A Childish Argument Grows Up

24 June, 2009

When I was young, I lived at the Grand Canyon.  Right on the South Rim.  Went to Grand Canyon Elementary School.  Fun place.  One year (and this is from How I Got Where I Am  (an old post of mine (which means I am quoting myself (but I am giving credit)))),

One year, a story-teller came to our school to present an assembly program.  He was incredible.  His story-telling skills were wonderful.  His last story was a poetic retelling of Genesis.  The images he evoked were beautiful.  God stepping on the earth to create the valleys and mountains; bringing the waters to the land; creating the animals; creating the forests.  Not exactly appropriate by today’s standards in a public school, but, wow.  I mentioned to one of my friends how incredibly beautiful the story was.  My friend responded that it wasn’t a story, that’s how the earth was created.  I laughed and lost a friend.

My ex-freind (Sean) tried hard to convert me to his version of Christianity over the next few years (he failed).  One of his more memorable arguments ran like this:  “Suppose you fall off the rim of the Grand Canyon (not that far-fetched — we terrorized visitors by jumping off the rim while visitors watched).  As you fall, what would you say?  You would say, ‘Oh, God’, right?”

“No,” I answered.

“Yes you would.”

“No, I wouldn’t.”

Back forth for a while.  Then, as I gave up, turned, and walked away, he said (to my back), “I told you I was right and you were wrong.”

Keep in mind, we were nine or ten years old, so that passed as a scintillating religious debate.  I could never imagine that anyone, any adult, would use such and argument today.

I hate being wrong (found through Pharyngula, who linked to BoingBoing).   In a video (which is on BoingBoing), he proves the existence of God through the same deep philosophical deepness-like-thing:

“Have you ever seen somebody working on a fence and takes a hammer and hit their thumb and go “Awww… Buddha!” You ever see them do that? How many hit a gold ball like I hit a golf ball and they go “Ohhh… Mohammed!” Why do they call that name? You know what they do? They go “Jesus Christ!” “Jesus Christ!” Why do they call that name? Because I believe when a person gets hurt or they get angry, they wanna blame who? They want to blame God.

Well, shit!  I guess that proves it.  Last time I slammed my index finger with a hammer (never hit my thumb), I said, “Shit!”  Well, I think I yelled it.  So I guess this preacher just proved that shit exists.  And his reasoning reinforces that proof in an absurdly undeniable way.



  1. Now, see, if I fell off the rim, my exclamation would be “sheeet!” first, followed by “AAAARRRGGG!” all the way down.
    For general injury/stuff that doesn’t work etc a short and explosive “fok!” (Afrikaans for “fuck”) works well.
    Dunno what that says about the existience of god.

  2. I actually still do sometimes say “Jesus Christ” or even “Jesus ‘effin Christ”. Brainwashing and indoctrination from birth will do that to you. Doesn’t make Jesus real though.

    His statement does make me wonder, what do Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists exclaim?

  3. For this Catholic-turned-Quaker, injury is swiftly followed by “aaargh!” “fuck” “shit” “sonofabitch” (with apologies for coming on your blog and swearing everywhere Billy!).

    Frustration at people’s stupidity usually gets “Christ”, “Jesus Christ”, or for particular exasperation “Jesus H Christ on a bike”.

    And my lapsed Muslim sister-in-law often uses “oh god”, particularly when badly hungover….

    But yeah, I’m completely convinced by this display of theological genius. The alternative explanation that people say “oh god” because of severeal centuries of cultural experience rooting this as the blasphemy of choice (now almost wholly devoid of blasphemous content) is obviously wrong. Clearly this guy is correct. I mean, he’s got a video. On teh interwebs! And there are no lies on the internet!

    “I believe when a person gets hurt or they get angry, they wanna blame who? They want to blame God.”

    So do people blame God for their orgasms too? Or is that a form of worship? 😉

  4. EBC, an Afrikaaner friend of mine told me a joke about a farmer named Van Der Merve(Spelling, I know) who (among others) was enticed to jump off a cliff as a show of faith. His last words were “Shiiiiiiit”! and it saved his life.

    As I mentioned to (((Billy))) a while back, I heard a known (still closeted but known to a few of us) atheist shout “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…!” As one involved in the same activity I thought of one of a former girlfiend’s explitives.

    She was given to two (she was Russian) mainly, one transl;ated to, roughly they translated to: “Sticks of the fir tree” and “Shit and fucking disaster”.

    But, the rabidly religious do tend to simply go the route, ‘God said it, I believe it, that’s the end of it, and you’re going to hell and I’m saved, neener neener neener”!

  5. Oh this sounds fun. Alright, well what does EVERYBODY do in December? They bring a tree into their homes and decorate it, therefore everyone is a pagan. What does EVERYBODY indulge in at the start of Spring? Decorate eggs and celebrate a bunny, which is more pagan fun.

    So there, I proved it, everybody is a pagan. Man, that was easy.

