Monday, August 10, 2009

Is This Your God?

So, my youngest son comes running into the kitchen this morning saying, 'Come here, daddy! Come with me! You've got to see this!', and I can hear my oldest son yelling from the bathroom, 'Seriously, Daddy! Check this out!'

I let my four year old lead me down the hallway to the bathroom. There's an excitement in the air. My little boy lets go of my hand and runs up to a strip of wallpaper that had been torn away a few days prior. He points to a black smudge on the wall and says, 'It's Jesus!'

My oldest says 'It is!' in enthusiastic assent. I squint and lean in. I see exactly what they're talking about. 'Huh. Wow. That does look like Jesus!' So I sent my wife a pic message of our little miracle. 'OMG!' she replied. 'It's Jerry Garcia!'

My son asked me if I thought it was really Jesus on our bathroom wall. 'Well,' I said, striking my best Ward Cleaver tone, 'It seems like a strange way for Jesus to make contact with us, don't you think?'

'So you don't think it's real?' my son asked.

'I don't.' I said. ' No. I think we just notice things that look like faces. Like those creepy faces I showed you in the wood panel in grandma's basement. It's part of our programming to notice patterns. Plus, remember that we just watched that episode of 'This American Life' where they were taking pictures of Jesus in the sun? And then we saw 'Henry Poole Was Here' a few weeks before? Your mind was primed to see something like this.' I also said something about evolution creating moths with wings that could fool predators into thinking they were large, threatening eyes. 'That makes sense.' he said. 'But why do the faces usually have a beard?'
I didn't have an answer for him at the moment*. I just said, 'hm. That's interesting. It does seem like the faces always have a beard.' I looked at my son, he looked at me, and we both shrugged our shoulders.

We'll be papering over Jesus by the week's end. I really don't like the idea of the good lord watching me while I use the toilet.

*I've since decided that the reason we hear more about Jesus and Lady Fatima appearing on Grilled cheese sandwiches and in water stains is probably because religious people are more likely to be on the look-out for signs, and are probably more subject to confirmation bias in that area. Also, who would report that Harold Lloyd had appeared in their oatmeal?


Anonymous said...

I enjoy the fact that when you start talking about Jesus showing up in your bathroom you start getting advertisements for Richard

Alpha:Omega said...

You're gonna get to the pearly gates and God's gonna look at you all sad and say "I'm sorry Spencer, i just cant let you in. I tried to make you a believer several times and i REALLY couldn't believe it when i put Jesus right in your wall and made your son attempt to sway you. What else could i do, you wouldn't read my emails..." Baaaaahahahahahaha.

Willie Y said...

Spencer, I was talking about your Jesus sighting at the YMCA and I now hear that there are 6 bus loads of fanatical worshipers heading for your home. I would charge them 5 bucks a peep, I think that it is very resaonable.

Spencer Troxell said...

Anonymous: When I first posted this last night, the advertisements were for bathroom-wallpaper and easy bathroom repairs. The advertisers went from shrewd to ambitious.

Dan: I knew I should check my spam folder more often.

Willie: Good. I've already got my souvenir stand set up.

Anonymous said...

After reviewing several times, it looks more like the Joker than Jesus. I'm trying to figure out how your dog's butt figures in to things or if you are just trying to be mean to those you think are less than you. I agree that people look for and feel more comfortable with patterns, they intuitively look for faces to decide if things are friendly and there are some that lose their common sense over some images or percieved miracles. I don't have a problem with you making a buck on someone willing to see your stain, set up the stand and go for it. My problem is with you degrading people for wanting a sign from God. I don't know how he would send a signal and I don't know if I would recognize his message if sent to me, I hope I would. If someone gets a little positive energy because a window gets sprayed by a sprinkler near a palm tree, I'm happy for them. I would go and see a proclaimed miracle if my schedule allowed, just because I'm curious. I'm sure most have some logical explanation and can be duplicated as easily as any magicians slight of hand. If someone gets something positive from a face in grilled cheese, good for them.

Your video is the same crap over and over. Most creationist believe God created life and it evolved to what we have today. The more elite among us believe that a bunch of chemicals accidentally hit someplace at the right time and animated a lifeless cell structure and gave it life then it evolved to the life we have today. God creating life is not the end of the discussion as your video wants to depict and if skeptics were so open minded, they would allow for the possibility that they could be WRONG on everything they proclaim to understand. Science is at best, in the infancy of understanding. To proclaim anything as absolute beyond the very basic is stupidity multiplied. I don't have a problem with skeptics proving spoon benders and bleeding statues are the product of a magic shop. I do have a problem with the attitudes against those who find comfort with God.

