The Attack of the Smugnorant

Thursday, August 11, AD 2016

At the Cranky Conservative I coined a term: “smugnorant.” As I wrote:

[Stephen] Colbert and his former partner in crime at Comedy Central, Jon Stewart, represent some of the very worst aspects of our culture. They are the heroes of people whom I would designate as smugnorant – the noxious combination of smug and ignorant. They’re the types of people who will take to social media to decry those illiterate yokels in the hinterlands while displaying a keen lack of any depth of understanding of who their “opponents” are or what drives them as well as a deeply flawed (if that) grasp of American history. For years these two have taken to the airwaves to peddle a brand of humor based on ironic detachment and one-line snark meant to demonstrate the utter foolishness of the other side. They are the forerunners of generation meme, who think one-line slogans slapped onto funny pictures are genius insights that can shut down any argument. It’s the bumper sticker mentality given a new face in the information age.

I’ve been fortunate to come across a blog post that has plenty of smugnorance in both the main post and the comments. It comes from the Friendly Atheist over at Patheos – yes, I know you will be shocked that there could be any smugnorance over at Patheos (apologies to David Griffey, who is a rare voice of reason over there). The blogger Hemant Mehta wrote of an “illegal” Ten Commandments display the state of Arkansas is about to place on the grounds of the capitol. I’ll just gloss over Mehta’s seeming inability to distinguish the concepts of illegality and unconstitutionality to highlight this comment:

After all, the government is forbidden from promoting Christianity, which is all this monument would be doing.

This is the kind of sentence that almost literally gives me a headache because there’s just so much to unpack. I suppose he is referring to the establishment clause of the first amendment to the constitution, which does not mention anything resembling a ban on “promoting” a religion (not to mention that Christianity in and of itself is not a religion, but a group of religions, often with conflicting creeds). The erection of a monument does not establish any state religion. It does not signify material aid to any religion, which is generally what concerned the framers of the amendment as well as similar documents such as the Virginia statute for religious liberty. But I’ll again gloss over this constitutional conundrum to focus on this:

promoting Christianity, which is all this monument would be doing

So a monument to the Ten Commandments, or as Jewish people might refer to it, the Aseret ha-Dibrot, first written down in the Torah in the book of Exodus, which otherwise commemorates the Hebrew people’s flight from Egypt, surely only promotes Christianity. There just ain’t no other religious group who might be interested in this monument? There’s just no other religion that holds this set of commands in esteem? I mean I’m racking my brain, but there’s just got to be some other group or religion being, ahem, promoted here.

Now to be fair the post itself primarily evidences only one-half of the smugnorant combo. Have no fear though, we’re talking about Patheos, and thus there are always the comments. And we dive right into the very first comment, one which received no less than 13 upvotes:

Does it include the Commandment about not worshiping graven images?

Is it protected from irony chariots?

Does it explain why so many of the Commandments would be unconstitutional if made into laws in America?

Will they include the examples of bearing false witness that will be necessary to approve the idol of the words of the Gods?

There must be nothing quite like the pride someone like “Rogue Medic” feels when he/she/it/cis/cer slaps out an irrefutable jumble of logic like this one which completely eviscerates the other side’s point of view. Well, only if you disregard the fact that nobody is worshiping a graven image in this scenario, the “irony chariots” comment is just word vomit, the idea that commandments would be unconstitutional is a non sequitur if we’re being generous. and the stuff about bearing false witness is just logically incoherent. Other than that, it’s the sort of stuff Edmund Burke, John Locke, FA Hayak and countless other philosophers throughout history can only dreamed to have written.

Or how about this true monument to detached irony written by truth warrior ORAXX:

I would be astonished if they [conservative Christians] ever read any part of the Constitution other than the Second Amendment. They certainly don’t understand that document in any kind of a historical perspective. The commandments, probably, because they can be read in less than a minute, and that is more in keeping with their attention spans.

Yes, that’s right, there’s nothing like dissing the cumulative intelligence of an entirely diffeent group of people while commenting on a post that confuses “illegal” and “unconstitutional” and doesn’t seem to grasp that people other than Christians might be appreciative of a Ten Commandments display. Hooray for hipster irony, just not in the way the poster intended.

