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Thanks to this week’s guest writer, Ann Widdecombe, who faces the “sort of atheism” that “wouldn’t once have been said”.

Patreon news. All the clerihews are written and delivered. At least I think so. There were 80 of them altogether. If you pledged $3 or more per month and haven’t yet received your personally composed clerihew, please let me know and I’ll write one for you straight away.



Discussion (169)¬

  1. Reid Malenfant says:

    BOGOF – Buy one speech, get another one free!

  2. FR says:

    would be interesting to see J & M discuss the latest on the middle east war.

  3. MarkyWarky says:

    “they think strong belief offends them”. Not really. It’s belief in stuff that’s plainly not true, and a refusal to look at evidence, thus holding back the human race and MY KIDS that offends me.

    When will these people get it into their heads that it’s not being a Christian that opens them up to ridicule (thousands of people profess to be Christian in a cultural sense, and don’t get ridiculed for it), it’s believing in demonstrable nonsense that does that.

    And no, it’s NOT a question of conscience. A healthy conscience would tell anyone that refusing to examine the evidence in a pragmatic way is simply wrong.

  4. “J” is for Jew in the ABCs of Evangelical Christians. The fundamentalists support Israel because they hope they fulfill Biblical prophecy by initiating Armageddon. http://www.ruthlessreviews.com/20429/abcs-evangelical-christians-2/

  5. nigel says:

    Why do your cartoons look superficially like Doonesbury? Is it some cartooning template you can download?

  6. steve oberski says:

    You would think that after the Intelligence Squared debate “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world” where Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry utterly demolished Ann Widdecombe and Nigerian Archbishop Onaiyekan, this person would never show here face in public again.

    My god, I thought at the time, that woman is one of the Python Pepperpots (the middle-aged lower-class housewives who engaged in surreal conversations) come to life, gone feral, scripted by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero (Dawn of the Dead).

    This debate is a must see and there are some truly classic Hitchens and Fry moments.

  7. musicalteapot says:

    Nope – can’t see any similarity between J&M and Doonesbury in terms of template. In terms of style, both cartoonists often repeat the same or very similar images in the cells (there is more dialogue movement than scene movement).

  8. Author says:

    @Nigel – No, there is no downloadable template. The images were created by me and recycled continuously.

  9. The Iona Institute is doing it too, and of course the US Catholic bishops are. “WHERE IS OUR FREEDOM TO PERSECUTE PEOPLE?”

  10. Macha says:

    steve oberski : Indeed, that IQ2 debate is priceless.

    The crowning moment for me is when Widdles is asked a question by an audience member “What’s wrong with Women Priests, then”, to which she replies – in a manner use when explaining a simple fact to a idiot – “When the priest performs the Eucharist, he becomes ‘In Persona Christi’ and obviously a woman isn’t equipped with the necessary cock and balls to do that, Dimwit!”.

    I nearly spat my beer all over the keyboard when I heard that bit!

    She was also (in)famous when she was Home Secretary for suggesting that when pregnant women prisoners were sent to a public hospital to give birth, they should be chained to their beds in order to protect the public from escaped just-given-birth rampaging murderers.

  11. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    Free speech is a geographical consideration
    Depends on the place and the nation
    There are places where what’s said
    Could end you up dead
    Islam sees death of blasphemers with great elation.

  12. IanB says:

    I used to think she was merely deluded, after all a conservative and a catholic. Now I realise she’s completely barking mad. Christian’s being persecuted my arse…

  13. Tomas says:

    I’ve tried to become a patron several times but the patreon website says the paypal payment fails every time. But the paypal account works great for all other kinds of payments… Anybody else have seen that?

  14. Michael says:

    I have no problem with Christians doing Christianity, Muslims doing Islam, Jews doing Judaism, Hindus doing their multitude of various forms of Hinduism, etc. What I do have a problem with is when these religious types want the rest of us to conform with their dogma. If Muslims don’t want to draw pictures of Mohammed then they can refrain from drawing them. But I object to Muslims telling me not to draw Mohammed. Similarly if Catholic bishops don’t want to use The Pill&trade then they can not use The Pill™. But they shouldn’t make it difficult or impossible for non-Catholic women to use contraceptives. Etc., etc., etc.

  15. white squirrel says:

    God deluded Anne rants:
    ‘difficult to be an active Christian in modern Britain because of some aspects of equality legislation

    whose fault is that!- any religion that finds the concept of equality a problem is only worthy of derision and contempt

  16. xanadu says:

    I gave a $100 donation. Do I get a clerihew (whatever that is?)

  17. RossR says:

    For instance:
    xanadu
    is convenient for a clerihew
    because I’m
    only left searching for one more rhyme.

  18. Author says:

    @xanadu – Yes, you would get (another) clerihew if you gave $100, and a guaranteed place in the post-death paradise of your choice.

  19. NSPike says:

    I know I dwell on this a little, but every week it hits me all over again, just like the first time:

    Nassar’s language skills baffle me. The first two lines in this week’s Nassarism are great, and quite sophisticated in terms of ideas. Then he goes and says ‘Could end you up dead’. Am I missing some intentional humour?

  20. Blake says:

    I just decided to rewatch the Intelligence Squared debate with Ann Widdecombe, Stephen Fry, Christopher Hitchens and John Onaiyekan. I feel a bit bad for being so superficial, but I was eating my breakfast at the time and when Ann Widdecombe started talking I suddenly found my appetite disappear.

  21. HaggisForBrains says:

    Nice one, RossR. Google it, Xanadu.

    RossR
    Has raised the bar
    With his neat clerihew
    For Xanadu.

    Kubla Khan
    Was an ambitious man
    See what he tried to do
    In Xanadu.

  22. MONO says:

    We really need +1 for comments. Some of these are infinity.

  23. Charles+Simmonds says:

    I think that Jesus has a point…the BBC and other secular “organs” have consistently tried to stifle debate on issues like abortion, homosexuality etc. and imply that the liberal position on these issues is the only reasonable one ….Look also at the snide and unfunny Life of Brian or at works of art like “Piss Christ”…it is notable that humanist funnymen studiously avoid subjecting Islam to corruscating satire (with the notable exception of this anonymous strip) out of a judicious regard for the safety of their own hides.

  24. Charles+Simmonds says:

    and Joseph al-Qaeda who also operates anonymously…the only secular pisstaker who has really earned my respect is Stephane Charbonnier of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo…

  25. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @Author you write “a guaranteed place in the post-death paradise of your choice”

    for your information Christianity does not hold out the prospect of paradise but of heaven, the difference being that paradise is a place of sensual indulgence and pleasure whereas heaven offers joy: what is joy?
    “To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour….”
    William Blake

  26. botanist says:

    +1 MONO

  27. hotrats says:

    Charles Simmonds:
    …issues like abortion, homosexuality etc. and imply that the liberal position on these issues is the only reasonable one …Look also at the snide and unfunny Life of Brian or at works of art like “Piss Christ”

    You present your (presumably illiberal) views on homosexuality and abortion as reasonable; you would have done better to be a bit more specific, so that we could judge that quality for ourselves… but I have to say if you can find LoB ‘snide and unfunny’, then your judgement really cannot be trusted.

  28. It occurs to me that we haven’t heard from FreeFox in some time. Did we bore him with our mundane views on reality? FreeFox, if you are still lurking, say hello some time, okay? I miss you, mate. We need an intelligent dissent at the C&B.

    Charles Simmonds, I understand that the creator of Piss Christ is a devout Christian who is offended by the crucifix being turned into jewelry. Hardly one of ours.

    As for “Life of Brian” being “unfunny”, that is a question of taste, or the lack of it. Humour seems to be entirely subjective, as illustrated by the Karl Giberson quote that accompanies this brilliant web comic.

    That is a fine distinction you make between heaven and paradise. I don’t know where you got it, but I’ve always heard the terms used interchangeably by Christians. Can you give some reference for your assertion? Other than a quote of William Blake I mean, certainly one of the most obscure definitions of “joy” I have ever read. Could as easily be a description of my last LSD trip, which though interesting was hardly joyful.

  29. djdummy says:

    Charles+Simmonds,
    Which One Thinks What?
    Or are they a duo of the trinity sort.

  30. Macha says:

    Charles+Simmonds: You may be right. However, the Bible is so full of contradictory “information” about Heaven/Paradise that I think even Xtians are confused – so much so that the two terms are frequently taken as synonymous.

    Even so, I’m sure a qualified Sophisticated Theologian™ could argue the fine points of distinction. But what’s the point? Life’s too short for all that crap.

    My take on it is to fire back with ..

    If paradise is half as nice as heaven that you take me to.
    Who needs paradise, I’d rather have you.

    Since this was sung by Amen Corner, it has to be definitive.

    AoS : I hope that Spring has Sprung, at least a bit.

  31. Charles Simmonds says:

    @djdummy if my + offend thee, pluck it out ;-)
    I am not a theologian but my understanding of Christian doctrine is that mankind was expelled from paradise (Garden of Eden)
    …I was attempting to draw a distinction between the Muslim vision of the hereafter which Author implicitly tried to equate with the Christian one

  32. Charles Simmonds says:

    @hotrats
    if you base your opinion of my judgment on a snide and unfunny film, then I would submit that it is your judgment that is open to question not mine!

  33. Charles Simmonds says:

    @Darwin Harmless
    the distinction is not at all fine…they are diametrical opposites

  34. two cents' worth says:

    Charles+Simmonds, I, too, was surprised by your comment, “Christianity does not hold out the prospect of paradise but of heaven,” because I remembered both terms being used in the New Testament (or, at least, the King James version of it). For example (thanks to Google, and with emphasis added by me):

    Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    and

    Luke 23:43 – And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

    In the countless Roman Catholic religious education classes and Masses that I’ve attended, when the afterlife was discussed, I’ve never heard a distinction made between paradise and heaven. If I may ask, which Christian sect’s teachings do you follow, that include this distinction?

  35. steve oberski says:

    Hey Charles Simmonds,

    You take issue with someone’s judgement of you being based on your value judgement of a film ?
    Pot meet kettle ? If you can dish it out, you can suck it up big boy.

    You claim that the author equates Muslim paradise with the xtian ones ? I agree that both are equally improbable and ridiculous but the author said no such thing. I call you out for the dishonest troll that you are.

    Is criticism of Islam any less valid when accompanied by a strong sense of self preservation ?

    Are the truth value of arguments against Islam based on your perceived notion of the courage of the speaker ?

    How do you know that your interpretation of xtianity is the correct one ?

  36. Chiefy says:

    “paradise is a place of sensual indulgence”
    “I am not a theologian but my understanding of Christian doctrine is that mankind was expelled from paradise (Garden of Eden)”

    Now I get it, Charles Simmonds. Mankind was expelled from a place of sexual indulgence. No wonder we are so hung up about sex!

  37. Macha says:

    Charles+Simmonds

    Actually, you’re quite wrong to criticise Author for using the term “paradise”.

