S-s-s-something From The Comments

Crazy old Norner QMonkey has been annoying me by reading my posts with interest again. Here is what the old simian has to say:

can i ask… are there any christians you know of which hold views about god and his infulence on earth… which you would consider delusional? and if so why? im thinking in terms of visions/healings that kinda thing

Of course I know lots of people who are delusional about some things and some of them are Christians. For example, Wife-Unit is convinced that Eastenders is a really brilliant telly show and the Wire is crap and foul. And my boss thinks that the definition of style is the kind of thing a rich man wears at the golf course. And my intern-bitch is still insistent that God is a turtle that carries the Earth on his back. Two-Metre thinks God is the only person taller than him.

None of these things are true. For example, back in Jesus’ day people were much shorter and so statistically we can assume that the Messiah was a shorty.

If delusional means simply wrong in a straightforward, mistaken sort of way then I can assure you that every single person walking the face of the Earth is delusional about God in some important respects. Who am I to throw stones at the guys who handle snakes for Jesus? Should I also simultaneously have a go at my Buddhist pal because he doesn’t even realise God is a Trinity? I could try to mock Konchog if you like but I suspect he would best me in a battle of wits.

You mean delusional in the mentally unbalanced sense? There once was a day when I would confidently assert that lots of things from exorcisms to healing to belief in a Young Earth would be delusional. Just attribute that to my substitious nature. The drawback of being a sceptic is eventually you have to realise that sceptism extends even to your own sceptism. In calling these alleged events delusional I wasn’t being sceptical. I was moving to an actual position. Now I prefer to remain agnostic on all these things. I have no doubt that delusional people exist in the church, meaning people who are dreadfully and damagingly blind in their mistaken beliefs, but I don’t know any close up enough to say. Even if I did, I wouldn’t use those technical psychological terms. I’ll leave the diagnoses to Two Metre and just make fun of them behind their back.

It’s the Christian way.

Your Correspondent, Doing God’s work to let God off the hook.

31 Responses to “S-s-s-something From The Comments”

  1. QMonkey says:

    honestly… its not just becuase everytime i say something ‘controversial’ on your blog… i get about 20 hits on my blog from people going to see who this idiot is. honestly 😉

  2. zoomtard says:

    I have no idea how many people visit my blog so I hope you end up sending a million bajillion people my way.

    What did you think of the answer though Monkey?

  3. QMonkey says:

    hmm… i guess i was trying to crowbar out some sort of thought as to why, for instance (best example i can think of the top of my head) Joe Muslim is sure that Gabriel appeared to Mohammad, and that Christians are deluded to think that Gabriel appeared to Mary – and visa versa. Or that your Buddhist pal is deluded to think he’ll be reincarnated – and visa versa.

    not everyone can be correct – and to those who turn out not to be… deluded might be an appropriate word.

    definition of deluded? hmm for me, in simple terms its wishful thinking based on flimsy evidence and group confirmation. whether that constitutes mental illness is a whole nother topic! what is sanity?! Who’s to say that im sane and someone else isnt?! more questions than answers

  4. zoomtard says:

    You don’t ever seem to get a sense of how arrogant your position is MonkeyMan! 🙂 Is it wishful thinking for Konchog based on flimsy evidence and group confirmation that has him give up life in America to move to Mongolia to serve the people there? I am quite happy to say as a Christian that I suspect in some ways that he is mistaken but deluded- no way!

    The only delusions here-in listed are that a pirori, Western scepticism is somehow more reasonable than Buddhism or Christianity and that soap operas are a good investment of your time. 🙂

    At least it’s not Grey’s Anatomy I suppose.

  5. QMonkey says:

    now now, you are seeing arrogance where it doesnt exist. I’m happy to accept that i may be deluded. im just looking for definitions.

    “Is it wishful thinking for Konchog based on flimsy evidence and group confirmation that has him give up life in America to move to Mongolia to serve the people there?”

    eh no. why do you even say that. thats a classic straw man argument. it may though be wishful thinking for him think that there is life after death.

    just as it is for the suicide bomber to belive that he’ll have 100 virgins in heaven (or whatever) if he marters himself. Or is your view.. “ah well, you never know he may well be right”?

  6. jimlad says:

    QMonkey, “not everyone can be correct” but it makes sense to believe and act out of what makes sense – what makes sense to you, not someone else. Newton did not give up his Principia as nonsense even though it did not sufficiently explain everything. Paleontologists didn’t ignore the first dinosaur bones because other people believed they were put their by Satan to trick them. You are not presenting an argument when you remind someone of their potentially (or quite probably) flawed grasp of truth.

    So if you aren’t presenting an argument… ?

    In order to present an argument you need to target an actual statement and provide a possible reason as to its invalidity. I think you may have an argument. You just haven’t raised it.

