Sunday, April 09, 2006

Penn and Teller on the Bible

PZ Myers linked to this post by the Atheist Jew which has an episode of Penn and Teller's Showtime show "Bullshit!" This episode is on the bible. While they don't provide anything new to the discussion, it is Penn and Teller and they are amusing. The main point is fairly worn, but obviously it bears repeating as a suprising number of Americans believe in a literal reading of the bible, or at the very least believe that the bible is a good moral code. It's pretty clear that the bible is neither of those things, but the majority of Americans believe it is. And so if you want a reiteration of why it is not, this is a fairly entertaining clip. And Penn and Teller rule.


Anonymous C said...

You never fail to take the opportunity to express your feelings of superiority on this subject do you. I get it, you are better than everyone else.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

Actually, I hold back quite a bit, even on my blog, taking far more opportunities to talk about tax stuff than religion. As for my opinion of myself, I tend to be fairly self-loathing, considering everyone else I know to be better than me. However, if someone considers a book that suggests selling one's daughter into slavery or castigating someone for having long hair to be worthy moral precepts, then I think, for the limited purpose of identifying worthwhile moral codes, that I am "better" than that someone.

But again, this is just my blog and I spend quite a bit more time talking tax than religion. In my day to day life I tend (or try to tend) not to bring up religion around those that I know are sensitive about the issue.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous c said...

First, as your friend, I never said you felt superior to others in any area of your life but this one. I think that in almost every area of your life you are a level-headed, kind person.

Second, I am not going to correct your false understanding of the bible other than to say if you take anything out of context like you have done here then you are going to end up with erroneous results. Here you have committed the same error as the people that take every word of the bible at face value to diminsh beliefs like those you hold. How does doing exactly what those you despise do make your argument more appealing?

Third, I always have and always will listen to and respect your beliefs, I am just sick of you acting like mine are a joke. In that respect I believe you are as bad as any psycho fundi christian. I get that you are an aetheist, I even respect it because I know you have thought about it a lot. Why is so hard for you to extend me the same curtousy?

8:08 PM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

First, as you may know c, you were my very first friend in law school. As such, you should know by now that I have a habit of saying stuff about religion without really understanding that what I say is insulting to others. When I write a post such as the one that began this thread, I was just quickly jotting down what was in my head after watching the video. As often happens, many hours after the fact, after a friend has pointed out that when I flippantly rag on christianity, I am ragging by proxy on all my christian friend, I feel bad for what I've said.

As Nell has to constantly explain to me, religion is inextricably tied in with people's identities. So long story short, sorry to all my christian, catholic and jewish friends for treating your beliefs as if they were a joke.

That being said, on a very honest and not-intentionally-insulting level, I don't really get how people get a moral code from the bible. The people I'm thinking of when I say this are the people who want to put the ten commandments into every public building to remind people how to act. I don't think any of my friends are in that group.

But the bit I referenced about selling one's daughter into slavery comes from Exodus. In fact it is in the chapter right after God gives moses the ten commandments (Exodus 21, I think), and it seems to be God talking at the time. And while I'm not saying that you, c, support posting the commandments everywhere, there are those who do. And I just don't get it.

I'm not asking you to explain it to me or to take a position that you don't support. The original post was not directed at anyone personally and referenced only perceived social trends. Again, I understand now how my friends could be personally offended by it, but that was not my intention. My intention was merely to link to a clip a found entertaining and that certain members of my readership may enjoy, and then briefly to state my opinion on the matter, however poorly I may have actually done that.

So again, sorry. But it is my honest opinion that as a moral code, the bible is problematic. I recommend the Humanist Manifesto.

6:54 AM  
Anonymous c said...

I do know you "have a habit of saying stuff about religion without really understanding that what [you] say is insulting to others." I also happen to believe you don't want to insult people, which is why I commented in the first place. I have noticed an increase of late in your comments that are insulting to anyone who is religious. But that may be because I don't see you much anymore.
If you want to understand how people can get a good moral code from the bible, I have spent a long time studying it and would be happy to explain to you why I believe the "good moral code" in spite of some of the apparent inconsistencies (two of which you pointed out). However, I feel I have unfairly hijacked your blog long enough, so I am not going to do that here. If you don't want to understand it, that is fine too.

8:06 AM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

I only have one thing to say: I do not like Penn and Teller. They annoy me. They've always annoyed me. I do not like them. There, I said it.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Xeno said...

I just don't seem to understand people that take every word in the bible literally. It is accepted that the bible was written by people. Hell the title of the books tell you who wrote it. People can make mistakes and have been known to add their own voice to facts.

On a side note, living as I do in Vegas I have now met people who have stated that the mentioned comedians could really put the coke away.

9:40 PM  

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