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The parable of the ATM

A theist went up to an ATM to check their bank account. Upon reaching the machine, they found out it was out of service. The theist rejoiced and walked away saying "I'm rich! I'm rich!"

Later, an atheist came upon the same ATM to check their bank account and upon reaching the machine and finding it out of service, rejoiced and walked away saying "I'm poor! I'm poor!"

Finally, an agnostic came upon that ATM machine and upon finding it was broken, said nothing, showed no emotion, and walked away in search of another one.

TheMiddleWay 8 Mar 8

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8 comments

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3

So, why wouldn't an atheist do what the agnostic did?

The parable I suppose is a theist sees the glass half full; an atheist sees the glass half empty; but an agnostic ignores the glass altogether.

No, I actually think the agnostic would spent a lot of time speculating that the existence of the glass is unknowable.

Sorry, I don't think much of the parable.

I'm afraid the glass and the ATM are not the same parable.


The problem with the glass half empty/full is that is is predicated on the assumption that you can see the glass, that you can measure and know there is water and air(or another gas or even vacuum), and that you can attribute half the glass to the water and the other half to the gas/air/vacuum. In effect, you have evidence and the question becomes on your interpretation of the evidence:


If you interpret "full" to mean only water, then the gas is half full. If you interpret "full" to mean only air, then the glass is again half full.
If you interpret "empty" to mean only water, then the gas is half empty.***
If you interpret "empty" to mean only air, then the gas is again half empty.


I've provided further clarification on the parable in a post above.

In light of the fact that the glass half full/empty is premeditated on solid evidence, I don't know how to create a parable that would apply to theists and atheists. But even in your above presentation, I would put forth that the agnostic wouldn't ignore the glass but would rather see it as half full of air (the air half) and half full of water (the water half) and half empty of air (the water half) and half empty of water (the air half)

2

If it was written from a Christian perspective, and money is God, the Christian assumes that God has intervened, and is good. The Atheist is happy that there's no god. The assumption that the agnostic is looking for God, though, is a stretch.

The agnostic is searching for a source of evidence to settle the question if god(s) exists. Both the atheist and theist, lacking such a source, are content to render judgement; the agnostic is not.

@TheMiddleWay that does make sense. Thanks for the perspective.

2

Why would the atheist say "I'm poor!"???
That makes no sense at all.

1

I'm not sure how I feel about this joke. It's cute on the one hand, but most of the atheists I know don't do a lot of "rejoicing."

1

I see the "middle road" concept though I agree the glass analogy is better. I'm going to have think on that but I'm sure there is an even better approach than that...hmmm...

I certainly couldn't see an agnostic pondering why the ATM wasn't wroking though, at least not this one. "F' this," I'd say, "now where can I git meh some muuuuunay?"

1

Being in the middle has some advantages.

0

Further explanation of the parable. The ATM stands for a source of evidence. It being out of service stands for the inaccesability of evidence. Having money stands for evidence that god(s) exist. Having no money stands for evidence they don't. In the absence of a working source for evidence, a theist is happy to make the claim that god(s) exist and doesn't bother seeking out another source of evidence. In the absence of a working source for evidence, an atheist is happy to make the claim that god(s) don't exist and doesn't bother seeking out another source evidence. In the absence of a working source for evidence, an agnostic makes no claim and seeks out another source of evidence.

Congratulations on providing one of most obscure parables I've ever read. And I don't actually think it's a parable but rather a metaphor, but that's as may be.

@David1955 Thank you.
** "Those things which I am saying now may be obscure, yet they will be made clearer in their proper place."
Nicolaus Copernicus

@TheMiddleWay 🙂 😄

0

Incorrect. An atheist can be someone that doesn't believe in a God/gos/goddesses/its but make no claim to knowledge that there is 100% chance that none exist.

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