Jesus ‘n’ Mo and those angry atheists

Today’s Jesus and Mo has as its inspiration the tedious lucubrations of Francis Spufford, and also gives a shoutout (and link) to reader Sastra, who made a great comment when we discussed Spufford’s new book.


h/t: Linda Grilli


  1. Posted November 6, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Way to go, Sastra!


  2. Posted November 6, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    So much for dianoetic thought experiments.

  3. gbjames
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I’d sure like to shake the hand of “” sometime.

  4. jesusandmo
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Sastra should pop over to J&M. Spufford is here.

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Awesome! Sastra is internet famous now!

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      In my book, she already was. 😉

  6. Posted November 6, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Of course, Roman Catholic Cardinals are not shy when it comes to telling atheists they are not fully human.

    • Posted November 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Good link!
      Steven Law is not only a very interesting philosopher he is a really regular chap! He sets time aside to lecture on philosophy at the “Skeptics at the Pub” circuit here in London, where we discuss deep ideas while knocking back any number of pints of quality beer. It bring extra meaning to “philo” and “sophia.

      • Posted November 8, 2013 at 12:27 am | Permalink

        To be fair, Catholics claim Dawkins was fully human when he was just a fertilised egg. He only stopped being fully human once he was born, or possibly when he started to point out what they actually believed.

  7. Sastra
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Whoa! I just saw this!

    Jesus ‘n Mo

    I am humbled.

    • kelskye
      Posted November 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      It’s surprising that it hasn’t happened earlier, or that it’s not happening on other places. You really need to write your own blog!

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 8, 2013 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      Sastra, did you see Author’s comment above?

  8. kelskye
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting how theists use emotion as a grounding for their belief. There’s one theist I’ve been “debating” who seems to agree with me that the arguments show God to be an irrational belief, but that it’s a mistake to apply those rational arguments to God because God isn’t the kind of thing that is grounded in our rationality. I’m still trying to get from him why the irrationality of the proposition shouldn’t indicate that our emotional response is irrational too.

    I think the idea of trying to ground anything in our emotions is superficially fulfilling. After all, emotions play a huge part of our mental life, and are especially important when it comes to meaning and significance. One of the facts of human behaviour I find fascinating is that if someone suffers an injury that severs emotion from rational decision-making, people become utterly hopeless at making even the most basic of decisions. So the idea that the emotions are our guide to reality isn’t just a natural way of thinking, but a way of thinking that is at the core of most things we do.

    It’s superficially fulfilling because in a very real sense, it answers a nagging question about our Being. Though I think it’s confused on two issues:
    First is that it’s making a category error – that it’s a case of confusing our emotional response with the question of what’s warranted to believe. It is incredibly emotionally fulfilling to feel loved, but that says little about whether it is possible that feeling can be in error. In a normal healthy relationship, that feeling makes sense. But people can still have that feeling even there’s no other person there. It’s important not to confuse that emotion with the truth of the situation.

    Second is that it’s discounting the way in which the belief systems create the objects of importance. One of the scenes of The Unbelievers is a Christian apologist ranting about right and wrong, and he opines how everyone knows it’s wrong to blaspheme Jesus (unlike all other proposed gods of different religions), as it’s one of the most basic moral intuitions we all have. It’s clear that he’s internalised his belief system to such an extent that the tenets of his belief system are now part of his emotional responses. I don’t think it’s surprising that religious people see the emotion as giving epistemic warrant, but there’s a much more plausible explanation – they have internalised what they are taught.

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