This one balances out this one from July.

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Discussion (73)¬

  1. IanB says:

    I am willing to be it’s still a crock of sh*t whichever language

  2. jerry w says:

    So, the medium is the message after all? Or is that only true in Medina (Madinah to the Saudis)? Just asking….

  3. machigai says:

    There they are.

  4. JoJo says:

    Fair point. The God Delusion is much better when read in the original Klingon…

  5. So this means that all those madrassa students in Pakistan who memorize the Koran in Arabic without actually learning Arabic…

    They don’t get it?

    Sad for them.

  6. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    “They don’t get it?”

    It matters not that they don’t ‘get’ it as long as they ‘feel’ it. God is beyond all human understanding on an intellectual level, to feel It’s presence in one’s very soul is to truly know It; to fear It is to love It; to love It is to fear It.
    Or some such bollocks 🙂

  7. Neuseline says:

    Oh dear, I fear I may have inadvertently become a Muslim when I wrote about the Shahada in an OU exam some years ago. Ah – I just remembered I wrote in English, so that’s all right then.

  8. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Become Muslim, easy, like falling from bed
    To get out, is something to dread
    Once joining the mindless mob
    You are slave of some slob
    Who, if you become an apostate, will cut of your head.

  9. FreeFox says:

    I just read Dawkin’s foreword to Folie a Dieu. Um. Moses represents Judaism? I thought that in spite of his biblical alter ego here he represented relativism. *frowns* Did Dickie really read the book before he praised it?

  10. Al West says:

    I guess knowledge of Classical Arabic is only necessary for those who doubt Islam – because there are lots of Muslims who know not a word of it.

  11. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Freefox, that comment made me go back and re-read the foreword, and this passed me by the first time;
    “There’s topicality too: the presidential candidacy of a Mormon serves as the pretext for a cameo walk-on by the nineteenth-century charlatan Joseph Smith,”
    I’m pretty sure that Hatface was appearing here long before Mitt threw his own hat into the ring. As shocking as it may sound, perhaps the good Professor D. is indeed second-guessing Author’s motives for the bit-part characters’.

  12. Kevin Alexander says:

    You don’t have to understand it. It’s magic spells, like at Hogwarts.

  13. Red Mann says:

    The Koran is by parts excruciatingly boring, completely incoherent, poorly plagiarized, ridiculously stupid with no noticeable organization and absolutely no story line. We are challenged to write anything as perfect. Really? A third grader could have done better. At least the Babble has some actual stories and some rare good poetic parts. The Book of Mormon at least has a story line and a sort of plot, both completely unbelievable of course. I find it incredible that Muslims, and others, wax so enthusiastically about the wonder and sheer beauty of the Koran and how reading it convinced non-believers to embrace Islam. I worked with a lot of Saudi’s back in the eighties and it appeared most of them, like most Christians, just do lip service to their religion. Of course in Islamic countries not paying lip service can cost you your head.

  14. Maggs says:

    Or Unseen University on Terry Pratchet’s Disc World…

  15. hotrats says:

    Seeing Governor Romney’s limitations revealed in debate – the patent egomania, the willingness to steal Obama’s policies when his own are revealed as threadbare, and unwarranted confidence in reducing taxes for his chums as a route to economic recovery – makes a lot more sense when his Mormonism is factored in.

    Like all Latter Day Saints (as they modestly title themselves) he has uncritically absorbed the infantile and absurd claims and promises of its founder, and made the style his own; lie through your teeth, promise them anything, claim God as your ally, in the secure knowledge that in the US today the ignorant and credulous are numerous enough for their votes to carry the day.

    Romney has simply made a smooth transition from believing Joseph Smith’s arrogant bullshit to believing his own. The biggest danger facing the free world is that if he wins, both sides in the ‘war on terror’ will be headed by devout career fantasists who believe in hastening Armageddon. Roll on Holy War.

  16. In fairness I now do the same thing to young earth creationists. If they won’t read Dawkins or Koyne I won’t discuss the issue wilth them. The depth of ignorance is just too extreme. But I’m not willing to waste my time of any apologetics or sacred texts. In my defense I can claim that I’m not totally ignorant, having been brought up on Christian fables and taught the Apostles Creed before grade one, whereas they are. Good one again, Author.

  17. FreeFox says:

    @hotrats: Watching the tanks and army trucks roll past our house to further destabilise things in the fertile crescent where so many of those faiths originated – and hearing people now claim that the islamic Feast of Sacrifice is the cause for hope for peace – I can only agree. We so need more career fantasists in positions of power… *shivers, so fucking fed up with civil wars*

  18. kev_s says:

    I’m would not be surprised if the barmaid speaks and reads classical Arabic since she is clearly more educated than either of them! Maybe we are about to find out what ‘a load of codswallop’ is in classic Arabic.

