March 6, 2009
The Totally Fake Invisible Pink Unicorn and his Totally Real Elf Friends (or: Please Don’t Be Offended That I Don’t Believe In Your Jesus)
Many Christians bristle at some of the common analogies atheists use — things like, “I don’t believe in God for the same reason that I don’t believe in invisible pink unicorns” and the like. In fact, if you google “invisible pink unicorn,” the very first Christian site to come up takes great offense, calling these sorts of arguments “so severely flawed and ludicrous that you have to wonder about the sanity of the person using it.”
Sort through the spittle-flecked insults, however, and you get to the following concession:
Third, if there were millions of credible intelligent adults out there claiming to have seen or experienced invisible pink unicorns or Santa Claus flying in the air, then this comparison would have merit. But there aren’t, so this comparison is without merit.
True enough: there aren’t millions of believers in invisible pink unicorns. But as it turns out, there are hundreds of thousands of Icelanders who literally believe in elves.
Here’s how exapologist parses the data:
“Yes, without a doubt, elves exist”: 8%
“Yes, elves probably exist”: 17%
“Well, I don’t know, but their existence is a real possibility”: 37%
“Elves? Nah, probably not”: 19%
“Without at doubt, elves do not exist”: 13%
I think it’s important to treat Christians respectfully, give them their say, and understand why they believe what they do. I can also understand the instinctive, defensive reaction at having their beliefs compared to things that seem absurd. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe in your Jesus for the same reason that neither of us believe in elves. Seriously.