    You see, what is being offered is “the afterlife from whichever particular mythology you fancy” – which rather lacks succinct punchiness – so “paradise” is a perfectly good generic description of what’s presented here.

    The fact that this may contradict with your particular choice of mythology is, I’m afraid, unavoidable, (mythologies being what they are) and so you need to accept a certain amount of poetic licence.

  38. Robert,+not+Bob says:

    Isn’t a paradise a walled Persian garden? Inventing a distinction where one didn’t exist before-English speaking Christians have always used paradise and heaven interchangeably-and acting as if it means something is childish. And I bet the reason why he doesn’t like Life of Brian is that he thinks it mocks Jesus (it doesn’t).

  39. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @Robert not Bob
    The word aradise does indeed come from the Persian. Life of Brian does mock Jesus but that is not the reason I do not like it..I dislike it because it is snide and unfunny
    @Steve Oberski
    …the snarky tone of your post was uncalled for and the term troll is not applicable to me..I am advancing sincere arguments in a reasonable manner..if anyone is a troll here it is you…and yes, criticism of Islam is less valid when accompanied by a strong sense of self preservation,
    @two cent’s worth
    I am not a member of a sect….I am a pretty mainstream Xian..Protestant flavor

  40. Charles+Simmonds says:

    I love this: it is alright to mock Jesus and Xianity but it is not all right to find Life of Brian unfunny…is Life of Brian sacred for atheists, I wonder? ; -)

  41. oake says:

    Charles+Simmonds

    Do you find Monty Python generally ‘snide and unfunny’, or is it just Life of Brian?

  42. Macha says:

    Charles+Simmonds

    Whether or not the LoB mocks Jesus is a matter of opinion. The writers/producers argued it didn’t, others argued it did. It’s one of those things which is subjective – as is its degree of (un)funniness.

    I found it, like much of the Python stuff, funny in parts. I didn’t think it mocked Jesus, but as a non-believer since birth, I suppose I would think that wouldn’t I? Anyway, Jesus* is imaginary, so mocking an imaginary thing is perfectly fine wouldn’t you say?

    As for people being snarky or whatever, well, that’s the way it is in the C&B.

    * Jesus as a holy dude, born of a virgin, son of God, rose from the dead, etc.

  43. Macha says:

    Charles+Simmonds

    Sorry, another thing.

    The strip mocks* Jesus and Mohammed (the clue is in its title). It also features the Barmaid (regularly), Moses (rarely) and Joseph Smith (hardly ever). So, prepare yourself for them to be mocked*

    Now it’s you who brought up the Life of Brian (a topic pretty far down on my list of things to think about). By all means mock it. Start mocking away. Mock to your heart’s content.

    * plenty of caveats on the use of that word.

  44. Charles+Simmonds says:

    I am not new to Jesus and Mo and I am not out to be offended, and I think it is amusing and insightful but in its attempts to be impartial between Islam and Xianity its swipes at Xianity are sometimes unfair
    …I do not think Jesus is worried about being mocked…Ali Sina compared God and mankind to the gardener and the ants in his garden, …applying that analogy I do not think the Jesus is all too worried at some ebullient, smart aleck ants not believing that he exists or laughing their antenna off at other ants who do believe …only it’s a shame that so many atheists (especially the dimmer ones) think that LoB is the last word on the subject

  45. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @oake
    I liked Michael Palin as the professional Cardinal Richelieu impersonator and as the Glaswegian Louis the XIV, the ministry of silly walks was also very funny

  46. Macha says:

    Charles+Simmonds

    it’s a shame that so many atheists (especially the dimmer ones) think that LoB is the last word on the subject

    “so many atheists”? I’m pretty sure that’s not the case – LoB was just a movie. Anyway, what subject?

    As for “dimmer ones”, I think I could drum up enough evidence to show that the Land of Dimness is populated predominantly by the religious.

  47. Charles+Simmonds says:

    I am not here to defend all religions, I think Islam is a crock of shit
    I am a Xian…like all populations there is a normal distribution of intelligence…in any case, Xians do not (or at least should not)judge others because of their intelligence or lack thereof…many Atheists, on the other hand, think that they are so f*cking smart and despise believers as stupid or gullible

  48. Charles+Simmonds says:

    the subject I meant is Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God and Redeemer

  49. oake says:

    “Xians do not judge others”
    “Many Atheists, on the other hand, think that they are so f*cking smart”

    Were you being deliberately ironic, or don’t you see any inconsistency between those two statements?

  50. Macha says:

    Charles+Simmonds

    I’m not about to defend Islam – but surely its shit factor is no shittier than any other shitty religion. It depends on how it’s interpreted. I know plenty of Muslims, nice gentle people, proud of the 5 Pillars and ignoring the nasty bits – just like many Jews and Christians do in their turn about their crock.

    As far as I’m concerned (as a f*cking smart Atheist), the God Squad can believe what the hell they like so long as they keep it to themselves. Once they start trying to impose their woo on me, or even worse, my grandchildren, I’ll speak my piece.

  51. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @oake please don’t misquote me I said” Xians do not (or at least should not) judge others because of their intelligence or lack thereof”
    I do judge others who from the vantage point of spurious intellectual superiority despise others
    @Macha there are nice Muslims, much like there are probably nice atheists, I don’t doubt, but the religion itself sucks as does atheism which by definition is itself doctrinaire
    speak your piece, I’ll speak mine especially if doctrinaire Atheists try to impose their woo on my children

  52. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @Macha PS you are not “a f*cking smart Atheist”,,,you are an “Atheist who thinks you are so f*cking smart”…there’s a difference :-)

  53. RossR says:

    @Charles+Simmonds
    “I do not think the Jesus is all too worried at some ebullient, smart aleck ants not believing”
    The books that claim Jesus existed also claim that he cared deeply about every one of his ants. It’s just as well he doesn’t exist or he would be seriously losing sleep.

  54. Charles+Simmonds says:

    “It’s just as well he doesn’t exist” have you proof for that statement or is based on blind faith? ; -)

  55. IanB says:

    Charles+Simmonds says:I am not here to defend all religions, I think Islam is a crock of shit. I am a Xian…

    What makes you so sure with Islam being a crock of shit that your particular flavour of ludicrous belief is the true one? Of all thousands of documented human belief systems why Christianity – they’re mostly mutually exclusive and all equally unlikely.

  56. Charles+Simmonds says:

    “ludicrous belief”

    please, please IanB, if we want to have a sensible discussion, let’s drop the illogical and emotional a priori assumptions…I thought you Atheists were so rational like Mr. Spock on Star Trek..half superman, half computer!

  57. Macha says:

    Charles + Simmonds

    But they do try to impose their God on my grandchildren – as they did on my children. Schools are required by law to perform a daily act of collective worship and I wish they would stop doing that.

    Doctrinaire Atheist? At least it’s a change from the previous fellow’s “Fundamentalist Atheist”.

  58. Charles+Simmonds says:

    OMG, most kids totally ignore school prayers especially if their parents and grandparents indoctrinate them with the idea that they are senseless

    atheism, unlike agnosticism, is dogmatic in that it takes the absolute position that there is no God

  59. Charles+Simmonds says:

    “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ” Psalm 14 v. 1

  60. steve oberski says:

    The troll Charles Simmonds says: I am not a member of a sect….I am a pretty mainstream Xian..Protestant flavor

    Boys and girls, it’s recursive definition time, brought to you by our newest fundie troll, and I must say that the quality just never seems to improve, does it.

    Cult: small, unpopular religion

    Religion: large, popular cult

  61. Charles+Simmonds says:

    hi steve, I have the impression that you have difficulty putting together a rational case and feel threatened by my arguments, which is making you aggressive, but please explain by what criterion am I supposed a troll?
    or is this thread supposed to be a cozy get-together for like-minded atheists?

  62. IanB says:

    Why not answer the question of why one ludicrous belief is any more likely than the many thousands of other equally unlikely nonsense If I were to claim an invisible pink unicorn lived in my shed I’d not be believed- that’s religion that is.

  63. Charles+Simmonds says:

    why should I answer a question phrased as “why do you believe in your ludicrous belief”? any more than I should answer the question “have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

  64. steve+oberski says:

    Hey Author, a Psalm 14.1 counter on the sidebar would be useful, it could be incremented everytime some idiot posts it here.

    Or you could add a “Include Psalm 14.1″ checkbox right beside the “I am not a spammer” checkbox, which apparently Charles Simmonds is dishonestly clicking on.

    This would save the trolls a lot of effort and god knows that typing is probably difficult enough for them as it is, trying to avoid the drool on their keyboards and what not.

    Hey Charles, you forgot to include the rest of you spam:

    They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

    because everyone knows that unless your morals are informed by goat herder snuff porn enjoyed by a small middle eastern tribe you have no moral compass and can not stop yourself from rape and murder.

    What an asshole. You may get your sense of right and wrong from antiquated mythological pornography but mine is innate along with many other of my attributes, most likely a result of a long evolutionary process that we as a species of social animal have gone through.

    Put down your fucking bible and read some actual genuinely acquired human knowledge for a change you poor sad sack xtian troll.

  65. IanB says:

    I shall make a note not to play chess with pigeons

  66. Charles+Simmonds says:

    steve baby, you have completely lost it : -)

    IanB especially as you are not sure of winning :-)

  67. steve oberski says:

    Hey CharlesSimmonds

    Your comparison of the question “why do you believe in your ludicrous belief”? to “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” is probably the first sensible thing you have posted here.

    As you well know, fundie religious belief and misogyny are highly correlated, with xtiany having mostly passed the baton to Islam, this being entirely due to the detoxification that xtianity went through during the enlightenment and which you seem to have entirely missed.

  68. Charles+Simmonds says:

    I do not see why I should reply to your posts. I am not interested in debating with someone who gratuitously insults me. Perhaps you are angry with yourself because you are leading a sinful life???

  69. martin_z says:

    OK, long time lurker here. Hope no-one minds if I pop in to the C&B for an occasional pint.

    I think we need to have a checklist to confirm whether someone is a troll on this site.

    I’d suggest that any three of the following four will convince me.

    a) Quote of Psalm 14.1
    b) Statement that Atheism is something that it isn’t (clue – it’s not a religion; it’s not a belief system; it’s not dogmatic – it’s simply states that I don’t believe there is a God and I live my life on that assumption).
    c) Statement that my religion is right and others are wrong
    d) Statement that “you can’t prove God doesn’t exist”

    Proposition: Charles Simmonds is a troll.

    Evidence:

    a) Psalm 14.1 – check.
    b) Atheism is dogmatic/doctrinaire – check
    c) I’m a Christian, and Islam is a crock of shit – check
    d) “It’s just as well he doesn’t exist” have you proof for that statement or is based on blind faith? – check

    Well, well – a full set.

    By my definition, I declare Charles Simmonds to be a troll.

  70. Charles+Simmonds says:

    great, give yourself a big pat on the pack and run along now

  71. Macha says:

    Charles+Simmonds

    Jesus H Christ on a bike, I go out to do some sh*pping and come back to a bit of a shitstorm!

