November 19th, 2014
EDIT: Forgot to mention – 30% off all books at Lulu until Nov 20 when you use the code FLASH30 at checkout. J&M bookshop here.
EDIT: Forgot to mention – 30% off all books at Lulu until Nov 20 when you use the code FLASH30 at checkout. J&M bookshop here.
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See how religion unites people… against each other.
Very topical. People should be careful about what they pray for.
Very true, all you need is god on your side: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGil0bB_ctA
Get up off your knees, take off the silly hats, trim your beards, start talking to each other?
Put prayer back where it belongs.
In your own home.
Nothing fails like prayer.
There was a popular saying among some in the U.S. military chain of command circa the mid 1960’s (and probably long before that as well),
“Kill them all and let god sort them out”.
It makes exactly as much sense today as it did then.
Brings to mind the theme song from the movie “Billy Jack.” It was called “One Tin Soldier.” Here’s the song plus lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKx0tdlxMfY. The visuals are not from the movie; they are, however, far more fitting for today’s Jesus and Mo.
Author, thank you, over and over again, for your poignant, appropriate, and enlightening works.
The foundation of some religions
Is in essence to fleece the pigeons
For a slight fee they’ll pray
Which actually means prey
This epitomizing manipulative derisions.
one must remember that those killing each other over religious differences actually pray to the very same god, the god of abraham. shear madness !!
hello, I’ve been reading this series for some time (thank you Author!) but today’s NBH poem finally got me comment here. nice one, NBH. what one can achieve by practice. you gave me motivation. big cheers, JM (_not_ related to character names here)
Jerry+www see this
A CofE clergyman and a Scottish Presbatarian were discussing prayer and suchlike, as the conversation came to a close the CofE guy said,
“Well we can agree that we each worship god in our own way”
The reply came
“Aye, you worship him in your way, I worship Him in His way”
See also Mark Twain’s The War Prayer–in text form at http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/making/warprayer.html, and in video form at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TCj4gKri_c. One of the nice touches in the video is that many of the illustrations depicting Twain’s “aged stranger” are images of James Randi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Randi).
Jim Baerg, thanks for the link. This is the first I’ve heard of the Cathars and the massacre at Béziers. Hats off to J&M and the crowd at the Cock & Bull–not just fun, but educational!
In the end they all gonna be Toothless and Blind.
The Cathar pogrom is a piece of history the RC church has been unable to twist to its own ends, unlike its killing of Joan of Arc. So they’ve tried to vanish it. Here in the heart of Occitania (we would have been part of Catalonia if the Pyrenees hadn’t got in the way) the Cathars are much appreciated for their tourist value. As well as building castles that make fine film sets.
Puzzles me how they know they are praying to a different god – or to the same one – or what it is they are praying to – or what it is they think they are actually doing, for that matter.
They don’t know, Sinnataggen, they believe.
The same for their thinking: they don’t, they believe.
Thanks, Nassar. Why had I never thought of rhyming religion and pigeon? It’s like not seeing the elephant in the room.
There’s ‘smidgen’ as well – as used in Tom Lehrer’s ‘Poisoning Pigeons in the Park’.
I have mixed feelings about prayer. Those who pray for their god to intervene and cure their cataracts or buy them a Cadillac are just idiots. But those who pray to be given the wisdom to accept the inevitable, or accept reality, may be on to something. Of course they are just talking to themselves, but as a psychological trick it might work.
As a practical strategy for achieving world peace, the value is obvious. It ain’t working folks.
Ref the power or otherwise of prayer this
came up elsewhere and just had me flabbergasted.
The best definition of ‘prayer’ that I’ve heard was that of Ambrose Bierce: “To pray is to ask that the laws of the Universe be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy”.
There’s a lovely episode of ‘Father Ted’ where a plane full of priests is hit by turbulence and engine failure. Father Dougal suggests ‘shall we have a bit of a pray, then?’ The look of withering contempt on the faces of the other priests is wonderful.
Frankly, I’d rather be in someone’s thoughts than inter prayers – a common method for parking issues out of mind.
