It’s not torture if God does it. God can do what he wants.

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Discussion (103)¬

  1. Myrrhine says:

    I’m so glad that you made this point.

    I once saw a current affairs programme on TV where they talked about torture. Most of the audience were definitely opposed to it. Next item: gay priests. A gay vicar spoke. He was a cuddly beardy type. Very nice, wanted to love all his fellow Christians, even the homophobic ones. Another vicar started talking about the “fact” that gays are going to Hell!

    Plenty of people disagreed but no-one pointed out the discrepancy in thinking that torture is wrong, even in terrorist cases but seeing nothing odd about the suggestion that the kind man in the audience was going to be tortured forever by the benevolent God to whom he has dedicated his life.

  2. HaggisForBrains says:

    Brilliant punch line – I’m glad I don’t do Twitter. Love the newspaper headline.

  3. Of course the first three panels are pure fiction – in reality both J and M are great fans of torture.

  4. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    With such extreme cognitive dissonance, I can see why they no longer buy irony meters.

  5. arensb says:

    Hey, the image is back in the RSS feed! Thanks!
    As for the author’s comment, here in the US, we have a saying: It’s Okay If You’re A Republican (IOKIYAR). Perhaps we need IOKIYG as well.

  6. hanybaal says:

    What is the brand of beverage they have on the chair arms?

  7. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Torture, is being berated
    Among authorities it is celebrated
    The end justifies the means
    It’s non denominational it seems
    Torture will be agonizingly debated.

  8. Chris Phoenix says:


  9. jerry w says:

    To paraphrase an old saying,
    “The torture will continue until the moral improves!”

  10. David Amies says:

    Lots of cognitive dissonance around in religion. One example I like especially is the fact that Muslims must not drink alcohol but that there is a river of wine flowing through Paradise! Work that one out.

    David Amies

  11. Don says:

    Well of course Turtullian and Aquinas were both gagging for a ring-side seat in heaven to relish the torment of the damned. And then there is the popular hymn by Isaacc Watts “What bliss will fill the ransomed souls, when they in glory dwell, to see the sinner as he rolls, in quenchless flames of hell.”

    Johnathan Edwards took it a step further with “The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. . .Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell. . . I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.”

    With all this torment and torture, punishment and pain it’s almost as though these faiths were less than confident that the transcendent truth and moral power of their teachings were going to be enough to carry the day.

  12. Don says:


    Probably Guinness.

  13. For me, this particular cartoon really underscores something I love about this site. I have unexamined beliefs that I absorbed from contact with our largely Christian society that are stupid. Of course Hell shows that the Christian mythos is pro torture. But honestly I never noticed it until Author pointed it out. I really appreciate that Author makes me laugh. I appreciate it even more that Author makes me think.

  14. Oh, by the way. The wind is blowing 30 MPH here right now. I just now came in to work after being on the water all morning. My body feels like it has been through some of that torture that J & M think is bad for a little while but good for all eternity. If you are confused why, just try picturing jumping 30 feet in the air and landing it with anything less than perfection. I was really glad I could just relax and read a new J & M.

  15. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Nassar, I like that. Very clever indeed.

    Don, that wasn’t the J. Edwards, was it? I always thought his talent for the triple-jump was divine. I would never had thought his vocabulary would be so old-fashioned, though.

  16. UncoBob says:

    Only problem with this episode is the assumption that J & M are against torture. Certainly many of their followers have practiced it with great enthusiasm over the centuries. There was even a fad a few years back for some of M’s people to video themselves doing it. The punch-line perhaps explains where the tendency comes from – why wait for the hereafter when you can have your fun now.

  17. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    UncoBob, it appears that they’re no longer content with accusing scientists of ‘playing god’, now they’re doing it to torturers too. So, by their reckoning god is a scientist with a sadistic bent (or vise versa). Is a comparison with Josef Mengele too obvious?

  18. Mo did not like this cartoon as he suspended the twitter account of @RationalSaudi for trying to access it.

  19. UncoBob says:

    Acolyte: So many issues in such a short note – to do with the nature of a hypothetical deity. The sadistic scientist theory has a lot to support it: just look at the news on any day you like, and imagine the motivation of an omnipotent deity who would permit it. The sadistic scientist theory fits, so does the out and out psychopath.