    OMG, most kids totally ignore school prayers ….

    OMG indeed. Presumably, if you think state-funded religion in schools is so inconsequential, you’d be happy to ditch it? Would your munificence then extend to getting rid of state-funded faith schools? Or even Bishops in the House of Lords?

    I somehow doubt it.

    You then disappoint by part-quoting bloody Psalm 14.1. If you truly are “not new” to the C&B then you should know to avoid quoting the freaking babble – especially when you descend to cherry-picking bits of it. That one especially.

    atheism, unlike agnosticism, is dogmatic in that it takes the absolute position that there is no God

    No it isn’t and it doesn’t.

    Finally, do you actually have a point to make?

  72. Charles+Simmonds says:

    prayers in schools in the UK developed historically as the state took over existing church schools, I no strong opinions about bishops in the house of lords or about prayers in state schools either way, especially as not a few bishops are actually atheists and I can think of nothing that is more likely to repel children from Xianity than insincere mumblings about helping old ladies across the road and being nice to handicapped people from an atheist headmaster…
    by the same token, I do not want secular ideology and values to be rammed down the throats of my children

    “no it isn’t and it doesn’t” are not arguments
    Atheism postulates that there is no God, that is an absolute, a dogma, a doctrine call it what you will…

  73. Charles+Simmonds says:

    a good idea would be free competition between atheist schools and Xian schools on a level playing field…I bet that they would have to beat parents back from the doors of atheist schools ;-)
    what atheistic ideologues like Macha really want is to force Xian parents to send their children to atheist schools so that they can be brainwashed there by atheistic absolutism

  74. martin_z says:

    “I do not want secular ideology and values to be rammed down the throats of my children.”

    What do you mean by secular ideology and values? Secular merely means “Not connected with religious values”. That’s ALL it means. A bit like atheism means “not believing in a god”. And that’s ALL it means.

    There are raving left-wing loonies and fundamental libertarianist right-wing loonies, both sets of whom agree that they are atheists and that religion should be separate from the state. But that’s about ALL they agree on – and their ideology and values are as far apart as you could imagine.

  75. Charles+Simmonds says:

    ok, set up atheist schools and watch parents stay away in droves

  76. martin_z says:

    You’re not answering the question. What do you think “secular ideology and values” might be?

    There’s no such thing as an atheist school. It makes no sense. Secular schools – yes, they exist. Here, in NW London, where I live, most of the schools are secular. And most of them do very well, thank you. The parents don’t “stay away in droves”. We also have a catholic school, which takes muslim kids, and a jewish school, which takes non-jewish people. In the end, it’s how good the school is, what the ethos of the school is, how well it treats the pupils, and how good the results are that makes the difference.

    In the end, I want science to be taught in science lessons, not religious dogma. I want comparative religion to be taught in RE lessons, not just one religion. And I want a school where my kids are happy and where they are encouraged to do their best. Not asking a lot, is it. And where I live, it’s no problem to find such a thing in the state sector.

    Honestly, you’re not making any sense. I don’t know why I’m wasting my time.

  77. Charles+Simmonds says:

    there is no such thing as an atheist school because school operators know that if they put that on their letterhead it will repel a lot of parents
    your question demands an extensive answer and I simply do not have the time right now…sorry!

    if that is the kind of school you want, then send your kids to it…:I am not trying to stop you

  78. Charles + Simmons, did you read my ABCs at the top of the thread? You are rapidly filling in all the letters, so keep it up. Number #1 sign that a person is a Fundie: They vehemently deny all other religions and gods, but become purple with rage when a Skeptic denies the existence of theirs. Congrats, Troll.

  79. Macha says:

    Charles+Simmonds

    atheistic ideologues like Macha

    I’m not sure whether to be amused or bemused by that remark. In fact it’s you who is making all the ideological statements around here.

    For the umpteenth time, Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a god. It doesn’t postulate that there is no God. It doesn’t have a “doctrine” and it doesn’t have a “dogma”. You seem to be confused about the whole thing.

    Also, for the umpteenth time, there is no such things as an “atheist school”. Perhaps you mean “secular school”? Even then you appear to be confused and talk about a “secular ideology”. What on earth is that?

    Maybe you should try to learn about things before you start to attack them using bad arguments.

    Finally, do you actually have a point to make?

  80. Charles+Simmonds says:

    boo hoo hoo! cosmic stargoat has called me a troll…o lack a day!

    i wonder if the author of these strips is aware that he has attracted such a raggle taggle of plodding followers?

  81. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @cosmicstargoat
    PS I have not at any stage become purple with rage in stark contrast to some of the fanatical atheist posters on this thread

  82. Macha says:

    Charles+Simmonds

    if that is the kind of school you want, then send your kids to it…:I am not trying to stop you

    Yes you are.

    Publicly funded schools in the UK are (approx) 50% “faith schools” (to use the new Govean terminology) – so a parent who wishes to send their child to a school in which the teaching of religion is confined to comparative religion, their choice is immediately limited to half of those institutions that their taxes are paying for.

    If they are unlucky enough to live in a rural environment where all local schools are “faith based” (a not unlikely scenario), they have no option to send their child(ren) to a school which pushes religion.

  83. Macha says:

    Bugger, meant

    “they have no option but to send …”

    btw, we now have “fanatical atheist”. What next?

  84. Charles+Simmonds says:

    get over it…parents can always opt their kids out of religious lessons

    “fanatical atheist” you fit the bill quite nicely

  85. Oh my. One chew toy gets lost in the weeds and a fresh one shows up. This one even less coherent than the last one.

    Here’s a man (judging by the name) who says he is a Christian. This implies that he thinks all the other religions are wrong and his is correct. This implies believing that human beings are so important that this whole amazing universe was created simply for us and because of us, after a billion years of gestation (insert belief variant here). This implies humans have been given dominion over all other creatures. This implies believing that a woman twenty centuries ago wasn’t being disingenuous when she explained that she hadn’t actually had sex before becoming pregnant then giving birth to a magical man/god who was sent to redeem us of the sin committed by ancestors thousands of years earlier who were tricked by a talking serpent into committing an infraction of the supreme being’s rules, a sin which was somehow handed down through the generations and landed on all of us because the supreme being, the same one who who had come to visit, didn’t want that couple to eat of a certain fruit in the garden even though knowing full well that the couple would eat of that fruit yet still feels justified in being angry and now offers redemption if one simply surrenders to that supreme being and admits that they feel sinful and need to be redeemed. In which case the sins get packed onto the goat and chased out into the desert, or variant thereof, whereupon the sinner gets to live forever in…I’m not sure now. Is it heaven or is it paradise? These sophisticated Christian arguments get me so confused.

    This is a man who admits to these beliefs yet seems to think that intelligent argument is within his skill set.

    The last time I wrestled with a troll I ended up feeling guilty because name calling is not my style. So I shall refrain from casting nasturtiums. But folks, please, isn’t it time to turn our attention to our drinks and avoid partaking of this discussion. Or perhaps I’ll go back to nailing this jelly to the wall.

  86. Macha says:

    Charles+Simmonds

    Are you serious? Children shouldn’t have to “opt out” of god bothering.

    Schools are for education – churches are for god bothering.

  87. LastResort says:

    Charles Simmonds, you say you think Islam is a crock of shit. Welcome to the party! Many sane, rational and clever people agree with that assessment, some of them after having studied Islam for many years.
    I assume you don’t accept the pre-eminence of Baldur? Ullr, Thor and Odin, either?
    Or the five hundred million Eastern gods? Shiva, Vishnu, and the lovely and terrible Kali?
    I take it you think the often beautiful tales of Bashtet and her family are simple fables told for the amusement and comfort of simple-minded goat-herders six millennia ago and that they have no relevance to today’s societies?
    And that praying to Hephaestus will have little effect on the pyroclastic flow coming at you at the speed of sound when Yellowstone erupts during your American vacation?
    You accept all of those as The One True Truth And Light And Way?
    So do we, friend.
    We also accept that Kal-El is fiction. That Hal Jordan never went to Oa, because the Green lantern Corps is fiction. That there is [as yet] no Pandora with no Na’avi.
    And we accept the unreality of vampires, djinni, chupacabra, leprechauns, ghosts and psychic superpowers.
    The only place we and you seem to disagree is that we know for a solid gold fact that JHV is as unreal as Jupiter and you seem to have the idea that Jupiter is worthy of worship whereas JHV is a joke …
    Or is it the other way round?
    Whatever.
    The truth is we don’t believe in 50,000 major god systems and you don’t believe in 49,999.
    All you have to do to join the sane, good, rational people is to see your pet JHV the same way you see the screaming, demented and fake god of the Islamics.
    Believe in one fewer god.
    Think you could try this?

    And are you Ephphatha and WhatsGoingOn? You do sound highly similar and you use the very same arguments. Is that because you are the same person or just because religious people only have the one argument?

    While I’m here, I should correct a misapprehension. Mr. Spock from “Star Trek” was never rational. Indeed he was quite a superstitious entity. All of his people were. He believed in all sorts of idiotic propositions, many of which he, himself proved erroneous in the later films. He did prove that his superstitious faith in the utility and supremacy of what he called “Logic” (which was anything but, it was more an attempt to force the cosmos into a strict system of mathematical algorithms, something even a chimp know will never work) was quite unworkable, thus proving it not to be a religion.
    Atheists are not hyper-rational super-beings, not all of us. We just see a real world out there, a magical, lovely world that extends to the far galaxies and to the ends of Time which could all be ours. Our vast, sparkling playground at the Dawn of the Universe.
    We also see stories. We love stories. Like all dreaming things atheists need stories as much as we need food. Stories of wardrobes and lions, or elves and warriors of great deeds and evil doings.
    We enjoy the tales of Vulcan and Mars and Ares and Athena. The sagas of Job and Isildor, Trantor and Gallactica keep our minds supple as we learn how to live in the real universe.
    We know time-travelling electric dogs are still unobtainable but we watch K-9 with amusement.
    And we know the difference between the truths in your sacred books and the fables, lies, legends, exaggerations and follies. There is history in those books though it is mixed with rubbish.
    People with no gods have one fewer god than people with your god. That is the only difference.
    True, we have thousands fewer of gods than the Eastern pantheons but you, too, do.
    Truly, what is the difference between not believing in the godhood of Seth and not believing in the godhood of JHV?
    Both are “Harry Potter” stories.
    That is all we are saying. That your god of the goats is no more real than Captain America or the many sprites of the Wicca.
    No dogma, no doctrine, no fundamentalism, nothing but a strict, reasoned comparison between JHV and Augustus Caesar.
    We do not believe in anything. Not even the non-existence of werewolves.

  88. oldebabe says:

    So, to get back to the first segued conversation: paradise or heaven. Well, okay, if it’s there, whichever, what is it, exactly? Never any detail, no exact description, only generalizations (pick anything you like?) and some I’v heard are not to everyone’s taste. Even travel folders tell more…

  89. Macha says:

    @LastResort : I don’t think it’s Ephphy – different time zone.