The Temple Mount dispute is not a prayer issue, however. It is a territory issue. The Muslims claim that territory and express ownership by controlling religious activity on it. There is therefore no religious solution along the lines of ‘We’re all just trying to be religious, let’s just do it side by side’ when religion is being used as a flimsy (and historically non existent) pretext for a political and military islamic land grab. Given the core tenets of Islam, any religious accommodation would have to be along the lines of ‘You can do this until we get around to exterminating you guys. The rocks and trees are nearly on board. A bit more prayer, and they’ll be talking.’
inter? In their. Didn’t we used to have an edit feature?
Jobrag – I can’t remember which British (Scottish!) comedian suggested that God wasn’t religious enough to be a member of the Scottish Presbatarians
Mary & Empiricist, I’ve been reading the discussion a couple of threads back about bonobos. Empiricist’s description of them as ‘chimpy-people’ is remarkably close to the truth since as far as we are aware humans and bonobos are the only primates that are known to regularly copulate face-to-face, an adaptation that some believe to be an important step in our evolution.
blackflag1961, that reminds me of the joke about the Anglican vicar, Imam, and Catholic priest being among the passengers on a ship which starts to sink.
As they all rush to the lifeboats the vicar shouts “Get the children on the lifeboats first”. The Imam yells back “Fuck the children!”, to which the priest replies “Do you think there’s enough time?”.
Non-appropriate, perhaps, but, A of S, thanks for the laugh…
Thanks AoS, an old favourite. Also OT but it made me think of this one, a reworking of a traditional Christmas carol.
The pope, Ayatollah Khamenei and Archbishop Justin Welby decided to hold an inter-faith conference on a Yacht. As they approached Dover the dockers broke into a chorus of “I saw three shits come sailing in”.
God is not religious at all for there is no god or higher power for him he can believe in. So he must be an atheist or accept that he is not the only god. Oh dear.
Well if god doesn’t need to believe in anything, then neither do I. What a relief.
God can’t be an atheist, because unlike us, he knows for certain that he exists and cannot disbelieve in himself. Interestingly, he also can’t be is a theist – someone who recognises that there is a higher power – because for him, there isn’t one.
In Christianity’s odd ontology, only God doesn’t need to have faith in his own existence. Strange he should be so keen on it for the rest of us – kept guessing, until confronted with heavenly choirs, or a lake of fire.
hotrats, the big question is does he really know for certain that he is God and that he exists or is he simply just a patient in a psychiatric ward convinced by his own delusion?
Back on the subject of prayer, could it be that the idea of prayers really, really working is partly due to the fact that it’s only the ones that do seem to acheive the desired result that get the publicity?
A little girl is seriously ill and her doctors have told her parents to prepare for the worse. The family inform their church and soon hundreds of prayers are being said for her, so when she makes a ‘miraculous’ recovery it’s the ideal ‘feel-good’ story for the news channels and the papers.
I can see the headlines now: “God Saves Girl Condemned By Doctors!…Town’s Prayers Bring Girl Back From Brink!” and so on.
Yet we never see “Parents’ Anguish As Town Prays But God Says No!”, yet this latter category is almost inestimably larger than the former.
Certainly, headlines like my last example would be in poor taste, but would it really be any worse than telling the devastated parents of a thousand dead children that God didn’t feel that theirs were worth saving? Because that’s what the media does every time a ‘miracle’ recovery and prayer coincide.
Yes – as Tom Stoppard puts it,
‘… Is God? I prefer to put he question in this form because to ask ‘Does God exist?’ appears to presuppose the existence of a God who may not… To ask ‘Is God’ also seems to presuppose a being who perhaps isn’t, and thus is open to the same objection as ‘Does God exist?’, but until this difficulty is pointed out it does not have the same propensity to confuse language with meaning, and to conjure up a God who may have any number of predicates including omniscience, perfection and four-wheel drive but not, as it happens, existence.’
Hotrats, if god believes in himself and not in a god outside him, he is doing what atheists do and are condemned for. If it acts, quacks and waddles like a duck, it is a duck.
I did concede your point that god cannot believe in a higher power, and in that respect cannot be a theist (who can say ‘there is a higher power than me’). My point was that to be an atheist (who could say ‘there is no god to believe in’ ) he would have to deny his own existence.
