Matthew 15:21-28

Discussion (51)¬

  1. jb says:

    Racism? If I refused to help a white guy because he was from Canada rather than the US it wouldn’t be very admirable, but it wouldn’t be “racism” either. The term is used so broadly these days that it risks losing all meaning, and could end up being ignored. (Although maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing? For example, if the word has been stretched so far that striving to be “color-blind” makes one a racist, well, then I’m perfectly happy being a racist).

  2. Shaughn says:

    I am a racist. Generally I prefer dogs over people, and I prefer to feed my Dog rather than give that money to the philantropics. Let the latter have crumbs from the bowls of the Former!

    (I know most of the Dogs names in my neighbourhood, but hardly two or three names of their owners. Gee, am I a racist!)

  3. Anonymous says:

    @Shaughn You’re not a racist. You’re speciesist. There’s a difference.

  4. Mockingbird says:

    Shaughn: ~ Did Jesus have a dog?

  5. Donn says:

    Likely not – I think dogs are not much appreciated in the Middle East, though of course much could have changed since the time of the Jesuses.

  6. paradoctor says:

    Everyone involved in that story is a Semite, so it’s not racism. It’s nationalism.

  7. mcalex says:

    There’s a dog in Tobit. It’s only mentioned at the start of a journey (Tob 6:2) and the end (Tob 11:4). It’s assumed this is a trans-placement of Odyssey’s Argos. Or it’s an angel.

  8. Rrr says:

    Not being familiar with Tobit, I do take solace in the claim that there is a Dog.

  9. Marcus Sulivan says:

    It may not technically be racist, but to treat any individual unfairly purely on the basis of preconceptions is wrong. You might justifiably be wary of them based on previous or shared experience of their race, culture, community or anything else they belong to but you must treat them fairly.

  10. I think I posted this too late on the previous strip for anybody but M27Holts to see it, so I’m re-posting it here:
    Message to our beloved Author: “Scientists have developed genetically altered pigs whose organs would not be rejected by the human body, research accelerated in the past decade by new gene editing and cloning technologies.
    This heart transplant comes just months after surgeons in New York successfully attached the kidney of a genetically engineered pig to a brain-dead person.”
    It seems to me that Jesus and Mo must have something to say about this. In contrast to the followers of Jesus, the bodies of Muslims might not reject the transplants, but their owners would. That’s gotta be funny, eh.

  11. Rrr says:

    Darwin: Oh, it was, and I did chuckle. Thank you.

    We must hope no-one tries to transplant a pig brain to a kidney-dead Muslim person.

  12. Yeah ok but Canaanites really are assholes, let’s just admit it.

  13. Horrible Heathen says:

    It’s all a matter of perspective and exposure. Globalization and the connectivity of the internet has led to a heightened awareness of the diverse range of peoples. We all know that there are black and white and brown and other peoples, and everything in between. Yet a black person in China gets all sorts of gawks even today.

    There are Indians (from India) darker than some black Americans that don’t consider themselves black, and most people wouldn’t think of them as such. There are black people lighter than some Italians. I could go on and on with examples but I wont.

    Think of the hatred between the Hutus and the Tutsis of Rwanda, of the hatred between Serbs and Bosnians in former Yugoslavia, of the hatred between China and Japan. People so closely related, that outside peoples who are uncultured and unexposed to them would see them fighting and wonder “why are those two black people/white people/asian people fighting?”

    Think of the times! When one’s social sphere, cultural exposure, and civilizational awareness is as limited as those of the peoples that wrote the bible, small differences in semitic people become as stark as those of the “races” of today. In biblical times, to Jesus, a Canaanite may have been considered a different race in the same sense that we use it today, even if that term was not yet invented. Therefore, I think the term racist stands in this context.

    Race is a social construct that changes with time and perspective, not a fact-based nor scientific term.