I’ll spare you further brain damage by posting more comments, including the long thread about gun owners and how totally stoooooopid they all are. You can read them for yourself, if you’re so inclined. There is absolutely nothing in the comments that betrays even a hint of understanding of what conservatives and/or Christians truly believe, or truly grapples with the constitutional issues of a Ten Commandments display on state capitol grounds. But we have an awful lot of smug jokes about how dumb the other side is. Yep, those yokels in hill country are just bubble-dwelling idiots with no comprehension of history, the constitution, the true words of the Bible, and logic. Yep, it’s those “others” who are just plain ignorant.

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14 Responses to The Attack of the Smugnorant

  • “But the best of all is to let him read no science but to give him a grand general idea that he knows it all and that everything he happens to have picked up in casual talk and reading is “the results of modem investigation”.”

    CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters

    Ignorance and arrogance is a particularly nauseating combination.

  • The tragedy is that they vote.
    .
    Welcome to the Idiocracy: a maelstrom of infallible ignorance and extreme allergies to the facts. Call a whambulance!

  • Smugnorance seems to be, with damned few exceptions, the requisite virtue over at Patheticos. But Patheticos is a mere symptom of a more severe problem not only in the. Catholic blogosphere, but in Catholic media overall.

  • The propaganda of the modern culture is strong. The secret is to not make it overt, but just have it so every time a religious or conservative person is on screen, they’re evil at worst, just wretched at best and make it clear that the “good ones” are the exception, not the rule.

    Do it long enough, and the impression sticks to the mind even with the most truth-obsessed individual.

  • The innate sovereign personhood of the human being institutes government. The state capital and Arkansas belong to the taxpayers as all public land and waterways do in joint and common tenancy.
    Government that acts to own its constituents is totalitarian.
    People choose for themselves what their relationship will be with the truth and true God. Government does not choose for it constituents, how the citizens will respond to the gift of Faith from “their Creator.”…from THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES, ratified by every state.
    Any violation of our FOUNDING PRINCIPLES is a miscarriage of Justice.
    Whereas the atheist, as a person, must be tolerated until he becomes a death bed convert, atheism is unconstitutional. Atheism is antithetical to The First Amendment and obliterates, abrogates and annihilates all of the human beings’ innate, God–given unalienable human rights. Innate human rights become the constituents’ civil rights. This does not change the sovereign person. This changes the government instituted by the citizen. “The rights the state gives, the state can take away” Thomas Jefferson
    Perhaps The Second Amendment is the only amendment the smugnorant comprehend sufficiently to fear. So be it.

  • The reference to Jon Stewart reminded me of a question I have had for a long time.

    I have watched a good deal of Stewart’s Daily Show. And I have read many criticisms of him. That he is smug. That he is hypocritical in where he directs his fire. His line about being just a comedian. I once saw a video where Bill Whittle of PJ Media challenged Jon on the facts regarding Hiroshima. And stories of him being rude to people.

    Yet, when it comes to his shtick of playing clips of conservative politicians and Fox News pundits, and then going back through the record to accuse them of being hypocrites, I don’t think I have ever seen one of his targets respond by saying “this is why I am not a hypocrite on this topic”. I know Hannity did a bit recently where he attacked Jon in general, but I dont think the bit addressed his specific argument.

    This is not me trying to be smug, nor am I saying “I have not found the kind of response I’m, looking for, therefore I deny there is one in existence”. I am honestly asking if such a clip or article exists, from an interest in seeing the back and forth. And not one that says “but the other side does it too”, or attacking Jon in the general sense of the word. What I am looking for is something, preferably from a figure on Fox that Jon has accused of hypocrisy (or bigotry, getting the facts wrong, etc), responding to Jon pulling up a clip, and responding to the specific point Jon brought up.

  • Excellent insights DRM. What you say is the basic mentality of the mass media who love to engage in their snarkathons about all the bozos in the flyover hinterlands. This is why our country is becoming pagan and stupid. One can only think it will all end badly. One last thing. The fact that the snarkers dislike Trump has to be a point in his favor.

  • Watcher7789 The victims of Jon Stewart’s Pearl Harbor backstabbing attack have every right to defend themselves any way they choose.