Of course this is all just playing with words. You cannot literally believe in yourself, because then one part of yourself would be trying to actively believe, while another part would be trying passively to be be believed in.
‘Believing in yourself’ is the same kind of self-contradictory wishful thinking as prayer; having confidence in your character and abilities with no external frame of reference, indeed no possibility of objectivity. It’s little more than ego reinforcement for people who already have too much.
well there is a silver lining of a cynical sort
each time beleivers kill each other it increases the % of athiests in the world
I don’t think it’s cynical at all – the real ‘War on Islam’ is centuries old and comes from within. If they really believe these rival superstitions are worth dying for, then yes, let them by all means die squabbling amongst themselves over fine points of doctrine, rather than with us over being worthless heathens. As you point out, there is a Darwinian benefit; none of those jihaddis will now father or indoctrinate any children, which is where the trouble starts.
When the dying Christopher Hitchens was asked about the prospect of deathbead conversion, he said, “Well I could accept the sacrament at the last minute; but only in the sense of, ‘better one more dead Christian than one more dead atheist’.”. Ouch!
“Progressive” sic Athiests, Feel the same murderous rage against those who espouse enlightenment values!
From Acolyte of Sagan: “hotrats, the big question is does he really know for certain that he is God and that he exists or is he simply just a patient in a psychiatric ward convinced by his own delusion?”
I am not in a hospital. “Care in the community” (a.k.a. “the community doesn’t care for or about the likes of you”) kicked me out.
I am not a theist, as there is no god but me. Ask any cat, they know much that is otherwise hidden. Nor am I an atheist as I don’t need faith in a god. I am not an agnostic, as I know for a fact that there are no other gods. I am just me.
You are just me, too. Small, dim, tiny, flickery parts of me with all the wit and charm of a spark from a sparkler and about as much of a life each but still you are made in as much of my image as I could fit into your minuscule, little souls and wormy bodies. You are the rough equivalent of a chimp’s stick-figure drawing of its human friends yet you are precious.
Sorry, little people, but it is about all I could fold into the itty-bitty meat-sacks I made one drunken Saturday in 4007 B.C. I did the best I could but you are not very much like me, just as much as a hundred kilos of goop can carry. (Yes, 4007 B.C. It is also 13.97 milliard years ago. Time is not so simple as one generally imagines. It gets folded in the wash.)
Which brings me, in a fade-in, cutaway zoom fashion to your religions.
Like, what the hell, people? Listen, dumbos, I don’t give a fungus’s fart what you believe. I don’t care what your laws are and I don’t give a fuck what you do on Sundays, so long as you are most excellent to each other.
Realistically, I can’t give a fuck as I don’t have a cock, nor the sheath they fit into. I’m about as male as a brick and about as female as a cup of strong tea with milk. I invented sex for you folks to enjoy. I thought it was funny. I thought you would enjoy it. I thought you would get a huge kick out of playing with and cuddling each other. Folk, you only get ten minutes in the light and then you are gone, there ain’t no afterlife for sparkler-drift like you. It was impossible to build something as big as an afterlife into something as pathetically small as humans, so I gave you sex as a way of making the darkness less lonely, more fun and a little warmer.
You are supposed to boff like fucking bonobos, children. Shit, I even gave you fucking bonobos as a fucking clue. And then you go and invent chastity, chastity belts and all of the other detritus of your delusional nuttery. You people are weird.
Incidentally, bacon is bloody delicious for a reason. You don’t imagine that was a mistake, do you? I don’t mind if you forgo meat for compassionate or philosophical reasons but don’t, for my sake, claim I told you to. I did not. I would not. Be nice to the little piggies but by all means eat them when they die. Don’t let good meat go to waste.
But back to religion. I don’t give a shit what you believe. Why would I? I am here whether you believe or not. I am like the wind, the rain or the need to go potty, I am ineluctable and I don’t need your faith.
Nor do I need your worship. That is about the daftest idea you have ever come up with. What the fucking hell would I do with it? There is no power to be gained from it, I’m not an Ori, I don’t get juiced from the faith of underlings. That is SF. Your faith is a complete and entire waste of your short, brutal and one-off lives. You have one go at the light and you throw it away in meaningless ritual and demented fighting amongst yourselves. That, friends, is fucking insane.
