The Application of Academic Research

INTRODUCTION

This article will seek to highlight the numerous academic aspects of the martial arts and sciences and how they might be of serious interest and value as objects of research by various specialists. It will demonstrate their worth to researchers from other disciplines, providing them with a wealth of potential material to examine, experiment with and catalogue. Indeed, they are an extremely rich resource that has, for the most part, been completely neglected, with only a few brave and/or curious even bothering to explore the possibility.

It will highlight the efforts of the IMAS in striving hard to encourage and promote education, training, research and qualifications in the martial arts and sciences and, by so doing, gradually causing them to become more accepted as an academic subject of very real merit and worth.

ACADEMIC FACETS READILY FOUND WITHIN THE MARTIAL ARTS AND SCIENCES

Researchers in the following disciplines would find much of worth in the martial arts and sciences:

1. Anthropology

Anthropology is the scientific study of the Human Being, at all times and in all types of societies, cultures, civilisations and situations. The origin of anthropology is to be found in both the Natural Sciences and the Humanities. It asks questions such as: What defines a human being? Why do we tend to behave the way we do? And why do we develop particular belief systems?

Therefore, it is quite easy to see from the above that the martial arts and sciences have a great deal to offer this subject specialism, particularly in what is called “cultural anthropology” which is a sub-division that tends to concentrate upon “ethnology” or the study of certain systematic comparisons between different cultures. For example: A well known author wrote and published a definitive work upon the European knight. This book was very well received and, a couple of years later, the same person decided to write another work, this time upon the Japanese Samurai, so drawing comparisons between the two while also highlighting certain differences in the attitudes and behaviour of each. (We can see from this example one of the many “crossovers” that frequently occur between academic disciplines. This author was writing these works as an historian, although they could just have well have been presented (with a slight modification in context) as an anthropological text)

The comparison between the different warrior castes and their indigenous martial arts would be a perfectly acceptable study for any cultural anthropologist to embark upon and would no doubt, yield a wealth of interesting data for the researcher(s).

1. Philosophy

Philosophy deals with the life’s really BIG questions such as who are we? And why are we here? The meaning of truth and even life itself, Etc. There are many different schools of philosophy, as well as diverse areas of study (Epistemology, Logic, etc.) But, the areas that would be of special relevance in the martial arts would be both Aesthetics (which concerns itself with art) and Ethics (which concerns itself with morals, duty, scruples and generally “doing the right thing for the right reasons)

The martial arts would be most relevant to the oriental schools of philosophy that have their origin in religions such as Buddhism and Daoism, but certain European schools would also find much of interest, in particular Stoicism which concerns itself with the control of the emotions, and the Existentialism of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre among others, that subscribes to the theory that the human being must take full responsibility for the human condition rather than simply blaming it upon “Fate” or “God”.

2. Psychology

Psychology is the study of the functions of the human mind. It concerns itself with perception, cognition, personality and behaviour, etc. Again, it has many schools (Behaviourism, Cognitivism and Humanism, etc) and specialist areas (such as educational, industrial, etc) However, the martial arts would be of most use to psychologists researching the following aspects:

o Anger Management
o Conflict Resolution
o Stress Control
o Sports enhancement
o Education
o Performance coaching
o Etc.

There is a lot of interest in the way that martial artists utilise certain mental disciplines or “mindset” if you will. The ability to control their mental and physical abilities to the extent where ordinary flesh and bone can be used to break hard objects for example.

The psychology of warfare and the mindset of traditional warrior castes might even be able to shed some light upon the causes and treatment of certain mental health issues suffered by modern soldiers, chiefly, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which causes such a lot of misery to so many. So, once again, martial arts have a lot to offer from a psychological standpoint.

3. Sociology

Sociology is the study of human society and behaviour. It encompasses such things as the way society and culture influence the individual and also how individuals manage to find their place in the greater scheme of things and concentrates upon building up a body of knowledge regarding the effect that such things as religious and political beliefs exert upon the attitudes and behaviour of communities and society at large.

Up until quite recently, members of local communities maintained quite strong, close relationships with each other. They went to the same school, relaxed in the same bars or cafes, and worshipped in the same church or temple. These days, most of that has changed. Parents will actually up-stakes and move to another area in order to try and get their child in to the school of their choosing, because of the improved transport system, people tend to travel further afield if they want to go for a night out and not that many people are as devout with their religious observances as they were in times gone by. And, even if they are, it is now possible to worship in many different temples and churches, with it being possible to change your denomination, or even your entire religion, almost every week!