    I think it’s Brit, or thereabouts.

    But yes, it’s like conversing with a Furbie and now is as good a time as any to desist.

  90. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @LastResort but you believe in the non-existence of God, right?
    @Macha…I am not an it, but a he…as you can see very well from my avatar

  91. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @DarwinHarmless yes I think all religions apart Christianity including your religion of “Atheism” are misguided, with the devotees of Atheism being as dogmatic and purblind as the followers of Islam as evidenced by the contributions to this thread
    PS I don’t think that it was me who got chewed

  92. Macha says:

    Anyone who says things like “your religion of ‘Atheism’ ..” is a troll.

    Trolls become “it”.

    Désolé, mais c’est comme ça.

  93. oake says:

    Quote Charles Simmonds:
    “@oake please don’t misquote me I said” Xians do not (or at least should not) judge others because of their intelligence or lack thereof”
    I do judge others who from the vantage point of spurious intellectual superiority despise others.”

    To avoid accusations that I misquote you, I have reproduced your sentences in full.

    In order to conclude that somebody’s “intellectual superiority” is “spurious”, what process do you use? Do you not use your judgement to form that opinion? And by so doing, are you not judging that person?

    And, having judged that their “intellectual superiority” is “spurious”, and that they actually ‘despise’ others (another judgement – how do you know?) you then go on to judge them for what you perceive to be their actual level of intelligence or lack thereof, something you claim not to do.

    Or do you use a different definition of “judge” from mine? Something more akin to “condemn” perhaps?

  94. Robert,+not+Bob says:

    Charles Simmons isn’t Epipantha-completely different writing style. A bit more honest, I think. Talking to him is equally pointless, though. After about the sixth time he ignores correction and insists that atheists are absolute dogmatic believers, it’s time to give up on him and go back to talking to the wall.

  95. Chiefy says:

    Martin_z, I think we can add a few more items to the list of troll identifiers:
    e) Use of inflammatory words and insults to provoke response.
    f) Repetition of worn-out arguments and talking points.
    g) Refusal to respond to clear questions, instead going to e) or f).
    h) Changing the subject instead of following an argument.
    And many more.

    I don’t see any way to classify C+S as anything but a troll. And that’s all I am going to say on that subject.

    Speaking of original sin and the like, Darwin, you may be interested in my latest blog post. http://cafenexo.com/word/you-shall-be-gods/

  96. Chiefy, interesting post. The legend of the fall has always baffled me. It seems to be so central to Christianity, that we are all born in sin and in need of redemption. Yet is makes so little sense. For starters it seems to be misogynistic. Eve, who was tempted by a supernatural being, bears the brunt of the blame, while Adam, who was tempted by a mere woman, emerges as a victim. I can see it as a metaphor for self awareness, for coming into consciousness. But “knowledge of good and evil” is such a minefield of contradictions that it must be a human construct, rather than an attribute of reality.

    CS has proven his troll status as far as I’m concerned. He admits only one of the beliefs I listed – that his religion is correct and all the others are wrong. But then turns and snaps that I am the one who was chewed. I think it would be fun to put together a check list for Christians, starting with those things they would find easiest to agree to and proceeding to the more obvious absurdities. Then we could see how Christian they are, and just maybe they would recognize the silliness of their beliefs.

    We could start with the Apostle’s Creed, which sounds reasonable if you don’t think about how freakin’ unlikely it all is…

    I believe in God,
    the Father Almighty,
    Maker of Heaven and earth.
    And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
    who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died and buried.
    He descended into Hell.
    On the third day, He rose again from the dead.
    He ascended to Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    From whence He will come again to judge the quick and the dead.
    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the Holy Catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and life everlasting.

    Once they have checked every line of this recitation, and said they believe it, we could proceed to harder questions.

    I believe that the Holy Bible is the Word of God
    I believe in miracles
    I believe in the power of prayer
    I believe that Adam and Eve really existed as the first man and first woman
    I believe that Adam and Eve disobeyed God and performed the original sin
    I believe that sin has been passed down to all of us, that we are all sinners
    I believe that simply accepting Jesus into my heart will absolve me of that sin
    I believe this shows the mercy of God, that he sent us a Savior
    I believe that God is love
    I believe that those who don’t hear about this will go to Hell to be tortured forever.
    I believe that those who hear about this but deny Jesus will go to Hell yo be tortured forever.
    I believe that the earth was created in six days
    I believe that the earth is six thousand years old
    I believe that God was unhappy with humanity and decided to kill everybody in a great flood.
    I believe that Noah was warned of this and instructed to build a big boat
    I believe that Noah took a pair of every animal on earth onto the boat
    I believe that a man lived in the belly of a great fish

    Please forgive this long recitation of Christian beliefs. And of course it gets worse and sillier. My point is, at which line going down the list will the Christian start to say, uh, hold it. I don’t exactly believe that. I mean… that’s just metaphor or that’s just OT and Jesus changed all that or that’s what some people who call themselves Christians believe but they are not REAL Christians like me.

    And of course all of this is pointless when directed at trolls like CS. It’s all been said before, and ignored before.
    http://godisimaginary.com/i7.htm

    We know it is possible for true believers to come to atheism. Examples abound, from Gloria Sweeney to Dan Finke. But those who have the most invested, those who have shot their faces off on atheist threads, have the most cognitive dissonance and are most resistant to actually examining their beliefs. Like CS. Not even willing to admit to what they believe, let alone defend it.

  97. two cents' worth says:

    Charles+Simmonds, you wrote, “I am not a member of a sect….I am a pretty mainstream Xian..Protestant flavor”

    When I used the word “sect,” the meaning I had in mind is the one from the New Oxford American Dictionary (3rd ed.): “a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical) from those of a larger group to which they belong.” I probably should have used the term “denomination” instead.

    According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations , “A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity.” The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Disciples of Christ are some examples of denominations in the Protestant branch of Christianity. More information on Christian denominations is available at http://truthforsaints.com/Christian_Denominations/Christian_Denominations.html

    So, to rephrase my question, which Christian denomination’s teachings do you follow, that include the distinction between heaven and paradise? I hope you don’t mind my asking. I’m merely curious–the differences between the doctrines of the denominations are interesting to me, and knowing about them helps me to better understand the denominations and the people that belong to them.

  98. Macha says:

    two cents’ worth: If he’s UK proddy, he’s likely to be Methodist or a closely related brand.

    Traditionally, these types have been a bit more authoritarian than the CofE and more prone to dodgy doings. Having said that, in my youth I always found that Methodist girls were usually pretty friendly.

    They’re generally quite intense in their beliefs, but the singing is good.

  99. LastResort says:

    Charles Simmonds, no, I do not believe in the non-existence of your JHV. I do not believe in the non-existence of Phlkem the Granuator or pink, invisible, green-lantern-eating bug-ladies from Naboo’s spice moons.
    I do not believe in the non-existence of the Minotaur, though we could build one in a few years were we so inclined.
    These things do not exist, I have no *NEED* to believe in their lack of existence.
    I have no need to believe Data from “Star Trek” does not exist and is in fact impossible with current technologies. He doesn’t.
    Jupiter exists. It is a planet, or a small brown dwarf star. Jupiter the divine ruler of Olympus does not exist. Even you agree with this. There is no need to believe it, it is just fact.
    Ares the god does not exist. Seth the god does not exist. Allah-the-whiner does not exist. JHV the temperamental sociopathic nutter does not exist. There are thousands of “Harry Potters” but none of them are myopic wizards [magic? and no cure for myopia? really?] attending Hogworts. That one does not exist. I don’t “believe” he doesn’t, I know he doesn’t. It says so right there in the books and films: “… all characters are fictional …”.
    Your bible is just another collection of fiction, though it does have verses and even entire chapters that have a ” … resemblance to real people and events living or dead …”. Your bible has fictional characters. Some of them are gods, like Shiva, Seth and the Caesars.
    The Caesars were real but the gods they thought they were were unreal. They were fictional characters based on real persons and events.
    Just like those in your Bible.
    No one needs to believe in these things. And that is the fundamental difference between what atheism is and what religious folk think it is. A-theism is “no god” or “not-having-gods”. It is not a belief, a faith, a religion or a dogma. It is no more any of those than is not having a belief in talking green glowing rocks in my garden.
    I don’t have a belief in the non-existence of dead turkeys that will baste and cook themselves, divide themselves up and invite a bunch of family and friends over to eat them. I don’t have a belief in the non-existence of JHV, Jonah Hex or Janus. I just don’t need a belief.
    For none of those exist.
    Try this: I say Daleks from Skaro do not exist, that they are made up, that the things seen on TV, in movies and referred to in books are fakes and models and lies and just stories. You say they must be true because The Word in The Script says they are.
    Which of us has the belief? Which of us does not need a belief? Which of us has the burden of proof?
    You believe in real Daleks. No matter what you call it you believe in something unreal, fictional, non-existent and untrue. The burden of proof is yours. And don’t even think of saying “it must be true because it says so in The Script” because that doesn’t work for the Peter Parker Spiderman so it equally doesn’t work for your guys.
    There are no gods. It is not a matter of belief. That is atheism.
    No gods.

    I do, Charles Simmonds, agree with you in one respect, no “Monty Python” film was ever funny. Nor were their TV programmes. They all do have funny jests, bon mots, quips, one-liners and puns and the “watery bint” spiel is genuinely humorous, but everything they did was mostly composed of unfunny bits dragged out to make them even less so. {The “Ministry of Silly Walks” being a perfect example of this.}
    “Python”, like many American comedies, was insular and tedious to an extraordinary degree much of the time. The were like a comedian whose only supposedly funny aspect is that he is an obvious man wearing a dress. Apart from the few seconds of true humour, “Python” were rarely funny.
    And now no one likes me, either.

  100. LastResort says:

    Darwin Harmless, , “knowledge of good and evil” is aJewish and pre-Jewish phrase meaning “all knowledge”. It does not really refer to knowing good and knowing evil. In those days anything was either good or it was evil there was no middle way so knowing both was to know everything.
    That is why “knowledge of good and evil” was such a hot-ticket item and a BadThing(TM) for the Elohim. If their pet puppets knew everything they would be Elohim.
    Though as many have said in the past two millennia, and in the Cock and Bull, the Elohim didn’t seem to have a clue about walls, fences, electrified razor-wire, moats, minefields or armies of rabid dragons so their fruit wouldn’t have to be packed with much RNA transfer agents to contain their entire library.
    One blip from a blackberry would do.

    Robert not Bob, if you think you can show that our new Charles Simmons isn’t Ephpatha by way of their writing styles I’ll have to accept it as reasonably proven. I do not care to study either that closely, sorry. I will retain a cool distance and only deal with their argumentation. I suspect neither will ever be friends with such as I.

  101. LastResort says:

    My last: sorry. Proof reading is degraded buy tyred ness.

