900: Religions

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But to us there is but one God, plus or minus one. —1 Corinthians 8:6±2.
Title text: But to us there is but one God, plus or minus one. —1 Corinthians 8:6±2.


The late Harold Camping, a Christian pastor, wrongly predicted that the world would end in May 21, 2011. Since it didn't, he moved the date to October 21 of that year, and when that passed uneventfully, he recanted his belief that the end time could be calculated. In the Christian belief, the end of the world is called "the second coming" (referencing the return of Jesus); some sects believe this will be preceded by an event called "the Rapture."

The first frame is a reference to raptors in Jurassic Park, and certainly not Randall's first raptor joke. In this film, the raptor dinosaurs get much more dangerous once they learn how to open doors. Cueball mishears Megan, which is why he thinks she said "raptor" instead of "Rapture".

In the second frame, Cueball describes his personal approach to religion, starting by saying that he is Christian but only attends church services on Christmas and Easter. This is a well-known phenomenon among lapsed Christians, and if Cueball is not a regularly practicing Christian, it would certainly explain why he isn't particularly interested in this fundamentalist aspect of Christian belief. However, from here, his description takes a turn towards the ridiculous, when he says that every other day of the year is spent "at the mosque". Not only are mosques the place of worship for a completely different religion (specifically, Islam), they also generally hold communal services only on Fridays, so for Cueball to present this practice so matter-of-factly is quite absurd. When Megan questions the ubiquity of his practices, he replies by saying that this practice is vetted by his rabbi - a spiritual leader in Judaism, a third separate religion. While all three of these are Abrahamic religions, and as such have some overlap in their beliefs and texts, combining them all into one religion would be far from a simple process; either Cueball is simply being contrarian for comedic purposes, or he is involved in a very strange religious sect indeed.

The third frame is a math joke in which Megan references error bars which are used on graphs to indicate the uncertainty. So, Megan believes in one God (monotheism), as she says in the comic. But if she is still trying to find the error bars, and from the title text it is "one, plus or minus one", that could be in the range of zero (atheism) to two (bitheism). With larger error bars, this could also reference the doctrine of the Trinity, which holds that there is "one God in three Divine persons": the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. Some consider this position to be polytheistic, as others would consider atheism to merely leave the number and nature of gods undefined (and, as a seperate concept, agnosticism rendering it as untestable whatever the hypothetical value might be).

The title text is a supposed excerpt from the holy text of experimental monotheism. 1 Corinthians is a book of the Christian Bible. Megan refers to chapter 8 verse 6 (±2), which would be verses 4–8. Verse 4 says "...There is no God but one". Confusingly, verse 6 says "yet for us, there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." (That could be self-consistent if the passage assumed that Jesus Christ is a lord but not a god, but little, if any, mainstream denominations of Christianity seem to follow such a doctrine).


[Cueball and Megan talking.]
Megan: So are you worried about the rapture?
Cueball: No, unless it figures out how to open doors.
Megan: I said rapture.
Cueball: Oh, I'm not really into that. I'm the kind of Christian who only goes to church on Christmas and Easter, and then spends the other 363 days at the mosque.
Megan: ...I don't think that's a thing.
Cueball: Our rabbi swears it's legit.
Cueball: What religion are you?
Megan: Experimentalist Monotheism.
Cueball: Which is?
Megan: We believe there's one god, but we're trying to find the error bars on that number.

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Where's the experimental evidence that there is actually a god? Davidy²²[talk] 02:01, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Consider who is proposing such an experiment. QED. 03:10, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Subjectivism is the provenance of earth-scientists and the devout. But god preserve us from the devout earth-scientists. (That's the thing about god, he's the only one who can get the monkey off your back.)

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 21:04, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

The Bible, duh! Alpha (talk) 00:22, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure you can find not one but several definitions of god with experimental evidence. Of course, this says more about how vague definitions of god are that about the god. -- Hkmaly (talk) 00:06, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. There are no proof that no god exist, only some proof that certain definition of god cannot be true. Arifsaha (talk) 20:49, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Oddly considering Paul was Jewish (as was Jesus) most Christian versions of the bible have slanted their beliefs to allow a comma after the word father in the verse quoted. Just found out that so do Unitarian bibles. Does Jewish have commas?

With a large "if I'm remembering right" first... The relevant book of the Bible was written in Greek. They didn't even put spaces between words, much less use punctuation, but why would that make it strange for commas to be used in English translations? 17:47, 5 September 2015 (UTC)

The play on the quote in the comic is that it is plus or minus Jesus as god in that verse. Rather a loaded quote from a trained lawyer!


I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 21:04, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Assuming you mean the quote from Corinthians, that's in the New Testament only. Jews don't have that book at all.-- 02:19, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
While all three of these are Abrahamic religions, and as such have some overlap in their beliefs and texts, combining them all into one religion would be far from a simple process….

I dunno, it seems to have worked for the Orange Catholics in Dune. -- KarMann (talk) 11:38, 19 November 2021 (UTC)

Messianic Judaism is a thing, so Judaism and Christianity have already been combined. So really, you just need to figure out how to combine Messianic Judaism and Islam. Now, basically every follower of any Abrahamic religion will inevitably consider the hybrid religion to be heretical... 20:24, 31 January 2024 (UTC)

Reminds of me the First Amalgated Church from Futurama... "Dearly liked, here we are, gathered before one or more gods or fewer." 03:14, 19 July 2023 (UTC)

No mainstream christian denominations "follow such a doctrine", because that's not a doctrine, it's heresy. (although, "mainstream" (mainline) christian denominations have many heretical churches these days) 18:37, 31 January 2024 (UTC)