    As for why people believe different things, only God can truly judge a man’s heart ;p. Obviously not just character but also personal experience are factors, and maybe this is what you wanted to argue about (in the context of God’s supposed justice)?

    As for definitions, *my guess* is that the more someone ignores their knowledge, the more deluded they are likely to be. And the less logical they are in their interpretation of that knowledge, the more likely they are to be mistaken. This is just a general guess that may not work in extreme examples. For example, a child who is maltreated by everyone may believe that everyone will always hate him, but if one day he finds one person who treats him with love it would be irrational to go on believing what he has learned. He could base his purist belief on statistics, but the logical reaction would be that it only takes one example to disprove something while it takes infinite examples to constitute a purely evidence based proof. If (before/after lovely person) he believes everyone hates him, is he delusional according to your experience of the world, or is he mistaken? There are plenty people in asylums because of some such general assumption.

  7. QMonkey says:

    im not arguing that delusion isnt a little subjective. Though i dont think maybe people called newton delusional .. misguided and incorrect maybe. I was just trying to get zoom’s views on the kind of. people and beliefs he considers delusional

  8. jimlad says:

    Perhaps a delusional person would assume that QMonkey was arguing when he in fact wasn’t? 😀

    Maybe you need to define exactly what you mean by delusional so that the Zoominal can give you an answer that matches your true question.
    eg.
    Delusional = wrong?
    Delusional = wrong objectively but right subjectively?
    Delusional = wrong interpretation but right observation?
    Delusional = insufficient observation?
    Delusion = denial of observed facts?
    Delusion = denial of logical conclusions?
    Delusional = right?
    Delusional = possessing two nostrils but only one nose?
    etc.

  9. zoomtard says:

    I have said it before. I will say it again. I love Jimlad and I would be his wife if his wife wouldn’t kill me.

  10. jayber crow says:

    Sorry I missed the big rumble. I was in the lava-fields of Origen without internet access. I’ve posted a belated sort-of response to your epic duel…

  11. QMonkey says:

    I’ll have a go. Perhaps delusional is a state of wishful thinking, overplaying any supporting evidence and downplaying any oppositional evidence.

    I’m searching for common ground with mr zoom… trying to find other beliefs which maybe we both can agree are basied on group delusion.

  12. jimlad says:

    Hard to say how much any of us do that, but I know what you mean. There’s a difference between really convincing yourself of a convenient lie, as opposed to missing a subtle flaw in your argument until someone explains it properly (and then realising that you might have had the imagination to figure it out if you’d really wanted to). I think you are looking for cases where it is hard to see how even subjectively a Christian could hold a belief that is inconsistent with their world?

  13. zoomluded says:

    Here is an example of someone I suspect is deluded. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCh2FXzD6R4

    Does that satisfy your sick desires you dirty Monkey!?? 🙂

  14. QMonkey says:

    “I think you are looking for cases where it is hard to see how even subjectively a Christian could hold a belief that is inconsistent with their world? ”

    extra-physical miricles are inconsistent with our world, surely. unless you know something i don’t.

  15. QMonkey says:

    zoomluder… nice vid. i like the music. i’ll resist the yo mama? routine

    Are we all agreeing that she is nuts and deluded? if so, how do we know that?

  16. zoomtard says:

    “extra-physical miricles are inconsistent with our world, surely.”

    I call bullshit. BULLSHIT!

  17. jimlad says:

    I wouldn’t use the word “inconsistent” to describe extra-physical miracles. They are unusual and one might debate their probability on that basis, but not on their inconsistency I think. I would suggest that extra-physical miracles are more akin to unprecedented cases of some event in some world, eg a court of law perhaps. If someone opened a case against a Martian this would be unprecedented, but could only be called inconsistent with reality if we showed that no Martians existed in the first place.

    An inconsistent belief would be to expect miracles to happen left right and center when everything about your life remains the same as before, and you not seen any miracles so far. If however a miracle did happen, this would be consistent with reality, though I would be the first to follow in doubting Thomas’s footsteps. Well, maybe you would be the first. I would be the second then. OK zoomtard, no zoomtard’s wife, would be the second. Agh.

    In short, there is a difference between inconsistency and improbability, and this could easily shift into an argument about the latter.

  18. QMonkey says:

    of course if a miracle did happen it would be consistant with reality

    i think that use of the word ‘unusual’ impies that it demonstrably happens sometimes.

    Its not just say ‘unusual’ for some one to jump up in the air and suddently learn they can fly. its ‘inconsistant’ with the laws of phyics and aerodymanics. if say, 1 in 1 millions times i jump int he air.. i can fly… then its unusual

    and ok… “”IF”” it says in some religious book somewhere that someone one time did fly then ….

