Another one of Bert's dreams, perhaps inspired by Carl Sagan and his garage dragon showing the absurdity of faith-based belief.

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Guest post by Bert Bigelow, a long-time contributor to A Tippling Philosopher. 

Sometimes dreams can be quite entertaining. Here is one I had recently.

I was shopping for veggies at a local farmer’s market, and I noticed a guy who was watching me closely. In fact, he was staring at me. Now, I am not a person who normally attracts that kind of attention, so I politely asked him what he found so interesting about me. He smiled, and said, “The Flying Purple People Eater is hovering right above your head.”

Now, I wasn’t born yesterday, so I wondered what his game was. I smiled back and said, “I don’t think so.” But he continued to insist, so just to stop the nonsense, I put my hand on my wallet, and looked up.

“I don’t see anything.”

“Of course you don’t. He is invisible.”

“If he’s invisible, how do you know he is there?” I asked.

He smiled. “I don’t have to see him. I know he is there.”

I smirked. “That sounds like religious belief. Every believer insists that their god is right there, taking care of them, even though they can’t see him.”

He nodded. “Yes, and they are all wrong.”

“Well, we certainly agree on that. But I am not so sure you are right either. Let me ask you this. If your god is invisible, how does he avoid getting hit by birds or planes, or even bumblebees?”

“He is a supernatural entity. He is not part of the material world.”

“You said his name is Purple People Eater. Am I in danger of being eaten?”

He laughed. “No, he has a great sense of humor. He says he only eats purple people. You are in no danger. He got the idea from that famous poem about purple cows. He modified it, and it is his mantra:

I never saw a purple peep,

I never hope to see one

But I can tell you anyhow,

I’d rather see than eat one.”

Then, I remembered a rock-and-roll song from about seventy years ago, so I asked him, “Hey, do you suppose he got his name from that song back in the 1950s named The One Armed One Horned Flying Purple People Eater?”

He shrugged. “Maybe, along with the poem.”

This was getting a little tiresome, but I wanted to see if this guy was bonkers, or just pulling my leg, so I asked him: “Well, I agree with you that religious believers all believe in imaginary supernatural beings, but I am not convinced that yours is any different. Tell me something that will convince me.”

He shook his head. “That’s not how it works. You have to convince yourself.”

“Yes, but there should be some reason, some rationale. Something more than you just telling me that it’s hovering over my head.”

“You mean like a Bible? A sacred document? Those things are all frauds.”

I nodded. “Again, we agree. Give me a reason why I should believe in your Purple People Eater.”

“Okay. Here it is.”

And then, the cat jumped on the bed and woke me up.

Bert Bigelow graduated from the University of Michigan College of Engineering, then pursued a career in electronic systems and software design. He has always enjoyed writing, and since retirement has produced short essays on many subjects. His main interests are in the areas of politics and religion and the intersection of the two. You can contact him at bigelowbert@gmail.com.

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...

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