Uncommon Sense

May 27, 2019

Artificial Pearls Before Real Swine?

Filed under: Philosophy,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:40 am
Tags: , ,

I have been inspired by Jim over at TheCommonAtheist quite a bit of late. (His site is worth a visit: go, go.) Quoting him: “Searching for god, we don’t discover who he is, we discover who we are. This aphorism brought to my mind a number of other “pearls of wisdom.” I have been perusing a book entitled “1,001 Pearls of Spiritual Wisdom” for some time and found more than a few that are self-serving nonsense. For example:

I can’t explain it, but spiritually it makes sense—though I don’t understand how it does make sense. —Kevin McDonald
In other words, it makes no sense but I believe it.

If somebody wants a sheep, that is a proof that one exists. —Antoine de Saint Exupéry
This seems to be an offhand “proof” for the existence of a god or gods . . . but if you take that sentence and modify it a bit you get “If somebody wants a unicorn, that is a proof that one exists.” You can have fun with other variations involving Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whatever. Bizarre thinking.

Every word, every image used for God is a distortion more than a description. —Anthony de Mello
Was it this guy’s intent to undermine all Abrahamic scripture? In scripture this god is described as a whirlwind, a burning bush, a blinding white light, looking like a man, etc. So, all of these are false? And this god is quoted ad nauseum, e.g. “I am the Lord your God, and blah, blah, blah.” All of those quotes are distortions rather than descriptions of what this god actually said? WTF?

For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. —Franz Werfel
Uh, says who? How does he know that no explanation is possible? Or are you just trying to get people to stop asking for explanations? And the Bible itself tells believers that they are to have reasons to believe, so screw the Bible and listen to my deepity, that’s the message?

The sheer number of these “spiritual” pearls of wisdom that are utter nonsense is an indication that the collector was daft or that there aren’t really that many actual pearls of spiritual wisdom to share.

I think Jim’s aphorism is spot on. It also has application elsewhere, for example to authors of books on finding the historical Jesus (Searching for the historical Jesus in these books, we don’t discover who he is, we discover who the authors are.) There is no better evidence for the lack of an historical Jesus than the dozens upon dozens of people who have written books on finding the Real JC™ with each effort coming up with a different result. Apparently the evidence is not conclusive one way or another. Not having enough historical records to establish an historical character doesn’t mean that one did not exist, it just means we have neither the evidence nor a clear idea of who they were. I tend to think Jesus is fictional but that belief (the ordinary kind, not the religious kind), at least, is supported by evidence (Jesus said nothing that had not been said before, Jesus’ miracles are based upon miracles described in the OT, etc.).


  1. Anyone, theist or atheist, who thinks that “purposes” exist anywhere but in our imaginations is sadly poorly informed.


    Comment by John Branyan — May 27, 2019 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

  2. When one searches for God and finds Him not there…!!!Oh, for Christ’s sake am I in this alone?!?!!? That’s when you find out what you are. GROG


    Comment by grogalot — May 27, 2019 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

    • Bingo!

      On Mon, May 27, 2019 at 1:29 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 27, 2019 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  3. Methinks most apologists (and the creators of that spiritual wisdom book) have this driving desire to provide their opinion on “God” things. Not to mention it gives them something to do and makes the day go by faster.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Nan — May 27, 2019 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

    • I also think their thinking is not at all profound, it just sounds like it is because it confirms what they know to be true.

      On Mon, May 27, 2019 at 1:54 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 27, 2019 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

  4. What led me to generate that quote was the un-canonized gospel of Thomas chapter 2
    1) “The one who seeks should not cease seeking until he finds.
    (2) And when he finds, he will be dismayed.
    (3) And when he is dismayed, he will be astonished”.—Astonished really at the ride they allowed themselves to be on. I thought dismayed was the perfect word for when one matures in the faith enough to have the integrity to say the king has no clothes.
    How many billions are dead and buried for ideals they fought over for control and for what? How much of controlling the lives of everyone around will they be satisfied? Living with that pressing stress, but bitching and moaning and trying to control the world around you and for what? A nicer tomb?


    Comment by jim- — May 27, 2019 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

    • There is a law, Btandolini’s law, that applies here: namely “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”

      It think this is woven into their marketing strategy.

      On Mon, May 27, 2019 at 2:17 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 28, 2019 @ 11:27 am | Reply

      • I’d like to see the miles of bullish shit trying to define what was meant by dismayed. But the scripture was obviously left out of the Bible to keep the cat in the bag.


        Comment by jim- — May 28, 2019 @ 11:30 am | Reply

        • Can you imagine those early Councils trying to decide which of the scriptures to include in the Bible? Most of the attendees were barely literate, many knew no Hebrew, so were limited in their OT readings to the Greek version. Even if the attendees had brought copies of their “books” with them they probably differed in actual reading, let alone in interpretation. Basically it all came down to politics. Which center (Alexandria? Antioch? Jerusalem? Ephesus? Rome?) would rule politically? Gosh, do you think there were jealousies involved (hatreds, grudges, etc.)? yeah baby! And all this just to make one inerrant book!

          On Tue, May 28, 2019 at 11:30 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — May 28, 2019 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

          • The ecumenical councils did set the stage. It wasn’t the best ideas, but the most cleverly worded philosophies that won the day. We haven’t changed a bit.

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by jim- — May 28, 2019 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

  5. I’m sceptical of these “pearls of wisdom”. After all, pearls are just sand in a shiny wrap.


    Comment by List of X — May 29, 2019 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

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