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April,1999

The Mumbo-Jumbo Theory - by Cliff Walker

The Internal Revenue Service thinks it has enough evidence for authorities to charge David R. Waters with the murder of Madalyn Murray-O'Hair. It would be a good thing to close this tragic story, if for no other reason than to know, for sure, that they did not bilk the organization.

But the scenario given by the IRS does not satisfy many who have followed the story. I've heard from a few who say that the IRS report does not fit the facts. It certainly does not fit what I have been told. American Atheists president Ellen Johnson holds out hope that they're all still alive somewhere. This is natural.

Of course, that wicked, evil woman, Madalyn Murray-O'Hair, was the one responsible for the moral decline in our country today. You see, she is the one who removed prayer and the Bible from the public schools.

Yeah, yeah, I hear this yarn several times a month -- from powerful members of the House and Senate to people on the street. Yet, I wonder if anybody really believes it. Should we give these people the benefit of the doubt?

Think about it: Have any of these folks ever studied the relationship between moral decline and events that occurred in 1963? If so, can we eliminate other events of that year, such as the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, and the beginning of racial unrest?

Has there really been a moral decline at all? We've made major strides in civil rights for women and minorities. The Cold War is over. McCarthyism is dead. I don't get it.

One clue came to me while reading Theodore M. Drange's book, "Nonbelief and Evil: Two Arguments for the Nonexistence of God." The Argument from Evil states that the existence of evil cannot be reconciled with the existence of a god. The Argument from Nonbelief states that the existence of atheists cannot be reconciled with the existence of a god. But that's another matter. Read the book.

Drange gives what he calls the mumbo-jumbo theory of some religious language. A belief must have substance to actually be believed. If there is no meaning to the stated belief, it is not a belief at all. It is just a bunch of words strung together.

Basically, people learn to quote slogans from childhood, and to state that they believe what those slogans say. Many go through life without ever considering what those slogans even mean -- if they mean anything at all.

Drange gives two examples: First, he quotes someone saying he believes a god exists outside time and space. Outside space and time? What does that mean? His other example comes after he has discussed the notion of the afterlife and shown it to raise more problems than it answers. Anyone who has pondered the nature of the afterlife (what we would be like, and such) has to have wondered about these problems a little.

No. They don't ponder these or other problems at all. They simply spout rhetoric without thinking about what they are saying. They don't really believe what they say. It's all a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. And some dangerous mumbo-jumbo, at that.

Graphic Rule

    • Notes:

    • Mentioned in The Cycle of Choice with Monica Harris

Graphic Rule
Copyright ©1999 Cliff Walker; Portland, Oregon