  14. Donn says:

    Race is a social construct that we confuse ourselves with. You’re more or less saying, race isn’t about race, and really that’s the plain truth. So when we take up the question, we start off pointed straight into the swamp. But what are you going to do.

  15. Donn says:

    I looked up the believers’ explanation, and it’s more or less “I wasn’t really calling her a dog, we always call gentiles like her dogs. I could have just said ‘gentiles are not my problem’, but I need to speak in riddles and generally obfuscate as much as possible, and the dog thing gave me an idea. I didn’t really get what she meant about dogs eating crumbs, but I figured, what the hell, I haven’t been seeing all that many Jews here in Lebanon anyway, so she got a special deal.”

  16. Alverant says:

    And we don’t even know for sure if Jesus helped her. The woman said her daughter was possessed and Jesus said when the woman got home her daughter would be better. There’s no confirmation so all we know Jesus said that to make her go away.

  17. Donn says:

    The daughter wasn’t present, so faith healing miracle is out of the question. I’d say we know he didn’t help her.

  18. M27Holts says:

    Went to school. or even slightly tanned humans in the 3500 or so pupils I shared the school.with for 5 years. No asian pupils, only 1 asian chemistry teacher..didn’t do much travelling on holiday. So my exposure to non white culture before the age of 17 was negligable…I suppose to kill a mocking bird was exposure to.american racism but didn’t like the book so it’s message was lost on me….however viscious fighting between reds and blues in manchester did affect me , as did fighting with leeds , liverpool and bolton fans….localised football club fuelled violence….tribal…

  19. M27Holts says:

    You see, at OT there were black utd fans, but when in the battles that took place fiercely at the back of the stretford end…it was shirt colour and not skin colour that mattered…

  20. WalterWalcarpit says:

    That inter-species transplant is some pretty amazing science but I sure hope they have some ethicists on the team.
    Sapiens are arrogant enough at how we treat the planet and everything on it and the idea of farming animals to harvest their organs might be one massive step beyond.

  21. Son of Glenner says:

    WalterWalcarpit: “… the idea of farming animals to harvest their organs might be one massive step beyond.”

    Any worse than harvesting their body parts for food?

  22. Rrr says:

    Not (only) to plug a certain company, but there is some serious work being done to develop a fully functional artificial heart for implant in humans. So far a few animals such as calves have been successfully implanted, and most did not die from that (primarily), so there is a bit of promise for a better future.

    Many thousands of people (3500 per year in Sweden alone, pop. 10M) die from heart failure from various causes, such as infection, and would be greatly served by a pump transplantation, but a pitiful lack of donors existing means that most of the critically ill don’t make it.

    It is quite complicated, the flow dynamics of a beating heart impose an elevated risk of blood clots for example.

    A resolution of the tech would mean that all except rampant antirobotists could be eligible for a potentially life-saving procedure. Who would turn down a second lease of life?

  23. Mockingbird says:

    Sadly, my pig has just passed away because he refused a second-hand heart from a Muslim donor.

  24. M27Holts says:

    What most vegans and vegetarians don’t realise. Is that if we didn’t eat them. Lots of domesticated livestock simply would not exist. And any other creature that ate the veggies we would need would be exterminated….only animals useful for other things rather than their protein. We are natural omnivores…lets just get on with figuring how to control human populations and getting more bacon on the plates of the hungry…oh and I had a bite if my laws vegan german sausage – it was fooking inedible…compared to the sumptious krakaur spicy sausage I was scoffing…

  25. M27Holts says:

    I’d have a pigs heart if my ticker wasn’t working. However I would go for a porn-stars cock…have you seen a pigs penis?

  26. Spn of Glenner says:

    Much as it pains me to agree with M27Holts on any topic, he is right that if everyone became vegan, livestock would no longer exist. When tractors became available to farmers, work horses quickly became effectively extinct. But the disappearance of cows, sheep, pigs etc would mean the freeing up of land formerly used to grow their feed (grass, maize, soya etc). This land would then be avaiable for growing food for human consumption if the population continues to expand, or, preferably IMNVHO, to be “rewilded” ie returned to nature.