    An alternative involves an omnisicient creator with at least a hint of what we’d call ‘common human decency’. They would have seen every birth, death, sex act, every person (or animal) experiencing joy, pain, fear etc etc since the big bang. How long would it be before they were totally insane? That hypothesis may explain a lot.

  20. The Reality Based Dave says:

    I ran into a study/survey a few years ago, that asked people about torture. Is it always/mostly/sometimes/seldom/never ok? The answers were broken down by religious group. Two noted results: 1-The group that had the highest percentage saying torture was always ok – Catholics. 2-The group that had the highest percentage saying torture was never ok – Athiests. BTW, the article was on a religious newspaper!

  21. Don says:


    Mr Deity deals with it switching off his omniscient mode.

  22. HaggisForBrains says:

    Good one, Nasser.

    I assume that Don was referring to this Jonathan Edwards, but was interest to learn that the British triple jumper, who has presented “Songs of Praise”, actually renounced his Christianity in 2007, saying “When you think about it rationally, it does seem incredibly improbable that there is a God.” So athletes do have brains :-).

  23. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    HFB, in athletics terminology, it might be said that Edwards did a ‘reverse Icke’.
    Now there’s a nutter for you. From the second coming of Christ to reptilian overlords communicating telepathically on the same frequency as the Olympic bell? And still the public were dubious; or to put it another way “They’re not laughing with you, David, they’re laughing at you”, as Terry Wogan pointed out in his interview back in the early ’90s.

  24. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Did anyone else notice that floridakitesurfer actually does what he says on the can?
    I’m impressed.
    (and no, that was not an attempt to return to last weeks discussion of scatological euphemisms)

  25. HaggisForBrains says:

    AoS – “reverse Icke” – brilliant! Sounds like something a diver or figure skater might do.

    Yes, Walter, I noticed, just before I went out to clear the snow :-).

  26. Snow. Ug. It has sprinkled just a bit of snow here twice in the last 20 years. Nothing sticking to the ground mind you. And even that is plenty for me. I would like to try snowboarding. But in classic have your cake and eat it too style I want to try snowboarding somewhere warm. 🙂

  27. hotrats says:

    * But in classic have your cake and eat it too style…*
    UPOTW reminds you that you can’t eat your cake unless you have it to begin with: perhaps you mean ‘eat your cake and still have it’, which is the correct, impossible way round.

  28. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Hotrats, the phrase as I’ve always known it is ‘you want to have your cake and eat it’, a saying with the same basic meaning as wanting ‘the best of both worlds’. Floridakitesurfer* wants to snowboard (have his cake) but do it somewhere warm (and eat it).

    *Floridakitesurfer, you’re one of the regulars here now, so would you be OK with me (and the rest of the unruly mob here if they wish) calling you ‘fks’?

  29. WalterWalcarpit says:

    @ AoS WWp thinks fks works so long as no errant f appears at the beginning.
    @ fks wear more clothes (just remember to take them off again when you get home.

  30. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    What, not WWc? It would certainly run with the recent theme of scatological euphemisms 🙂

  31. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Good Grief! Much better TLA all round, AoS. How perfectly pertinent. Well spotted, my friend.
    WWP has been with for me for a while. Indeed my version self completes to my email address on this and other keyboards which makes typing it as a TLA frustrating to say the least. It came originally from my old Walterwalcarpit Productions moniker. Days before email, would you believe, and when that turned up I regretted my deliberate misspelling – and then the Internet grew up and I became glad.
    Not unlike my relationship with my own given name, as it happens.

  32. HaggisForBrains says:

    WWP – I enjoyed the Guardian story, particularly that the person commenting from the Met Office was called Helen Chivers.

  33. HaggisForBrains says:

    Sorry, should that now be addressed to WWc? Which do you prefer?

    Love the hat BTW ;-)!