  • Sadly, young voters like Watcher7789(?) get their “history” and their “news” from comedians/court jesters like Jon Stewart, et al, and from the lying, liberal (I repeat myself again) media. The problems are lack of context and distortions, omissions, etc. both of the historical record/context behind the issues and of the contemporary circumstances and facts.
    .
    The SOP: edit 11 seconds of videotape and fabricate whatever lie necessary to distort popular (uninformed) perception.
    .

    Welcome to the Idiocracy.

  • Watcher7789, will this suffice to answer your question or do you require more?

  • @Nate Winchester the Hannity response one finds through the first article you listed was very much what I was looking for. Thank you. As to the second part of your question, I am certainly curious and willing to check out any other response clips you may know of.

  • Perhaps not directly in response to Watcher’s question, but here’s one example of someone discussing how he was deceptively edited by the Daily Show.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkBpCWdT3EM

    There are much more egregious examples than this. Another here:
    http://ijr.com/2014/02/113492-daily-show-guest-explains-how-jon-stewart-deceptively-edits-interviews-to-smear-conservatives/

  • Watcher—I’m going to take a long shot here because I detect sincerity in your quest for an answer to something. I want to ask you to prayerfully consider what you find important which underlies your post about Jon Stewart and who said what. As I see it, as an older man and once a fool for the culture, the question you want answered is a symptom of the problem. Turn off that program, read good books on history and read literature which provokes nuanced thinking. Watch a good movie if that be your preference. Bring joy into your idle time so that it may be constructive and not filled by the musings of men smug in their deeply held and cherished ignorance and self importance. Nourish your curiosity which i can see you possess. Let’s focus on the right questions, the first things, and not the dangerous silliness of the Jon Stewarts of the world—of which there are many and of varied political stripes. In lieu of a Jon Stewart “please entertain me with your vulgarity and cynicism” episode, read a short story by Flannery O’Connor. Seek out good things and then you will see that the likes of Jon Stewart, et al, are mere chatter, a toxin which compromises one of God’s gifts to you—your intellect. I know that a post can come across as ham handed but I truly hope you’ll consider what i’ve said.

  • When I was a kid and spent my days riding my bike, building roads in my dad’s dirtpile with my steel toy trucks and watching Loony Tunes, the Flintstones, Speed Racer and Superman, I thought teens and young adults were dumb.

    I thought the same thing when I was a teen and a young adult. This was the late ’70s and the 1980s and while Reagan was popular with some of the young set, I found too many of them were too concerned with slopular culture.

    Today, slopular culture IS religion with the Millenials and the people who were young before them. Mainline Protestantism is dying. The Catholic Church is in trouble and junk science is treated with more respect than real science. The Daily Show, never menat to be anything but a parody, morphed into “hard news” for the impressionable young who have skulls full of, not mush, but raw sewage. Covered with tattoos, convinced gay is “cool” piercings in lips and holes in ears big enough to shove a ping pong ball through, this is the handiwork of the Left.

    Stewart and Colbert need a John Wayne type to walk up to them and belt them in the mouths.

Why I Think You’ll Like Jennifer Fulwiler’s ‘Minor Revisions’

Thursday, December 13, AD 2012

Sooo…Jen has a reality show that debuts tonight. It’s called Minor Revisions.

While Jen found it a little bit awkward to tell you about this new mini-series of hers, I’m tickled pink to tell you why I think you’ll love the series. She gave me a little sneak preview since we both engage with atheists and we both are converts. We have other things in common: We both are fascinated by science, we both have a lot of little kids, and we both have a fondness for Texas. She lives there, I grew up there. She hates the scorpions that invade her house; I hate the spiders that compete for mine.

Anyway, here are three things (in true Jennifer Fulwiler bullet point style) that I think you’ll like — no love! — about her mini-series ‘Minor Revisions.’ These are things that I did not expect, pleasant surprises.

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10 Responses to Why I Think You’ll Like Jennifer Fulwiler’s ‘Minor Revisions’

Once Again, Real Life Imitates South Park

Tuesday, May 17, AD 2011

Some of you no doubt find South Park to be a bit crude and maybe even offensive.  But I am constantly amazed at how often their satires run so true to real life.  Case in point: Stephen Hawking.  In a recent interview with the Guardian Stephen Hawking had this to say:

The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can’t solve the equations, directly in the abstract. We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value.