  102. LastResort says:

    Darwin HarmlessWhy does this : ” Do you believe that murderers and rapists should be rewarded? Do you believe that Hitler was sent by God to kill millions of people in the Holocaust? Do you believe that God is the direct cause of every abortion on this planet? ” : which is related to this: “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” [Psalm 139:16] : not cause the religious to question their fairy tales?

    I know I’m “doing an Ephphy” by using the one source for lots of quotations but I would like dear lady Ephphatha and Charlie Simmons and even WhatsGoingOn try to explain these flaws in their stories.

    Or even just to think about it. And question how a merciful daddy deity could countenance the deaths of forty-odd thousand people every day. No, not countenance, directly cause.
    In fact, murder. Daddy murders forty thousand people every day.
    Merciful?

  103. Macha says:

    Interestingly perhaps is that Charles+Simmonds mentioned, early on in his preaching, the name of Joseph al-Qaeda.

    Now I’m not a big user of Tw*tter, but I do have an account – and a bit of searching revealed a “Charles Simmonds” (@oisin4) who follows the previously mentioned. This fellow seems to be new to Tw*tter, having sent 31 tw**ts in 5 days – and in one of these, he talks about “Xians”.

    Coincidence?

    His @ name is @oisin4, Oisin was an Irish mythological Fenian poet.

    He follows Bill Maher, Ex-Muslims Forum, Joseph Al-Qaeda and D:Ream

  104. Chaos says:

    You’ve drawn pictures of both jebus and mohamhock and not one of chaos? BLASPHEMY!!! I demand that you rectify this immediately so everyone can join the kingdom of the mad.

  105. Chaos says:

    That said tho, thank hemant for the referral, ima be devouring your archives now like I do to nearly every other unfortunate artist I come across.

  106. JohnM says:

    @ Charles+Simmonds writ large:
    “if we want to have a sensible discussion, let’s drop the illogical and emotional a priori assumptions”
    Err.. perhaps a re-read of your handiwork from this thread might sharpen your observational ability and critical senses a tad.

  107. JohnM says:

    @ Last Resort & DH
    The disconnect between religious believers and the reality they share with us, is total. It is physically impossible for them to even begin to examine those questions you posed.

  108. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Charles+Simmonds says:

    July 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    @Author you write “a guaranteed place in the post-death paradise of your choice”

    for your information Christianity does not hold out the prospect of paradise but of heaven, the difference being that paradise is a place of sensual indulgence and pleasure whereas heaven offers joy:

    In my opinion, existence without sensual indulgence would be a joyless one indeed.

  109. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @Macha…the kind of petty spitefulness one expects from adherents of Atheism

  110. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @Macha

    so it is your job to be stool pigeon for the other Atheists on this thread

    you really are a loathsome creep

    “Interestingly perhaps is that Charles+Simmonds mentioned, early on in his preaching, the name of Joseph al-Qaeda.
    Now I’m not a big user of Tw*tter, but I do have an account – and a bit of searching revealed a “Charles Simmonds” (@oisin4) who follows the previously mentioned. This fellow seems to be new to Tw*tter, having sent 31 tw**ts in 5 days – and in one of these, he talks about “Xians”.
    Coincidence?
    His @ name is @oisin4, Oisin was an Irish mythological Fenian poet.
    He follows Bill Maher, Ex-Muslims Forum, Joseph Al-Qaeda and D:Ream”

  111. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @Author…you state that “the comments section is …a safe place for readers of J&M to talk, to exchange jokes and ideas, to engage in profound philosophical discussion, and to ridicule the sincerely held beliefs of millions..

    my question is does this brief exclude ridiculing sincerely held beliefs in Atheism, do you allow ad hominem attacks by anonymous posters on a real person, do you allow posters to trawl for information on other posters and publish this on this thread (presumably for malicious purposes)?

  112. Charles+Simmonds says:

    @Robert,+not+Bob

    Atheists like to set up this false dichotomy were they are on the one side and all faiths are on the other.. ..as is clearly evident from this post, they are hateful, spiteful, vindictive, cowardly (e.g. launching anonymous ad hominem attacks) and dogmatic…in fact Atheism fulfils all effective criteria for a religion and like Islam has strong absolutist tendencies, look at the itching desire to get control over schools ….Atheists would love to force everyone to accept their arid belief system on the world or the little bit of it where they are listened to …luckily they are too cowardly

  113. oake says:

    Charles+Simmonds
    “they are hateful, spiteful, vindictive, cowardly (e.g. launching anonymous ad hominem attacks) and dogmatic…in fact Atheism fulfils all effective criteria for a religion”
    If atheism is all those things, then you’re right, that would make them fulfil all effective criteria to be a religion.
    Thanks for the insight.

  114. Macha says:

    Charles + Simmonds

    the kind of petty spitefulness one expects from adherents of Atheism … you really are a loathsome creep

    Thank you very much.

    Goodbye.

  115. hotrats says:

    oake:
    Atheists would love to force everyone to accept their arid belief system on the world or the little bit of it where they are listened to …luckily they are too cowardly.

    Good examples of those who are not too cowardly to ‘force everyone to accept their arid belief system on the world’* would have to include the Inquisition, the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS and al-Quaeda.

    * Hammering ‘everyone to accept’ into the phrase ‘force their arid belief system on the world’, makes ‘on the world’ redundant and ungrammatical.

  116. oake says:

    hotrats

    Are you confusing me with Charles+Simmonds?

    I’m quite offended!

  117. Macha says:

    To take the direction back towards Widdles, this week’s inspiration.

    Some years ago, there was a TV series “The Bible : a History” and W presented one of the programs.

    She was trying to argue the historical accuracy of the story of the Exodus and to boost her case she enlisted the help of an academic from an Israeli university. This academic blew it when she pointed out that there was absolutely no archaeological evidence for the Exodus actually having taken place.

    Widdles asked if this person could be 100% certain that the story wasn’t “true” and, of course, the academic said “no”.

    W then faced the camera and said “So it’s perfectly possible that The Exodus actually took place, forging the way to …. blah, blah, blah”

    Yet another example of how the religious can distort truth to conform to their preconceptions.

    ___________________________

    Charles + Simmonds : “Macha, you really are a loathsome creep”

  118. Author, I’ve had a direct communication from Ephphantha. To wit:

    “Lost in the weeds,” DH?
    On the contrary, Ephphatha was barred from the C&B by ‘A’uthor.
    Say, why not set the record straight for your brothers-outside-of-Christ about what became of Ephpy? Speak for the silenced, so to speak.

    I liked you… half of the time. A spiritual giant resides within you.
    Either way, best wishes to you and my prayers for you.

    Sincerely,
    ‘Ephphy’

    I note with some amusement Ephphy’s flattery. As if telling me that “a spiritual giant resides within you” is a valid observation, or that being the recipient of yet more godbothering prayers would provide motivation to convey his message to the regulars. Well, I suppose it has worked. But really it’s just my curiosity that has driven me to this post.

    Author, to be clear, I fully endorse your ownership of these threads and your prerogative in lowering the ban hammer on trolls. But the only other troll I can remember being banned was Mohammed, who was offensive and stupid beyond belief. Can you give us some insight into what triggered the expulsion of Ephphy? Is Richard+Simmonds coming close to this line? It certainly seems he has taken the mood of the C&B in a much less jovial direction.

  119. LastResort, thank you for that information about the meaning of “knowledge of good and evil”. That makes sense. Far more sense than the interpretation I had been giving the phrase.

    JohnM, you wrote: “The disconnect between religious believers and the reality they share with us, is total. It is physically impossible for them to even begin to examine those questions you posed.”

    I must disagree with this. There is hope. We can actually listen to former religious believers who now are speaking for atheism. The two I mentioned, Julia Sweeney and Dan Finke, are outstanding examples. Dan Finke spent his youth immersed in fundamental Christianity but was saved by the study of philosophy, which taught him to use his brain. Julia Sweeney had a long and torturous journey from devout Catholic to full on atheist, a painful and courageous transition that doesn’t deserve to be classified as comedy, though she presents it as such. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTvx_QA6gIc

    So it is possible for believers to examine their beliefs and change. Our job is to present them with arguments and with disbelief. So many of them have never considered that there might be an alternative to what they were taught as children. We can tell them about that alternative, and demonstrate that it is not so terrible, is in fact liberating.

  120. hotrats says:

    oake:

    Are you confusing me with Charles+Simmonds? I’m quite offended!

    Not a bit of it, just offering another angle on your judiciously pulled quote; absolutely no offence meant.

    In the interests of hurrying them out of the C&B for want of sport, I don’t address trolls directly. When a burglar leaves a jobbie on the carpet, better not to tread it in.

  121. Robert,+not+Bob says:

    Act like a jerk, you’ll get called on it. And why was the “atheists are meanies” addressed to me? Unless “he’s not listening, don’t waste your time” is a nasty personal insult…

  122. IanB says:

    LastResort says:And are you Ephphatha and WhatsGoingOn? You do sound highly similar and you use the very same arguments. Is that because you are the same person

    That had crossed my mind, so I’d decided there was little point in engaging in a battle of wits with an unarmed (wo)man.

    LastResort says:Apart from the few seconds of true humour, “Python” were rarely funny

    I am with you there, I’ve re watched some of the old stuff and really it’s pretty dire. The best of the films was IMO the holy grail but that’s really to damn it with faint praise.

    Macha says: I always found that Methodist girls were usually pretty friendly

    But catholic ones were always more likely to go the whole way, perhaps it was being able to do penance to relieve the guilt?

  123. Macha says:

    @IanB

    When I was younger, I held a grudging admiration for the RCs. They could do all kinds of naughties, then after a Confession and a few Hail Marys and Penances, these sins were flushed out to start the naughties all over again.

    On the other hand, Proddy sins had no escape. They clogged up the system more and more, until at death you’d be completely bunged up with naughtiness and God would seek vengeance.

    ___________________________

    Charles + Simmonds : “Macha, you really are a loathsome creep”

  124. oake says:

    hotrats:

    Understood.
    And I wasn’t really offended, as I’m sure you realised.
    Not much point in being touchy about such things when you’re going to burn in hell for eternity!

  125. LastResort says:

    JohnM I do not accept as an axiom that religious folk are unable to think rationally about the questions we ask them thereby coming to the obvious, ineluctable conclusion that all religion is demented shite. Many millions of children form belief systems based on fairies, Santa, talking dolls who have names and feelings though they are mere plastic lumps and other superstitions yet those very same children can grow into us and better.
    We can, when young, watch something like this video and come to the conclusion that praying to a Buddha statue, praying to a poorly-made doll glued to sticks and praying to The Holy Christmas Poo will all have exactly the same effect – and so can the religious, even the deeply religious and even the parasites whose entire lives, wages and power depend on their show of faith.
    Anyone can do this. Even Ephphatha and Charlie Simmons and the popes.
    It is not even very difficult. All one need do is compare JHV, Allah or Chulthu with any other imaginary deity like a bottle of washing-up liquid or any stone idol. Do it dispassionately, with reason not emotion and the freedom one gets is instantly both wonderful and terrifying.
    I have more trust in my fellow inhabitants of this planet than some do. I think we can all be nice, if we try harder and if we lose the deities.
    I know that’s a rosy-tinted view of humans but I love the species and I wish it well so I try to think well of their potential.
    I think we can save the “Ephphys” if we just pound on them, mock them, teach them and love them. Especially love them. For without us loving them, and each other, there is no point to our efforts, we might as well just declare a jihad.
    That would be funny. An antitheist holy war.
    I would far rather we just love them. Less effort and far more fun.

