Monday, March 9, 2015

Answering Anonymous African-themed Asks

Since this blog receives so few comments, those who do comment have the great fortune of having their comment responded to in a post unto itself, their witticisms and polemics placed in the cold spotlight, their words dead in my sights and receiving my full attention. You lucky so-and-sos.

Recently I was honored to receive not one but two comments from the world's most prolific commenter by far: the legendary Anonymous. This mysterious entity, seemingly possessing both omnipresence by commenting on every forum out there and omniscience by always being right, is clearly the most superior being out there. If only he'd run for office, the world would surely be a better place. I can only hope there are no imposters out there abusing his august name. 

Or maybe it's from that hacker group Anonymous. If my blog is shut down minutes after posting this, we'll have our answer.

In a post about a year ago, I wrote about how pagan "gods" are fundamentally and categorically different from the Christian concept of God--super powered beings vs. the ground of Being itself--so that the scientifically-based criticisms of those like Richard Dawkins would be quite cutting toward the pagan deities but wouldn't be able to touch God with a ten-meter cattle prod.

Our friend Anonymous commented on this with the following:
"In the mainstream orthodox Christian tradition, when we speak of 'God'..."
Isn't at all where Richard Dawkins is coming from. 
On the other hand the great god Bumba (try Google) seems to be an immortal creator god. But I'll bet you don't believe in him. 
Atheists just go one god better. 
Dawkins is not "coming from" the Christian tradition in his argument, but he is "moving toward" it, as a knight approaches his adversary on the lists. The trouble is, instead of facing his opponent and approaching him head-on, he's at a 45-degree angle, and is liable to crash into the grandstands and make a bleedin' fool of himself. That was my point, which Anonymous seemed to miss: the concept of "God" that Dawkins attacks is not the concept held by Christians.

As to his invitation to a Google search: Wikipedia tells us: "Mbombo, also called Bumba, is the creator god in the religion and mythology of the Kuba of Central Africa. In the Mbombo creation myth, Mbombo was a giant in form and white in color." Right away, Anonymous once again shows that he has missed a key point. If Bumba is giant in form and white in color (and if he vomits out all of creation, as the myth goes on to say), then Bumba has physical attributes, and has a relation to the rest of existence of the Biggest Thing Among All the Things. He has size and color, and apparently an irritable stomach. If this is the case, then he is physically observable. Yet he has not been observed. Thus, we are quite within our rights not to assent to the proposition that he exists.

God, on the other hand, does not have size or color, or any discernible stomach; He has no physical traits, because he is not a physical, material being, and thus is not observable. Now, if God is not observable, and someone states that we can't observe God, this is not an argument against His existence, any more than saying that you doubt the existence of third basemen because you have never seen one on the football field. (It's not an exact analogy, but you get the point.)

Well, that's probably enough for now. We'll save the other comment for another day.


  1. From the Christian point of view their God is super special the one and only, unique, one of a kind etc

    From an atheist point of view he's one of the crowd. It would seem that in the case of Dawkins you're critiquing an atheist for speaking from an atheists perspective.

    As to God not being a physical being then Exodus 33 would disagree with you there.
    Firstly at 20 where God tells Moses 20 “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” and at 23 "Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

    So you can see God's back and be ok but if you saw his face you'd die. Sure sounds like a physical presence to me.

    Ezekiel 1 also describes the physical appearance of God.

    So it would seem that the god of the Christian bible is physically observable and has been observed. So what's that conclusion that you were drawing earlier about Mbombo? Maybe they are both just really good at hiding, that's possible. Wikipedia does tell us that "Once the creation was complete and peaceful, Mbombo delivered it to mankind and retreated into the heavens, "

    So that might be why he hasn't been observed for a long while - just like your god.

    But the more likely explanation is that he doesn't exist - just like your god.

  2. As a PS in terms of accuracy a better title for this article might have been
    "Avoiding Anonymous African-themed Asks"

    Your initial gripe with the likes of Thor seemed to be that he wasn't a creator god therefore not comparable with the upper-case God. Thor photogenic as he may be wasn't the "first cause" and thus not comparable with the big G.

    When it was pointed out that there are other gods which are also creator gods - such as Mbombo - the argument now seems to have segued into the physical for (or otherwise of the god)

    I can't wait to see what the next segue will be.