Your stories and religions are all trash, and I am nothing at all like the hysterical psychopath your early books make me out to be. I would never smite things so small as you lot.
I don’t ever interfere with the games you little monkeys play because it does matter to me. I don’t care what laws you have. I don’t care which bosses control which peoples in what lands. I don’t give a toss (no mouth so no beer, which is another thing I gave you to make you happy (and one reason I sometimes drop in for a while, beer is magical and only a truly marvellous people would have thought of making it from mucky bread)) who fucks who or what.
I certainly don’t need you to spend money on fucking obscene churches when you are not feeding each other.
That is not why I made you all.
I made you because the greater Brane is lonely and you are fun. I made you to have fun. Fuck, I invented fun.
So sell the churches, stop the fucking stupid little religions, stop squabbling over what I want, watch her teats bounce in that skimpy dress and thin brassiere and go shag someone. Or, if you prefer, watch his bum waggle and go shag him. It makes bugger all difference to me.
Bonobos are a clue, people. Indeed, I gave you bonobos so you would have Other People to cuddle, care for, love and talk to. They are Humans, just Humans with a thicker fur coat. Hasn’t it ever struck any of you that the mean spread of their mental powers is squarely in the first sigma of the bell curve of that of your children? That bonobo as human child is one of my most precious gifts? That they would love you?
Deary Me, you people are so slow.
I mentioned that I am not an interventionist deity, that I prefer to watch you play and shag and be nice to each other so why this message and why here?
The message because I am tired of being misquoted and lied about. Your sacred books are garbage and I just wanted a chance at speaking my peace (pun intentional). Here because J&M is funny and I like funny. Funny is something you little guys made up all on your own and you should be ever so proud of it. In this dark, empty, meaningless universe where you get a tiny little look at the light then vanish forever, you have to be really special to create humour.
You did good. Not perfect, but I didn’t make you for perfect.
I’m proud of you.
And about science and modern medicine: those are just magnificent. You would bring tears to the eyes of your maker, had I eyes to tear up.
Hug each other. Hug a bonobo or a chimp. Be nice. Spread the message that religion is bunk and your god has told you so. Be excellent to one another and make this cosmos full of happy.
This Is My sacred Word. Spread it. I won’t be angry if you don’t. Angry needs glands and those are more things your creator lacks.
thank you for that. A very interesting post.
Now there’s a reality TV show I’d happily watch!
God-myself, you really should be spreading your word to the sites frequented by the less-enlightened of your creation – were you able to get through their moderation, of course.
Just a quibble or two, if I may make so bold.
I’m not sure whether you do or don’t care what we do, as the following extract from your revelation appears to take both sides:
Also, did you invent beer or did we?
And if you really did invent fun, then why would we need to invent funny? Surely the latter is a natural by-product of the former?
So sorry to question you so, but your revelation is, in parts, as perfectly opaque as the corruptions of same that pass for holy tomes down here. Not that you’d be offended, of course, what with having no emotions and all. Or have you? Your revelation isn’t too clear on that point either since you can do pride but not anger.
Shit, my friend, your revelation is just so chock-full of potential schisms between your creations you’re almost in danger of passing for the real thing.
Just a cautionary note; it may just be my computer but I’ve twice tried to follow blackflag1961’s link and both times my computer froze.
I typed in blackflag1961‘s URL onto the direction bar and it worked fine.
It’s not a trojan virus thing, I promise. If you type ‘the atheist pig’ in the search bar, it will get you there. It’s a cartoon about guardian angels. It’s also in the authors list of comix at the top of this page, on the left.
Dearest Acolyte, thank you.
And WELL DONE!
Your perspicacity and analytical skills bring joy to a creator. It is so rare that one of you notices these things that I almost(1) wet myself with glee when it happens.
You, little friend, are a keeper.
You are also correct in your assessment of my most recent choice of medium for my most recent message. It would do more were I to land with all of my many non-existent feet on the sites and in the publications of the disputatious and the deranged. I could, of course, avoid their censoring moderators by the simple expedient of remembering how to hack their simple protocols so access is not an issue.