    Charles+Simmonds there is a valid reason I am anonymous, or pseudonymous, like many here and the Good Author herself … I don’t want the demented followers of the Child Rapist Prophet to come burn me alive. If you could guarantee that no harm would ever come to me or mine no matter what I said about Mo the baby-rapist I would be happy to post under my legal name.
    Can you? Can you assure me that no lunatic zealot will drill up a mob for his own personal purposes to set light to me? Ever? Can you promise I won’t die if I said Mr. Carpenter was a pervert and his “daddy” raped little girls? Both of which are true and testified to in your very own books.
    That is a major difference between the fanatic zealot of a religion and even the most rabid god-loathing atheist. Were you to say (to pick a random example) Darwin Harmless is a complete fool for not worshipping your pet daddy he would not set you afire. Not even if you were to insult his favourite authors, his teachers, his parents or anyone else he has learned from and whose opinion he trusts. He may wander over and belt you one if you do insult he beloveds but that’s between him and his sense of self-restraint. No atheist will kill you because you insult their atheism, nor because you insult the books, films or people who helped them recognise the truth. Your people do, every day. Look at any major news service website. The front page will, every single day, have some story of some religious nutbags killing either other religious nutbags or atheists, often both at once. Every day.
    And you think us craven for being sensibly cautious? Well, friend, insult the Islamics, post your true name and address and wait for the firebombs.
    I know *I* am not going to.

    Author Is our darling lady Ephphatha really barred from our pub or is that just her twisted little religious interpretation of her status as a chew toy for the more enthusiastic regulars? I would be surprised if it is the former as I have said far more hurtful things about religious folk that she ever did about those without it and you have yet to bar me.
    If you want an excuse, though: one milliard Islamics are honouring a bastard who raped pre-pubescent little girls and a milliard Christians worship a zombie born of the miscegenist rape of an unwed girl. Religious folk are strange.

  126. LastResort says:

    Darwin Harmless, I question your pseudonym. Your links are anything but harmless, friend. They are compulsive, addictive and very seductive.
    Thank you.

    I do have a rather good refutation of one site, the one asking why JHV/Allah/Jesus doesn’t heal amputees.

    I asked the Big Guy himself and this was his Actual One True Reply:

    “Heal them? You want me to heal them. Bugger that, pal. Don’t you know they are broken, halfling, crippled things? Boy, cancers I can cope with, stains on blouses are fine and painting my face on toast is cool but there’s no way I’m going to touch them. Bloody things give me the bloody creeps. All merciful, yeah, but that doesn’t mean I have to like ickky things.” {Note 1}

    So, there we have it. Why the gods of old never healed amputees. They are afraid of them. It may indeed be slightly unfair but it does explain it all. Why the daddy in the sky can heal Little Suzie’s skinned knee but never a lost hand.
    Gods are squeamish.

    Note 1: Umm, those were not my words. They were the very Real One True Words Of The Very True JHV/Allah. I have no documentary evidence so that shows they must be. {Note 2}

    Note 2: I know gods aren’t real but does that stop them from really, truly replying to me? It never has stopped them from giving revelations to Popes. What makes me less worthy than a pope or an imam of a personal reply?

  127. Mary2 says:

    I don’t find The Life of Brian particularly funny: therefore, not sacred to atheists. (Absolutely LOVE The Holy Grail).

  128. Mary2 says:

    I think that any person who complains that English speakers don’t mock Islam as much as they mock Christianity and links this with some kind of double standard or cowardise are either idiots or, more likely, being intentionally obtuse.

    For extremely obvious reasons of history and culture most people in English-as-first-language countries are more familiar with the intricacies of Christianity and Christian groups have a much larger day-to-day impact on our lives – End of reason for discrepancy in amounts of mocking. I am so tired of hearing religious people throw this up as some kind of anti-atheist argument.

  129. Mary2 says:

    DH, Phew. Thank the gods that I didn’t read your post about the banning of poor Ephy until after posting two myself. I have been unable to have any of my own comments post to this site for several weeks and although knowing the fault was most likely in my geriatric, on life-support computer, there was part of me wondering whether I had run foul of the all-powerful Author of the Banhammer!!

    LastResort, I love the fact that you are out to save the Ephys! Prothletysing to Believers! Can I join in? Can we go door knocking with pamphlets? “Excuse me, do you have a moment to talk about oblivion?”

  130. Macha says:

    Dear All,

    When I met the latest incarnation of the godbot in this bar, I was surprised in his use of (apparently) his real name. This is, obviously, rather unusual, and I chose not to do it myself, primarily because it would leave my precious server computer at risk.

    He (Charles + Simmonds) mentioned “Joseph Al-Qaeda”, and in a moment of belated curiosity, I looked this fellow up. He has a Twitter account (JihadistJoe), and I quickly discovered that JJ attracts tweets from @RichardDawkins and has Sam Harris as a follower. This increased my curiosity, because I had never even heard of him.

    As I sifted through his tweets, I came across one concerning “Noah’s Ark” and, with no other reason than, this time, random curiosity, I read through it. After a few pages of gibberish messages from the likes of “bozo467″, two practically consecutive tweets coming from Charles Simmonds leapt out from the screen. I wasn’t searching for him, I didn’t Google him, he simply appeared by serendipity (or maybe, given C+S’s hatred of Islam, Allah guided me).

    I looked at his home page (if that’s the correct Tweet-word) and found all his (publicly available) details, which I posted on here, because there had been some discussion about whether C+S was a clone of Ephphy.

    I now think that was unwarranted and has caused the person concerned unnecessary distress, for which I apologise unreservedly.

    Macha

  131. Macha, I’m glad to read your explanation and apology for doxing Charles+Simmonds. I was going to mention my disapproval of such behaviour but I’m glad you recognized the error. I can feel good about you again. Cheers mate.

  132. Noble, Macha, but my concern over the butthurt of one C.S. approaches the limit of zero.

  133. @LastResort. Checkmate, atheist! If gods are squeamish, then why would god create up to 30 million species of insects (citation within link). Also, poor Adam had to name them all, even before god opened his eyes…or before he god laid. Bad god! http://www.ruthlessreviews.com/23739/bug-museum-creationists-worst-nightmare/

  134. LastResort says:

    cosmicstargoat JHV is squeamish. It says so itself in Leviticus, 21 or 27 or something. It says it does not wan’t anyone with a blemish, a scar, missing bits, broken bits or other ickiness to enter its nice, clean, icky-free temples. The quote I quoted is merely a translation into semi-modern English.
    Just for interest, Lev 7:22 tells us that Black Pudden, a favourite addition to Full English Breakfasts, is not exactly either kosher or halal. Daddy banned it for some reason.
    There is a whole raft, maybe Ark-load, of beasties that are “unclean” in Lev’s Eleven, including rabbits, which are lovely in stews and pies and the oft-mentioned little piggies. Well, we wouldn’t want people to enjoy bacon sandwiches at breakfast, would we? For some reason Hyraxes are not for eating, either. That might explain why they still exist and haven’t been extictioned like the poor dodo and Galapagosean Turtles. Of course, neither of those were even mentioned in Lev’s List of Clean and Unclean so we don’t know if they were supposed to be eaten or not. Is there an additional list? One with species exotic to the Mesopotamian Lands? Maybe in the Banned Books? Or the Dead Sea Scrolls?
    Lev’s List also has gulls as unclean. I’ve lived in England near the landfill sites, I can fully agree with that. Gulls are very unclean. I’m not sure bats count as birds, though. Maybe JHV was short-sighted? Maybe he was afraid of caves and just categorised them as birds for their wings? JHV seems to have loads of squeamishnesses.
    Another thing I would agree with Lev’s List on is oysters. In fact any molluscy, shell-fishy critter. I have no idea how a human could get hungry enough near a coastline to be forced to eat snot-in-a-shell but apparently some one did and now they are regarded as “delicacies”. Everything from land snails to clams. Uggh! That is just wrong. Lev’s right, those creatures are muchly unclean.
    But we are allowed to eat roaches, spiders and other bugs as they do not “walk on all fours”. Also millipedes, centipedes, water bears, lice, flies, caterpillars, maggots and bombardier beetles. It’s a good thing Noah saved so many of the buggers for us to enjoy with our bacon-free Full Englishes.
    Oh, wait a mo’, Lev 11:40 contradicts the rest of Lev 11 and bans all of those beasties. And it bans eating humans. I’m fairly sure humans are animals that “move along the ground”.
    Lev 20:27 is interesting. It commands the good and the pure to off the evil buggers who do astrology columns, psychic hotlines and spirit-calling shows. While normally I would be very much against the extermination of anyone one does have to admit that this particular regulation does have god taste.
    And we have Lev 21:9 and 16-23. Verse nine is rather harsh on working girls and fortunately very few cultures implement it to any great degree, but 16-24 is a perfect example of why JHV does not answer the prayers of cripples or the sick. JHV is a squeamish deity.
    So now we know and that website has its answer.
    In the very words of the Big Daddy itself we have the reason it never answers the prayers of amputees or the really sick: it’s too squeamish to go near them.
    Isn’t is so very fortunate that mere mortal human doctors and nurses and help-meets have far more compassion than that grotesquery?
    And don’t they deserve to be praised and possibly even worshipped a little far more than that vile, demonic monstrosity?
    Fuck, even I have more compassion that JHV the bigoted perve and I’m no saint.

    cosmicstargoat thank you for your link to the bug house. I know people who could not go within miles of that place but I think I would enjoy it a lot. There are smaller collections in many local museums and the British Museum of Natural History has a collection that is well worth a couple of days if you are ever in London, England. There are many, many types of critters on this planet even though humans are busily trying to kill off as many as possible.
    Someone said there are a million spiders in each of our houses. I don’t think that is an over-estimate, and all of them have to eat something. The numbers of arthropods on this good Earth is amazing.
    Thirty million. Ten seconds for a presentation and naming ceremony for each one. that is only 9.5 years of continuous work. Maybe sixty years if he took breaks for peeing, eating, sleeping and suchlike trivia.{Did Adam pee before he ate the fruity bits? Enquiring minds need to know.} {He obviously had never seen a nekkid ladee so what did he think about when playing with his new toys?} Yes, Adam could have done the job. Quite easily as he was then immortal. Mere mortal humans have devoted more than sixty years of their lives in the collection and naming of bugs and they have a far more difficult job than just making up a word when shown some new, leggy, colourful thingy that daddy has just made.
    The naming ceremony for leggy things isn’t that much of a stretch.
    Until you consider that with the leggy things come those creatures that have no legs because they are too small for them: viruses, bacteria, archaeans, fungi and other little beggars. There must be a million species of those for every one of everything else put together. Had Adam been given the job of naming those he would still have been at it; he would still have been at it when the Sun went goes cold.
    Me, I would have called the lot of them “germs” and quit.

