Thank you, Luke “Common Sense Atheism” Muelhauser, for the awesome ‘toon!
I asked a Christian recently why he felt his faith was more valid, more true than any other. He replied, “It’s not that those others aren’t true. They’re following a god, but it’s the wrong one. It’s Satan.”
There you have it!
If you’re a Jew, a Hindu, a Muslim, or anybody else (except I guess Buddhists, since they have a non-theistic religion), then you’re REALLY a Satan worshiper! The obvious question would be how does this Christian truly know that the followers of other faiths worship Satan, and more to the point, how can he prove it? At the same time, I would ask the same question of other faiths.
Let’s get to the cartoon…!
In panel 1, the missionary explorers mock the natives for worshiping their totem pole. This is certainly commonplace. I’ve heard any number of religious make the bold, arrogant claim that they know their faith is the one, true faith. In fact, when in Mexico many years ago, I asked why the Catholics with whom I was conversing thought it was okay for the Conquistadors to conquer Mexico. In Spanish, they replied, “To show them the one, true faith.” Genocide and mass torture is okay as long as you bring a message of your made-up bullshit being truer than someone else’s. I get it.
In panel 2, the natives mock the missionary explorers for worshiping a model of Jesus on the cross. This isn’t nearly as commonplace, in my opinion because most of the world as conquered by Christians and Muslims, not by the native religions of whatever land you care to point out.
But the point remains, as the ‘toon demonstrates, what, if any, difference is there truly between the faith of the first panel and that of the second?
Here’s where people get stuck on semantics. You’ll hear, well, the god of the first panel is just an idol. It’s a representation of some nature god or the like. It’s not a specific, personal, anthropomorphic god. The god in the second panel is a (supposedly) direct representation of the event of Christ’s crucifixion. It’s assumed to be a direct, not abstract, representation of a (supposedly) historical event, not a notion or idea.
Granted, but even considering all the semantic differences (of which my above examples are only part), it all begs the question how the missionary explorers of the first panel differ in the amount of objectively verifiable evidence they have for their faith from that which the natives have for theirs. The answer?
Not a whit.
Or as Stephen Roberts so famously, succinctly, and wonderfully put it:
“When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”