The Myth Of
The Atheistic Barber
Please explain this to me:
A preacher and an atheistic barber were once walking through the city slums. Said the barber to the preacher: "This is why I cannot believe in a God of love. If God was as kind as you say, He would not permit all this poverty, disease, and squalor. He would not permit disease. He would not allow these poor bums to be addicted to dope and other character-destroying habits. No, I cannot believe in a God who permits these things."
The minister was silent until they met a man who was especially unkept and filthy. His hair was hanging down his neck and he had a half-inch of stubble on his face. Said the minister: "You can't be a very good barber or you wouldn't permit a man like that to continue living in this neighborhood without a haircut and shave."
Indignantly the barber answered: "Why blame me for that man's condition? I can't help it that he is like that. He has never come in my shop: I could fix him up and make him look like a gentleman!"
Giving the barber a penetrating look, the minister said; "Then don't blame God for allowing the people to continue in their evil ways, when He is constantly inviting them to come and be saved. The reason these people are slaves to sin and evil habits is that they refuse the ONE who died to save and deliver them."
The barber saw the point. Do You?
From: Cliff Walker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [The Myth of the Atheistic Barber]
Date: Tuesday, April 06, 1999
I get the point of your myth, just like I get the points of the Jesus myth, the myth of Matsys the Fish, and many of the other myths I have encountered.
However, like your barber story, the Jesus story is fiction. I understand the point, I just dont think it is based in fact.
If a certain argument against your claim of the existence of a god is inadequate (in this case, a misrepresentation of the Argument from Evil), it does not follow that your claim is therefore true. Here is an example of such foolishness:
Sacred Chao: "Santa Claus visited my house last December 25th."
Dao Ting Tom: "No he did not."
Sacred Chao: "Prove it!"
Dao Ting Tom: "Because, colorless green ideas sleep furiously."
Dao's response to Chao's claim is meaninglessness, and fails to refute Chao's claim. However, we still haven't verified Chao's claim. It remains just that: a claim, and nothing more.
Your little story fails to properly state the Argument from Evil, making it seem more foolish than it actually is (it's quite formidable, actually, which is why whoever wrote it did not tackle it head-on, but instead erected a Straw Man of it).
Your barber story, like the Jesus myth, contains serious flaws:
Thankfully, no monster such as the Christian "God" exists. We only have to worry about this matter when people use faulty reasoning in their attempts to persuade us that falsehood is truth.
Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.