Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Acknowledging the Absurdity of Religion

Blind faith in absurdities like Christianity will not be banished from the earth by rational argument but by making religion, and monotheistic religion in particular, a laughingstock. Not shameful, not intellectually irresponsible, even though the monotheistic religions are all those things, but silly. According to Christian testimony, Satan's sense of humor isn't any better than God's: they both take themselves much too seriously.

Silke's answer to the Blasphemy Challenge is a wonderfully profound acknowledgment of the willful stupidity that is blind faith. If there is too much rational argumentation, it rubs off, so that even the basest and most arrogant foolishness takes on an air of respectability. Certain ideas become tacitly untouchable and unquestionable, hence accepted as necessary precursors to "meaningful dialog," as if dialog with a neurotic could be meaningful while the neurotic insists on playing make-believe.

One of Nietzsche's better anti-Christian jibes: the "meaning of existence" only means that there is something at which it is forbidden to laugh. That something has a metaphysical aura, like guilt for a Christian, only means that one should neither look too closely nor that one should make fun. If laughter at something is forbidden, rational inquiry "uninformed" by revelation is also forbidden. For the textually curious: see Friedrich Nietzsche, Section 1, "The Teachers of the Purpose of Existence, The Gay Science.


  1. From my reading of Dawkins, it would seem that he agrees with your statement that only ridicule can effectively deal with something as nonsensical as religion. I'm not sure that I agree with such a strategy. If we were all rational, and we all understood the rational arguments against religion, then it seems to me that religion would be quickly relegated to the outer fringes of society. Yet, it thrives. I'm thinking that perhaps we're not putting as much stock in rationality as we should be, and that's a big part of the problem. Would be interested to know your thoughts on this.

  2. Patrick,

    This was one of my first posts, as you might have noticed. I'm certain I'd rephrase things differently today, but I didn't say those things today. Sigh...

    Anyway, on a more serious note...I'll think about your comment. And I promise to revisit this theme again in the near future.


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