Thursday, March 03, 2005

THE FENCE STILL NEEDS PAINT, REGARDLESS

Identical twin brothers are taking a break from painting their father's fence. On the radio is another report about the latest clean-up efforts related to the tsunami.


ATHEIST: Further proof.

BELIEVER: What is?

ATHEIST: That there's no God.

BELIEVER: What's further proof?

ATHEIST: The radio. The tsunami. The, what is it now, two hundred thousand dead?

BELIEVER: So?

ATHEIST: What do you mean, 'so'? You honestly think, if there was a God, He'd let this happen?

BELIEVER: First of all, there is a God, and he didn't let anything happen. It happened. Period. End of story.

ATHEIST: Okay. Let's say you're right, God exists, He's a good guy, the whole deal. You're saying he didn't let this happen?

BELIEVER: Of course not.

ATHEIST: If he didn't, who did, then?

BELIEVER: Nobody. Weather's weather.

ATHEIST: God doesn't control the weather?

BELIEVER: No.

ATHEIST: Well, he made weather, didn't He?

BELIEVER: Of course.

ATHEIST: But he doesn't control it.

BELIEVER: No. You made your daughter, didn't you? Do you control everything she does?

A pause.

ATHEIST: You're pretty sure about all of this.

BELIEVER: I'm not, actually, but I have faith.

ATHEIST. Right. 'Faith'. Forgot about that. (Takes a swig of Coke). And where did you get that from again?

BELIEVER: My father. My family. The Bible.

ATHEIST: And how do you know the Bible tells the truth?

BELIEVER: Because it's the divine word of God, transcribed by man.

ATHEIST: So, God says it, man writes it.

BELIEVER: Not quite like that, but close enough.

ATHEIST: And how do you know this book is 'divine'?

BELIEVER: Because the Bible says it is.

ATHEIST: Wait. The Bible is the word of God. How do we know? Because the Bible says it is. Isn't that a kind of circular logic?

BELIEVER: Not at all. It's called faith.

ATHEIST: In other words, you've made a leap of faith that what the book says is true?

BELIEVER: Right.

ATHEIST: Even though there's no way to verify its' truth.

BELIEVER: Right.

ATHEIST: So I could say that I found a document that says a teapot is the centre of the universe, the creator of life, and, when questioned by non-believers, I can say: Hey, it may sound kooky, but it's a leap of faith.

BELIEVER: Well, I guess so, but I think you've been reading too much Richard Dawkins.

ATHEIST: You know Dawkins?

BELIEVER: Of course. Famous evolutionist. The Blind Watchmaker, amongst others.

ATHEIST: So you believe in evolution.

BELIEVER: Of course not.

ATHEIST: Why not?

BELIEVER: Well, I haven't dismissed it entirely. Proof of intelligent design, perhaps.

ATHEIST: So God designed everything, which is why almost 99 % of species that have ever lived have died out. Nice design job. Good job with the oceans, too.

BELIEVER: If you blame God for the tsunami, as I think you're still trying to do, you might as well blame Him for the door that you stubbed your toe against this morning.

ATHEIST: I do, actually. Or would, if I believed in Him.

BELIEVER: Why do YOU think I believe in God?

ATHEIST: I think it's because you were raised in a culture and family that stressed this belief. If you were in the Middle East, you'd probably be a Muslim. If you were in Cambodia, you'd be a Buddhist. Religion is geography and tradition, nothing more.

BELIEVER: As opposed to non-belief, which isn't influenced by geography or tradition at all, right? But let me ask you this: Don't you think atheism, as a 'theism', is a kind of belief system in and of itself?

ATHEIST: Yes. It's a belief in non-belief.

BELIEVER: That's a contradiction. So you think when we die, we die?

ATHEIST: Yes.

BELIEVER: There's nothing more?

ATHEIST: Right. I think the afterlife is something we've devised to get us through this life in one piece. Something that people could hang onto when they're own lives went awry. Like all the slaves in the American south, hanging onto heaven because they knew there would be no justice in this life.

BELIEVER: You don't think of heaven as a real place, then?

ATHEIST: Of course I do. I just think it's here, on earth. Everything is here, on earth. The slaves did find heaven, and it was called 'Canada'. You ever read a 'A Place Called Heaven', by Cecil Foster? African-Canadian writer. The Underground railroad took those slaves to heaven, and their God was Harriet Tubman. This is all we've got, the here and now, so we might as well just get on with it.

BELIEVER: You think Canada's heaven? You ever read about what happened to Japanese-Canadians in WWII? And did you know that Harriet Tubman lived for many years in St.Catharines, Ontario, the hometown of the dude who's writing this post?

ATHEIST: What do you mean, 'post'?

BELIEVER: You think we're conducting this conversation of our own free will? You think nobody up above is having a hand in what we're saying?

ATHEIST: I still don't get what you mean by 'post'.

BELIEVER: Forget it. Whether there is a God, or whether there isn't, our break time's over, and that fence still needs to be painted. Let's get to work.

1 comment:

Muktuk said...

Love it!