Gone (to Jesus) in 60 seconds:
Dentist: “OK, we’re done.”Patient: “Yes. Thank God for that.”
Dentist (incredulous): “God?”
Patient: “What do you mean?”
Dentist: “Who in this day and age still believes in God?”
Patient: “Well, I do. Why’s that?”
Dentist: “Well, you obviously missed all the wars, the devastation, the poverty, everything that goes wrong with this world.”
Patient: “Well, I don’t believe in dentists. If there are dentists in the world, why do so many people have broken, infected, and missing teeth?”
Dentist: “I can’t help people that don’t come to me to have their teeth fixed.”
Patient: “Exactly! Same way with God. It’s a bit rich for us to expect God to help people who won’t come to Him and instead insist on doing things their own way.”
Dentist (wavering): “And how am I meant to come to God?”
Patient: “Just — talk to him. He’s listening.”
And that patient’s name — Albert Einstein.
I kid, I kid. But the video, distributed by an Australian evangelical organization, is real; and the setup — a patronizing atheist in a position of dominance is outwitted by a young Christian who appears to employ, of all things, logic — is all too familiar.
Like the dentist, I have some questions. Mine are for the makers of that video, and for the Christians who love it.
- Are you aware that “Thank God” is just a figure of speech that doesn’t actually mark the person saying it as a theist? Would you then agree that the second line the scriptwriter puts in the dentist’s mouth constitutes a strawman?
- Do you really believe that agnostic medical professionals go around upbraiding patients for saying “Thank God”; and that there are medical organizations whose code of conduct allows members to ever-so-nonchalantly pick fights with patients over religious matters?
- What is this logical equivalence you see between God and dentists? Because I’m pretty sure I can see my dentist, and that she isn’t a figment of my imagination. Oh, and she demonstrably fixes things. Why doesn’t God?
- What does it say of your faith in an intercessory Creator when people do talk to him and he doesn’t listen, as billions experience daily, over and over?
- Corollary question: What do you say when people dedicate their lives to him and he rewards them by killing their children with malaria or bone cancer — or, if he’s in an especially bad mood, by wiping out their region with a flood or an earthquake, killing thousands?
- Please explain why your benevolent God, without whose divine intent no butterfly can flap its wings, decided to lead five little girls into a pond and then let them drown because, presumably, they didn’t call his name.
- What’s this business about God not being able to help people who “won’t come to him”? Your own theology says that’s wrong; God, supposedly, can do anything. Whether he wants to is another matter then, yes?
- Please explain God’s demand that we must embrace him before he’ll lift a finger for us, especially in light of your doctrinal certitude that he has created believers and non-believers alike — and that, being omniscient and all, he knows in advance which of his children won’t think he exists.
- What do you make of the fact that one reason teeth become infected — and one reason for many other festering afflictions — is that certain believers ask God for assistance instead of going to a dentist or doctor?
- Would you be comfortable visiting a dentist with a success rate as abysmal as your God’s?
Enough. This video has, as they say, no teeth.