Your mission, should you choose to accept it…
I can relate. I’m 82% of the way through my first AND ONLY time reading the thing, and it feels like taking a cheese grater to my eyeballs.
“‘Phew’ say athiests.”
Thanks Author. Always a pleasure to get a good hoot early in the morning.
But I don’t want to go to heaven.
Jesus & Mo is a sliver of sanity in a world of wilful mental enslavement.
An intelligent dance in a minefield peppered with outrage, difficult to navigate but so worth the effort.
Hopefully historians of the future can use this website as a reference synopsis of religious absurdity when the human race finally grows up and these institutions have fallen.
Long live Jesus and Mo!
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”
TV Trivia: A voice actor named Bob Johnson was the narrator on the “Mission: Impossible” tape-recorded briefings. Bob Johnson also did the voice of the robot on “Lost In Space”.
Author: Interesting that I can get to this new comic from today’s email, and from 2 comics ago because that has a ‘last’ button. The comic previous to this one does not have a ‘last’ button, but only ‘first’ and ‘previous’ ones.
I’m SO glad I can get to somewhere that doesn’t exist. Can’t wait lol.
First prize, a copy of the Koran.
Second prize, FIVE copies of the Koran.
Hey, Author, I just got my copy of 50 Great Myths About Atheism, and your toons are SUCH a brilliant enhancement.
I love it that the cover has a conspicuous red balloon in the upper right corner saying “Includes Comics from Jesus & Mo“.
Constant Reader, I’ve never read the Koran, but it’s something I’d like to do, just to see what all the fuss is about. I don’t read Arabic. Can you recommend a good English translation, preferably one with notes that explain references that a 21st century American is not likely to understand?
I want to avoid the confusion I felt when I first read the Bible verse containing the phrase, “through a glass darkly.” It took a while before I realized that “a glass” refers to “a looking glass” or “a lens.”
Which reminds me that, in the 2011 edition of the New American Bible, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had the translators use the term “spoils of war” instead of “booty.” I see their point–they don’t want people today to think that “booty” falls under the “rape” part of “rape and pillage,” when it really falls under the “pillage” part.
Anyway, if I do ever get around to reading the Koran, and I come across “a passage of beautiful imagery or profound moral insight,” I’ll let you know.
Ive read it several times. Currently listening to an audiobooks version. It really is the most shit ever sandwiched between covers
sweetpityfulmercy, thanks for the warning ! In the cartoon, J appears to agree with you, but I wonder whether Mo has a similar opinion about the Bible. In your view, how do the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Bible as a whole compare to the Koran in the ranking for “most shit ever sandwiched between covers?” Either of the testaments, taken alone, is longer than the Koran, but it might be a mistake to assume that the MSESBC ranking is correlated with the word count.
That said, I wouldn’t want to dismiss either holy book completely without reading it first. There are some passages of beautiful imagery and profound moral insight in the Bible, such the parable of the mustard seed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Mustard_Seed), and “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone”
two cents’ worth,
I never got far enough in the Koran to hit an interesting part.
The readability of the Bible is heavily dependent on when it was written and by whom.
To me the most interesting stuff was written in Babylon: Genesis Exodus, Joshua, and parts of Kings and Chronicles.
The most boring stuff is the early Hebrew writings like Leviticus Numbers
The acid dream apocalyptic stuff written in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC like Daniel and Ruth is hit and miss.
Mark is the best chapter of the new testament. Mathew and Luke both copy Mark (word for word) and then add a bunch of teachings from the old testament but now placed in the mouth of Jesus, so they are the same book only more preachy.
Obviously this is an opinion,
@Ophelia – Thank you! I haven’t seen the hard copy yet, but the Kindle version is looking good (although annoyingly more expensive than the paper version). Link here if anyone’s interested:
I am so grateful to all the brave scholars willing to spend time and effort to read “holy” books. I myself cannot stand the boredom and tedium involved. There are so many books with real information and wisdom in them. I refuse to waste my time reading stuff that is obvious crap. I suppose in this I am rather like the fundies who refuse to read Dawkins, but I can live with this.
Interestingly, the 50 Myths book’s kindle version is much cheaper on amazon.de – but alas, you can only buy it from where your kindle is registered…
When I was a young teenager I was a manically religious CofE follower (so a very polite version of fundamentalism). Between the ages of 13 and 18 I read the King James Bible three (3) times, cover to cover.
