Awkward analogies

WriterJames had a post at Cubik’s Rube not too long ago that, among other things, reminded me of the shitstorm that is Conservapedia. I did take a look around the site again, having not been there in what feels like ages. It appears about as ridiculous as ever.

One new thing I noticed this time, though, was a page of Comedy and satires concerning atheism and evolution. As of this post, jokes about atheists being overweight make up a large portion (cough) of the humor. I’m not even sure that this generalization is true, but it’s certainly not funny. What really startled me, though, was the presence and number of “jokes” about how they see Christianity as an unstoppable force that atheists are helpless to contend with.

On face, that’s a reasonable sort of editorial-cartoon-style joke to be making, from the Christian perspective. Heck, even as an atheist, I often find myself shaking my head at the apparent futility of trying to make people understand that logic and evidence should play some role in their assessments of what “truth” is. And if you stand on the side of unwavering convictions without evidence or despite evidence to the contrary, you might feel a bit triumphant about the state of our beliefs. It’s just … it seems to me that in that case, you’d draw your editorial cartoons with, maybe, a big strong wrestler and a scrawny kid trying in vain to shove him out of the ring. Or perhaps an aircraft carrier next to a rowboat carrying one person shooting spitballs from a straw.

Instead, Conservapedia has tried to illustrate this dynamic using a firefighter next to a building engulfed in flames, a man throwing a small bucket of water on the fire licking out of the window next to his, and an unidentifiable person in a neon jacket who is dwarfed by what at first glance looked like an oncoming tornado but turned out to actually be smoke rising from a catastrophic fire at a British oil depot in 2005. (There was also a kind of cute picture of a cat trying to fit its head into a glass to drink what was at the bottom, but as they say, one of these things is not like the others.)

So let me see if I get this straight. Christianity is an out-of-control fire, unstoppable, charring everything in its wake. Its destructive power is comparable to that of an explosion the scale of which was frequently compared in news reports to bombings of Britain during World War II. Meanwhile, atheists are the firefighters and rescue workers, trying to save the people in those burning buildings, trying to stop valuable property from being obliterated, but unable to work fast enough to contain the damage that Christianity is doing. Is that what you were going for here, Andrew Schlafly? Because I might actually agree with you on this one.

(Pro tip: This is hardly the first time Christians compared their religion to fire. I doubt it will be the last. You know, futility, and all that.)

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5 Comments

  1. Wow. My first impression on visiting the comedy and satire page is that it must have been written by teenaged boys. It’s utterly puerile.

    Pages like that do nothing but strengthen our position, because they make the Christians who write them look more mean-spirited than any “strident” atheist .

  2. Wow. I was a bit surprised by some of those “jokes” – especially the ones that seemed almost gleeful that we would be going to hell. Christian tolerance and charity at its best.

  3. For fun, I did a quick bit of research into obesity rates in the U.S. to see if Christians were really slimmer than atheists, as Conservapedia seems to be claiming.

    It turns out that 7 of the 10 most religious states are also among the ten most obese. Mississippi, furthermore, is the most obese and most religious of all fifty states.

    See http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html and http://www.gallup.com/poll/114022/state-states-importance-religion.aspx.

  4. So let me see if I get this straight. Christianity is an out-of-control fire, unstoppable, charring everything in its wake. Its destructive power is comparable to that of an explosion the scale of which was frequently compared in news reports to bombings of Britain during World War II. Meanwhile, atheists are the firefighters and rescue workers, trying to save the people in those burning buildings…

    NFQ, you win the Internet. :) This is pure genius.

  5. Ebonmuse, I might have to frame that comment to hang above my desk. Or maybe it’d make a nice cross stitch sampler… ;)

    Keith, stay tuned for a book review I’m working on — it’s by a Christian trying to explain to atheists why religion isn’t so bad — and he deals with these sorts of data sets in an interesting way.

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