Because of this changing social structure, people are now far more independent rather than co-dependent. In the UK in particular, our churches and public houses are shutting down at an alarming rate, so this process is continuing and might even be speeding up somewhat.

In this climate, local martial arts clubs tend to endure as bastions of strength in the community. The vast majority are run by local people for local people, and make a very real and concrete contribution to their communities: Martial arts instructors continue to play an important part in keeping their local communities healthier and safer, and can also exert a tremendous influence upon the children and young people that come to them for lessons. They take part in important events in their local area such as putting on displays at garden parties and fetes, and engaging in fund-raising activities for charity, etc. In this manner, martial arts clubs actually help act as the “cement” of their local communities, attracting literally all kinds of people to come together in a spirit of trust and respect. Therefore, as instructors, we must be mindful of this fact: Our field of influence extends way beyond the mat, into the family unit and throughout the community at large.

Sociologists with an interest in the historical aspects of their science would find much of interest in the martial arts, as wars have always played a pivotal role in shaping the society we live in. The selection, training and fighting arts of the warrior, together with their strict code of ethical conduct, have had a heavy influence not only in the way that wars were fought, but also in how nations eventually evolved and came into being.

Therefore, martial arts can prove to be a rich source of both historic and contemporary information to sociologists.

4. Theology/Religious Studies

The martial arts of every country have always been very heavily influenced by certain religious beliefs and philosophies. Even today, it is possible to see the residue of these influences very clearly in not only the various histories of our arts, but also the rituals and traditions that are still so much a part of them. If we look into the historical origins and of many combative systems, we will find monks, priests and philosophers nurturing them and helping them to develop, if not actually inventing them altogether.

Indeed, if it were not for the warrior monks of many cultures and societies, then the martial arts we all know, love and learn today might not have survived at all. This is especially true when we look at such arts as Gatka from India, Shaolin Kung Fu from china, certain styles of Bersilat from Malaysia and Kyudo from Japan. Each of these martial arts is inseparably and indelibly linked to a religious belief and philosophy, with each still retaining certain undeniable aspects of these within their training regime and philosophies. Still other martial arts, such as Thai-Boxing and Sumo wrestling, clearly still bear the marks of theology upon some of their practices, requiring special blessings, prayers, rites and rituals as an integral part of their competitions.

5. Historic

As already stated above: War and religion are two of the sharpest tool’s employed in the shaping of human culture and society. In this manner, it could be argued that the martial arts and sciences have helped to both build and destroy entire empires and nations. Fighting and the use of weapons are so ancient that they actually even predate our own species: The great apes have been shown to demonstrate crude strategy and tactics, as well as modifying sticks into forms of primitive spear. The most primitive of weapons would include the stick, stone and bone, and any combination thereof the martial arts we practice now as a healthy pass time were then, quite literally the tools of the trade. It was upon the battlefield that a great deal of martial arts and sciences have their roots and continued development, from ancient times up until the present, with people like Fairbairn and Styers researching, experimenting and modifying the traditional techniques found in the Japanese and Chinese systems so that they could be of more efficient use in 20th century conflicts, the Israeli armed forces developing Krav Maga, and the United States Marine Corps with their military martial arts programmes of today which aid young marines to prepare for and fight battles, physically and mentally. These constant modifications are a necessary part of evolution where only the strongest survive.

Historians already find much of interest in the martial arts. Hence, you have serious researchers who delve into the weapons and armour of bygone eras. In addition, you have very respected institutions such as the Imperial War Museum that actually employ martial artists and Masters at Arms to demonstrate their abilities, so allowing the general public a rare opportunity to witness historical combat “up close and personal”. Martial arts, then, are actually pieces of “Living History” that allow both historians and the general public a unique insight into the past.

In addition to the above, there are several other disciplines that would find much of interest and worth in the study of martial arts. The very practice of martial arts techniques themselves contains a wealth of scientific application. Anatomy, Physiology, Bio-Mechanics, Kinetics, etc, are all a very real part of any training session. Health and fitness, Sports Science, Teaching methods and coaching all also have their place. It is about time that the martial arts and sciences were acknowledged and accepted as being the rich repository of knowledge they truly are.

