Sunday, November 09, 2008

Doggerel #168: "Theology"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

You've probably watched some fanboys or not-far-off parodies of them get into a violent argument about whether Picard or Kirk is the better captain (hint: it's Picard) or whether Superman could beat Dragon Ball Z's Son Gokuu in a fight. To us atheists, that's what theology looks like, and it's prone to starting more than just a slap fight.

Whenever fans of a fictional series argue, they can refer to the material the authors put out, and convention goers often get the opportunity to ask questions directly. Theologists have a canon they can refer to, and many people claim to get answers when they pray, but there's a lot of contradiction when different people ask.

Fiction and theology often end up looking much the same when you try to apply their principles to the real world. No, a katana can't cut through a machinegun under normal conditions, no matter how many times your favorite anime ninja did it in the show. The mythbusters tried it. Within that anime, you can say additional forces are generated by the ninja's chi, but we recognize that as fictional physics that apply in the show's "universe." Theologists, however, expect their system of rules to be treated as real as any scientific theory. They don't stand up well to any tests.

That's why we don't take theology seriously, no matter how intricate, detailed, or whatever you say it is: If the foundation doesn't stand up to scrutiny, why should we take everything built on that seriously? Mobile Suit Gundam is a series that invented some detailed physics for a fictional Minovsky particle that powers much of what the titular giant robots do. Real-world physicists aren't jumping onto that bandwagon for a simple reason: No one's found a real Minovsky particle, yet.

No one's defined and found a deity yet.

11 comments:

William said...

Kirk!

Maronan said...

Cheers! Great entry! Someone had to write it! I'll be stealing this for when I get into arguments with fundies IRL.

Perky Skeptic said...

WOAH-- Supes vs. Goku... YOU JUST BLEW MY MIND, maaaaan!

Seriously. Now I'm going to be thinking about it all day.

valhar2000 said...

Greta once said that christian theology is bible-based fan-fiction, and her description certainly seems to fit.

Bronze Dog said...

Lot of people say it. Just thought it was time to make a Doggerel entry of it.

Tom Foss has a couple posts that are pretty good, too.

Bourgeois_Rage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bourgeois_Rage said...

Christian fan fic? That implies Judas on Jesus slash.

Shit this is the internet of course it is out there...

Tom Foss said...

Yep, Rule 34, BR. Incidentally, I seem to recall that there are some apocryphal texts that suggest a homosexual relationship between Jesus and Judas. In some of the Gnostic gospels, it's clear that Judas is first and foremost among the apostles, singled out for special treatment.

You don't even have to go that far, though. There's some clear tension between the two in both Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ. Good flicks; certainly better than the original source material.

Tom Foss said...

Whoops, that Rule 34 link was brokeded.

Bourgeois_Rage said...

Yeah, good old rule 34. Can we agree that the gnostic gospels were the first slash fic, then? That's nifty.

Tom Foss said...

I dunno; I suspect that there are some lost Mesopotamian manuscripts about how Gilgamesh and Enkidu's relationship was somewhat more than friendly.