    Mary2 I would be delighted were you to join my crusade to convert the believers to the cause of unbelief. Or “normalcy” as the professionals call it. Having your very good self in my Army Of Light And Reason makes it the fastest-growing non-faith-based organisation on the planet. 100% growth per second.
    True, it didn’t sustain that rate but we can’t have everything.
    I welcome you to the ranks of those who preach the truth of being normal. Being rational. Being without a faith in blue unicorns or any other fairy tales.
    Now, how do I go about getting tax-free funding?

  135. LastResort says:

    Spot the Freudian Typo.
    It should have been “good taste”, of course.

  136. Thanks, LastResort, for reading my rant about the Bug Museum. A true gem among the over-trumpeted and over-priced Georgia O’Keeffe museum and other tourist traps. Trying to explain the diversity of life on this planet without invoking evolution fails comically. The evidence in the form of comparative morphology is staring you right in the face, not to mention the other compelling attributes of the science, but the Impaired just do not care, do they?

    I guess you are right, Gawd is a little squeamish about some things, but he really steps up to the plate when it comes to dealing with wummins, or cutting off the ends of perfectly good penises, or cutting off thumbs and big toes. And, not to re-state the obvious, but goD really shines when it comes to the “Wet Work” of simply slaughtering his creations, so I’ll see your Black Pudden and raise you 25 MILLION murdered http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2007/01/how-many-has-god-killed-complete-list.html and over 100 MILLION men circumcised. (Souce: We Knee Magazine) God is brutal when it comes to Dicks and Death.

  137. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    As much as I hate to disagree with my old friend Darwin, I don’t see the problem with Macha forwarding the troll’s Twitter details. Doxxing is problematic when it involves posting personal details of somebody that they don’t want making public (eg. revealing Author’s name, or my home address, etc.) and so haven’t published those details themself, but as Charles used his own name here and on his public Twitter account, then there’s no reason not to make the link.

    I wonder if Black Pudden would still be on the banned list if it were made from congealed goat blood rather than pig? I’d bet it would still be delicious, but maybe not as natural a companion for bacon.

    Regarding Ann Widdi; I know I’ve told this one before, but how many young Muslim men do you think went off the idea of a martyr’s death once they realised that Ms. W. might just be one of their virgins?

    To all: nice work on the troll. I deliberately stayed out of this one as I’m still wracked with pain and increasingly grumpy, so I didn’t want to vent my spleen here and lower the tone and upset our regulars more used to a convivial night at the bar.

    Love to all.
    G’night.

  138. Macha says:

    Hi AoS. Bugger about the pain. The only positive think I can say is that it’s better to be angry and grumpy with it than to fall morose.

    One of the things I enjoy on Sunday (yesterday, obviously) morning is browsing my (downloaded) Sunday newspaper. It allows me to feel I’m actually participating in world events without the effort of getting out of the chair or straying too far from the coffee jug.

    Another Sunday treat is to receive my weekly newsletter from brainpickings.org, which usually has something of interest. It has a bit of a “spiritual” leaning, but nothing too woo-ish. This week it has a “commentary” on “The Varieties of Scientific Experience”, the collection of Sagan’s Gifford lectures. It’s of some interest and can be found here …

    http://goo.gl/FiiYaV

    As for the tr*ll. I “repented” because I realised it was a rather underhand action, and would have preferred to have caused ire by poking at his bigotry than by pissing in his fire ( I once knew someone who did that, the stench was terrible). Anyway he now seems to have floated off, whether by choice or by edict I don’t know.

    This particular entity seemed quite bigoted, whereas I think the Ephphy had carefully thought through his preachings and genuinely felt he could make an impact.

    Cheers

  139. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Conversely, much as I hate to disagree with my new friend Acolyte, I too am pleased to see Macha write of some contrition for an unnecessary revelation. It matters not how much drilling is needed to unearth an identity it can be done to anyone by someone and it is not a game we should encourage – especially on a site as unique as this with its subject matter so passionate that some are prepared to die for and far, far worse, others are prepared to kill for.

    Also, while I do not condone trolls whatsoever, and frankly we are best able to evict them by not feeding them, even if we need to chew / drink with them somewhat while we gauge their sincerity, there is nevertheless somehow something that will belittle us all if others are not welcomed into the the C & B in the first place. Author has already placed the contemporary inversion of the “No blacks, no dogs, no Irish” on the door – so having been warned of ridicule we should not need to stoop at all – let alone to Doxxing (which is a new word to me and I welcome an explanation).

    By way of conclusion, in recent discussions I have thrice read of nostalgic references to FreeFox, with at least one hoping se was reading and would drop in at least to say Hello. What a loss it would be for all of us to loose hes unique perspective simply because we were too harsh, not so much on hes beliefs as FreeFox was well able to stand up for hemself, as on others that wandered in here having heard the craick in all it’s diversity and expected to find a place to explore matters spiritual but were chewed up and spat out.
    We would never hear ‘fundamentalist athiest’ from FreeFox and indeed I had enjoyed his contributions for some time before I even realised he had a faith however personally tailored. So I too miss hem and would be distressed if se no longer drops in because the Cock & Bull has preconditioned its welcome.

  140. Mary2 says:

    I stand with WalterW on this one. I care not a whit for Charles who showed himself to be uninterested in conversation and too ready with personal insults for me to care about his hurt feelings but I too enjoy discussions with those of varying beliefs and am always keen to make even complete loons welcome. They know our beliefs and if they do not expect tough grilling when they walk into the pub they are in the wrong location. When they start with the repetitive and stupid ranting (like Charles) they should probably expect to be taken out the back and given a swift beating (figuratively speaking).

    LastResort, Love your Leviticus rant.

  141. I think that the very fact that a person CHOOSES to participate in Comments at a site like this precludes any protection from or immunity to emotional damage that might result. It is in the very spirit of the Authors that the comments are an extension of the cartoons we love so much. I’m not saying “anything goes”, but pretty darn close to it and let the chips fall hard if they must. Flooding the comment section, death threats, blatant spam (except from Patrons) non-topical messages should be scrutinized for action, but aggregate stupidity or Fundamentalist Religious preaching or arrogance can be appropriately punished by the wordsmithing that exists among the residents here. As for the Doxing, it serves no purpose in here and should just be ignored unless a Commenter makes it his or her mission in here, then they are in the realm of the off-topic and can be dealt with appropriately. Less is usually more with regards to comment moderation, but I am only speaking for myself and the Author’s opinions might veer away from mine, and that’s fine too.

  142. Macha says:

    I think I’m “under consideration”, because my comments keep disappearing down the Intertubes … Enough already!

  143. Macha says:

    Ooops, that one made it. I wonder what happened to the others? I hope they don’t suddenly get released and spill all over the floor.

    Anyway, they weren’t particularly interesting, but I wished to point out that ‘brainpickings dot org’ has an interesting commentary on Sagan’s Gifford Lectures http://bit.ly/1hrCxzu which is worth a look, even if the result is disagreement …..

    As for the tr*ll. I “repented” because I realised it was a rather underhand action, and would have preferred to have caused ire by poking at his bigotry than by p!ssing in his fire (I once knew someone who did that, the stench was terrible). Anyway he now seems to have floated off, whether by choice or by edict I don’t know.

    This latest entity seemed quite bigoted, whereas I think the Ephphy had carefully thought through his preachings and genuinely felt he could make an impact.

    They are mightily persistent though.

  144. JohnM says:

    @Last Resort: JohnM I do not accept as an axiom that religious folk are unable to think rationally about the questions we ask them

    That wasn’t what I intended to say, so let me elucidate further. I consider truly religious individuals as placing themselves in a protective bubble of rationalisation, such that they do not and will not allow themselves to even begin to think about questions we pose to them, if these could happen to lead towards a conclusion contrary to their cherished beliefs. Such denialism is actually a current subject of study among some academics interested in neuroscience and suchlike. Classic topics outside of religion are the Holocaust and similar historical nastiness, and most recently the subject of possible dangerous anthropogenic alterations to the ecosphere.

  145. Acolyte, I have no problem with you disagreeing with me. In fact, I’d be disappointed if you simply nod and go along with whatever faulty logic I present. But I stand by my (mild) disapproval of Macha and remain happy to see him repent.

    I recognize that his revelations were harmless. But any information about any of us that comes from other sources on the Internet and is presented as part of an unfriendly exchange makes me uncomfortable. I find it threatening, and I think Charles+Simmonds saw that as its intention.

    I also don’t give a rat’s nether region for Charles+Simmonds butt hurt sensibilities. But there is a principle involved here. We just don’t bring outside information to these threads. Harmless or not, it’s not done.

    WalterWallCarpet, “so having been warned of ridicule we should not need to stoop at all – let alone to Doxxing (which is a new word to me and I welcome an explanation).”
    “Doxing” is relatively new to my lexicon as well, and I had to look it up before using it to make sure I was spelling it correctly. Here’s a good definition: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=doxing
    But if you don’t have time for the link, basically it means using clues a person leaves behind to get information about them – their age, income, marital status, and in extreme cases real name, address and phone number. Doxing can be very serious, even lethal.

    Doxing can be of social value. One of the most notable doxing incidents was the unmasking of social media slime ball “violentacrez”, a user who moderated several mysoginist threads, by Adrian Chen, a journalist for Gawker. But It has also been used by MRA assholes to harass feminists and other perceived “enemies”. I’m all for never even hinting that we might do it. We are all to vulnerable at the C&B.

  146. Macha says:

    One thing I would say though, not as a defence, but as an observation.

    After fecking him, he did disappear.

    Is that the thing about trolls? Argue with reason and they just get more and more, well, trollish, but show them with their panties down, they quietly evaporate.

    Having said that, he’s probably monitoring as we speak.

    As is Ephphy maybe – I almost miss Ephphy.

  147. While I don’t publically endorse Doxing, I’ll just say that you are doing and writing things that would cause you concern if you were “outed”,then maybe you should reconsider doing and writing what you are doing and writing. There is an awful lot of Keyboard Kourage out there and some people really push it because of their shroud of anonymity. For me, I have no employer, spouse to give me pause to write anything other than what I feel. If it would harm you to expose what you really are and what you really think, then you need to post messages accordingly. I know, I know, life is not fair and it is not fair to be ostracized and condemned by pious relatives who find out via the Internet you are a gay atheist who is against the NRA, and also is sure that our President was not born in Kenya.

    So, if you are going to play in this sandbox, be prepared to get sand in your cracks if you choose to let it all hang out.

  148. Speaking of feeling vulnerable… the other day I was shopping at one of those huge big box grocery stores. There was a Muslim (judging only by their wardrobe) couple shopping there too. The woman wore the head scarf. Her husband, a big man, had a callous on his forehead which I assume came from slamming his head into his prayer mat five times a day.

