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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Timothy Jones: "Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; Give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish."

As with the earlier Ambrose Bierce quote, this one is so completely asinine on so many levels,  it's incredible that anyone who considers himself or herself a "freethinker" would say it in the first place, much less quote it favorably.  Is there anyone out there who can supply the name of even one person who "starve[d] to death while praying for a fish" (excluding those who had no reasonable other way to obtain one)?  One would think that if Mr. Jones' quote had any basis in reality, religious people (seeing as all of them were given religion) would be dropping like flies.
Furthermore, while technically not an either-or fallacy, the lack of a third alternative (giving him a fish AND giving him religion) seems to suggest that's the direction the quote is  heading.
Finally, there may be other unmentioned benefits to be a religion, such as finding salvation.  So while the man might physically die of starvation, it may be that he has also found spiritual food for eternity.  (And before anyone asks, no, I do not believe poor treatment of the poor is ever excused by leading them to salvation.)

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