Have any of you received an email from a Gerry Rzeppa regarding a $64,000 challenge he’s laying down to Richard Dawkins? (I only ask because I noticed a post on Pharyngula about it a few days ago, and if it has made its way to my inbox I can only surmise that this Rzeppa bloke is spamming everyone on the Atheist Blogroll.) Apparently Rzeppa has promised to pay Dawkins the princely sum if Dawkins will answer a question about Rzeppa’s shithouse Christian poem, “Some of the Parts“:
I’m offering the doctor $64 000 of my very own money if he will join me before a live audience to answer a single question about my little poem. I’ll read the story aloud and pose the mystery query. He’ll answer and walk away with the loot. Simple as that.
The poem, in which non-believers are cast as heartless skeptics who smash infants to death with hammers, is hailed by some Christian reviewers as a “good defense against atheism,” though one of them seems to be unwittingly making our argument for us when he praises the way the poem
brilliantly captures the antithesis between Christianity and atheism. Joyful submission and hyper-skeptical folly; intelligent trust and angry fist-shaking are both beautifully portrayed within the lines.
Skepticism bad; submission good. Ouch. The same reviewer goes on to assert that those of us “whose thoughts run along Dawkinsian lines” won’t understand Rzeppa’s doggerel (PZ calls it “Vogon poetry”): you have to
love the living God through Jesus, then you’ll find that Gerry’s tale is itself more than the sum of its parts. [. . .] The story is undergirded by Christian teachings, particularly man’s creation in the image of God – but how much they are appreciated depends on what you bring with you as you read.
In other words, the poem is so devoid of meaning that you can read into it what you want to read into it, and if you’re a fundie presuppositionalist, you’ll find your fundie presuppositions reinforced when you read Rzeppa’s poem.
There’s a word for that: propaganda. And “The Sad Part” is that a lot of people could be fed and clothed with the $64 000 Rzeppa feels is better spent feeding his ego.