Shahadah, Revised & Updated for Accuracy

There is no god but Physics,

and Mathematics is her messenger.

Geographically Embarrassed

Well, when you put it that way, yes. There are a few spots that need to be included, probably with an odd “splat” shape that has fingers here and there. But the point is well taken.


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Infographic – Evolutionary Tree of Myth and Religion (reblog)

In keeping with my affinity for educational visual aids, I simply couldn’t resist adding this one to the lineup. Excellent work from Simon Davies @ Thanks to Seth Andrews at TTA for the Facebook post.

My own thoughts… I had a conversation with a friend quite recently, and he asked me what I thought “the truth” was. I told him that at bottom, I think religion is simply something that people like to do. We fear death. We fear uncertainty. And we fear insignificance. Religion gives us an incantation against the parts of our own minds that grasp these realities. Further, we Christians are not special, and we do not have corroborating evidences that our competing faiths lack. The mirage of uniqueness grows from the soil of ignorance. We do not understand “the others”, and so we do not understand ourselves. Only deep reading about our faith from outsiders, and about other faiths from insiders, will dispel the fog. And visuals like this are an excellent help.

Mythology Tree of Descent

Quote: Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell

Daniel Dennett, at the Second World Conference...

Daniel Dennett, at the Second World Conference on the Future of Science, in Venice, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is an asymmetry: atheists in general welcome the most intensive and objective examination of their views, practices, and reasons. (In fact, their incessant demand for self-examination can become quite tedious.) The religious, in contrast, often bristle at the impertinence, the lack of respect, the sacrilege, implied by anybody who wants to investigate their views.

~ Dennett, Daniel C. (2006-02-02). Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (pp. 16-17)

In my own limited personal experience, I can attest that this quote resonates with reality. Not everyone bristles, of course, though some do. I think maybe the bristling is saved for outsiders, and I was an insider.

Some of my friends have simply acted uncomfortable. A number have flatly not wanted to hear or know anything about my investigation. Yet several have actually thought even my very attempt at examination was foolhardy… I wish I could count the number of times I’ve been told that the project of investigating the claims of Christianity simply cannot be transacted, that is flatly impossible, and that it lies beyond critical inquiry. There is a pretending that our faith is made of “faith stuff” that never touches earth, a pretending that Christianity does not make claims about history that can be checked.

We Christians claim a trove of knowledge. Human knowledge can be checked, can be examined, and can be disconfirmed. There are no grand exemptions. Just as Christians would say that Islam is objectively wrong, and could provide reasons why this is so, likewise our own views can be examined under the same cold light of inquiry. We have enjoyed our own proclaimed asymmetry far too long. And we are increasingly being called on it.

Dennett argues that we should conduct such inquiry for religion in general, and with vigor. I agree.

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