Impossible to Know? Oct 21, 2021 9:48:34 GMT -5
Post by Radrook Admin on Oct 21, 2021 9:48:34 GMT -5
Impossible to Know?
Two teens and an old man had taken shelter under a bus stop shelter to get out of the pelting rain. The old man in his late seventies, was reading a news magazine, while the two youths, one an older boy of approx. 16, and the other, who might have been his brother, seemed to be about thirteen. They were engaged in the usual bantering conversation typical of their generation, girls, parties, sports school, friends and the old man tried to blot out their antics as he usually did under those circumstances, but couldn't help but hear the discussion which was dominated by the older boy who seemed to consider himself the far wiser of the two. He had been able to remain aloof as they bantered about many subjects, when suddenly their conversation shifted to religion:
"But how are we supposed to know?” the older boy said sounding profoundly baffled, “I mean, once we reach other planets and find all these extraterrestrials all claiming that they have the only true religion? Man! That will be confusing! Shit! Even now here on Earth where it's supposed to be simple, it's confusing with all these religions saying opposite things."
The elderly man tried to stay out of the conversation, after all, what teens want an old person diving into their conversations? They just want to be left alone. But struggle as he might, this time he just couldn't help getting involved, since the reasoning was so drastically flawed, that it was severely testing his patience.
"Excuse me, young man! "he finally said after listening to the conversation in silence for about ten minutes.
"I couldn’t help but hear your conversation.“
“So what do you want pops?” the older kid said with a wide grin on his round, young freckled face. The elderly man was annoyed but had learned to restrain his anger, and so continued calmly.
“You, young man, are wrong in saying that there is no way of telling one religion from the other.”
“Oh really pops?” the kid responded while suddenly looking confused since he had imagined that everyone shared his opinion.
“Yes really! Suppose I were an Aztec who sacrificed people as part of my religion, and told you that my religion was as good as Christianity. Would you feel confused in deciding which was better? I mean, the Aztecs were just as sure that they had the right religion as Christians are. Is that a good reason to claim that their attitude makes it impossible for you to decide between the two religions?”
“Well, no, but that’s an extreme case. I was talking about religions that are close. You know, like Methodist and Baptists and Mormons and Catholics. ”
"Ah, I see! So now you are shifting the goal post.“
“Shifting the what?"
‘Never mind.” at that point the old man was wondering whether it was worth continuing to discuss the matter since the kid would obviously change whatever premise he had claimed as soon as he felt cornered. A very popular tactic for those who really didn’t have the faintest clue as to why they made unfounded sweeping generalization based on insufficient or unrepresentative evidence.
So for a while, the old man chose to go back to his reading. He did notice that the two kids had stopped conversing and had begun to look anxiously for the arrival of the bus. It usually arrived on schedule during good weather, but a little rain seemed to throw the drivers into the late-arrival mode. The old man imagined the drivers stopping at some diner to drink a cup of coffee, or else at some local bar for a swift shot of whiskey.
He tried to continue ignoring the kid’s illogical response, but try as he might, it still rankled him, The smug look on the kid’s face indicated that he actually believed that he had effectively refuted what he had been told. That the reason for feeling confused was because Christendom’s religions were indeed too confusingly similar, and that was enough to justify a total inability to reason. Gradually, as the old man delved on this flawed reasoning, anger replaced frustration. Neither having did the brat repeatedly calling him pops help.
“Excuse me, but you are wrong!” the old man heard himself suddenly blurt out after putting down the magazine and focusing his gaze on the kid.
“Wrong about what?” the kid shot back in an annoyed voice that was intended to discourage any further conversation. It seemed that he sensed that the old man was preparing some kind of convoluted argument and wasn’t sure that he could handle it.
“Wrong about saying that because Christendom’s denominations have certain similarities, they can’t be evaluated properly because they are all virtually the same.”
“Well, you can’t cuz they all believe in Jesus Christ”
“Well son, the members of political parties in the USA all believe in democracy, don’t they? Yet they constantly disagree all the time-right?”
“Yeah but nothing, son. If you had read some basic history, you would know that Protestants and Catholics went to war over disagreements. Some so-called believers in Christ even savagely tortured other believers in Christ for believing different things. All in the name of Christ. So I guess not everyone agrees with you that just because they all believe in Jesus, it's impossible to tell the difference, since they noticed those differences and fought over those differences-didn’t they? They also fought against the Muslims during the Crusades, and yet both religions recognize Jesus as having been sent by God. Right? So obviously, there must be something that they are using to determine that the other denominations are wrong despite their similarities, correct?”
“Well, I guess you are right!” the kid finally said in a dejected manner after a long moment of silence during which he seemed to struggle in his search for an answer and while peering anxiously into the downpour for any sign of the bus. His little brother had remained silent during the whole conversation, at first just staring up at his big bother as if he had been the epitome of wisdom incarnate. But as the conversation had slowly drawn to an end, his gaze had shifted from his big brother to the old man who had just so very easily proven his big brother wrong.
As for the old man? He went right back to his reading, but he did notice that there was not as much as a peep out of the loudmouthed kid from that point onward except for a
"Have a nice day sir!"
"You too son!" exchange as they were getting on the bus.