  34. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    This might make you laugh, Walter. I’ve just googled ‘TLA’ to find out what it’s an abbreviation of. DOH!
    “”Days before e-mail..” Now there’s a phrase that will confuse a lot of the younger folks here. It still blows my kids’ minds (well, I say kids, they’re alll adults now) to think that I had to get through school without the benefit of a pocket calulator, never mind a computer (apparently,they don’t consider the abacus to be a computer), and I’m sure they think I’m joking about valve televisions with only three channels available – and those only part-time – complete with the National Anthem at shut-down every evening.
    I guess that makes us dinosaurs, which reminds me, . Ken Ham citing ‘lack of evidence’ to avoid answering a question about his own claims! Genuinely piss-your-pants funny.
    Obviously I’ve no idea of your given name but for me, even if I wanted to (which I don’t) I don’t think I could ever have my own facebook or twitter account for one very simple reason; without giving too much away, my own name is just a ‘c’ short of being identical to a relatively high profile American religious fundie, and the last thing I need is his fan- or hate mail infesting my computer.
    A last question for you, Walter; would you prefer idle buggers like me who can’t always be arsed to type out your moniker in full, to refer to you as Walter, WWp, or WWc?

    Finally, a request for help. Could somebody please explain to me, in plain English and without tech-talk if possible, how to re-name links as HFB did for the ‘Jonathon Edwards’ link in his post above> Thanks a million.

  35. HaggisForBrains says:

    Hi AoS

    I keep the following permanently in a notepad file that lives minimised on my taskbar:

    Use this to post a YouTube or other link when posting on Wordpress or J&M:

    [a href=”link address”]change me[/a]

    All you need do is copy & paste it into the comment box, paste the URL (including http://) between the quote marks (replacing ‘link address’) and put something in the “change me” spot, eg the name of the video. Best to delete and retype the quote marks at ‘link address’ when pasting the URL into the comment box.

    To embed the video, leave the http:\\ and paste the link direct without the above brackets



    In all these html tags, you will have to replace the square brackets with “less than” and “greater than” marks (they’re above the comma and fullstop on my keyboard). If I type them in correctly, you won’t see them here!

    More info here.

    I hope all that works, and is clear. I got all this from someone blogging on WEIT. Give it a try – good luck!

  36. HaggisForBrains says:

    AoS – Yes I enjoyed the PZ Ken Ham story, thanks. I used to follow PZ religiously (Hah!), but got fed up with some of the comments descending rapidly into personal invective, so haven’t been back for a while, preferring the more civilised chat at WEIT. Is it safe to go back to Pharyngula now?

    BTW, my daughter-in-law has had a Facebook presence since her early days at university, but mindful of her employment prospects on graduation, always used a pseudonym (just as well, when I see what she used to get up to!). I was on Facebook for a while, just to try to keep up with what my kids were up to (who said spying), but eventually got fed up with all the mindless crap (so unlike the sophisticated dialogues we have here), and endless “friend” suggestions that I packed it in. Can’t say that I miss it.

    Mrs Brains and I have been using the TLA “TLA” for years now, much to the confusion of friends. We also have our own personal set of TLAs, such as BOP (bird of prey) for any large soaring or hovering bird which we can’t quite identify, MOP (member of public) often described by journalists as the man on the Clapham omnibus, FTB (fa’in’ to bits) or ATH (a’ to hell) (a Fife accent helps here) to describe our state of health as we age.

    You know how to go an abacus – respect!

  37. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Cheers HFB, much appreciated. I’ll give it a go by linking back change me.
    Fingers crossed and all that.

  38. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    YES! Thanks again, HFB.

  39. Author says:

    @AoS – Almost. You forgot to close the tag just after the words you wanted to link, with </a>

  40. hotrats says:

    Dear Author,
    Doubt I’m the first to ask, but any chance of having some of those little formatting buttons for this box? I’d like to use quotes, renamed links and emphasis in my posts, but like most people can’t be arsed to work ‘blind’ with techie markup tags. Thanks anyway for a great strip.

  41. hotrats says:

    Duh – Of course it’s only ‘this box’ before I Submit Comment – I mean the comment input box, natürlich.

  42. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    OK, if at first you don’t succeed, and all that. This time, I give you Creation that I can believe in. It’s astronomical porn, I tell you!

  43. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    That’s better.
    Now, a question for anyone in the UK who watches Match of the Day:- How much older than Alan Hansen’s face is Alan Hansen’s neck?

  44. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Or not better. The link I gave has retained the ” from the end of the command. Last go, because it’s worth it.

  45. WalterWalcarpit says:

    AoS, now you have made me laught twice in one session. Glad the TLA got you. I caught it from my brother and like walterwalcarpit it is only fun when someone bothers to notice. And HfB, you’re right, once one realises they are out there one can’t but join in.
    With a bit of luck what I did there was use some HTML italics that I picked up educating at Grifith Film School last decade. After the Q&A above (thanks guys, there are no stupid questions only stupid people) I thought I’d send them out for a test drive.