This caused Carl Olson to quip that Hawking “does, in fact, believe in and worship a god—the name of which is ‘Science'”.

That brought to mind the twopart episode from season ten where Cartman travels into the future and discovers an Earth where everyone is now an atheist (content warning).  Exclamations of “Science help us!” escape from everyone’s lips in times of trouble.

I’m not going to read too much into the South Park episodes, but they hint at a larger truth.  Even atheists cannot escape religion.  Near our house is something called the Washington Ethical Society.  We used to drive by this place when we went to Mass in the city, and they hold weekly meetings every Sunday.   Yes, it is essentially a Church for atheists.  Frankly, one would think that one of the “benefits” of being an atheist is not having to go to Church on Sunday, but for these atheists they can’t escape the Sunday obligation.  I don’t know if they sing hymns to science but I’m sure their gatherings are something to behold.

At any rate, there’s more from Olson as well as Msgr. Charles Pope on Hawking’s philosophy.  Msgr. Pope is troubled by where Hawking’s philosophy trends (the part in bold is from the article, the rest is Msgr. Pope):

When asked what is the value of knowing why are we here, Hawking replied, “The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can’t solve the equations, directly in the abstract. We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value.” This is so limiting. It is also philosophy, not science to say this. Mr Hawking is entitled to have a philosophy, but when he says the world is “governed by science” and then goes on to philosophize, that looks pretty silly and contradictory. Further, Mr. Hawking, if you ask me, is edging dangerously close to eugenics in what he says here. What exactly assigning a “higher value” to certain societies looks like as a practical matter is uncertain in what he says, but I sense a growing darkness here, not light. Margaret Sanger and Adolph Hitler may well be smiling as he says this. BEWARE!

The first commenter objected to Msgr. Pope’s anaology*, but it happens to be spot on.  Readings Hawking it is tough not to draw another cultural analogy, this time to C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.  That novel is the third part of Lewis’s space trilogy, and the plot revolves around the British Government’s new scientific institute, the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments (NICE).  The institute does some awful stuff in the name of science and progress, and the novel itself serves as a warning against the utopian promises of over-eager rationalists.

Hawking might be a brilliant physicist, but he should leave theology to the grownups.

* On a tangential note, I find myself getting more agitated by a trend in comments sections.  Why do people feel that they can completely discard the rules of grammar, capitalization and punctuation when they write comments on blogs?  The commenter on Msgr. Pope’s blog – the inaptly named Sophia – decided to take the opportunity to insinuate that atheists were smarter than religious people, all the while failing to capitalize a single word in her screed.  Why should I take anyone seriously when they can’t even obey the simple rules of the English language?  No, we’re not writing dissertations here, but if you can’t even be bothered to hit the shift key before typing the first letter of the first word of your sentences, then I will automatically discount anything you have to say.  I can understand typos as I’m sure there might be one or two above, and I’m not a perfect grammar student.  But can you at least make an effort to write properly on a discussion forum?

/End rant.

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21 Responses to Once Again, Real Life Imitates South Park

  • The Zenit News Agency recently had two great articles on atheism that basically together constitute an interview with Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid on a book that he and Kenneth Hensley wrote, entitled, “The Godless Delusion: A Catholic Challenge to Atheism.” I quote some noteworthy excerpts from the interview here:

    http://commentarius-ioannis.blogspot.com/2011/05/turning-tables-on-atheism.html

    Basically many atheists are atheists not because they disbelieve in God but because they don’t want the moral boundaries that a belief in God entails. Many (not all) would rather wallow in lust like mindless baboons and then abort the consequence of their adultery or fornication, or have the State pay for a cure for AIDS with which their homosexual sodomy has infected them. Few seem to have thought through to conclusion the consequences of an atheist philosophy: if there is no God, then there is no point to life. And those that have thought through to atheism’s logical conclusion seem to never fail to advocate implementation of the theory of Darwinian Natural Selection on a genocidal scale that Steven Hawking apparently now supports. (As an aside, it is interesting to note that Dr. Hawking himself with his Lou Gehring’s disease would be allowed to die, being unfit to survive). Those people of Darwinian Natural Selection we can rightly call Hitlers, Mao Tse Tungs and Josef Stalins.