Every last bit of it, not just the bits cherry-picked by people who’s argument is so weak they need the strength of the Lord on their side.
Reading 1: Curiosity.
Reading 2: Incredulity/disgust
Reading 3: Ooh look, I’m an atheist now
Not only am I cured, but I also have quite an extensive knowledge of the book by which I can argue with the faith-afflicted endlessly should I be short of entertainment on any given day. Thanks God!
Hey – J just issued a debate challenge (panel 3). I would like to take it on.
But first, here’s what I think M (or any Muslim) would answer (and he doesn’t really need to re-read the Koran for that): “Here, on page 1 is beauty, here on page 2 is morality, here on page 3…”
J may object, but M would say “You need to really know ancient Arabic to appreciate the beauty and profound morality. All translations are distortions.”
My response to the challenge was to Google it. I was not really amazed by the enormous amount of examples – and frankly, I have no way of disputing most of them.
Conclusion – it was kinda silly of me to take up the challenge in the first place. Contrary to my so-called philosophy, I was attempting to confront the entrenched instead of a borderliner. It is true that all translations are interpretations and distortions – and all the three monotheistic scriptures you read in English are translations.
So here’s a little thought exercise – put yourself as an illiterate commoner in Canaan of 500 BC, or in Constantinople of 320 AD, or Arabia of 700 AD. You would find beauty and morality, not to mention truth, in all those scriptures. True – you’d be deluded, but you wouldn’t have an alternative.
Today we have better education, literacy and science. You realize beauty and morality (and wisdom and truth) through the lens of time. If you are a scholar in the old scriptures, you may find cases of beauty – these are purely subjective. Joyce, Picasso and Stravinsky are not beautiful for everyone. And we all know that morality in not universal. I have stated before that the morality of ‘yesterday’ differs from the morality of ‘today’ and will differ again ‘tomorrow.’ And the morality of ‘here’ differs from the morality of ‘there.’
Sadly, no debate.
Anyone else admit to being a Plusnet customer. It appears they’re blocking J&M. I’ve raised it as an issue with them especially as it’s accessible from my mobile, via a Netherlands proxy at work and via TOR so I know it’s them.
Well, since no one has commented on the purely comedic aspect of this yet, allow me to express my admiration for the efficient, pointed symmetry of today’s comic. Well done!
PatrickD, please don’t think we don’t appreciate the humour, it’s just that J&M has been consistantly funny since the very first comic (24/11/2005), so I think we take it for granted that it’s funny (your own fault, Author, you’ve spoiled us ) and set about discussing the points raised instead.
Or to put it another way, I think that most of us regulars feel it about as neccessary to regularly point out the humour as it is to regularly point out that sun is hot.
IanB, if you get no replies, will it be because nobody else here uses Plusnet? they do use Plusnet, can access this site but don’t want to admit to using Plusnet? or they do use Plusnet, also can’t access this site, and still don’t want to admit to using Plusnet?
sweetpityfulmercy, why on Earth are you putting yourself through that? Do you not have anything more conducive to sanity you could be doing? Maybe counting your sugar to make sure you get the same amount of granules in each bag, for example.
two cents’ worth, to truly understand ‘through a glass darkly’ requires several pints of Guinness.
<b<fks, to my mind, looking for the best bits in the Bible is akin to looking for the nicest smelling turd in the sewer, or searching for a talented contestant on The X Factor (a programme just as unpleasant, if not more so than either the Bible or the turds); it’s just time you’ll never get back.
And finally, because I really cannot understand it: why, sweetpityfulmercy? Why?
Sorry all, I’m in one of those moods tonight!
And I’ll leave you for now with proof that some people need to grow the fuck up and get themselves a dose of perspective (and a plug for Ophelias superb blog):
What’s it about? London School of Economics student Atheist Secularist and Humanist society members Chris Moos and Abhishek Phadnis are being threatened with expulsion from LSE’s freshers’ fayre for…wearing a Jesus and Mo T shirt.