CONCLUSION

All of the above is already happening (albeit in an extremely sporadic way.) Research papers have been submitted by academics of several disciplines throughout the past few decades. Even so, there is not enough of this valuable research for martial arts per se to be taken seriously as a subject worthy of stringent academic examination in its own right, with only certain specialised aspects being investigated by researchers from several other specialisms. And, it has to be said, the majority of faculty within the Institute (myself included) have, of course, all undergone their academic training and gained qualifications in various academic disciplines other than that of the martial arts and sciences, simply because the opportunity did not exist for us to research the arts we all loved to practice and teach. In a way, this has helped to make our faculty both strong and varied. But, the time has now come for the martial arts to “come of age” as an academic subject in its own right. Indeed, this is one of the main reasons as to why this institute has come into being, and remains one of its primary goals.

Earlier this year, the Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences held its first ever conference. It was a small affair but, never the less several very interesting research papers were submitted and presented. It is hoped that this research will soon be published so others might gain access to them and perhaps even be inspired to conduct research of their own. In addition, members of faculty constantly work hard at establishing strong links with several other learned institutes and universities the world over, and continually publishing books, articles and letters in both specialist journals and the martial arts press. So it has already started. The face of martial arts have changed irrevocably for the better, thanks to a scant handful of determined academics, researchers and educators who also happened to be very highly ranked martial arts practitioners. It is those few who have made it possible at last for the martial arts to be studied not only on the mat in a martial arts club, in the sporting arena or even on the battlefield, but also in classrooms and lecture halls. Martial artists can now also sit academic exams as well as undergo grading examination tests. And they can gain useful academic, professionally accredited qualifications as well as belts or sashes, and these qualifications mean just as much outside of the martial arts club as they do within it. Martial arts and those who practice them are now beginning to gain the status and recognition they so richly deserve.

Universities and Christian Right

Many on the Christian Right claim that American universities teach all sorts of esoteric things, from Pacific Islander cultures to gay and lesbian studies, but don’t teach Christianity. That is not true. Every major university has a theology department, and a student who wants to deepen his understanding of Christianity can do so by taking theology classes. But if the Christian believer feels that the universities do not pay enough attention to Christianity, there is a very simple reason for that.

Christianity is taught all over America in churches, Sunday schools and Christian community programs. An American student has very little to gain from hearing at the college level the same thing that has been the substance of his upbringing. Whereas the university may be the only place where an American college student may learn about the ways of people who are outside the tradition in which he’s been raised. For this reason anthropology and comparative religion are of interest to many American students. They find out about the ways of life other than theirs, which gives them a fuller understanding of the world.

There is very little sense in teaching students at university level what they already know from their childhood. One might as well be teaching them Algebra I. Whereas ways of life that are practiced by people whom one knows nothing about are both interesting and informative, and the university, being a center of learning, is exactly the place where such things should be taught.

If a student takes a class in gay and lesbian studies, that does not mean that he wants to be homosexual, nor does it mean that he is being trained to be a homosexual. He simply wants to find out about people who are not like him. If a student takes a class in anthropology and studies the ways of Native Americans, that does not mean that he wants to be a Native American nor that he is being trained to be a Native American. Once again, he wants to find out about people who are not like him. In a huge country, where there is (or is supposed to be) liberty, knowing about people who are not like oneself is necessary for dealing with people who are not like oneself. And the more the student finds out about people who are not like himself, the more grows his understanding and the greater becomes his ability to get along with people who are unlike himself.

Which means that the knowledge that comes from anthropology departments, comparative religion classes, and other aspects of education that deal with other ways of living and thinking, is in fact good for informed and responsible citizenship. The student finds out about people who are not like himself; and the more he does so, the more he can get along with people who are not like himself. The skills and perspective that are learned in the process can then translate into dealing with people in one’s own community or in the neighborhood on the other side of town. There are few more valuable ways to prepare people for life in democracy than to teach them about people who differ from them, and the service provided to American democracy by professors in these fields is priceless.

Regarding God

Those philosophical concepts that surround the realms of theology and religions and the nature of deities, especially God, continue to be debated as they have been for thousands of years. Opinions proliferate here and there and in fact anywhere and everywhere where two or more humans are in close proximity. There’s the theist side; there’s the atheist side. There aren’t too many fence-sitters. I’m in the atheist camp as this helping of some of my religious thoughts regarding God demonstrate.

Regarding God’s Creation

*Fairy Tale #1: In The Beginning.