    By the way, while I sometimes use various acronyms and abbreviations and make more than my fair share of typographical errors, I agree with your comment on the proper use of Englsih grammar in writing. I suspect (though I may be wrong) that some atheists, in being beholden to no God, find themselves above all rules and thus for them grammar is a thing of no consequence. However, there are a fair number of so-called religious people likewise afflicted with similar hubris.

  • People whose writing style is best compared to LOLcat captions probably shouldn’t be lecturing others about their superior intellects.

  • “A person,” not people. GAH. Mr. Coffee, you’re my only hope…

  • You will find the atheist bookshelf in the “Religion” section of major bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders. Too funny.

  • Hawkings’ first wife, the one he had his three kids with, was and is a devout Christian and they apparently were in conflict about religion, and many other things, quite a bit. Never ignore the personal factor when someone’s “scientific” theories just happen to mesh perfectly with what they want to believe or disbelieve.

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  • The one thing about atheists that bugs me is their “holier than thou” attitude.

  • Like you, I had found South Park crude and provocative in the beginning… but I have to admit, there usually are great Moments of Truth buried in each episode. I’m convinced the crudeness only serves to distract people, while the larger truths are allowed to slip past the censors, straight to the brain. (And, I have to admit, I think it’s intentional.) This rebellious cartoon I once thought a terrible thing, has turned out to be absolutely, sublimely, brilliant. Every conservative, especially should watch it – there are so few pro-right television shows.

  • My father told me that athiests, having given up God, replace Him with the only other person available: Themselves. This is why athiests are so arrogant, rude, condescending and ultimately boring.

  • Why should I take anyone seriously when they can’t even obey the simple rules of the English language? It should be Why should I take anyone seriously when HE can’t even obey the simple rules of the English language?

  • Except he is a she in this case. But point taken.

  • People have swooned over Steven’s “Hawkings” for many years but I suspect he is a savant: brilliant in one area, but blindingly deficient in many others, for instance, interpersonal relationships.

    As a recovering atheist, I constantly strive for wisdom and grace, however, flights of pique will seize me on occasion – and they have since I read Mr. Hawking’s dismissal of heaven as a “fairytale.” It takes a quantum leap of ignorance to engage in such sophomoric reductionism.

    But I digress. Mr. Hawking’s provocative embrace of social darwinism smacks of someone very frail who, but for medical technology, would have already succumbed to Darwin’s initial theory.

  • I read a while back that a Madison atheist became a Unitarian minister. That reminded me of a joke a Baptist once told me: “The only time the name Jesus Christ is uttered in a Unitarian Church is when the janitor falls down the stairs.”

    Really, I used to live a few blocks from a Unitarian – well, what is it? A church? A temple? – and was always interested in seeing the Unitarians come out of their, er, building Sunday mornings, because I have no idea what sort of services people who do not believe in a personal God hold. What does that atheist minister talk about? “Be real nice, everybody!” I decided – perhaps unfairly – that Unitarians are people who want the sociability of church – they like to dress up a bit on Sunday mornings and hang out in a church-like sort of building and have pancake breakfasts and clothing drives without having to follow those icky Commandments.

  • Most people cannot get a handle on the modern theories of physics as it involves heavy duty mathematics at or near the graduate level. Thus we are reduced to reading the pablum of popularising physicists such as Hawkings and Steven Weinberg, while enduring their tedious atheism. Their popular books are mostly rubbish as anyone who reads them for enlightenment can attest. The earnest middlebrow would do well to chuck all the ‘Prancing Wu Li Masters’ stuff into the rubbish bin and attend some evening classes instead. What is ironic about the trend of modern science is this: on the one hand we have a physics that uses the most sophisticated and subtle models to describe what are after all tiny artifacts (much smaller than an atom), and whose experimental verification requires the the labours of legions of highly educated physicists, engineers and administrators. And on the other hand we are assured that the human mind that attempts to comprehend all this is nothing but the product of random Darwinian evolution.

  • Agree, Ivan. I don’t pretend to understand modern physics, but I do know that researchers of subatomic particles (or whatever they’re calling them these days) must “infer” the existence of charm, etc.