Not brave enough to attempt the Qu’ran. Made it through the first few books of the bible but then started having fantasies of joining holy orders just so I wouldn’t have to read any further. When I can summon up the courage I do enjoy the King James version: if you are going to read twaddle, it may as well be beautifully archaic and poetic twaddle – besides, it REALLY annoys the visiting Jehovah’s Witnesses when I quote the KJV. (The KJV truly lists rabbits as one of the animals not kosher to eat! Most religious people are surprised by this and lack a proper explanation. It took a Jewish friend to tell me the Hebrew is actually the Hyrax and nothing to do with rabbits at all. God is a fickle fellow.)
Hello, Mary2, where have you been? Remember the last time we had someone come in telling us we were all wrong and you arrived too late to join in with his re-education? Well guess what? Have you seen the comments from 2 comics ago?
And where’s Miss Piggy gone?
Hello AOS, I’m usually here albeit fairly silent because I read at night and even if brain thinks of something useful to add, I find it a pain in the posterier to type on my phone/tablet.
I have to admit that I haven’t been here for a few weeks coz I’ve been in a coma in hospital. Thanks for the opening though, I’ve never had the opportunity to write that before!
In a very melodramatic fashion I was hit by a car while commuting on a bicycle (I am obviously the height of high-tech and sophistication). Apparently I have a skull which now resembles the shell of a hard boiled egg after you thunk it on the kitchen bench but, surprising, no more brain damage than I had before trying my flying trapeze act. So major disappointment for those who thought I might have some sense knocked into me. It’s kind of bizarre for a rabid atheist to hear the word miracle bandied about so often and be almost in agreeance. So if anyone knows a good convent or mission I should devote the rest of my life to, let me know. I have a feeling someone, somewhere has a plan because I was too bloody lucky otherwise.
I think Miss Piggy may have gone to the convent without me or she has been taking a holiday while I have been away. Hopefully she will find her own way back.
You never know, I may have plenty of time over the next couple of months -recouperating and saving up for a new bicycle – to catch up on a bit of highbrow reading – anyone game to join me in the Qu’ran? At least I’ll have the excuse of a head injury!
Hey she’s back! The benefits of thumb typing on the phone. Now time to dash off and catch up with comments on previous cartoons – and eat chocolates: so mush better at aiding recovery than a bunch of flowers . . .
Welcome back mary2 and Miss Piggy. It’s lovely to hear that extraordinary luck can happen to any of us, and I’m glad you are recovering well.
AoS’s fall, your accident, who’s next I wonder?
Surely the car-driver’s insurance will pay for a new bike. It must be worth a try.
Holy fuck! And a Wow or two. So glad you’re still with us, Mary2.
Kudos on the most casual announcement of a coma I’ve ever heard. I know I didn’t make a great fuss over my recent fall, thanks to the fact I was brought up to ‘get up and get on with it’, but that’s easy to say for one who’s never been knocked into a coma.
I hope your recovery continues apace, and that no permanent intelligence damage has occured.
Oh, and I’ve just left a reply to your excellent post two cartoons back.
Close call mary2, glad it didn’t leave any more mental damage
Mary2, so glad you are okay. I’ve become so fond of the regulars here that it would really throw me into deep mourning to lose one. Which prompts the thought: Perhaps you could all notify your next of kin that a brief post will be required on this website if you are not as lucky as Mary2. That would save us months of worry and let us get on with the wake.
As an aside, I’ve been campaigning for bike helmet use in China for many years now and they are finally starting to appear on the streets just as I’ve left the country. But a Danish dude made a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07o-TASvIxY) telling everybody not to bother, that biking is as safe as walking. So, quick question for you: Do you agree with Mikael Colville-Andersen?
PatrickD, to echo Acolyte’s explanation, in the past I’ve made it a habit to shout “brilliant” with each edition of J&M, even the repeats. But that just got tedious and Freefox hurt my feelings by calling me a sycophant. Now I’m hoping that Author takes my continued lurking and commenting as proof that he’s superbly funny, and I’ll let him know when I do a spit take. I would have commented on the cleverness of this one (“can trust” being audibly equal to “can’t trust” thus proving the point that you can’t trust oral accounts) but some clever person beat me to it.
Greetings Darwin, I agree – I think the Advanced Health Directive should include a list of sites which need to be notified by next of kin. I’m feeling a little soppy at the moment but some of the old hands here I consider friends (even though I have no idea of actual names or looks!) and would wonder greatly if some of you just disappeared.