  46. WalterWalcarpit says:

    @ HfB What hat? Where? Did it have a moustache underneath?

  47. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    WWc, at a guess, I’d say this one.

  48. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Well my attempt at italics did not work.

  49. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Ok you are just showing off now.
    If ever I might have wanted some annonyminity, for example on a site enjoyed by the determinedly rational but presumably not by the barking mad …
    But I flatter myself – all it really shows is that I spend more time with You guys & Jesus and mo than I do with a business building network!

  50. WalterWalcarpit says:

    And BTW, AoS, FWIW I added (eventually) to your WWW thread.
    I shoul have said trubbleyou but I felt I needed another TLA to resist the alarming appearance a FLAB in my post.

  51. hotrats says:

    Acolyte, Walter:
    WTF are you guys on? And can I have some? Stop, please stop before TLAs take over the site…

  52. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Sure, hotrats, you know how to find me!

  53. HaggisForBrains says:

    Now that you’ve been outed (so to speak) WWc, is that a Guy Fawkes mask, or are you really that handsome?

    AoS well done, eventually – practice makes perfect. We look forward to lots of lovely links now.

  54. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    WalterWalcarpit says:
    February 3, 2013 at 2:09 am
    ……..If ever I might have wanted some annonyminity….

    …then you wouldn’t have used a ‘nym that shows up your true self with a quick google search.
    The italics and bold are easy to achieve here, Walter, I’ve been doing it for years. In the example to follow, wherever I use brackets you simply replace them, as HFB says above, with ‘less than ()’ symbols.
    So to achieve italics, One simply types [i]italics[/i] (remembering to replace the [ with . The same works for bold by typing [b]bold[/b]. You can also do bold italics by typing [i][b]bold italics[/b][/i]. Simple really, when one gets the hang of it.
    For changing the name of a link, I can do no better than suggesting you follow HFB’s perfectly clear example above; it worked for me after a false start or two which were entirely due to my inability to follow simple instructions.

    Hotrats, I asked the same question of WWc on the last thread; I believe the mind-altering substance we are on is one of the brain’s own making as a direct by-product of insomnia.

    HFB, that was deliciously cruel. We have a lot in common, you and I 😉

  55. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    OK, so the ‘s that I supplied with my examples have vanished into the ether. Another go, this time using the correct symbols but leaving gaps, so when you want italics, type words to italicise , but close the gaps between .
    Can you all see now why I decided against a career in teaching? Hats off to hotrats, one of our country’s unsung heroes.

  56. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Fuck it, I give up. Walter, just follow HFB’s examples above. Or mine in my first attempt, but replacing every [ with a . And if the symbols vanish ‘twixt here and there, I quit.

  57. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    They vanished. I quit!

  58. HaggisForBrains says:

    AoS – It’s really frustrating trying to explain HTML tags! Every time you try to show one, it does what it’s designed to do, and disappears. just out of interest, I’ll try another way to show “less than” <, and “greater than” >. Wish me luck!

  59. HaggisForBrains says:

    Yeeeeh! it worked. Of course, to explain how I did that I’ll again have to find a workaround.

    To print <, type “& # 60 ;” without the spaces or quotes.
    To print >, type “& # 62 ;” ditto.

    Using that, I’ll try to show the website link as follows:

    <a href=”link address”>change me</a>

    Boy was that tedious – I hope it works. Here goes.

  60. HaggisForBrains says:

    Good, I hope that’s clear.

    Sorry, Author, for all this off-topic crap, but hopefully it will help others to post useful links.

  61. hotrats says:

    And now for something completely different.

    A friend and I have created an amusing game, Rationalist Hymns. You just take a well known hymn, and alter the last line of the first verse, thus:

    Onward, Christian soldiers
    Marching as to war
    With the cross of Jesus;
    A handy battering ram.

    All things bright and beautiful
    All creatures great and small
    All things wise and wonderful:
    The exception proves the rule.

    All contributions to the new Hymnal gratefully recieved. If it hits the spot, it doesn’t even have to scan, so NBH can join in:

    We plough the fields and scatter
    The good seed on the land
    But it is fed and watered
    By NPK fertilizer and a cycle of evaporation and precipitation.

