Could the pope beat Chuck Norris?
The world of religion is aghast at the news that Dr. Richard Dawkins is to play himself on the top BBC-TV sci-fi show Doctor Who.
The godbotherers are worried sick that Dawkins--evolution guru and author of the best-selling book The God Delusion--will use Dr. Who's "TARDIS" time-travel machine to jet back into history and gather definitive documentary evidence that Moses didn't exist, Jesus didn't turn into a zombie and Mohammed just made it all up.
In the interest of balance, I think a religious fundamentalist should also be invited onto the show. This would mean the TARDIS couldn't travel more than 6,000 years into the past ('cause the universe didn't exist until then, according to the fundies) or involve said fundamentalist spending entire episodes with his eyes closed and his fingers in his ears, going "la la la la la" while the two scientists frolicked in the late Cretaceous with T-rex and triceratops and butterflies the size of giant clown hankies.
In other religious news, a gaggle of mediums and mystics marched on the British parliament recently to protest a new law that offers legal protection to people duped by clairvoyants, spiritualists and other bullshit-spraying ghost molesters. "By putting us under consumer protection regulations, we have to prove what we believe. Other religions don't have to do that," said a spooksperson.
Damn it, he's right. The U.S. needs to adopt this legislation and--while rigorously enforcing the right to freedom of religious expression--allow customers to sue religions that can't prove they're not just spouting made-up rubbish.
Legal nightmare, you say? Think outside the box, say I. On the Internet you'll find all manner of martial arts fraudsters who claim they can use an "unmeasurable" nonexistent energy source called "chi" to knock dudes out without actually touching them. Yet whenever one of these "teachers" is stupid enough to go up against an opponent who isn't one of their students, they get the crap kicked out of them. (Google "Kiai master 'Yanagiryuken' vs. Young karate man," for example.) Quelle surprise.
I suggest all cases brought against religious organizations for fraud (and/or just making stuff up) be settled by a fight between an unarmed and untrained rabbi, priest, preacher or imam and a martial arts expert allowed to use only regular nonspiritual fist power.
The alleged frauds and their followers would be allowed to pray to their god (or magic spirits or ghosts or whatever) for help. If they lose, they're obviously fake and all their organization's money and stuff goes to the plaintiff. But if they're real and a miracle happens, they keep their stuff and we rewrite the laws of physics.
It doesn't get any fairer than that.