Thursday, November 08, 2007

For the record

There are many arguments that people make that genuinely bug me. The one time I ever got really pissed off at a secondary school teacher was when they refused to discuss something because I "don't need know know that for the exam". Other irritating arguments range from patronising remarks, through straw men of my position, to ad hominems and outright lies.

It's not often that I come across a comment that includes all of these at the same time. Via Good Math, Bad Math I being you George Shollenberger, who is quoted as saying:

In my experiences with atheists, atheists generally show no interest in developing knowledge of God. If they did express interests in God they would find God and would not be atheists.

OK, let's get encyclopedic here. If I as an atheist "show no interest in developing knowledge of God" then why do I have the following piled up within arm's reach (and mostly in the process of being read):

  • "The Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James

  • "Hindu Writings: A short introduction to the major sources"

  • "A History of the Sikhs"

  • The New Testament

  • "Personal Religion in Egypt before Christianity"

  • "Darwin's Black Box" by Behe

  • "A History of the Christian Church"

  • "Lost Christianities" and "Lost Scriptures" by Bart Ehrman

  • "The Synoptic Gospels: A commentary"

  • Another copy of the Bible

  • "Zen and the Art of Flower Arrangement"

  • "Facts for Life" (a Hare Krishna book)

  • "The Satanic Bible" by Anton LaVey

  • Sundry atheist books

And that's only a portion of a fraction of my collection, because a lot of my books are in boxes at my new (and as yet unoccupied) flat, or buried too deeply in my book piles for me to easily get at them.

That's a minimum of 8 distinct religious stances that I've been actively investigating - and, depending on how you count it, the number could be much higher. How many religions have you studied lately, George?

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