So if I get this right, God (Mr. Yahweh) created the Universe 13.8 billion years ago but eventually got tired and bored with it. Fast forward to some 4.5 billion years ago and He added to His real estate empire by creating The Earth (as well as the Sun and the rest of the solar system). Ultimately He got bored with this hunk of sterile rock and so some 4 billion years ago He created little microbes for His amusement, but ultimately after a few billion years He got bored with them too – they weren’t very good company or worshippers. So some 500 – 600 million years ago He upped the ante and created multi-cellular critters, and then other types of multi-cellular critters, etc., etc., etc, all of which also proved to be rather indifferent company and didn’t worship Him either. What a bummer! Then at long, long, long last comes His “Eureka” moment (several million years ago) and He created those primate ‘humans’ and ultimately evolved them into modern humans some 200,000 years ago. Bad mistake! To make a long temporal story even longer, He almost immediately thereafter regretted His creation of humans (and of multi-cellular critters too) and drowned nearly the whole lot of them. So much for His omniscience!

So it takes God a minimum of 13.8 billion years to get around to creating (and then nearly destroying) the alleged pinnacle of His creation (i.e. – us). How likely is that scenario? Damned unlikely for a real deity!

*Fairy Tale #2: Once Upon A Time.

So here we have anthropological / archaeological evidence of human religious and spiritual beliefs extending back at least 50,000 years as documented by evidence of actual grave goods buried along with humans suggestive of belief in an afterlife, among other lines of evidence. Fast forward now some 45,000 years later on down the track and all of a sudden Mr. Yahweh makes His grand entrance, albeit to a rather small and uneducated audience.

“So here I am folks, I’m Mr. Big” [at least in terms of ego]. “I’m your One True God and you will have no other gods before Me – or else!” Further, Mr. Yahweh only gives His big “I Exist” statement to a tiny band of rather primitive goat / sheep herders in just one tiny geographical part of the inhabited world instead of broadcasting His “I exist” to all peoples in all societies in all inhabited geographical areas (including the Americas, Australia and Asia). Of course at that time He made no mention of His soon to be sidekick and Right-Hand Man, Jesus. What utter pure bovine fertilizer derived nonsense! So come on, let’s get really real here – this is story-telling, just myths and fairy tales presented for humans by humans and at that time a very select group of humans at that.

Regarding God’s Variations On A Kalam Theme: Taking William Lane Craig To A Logical Conclusion!

Now according to William Lane Craig (oft featured in interviews and debates on YouTube) everything that has a beginning has a cause. The Universe had a beginning. Therefore the Universe had a cause. Therefore that cause was God! That’s the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Okay, let’s extend that series of premises and conclusions.

Everything that has a beginning has a cause. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, pandemics, epidemics, blight, droughts, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, shark attacks, locust plagues, algae blooms, hail, sleet, blizzards, landslides, avalanches, even ice ages and asteroid impacts each have a beginning. Therefore each of these events have a cause. Ultimately that cause has to be traced back to God.

P.S. And God loves you!

P.P.S. Thanks be to JT Eberhard for the inspiration behind this revelation.

Regarding God Is Love

A common statement is that “God is love”. But that is either reducing God to just an emotion or to a statement of morality. Anyone who adopts God’s version of morality would find themselves arrested and jailed (if not executed) in any country in the world! God sure didn’t show much love to humanity or to the animal kingdom by bringing on The Flood. God didn’t show much love to the residents of Sodom & Gomorrah. God didn’t show much love to the ancient Egyptians as related in Exodus. God didn’t show much love to all of those cultures / societies that stood between His Chosen People and the Promised Land. The very fact that God had a Chosen People itself showed that God did not love everyone equally. And God didn’t show much love for Abraham or Job, and if I recall correctly He even tried to kill Moses!

As just one of numerous examples in the Bible, do have a look at 1 Samuel 15: 3.

Regarding the Hidden God Problem

It would seem that God, assuming a God of course, went to a lot of time and trouble, effort and energy, to establish His existence to a rather tiny band of quasi-illiterate goat / sheep herders in a rather restricted geographical region of the world thousands of years ago. Alas, there’s no evidence that survives all of His revelations regarding His existence. So, if God wants to obtain the faith of the multitudes in this more modern, global, and scientific age, He really needs to update His public relations and advertise His brand in such a way that there is no doubt as to His existence. Surely it is not logical to expect the multitudes thousands of years after-the-fact to have the same True Faith and Belief systems in place as did those semi-illiterate goat and sheep herders, based on evidence available to them then but which has evaporated in the fullness of time and is no longer available. So, if God exists, then yes, I’d expect Him to provide an update as to what He’s been up to for the last 3000+ years and thus instantly convert over seven billion people into accepting Him as the One True God. It shouldn’t be difficult. That God remains hidden speaks volumes IMHO.

