They look perplexed, or irritated

You know how pundits and armchair “theologians” like Karen Armstrong and Terry Eagleton like to pour scorn on the idea that anybody except dopy militant clueless atheists thinks God is an omnipotent supernatural being who answers prayers. Well Paul Cliteur points out in The Secular Outlook (p 176) that there is such a thing as the Apostle’s Creed, and also such a thing as the catechism. That’s an obvious enough point, but it’s fun to see people remind us of it, or to remind us of it oneself.

Cliteur goes on to quote Armstrong in The Case for God:

Surely everybody knows what God is: the Supreme Being, a divine Personality, who created the world and everything in it. They look perplexed if you point out that it is inaccurate to call God the Supreme Being because God is not a being at all…

He comments

Apparently Armstrong is opposed to clear definitions of the words she uses so profusely in her books. That results in a situation where “God,” “religion,” “Christianity,” and other key concepts are used interchangeably. This is done with an air of superiority and those who ask for more precision are censured as narrow-minded (if not “fundamentalist”) and asking for the impossible.

That made me laugh. He’s quite right – that “they look perplexed” is very much done with an air of superiority, as of an enlightened nuanced subtle theologian looking down on the poor bewildered literalists at her feet. But it’s Armstrong who is just bullshitting (in the technical sense) and her perplexed auditors who are at least reading the script as it was written.

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