Nachos with Non-Believers (Or Defining the Deniers of Divinity)

It’s Thursday! And you know what that means: NACHO NIGHT!

So we head to the local sports pub and order a plate of chicken chilli nachos the size of a 1980’s Cadillac. With me are my friends Tom and George.


As our waitress, Wendy, is bringing us our food, I see my friend Bill come in, so I invite him to sit with us. I introduce him to everyone and during the discussion he mentions the fact that he is married. George immediately notices that Bill is not wearing a wedding ring.

“That’s right,” Bill says. “I’m a doctor, so I don’t wear it on days when I’m working. I have a beautiful wife who works as a lawyer.”

“A lawyer?” chimes in Tom. “That seems like an unlikely pairing.”

“He’s a liar,” blurts out George. “He isn’t wearing a ring because he’s not married.”

“Oh, but he is,” I say. “I’ve met his wife, and she is a lawyer like he said.”

“Then you’re both liars. This lawyer woman is imaginary.” George gets like this when he’s been drinking. Or when he’s had a bad day at the office. Or on days of the week ending in a ‘y’.

“Come now George,” I say, “What possible reason can you have for denying the fact that Bill has a wife?”

“That’s right, jack!” says Bill. “If you’re gonna say my wife doesn’t exist, you better know something I don’t!”

“I don’t have to prove anything!” says George. “You’re the one making the claim that he’s married to a lawyer. You have to prove that to me.”

“But George,” chimes in Tom, “you said she’s imaginary and called them liars. Did you not have any reason or evidence for that accusation?”

“Hey! I don’t have to PROVE anything. I’m just saying I don’t believe you. I don’t have to prove everything I don’t believe. I don’t believe there’s a tea pot orbiting the moon, do I have to prove that?”

“So, when you said I was a liar,” asks Bill, “what you meant was, you are not yet convinced that my story is true?”

“I’m just saying I don’t know,” says George.

“Then why did you call us liars?” I ask.

“Because you’re expecting us to believe this ridiculous story when it’s so much more likely not to be true,” George replies.

“What makes it ridiculous?” I ask. “What reasons do you have for thinking it more likely NOT to be true?”

“I don’t have to prove anything!” George insists. “You can’t go making silly claims and then demand I prove it wrong. Tell them Tom.”

“Well,” says Tom, “It’s possible that they are liars, but then I see no reason why he can’t have married a lawyer. Weirder things have happened.”

“Then why isn’t he wearing a wedding ring?” demands George.

“He already told us that. He doesn’t wear it to work. My brother is an auto mechanic. He does the same thing.”

“So you’re believing this ridiculous story?” George asks.

“I’m just saying it certainly could be true.” says Tom, grabbing more nachos. “But of course I don’t know the woman.”

“I do,” I say. “I’ve met Bill’s wife on many occasions. And she is a lawyer like he says.”

At this point Wendy comes back to check on us and give some refills on the diet sodas. George asks her, “Hey Wendy, do you know this guys wife?”

Wendy looks at Bill and says, “Oh sure. They were in here last week. She’s a pretty little thing with big hair.”

“Is she a lawyer?” George asks.

“Oh, I would say not,” replies Wendy. “She’s can’t be a day over 19.” And she heads off to tend to her other tables.

“So now you’re asking us to believe that you’re married to a teen age lawyer?” George asks.

“It does seem a little far fetched,” agrees Tom.

“She’s confused,” answers Bill. “I was in here with my daughter last week. My wife hasn’t been here in a long time, so Wendy probably just assumed that the girl I was with was my wife.”

“Or you’re a big liar,” insists George.

“If you wanna tell me my daughter is imaginary, then you can pay her imaginary college tuition bill, jack!” replies Bill. “I have a daughter who had lunch with me here last week, and I have a wife whom I have known for many years and been married to for many years. You gonna tell me I don’t?”

Tom finishes a mouthful of nachos and says, “It does call your story into question when you claim your wife is old enough to be a lawyer and the mother of a college student, but Wendy says your wife is only a teen-ager.”

“But I told you,” says Bill, “Wendy was just mistaken about who she saw.”

“Or maybe nobody’s right and nobody’s wrong,” offers Tom. “Maybe what everyone believes is true for them.”

“So you’re telling me I have an old wife, a young wife and no wife?” asks Bill. “At the same time? I’m a polygamous bachelor?”

“Bill’s right,” I add. “There’s no way everyone can be right. Either he has a wife, or he doesn’t. And if he does, she’s either a teen or old enough to be mother to a teen, but she can’t be both.”

“It’s obvious to anyone with a brain that he has no wife at all,” says George.

“Why is that obvious?” I ask.

“Don’t go shoving the burden of proof off on me! You’re the one making the claims, which means you have to do the proving!” says George, getting chilli on his tie.

“But you just said it’s obvious that he has no wife at all,” I remind him. “If you’re claiming that as a fact, then you either have a reason for it, or you’re asserting it blindly based on irrational emotion.”

“Now you’re just playing word games and trying to change the subject,” says George. “You know it’s impossible to prove a negative. It’s philosophically impossible to prove that something doesn’t exist, so your question is irrational.”

“Not at all,” I say. “Just a moment ago we proved that the teen age, old enough to be a teen’s mother non existent wife did not exist because it’s impossible for her to exist. We also proved Bill is not a Polygamous bachelor because it’s impossible to be one. So if you’re claiming that Bill’s wife does not exist and saying it’s obvious to anyone with a brain, then your brain must have reasons for making that claim, right?”

“I’m not claiming anything,” says George. “I’m just saying I don’t believe she exists. We’ve been over this before. If you guys are just going to talk in circles, I’m going to go home.”

“OK, so what are you saying, George?” I ask. “Are you saying that Bill might have a wife, but you’re not sure, or are you saying he does not have a wife and I’m wrong for saying I know her?”

I’m saying,” says George with a mouthful of chicken, “that I think she does not exist, but I’m not claiming I believe it. I’m, agnostic about her non-existence.”

“You’re saying you don’t believe what you think?” I ask, perplexed. “How can you think something is true when you don’t believe it?”

“That’s it! You close minded jerks don’t know anything!” George stuffs a few handfuls of nacho in his pockets and storms out into the night.

This still leaves us with a pile of nachos which could feed an army, so Bill calls his wife and she joins us for the remainder of the night. You can imagine the conversation Tom has with George at work the next day…

The point of this conversation is that when someone tries to claim to be an atheist and an agnostic at the same time, they are merely confused about the meaning of those words. When they try to claim to be an agnostic atheist, they are saying that they know there is no god/s but they do not claim to believe it, and thus they have nothing to prove. The obvious problem is that they are claiming not to believe what they are claiming to know. If that doesn’t make you dizzy, you have what it takes to be an astronaut. I wrote an article about how it is impossible to know without believing or believe without knowing here. And most importantly, this is meant to show how people use arguments and logic in a debate about God which they would NEVER accept from anyone else in a conversation on another subject. I call this “Debate Mode,” where in the brain gets switched from “Make sense” to “WIN.” Silliness is quick to follow.

Go forth and have more talk about these things- over nachos and with friends.

About rentafriend2000
Rocking my 40's with a heart full of love and muffins, science and technology. Jesus loves me and wants me to totally rock! And I am here to help.

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