Regarding the God of Economic Necessity

If the entire world immediately stopped believing in God there would be major economic consequences following on from that.

Probably the most central reason for the collective belief in God is a purely economic one. The entire concept of God has been and is today a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

Consider the value in buildings and in the land holdings held by religious institutions. What’s the value of the Vatican? What worth can be ascribed to all of the major cathedrals scattered around the world? Add to the value of those real estate collections the value of thousands of religious artworks of all kinds – paintings, sculptures, stained-glass windows, etc. It’s all a major and ever ongoing industry. The value of religious-themed an associated artefacts – gold, silver and jewels would have to amount to many millions of dollars too.

Religious publishing is a major division of the worldwide publishing industry considering all of the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of pro-Christian books, pamphlets and articles collectively published in the past, today, and no doubt continuing well into the foreseeable future. There are also many Christian publishing houses publishing nothing but godly works and words.

Then there’s all of the other mass media outlets for expressing purely religious messages. Many are owned and operated by religious institutions like those Christian Internet sites as well as radio and TV stations broadcasting God’s message 24/7/52. The production of videos and independent films are a major part of this propaganda machine. Not to be left out of the picture, Hollywood (and similar other studios) has often jumped on the religious-themed bandwagon.

And how many millions of people worldwide are in the employment of religious institutions including all of the teachers employed by all of those religious-oriented schools and universities? Yes, millions of people depend on the belief in the existence of God for their paychecks.

Finally there are all of the armaments required by warring religious factions that’s got to be bought and paid for. Over the past several thousand years how many billions of dollars worth of weapons have been manufactured so that one infidel could kill another infidel? Lots of people get to be employed for that reason along.

So if one eliminates God (and company) from the world scene, you’d put a rather large dent in the economic engine that drives the world. So vested interests rule, and so rule that God stays relevant – for purely economic reasons.

Regarding The Mantra “Therefore God Exists”

Everyone already knows in their hearts that God exists, therefore God exists.

You cannot prove that God doesn’t exist, therefore God exists.

I assume that God exists, therefore God exists.

There is something rather than nothing, therefore God exists.

The rainbow was created by God (Genesis 9: 11-16) as God’s covenant that He wouldn’t drown the lot of humanity ever again. The rainbow obviously exists so therefore God exists.

Humans consider so highly of themselves that obviously an all-omni deity must have created us because we’re so super-special. Since we are the measure of all things and the apple of God’s eye, therefore God must exist. But then too we do have a talent for deceiving ourselves!

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, therefore God exists.

Regarding God’s Nonexistence

Presumably True Believers don’t believe in the actual existence of Achilles, Aphrodite, Apollo, Asgard, Astrology, Bigfoot (Sasquatch), Calvin & Hobbs, Centaurs, Cerberus, Chimera, Cinderella, Dick Tracy, Doctor Watson, Doctor Who, Dragons, the Easter Bunny, El Dorado, Elves, Fairies (at the bottom of the garden), Felix the Cat, Godzilla, Hades, Hansel & Gretel, Hel, Helen (of Troy), Hercules, Horus, King Kong, Leprechauns, the Loch Ness Monster, Loki, Mickey Mouse, the Minotaur, Moriarty, Mothman, Paladin, Paul Bunyan, Pegasus, Pinocchio, Professor Challenger, the Rainbow Serpent, Santa Claus, Shangri-La, Siegfried, Sleeping Beauty, Snoopy, Snow White, Spiderman, Superman, Thor, the Tooth Fairy, Turandot, Unicorns, Valhalla, Wizards, and Wonder Woman (among thousands of possibilities). Why don’t True Believers believe in the actual existence of these entities and geographies? The answer would appear to be fairly obvious. Reason dictates that these entities and geographies are non-existent; they have no independent really real reality. Now True Believers should apply that same reasoning to God & Satan, to other major Biblical players like say Adam & Eve, and to say places like Heaven & Hell. What then should True Believers conclude?

