19.8.07

that's the Golden Rule

i just have a simple point to make. the other day i was sitting calmly on my ass in the labs, listening to the excellent Fresh Body Shop, when i was surprised by a guy doing his PhD thesis who wanted a hand working MS Office. glad to help, and knowing Office and OpenOffice.org as well as the next guy, i spent a few hours showing him how to work the flowcharts, draw diagrams and import/embed objects into Word. after a while, it transpired that said PhD involved the "faith equation", about which i decided to keep my mouth shut, despite the fact that you can't do algebra with religion and get the same answer twice, never mind a meaningful one (it's like trying to do algebra with anything else that isn't numbers - it's just not gonna work.)

after a while, he asked me if i was still okay with the length of the words and their spellings (at this point i was doing the typing, having taken the keys off the noob in a fit of bad teaching several minutes beforehand.) i was, yeah, i replied, since i'm eidetic, but i wasn't used to seeing so many theological terms in a mathematical context; i said the last person i saw doing that was Behe, and that wasn't good. i went on to add that even if i was a theist i'd still have been able to see the holes, and enquired whether he too had read said bad tract.

"Atheist?" he repeated, obviously perturbed and evidently never having heard of Michael Behe. "You're an atheist?" it was as if i'd accidentally let slip that i was a vampire or a leper. he actually shifted away from me in his seat like he might catch heresy and asked me, bewildered, "Well, why are you helping me then?"

teeth clenched, i explained that you don't have to be Christian or even theist to be good. i put it to him that there is a basic human moral code that exists above holy books and word-of-god, and that we use it, for example, in deciding not to follow the rules in the Qur'an that tell us to stone heretics and behead unbelievers, or the ones in the Bible that involve bull sacrifice and pigeon-killing and the whole gay-hating thing.

unconvinced, he wanted to know what had made me an atheist. i've always been an atheist, having never been convinced by the state religion, the mainstream alternatives or the new-age dross of my hometown as a child, and i said so. i pointed out that i follow the Golden Rule - do unto others as you would have others do unto you - and that i was helping him because of that. i'd like to think other people would help me with, say, Maya if i wanted to do some 3D modelling, and so i help people out with what i know.

i think i managed to convince him eventually that we're not baby-eaters, though he might have thought it was just me. that's one of my aims in life - to show that most atheists are not assholes, and most Christians are not assholes either. just because we're either side of a debate doesn't mean that Hitler represents all Christians, or that Stalin stands for all atheists: we're all human, and humans should help each other out regardless of who believes in Yahweh and who doesn't.

that's why i'll help Christians, Muslims and anyone else that can't work a compiler, and that's why i'd expect anyone else to help me if they see me passed out in the lab. that's the Golden Rule.

L

10 comments:

Kristjan Wager said...

Unless the PhD thesis was in theology, I can't see how any advisor would let any PhD student write an thesis on the "faith equation", unless I am missing something.

Any advisor that let someone write a thesis that will be obviously flunked out of hand should (and would in most places) get sacked.

Alex gollcher said...

It’s because Christians and many other religions all meet and reassure themselves they have made the right decision, whilst atheists don’t have a church to meet up and say “hay look at all those fools! They could have been discovering if man could exceed light speed?” which means the true number of atheists are unknown.

Plus I am pretty sure there must be some person(s) that are at this minute chasing a group of homosexuals on a slowly dying bull which has several sacks of stones attached to it for the purpose of throwing.

Lepht said...

Kristjan - it was a theology PhD, alas. this university is renowned for its Divinity faculty, and they're precisely the kinds of retard who think you can do maths with unmathematical concepts. i wish someone would sack them, but they're bigger than the Physics department.

Alex - it's said you can't herd cats, which is why there's no atheist church. i'm hoping in a few decades there won't need to be, either.

and i believe the group of gay-bashers you're looking for are called the Baptist Church =]

L

garth2 said...

hey, come on now. I eat babies all the time.

Lepht said...

really? i thought you just rounded them up into arenas and forced them to fight like the tiny gladiators they really are.

L

MooNWalker said...

secq: What is your favorite food or drink?
seca: Babies.

On a serious note - my parents are religious, i'm not. The long debate between us was settled when i've told them: "When you will be able to explain why you've chosen to worship christian god over any other you will understand why i've chosen to worship no gods at all." Since then no conflicts anymore and healthy relations.

Lepht said...

Moonwalker - obviously, you and Garth have proven me wrong, and i should start consuming neonates posthaste to avoid standing out.

i've told several people the same thing; the most common answer-back?

"Because God is REAL, duh."

L

MooNWalker said...

So do say not only christians :) Well, then i guess i managed to educate my parents really well over the years.

Lepht said...

yeah, i never managed to get any kind of heresy into my parents' brains. my ma is a woo of Lovecraftian proportions and my da is a mild, unperturbable bleever; nothing i ever tried could knock him off that boring, moderate fence.

ach well.

L

MooNWalker said...

More the glory for managing to get a good education.