Bike helmets? Now there is a topic which is close to my mind! I am probably the wrong person to ask. Bike helmets have been compulsory in Australia since I was a kid so I am old enough to feel the shame every time I put my ‘stack hat’ on but indoctrinated well enough to do it anyway. I have a skull of many fractures now but everything is still in its correct place and functioning (reasonably) correctly. There are three ways a smack to the back of the head should end and two of those are not good. Without my cheap/standard helmet someone would have been scraping my brains off the road – end of story. Statistically I should be dead or have the brain capacity of steamed broccoli. Instead I have no steel plates, no bolts, don’t look like the Elephant Man (important to someone as vain as I) and should make a full recovery. Helmets? Daggy as all hell: saved my life. (End of lecture)
To show Author how much we all love him and how talented we think he is, it is compulsory to buy the books/mugs etc. I buy t-shirts for all my friends (atheists or not).
DH, I was thinking the very same thing about letting the others know if one of us should turn their toes up (and about the genuine friendships, we ought to keep that quiet; we hae our ‘uncaring atheist’ reputations shot to pieces ), and Mrs o’Sagan has agreed to post an announcement ‘just as soon as the party ends’.
I think she was joking about the party……
Wow, I used to speak English. What I was trying to say was:
DH, I was thinking the very same thing about letting the others know if one of us should turn their toes up (and about the genuine friendships, but we ought to keep that quiet; we‘d have our ‘uncaring atheist’ reputations shot to pieces ), and Mrs o’Sagan has agreed to post an announcement ‘just as soon as the party ends’.
I think she was joking about the party……
DH & AOS, not sure it’s going to work in my house. I told Mary1 DH’s idea; she just told me that the van driver still wants paying for the first attempt to run me over. She’s not sure where she’s going to find the fee for a second (presumably more successful) go!
Mary2 It sounds like Mary1 has a sense of humour as rich, deep and dark as yours, you lucky woman, unless you are casting nasturtiums on her name and putting words in her mouth. Again, so happy to have you still with us.
By the way, my significant other, who does not wish to be known as Mrs. Harmless, will post a note should I buy the farm. So unless you hear otherwise, I’m still lurking if not commenting.
Now…. what were we all talking about…. Oh yeah, the beauty and moral depth of the Qur’an and the Bible. My hats off to any of you who have the patience and stomach to actually read those books. When it comes to books, I feel the same as I do about a restaurant meal. I don’t have to eat the whole damn plate full once I’ve ascertained that the food’s gone bad. I don’t have to read a shitload of nonsense searching for some glimmer of intelligence, cohesion, wisdom, truth or beauty. Some times the firsts few pages, or selected excerpts, are enough.
DH, Lot’s of boring but the occasional bit that is funny or silly enough to make it all worthwhile.
One of the highlights (to date) of my life was to beat a table-full of fundamentalist, evangelical Christians at Bible Trivial Pursuit – them knowing I was the evil lesbian atheist vegetarian etc. (not sure which was the worst sin). Now, I grew up in a completely non-religious household so have never had formal instruction into any religion. Any knowledge I did gain was from a children’s book of bible stories that someone had given to my brother and myself (I got the Old Testament, he the New). What the kind person did not realise was that overprotected children like us would have no other access to stories of murder, drowning, adultery, women hammering tent pegs into men’s heads etc. Needless to say I knew those stories quite well. Anyway, they still form the basis for most of my biblical knowledge. My brother visited last weekend and was very surprised to see them on the bookshelf. Happy to lend them to you if you want.
Mary2, thanks for the offer, but no thanks. I was raised Anglican and spent pretty much every Sunday of my childhood spiffed up and escorted to Sunday school and then later to church where I was instructed to say things like: I believe in God the father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord, who was born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. On the third day he rose again from the dead and there sits on the right hand of God…. etc. That was quite enough exposure to religion to last me a lifetime. I harbour a deep resentment of being told to say I believe things I had not even thought about, a resentment almost as deep as that caused by the mutilation of my infant body. Fuck ‘em and their holy book.
But that said, I actually am a very cheerful person most of the time. I only turn into a curmudgeon when confronted by stupidity and wilful ignorance. I do wish I could remember chapter and verse, because I have a few favourites I’d like to toss at the devout, but I just can’t remember the numbers. Sigh.
You are all invited to my funeral, as and when it is required. You just have to work out where…….
But you could just offer a kind word of support to any bereaved person. As well or instead
AoS – please – a lesson on smilies here please!
oh – it worked this time !!
