Anyone see the last South Park, Cartman’s Passover Special? You should see the entire episode, but what I want to focus on is a small section near the end where Cartman relives, in a dream, the Old Testament story of Passover as if he’s the Pharaoh’s son.
I think this is brilliant, because stories from the Old and New Testaments, like most religious myths, are quite problematic for a number of reasons. They may contradict other stories in those books or in some way conflict with them, they may simply be overly silly, or they may be horribly gruesome. The OT and NT have no shortage of such stories and South Park took one of them and presented it brilliantly. Why I say brilliantly is other than putting Cartman in it, they didn’t need to change anything. The story is horrible enough, and flies directly in the face of beliefs and actions dictated by those beliefs by Christians today.
There are no shortage of such stories, and atheists often bring them up to Christians who awkwardly dismiss them as being incorrectly interpreted, read out of context, or some similar bullshit (which, I might add, shouldn’t even be possible in the first place if it’s the word of a perfect god, but that open’s another can of worms). The thing is though I think, even in a rather cheeky example like this one from South Park, retelling some of these awful stories in a visual narrative carries a punch that the written word alone cannot. I think it’s far more difficult to dismiss whatever problems exist in such stories for anyone who believes them to be true, than by simply quoting the story in a discussion. So that brings up my storytelling question:
No matter how horrible a religious story or general belief is and no matter how darkly or, dare I say “faithfully” you depict it in a visual narrative, does the mere fact that you’re portraying a story that some believe to be true or contains elements that they believe to be true, actually reinforce their belief rather than challenge it in any way?
The following is a response to a point the Chaplain raised. She felt the Reason Rally was comparable to those old Billy Graham revivals and thus, a religious event with attendees having what looked to her as a religious experience.
I think you’ve enter the “atheism is a religion” fallacy.
This Saturday you’ll have two crowds descending on Philly, one to see the Flyers and the other to see Bruce Springsteen. Both will get energized by being around similarly minded people. Both will hoot and holler together. Both will likely be wearing paraphernalia associated with who they’re going to see and may be buying more there. Many from both crowds will be bringing their children to expose them to what they’re seeing. Many from both sides will be tailgating before and perhaps after the events. Now I ask, is Bruce Springsteen comparable to the Flyers? Are they the same?
“Atheism” is a convenient catch-all for a variety of topics where ultimately the religious, or some comparably faith-based believers are the antagonists. Anti-vacs, anti-evolution and science, anti-sex education, anti-abortion, anti-equality for gays and women, and so on. Do they really have anything to do with atheism? No. Nothing has anything to do with atheism other than the god question, however all that shit and more is caused by, or justified by the belief that a god exists who hates all that science and butt sex so atheism (I’d prefer critical thinking) becomes the cause or at least the battering ram many people need to get behind to smash the foundation of these dangerous and un-constitutional actions by believers. And yes, I do feel people need to get together to oppose these muddle-headed initiatives and certainly no political party will as both are guilty to at least pandering to the faithers if not supporting and championing faith-based nonsense themselves.
Does passion equate to religion? Does gathering en mass with like minded people make you religious or the group a religion? Is supporting a cause a religious action? I’d have to say no to all of those questions.
Now with that said, I wouldn’t attend a Reason Rally because one, I’m crazy busy and two, I hate crowds and all that’s associated with crowds. However, I do attend industry conventions because it’s an opportunity to hear and perhaps meet top people in my field. I suppose for some who went to the Rally, that was an appealing reason for them to go, but it’s not for me. I did attend a small event a few years ago at Penn where PZ Meyers gave a talk, but if it was going to be held in an auditorium I probably wouldn’t have gone. To each their own which, ultimately, is one of those “atheist” sentiments which has nothing to do with atheism but is generally held by atheists it seems and is a sentiment worth rallying behind.
The NFL has no shortage of religious displays by both players and fans, but Tebow has been something different. A QB who can’t even manage to throw a spiral has somehow been at the helm as his team has pulled off seemingly miraculous wins. There are religious players, and then there’s Tebow. His parents are missionaries, his birth was “miraculous”, he has performed missionary work preaching to inmates and in the Philippines mutilating genitals while preaching the “good news”, is still a virgin and is a top selling religious author now so OF COURSE he’s plugged into the Man Upstairs who makes his wins happen. What other explanation could there be? What, you want proof? How about the miracle of last week over the Steelers where he threw for….. wait for it…. 316 yards? 3:16, people! I mean come on!
