Ignorance is Bliss

It’s not all that often you read a comic strip and become depressed:

sinfest.gif

Get it?! (Why are you not laughing…?)

All I’m seeing is the scientific illiteracy of the main character. She doesn’t understand evolution nor does she want to learn where anything she sees actually comes from… it also shows how little thinking goes into the belief in God for so many people. It’s as easy as this. Pathetic.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://butchbailey.com/ Butch

    Yeah I saw that this morning too. Sad because that comic is usually very good and basically pokes fun at all manor of religion all the time. If you don’t read it already, give it another shot.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    To be fair, in the world of the comic, there is a god. He does puppet shows in the clouds.

    That said, I’ve been growing increasingly disappointed with Sinfest as of late. I think I may be cutting it from my round of comics.

  • http://geis.blogspot.com Geis

    The punchline I wanted was: “Wow, so what?”

  • Jason C. Romero

    Let me be clear that I am an atheist, but I don’t understand how finding God in the beauty of nature indicates or would be predicated on scientific illiteracy. Indeed, it seems that someone could be scientifically literate about the workings of the universe, yet maintain a sense of awe for both the universe and the God that made it that way.

    http://www.catholicleague.org/research/catholicism_and_science.htm

    That said, there is a strong tradition in Catholicism of the use of reason as a means of discovering God: “In order to love and honor God, it is necessary to fully appreciate the wonders of his handiwork. Moreover, because God is perfect, his handiwork functions in accord with immutable principles. By the full use of our God-given powers of reason and observation it ought to be possible to discover these principles.”

    Of course, reason was still supposed to defer to faith: “In matters “that we cannot yet grasp by reason—though one day we shall be able to do so—faith must precede reason,” stated Augustine.”

    Either way, I think that atheists need a better response to the grandeur that theists see in nature and interpret as God than “scientific illiteracy.” Certainly, such a response seems to indicate that atheists are both unable to really understand what theists are experiencing in these moments, and unable to separate such an experience from the way in which it is interpreted. When it comes to feeling a sense of awe at the universe, many atheists are no different than theists. Where we differ is how we interpret this sense of awe.

  • Siamang

    I don’t know why a comic strip character must “come to the right answers.” Why can’t this one strip be an accurate reflection of what this one character thinks and how she experiences life?

    If fiction is to be worthwhile in any way, characters must be allowed to have experiences that differ from our own.

  • I like tea

    Holy crap… there’s CLOUDS… and TREES… and… and MOUNTAINS. There is a God!

    If fiction is to be worthwhile in any way, characters must be allowed to have experiences that differ from our own.

    I agree completely, but it’s not exactly a relevant point. Hemant was specifically criticizing the main character. Whatever the author’s point was (and it frankly eludes me if it’s not an agreement with the main character), he’s displaying (whether or not he’s condoning) an attitude which Hemant rightfully criticizes.

    I’m not going to assume that the author agrees with that attitude, and I’m certainly not going to claim that the author shouldn’t have his characters express that attitude, but I’ll gladly join in criticizing that attitude.

  • Arlen

    I’m not sure why you would be depressed by this. People come to their faith (or lose it) for significantly less significant reasons than the wonder of creation. I’m surprised you wouldn’t see being born into a faith and never changing as a less reasonable basis for belief than this.

  • http://synapostasy.blogspot.com Aaron

    I cut Sinfest from my bookmarks a while back. Tatsuya seems to have lost touch with reality, and is living almost entirely on black & white morality and hippie-dippy cliches.

    That said, Hemant, I’m surprised at you. This comic doesn’t mention evolution at all. You can’t lump all lack of reason together.

  • Mriana

    It is pathetic, but it doesn’t do anything for me- not even laugh or get depressed. Funny thing though, when I was seven, I looked up at the sky and said, “Heaven’s not there.” eventually it was “and neither is God.” So, maybe that’s why it doesn’t do anything to me. I find that argument for a deity rediculous. It just doesn’t work.

