Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ The Emperor’s New Clothes

Today’s Jesus and Mo, called “arms2” is recycled from almost nine years ago, but it’s still completely relevant. I wonder if Alvin Plantinga, for example, has studied all 16,000-odd sects of Christianity before embracing his?


  1. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    On the atheist side, there are a fair number of practicing Christians who believe Dawkins’ interpretation of Christianity.

    On the other hand, I think he underestimates the number of folk who believe like the Christians he likes. In the preface to the paperback edition of GD, Dawkins says “The melancholy truth is that understated, decent, revisionist religion is numerically negligible”. IMO, that’s true in the MidWest and South- I’m not so sure about New England or the West Coast.

    Plus, there is a bit of a common core shared by many (if not all) schools of Christianity.

    Nonetheless, it takes only a little bit of knowledge to be wary of some religions. There is this notion known as the “red flag”.

    Any school of thought that has just one bright red flag is grounds for being wary of it without studying the whole thing!!!

    Many human decisions are arrived at by well-educated guesses, what computer specialists call heuristic reasoning, in which there is some interior pruning of what lines of inquiry are worth pursuing and what are not.

    Fideist defenders of religion like William James appeal to the fact that many decisions are made this way to warrant accepting religious belief without full proof. By the fideist model, all supernatural religious beliefs are a guess and a gamble, but if they seem to ground your deepest moral convictions, you can still subscribe to them.
    While, I’m somewhat sympathetic to that position, it also implies you can reject a religion without studying the detailed case made for it!!!

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Any “work” that has been done over the years on any religion has been to make excuses for it, cherry pick it and simply to promote it. That is what the theologians do. They also spend a great deal of time criticizing anyone who has anything negative to say about their religion.

  3. Mike Anderson
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    When people criticize Dawkins for his lack of expertise on specific religions, my response is “one needn’t be an expert on Superman cosmology to point out the aerodynamic issues of flying with a cape.”

  4. busterggi
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Sophisticated theological work & study = centuries of making excuses.

  5. Matthew Jenkins
    Posted November 1, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Nice title, but to make the tale of the Emperor’s new clothes analogous with religion, one would have to introduce another element into the story – the persecution or murder of anybody who claims the Emperor to be naked.

  6. Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I watched a documentary as part of a science-and-religion course I took, and one of the interviewed theists (might be William Lane Craig, I’m not sure though) said that no serious theologians think their god is the one atheists are attacking. My knee-jerk response was “most theists aren’t theologians”.

    • Posted November 2, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Christians generally are quick to say “that is not my god” in response to criticism but they are much more reluctant to nail down what their God actually is.

  7. Posted November 1, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of a scene in a great documentary “In God We Trust” (and god I hope this doesn’t embed…)

    At the 1h29m section in case the timestamp doesn’t work.

    Hindu woman: Lord Shiva decieed that the first living being that he saw, he would take the head of that living being at put it on his son, and that was an elephant.

    Interviewer Do you believe literally that that happened?

    Hindu man: [nods]
    Hindu woman: uh-huh [yes]

    [cut to a different interview]

    Christian woman: That’s a myth. There’s no way that could happen. I mean I’m sorry, but to me that’s like an off-the-wall fairy tail. That’s just kind of weird.

  8. Posted November 2, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Moreover, which denomination some of these apologists belong to is often “hidden” so they can have (for a while) a big tent across many different ones. For example, a lot of the Protestants who think Catholics are practically the antichrist often cite C. S. Lewis.

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