Reading Holy Books is Akin to Reading The Message of Tea Leaves Out of a Cup

The religious logic spoof below is actually pretty darn revealing. Monotheists really do make orientation to truth paramount, but their epistemology is flawed (pointing to books, tradition, or pontiffs for sources of genuine discovery and direction).

Thank goodness for the scientific revolution. Science, historically, has proved far more beneficial to humanity than metaphysics, theology, and holy book interpretation, and has proven itself to be far more of a threat to monotheism than paganism ever was. Science’s epistemic practices actually do reach knowledge, gathering authority, trust, and other forms of informal power to scientists rather than clergy. Scientific discoveries function as a counter-knowledge to the (so called) knowledge arrived at by looking into the Bible, the Quran, Joseph Smith’s hat, etc.

You did know Joseph Smith peered (not peed) into his hat for knowledge, didn’t you?

If that seems silly–to peer into a hat for knowledge–notice that holy book study, if it is done as an attempt to tease out the truth and God’s will from scripture, is just another form of this sort of divination, akin to reading the message of tea leaves out of a cup. But it’s not just that the maps of holy books are not the territory. These maps actually display almost no relation to the territory at all.


About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
This entry was posted in atheism, God, philosophy, science, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Reading Holy Books is Akin to Reading The Message of Tea Leaves Out of a Cup

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well, I’m a firm believer that there is no one book, no one religion, and no one person who speaks exclusively for the Universe (God?). Concerning science, well, there does seem to be some inspiration, some eureka moment, that precedes many scientific insights or discoveries. Many of these “scientific moments” have come from the individual’s state of mind conditioned by various spiritual beliefs, a love, or even a song. It really doesn’t matter if the bible or their specific religion is “true” or not. If it ignites some internal mechanism within the human mind for what any scientist, or any human activity for progress or a “good”, then let’s praise this process no matter what label we put on it. Vincent

  2. Staffan says:

    Note also the conspicuous lack of creativity in East Asia – the region where religion plays the least part in people’s lives. The maps do match a territory, a moral and spiritual landscape. Why think of this as good versus evil when America has relied on both for its exceptional success?

  3. Staffan says:

    BTW, I think your prediction about Hillary as the next president looks to be right. San Bernardino ruined Carson’s chances completely and Sanders never got any minority support (underestimated their antisemitism). Now all I can hope for is Trump mobilizing a ton of undecided voters, but I’m not optimistic.

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