What is problematic is that the devout are, in a word, rather devout. They have a vision of me that includes genitalia, beards, wrath and all sorts of other petty human things and even my appearing to them in person and yelling in their ears for the rest of their tiny lives would never convince them of the truth about me.
You lot know this.
You have even mentioned it in previous cartoons and previous comment trails.
Short of zapping them with a truth-ray or an Edorrian zone of compulsion, there is not a lot I could do to change their habits of thought.
But they are, evil, Daddy, so why don’t you make them nice? I hear a few of you ask.
Truthfully, I am non-interventionist because I am too powerful to intervene. Think about it for a moment. Consider something the size of a planet, with fingers larger than cities trying to adjust the tiny glow of a spark from a fire using as tools only hammers the size of battle-stars.
The only time I ever did this, with a race called the GLad-reNn, it did not eventuate with felicitous results.
The Touched are still fighting.
I may be a rather potent force but I am not delicate in my operations.
I am also not in any sort of hurry.
This cosmos is tiny and cramped but I made it rather extensive in Time. For myself there is no such thing as time but for you there is great galloping buckets of the stuff. I have patience. I can watch and hope your people improve. As you do on occasion.
Not by much for there is not room in your tininess for a lot but sufficient for you all to stop hitting each other over meaningless trivia.
It would be nice.
You do have a point about “fun” and “funny”, my little friend, but it is not what you think it to be. I gave you equipment to allow for pleasure because I thought being happy would be interesting and rather cool. More so than being a joyless lizard. I never imagined you would take it to the hysterical extreme of humour. That is an emergent epiphenomenon that quite surprised and delighted me. Whether you developed it on your own or it was always a possibility in the design is moot, it is still ever so cool.
Beer was all your doing. True, I did have a small part to play in grass, seed, rotting and other ingredients but beer was another of those emergent properties that I did not truly foresee. Your ancestors are to be congratulated. Or they would be were there anything left of them which there isn’t.
Acolyte, you are correct that my message is always rather internally inconsistent, rambling, logically self-contradictory and messy. You are wise to notice. Many have not, and those few who do can sometimes spend their entire lives trying to reconcile how it could be that I gave you beer yet you invented it, to use but one small example. In that case, reconciliation of the two is easy, I gave you the kit, the parts and the instructions for assembly in Japanese but you figured out the hard part which lead to breweries and much jollity. That was an easy one.
There are many instances when my message is far less amenable to logical deconstruction into units that both make sense and are mutually consistent. This is for a simple and I would have thought obvious reason: quantum mechanics and Relativity don’t mix.
There is no such thing as a theory of everything which encompasses quantum and relativistic physics. It is not possible. They are two different facets of the crinkly stuff you perceive as reality. This is not due to incompetence on my part, it is just how the complexities fell out of the design.
Sorry about this but it was unavoidable if you wanted FTL and I assumed somebody would.
Yes, that was something I like to call a hint.
There are contradictions in the cosmos. There are contradictions in me. There are contradictions in you. You are not the simple, simplistic, simple-minded bunch of behaviours and “complexes” that your mentalists would have you believe. You are far more than that. Like your sense of humour, you are full of the potential for emergent properties, syndromes and phenomena.
You don’t think altruism is built-in do you? Fuck no, that is one of yours. All your own work.
Yes, the cosmos and I are contradictory and internally self-inconsistent, but that is just life. Live with it.
Which brings me to (1): it is not easy for me to wet myself with pleasure. No urinary tract, no tiny sphincters damming the flow, no mechanism to release it to facilitate flight when in trouble indeed neither trouble nor the need to flee from it. That is another of those things that comes with being a biological, which I will not ever truly be.
I do not really, whatever that means, have emotions like pride or pleasure and I certainly do not have hate, anger or wrath. In human terms I am either an unfeeling bastard or a sociopathic prick. I am not, however, cruel. I do not wish you to harm each other for any reason and most assuredly not over what you perceive or imagine to be my words.
Believe I am a goat. Believe I am a floaty bowl of pasta in curry sauce. Believe there is a Quantum Relativity, I don’t care. Why would I? I get no more cheer from your adulation and devotions than I would from those of a cactus. I would get some pleasure from the love shining from the eyes of a cat or one of those dogs your people invented but that is something different.
