Thursday, May 25, 2006

Claude Strikes Back

Christian blogger Claude Mariottini teaches the Old Testament at the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He's interested in Biblical archaeology. A week ago I challenged Claude to a race on the Technorati top-10 list for archaeology blogs. I also identified myself as an atheist and made snide remarks about some faith-based and moralistic reasoning that he had quoted (and which I misattributed to Claude himself).

Claude rose to the occasion and mustered his forces with a counterpost -- or should I say, a riposte. It's actually a brief homily, interesting from a theological point of view as Claude denies that his Imaginary Friend On High is actually almighty. The deity has "self-imposed limitations" providing leeway for humanity's free will. Claude, however, offers no explanation for his deity's self-imposed limitations regarding famine, pestilence, hurricanes, tsunamis and other causes of human suffering that have nothing to do with free will. Perhaps he would argue that they are just tests of humanity's faith and that believers will be compensated in the afterlife. To me, the whole god thing is just an unnecessary hypothesis pruned long ago from rational discourse by razor-wielding Ockham.

But according to Claude, his supernatural friend has a claim even on me. So I guess I'll just happily continue in my unbelief, secure in the assumption that if this unlikely thing actually exists, then it'll most likely gather me to its bosom when I die regardless of what I do or think. I mean, come on, I hear it's all-luvin'! Or are there "self-imposed" limits to this love as well?

Claude's currently way past me in the race, and his readers are flocking here to check out the competition. Note that the contest isn't about the number of readers we attract, it's about the number of unique blogs that link to us.

Dear Reader, if you enjoy this kind of game, then feel free to link to one of us! Claude and myself categorically deny all rumors that the whole thing is just a scheme we dreamed up with the aim of attracting enough attention for both of us to beat the evil archaeo-astronomical genius Alun Salt on Technorati's list.

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Blogger Simon said...

You'll get my link. Why don't you use the "links to this post"?

By the way, as long as Hitler repented, he'll be more likely to get to heaven than us non-believers. Allegedly.

25 May, 2006 12:08  
Blogger Martin said...

Thanks, Simon!

I didn't know about the links-to option. I'm turning it on now.

25 May, 2006 12:12  
Blogger Cur Deus Homo said...

I find it interesting that your dialog with Claude has nothing to do with archeology, even though the "challenge" you presented uses archeology as the pretext. Perhaps you would like to challenge Claude about something in the field of archeology?

27 May, 2006 00:48  
Blogger Martin said...

Archaeology is not a global subject like chemistry or palaeontology. I know next to nothing nothing about Biblical archaeology, and it would seem unreasonable to expect any great knowledge of Scandinavian archaeology in Claude who works with the Old Testament.

So you are of course right, archaeology is just a pretext for me to tease Claude and his readers about what I see as over-credulousness and weak reasoning.

27 May, 2006 09:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed your debate was picked up on another blog. Pretty funny stuff.

06 June, 2006 01:33  
Blogger Martin said...

Yeah, it's good fun and eveybody wins.

06 June, 2006 11:36  

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