Spencer Troxell said...

Hey, Anonymous.

You don't see the lord in the dog's rear end? The image came from a recent news story:

I don't have a problem with people seeking to understand God (to whatever degree that is possible), or defining a meaning for their life, or wishing for a sign for God, or whatever. I think that is totally reasonable, and easy to sympathize with.

The man speaking in the video is an agnostic on the issue of an initiating intelligence. I've heard him say many times that he would be open to evidence of God, etc. Most scientists will tell you (even scientists like Richard Dawkins!) that they can only guess as to how life got here, and that they are working on an answer, although one may not be forthcoming.

The only problem with your statement that "God created life and it evolved to what we have today." is that the only part of that statement that you can support with evidence is the "and it evolved to what we have today" part. That's okay, though. Just realize what it implies.

It's not the skeptic that is claiming more knowledge than they have a right to.

Spencer Troxell said...

Also, Anonymous, let me reiterate that I'm not making fun of anyone. I understand what motivates people who look for signs and solace in God perhaps more than you realize.

Gallows humor is usually better appreciated by those who have actually been to the gallows.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I can support God created life, you have not asked me for a definition of God. I am not stating that I understand how life is created. My goal was not to explain creation but more to show that both are saying a miracle happened to create life, one says God, the other says accident. One side is happy to say God and the other side scoffs, implies they are stupid little people and say a miracle happened and life was created by accident. Life from nothing is the most remarkable miracle in the universe. Physics can explain why this planet spins at this speed and temperature and external factors explain the atmosphere and terrain, but life from nothing is a miracle, no matter how it happened. Since it is not happening by accident everyday on other planets and rocks, it must be pretty special and may have some intelligence behind it. Even if man figures out how to do it and the exact circumstances needed to make it happen, it will not deminish how amazing it is.

I don't know and didn't imply that people are trying to understand God. People look for comfort from God and his being, so they look for signs. God being smart enough to create the planet and creative enough to put the diversity of life here may find some unusual ways to communicate to some people. He may have a sense of humor and likes watching people reactions to self portraits in the different media he likes to paint with. I don't know. I just hope when talks to me I get the message.

The man speaking in the video is an aetheist for intelligent design and a snob in his presentation of such. Being a skeptic is good in many cases except when it is used to insult and prop up unproven ideas. Example; the Edge of the Universe. He contradicts himself by saying we know exactly, within a set of "error bars". If those error bars are 17 billion light years apart, that's not exact. If it is a mile apart, it is not exact. If he can prove it is 13.7 billion light years 273,456 miles, 312 feet, 8.126538 inches, I'll give hime exact. He didn't need to throw in the smug "in America it's 6000 light years". An edge is a definite point where one thing ends or begins. The edge of the universe is 13.7 billion light years away if all of our data is correct, there are no anomilies between here and there that would distort our view, and there is nothing beyond that point that we can't see. Until he gets out the tape measure and proves it, it's a theory, an educated guess based on the best data we can get, but it is not absolute and will probably be overturned in the future. His statement is as much of lie as Mary being caused by sprinklers and palm trees, he just has better data right now. Once we have new data, a better telescope, a new formula, other skeptics will point at him and say stupid littel man relying on that old data, what a pagan.

I'm all for the search for truth, and understand that you have to make some assumptions and all available data may point one way, but until it has been proven beyond doubt, it is no more true than any image in a cheese sandwich.

Unless you have been condemed to death in a foreign prison and escaped, I doubt that you've been to the gallows. So putting a dog's butt in a discussion and asking is this your God? was probably just meant to be derrogatory.

Spencer Troxell said...

ha ha, Anonymous. You need to do more opposition research. I wouldn't put my real name to those comments either.

Lodo Grdzak said...

In regards to that dog's butt--God's creation is everywhere, no?

I used to go out with a Catholic girl who told me that she'd seen tears of blood come from a statue of the Virgin Mary. Her whole religious class was taken to see it. "And that's a good thing?" I asked. "That Mary would cry blood?" But Catholics love that Gothic shit.

Speaking of Catholics (since they seem the most prone to these superstitious visions): drinking the blood, eating the body, wearing that cross 'round your neck in celebration of death. If Jesus had been killed by firing squad would y'all go 'round wearing a depiction of a gun 'round your neck? Ah yes, all in celebration of God's love. And why is it good that millions of priests are married only to Jesus. Jesus was a man wasn't he? What's up with that hypocrisy in the church?

Anyway, I'm pretty sure God knows where to find us--if you have to go looking for him he's probably just avoiding you.