So it would stand to reason that if the results of his games are due to the Christian god, and that we can also take meaning from the stats of these games, like with the 316 yards, meaning that is EVIDENCE of this divine intervention, then clearly that must apply to all of his games, not just the wins, right? Well let’s pursue that…
First there’s the last week of the regular season, where his QB ineptitude was quite evident in a 7-3 loss to the Chiefs. The 3 points were a miracle, the result of a fumbled punt return by one of the leading NFL returners setting Denver up in FG range, so there’s the stamp of the Christian god already, for every unexplainable bit of fortune for Tebow MUST be evidence of His intervention. With that in mind, let’s crunch the numbers.
John 2:15 talks about driving everyone out of the temple. The Chiefs drove everyone out of Mile High after Tebow (#15) gave up 2 turnovers.
1 Peter 2:15 speaks of how you can silence fools by doing good. On the 1st day of the year, the Chiefs silenced Tebow fans for the day (well at least an hour or so) when their good work caused 15 to give up 2 turnovers.
It’s the Christian bible people, it can’t be wrong! Ok, so let’s get to the more important studies, the numbers from the 45-10 ass whooping:
Proverbs 12:15 Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
Brady (#12) put on a clinic showing how the position of QB should be played. Only a fool would think after that display that their way of wobbly, inaccurate passing and gimmick runs are the way to victory. Even a supreme being can’t help you if you keep up with that foolishness against the right way of doing things.
John 12:15 Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.
Scripture is never exact, you know. You have to interpret or massage it for its meaning so if you replace “donkey’s colt” with “bronco”, well there you go. The King, Brady, is sitting pretty over the donkey, er, bronco Tim Tebow. But enough of the Brady v. Tebow stuff, let’s focus on the 136 passing yards since after last week’s 316 yards were so evidently the means through which the Christian god communicates.
Corinthians 13:6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
It’s been quite the injustice to football having Tebow hailed as a great QB, and the truth of his play was made evident yesterday, especially compared to the real truth, Tom Brady, but what would a god care about football justice? Let’s dig deeper.
Matthew 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Luke 13:6 A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
Indeed, Tebow is no real NFL QB and the QB position is the root for any team’s future. Plant Tebow as your QB of the future and he will not bear you any fruit.
Isaiah 13:6 Scream in terror, for the day of the LORD has arrived–the time for the Almighty to destroy.
Uh oh! Well let’s just hope He’s just focusing on the Broncos’ destruction.
Ezekiel 13:6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. They say, “The LORD declares,” when the LORD has not sent them; yet they expect their words to be fulfilled.
Mark 13:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Acts 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus
We’ve got a recurring theme here, which MUST add emphasis to the truth of the message plus it appears THREE TIMES so it must be important. What else can you take from this other than the Big Guy doesn’t care for Tebow (and I”m not talking about Elway when I say the Big Guy, even though it appears Elway doesn’t care for Tebow, either). Afterall, Jesus is credited with saying in Matthew 6:5 “don’t be like a hypocrite that prays in public to make others think better of them” so the Big Guy can’t care much for that damn Tebow pose and the rest of his shtick.
Well, the Christian bible doesn’t lie so there you go. Perhaps Tim should consider the 45-10 score and think on Isaiah 45:10.
As if astride chariots of iron, the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense soundly defeated the Broncos in Denver yesterday. They did it by exposing Tebow, aka Jesus or “The Mile High Messiah” for what he is, an under-talented, over-hyped player. The fascination with this clown was prompted by his in your face religiosity coupled with his seemingly inexplicable football successes. The truth is there’s never been anything inexplicable about Tebow’s successes, and the Chiefs’ defense made that clear yesterday.
Tebow was a success in college with the Florida Gators because they were a running team, not a passing team. They required a QB who could run, not necessarily throw and that’s what they got with Tebow. He’s a big guy who can run well (for a QB) but can’t pass for shit. Still, his team would win despite his obvious inabilities as a QB (QBs have needed to pass the football well since some time between the end of leather helmets and the start of the AFL). Now the rational saw him and the Gators for what they were, a gimmick carried by a strong defense, but there’s far too little rationality in sports, as any sports fan knows. Sports are a hotbed for superstitions, from pregame rituals to playoff beards and everything in-between, so when you have a winning team helmed by an obviously flawed player, there must be some magical reason why they’re winning. Tebow provided that for the irrational with his over the top religiosity and let’s face it, when it comes to irrational superstitions, religion takes the cake.