  62. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Thanks, HFB. It’s all Dutch to me, I happily accept my limitations when it comes to the mysterious world of computers, which is probably because I’m not all that excited by them, or at least not excited enough to want to know the in’s and out’s* of them. I’ll stick to using the italics, bold

    and blockquote facilities

    that I already knew, and my newly learned link re-naming gizmo (added to the sidebar as recommended by you, dear Sir).

    Hotrats, that sounds like fun. As it happens, I was playing around with verse earlier whilst walking with the dog; for reasons unknown the phrase Holy Mary full of grace had placed itself ear-worm style into my mind so I went with it and this is what I came up with:
    Holy Mary full of grace
    Liked panties of exquisite lace
    But Holy Mary got quite grumpy
    The front of her panties
    Looked too lumpy
    So holy Mary wise and fair
    Shaved off all her pubic hair
    Now Holy Mary god’s own mum
    Is smoother than a baby’s bum.

    I’ll have a go at your idea later, when I should be sleeping but know I won’t be.

    *A pedants note: I apostrophised ‘in’s and out’s’ because of a mostly forgotten fact, which is that the words are abbreviations of ‘insides and outsides’. Heh, maybe I should have gone into teaching after all, just not in computer technology. Although as I understand it computers now play a large role in education, which is an incredible tool for teachers and pupils alike to have at their disposal. I just hope that the spoiled little bas darling little angels at school today appreciate just how lucky they are.
    Am I boring anybody yet?

  63. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    A quick one that just sprang to mind;

    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me.
    I once was lost, but now am found
    Thanks to sat-nav technology.

  64. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Mine eyes have seen the glory
    Of the coming of the Lord
    That’s photoshop for you!

    Dammit, hotrats, now I know I’m not going to get any sleep tonight.
    Now, where I did I put that hymn book……….

  65. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Good King Wenceslas looked out
    On the Feast of Steven
    There the snow lay round about
    So he built enormous snowmen.

  66. HaggisForBrains says:

    Brilliant one and all. A great laugh to wake up to. I think a Pedant’s Nobel to AoS for his in’s and out’s.

    Hotrats, love the Rationalist Hymns, but too much to do this morning. I still have many first verses memorised from constant Sunday repetition, so should be able to come up with something. In the meantime congrats to all three of you!

  67. HaggisForBrains says:

    OK, one quick attempt:

    Who would true valour see,
    Let him come hither;
    One here will constant be,
    Come wind, come weather
    There’s no discouragement
    Shall make him once relent
    His first avowed intent
    To be a bomber.

    Duty calls – see you later.

  68. HaggisForBrains says:

    The lord’s my shepherd. I’ll not want
    He makes me down to lie
    and cheat, and bear false witness
    even for his own name’s sake.

    “Lying for Jesus” verses 1 & 2 combined.

  69. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Yea though I walk through death’s dark vale
    Yet still I fear no ill
    For I am the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the valley
    And am armed!

  70. botanist says:

    With apologies to John Le Carre:
    Who would true valour see,
    Let him come hither;
    One here will constant be,
    Come wind, come weather
    There’s no discouragement
    Shall make him once relent
    His first avowed intent
    To be a gardener.

  71. botanist says:

    Yea! and the instructions above worked too. Thanks all 🙂

  72. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    “To be a gardener”.
    Love it, botanist. I have a sneaky suspicion that you’ve been waiting a long while to tell somebody that one.

  73. botanist says:

    Nah, it’s been a long time since I needed to know the words to a hymn though! But when it occurred to be it was too perfect to ignore. Thanks AoS 🙂 I’ll watch the film again soon too.
    This is a simply brilliant thread – love all the stuff happening here at the moment.

  74. hotrats says:

    The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want
    He makes me down to lie
    In pastures green; He leadeth me
    Gently towards the butchers.

  75. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Mmmm! Roast lamb. Any wild mint growing in those pastures green?

    Not strictly a hymn, but nontheless;

    I saw three ships come sailing in
    Sailing in, sailing in
    I saw three ships come sailing in
    Bringing Christmas goods from China.