  6. Having been in construction for what seems to be eons,(and still having all ten fingers)One invariably will have hit the “wrong” nail more than once, or made ones hand an integral part of a wall with a framing nailer, my typical comment is “Damn, thats gonna leave a mark” followed immediately by a string of words that some of which I have’nt even heard before. Oh and btw PhillyChief thanks for the hat tip to us pagans.

  7. So you turn it around to say that sinec not everyone in the world says ‘Oh God’ or ‘Jesus Christ’ that means that there is not any God at all. And you made fun of me when I posted facts in a comment. Facts that are still out there and noone has refuted them.

  8. Well this ‘noone’ character better get on it. In case he/she is busy though, where are these alleged facts?

    • no one

      so are you a red indian or a dot head?

  9. I’m a little confused. Does this argument mean that there’s a powerful deity out there somewhere named “Fuck!OhGoddammit!SonOfABitch!”? Because that’s who I call on when I unexpectedly hurt myself.

    And Philly, as much as I like to watch you rip up someone’s ill-considered comments – please don’t feed this troll. He’s extremely tedious.

  10. EBC: Fuck must be a pretty powerful god. Along with shit, damn and hell.

    Oz: I tend to use “Holy Shit” quite often. And it actually makes sense that way.

    Paul: No problem with the swearing. We’re all adults here. And where would ‘Jesus fucking Christ’ fit in?

    I like ‘shit and fucking disaster.’ It works.

    Philly: You appear to be correct. And remember how many of the ‘saints’ were pagan deities reinvented to serve Jesus.

    Tau: Pete Seeger intentionally bruised his fingernails on his right hand so the nails would come in thicker. Made banjo picking easier. Now THAT is suffering for your faith.

    Ascot7: Okay, I was wrong. Were not all adults here. And the sky is not plaid.

    Philly: Just keep telling him, the sky is not plaid. Maybe he’ll get the hint. I doubt it, though.

    Postie: Would be a powerful god, alright.

  11. Lucky me, I play a minstrel banjo (no frets, gut strings) so I’m not worrying about ol’ Pete’s methods.

    I have to admonish the young folks I deal with about their language. Their invective is somewhat wanting as to content and impact. I mean, using an F bomb will do, I suppose, but using the word ‘mother’ in front of it doesn’t really add to the effect.

    I had some visitors the last time I was in the hospital, and they went away in wonder. One of the five other men I shared the room with was being badgered by his sons to sign a full power of attorney. He did not want to.

    Finally they threatened him and he delivered himself of quite a diatribe. One he called a tractor treaded, copper bottomed, self loading turd, and the other a buckskin bellied, flannel assed, nickle plated, sabertoothed cocksucker.

    They didn’t know it was possible to BE that creative.

  12. Sarge: I have no real problem with swearing in the right circumstance. It should be done rarely enough that it has the desired effect. Used too often, it loses the impact. There are definately circumstance where a well crafted and appropriate swear word does wonders. However, I have always admired those who can, like your roommate, swear without using any of the verboten words.

  13. My mother used to have a wonderful Finnish curse that would just roll off her tongue that IIRC loosely translated to “May you be forced to eat giant balls of horse shit with the Devil.” In English it doesn’t look like much, but in Finn it sounded pretty darn impressive.

    As a Finnish-American I grew up noticing that the most common expletive used by my fellow Finns was one that translates as “cunt.” (I have no idea how to spell it, or I’d provide the actual word.) Does that mean god is a vagina? Can Wiccans take this as proof their goddess exists?

  14. Nan: Cunt in Finnish is häpy. And the curse? “Voida pakottaa syömään jättiläinen pallot hevosen paska kanssa se paholeinan.” No idea how to pronounce it, but it looks impressive.

  15. I have a memory of myself in nursery school– so guess about 5 years old– going off by myself, looking at the ground, and saying “Shut up” repeatedly: forbidden words, even if the grounds for forbidding them are those of politeness rather than religion, have a fascination to them!

  16. There was an article in Harpers Magazine some years ago about Praise of Invective.

    I heard a little boy at a restaurant utter a phrase that should have shrivelled his tongue and made it fall out onto the floor, and his horrified parents were wondering where he heard such a thing. The lad’s dear, dear elder brother piped up, “But mom said it when we got in the car”!

  17. Allen: Welcome. I think that the fact that the words are forbidden is what gives them the allure.

    Oddly, I find the preacher’s argument interesting since, if I’m not mistaken, most preachers don’t like taking the lord’s name in vain.

    Sarge: Obscenity begets progeny?

  18. (((Billy))), only if you do it right!

  19. Heh, heh, heh.

  20. As part of a fund-raiser for my sons’ high school band, I worked at a soda booth at Ozz-fest, along with a group of 18-year-olds (I was 50 at the time). After 4 hours of hearing the on-stage groups use a variation of “fuck” as punctuation, I actually heard one of “my” kids ask, “Don’t they know any other words?”

    P.S. As one group didn’t get what they considered enough applause and shouted “Are you all still fucking here?” I turned to the kids next to me and said, “I don’t believe I’ve ever done that here. I would remember.”

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