Humans were never intended to worship anything but each other and only in small bunches like families. Again, an emergent epiphenomenon that resulted from interactions of good bits to produce, in this case, something monstrous.
Religion, be it worshipping me, a rock band a sporting icon or some bloke with a strange fetish for hand-waving is just wrong.
But I am far too lazy, far too powerful, far too busy and far too patient to fix it. Not that I am entirely sure I could without ruining all the bits I did right with people.
It is up to you.
Do not worship me. Use that energy to help and love each other. Build a better cosmos. Hug a cat. Throw sticks for your dogs on Ceti Alpha Six. Watch firelight dance in the eyes of bonobo and chimp on worlds without names. Play with Those Other People.
My last message to my creation is love.
I wish I could.
One last point, Acolyte of Sagan, and everyone else: fear me NOT!.
Be so bold. Argue my words with me (preferably not with each other for obvious reasons). Berate me. Insult me. Ignore me should that be your wish. Be atheist. Be anything you wish. But be your most beautiful and lovely selves.
Should I ever want a bunch of robots to play harps, sing praises and clean up the place I will build better ones than your guy Lightbringer. Trust me, I can program without bugs.
You are free, not because I built-in free will but because you are. It is just how you work.
So, if you do not like my message, ignore it or mock it or trample it into the mud. Just do it with kindness to each other and a stroke of one finger down a cat’s spine.
They like that. They like it so much they will bite.
Any chance of a link to what God-myself was responding to so warmly?
Sorry, too much liquid lunch. Missed the post above. Mea culpa.
Hey god bot full of your self,
Robert A. Heinlein did it far better, in fewer words, than you ever could.
*Hot Rats* – Frank Zappa AND Tom Lehrer! You have good taste! 🙂
How kind, thank you. At the risk of blowing my standing, you could add Flanders and Swann.
And now for something totally on topic:
hotrats, at least you didn’t say Flanagan and Allen.
blackflag, that wasn’t meant to sound like an accusation so please accept my apologies if that’s how it came across. Most of the long-timers around here know that I’m about as clued up on computers and their workings as the average believer is about reality, and considering the fact that my computer is so old that Ken Ham claims it was planted by God as a test of faith I’m more than aware that the problem was likely to be at my end, or ‘PICNIC’, an acronym that a friend who works at the computer help-desk of a large company assures me is an industry standard.
I’ll bet nobody else here needs it spelling out, as I did when she told me.
Anyway, I got there in the end. Very funny and very true.
God-myself, fair enough, I shall add you to my list of deities not to believe in forthwith.
no worries, mate.
This is totally OT but just found it and it amused me, so wanted to share: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8qx9EXn7lA
Nice one, your link.
Nowt to do with prayer, but this is literally out of this world – yet looks so familiar.
“There’s only thing to do, pray”
Or you can kill off the competition, like they’ve been doing for thousands of years. More money in the collection plates for one group.
I’m not a sheep. so I don’t need a shepard.
I know I’m pretty behind but this might be relevant to the notion of praying to fix things:
God-myself, you say it’s fine with you if we don’t believe in you, yes? That’s cool, I’ll not-believe in you the same way I don’t believe in the lady serving me in the local chippie. You’re just there. Sort of like a person, only I don’t need to take you home with me, feed you or interact with you in any way save for one specific function.
Her function is making money into chips, yours is as a sounding board for our vented feelings and ideas.
However, is it okay if I say “Thank you”?
And mean it?
Being sparkler-drift is rather scary but it’s well better than never having been at all. Even being scared is sort of cool in its way.
As you say, I got to hug some furry buggers and some of them even loved me.
So, thanks for that.
Not for death or suffering or hate or any of the other bastardy things the cosmos throws at us but for this tiny, brief moment of Light.
It was ever so beautiful.
Yes, I know, “you” don’t exist – not the you you purport to being, there is nothing to thank and “God-myself” was just another hominid playing word games but had you been true, had you been real, had you been the maker of all things, I just wanted to let you know that you did a few things right and at least a few of us appreciated it.
For a few heartbeats.
I got to meet Her.
For that, if nothing else, I owe you one.
Beer was just suds on top.
The next round’s on me … then, mate, we are going to have The Talk.