If all else fails…by Don Lacey on Dec. 29, 2012, under Atheism, Atheist Humor, Christianity, Critical Thinking, Education, Ethics, Faith, Freethought, Fundamentalism, God & Bible, Guns, History, Logic, Materialism, Power of Prayer, Question of the Day!, Reason, Religion, Separation of Church & State, Willful Ignorance
The title refers to an old joke…A skydiving instructor was reviewing procedures with his student just prior to his first jump. He reminded him how to deploy his main chute and then discussed how to activate the emergency chute, if necessary. The student asked what to do if both chutes failed. The instructor says, “If all else fails, clear your mind and say ‘Buddha, oh Buddha.’” So as it happens in old jokes and made up stories, the student was faced with the failure of all of his equipment at which time he clears his mind and says, “Buddha, oh Buddha.” Much to his amazement a couple of hands appear under him and begin lowering him safely to the ground. Happy and greatly relieved he says, “Thank God!” and the hands open immediately allowing him to perish as he hit the ground at terminal velocity.
I was a believer when I first heard this story. It was a bit uncomfortable to hear for a couple of reasons. First, it laid bare the idea that we are on our own during dire situations as it is very unlikely to be saved in a miraculous way by God. In all my life, I had never heard or read about a miraculous save such as the one depicted in the story and part of the humor was the how unlikely the situation really is. The second reason it was a bit uncomfortable was that it opened me up to the idea that if the other deities are looked upon by outsiders as ridiculous, how does the God of the Bible stack up?
Hearing that joke may have been my first experience with cognitive dissonance. It made me realize that there may be answers that I hadn’t considered before. Many current believers must have a similar feeling when they hear Mike Huckabee blame our most recent tragedy in Connecticut on the lack of prayer in public school. The difference of course is that he wasn’t telling a joke, at least not on purpose. It is a most “cringe worthy” statement and it’s amazing that he states his opinion with such confidence. Do you believe that saying a prayer before classes would have made the least bit of difference in that tragedy? But also buried within his statements is the underlying theme that there is no morality and no values in secular society. Dave Noise in Psychology Today also cites Huckabee’s comments in his article on Atheist discrimination. Somehow Atheists are to blame for everything bad that happens. Mike Huckabee and others forget that religion played no part in the Sandy Hook tragedy.
About that religious student skydiver, do you think it showed a lack of faith for him to put on a chute to begin with? Mike Huckabee may be a hero of the religious right and his professions, while silly to the unbeliever, may resonate with those who believe in Christianity but Atheists have their spokesmen too and many of them are comedians (on purpose). For example, Eddie Izzard got it right when he says, “If there was a God, don’t you think he would have flicked Hitler’s head off?” And just between you and me, don’t you think he might have made Adam Lanza’s four weapons inoperable?