  • http://www.saintgasoline.com Saint Gasoline

    That said, there is a strong tradition in Catholicism of the use of reason as a means of discovering God: “In order to love and honor God, it is necessary to fully appreciate the wonders of his handiwork. Moreover, because God is perfect, his handiwork functions in accord with immutable principles. By the full use of our God-given powers of reason and observation it ought to be possible to discover these principles.”

    Reason isn’t discovering God in this example. Reason is discovering predictable, observable events in nature, and then attributing this to God a priori, without any reason for doing so. It is the kind of theistic mindset that goes, “Evolution proceeds through natural selection and not divine intervention…but God created the process of evolution!” Yet that latter statement is not supported by any evidence whatsoever in science.

    No matter what, you can tack on an invisible, unknowable force outside of a perfectly reasonable explanation, but that doesn’t mean that supernatural bit you’ve tacked on is reasonable as well.

  • http://www.saintgasoline.com Saint Gasoline

    I wonder what conclusion that comic character would have came to had she observed starving children or genetic deformities, instead!

  • Sarah H.

    “I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”
    -Frank Lloyd Wright

    I think, for some people, there’s a spiritual feeling, a sense of awe brought on by the world around them, since we don’t understand all of it yet, and it’s so beautiful and huge. I don’t think that bothers me, although it’s an unfortunate word for the phenomenon.

    Another that doesn’t bother me:
    “I feel God in this Chili’s tonight” from a drunk Pam on The Office.

  • Chris

    I think maybe you just need to look at the previous day’s strip for some balance: here.

  • Mriana

    :lol: Now that’s funny, Chris. :)

  • http://thearizonasingularity.blogspot.com/ Fumui

    I think you’re missing the most cricial element present in Sinfest:

    The comic sucks. I mean, it horribly pointless, unfunny, and droning. I cut Sinfest out of my daily rounds years ago because I just couldn’t stand reading it any longer. The other day I was wondering if it was still around, thinking that if it was it couldn’t possibly still be as unfunny as it was years ago. And now I’ve got my answer.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    As I scrolled down the page I saw the first panel and thought OK.

    Then the second panel with the beauty of nature revealed.

    I would have been perfectly content to stop reading there.

    There is not God. Isn’t life wonderful.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Let me be clear that I am an atheist, but I don’t understand how finding God in the beauty of nature indicates or would be predicated on scientific illiteracy. Indeed, it seems that someone could be scientifically literate about the workings of the universe, yet maintain a sense of awe for both the universe and the God that made it that way.

    Thank you Jason. You’ve expressed exactly the thoughts that I also had in response to this post.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com Anthony McCarthy

    “I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”
    -Frank Lloyd Wright

    F.L.Wright, nature? Three words, snow, flat roof. I’ll bet he was responsible for lots of prayers that the damned roof wouldn’t leak.

    Another one who couldn’t stand the idea there was something bigger than him in creation.

  • Spencer

    Okay, in the interest of offering a voice of decent, I think you’re being unfairly dismissive of Tatsuya Ishida. He is, I gather from his work, a believer and, therefore prone to make statements that we could expect a believer to make. Just to offer a counter point I suggest you all take a moment to take a look at yesterday’s strip:

    When I look at that strip, I see something that could just as easily have come from the mind of a skeptic and, surely few readers here would find objection with. It also seems worth noting that the little round headed dude wearing the dress halo in the above strip is A) the personification of organized religion/zealotry/etc., and B) is consistently portrayed as an annoying little pecker-wood.

    So in spite of the fact that Mr. Ashida believes in god, and is not disinclined to say so, I have no trouble enjoying Sinfest for the same reason I have no qualms about owning a copy of Dogma on DVD; because it’s fiction (a rather harmless fiction at that, for the reason that it self evident as such. It’s probably a good idea to make that distinction since we could all certainly name a few fictions that cause a great deal of harm by masquerading as fact. Yet, I digress).