  76. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Again, not strictly a hymn, but it brings back memories of the Sunday school I attended- exactly three times, then….expelled! I asked too many ‘disrespectful’ questions, apparently, a good few of them about this;

    The animals went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah
    The animals went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah
    The animals went in two by two
    The elephant and the kangaroo
    <So Daddy's taking us to the zoo tomorrow.

  77. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    All things bright and beautiful
    All creatures great and small
    All things wise and wonderful
    All come initially from wonders such as this

  78. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Dammit! One day I’ll get it right first time. I promise.
    …wonders such as this

  79. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Feck. Wonders such as this

  80. JoJo says:

    After the vote on Gay Marriage today, will the Author treat us to a special strip entitled “Four Weddings and a Resurrection”….?

  81. HaggisForBrains says:

    From Green Chri$tma$, by Stan Freberg

    Deck the halls with advertising
    Fa la la la la la la la,
    While you can be enterprising
    Fa la la la la la la la…

    Beautiful picture, AoS.

  82. botanist says:

    Amazing GPS, how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me.
    I once was lost but now am found,
    Was blind, but now I‘ve been to Specsavers.
    It was worth the wait AoS.

  83. hotrats says:

    The holly and the ivy
    Now they are both full grown
    Of all the trees that are in the wood
    These will give you the worst rash.

  84. noreligion2 says:

    I think that I shall never agree
    That a contrived, omnipotent being produced a tree.

    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

    A tree that breathes the wind all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to sway;

    A tree that may in Summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;

    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.

    Gods are a projection of men, whose genes,
    Are shared from the same branch of the eucharyote tree.

  85. botanist says:

    OH – brilliant no2, many congrats!
    hotrats – I have always objected to the ivy being called a tree lol. It climbs up trees, fenceposts, walls etc, but it isn’t a tree! So trash this ditty as much as you can.

  86. noreligion2 says:

    botanist, forgive me for mispelling eukaryote. I have to confess before the inevitable POTWA arrives. I must have been afflicted by hotrats mentioning ivy as a tree and thereby crossed some synapses – I must have been thinking eunicharyote?

  87. noreligion2 says:

    eunuch, dammit.

  88. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Eukaryote. Sounds like a Glaswegian ordering one of his kids to the off-licence*.
    If I remember rightly, mistletoe is a parasitical plant that can exist only by tapping into the roots of several species of tree. Can’t for the life of me think why it’s associated with Christianity.

    Noreligion2, that was nothing short of beautiful. Coincidentally, the alternative last line of my ‘All things bright’ hymn was “Share a common ancestor somewhere on the tree of evolution”.

    *U.S. liquor store, known across the UK as a ‘carry-out’.

  89. botanist says:

    AoS – from Wiki (I’m not going to try a link lol) :-

    In cultures across pre-Christian Europe, mistletoe was seen as a representation of divine male essence (and thus romance, fertility and vitality).
    According to Pliny the Elder, the Celts considered it a remedy for barrenness in animals and an antidote to poison.
    When Christianity became widespread in Europe after the 3rd century AD, the religious or mystical respect for the mistletoe plant was integrated to an extent into the new religion. In some way that is not presently understood, this may have led to the widespread custom of kissing under the mistletoe plant during the Christmas season. The earliest documented case of kissing under the mistletoe dates from 16th century England, a custom that was apparently very popular at that time.

    There are lots of things that christianity incorporated to make the ‘converted’ feel ‘at home’!

  90. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    There are lots of things that christianity incorporated to make the ‘converted’ feel ‘at home’!

    One of the most common being to build their churches on existing sites of worship, and – temporarily at least – incorporating the sacred symbols of the existing religion into their own buildings. I have a book somewhere (possibly consigned to the loft, but I’ll see if I can dig it out) on British history around this time, which contains plates of stone pillars from the first British Christian churches with both Pagan and Christian symbols carved into them, along with details of archeological digs under old churches which have unearthed pre-Christian places of worship and associated burial sites.
    Mind you, I suppose it made economic sense, once a particular hamlet or village was successfully converted from Paganism (in the case of Britain) to Christianity, to simply move in to the existing place of worship.
    Why am I thinking of the Fun Boy Three song The lunatics have taken over the asylum?

    On a side note, I see that Parliament today passed the bill to legalise same-sex marriage (and, more importantly, I feel, recognise it as a marriage), yet the world hasn’t come screeching to a halt, nor blown itself to smithereens, and as yet no homonazi* has been at my door to inform me that I must divorce my wife and marry another bloke. So it would appear that all the fuss was for nothing really.