    Most of us expect scientists to have open minds so they can be receptive to unexpected findings, so they can grasp nuanced possibilites, so they can interpret complex data. I think what we often get – even from our respected science “lions” is geared for grant writing and personal gain.

    Anyway, I hope someday Mr. Hawking can pompously declare that hell is just a fairytale, because apprently neither wisdom, nor inference is his strong suit.

    Just sayin’.

  • I wrote the following some time ago. I am no expert in quantum mechanics or relativist physics, but perhaps with my limited and inaccurate understanding the following discussion may help the reader to understand the underlying particles and forces that makeup the universe and how these reflect the makeup of God. How one can be a scientist and NOT see this is incredible. Romans 1:20 states:

    “Ever since the creation of the world, [God’s] invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.”

    The veracity of this statement can be demonstrated by a brief overview of elementary particle physics. Just as God is Father, Son and Holy Ghost – three persons in one – so also do we see a reflection of this Trinity throughout nature.

    The elementary sets of particles which makeup the visible universe likewise occur in sets of three.

    Atoms are made of three underlying particles: protons and neutrons in the nuclei of atoms and electrons in a cloud surrounding such nuclei. In turn the protons and neutrons with the nuclei are composed of three quarks each.

    Protons are made of two up quarks each having a +2/3 charge and one down quark having a -1/3 charge for a total particle charge of +1.

    Neutrons are made of two down quarks each having a -1/3 charge and one up quark having a +2/3 charge for a total particle change of 0.

    In turn the quarks are held confined within the nucleus of an atom by three gluons, each having a different color: red, green or blue.

    The major forces in nature likewise come in three: the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force. All such forces are mediated by bosons.

    The electromagnetic force (responsible for magnetism, electricity, light, chemical reactions, etc.) is mediated by a single boson called the photon.

    However, both the weak and the strong nuclear forces are mediated by three bosons each. The weak nuclear force (responsible for most forms of radioactive decay) is mediated by the W+, W- and Z0 bosons.

    The strong nuclear force (responsible for nuclear fission and nuclear fusion) is mediated by three gluons (red, green and blue).

    Gravity appears as a force but is actually the curvature of space time due to the presence of mass; hence its exclusion.

    There are three types of quarks at a charge of +2/3 and spin of ½ in increasing orders of mass: up, charm and top.

    Likewise there are three types of quarks at a charge of -1/3 and a spin of ½ in increasing orders of mass: down, strange and bottom.

    No quark can exist by itself, and any pair of quarks will immediately decay away into a shower of other particles. To be stable, quarks always have to come in threes.

    In the same manner there are three sets of leptons.

    For those having a charge of -1 and a spin of ½, there are the electron, the muon and the tau.

    For those having a charge of 0 and a spin of ½, there are the electronic neutrino, the muon neutrino and the tau neutrino.

    Thus, again and again and again throughout the physical universe we see the reflection of God’s Triune nature manifested. Now maybe someone will say that I make theological errors, or that my science is infantile and ridiculous, or that I truly do not understand quantum electrodynamics or quantum chromodynamics or string theory or any of the rest. But having been a nuclear engineer all my adult life, I cannot believe that there is no God underneath all the equations that govern these miraculous and wondrous things, and that His face does not shine forth for those who would see Him.

  • In The Screwtape Letters, one of the first letters includes an admonition by Screwtape to Wormwood NOT to use the “real sciences” — i.e., physics, chemistry, biology, etc. as opposed to psychology or sociology — as a means of keeping his “patient” away from the Christian faith because “they will positively encourage him to think about realities he can’t touch and see… There have been some sad cases among the modern physicists.”

    By “sad cases” I presume Lewis means scientists of his time (early 1940s) who were converted to the Christian faith as a direct result of their studies of the natural world; but I don’t know whom exactly he may have been referring to. Does anyone else?

  • Hi Nelson, I do not understand modern physics either, but in the words of a greater physicist than Hawking, one A Einstein, ever since the mathematicians took over he couldn’t understand it either.

  • Perhaps, Ivan, that’s because mathematics is the language by which God created the physical universe: space and time, matter and energy. God spoke, “Let there be light,” and verily there was light. It is God whom we do not understand.