  27. Rrr says:

    Spawn of G:
    What, cornflakes but no milk? Vegan cheese? How much water to grow an almond?

  28. Son of Glenner says:

    Rrr: Ignoring your first two scoffs (no pun intended!), you make a valid point about growing almonds. In fact, not only almonds, but avocados and some other food items grown under irrigation, make seriously harmful impacts on the environment, and many vegans boycott these crops for those reasons.

  29. jb says:

    If everyone went vegan then farm animals wouldn’t exist, but they wouldn’t care that they didn’t exist. Because they wouldn’t exist.

    Lewis Carroll wrote an essay on vivisection in which he asserts that “…man has an absolute right to inflict death on animals, without assigning any reason, provided that it be a painless death, but that any infliction of pain needs its special iustiflcation.” This strikes me as not unreasonable. I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian, but I do think the animal rights people may have a point about factory farming. A little fear and pain at the end of an animal’s life is fine with me — it would be worse in the wild, and anyway who of us gets through life without a little fear or pain? — but to make an animal suffer from the beginning of its life to the end does seem kind of bad.

  30. Mockingbird says:

    Rrr ~ I saw what you did there with that typo .. .. .. .. 🙂

  31. Donn says:

    I’m happy to disagree with Lewis Carrol, Anglican deacon – I mean, I sure agree with him about vivisection, but not strictly about pain.

    My own “vegetarian” rule is that I don’t eat livestock – chickens, cows, pigs, etc. I don’t really mind too much killing an animal and eating it – if it’s for example an Eastern Grey Squirrel, a local invasive pest. Or I’ll eat a salmon or a ling cod, which aren’t invasive pests. All these animals die, and suffer as much in the process in any case. They kill other animals that also suffer (the squirrels do too, don’t kid yourself.) The difference is that they get to live their natural lives. Once you take an animal under your care and pen it up, I don’t want to get involved by later eating it. If there weren’t so many horrible examples in the industry, I might have felt differently about all this.

    Pain in animals is kind of an interesting point that seems to me to be largely philosophical, though scientists (e.g. in Norway) are sometimes called upon to offer their findings. I gather it may be illegal in the UK to boil lobsters? So does that make sense, or maybe lobsters can’t feel pain, they just sort of react mechanically to stuff. Or you can watch moving films about the apparent sentience of an octopus (mollusc, definitely “lower animal.”)

    Regardless of the neural mechanics, I think it’s self-serving nonsense to say animals don’t feel pain, but it is fair to say that they may have a less complex response to it. Here’s the philosophical aspect. If you experience horrible pain but remember nothing about it, that makes a rather significant difference, doesn’t it? Maybe you weren’t even fully conscious – of course that makes a difference, too. We experience a dimension of pain that it seems isn’t so much there for a dog, for example.

    Anyway, I don’t kill humans, but I’m a pain to them. What can you do.

  32. Rrr says:

    Mocking: In my defence, mine was not the original typo. 🙂

    Donn: It is indeed an interesting philosophical issue. A close relative was when younger adamant we must only buy “happy eggs”, and we still try to abide by that.

    On the other hand, it seems to be okay to eat coldblooded life such as fish and shellfish, as long as it has been properly killed before. Live oysters are no-no.

    Ourselves, we are maybe more coldblooded and hesitate little to consume beef or even chicken, again professionally processed and properly cooked. Squirrels or other roadkill make me squirmish. Cats and dogs are to be fed, not eaten. Gosse liver – no thanks! :(p

    Everyone has their own taboos, I guess. Wonder if tomatoes suffer? Gotta eat, after all. Rather not think of how olives or grapes get life squeezed out of them. Not to mention oats, wheat, rye or barley. Don’t even mention rice.