    *I’ve just coined that term (unless anybody knows better). And before I’m jumped on for it (no pun intended) let me explain. It’s sarcasm, a play on the ‘straw feminist’ feminazi slur that’s increasingly being aimed at people like Ophelia Benson, Greta Christina, Rebecca Watson, PZ Myers (and there’s a picture you don’t want in your head; PZ in kinky Nazi leathers), and anybody else speaking up on feminist issues. I’m just surprised that none of the vitriolic homophobes opposing the bill didn’t come up with it first. If, however, anybody does see the word used by the homophobic crowd in the future, please refer them to this post of mine, where they will see that the word homonazi was coined by me as an example of the stupidity that seems to infest the minds of the irrational, the bigotted, and the ignorant, and that use of the word in any context other than the one in which I use it here marks the user out as all of the above.

  91. hotrats says:

    Technically it may only be a vine, but given only a blank wall for support, ivy can not only grow to tree size, with a trunk as thick as your leg, but also generate a prodigious root system. Some years ago in Greece, I had to hack out an ivy root that had penetrated so deep into the wall of a water tank, that it had lifted its 25 sq m. reinforced concrete top free of its supporting walls. A tree’s worth of work, at least.

  92. Kakapo says:

    AoS: You’re far from the first to use the term “homonazi”. I was going to include a link to an example of a site using it, but it was too odious to soil my fingers with.
    Instead, here’s a gratuitous link to the EDL, a much happier place:

  93. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Away in a manger,
    No crib for a bed
    The little lord Jesus
    Came to mess up my head.

  94. WalterWalcarpit says:

    WRT the same sex marriage act passing, and with significant majority at that, did anyone notice if it also allowed civil partnerships between opposite sexes?
    I’d like some of that equality please.

  95. WalterWalcarpit says:

    I never thought I’d find myself following a link to the EDL.
    And I never thought I’d find myself having anything positive to say about disco.
    We live and learn.
    Nice one!

  96. HaggisForBrains says:

    Yes, that EDL link is good. I love the topical “Now is the winter of our disco tent”. Thanks, you cute New Zealander!

  97. HaggisForBrains says:

    Sorry, can’t resist the temptation be be post number 100! This may not be the longest so far, as there have been others that have degenerated into heated lengthy discussions, but it has certainly been one of the most entertaining. Thanks, guys, and thanks also to our host, Author (peace be upon him).

  98. hotrats says:

    Do you really go to the trouble of counting them? Or is it just me being old-fashioned and reading in a browser on a desktop computer, rather than on the latest videophone-gps-camera-ipod-tablet toy that numbers them for you?

    (The easiest way to spot really long posts is to check the size of the scroll cursor – the smaller it is, the longer the page. In some of the FreeFox/Acolyte exchanges it shrinks to a stub – there’s a full-length book in there, just waiting to be cut and pasted into shape.)

  99. HaggisForBrains says:

    Hotrats, have a look at the top, just above the first comment and check the number in the brackets, just after “discussion”. I may be sad, but not so sad as to count the comments. And yes, I’ve also used the size of the scroll cursor.

  100. hotrats says:

    A case of selective blindness on my part – I must have ‘seen’ that hundreds of times without taking in its significance. Soon I shall have to stop having frequent ‘pensioner moments’ and settle for occasional ‘lucid intervals’. Och aye the noo.

  101. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Kakapo, I stand corrected, thank you. So it appears that it’s only ‘trubbleyou’ that I shall be leaving as my legacy to the world 🙁
    Love the EDL link, still despise disco. It thought it may have something to do with working as a bouncer at nightclubs for too long, but I think it’d be closer to the truth to say that it’s just rubbish; after all, I also worked at rock clubs and at punk nights in pubs (some real dives, I assure you, that often looked better after having anything that wasn’t bolted down being thrown around) but I still like both rock and punk.

    HFB, this has been a long thread, and certainly entertaining. I have noticed one irregularity though, in that I think this is the first thread in a long time that Darwin Harmless hasn’t contributed to.

    Hotrats, re

    Soon I shall have to stop having frequent ‘pensioner moments’ and settle for occasional ‘lucid intervals’

    Welcome to the club.


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