    … nope sorry… i bail out you’re right all that bible stuff probably did happen

  19. jimlad says:

    I agree, but I don’t think that you are talking about the events surrounding the man known as Jesus Christ. If you are, I request a probable explanation that fits consistently with those events because the only consistent explanation that I can see now is the resurrection.

    Scientists once decided that it was impossible for a kangaroo to jump as far as it did. Einstein once believed that Quantum Mechanics was unlikely. Under present conditions on earth, it is extremely unlikely for life to spontaneously appear. If the conditions are right, events become more probable. The conditions we talk of concerning Christianity are not empirical conditions, but assuming physical laws have a creator, these conditions would be consistent with the resurrection.

    Any explanation requires certain assumptions, but the existence of God may be outside an argument about probability. God probably produced probility :p. So anyway, how about that explanation I asked for?

  20. jayber crow says:

    The language of “laws of nature” fools us into thinking we have understood why and how things happen, when actually we are only describing what has, in fact happened so far in our experience.

    The fact that apples fall downward from a tree is utterly mysterious. It’s magic. We call it the “law of gravitation” and come up with formulae to describe the speed and acceleration of the fall, but we have still not explained the why or even the how.

    If one day we saw an apple fly upward from the tree, this wouldn’t be any more magical than what we have seen every other day. But it would be much more unusual…

  21. QMonkey says:

    its all very clever and complicated. I’m a simple man i’m afraid and stuff like thats over my head. so, sorry tell me again why i shouldnt belive that gabrial appeared to Mohammad or to Joseph Smith.

    Given that its all so complex – its a wonder why , say everyone who goes to university and is ‘smart’ doesnt automaticaly belive in god and the bible… and the rest dont automatically not.

    are there people out there… who belive but actualy belive for the wrong reasons? ie they arent smart enough to know that an apple flying upwards isnt inconsistant its just unusual

    i put it to you… that you ‘belive’ and then as an afterthought try to justify it. and given that you never say things which can be reasonably disproven then you’re on a winner.

  22. jayber crow says:

    I have to say QMonkey, I think your little retreat into the “I’m just a simple man” line is a bit of a sneaky trick that you like to pull. You are a smart guy and my comment wasn’t particularly complex.

    My three year old son knows that when an apple falls from a tree, it’s magic. That’s why he wants to watch it again and again. And climb the tree and eat the apple just to get a bit closer to the magic.

    But one day he’ll go to school and some grey and humourless science teacher will talk in grave tones about the “law of gravitation” and write complicated formulae on the blackboard, and give the impression that he has explained the magic away, when all he has done is describe the magical event. And my son will walk out of the classroom and never look at an apple tree in the same way again.

    Or maybe he’ll have a teacher who knows that science is powerful and amazing but also has its limits. And he’ll talk passionately about the science, and then lean forward with a twinkle in his eye and say, “Of course, that’s just a model to help us describe what happens most of the time. It can’t tell us how the earth exerts this strange force on the apple. And it can’t even begin to tell us why…” And my son will walk out into the world with his sense of wonder increased and not diminished…

  23. QMonkey says:

    again ‘most of the time’ implies that its definitily happened before… or demonstrably happens sometimes. surely?

    ok… ill take a walk with your analogy… if i pick uip a book… which says that a few thousand years ago… some guy commanded an apply to fly up in the air… and it did. would you say.. hmm maybe it did… becuase everything is possible… you would however say that it’s very improbable to be true. unless you are given reason to belive it.

    so lets not dance on pennies (thats not the phrase is it) … did you, any of you one day read the bible and without any outside influence think… you know what i belive that those recorded facts happened? if you did , id be surpised.

    but at the same time your faith is dependent on these facts. (resurection, virgin birth etc)… and evidence based inquirey is the best way we have to asscertain facts. if not… tell me a better way to assertain facts (with examples please)

    always with love
    QM

  24. QMonkey says:

    PS: if i ever meet a science teacher who says the laws of gravity or aerodynamics only happen some of the time i’ll report him… either that or never get in a plane again!

  25. zoomtard says:

    “are there people out there… who belive but actualy belive for the wrong reasons? ie they arent smart enough to know that an apple flying upwards isnt inconsistant its just unusual”

    This is the key failing of your worldview. You continue to believe that belief is an intellectual matter. Faith is not a noun we possess. It is a verb we act. Are there wrong reasons for me to love my wife well? Maybe there are some better reasons than other reasons but ultimately who cares if I spend the rest of my life on the thing that matters- loving her.

  26. QMonkey says:

    Ok, maybe this will help me make my point. The VAST majority of Christians believe that god created the earth in 6 days, and that he destroyed the earth in a flood, Jonah survived inside a whale etc etc. They deny evolution for exactly the same reason you deny my theory that Jesus didn’t resurrect. I put it to you that up until 1900 ALL Christians believed in a 6 day creation… including st Paul, St John, St Matthew, Luther, William Tyndale etc.