  33. Donn says:

    Octopi are as cold blooded as can be, but arguably smarter than sheep. Tuna are warm blooded after a fashion. I except freshwater fish from my ban on livestock, because it seems to me that tilapia in a pond really may be living more or less their natural lives, confined mainly as they always are by their inability to breath air and walk away to other locations. Saltwater pens are a different matter – open water feed lots, environmental atrocity.

    Roadkill is a kind of carrion situation, but hereabouts there’s a kind of network that lights up on report of a deer, and the nearest available person will run out and snag it. Not strictly legal I think, but thrifty. But we don’t have deer so much in my neighborhood, and I don’t think I’d go for a roadkill squirrel.

  34. M27Holts says:

    I think it’s sick-bird to eat cats and dogs in blighty. We don’t eat carnivores as much? Do they taste less succulent than vegetarian meats? I have eaten plenty of rabbit pie and jugged hare northern specialities in the UK…

  35. Laripu says:

    Referring again to the punch line and “you people”. I have actually been on the receiving end of that. One co-worker asked me why “you people” vote Democrat, considering that Republicans support Israel so strongly. There was so much wrong with that, that I barely knew how to begin.

    That same fellow, about 10 years earlier, had spoken about bargaining with someone as “Jewing him down”. We were in a taxi with two other employees, and couldn’t restrain myself. I said “I guess I should be offended, since I’m Jewish.” He apologized, saying he didn’t know I was Jewish. But he wasn’t embarrassed, not in the least.

    One good thing about the pandemic: working exclusively at home, I’m never forced to be in the same room with that asshole. My dogs have better manners. (Well, one of them does, the pit mix. The other, a bichon, is a whiny and demanding little pest.)

  36. Laripu says:

    M27Holts, as a fellow omnivore, I agree you. While I don’t like bacon quite as much as you do (and frankly, who could? 🙂 ), my life is better because I can make chicken soup and various kinds of meat sauce and stew.
    About the discussion of pain and suffering. These are, of course, evolved traits. Animals (including people of course) that feel pain and fear death avoid those, and therefore have a greater chance of surviving to the age of reproduction. So it’s natural selection that has endowed us with the capacity to suffer and fear. Cruelty, being an integral part of the system, is either evidence against intelligent design or evidence for an inherently cruel designer. The latter would be worse.

  37. Rrr says:

    Yes, it should be amazing but is not, how bigots can instantly claim to exclude present company from “those people” they just berated. No shame, no sensibility, no sense. No charm.

    (And in talking about bigots I am obviously excluding our present company!) /s
    (Also, I never ever generalize!) /s

  38. Anonymous says:

    Re: the ethics of eating animals. This would change things

    Laripu: Re ‘Jewing him down’. I recall a short story in which the inventor of a time machine has leapt to the future & is trying to barter with a local for some artifact to prove he had visited the future. At one point the future person accuses the time traveler of trying to ‘Anglo him down’. 😉
    I think the story was written sometime between the 1930s & 1950s

  39. James R. Baerg says:

    Note: I neglected to put my name on the previous comment

  40. Donn says:

    Sure, pain is a valuable survival trait, but that goes all the way back at a reasonably functional level to the merest worm.

    Humans however have what may be a counter-survival adaptation, where we experience, remember and fear pain to an extent that other animals don’t – so yes and no, other animals do feel pain, but we suffer more. That’s my theory.

    The lobster science went into the differing neural pathways, and if I remember right found that lobsters have only one of the two types of nerve systems present in “higher” animals, and their apparent experience of pain is thus proven to be simply reaction and not the kind of experience we might have. So it might be OK to boil them alive. I personally doubt the logic, though I suspect that in fact boiling them might be about as merciful as any other way.

  41. M27Holts says:

    You dispatch them with a sharp knife though the upper thorax segment into the central nervous system. Supposed to be painless and swift ..Lobsters that is, not scousers….