DH, it’s not sycophantic to contribute to Author’s hosting costs, as it’s anonymous
DH, ” I only turn into a curmudgeon when confronted by stupidity and wilful ignorance.” – You must be a curmudgeon most of the time – I know I am.
botanist, a couple more smilies (at first read I thought you asked for a lesson on similies and thought ‘I’m as daft as a brush, what do I know of similies) for your repertoire (remember to close the gaps) ; – ) gives a cheeky and ; – ( gives the emos’ favourite .
DH and Mary2:
But that said, I actually am a very cheerful person most of the time. I only turn into a curmudgeon when confronted by stupidity and wilful ignorance.
I am the same, but to take Mary2′s point, if you are cheerful most of the time, I have to say it sounds like you don’t get out of the house much…
I think we still need a King James Bible type translation for the Quran—an international effort, with scholars and English-language poets coming together to do a better job of conveying its beauty than any one person could
Ack-ack, I think I’d much rather have it left left in it’s current, barbaric, repulsive to the civilised mind, original form, rather than hiding the horrors behind flowery verse written by committee.
Do we really need a wishy-washy, Good News Bible version of Islam attracting more followers to the religion of peace?
When the Israelites were hungry in the desert, God provided the Israelites with manna AND QUAILS. Now, I don’t know what manna tastes like, but QUAILS. Yeah, QUAILS. Now, that’s beautiful imagery from the Koran.
(Well, I think so.
Or inventing its beauty? Oh all right, then inventing a new beauty conveyed by the English language which the original cannot possess, being only antiquated Arabic. I have not read the entire Koran, but I have read enough of it to feel strongly that however nice you might make the words sound the import is meagre as wisdom, objectionable as morality and absurd as knowledge. Why not translate Mein Kampf into the most resonant, the most sonorous, the most beautiful English, which the believer would die in ecstasy only to hear once and be forgiven (only Nazis need apply, please)?
To be frank, I think that you can turn anything into holy writ if you make it sound good enough. So, if you succeed in translating the Koran into an English which strikes the readers as beautiful or dignified or — well, just the right sort of thing — you will find plenty of people ready to equate beauty with truth. And, after all, why would one want to make something beautiful if one didn’t think it was true?
Sorry to be cynical. I’ve had some fun with the following. I hope it shows what I mean.
I shoot the Hippopotamus
With bullets made of platinum,
Because if I use leaden ones
His hide is sure to flatten ‘em.
Now, I was taken up into an high place, and the Great One spake unto me, and cried “Look”. And I did look, and behold, it was as it were that I stood upon a vast plain, and beside that plain a river, and in that river a Beast which had two eyes upon its head and four great feet with which it did flatten all that did come underfoot, and a hide of thrice-forged adamant. And the Great One said unto me “Shoot”. Then looked I down and beheld as it were an arquebus, though but little of length and breadth and light for to handle withal, and the balls were of a sort that verily I am not able to name, being of some new and strange substance, and each severally enclosed in a case of brass. And I said, being but weak and faint of heart, ” But surely, Lord, these leaden balls were too soft to penetrate that monstrous hide”. Then did the Great One admonish me and say “Oh thou of little faith! Thinkest thou that I brought thee hither only for to list to thy mewling? Nay, for thou art here but to witness unto the greatness of the One. Therefore, be not afraid for thy little self, but take thou the weapon and shoot.” And I did as he did bid me, and behold, the balls did penetrate that hide, even unto the very quick. Thus slew I the monster, even as the One did command. For truly hath the prophet spoken who sayeth, that the mercy of the Great One doth endure for evermore.
I will not give prizes for anyone who can furnish a religious commentary. Or a heretical religious commentary, for that matter. Anyone can do it. That is a serious part of the problem.
@GordonWillis, I agree about beautiful things having a better chance at becoming holy writ. I feel the KJB manages to do just that for the Bible today, and think the Quran, Gita, Dhammapada and so on deserve the same shot in the English-speaking world, especially America, the nation best at killing people in other nations. Both the Bible and Quran have their fair share of ugly, cruel philosophy. But like all mere texts, both are used by human beings for purposes good and bad. As for your example, I liked the original better!
Oh, gawd, I love it! Author, thanks for the great laugh! (Granted, it’s one among many, but this one was so good!)
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