Cycle of Reincarnation)? Not enough ink for the tattoo?

It may not even be true that we all want to live forever, if we think about it, though I tend to subscribe to the Fun Theory of the Universe. However, very few of us not suffering from serious depression are likely to say “yes”, if they’re asked if they want to die. It’s a nice thought to believe in an afterlife. But just because we wish to live forever, that doesn’t make it so.

There is a very silly argument that we should believe in Jesus just in case Christianity is true, because the risk is too great if we’re otherwise wrong. Mano should know a few things about risk management. It’s hard to know if that would make him more likely to accept the argument, or less, but hopefully he has at least considered the case that this life here on earth is the only one we get, and it DOES end when our bodies die. It would be very sad indeed for him to waste so much of his and his family’s life in worship of a false ideal, if this is our only turn on the merry-go-round.