When American Atheists put up this billboard in Alabama this week, I knew it would get attention, but I also felt it would be much more difficult to defend:
To the atheists who sit in pews each week despite not really believing what they’re told, it makes sense to say “You know it’s a myth.” But can you really tell to people they’re being “scammed”?
AA President Dave Silverman had to defend that statement and he was on The O’Reilly Factor tonight to talk about it.
O’Reilly decided to try to fool Silverman with science, something neither man is an expert in (and why would they be?)… but it led to this facepalming exchange:
O’Reilly: I’ll tell you why [religion’s] not a scam. In my opinion, all right? Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can explain why the tide goes in…
Silverman: Tide goes in, tide goes out…?
O’Reilly: Yeah, see, the water — the tide comes in and it goes out, Mr. Silverman. It always goes in…
Silverman: Maybe it’s Thor up on Mount Olympus who’s making the tides go in and out…
O’Reilly: No no, but you can’t explain that… you can’t explain it…
So O’Reilly’s case against the billboard’s statement is that there’s something we might not possibly know…?
Actually, his main argument is that the billboard is “insulting” or untrue — So how dare the atheists put it up!? — but Silverman barely gets a chance to explain both answers.
He does get a nice plug in at the end, though
To answer the question that Silverman didn’t get a chance to, let me quote the great George Carlin:
Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man… living in the sky… who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!
But He loves you.
He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!
(via An American Atheist)