Believers and unbelievers is pretend

When I was a child we used to play cowboys and indians.  Then japs and commandos.  Pretend guns were part of both.  Pretend death and pretend weapons.  The cowboys and commandos were always the goodies.  The indians and japanese never were.  Then older still and jokes about the Irish – about fat people – stupid people – gullible people – mother-in-laws – the jokes kept coming – directed towards an infinite set of labels behind which were real people.  But for the moment of that joke not real people.  For that moment pretend people.  Just as pretend cowboys and pretend commandos and pretend indians and pretend japs and pretend weapons and pretend death were not real either for those short moments.

I wonder whether we are in a phase where we take ourselves a tad too seriously.

“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’” Mark 16:15-18

Taken literally these verses equal outrage.  Believers v Unbelievers.

Taken literally believers do not need modern medicine (nor do their children and friends).  Prayer and faith will heal.  Yet unbelievers have a stock of cases where prayer and faith did not heal – and the “innocent child” of a believer died painfully and unnecessarily.  Just as believers have a stock of cases where modern medicine was amazed at the healing of a believer who was prayed for by the faithful.  Each side believes they are right and the other side is wrong.  And each side is outraged that the other will not believe they are right/wrong.

My experience is that believers AND unbelievers trot to their local doctor when ill – both  collect a prescription – both take their meds – and both expect to be healed.  My experience is that when surgical intervention is required BOTH sign the forms – both offer a prayer to someone – and both hope they will be healed – that both expect to be healed.  That is what modern medicine does (or does not) just as that is what prayer and faith does (or does not).

Belief in modern medicine and/or belief in prayer and faith is still just “belief”.  Still has exceptions.  Will always have exceptions.  Those “cases” who succumb AND those “cases” who heal (when the exact opposite was expected).

We ALL live by belief and this word “unbelievers” is as “real” as the pretend games I played as a child.  There is no such thing as “unbelief”.

There is merely belief in something else.

More and more I wonder why we fight the good fight over “belief”.  More and more I wonder why we turn belief into fact – that the “japs” ARE baddies and commandos ARE goodies – that cowboys MUST win and indians MUST not – why pretend guns are BAD and pretend death …

Just where does “pretend death” fit into this?

Because it is the one sure thing we ALL face (no belief or pretending required).  And because we ALL do something else as well …  We ALL live knowing we will ALL die.

So isn’t HOW we live each day more important than WHAT we “believe”?  Isn’t that more important than this pretend word “unbeliever” … ?   Because we all believe in something – just not the same something.  And no matter what the “something” we will ALL die – just as today we are ALL living knowing we will ALL die (just without knowing  when).

I believe I can make today better for me and those I love … for those who love me … AND for those I have never met (but will bump into today by phone, email or face-face).

I believe this world needs loads of TLC because our children and grandchildren will be me some day and they will want the same – to live with hope and belief that THEIR children and grandchildren can live with hope and belief for THEIR children and ….

And whether you believe in God or not – I believe there is more the same than different in that last paragraph.  Cowboys and indians is pretend AND believers and unbelievers is pretend.

So why all the outrage?



13 thoughts on “Believers and unbelievers is pretend

      • Not presumption; reasoning. You intentionally conflate the word ‘believe’ to mean the same thing when referring to both evidence-based claims and faith-based claims. This is the false equivalency. They are not the same meaning just because they share the same term. But you know this. Yet you also know that for your argument to work, you need this claim to be the case, that because we all believe stuff we are equivalent. Either this is a non sequitur or it is a false equivalency.

        This promotion of a false equivalency is what Dara is talking about in the name of ‘balanced reporting’ in his examples, whereas you do the same thing in the name of love. It’s still a false equivalency and falling for it as if a good reason is why he introduces the sack for such people who share this disregard for what’s true and choose to believe in faith-based claims while disrespecting contrary evidence-adduced claims. Hence, my call for you to get in the sack. This is a thinking error you are using to justify an equivalency that is not true.

        • Hi tildeb. So I can believe that you do not operate from a belief in anything? The beginning of time, time itself, all that stuff that cannot be observed but inferred …

          The word “believe” is just a word. The word “unbelieve” is just another word. But “un-beleive” – shouldn’t that be “belief in a different belief” – no god required?

          Applying reasoning, you are sprinkling your belief in my words with your own. And so the verbal to and fro continues with you demanding that we remain separate (unless I agree with you).

          “This is a thinking error”


          • “But “un-beleive” – shouldn’t that be “belief in a different belief” – no god required?”

            No, Paul. And that’s why you should get in the sack.

            • tildeb. Sounds like an opinion rather than a “fact”. What puzzles me about all of this and you, is your intensity to be right, to have truth, to demolish rather than build up – to be all the things of which you accuse “religion” yet seem happy to perpetuate in the name of being right.

  1. I agree completely on the point of we all believe. When I read Romans 12:3, which says that God has given to each of us “The measure of faith (KJV)”, I see God saying that He gave us all the same amount of faith. The difference is where we place that faith.

    The part of your post I am unsure of is that belief or unbelief are pretend. Is it because I go to the doctor when I am sick? I believe God has given the doctor ability to help me. To me he is an agent of God, whether he believes or not. If God decides to heal me through pray, so be it. If I have to go to the doctor, I don’t see that as having less faith at all. Just faith placed differently.

    • Hi Pete – sorry if it unclear. I keep hearing the word “unbelievers” as opposed to “believers” (of God is the default understanding). Yet “unbelievers” also believe – just not the same belief as “believers”.

      “Just faith placed differently.” Is it in a nutshell: we all believe – we just disagree on what. We all have faith – we just place our faith differently.


      • “Yet “unbelievers” also believe – just not the same belief as “believers”.”

        No. This is not true. You continue to operate on presuming an equivalency of belief. This is what’s false. An evidence-adduced belief is not the same kind of belief as a faith-based belief, in the same way a fish is not another kind of bicycle with a different set of wheels. They are not equivalent beliefs. They are completely and utterly different in every way.

        • And therefore you cannot be an unbeliever either. But if you are an atheist it implies a connection to belief (and a connection to un-faith). So this whole conversation has little relevance to real life. And my point is simply that. It goes around in ever decreasing circles.

          Meanwhile my children and grandchildren and their’s would like to think they have a planet to live on. And that requires all of us to join together to make that happen. I can work with you, it seems (from past comments) you cannot with me.

          And that – to me – make no sense at all.

  2. See what I mean? Pete also uses this false equivalency you and he share. Such thinking errors matter in justifying the opinions derived from their use because they lead us astray.

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