Saturday, August 10, 2013

Doubting Solo

This week’s meme got my thinking about Han Solo one-liners.
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. 
Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen *anything* to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. 'Cause no mystical energy field controls *my* destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense. 
I've got a bad feeling about this.
His quotes apply wonderfully to our world but I can’t quite embrace him as a skeptical role model because, in the Star Wars universe, his is dead wrong. The “hokey religion” in question, the Force, is true. Han had the right idea to doubt the Force because Jedi were inactive during his formative years making the extraordinary claims of the Force a matter of faith. He, rightly, came around when he witnessed his new friends levitating shit.

Theists seem to think atheists are close minded and in denial. We aren’t, we just need that demonstration. It is within God’s power (supposedly) to levitate objects and bend natural law, theists should pray to get him to do it. If I saw someone using the Force I’d immediately drop my career in favor of Jedi training. Likewise, you better believe I’d become a Christian.

Want to convert me? Use the Jesus, theists. If he can’t do it, you might want to rethink his power, influence and existence.


  1. Great sentiment. It should be relatively easy to convert atheists.

    However, we are living in some interesting times, when magic tricks are phenomenal and digital image processing can make an alternate reality out of thin air. Chris Angel walked on water in Vegas, but I don't think that God exists because of that! ;-)

    In other words, convincing proof is getting that much harder to present thanks to technology. And, of course, there is the saying that any sufficiently advanced technology would appear to be magical.

    Not to say that there isn't any more room for a conversion worthy miracle, but articulating that miracle in such a way that others would not doubt is getting more and more challenging.

    1. Chris Angel sounds like "all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense." :-)

      Yes, I agree. It speaks to Hitchen's "extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims." The demonstration would ideally be reproducible on the fly, in random situations, and the Force. Yoda didn't just levitate stuff one thing in one spot under requested conditions, he could lift most anything anywhere. The Force also had power over the mind and could see bits of the future through prophesy, two bits of evidence that are at the top of my "what would convince me list".

    2. Exactly. On both points.

      I think the key here is that can be converted with evidence. "But come on, God killed His only son 2000 years ago just for you" doesn't quite cut it. ;-)

    3. That's funny because a couple of episodes ago on the podcast, we did a story about someone who is convinced that all of these stage magicians and illusionists are actually using satanic power, they can't imagine that these illusions aren't actually true.

      You'd think some of these theists were really convinced they're living in the Star Wars universe.

  2. I have enjoyed the Star Wars twist this week. I agree God could easily make me a theist and he knows how to do it.

    I think even if it was a personal encounter I may be convinced. But it also realize then that no body would believe me and I could also not fault them. I would be a theist for a personal reason that by all means would not be rational.