    Recently ‘enlightened’ Christians like you have decided that the 6-day creation story didn’t happen that way. Why? Because you’ve studied the evidence… why do you not say yes ok the facts show this… but sometimes an apple can fly up etc etc well, first thing is to say that most Christians still do … but you have changed what you once believed because of what science has determined… not what god revealed to you.

    So why should I believe you when you talk about the resurrection … because you are just as likely to change your view on that depending on the science (problem is of course you’re ‘safe’ from science in this case because it’s very hard to prove that something DIDNT happen 2000 years ago, if you aren’t willing to accept that the laws of physics apply to it).

    You see why you might not be my go-to-guys when deciding how/why the universe works? And why a scientist, while he might not yet know everything… at least he should be consistent as to how he finds out .

  27. jimlad says:

    I don’t understand. You say in your comment above (in parentheses) that the question of the resurrection is not a matter for science to prove, and then say that it therefore didn’t happen. I still don’t understand. Can you explain this argument to me in an uncomplicated way so that I can break it down with my meagre intelect? ;p

    Do you know, I heard recently that jury’s are letting more and more people away with murder and the like because nowadays people expect the evidence to be purely empirical? TV series like CSI are blamed for influencing people’s perspectives, thus altering the path of justice. Crazy, because in the real world the scientific evidence is not so easy to come by. QMonkey, I put it to you that you would be most likely useless in a court of law.

    Science is not the only consistent methodology, and its consistency rests on logic. I asked you a question earlier which you have ignored. Please, if you like science you must surely respect logic. Give me a logical alternative to the resurection. No one here is saying that they are intelligent. We are just using the tools given to us to examine the issue. To be honest, if you want to keep saying that you are too stupid to argue, you should just drop the science line, because it science is not known for its simplicity. As it is, in the matter of your “simple mindedness”, you have only shown by your arguments to date that you *don’t* posess it.

    Lastly, questioning our motivation for believing has insufficient bearing on whether we believe the truth or not. I could just as easily say you don’t believe in God because it would be inconvenient for you to do so. As someone who does believe I can give plenty of examples of its inconvenience, to the extent that if Christianity did seem illogical to me, I would follow the route of logic to its end.

  28. jimlad says:

    PS. despite my sarcasm I think I do see your point about intelligence. If we can’t show something to be true only by argument, who knows that a better argument doesn’t exist to disprove us? But zoomtard and jabercrow have tackled that one in their look at that one. I think their answer is closer to your question than my retort is, which perhaps follows stubbernly in the vein of finding the best argument possible, when there might be greater opposing ones as yet unfound. However, I would not dismiss logic lightly as we must make sure that our beliefs are consistent with reality. I’m just saying that no one dismisses Einstein’s relativity just because he came up with the idea first, and checked for consistency by filling in the maths second.

  29. […] There is a bit of a comment flurry going on in the Zoomtard comments. QMonkey wrote this: “but you [Christians] have changed what you once believed because of what science has determined… not what god revealed to you.” […]

  30. QMonkey says:

    I think it’s unfair to say I didn’t answer the question. Jesus was a man who probably existed, probably said some stuff, he had followers who maybe thought he was the messiah. Four of his followers wrote some books and letters decades after he died attributing words to him and managed to get a v successful Jewish sect of the ground. But the onus is on you to convince me, if your claiming knowledge beyond science. If im talking to a Mormon the onus is on them to convince me about joseph smith, or to a Buddhist that I will be reincarnated, or to tom cruise that L ron hubbard isnt great!

    As you’d say yourself the bible isn’t reliable as a history book… you (I propose) used to believe that the world was created in 6 days… but you’ve changed your mind… not because of a revelation from god… but because of evidence based enquiry. There is no leap at all from that to using the same evidence based inquiry to say ok maybe some other stuff in there was allegorical too.

    I’m quite aware that you’re not going to be convinced. I don’t know but im thinking Christianity is a massive part of your life… so to suddenly one day say ‘you know what, im not sure any more’ would be a massive thing. All I can hope is that I plant a seed…. im also aware though that you probably just use this to hone your arguments rather than coming to it with an open mind. I’m willing to admit to some of that too, which I regret.

  31. zoomtard says:

    You haven’t answered the question. You’ve just restated your opinion. How do you account for the Resurrection stories?

    None of us would say something so crude and ill-fitting as “the bible isn’t reliable as a history book”. Books in the Bible aren’t meant to be history. Then again, about 25 of the last books are the best accounts of their era that we have.

    I never ever ever ever ever believed the world was made in 6 days. Many of my friends and peers who are adult converts can say the same. It’s an awful fallacy to conclude we were all brought up Northern Irish protestants. 🙂