Archive for the ‘Religion And Conceptual Muddle’ Category

Whatever Happens, Is Nature.

People talk about God, or miracle-workers, breaking the Laws of Nature. This is a foolishness that comes from a particularly ill-chosen metaphor. Nature has no laws, only habits. We would be much better advised to call regularities of phenomena by a different name, one that does not suggest cops and robbers. If someone were to […]

A Great Tautology

“It is true enough that everything had happened as fate had decreed.” Thus the Heike monogatori. Such locutions are common in every religious culture. But what, I would ask, does a decree of fate mean other than that something happened? Are there two things going on here, fate and things happening, or only the one […]

A Miracle, A Miracle!

The word “miracle” is actually a synonym for “wonder”, but in Latin: mirare, to wonder, also the root of words like admirable, mirror and so forth. Now, when “wonder” is used to describe an occurrence, as in Signs and Wonders, this is actually an elision for “an event at which people wonder”. It is not […]

Oh Lord, You Are So Absolutely Huge!

Theologians tell us that God has all the perfections, probably because an imperfect God is such a scary prospect that no one wants to think about it. (Unintelligent Design, anyone?) Among His attributes is also placed being “infinite”, despite the fact that this logically excludes His being the Creator. (If God has created a physical […]

Posted on April 29, 2009 at 07:48 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · 6 Comments
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion And Conceptual Muddle

A Religious Choice?

One of the commonest Christian rhetorical tricks is to claim that it is essentially a religious choice to posit the non-existence of God. If that is so, then it must be a communistic choice to posit the falsity of Communism.

Who Is Angry?

Listen – really listen – to the preacher shouting “The Lord is angry!” then ask yourself how likely it is that he is saying something about the world beyond his own endocrine organs. No, it is all just too transparent. The wires running behind the Wizard’s curtain lie in plain sight. We might as well […]

Slaves To Metaphor

Christianity rests entirely on two overlapping social metaphors, namely salvation and redemption. The former term, which means “rescue”, is more transparent than the latter, which means “repurchase”, e.g. of a slave or an insurance policy. Consequently, evangelicals ask if you are “saved” but not whether you have been “repurchased”. The reply that one “does not […]

The Unimaginability Of Death

When Descartes said that it is logically impossible to doubt that you are thinking, he meant that it was logically impossible to doubt that you are thinking at the same time at the same time as you are thinking. For I can quite easily doubt today that I was thinking yesterday. However, while there may […]

Baldwin And The Cook

The dying King Baldwin I of Jerusalem told his cook, “On this subject, as you love me, or as you used to love me when I was alive and well, so should you keep faith with me when I am dead. Disembowel me with the knife; rub me inside and outside especially with salt; fill […]

Immortality As Syntax Error

The “mind” is not an inhabitant of part of the body, but is one particular way of describing certain behaviours of that body; consciousness is a pattern of standing waves across the entire brain, an emergent function of the complexity of electrical phenomena; emotions are the subjective experience of changes in neurochemistry; and decisions to […]