But like I said, the rational saw him for what he was and expected him, if he were drafted at all by an NFL team, to go perhaps in the 5th or 6th round but another miracle happened. The Denver Broncos gave away 3 draft picks to move up and take him in the 1st round. Did the then coach, McDaniels, do it because he was deluded by the magic Jesus hype or his own arrogance in believing he can make even someone with such poor passing skills as Tebow into a passing star? Nobody knows, but of course the faithful saw it as a sign. In fact, it was probably the hand of their god making it happen because to throw away so much for such a player can’t be explained any other way.
So away goes the coach, McDaniels, and the new coach has to deal with him and the manic fans screaming for him to play. What do you do? Well, you attempt to do what Florida did because what else can you do? As Fox said, he can’t function in a conventional NFL offense so you have to ride that gimmick and they did. They won 6 straight games with it, which was even better than the last great gimmick, the Wildcat, but like the Wildcat, savvy coordinators eventually figure out how to deal with gimmicks and shut them down, and that’s what Romeo Crennel and the Chiefs did. After all, this is the one and only defense so far who came up with an answer for Rogers and the Packers.
Now New England and Buffalo certainly showed one way to defeat the Tebow gimmick, and that was put up a lot of early points. That forces your opponent to have to score a lot in a short period of time, made shorter if their defense can’t put an end to you adding more points and/or milking the clock for the rest of the game. Running takes time and Tebow can’t pass so that’s that, but what if you don’t score a lot of points? What then? Many of Tebow’s “miraculous” wins were over such teams, and he somehow would find a way to come back and win at the end. The faithful, of course, saw it as a sign of their god’s intervention, some even going as far as thinking maybe Tebow was the 2nd coming of Jesus. The truth was far less impressive, and it’s called the “prevent defense”.
“All a prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.” – John Madden
The inexplicable way a man who can’t throw a pass for over 50 minutes of a 60 minute game and then miraculously have that ability and lead his team to victory is easily explained by the prevent defense, a ridiculous “play not to lose” approach where you don’t pressure a QB and hang back off of receivers just making sure no one gets behind you to catch a TD pass. Don’t pressure my mother or in any way stop the person she’s throwing to from catching a pass and she’d put up a gaudy QB rating, too. So either by throwing wobbly passes to uncovered receivers or running through a soft middle, Tebow lead his team to victory after victory. No magic, just stupidity, but perhaps that was yet another sign. If the answer to stopping Tebow was so obvious yet no one did it, that must be his god’s work, right?
Well if that’s the case, then the KC Chiefs have become immune to the power of his god, like riders of iron chariots. They never went to a prevent defense, challenging all of his receivers with man-to-man coverage. Furthermore, they contained him in the pocket, not allowing him to run for what he can’t do with his arm. You could almost say the Chiefs went out of their way to put this Tebow magic nonsense to rest by only scoring 7 points of their own, laying it all on the shoulders of the Mile High Messiah to work his magic, if he actually had any. Clearly he doesn’t. But will that stop the Tebow mania? Will people finally stop making him their Jesus substitute? Will broadcasters finally stop talking about him as if he were magical? If they did though, then we’d need a new drinking game.
But you know how it is with irrational beliefs, people who indulge in them will do whatever they can to continue riding that high despite any dose of reality you give them to counteract it, so many will take the team winning the division despite this loss handed to them by Kansas City as yet another sign. I can only hope that the Steelers and everyone else in the NFL takes yesterday’s game as a clear sign as well, of how to dispel this so-called magic and put this gimmick where he belongs, as an interesting footnote in the annals of football history. Naturally I hope Denver keeps drinking the Jesus juice for quite awhile longer. With no viable QB, a gimmick offense, the loss of picks from 2010, and now this division win which moves them down the depth chart for draft picking order, provides them a tough schedule for next year and hopefully a national exposure as a joke next weekend when the Steelers maul them, this Chiefs fan is feeling all warm and bubbly inside. Is this how believers feel? If so, I can see the appeal.