Today’s Jesus and Mo, a strip called “son,” is pretty clever, as the barmaid doesn’t mean what Jesus and Mo think she does!
I have to say that one of the most compelling arguments against a religionists’ belief is that, to defend it, they must explicitly argue, and give reasons why, everybody else’s belief is wrong. This is no simple matter since, as Jesus and Mo state above, the claims of different religions are often flatly contradictory. The example of Jesus is perhaps the best one.
Just ask a Christian this: “How do you know that your religion is right—that Jesus is the route to salvation—and Islam is wrong in saying that accepting Jesus as God’s son sends you to hell?”
One theologian who’s attempted an answer is Alvin Plantinga, whose apologetics are always good for a few laughs. His answer is that the reasonableness of one’s faith comes from a sensus divinitatis—a “divine sense”—vouchsafed us by God. And his sensus divinitatis tells him that Christianity is right.
But, you’ll be asking yourself, everyone has that sensus, so how come it’s gone awry in some people? As I note on pp. 180-181 of Faith Versus Fact (available in fine bookstores everywhere), Plantinga’s answer is laughable:
Of course Plantinga has an answer for why there are so many atheists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and pre-Christian believers, like the Aztecs and ancient Egyptians, who were somehow unable to form true belief in the Christian God. The answer is that in those individuals the sensus divinitatis is or was “broken,” dismantled by the effects of sin. Curiously, Plantinga argues that your broken sensus need not stem from your own sin:
[Plantinga, from Warranted Christian Belief]“Were it not for sin and its effects, God’s presence and glory would be as obvious and uncontroversial to us all as the presence of other minds, physical objects and the past. Like any cognitive process, however, the sensus divinitatis can malfunction; as a result of sin, it has been damaged. . . . It is no part of the model to say that damage to the sensus divinitatis on the part of a person is due to sin on the part of the same person. Such damage is like other disease and handicaps: due ultimately to the ravages of sin, but not necessarily sin on the part of the person with the disease.”
Here we have an untestable explanation for an insupportable thesis.
Isn’t Plantinga’s answer funny? Yet this was the guy chosen to be head of the Western division of the American Philosophical Association. According to Wikipedia (the original reference is behind a paywall), Time magazine described him as being “widely regarded as the world’s most important living Christian philosopher.“
I’d be delighted if readers could report other answers they’ve received to the question, “What makes you so sure that your religion is right and all the others are wrong?”