    I have worked in a highly technical and scientific field – nuclear energy – all of my adult life, and the more I learn about the physical universe (quantum electrodynamics and chromodynamics, all the different string theories, etc.), the more confirmation I see of God’s invisible attributes in the visible, physical universe. I think, however, that the men and women who become too smart in mathematics fall in love with their own intellectual abilities that they then in turn elevate above the Creator. I think St. Paul explained all this in Romans chapter 1, beginning with verse 18. The result of such arrogance was entirely predictable 2000 years ago in Roman times and is the same today.

    Sad.

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5 Responses to To Be Pitied More Than All Men

  • Hello,

    You say, “You also are not going to feel compelled to hold back on poking fun at the “Believers” who are pretty silly taking ‘tooth-fairy’-like beliefs into adulthood.” I’m not sure about this. Is it true that, if Christianity were not true, it would be not only false, but silly? I don’t, for example, believe that Islam is a true revelation, but it doesn’t strike me as unreasonable to believe that it is. Reading the Koran, I certainly feel that it’s a message that deserves to be taken seriously. I could say the same thing about a number of other religions and philosophies I don’t hold.

    No, I think that finding Christianity not only false but ridiculous is a sign of some sort of serious mental deficiency.

  • I agree that there is a range of reaction among non-Christians out there- I do see that much in the entertainment sector involves ridiculing Jesus and modern day wanna-be disciples- look at some of the most popular comedies- The Office, Simpsons, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Daily Show/Colbert, South Park etc.. any character that is explicitly Christian is going to be made to look either simple, ridiculous, or hypocritical- and Jesus is constantly parodied- so this reaction must be reflective of something popular- I absorbed a lot of this over the years to the point where it didn’t really impact me- but lately I’ve taken more conscious notice of it and it is quite depressing to note the regularity. I remember a couple of years ago browsing comedy books and two prominent displays had George Carlin’s book where he is mocking Christ, and the guy named Black from the Daily Show had a cover shot of him mocking Jesus and Mary- now this sort of thing is just so commonplace it has to be a deeper statement on the state of our nation- the fact that we collectively are more likely to be entertained by images mocking Christianity than mocking Atheism is very telling. I would argue that we should expect the hits, and hit back but not in kind- but in a different way- one that reflects The Way- it gives the scorners an opportunity to think about their cruelty instead of just getting into another round of angry attacks back and forth- everyone establishing just how much they hate the other. I would rather pity the non-believer than react angrily- for the fact is that Christ is Real and as such those who mock Him and His Church a la Saul are at great spiritual peril- we needn’t get sucked down to their level, we should be trying to pull these poor souls up by the bootstrings- give them opportunities for conversion, not more excuses to stay on the other side of heaven.

  • One more quick note- for those who are religiously-inclined, it is pretty reasonable that they should demonstrate a measure of respect for other believers of other faiths- especially for Catholics who are taught that religion is a natural virtue, and other religious faiths have rays of truth- even as we believe that Catholicism has the fullness of truth. Someone who is agnostic/atheistic will not have this baseline of generally positive views of Religion in general- and so goes about the mocking and scorning much more intently on average.

  • Tim,

    You mention our most popular comedies in your follow up post: “The Office, Simpsons, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Daily Show/Colbert, South Park”

    The level of criticism and mockery in these shows is nowhere near the same. I don’t watch The Office, so I can’t speak to that. But The Simpsons has always struck me as respectful of Christianity, if occasionally crossing the line – and I think much of that happened in the later seasons as bad writers ran out of even mediocre ideas.

    Consider how Ned Flanders was always portrayed. His family is shown arguing over who will be the first to “anoint the sores” on a homeless man’s feet – its poking fun, but I think, in a good way. It shows the Flanders family going out of their way to live up to an ideal that few Christians actually reach. As Homer says in Ned’s defense in one episode, he hurled endless abuse at Ned, who in response “turned every cheek on his body.” He goes on to say that if everyone were like Ned Flanders, heaven would already be on Earth.

    Now, in later seasons the writers used Flanders as a punching bag, and especially his boys, who were portrayed as repressed weirdos. But Ned still retained his dignity as a Christian for the most part, even if a Protestant. And speaking of that, even the latter-season episode dealing with Catholicism directly was pretty good!

  • I’ll give the Simpson’s writers kudos for this one!

    http://najo.multiply.com/video/item/1