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  • Courtney Heard

The Most Clever Multiple Choice Question For Atheists… Ever

Nothing chafes much more than my bra straps at the end of a long, busy day… except, of course, a self-inflated buffoon posing a slack-jawed question he thinks is just about the most clever thing since Ray Comfort discovered the divine secrets of the banana.

redneck

This fucknutter supreme did just that. Don’t be fooled! Alby may have dressed this question up in a party dress that would make Rupaul drop her sequins. He may have gone out of his way to make it look as though here be an exchange between two fine Hardvardly gentlemen in Stanfordish clothes and Oxfordful language, a smoking stogie, velvet jacket, a snifter of brandy and a monocle. He may have dipped the question in gold leaf, exposed it to Mozart and sent it to boarding school in Switzerland. Make no mistake though, the question is that of a dunce. A backwoods, Deliverance-style dunce.


First, the setup. After a chance meeting in one of the finer establishments in the world, no doubt over a tumbler of Courvoisier, Jack Handey here’d found himself a brand new token atheist email buddy to whom he could proselytize while lying in bed with his platonic life-partner, Spot.


Said token atheist friend, a writing enthusiast, decided to send our pew-sniffing little buddy a snippet of prose he’d penned about Acadia National Park. Jeeboner says,

My new pen pal had sent me some of his writing about Acadia National Park. It spoke of “the profound responsibility of our consciousness: to use our understanding of nature to guide our conduct within nature,” and it added, “In this bloom of space-time, human reason can try to understand the development of all matter, from stars and galaxies to our own planet, fellow creatures, home island, and selves. It is our nature and duty to do so.”

Now, here’s what I read: a man is relaying a moving experience he had while exploring breathtaking parts of our world. He further explains that it left him feeling a responsibility toward the natural world.


Here’s what I did not read: Please, take this profound experience I’ve just shared with you and twist it to try and prove God’s existence to me.


But we know that’s what the crosslicker did, don’t we, beards and boobs?


Indeed he did. He followed up this story of a beautiful experience in a stunning park, with this tortured, thoughtless question:

I wondered just why we had a duty to use our capacities for the various purposes he mentioned or, indeed, for any purpose at all. I made it a multiple-choice question:
A) I made these duties up. If I hadn’t, they wouldn’t exist. B) My culture made them up. I’m just a product of my culture. C) These duties proceed from a source outside myself and my culture.

He made it a multiple-choice question. A multiple-choice question.


Is there anything more dishonest in conversation than posing a question about someone’s worldview with multiple choice answers? No. The official answer to that is no, there is nothing more dishonest, disrespectful or indicative of a complete lack of intelligence or ability to perform intellectually above the age of say… 7.


Not surprisingly, token atheist friend did not answer the question.

But he never did [answer the question]. There could be other reasons for his failure of course, but I like to think I confounded him.

No. You didn’t confound him. What you did do is make it clear you had no respect for him, his ideas, his opinions, his worldview nor a single ounce of respect for intellectual honesty. What you did do is illustrate the fact that you are out of your league engaging in such conversations. What you did do is turn him off you. There are people out there who are willing to converse honestly, not ask loaded questions, and respect that relaying a story about a trip to a park is not an invitation to try to convert.


How could you have responded to the piece about Acadia National Park in such a way that may have indicated that you did, in fact, respect your special heathen friend? Here are a few ideas:


1. “I quite enjoyed your description of the park and how it made you feel. My feelings are that our duties and obligations to the natural world are divinely commanded. What’s your take?


This question is posed in such a way that indicates you trust this grown man will be able to articulate his own opinion without the assistance of predetermined multiple choice answers that came from your own worldview.


2. “Wonderful piece! I wrote something similar. Tell me what you think. [insert bit of writing on divinely commanded morality].


This is focusing on your own beliefs and does not attempt to change his.


3. “I truly enjoyed this piece about Acadia National Park.


How about don’t try to bring up your differences re: religion unless it is the relevant topic at hand? Is it possible for an atheist to have a conversation with a theist about something totally unrelated to He-Be-Jeeby, and not have it turn into a quest to get a heathen on the pearly gates guest list?


As far as actually answering the question goes? I’ll give it a shot for your estranged godless penpal, but first, we’re going to have to add some answers to your ridiculously short-sighted multiple-choice list.


We’ll keep the three you managed to write yourself:


A) I made these duties up. If I hadn’t, they wouldn’t exist.

B) My culture made them up. I’m just a product of my culture.

C) These duties proceed from a source outside myself and my culture.


And I’ll add a couple more:


D) These duties can be deduced from observing the negative consequences of not performing them.

E) These duties are innate as I am biologically predisposed to have concern for my home and the creatures with whom I share it.


To illustrate choice D: Decades of burning fossil fuels has led to a layer of greenhouse gases growing thicker and causing the Earth to warm. We can deduce from this observed fact, that we have a duty to find alternative, greener fuels.


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