    I first became aware of this sign of religious zealotry in the description of Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard who murdered Salman Tessier because the governor wanted to remove the death penalty from the crime of insulting Islam. In pictures of Mumtaz Qadri, the callous on his forehead is very much in evidence and looks exactly like the mark on the forehead of the shopper at my grocery supermarket.

    Now, I detest racism and Islamophobia, but I have to admit this gave me a turn. I assume it’s possible to be a religious zealot and develop a prayer callous on the forehead without being a cold blooded murderer in waiting. But still… I’m having a hard time feeling all warm and fuzzy about the gentleman in question. This bothers me. I want to feel some connection to all members of my species, but how can I feel a connection to a mind like this? Or is “a mind like this” even a valid perception? Any thoughts?

  149. I think that this quote pretty much sums up how Believers feel about those of us who are not restricted or impaired by the shackles of religion.

    “McCullough’s Law: anyone under the control of an authority tends to be / become inimical to anyone NOT under control of the same authority.” Sean McCullough, Holysmoke.

  150. Darwin, it is your right, no your evolutionary duty to go into survival mode when something makes you uncomfortable or raises red flags. You are not exhibiting these feelings out of ignorance and bigotry, that is the difference.

  151. CosmicStarGoat, point well taken. I initially started DarwinHarmless.com as a site where I could be completely myself. At the time I was working for a university in China and maintaining a regular blog that by necessity had to be politically correct. That chaffed, and an anonymous site was an obvious solution. Since returning home I have become considerably less concerned about revealing my true identity, and it would now be trivial for anybody to figure it out.

    I’ve never been comfortable hiding behind anonymity. It does feel cowardly. Bloggers I respect do not try to hide their identities, nor temper their opinions. I don’t think I’m important enough to attract any serious danger. On the other hand, advertising my true identity at this point would feel a bit… okay, it would feel stupid. I have nothing to hide. But also I have no personal information I really feel like sharing with the likes of Mumtaz Qadri, or with my homophobic cousin. If such a man is motivated enough, and smart enough, to figure it out then bring it on.

    I do detest those who take anonymity as a license to be truly vile. But I support anonymity on the Internet. It’s the only way we have real conversations. Disparage it as keyboard courage if you want, but I’m not about to reveal the identity of a person who wants to talk without revealing that identity. I’m more interested in what they say than in who they are.

  152. Darwin Harmless, I totally agree with your last paragraph. I was referring to those who use their anonymity to ignorantly spew cowardly hate. Oh, just a heads up, your website blog is missing a vowel in the title :)

  153. LastResort says:

    Darwin Harmless,, I agree with your stance. I, too, have no problem with our Acolyte disagreeing with me. He has every right to be as wrong as he wishes.

    Mary2, thank you. I was thinking of analysing Lev’s Litany verse by verse, providing annotations to refute its every phrase and cites to show how right I was and how utterly wrong Lev is but that is a lot of work and really should be a book all to itself. As I am certain it has already been done, many times, in the last couple of millennia I don’t think my contribution would be of any great value.

    cosmicstargoat is what I, our missing friend ShallowEnder and a bunch of others do not using our pseudonymity to spew hatred? I don’t know about how Shally’s heart works but I know I am not exactly in love with mobs who burn down newspaper offices over the printing of a cartoon or {his favourite subject} creeps who kidnap little girls. I know it is a spectrum from ultimate heroic goodness {like me} and ultimate evil {like the turds who try to have videos banned because a child wears a pendant} but are we absolutely sure which end we are on?
    A moment’s consideration of the ones who believe should tell us that they are certain.
    Are they correct in their assessment that we are equally as “religiously” fixed in our thinking?
    And that all we are doing is assaulting their gentle faiths with bile and venom and hate?
    Do we hate them?
    Is that why we fear them?

  154. Macha says:

    Here in this safe place I would willingly share my name – pointless maybe, but no threat.

    The obvious problem is with the wider world. My surname, coupled with not-too-difficult facts from postings would lead to my domain name (taken out purely for techy purposes).

    I host all my stuff on a Ubuntu 12.04 LTS server in “The Shed” – email, web server, camera monitors, blog, short wave radio server, file server and the rest. OK, it’s only a fairly wimpish Intel Atom setup, but I’d be screwed if it was destroyed. I keep a backup, but even so, not something to wish for.

    Without even trying, I get loads of bot attacks each day and have taken precautions against those, but an increase in this kind of crap would be a PITA.

    So, I keep myself anonymous. Simples.

  155. TrueFork says:

    @Chiefy: regarding Knowledge of Good and Evil, I remember it being pointed out (I’m fairly sure by Alan Watts) that the words in question originally mean advantageous and disadvantageous in a technological (metallurgical, specifically) sense. Then “to be like Gods” would refer to using technological knowledge to control the environment. Something the humans wouldn’t have a chance to do in the Garden, so the kicking out story could be interpreted as about needing to leave the protective cradle and face the harsh reality as a stage of development, rather than in terms of punishment…

  156. LastResort says:

    Darwin Harmless apart from the obvious excuse of not wanting to be mobbed and killed, which I find to be a fine reason for hiding behind a pseudonym, there is another: collateral damage. Firing a shotgun at a crowd rarely results in harm only to the intended target; similarly, inspiring a horde to ravage on house, one office, one person can bring harm to their neighbours. I happen to like my neighbours and they are strange enough to like me.
    There is also the issue of harm to the mob itself. If Mumpty Rabidass can’t aim them then they won’t come to harm.

    JohnM the religiously deluded conclude that we, the rational, normal ones without the delusion of faith are in a bubble of denial and bile and hate. While the bile and hate may be easy to refute the assertion that we are in a state of unsound denial is not.
    We do deny their faiths and we do it automatically, without thought, in a cool, practised manner that reflects not only much repetition but also little care for their arguments. That we are so cool, cavalier and casual about it much of the time may only be because we have heard the same one argument repeated until we can refute in while drunk, drugged and dreaming but it still appears to be arrogant, dogmatic dismissal.
    The sort of thing we accuse them of doing.
    We are not fighting fire with fire, or even fighting fire with water, we are often fighting bigotry with bigotry. Or so it could seem to a believer.
    Perhaps we should be more loving, patient and kind?
    Fight bigotry, hug a fanatic.

  157. @LastResort-Just to clear things up, the anonymity that I was referring to is the pervasive and vicious racist attacks that are made on Facebook, Twitter and similar places against the current U.S. President and his wife, The First Lady. I totally support anonymity and have written so publicly. I know public figures are fair game, but some of the stuff I have seen is beyond the pale of any decency and needs to be reigned in.

  158. Macha says:

    I guess anonymity in public discourse has been around for a long time (political dissent, whistleblowing, keeping a low profile and so on). I suppose in this internet age, when anyone can write anything from the perceived privacy of their keyboard in the bedroom it has now become so much more ‘accessible’.

    Often this is a good thing – it allows the tradition of satire and political criticism to continue. But, obviously, it isn’t really anonymous and it’s always traceable. Unfortunately, it isn’t always worth tracking down the origin of the most horrible and vile comment made about a person, given all the horrible and vile things that go on in this world.

    I used to use Usenet and on one particular group there was a long-running spat between two individuals. It got more and more acrimonious until it got to the point where the protagonists were publishing details about each other and their families – even to the point where one of the pair contacted the employer of the other to accuse them of nefarious deeds. It all ended up in a court case where the person concerned was put under a restraining order.

    All because of the Internet, all because of keyboard warriors and all because of a lapse of anonymity.

    So care has to be taken.

  159. CosmicStarGoat thanks for the heads up but I have so far been unable to find the location of the missing vowel. I am notoriously bad at proo freading. Can you be more specific about where to find the problem?

    BTW my website has been hacked and now has a glitch that prevents me from doing any posting. I haven’t had the time nor inclination to delete it all and rebuild it, and so haven’t added anything new for a year or so.

  160. DH, it is in the very top header. The word Darwn, without the I.

  161. cosmicstargoat, got it. Thanks. Don’t know how that slipped through for all these many years. Probably because I never go into the site through the gates. I’ll fix that right now.

  162. Chiefy says:

    TrueFork, I do think of the story of the Fall that way, as a myth about humanity growing up. It is certain that the Bible version is badly garbled, and the traditional interpretation as a punishment for “sin” is flat wrong.

  163. JohnM says:

    @ LastResort Engaging religiots in reasoned debate is futile, I agree, so your alternative resonates with me. But while this approach has worked in the case of recovering Moonies, for example, de-programming hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Islamic and Xtian fascisti seems somewhat problematic. It could all end in tears – indeed that would seem to be well underway in large swathes of the world right now. We’ve been very lax in letting it get this far.

  164. hotrats says:

    In 101 Myths of the Bible – How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History Gary Greenberg tabulates how the absurdities, contradictions and self-evident falsehoods of Genesis are the result of the writers of the Old Testament adapting the creation myths of the Egyptians and Babylonians to their own purpose, of establishing one god, and dethroning all other deities.

    In this process the attributes of major gods were absorbed into the one god, while minor deities were converted into early humans and a host of new supernatural entities – the devil, angels, demons etc. While strenuous attempts were made to disguise the plagiarism, numerous clues that survive in the ‘original’ text, such as whether god is called Yahweh or Elohim, clearly point to differing earlier mythologies that were hammered together at the expense of credibility and consistency.

    A quote from the introduction:
    In many instances, the inconsistencies reflect the ongoing propaganda wars between the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. On other occasions, an early version of a story was replaced by a later version. This was particularly true in the Creation and flood accounts, where early Egyptian influences on Israel came into conflict with later Babylonian sources.

    While the book is basically a collection of literary and historical footnotes to scripture that goes into too much detail to be a thrilling read, it offers convincing prood of the OT’s heterogenous sources, and has cured me of the temptation to debate with babble literalists about the flood, Cain’s wife, and talking snakes. They are simply wilful mistranslations of stolen goods.

  165. Stephen Mynett says:

    I found this interesting as it shows the OT has been rewritten on more than one occasion: http://news.yahoo.com/jerusalem-scholars-trace-bibles-evolution-092932128.html

  166. Hotrats, did you by any chance read the [snicker,snicker] “refutation” of the 101 Myths Book? http://www.therefinersfire.org/gary_greenberg.htm is the link. It is hilarious and pathetic.

  167. hotrats says:

    cosmicstargoat:

    not sure about the hilarious, but his whine that:
    The problem is, his actual knowledge about God and the Bible, not to mention the FAITH man is commanded to have in God and His Word (2 Cor. 5:2-10), appear to be severely lacking…

    is one of the most pathetic I have ever read (including the visual shout of capitalising faith, as if it were something valuable, rather than a state of wilful ignorance). Telling the president of the Biblical Archaeology Society of New York to ‘believe it unquestioningly, because it tells you to’ is beyond pathos. It verges on the tragic.

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