  42. Laripu says:

    James Baerg, regarding the Guardian article you linked. It says “Scientists are replacing crops and livestock with food made from microbes and water. It may save humanity’s bacon.” (I like the little joke. 🙂 )

    First of all, I liked article, and hope it comes true and helps in some way. It seems to be worth doing.

    I strongly doubt it will be widespread with to “save our bacon” any time soon though. Raising animals, and milking them, and cooking in various ways, are activities so strongly intertwined with culture that it will be difficult – in the extreme – to persuade most people to switch, unless they’re very poor.

    So those ferm-factories will produce food that becomes a novelty choice in the developed world, like tofurky is now. Perhaps the poorest of the poor will have no other choice, but for the rich countries it will be a niche item… and the butt of jokes.

    Even now, there are choices: I can choose between sustainably raised farmed salmon, or Alaskan wild-caught salmon. I choose the wild caught every time if it’s available, despite the fact that it’s at least 20% more expensive. First of all, it’s better food. And it’s tastier. And I can easily afford it. But I can see that a family on a tight budget might opt for the farm-raised fish, and tell themselves that it’s also better for the environment. Ok.

    I might buy ferm-factory food, if it’s healthy and tastes good. But it won’t replace even 10% of my meals. (Unless age and consequent debilitation deprives me of my ability to cook.)

    I made a nice omelet for brunch today. Two eggs, a couple of tablespoons of meat sauce, basil, ginger, garlic, a tomato, and some cilantro at the end. There’s no chance I’ll give that up doing that willingly.

  43. Donn says:

    If they tell themselves that “farm-raised” salmon is better for the environment, someone is lying. It’s much worse.

  44. Mockingbird says:

    Darwin ~ “Scientists have developed genetically altered pigs whose organs would not be rejected by the human body, research accelerated in the past decade by new gene editing and cloning technologies.

    My MP has been re-equipped with a pigs ear.

  45. James R. Baerg says:

    Considering that people eat sausages & the ‘chicken nuggets’ that fast food joints serve, I would think that something made from such microbes that have a similar taste & texture would be eaten too.
    How many naugas died to make that couch 😉
    I think it would start with making good imitations of sausage meat etc. & later there would be experimentation with foods that are tasty but not quite like the meat from any animal.

  46. Laripu says:

    James, right, poor people will consume nuggets, and it will be better for them and for the planet than McDunghill’s “food”. (sic, and eating too much from McDunghill’s will make you sick.)

    But will the UK and Germany give up growing barley for beer? What about grapes/wine? Will the French abandon dairy and consequently their hundreds of varieties of cheese?

    I think middle class Americans might eat that some of the time, but when they go out to eat it have a special meal, they’ll want a “real” steak or turkey.

  47. jb says:

    You dispatch them with a sharp knife though the upper thorax segment into the central nervous system. Supposed to be painless and swift ..Lobsters that is, not scousers….

    I saw an account in which the writer claimed to have bought three live lobsters, put them in the sink, took one and dispatched it as described above, and when the other two saw this they just recoiled, seemingly in horror. He concluded that the two remaining lobsters had understood what had happened to the first lobster, and (rightly) feared they were next. I’m not sure I believe this, but very interesting if true. (And certainly testable!)

  48. James R. Baerg says:

    “But will the UK and Germany give up growing barley for beer? What about grapes/wine? Will the French abandon dairy and consequently their hundreds of varieties of cheese?”

    They wouldn’t need to for the microbial food to benefit the environment. Use it to replace the most land extensive forms of current food production & that is likely enough.

  49. Donn says:

    Use it to replace the food products I don’t eat, is what I’d suggest for starters.

  50. Laripu says:

    James, ok, I’m in. If it does some good for the environment, then good enough.
    Give me some franken-chicken, or a filet geñon. I’ll try anything. With enough garlic, I’ll make it taste good. Maybe they can also genetically engineer super-garlic that will taste good and fight crime too. 😀

  51. M27Holts says:

    Soylent Green – will become science fact from science fiction…Mrs Lovetts pies went down a storm in that there London as well…


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