Just saying that God exists rolls off of the tongue very easily – now prove it! If I ask True Believers to prove to me that the Moon goes around the Earth; that salt water is a mixture; that beheading results in death; that cows eat grass; that Paris (France) is an actual geographical place; that Cleopatra was the Queen of the Nile; and that George Washington was the first president of the USA, True Believers wouldn’t be overly challenged. But True Believers can’t prove the existence of God (or any other deity).

So there’s no point in True Believers talking about God and God’s nature and traits and what God wants or doesn’t want or what He did or didn’t do UNLESS True Believers can first and foremost PROVE that their God actually exists – otherwise they are pontificating about a fictional / literary character. In other words, it’s like telling us all about Alice in Wonderland or about Zeus or about Santa Claus or about Superman*. And while it is perfectly A-OK for True Believers to express their belief or their faith in God, it is NOT A-OK to express God as an actual fact since there is no way for True Believers to know that ‘actual fact’. And by “know that” I mean True Believers cannot actually provide any independently verifiable observation or experimental evidence like having Him appear to an audience in person performing all sorts of hocus-pocus wand-waving supernatural magic. Even a photograph would be something, albeit not much in this modern era of CGI and photo-shop. Nor could True Believers even hand off the issue to someone else who can, since nobody else can either, unlike for example knowledge that an electron exists or that a distant galaxy exists because True Believers can have someone else – an expert in these things – demonstrate them to you. But not even The Pope can actually demonstrate the actual existence of God’s existence to you as an actual fact.

Can anyone prove that God doesn’t exist? Probably not on the grounds that you can’t prove a negative. BUT, you can prove the virtual improbability of God. The basic ways and means is to point out all of the contradictions and inconsistencies inherent when addressing the concept of God and His holy text, The Bible. Proving something is knowing something and for example, you know that there can’t be a round square or that two plus two doesn’t equal five (Big Brother notwithstanding) or that the future doesn’t precede the past. So one can gain knowledge through the application of logical contradictions. So, applying that sort of logic to God, it’s pretty obvious that God can’t be both omniscient AND possesses free will. It’s also obvious that either the Old Testament is incorrect / inaccurate OR God is really immoral. God cannot both exist outside of time and space AND yet also have a direct influence over time and space. The creation of something from nothing is a logical contradiction SO therefore God cannot have created a Cosmos out of pure nothing. From nothing, nothing comes. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Apparently between Biblical scholars and avid readers of the Bible, say the King James Version, have found over 800 contradictions and inconsistencies therein (and there’s apparently a website which lists or outlines the lot of them). For example, both accounts of the creation in Genesis cannot both be true (though both could be false); ditto the two different renderings of what the human lifespan will be; ditto dozens of other examples as for example exactly how many animals of each species would be brought onto the Ark. There are also lots of inconsistencies with established science. For example, either chemistry is true and therefore a human body cannot be turned into a pillar of salt, or else chemistry isn’t a valid science.

*It’s pretty meaningless to talk about the various traits and characteristics and superpowers that Superman has in the context of really real reality since Superman is just a fictional character. If you could somehow prove that Superman had a really real existence then it would be logical to talk about his mannerisms and superpowers and how they in turn can affect us.

Regarding God’s Christianity

I found the following definition of Christianity given by Dr. Richard Carrier on one of his many YouTube lectures so irresistible that I’m sure Dr. Carrier wouldn’t mind my sharing his wisdom with you. So here’s Dr. Carrier’s definition of Christianity:

“Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.”

Regarding God’s Inconsistencies

Say there are three churches in your community. There’s the Church of Santa Claus; the Church of the Easter Bunny; and the Church of the Tooth Fairy. Now presumably you could worship in True Faith and Belief at all three of these theological institutions since there are no discrepancies, inconsistencies or contradictions between the trinity.

Now say there are three other churches in your community. There’s a Jewish Synagogue*; a Muslim Mosque*; and a Christian House of Worship*. You cannot now in True Faith and Belief worship in all three because you know there are major discrepancies, inconsistencies or contradictions between this trinity. Now throw in multi-dozens more religious doctrines live Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Quakers, the Mormons, the Church of Scientology, Buddhism, Hinduism, the Hare Krishna sect, Satanism, Zoroastrianism, and even those Jedi Knights. There’s probably at least one house of worship dedicated to the teachings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

*Each of which has at least a couple if not hundreds of denominational variations, often major, on their central theme.