    Further more it is a fiction that I happen to enjoy consuming, even this strip Hemant has posted, because (just as a matter of personal taste mind you, your mileage may vary) I adore the man’s artwork; he even gets a few laughs out of me at a rate roughly comprable to the newspaper funnies (which I will admit tranlates as: about once a month). Even though it sometimes comes with a theistic message and, in this specific example, shamelessly forgoes any attempt at a sharp punch-line; for me, the artwork of the second panel more than makes up for the fact that she and I would have an uncomfortable disagreement about what the beauty of that scene suggests about the underlying nature of our universe.

    Honestly, I’m surprised that this strip is upsetting enough to warrant its own post. Among all the theists that you will find pouring collective terabytes of personal opinions onto the web on a daily basis, Ishida would, I believe, rank comfortably at the “least objectionable” end of the spectrum. There is plenty of bad news out there that we can and should be actively pissed off about, but this cartoon is at best a very weak example.

  • Spencer

    Oops, chris already posted about yesterday’s strip. as if I wasn’t long winded enough, without being redundant too.

    Edit: oh, and I just realized I can’t spell for shit either. Ahem, “comparable”, “translates”. There, now I feel better.

  • http://daybydayhsing.blogspot.com Dawn

    I think your comment about the strip Hermant, is reflecting something you read into the strip that just wasn’t there. It’s a character in a momnent of wonder and atributing that wonder to God. There’s just nothing there about evolution or science or how much thought the character has put into their belief. It’s just a moment that reflects a moment a lot of believers have.

    My thinking is that if you don’t have to take offense or get upset at something, choose not to. Especialyl when you have to build a pretty unconvincing case in order to get upset.

  • http://daybydayhsing.blogspot.com Dawn

    for me, the artwork of the second panel more than makes up for the fact that she and I would have an uncomfortable disagreement about what the beauty of that scene suggests about the underlying nature of our universe.

    But you’d probably have a comfortable agreement about the wonder the scene inspired. I think the character’s moment is one almost all people have had at one time or another…A dark day or time, a moment of beauty and regained wonder.

  • http://www.runicfire.net ansuzmannaz

    F.L.Wright, nature? Three words, snow, flat roof. I’ll bet he was responsible for lots of prayers that the damned roof wouldn’t leak.

    Another one who couldn’t stand the idea there was something bigger than him in creation.

    Kind of like Yahweh, no?

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth, becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, — he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me. Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight. Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece. In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue. Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, — master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.

    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Servius

    We know you think we’re foolish and that’s ok. We expect that.

    God is and he doesn’t need you or me to believe in him but he decided to save us and make himself known through the foolishness of the Gospel.

    btw. nice use of Ajax in this UI.

  • http://www.killerisme.com James

    I think the character’s moment is one almost all people have had at one time or another…A dark day or time, a moment of beauty and regained wonder.

    There is no wonder in the characters conclusion though. Nature is so beautiful and complex that it must have been created by god. That leaves no room for wonder or complexity to me. Had it been left at that we wouldn’t know the many things we now do.

  • http://blog.forrestcroce.com/ Forrest

    As a photographer who takes photos that, at least I’d like to think are more beautiful than the scene in this comic … I don’t see mountains with puffy clouds as proof that God exists. Scenes like this are inherently beautiful, but that’s the beginning and end of it.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com Anthony McCarthy

    Kind of like Yahweh, no?

    No.

    In the bible God isn’t in creation. I wish atheists who snark about the biblical religions would at least learn the basics of what they’re making fun of. They miss all the good points and don’t get near their target. At least among those who know the subject.

  • Samuel Skinner

    God isn’t in creation? You mean he isn’t in the universe… doesn’t that mean he doesn’t exist?

    On the subject of the comic, I think it would be funny if someone went up to her and said “why”. It isn’t worth getting upset about anymore than when someone says “evolution is only a theory”. (rage in responce may vary)

  • http://looneyfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Looney

    Well, it looks like the real dispute is Reality vs Intellectuals, rather than Science vs Religion.

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