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The Parable of the Meadow

By Ubi Dubium ~

I recently responded to a blog comment that used the old “burning building” metaphor that the Fundies use as a justification for their high-octane evangelism. I decided to respond with a metaphor of my own, and I thought I’d share it with you.

The Parable of the Meadow

Once there was a Humanist sitting in a beautiful meadow on a sunny day. The meadow was full of wildflowers and butterflies, and she was enjoying a cool glass of lemonade.

Suddenly, a True Believer ran up to her and yelled “FIRE! RUN AWAY! YOU ARE WALKING INTO A BURNING BUILDING! YOU’VE GOT TO RUN AWAY NOW!!!”

The Humanist said “What? I’m just sitting here, I don’t see any building, and where’s the smoke?”

Just as the True Believer was about to answer, another True Believer ran up to her and shouted “DON’T LISTEN TO HIM, HE’S WRONG! IT’S NOT A FIRE, IT’S A FLOOD!!! YOU ALL HAVE TO COME WITH ME IN MY BOAT RIGHT NOW OR YOU’LL DROWN!!!”

Before the Humanist could say anything, a third True Believer came up. “THEY’RE BOTH WRONG!! IT’S NOT A FIRE OR A FLOOD, IT’S A TORNADO! ALL OF YOU HAVE TO COME IN THIS BUNKER WITH ME RIGHT NOW OR YOU’RE DOOMED!!!”

The Humanist said “Wait, you can’t all be correct. And I can’t do all those things at the same time! How do I know which one of you is right?”

They all three said “BECAUSE IT SAYS SO IN MY ANCIENT BOOK!!!”

The Humanist said “That’s no help, you all have different ancient books. How else can I know?”

They all three said “A VOICE IN MY HEAD TOLD ME! AND I FEEL IT IN MY HEART!!!”

“You still all sound the same. How about some real evidence? There’s no smoke, there isn’t a cloud in the sky, and it hasn’t rained in a week. Until one of you can show me something real, I’m going to have to assume that none of you is correct.”

They all three said “THE OTHER TWO ARE LYING TO YOU! I’M THE ONLY ONE WITH THE TRUTH! YOU JUST HAVE TO TRUST ME!!!” Then they began fighting amongst themselves, still yelling, and beating each other over the head with their books and holy symbols. Then more True Believers arrived, each variously proclaiming tsunamis, hailstorms and onrushing trains, and joined right in the fight, each bellowing that they had the only truth, and attacking all the others.

The Humanist stood up, picked up her lemonade, and shook her head. “I’ve had enough of this. I’m going to go find a quieter meadow.” And she sadly walked away from all of them.


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