  19. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox; “*shivers, so fucking fed up with civil wars*”.
    Putting aside the fact that ‘civil war’ is such a glaring oxymoron (like ‘mature student’), I think the tedium is looking increasingly likely to be broken by a global one. Louder bangs, brighter flashes, mushroom clouds; oh I can hardly contain my excitement.
    But not being religious I don’t even have the luxury of believing that I’ll see you all in the next life even if we never meet in this one. Damn, that’s killed the excitement a bit…but oooh the bangs and flashes!
    Hey, would a J&M convention be a good idea, or just one fucking huge target for the classic Arabic speakers?

  20. JohnnieCanuck says:

    I would not advise Author to appear at a J&M convention. What fun would it be anyway, if you couldn’t get him to sign your copy of one of his books?

  21. hotrats says:

    My own favourite oxymora: Military Intelligence, Business Ethics, Moderate Islamists, and Rap Music.

    And a J&M convention? Are you nuts? Might as well paint crosshairs on our foreheads. I wouldn’t even risk a booth at ComicCon.

  22. HaggisForBrains says:

    Talking of oxymorons (not to mention morons), I’ve been watching “Homeland” on TV, and every so often one of the CIA characters drives into a complex apparently called “The George Bush Centre of Intelligence”! Breaks me up every time. Please someone tell me this really exists.

  23. HaggisForBrains says:

    Update: Just Googled it, and it’s true! George Bush Centre for Intelligence. You guys over the pond must have one great sense of humour.

  24. daoloth says:

    George H W Bush (father of George W. Bush) was director of the C.I.A. for about a year. The center is named for him.

  25. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Hotrats; “And a J&M convention? Are you nuts?”
    Very possibly, yes! But we’ve all got to boogie with the Reaper eventually and I like to dance with a smile on my face. I’ll bring the cheese and pineapple chunks on cocktail sticks; cheesy mini-Moes anyone?
    Another oxymoron: Religious Tolerance.

    HFB, I’ve never watched it but I will now, just for that. Who says the Americans have no sense of irony?

  26. jerry w says:

    Hotrats…. Would a “Pimple Free Teenager” be an Oxymoron or an Oxymoron-5?
    Sorry, the Oxy-5 ad campaign may not have reached outside of the U.S. so the above may not be understood.
    And you forgot a few of my favorites, Military Justice, Decent Christian Burial, Ethics Committee, and of course An Impartial Jury Of Your Peers….

  27. hotrats says:

    Jerry W:
    One of us *diplomatic cough* is a victim of cultural isolation – Oxy5 isn’t marketed here in Yurp.
    Of course in the US you also have Criminal Justice, Mandatory Gratuity and, my favourite, Legally Drunk. As George Carlin pointed out, where’s the problem? “Leave my friend alone, officer, he’s LEGALLY drunk!”

  28. jerry w says:

    Is there a politically correct way for an atheist to recommend George Carlin for Sainthood? Just asking, of course…

  29. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Jerry & Hotrats, we Brits apparently have spottier kids than those over the pond, which is why ours use Oxy-10.

  30. AJ Milne says:

    We need an atheist shahada… somethin’ like ‘There is no god and Mohammed was full of it up to his eyebrows’…

    (/… as per comments upthread, mebbe in Klingon.)

  31. Techs says:

    @Acolyte of Sagan,”I don’t think “civil” in civil war means what you think it means” unless your trying to make weak joke.

  32. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    A little patronising there, Techs.

  33. hotrats says:

    With six assorted errors in a single sentence, you would do well to dismount from your high horse.

  34. jerry w says:

    Read AOS’s statement again and pay attention to:
    “‘civil war’ is such a glaring oxymoron”.
    Note that “civil war” was used as an Oxymoron example.
    You’ll find “Weak Jokes” are auto-deleted here.

  35. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    The nerve of some folk, eh? Thanks, chaps.

    More oxymora: Near-miss: Friendly Fire: Shakespearean Comedy (with apologies to his fans, but his comedies definitely lacked a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’).

  36. jerry w says:

    I don’t think he’s on a high horse, it seems more likely he’s just sitting on his ass. However, I could be wrong…..

  37. hotrats says:

    Somehow we’ve missed the obvious oxymoron for a site like this: Christian Scientist.

  38. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Speaking of missing the obvious, my snack idea for the never-to-be J&M convention should have been a cocktail stick holding a pineapple cube sandwiched between a cube each of Cheddar and Double Gloucester.
    Hey presto: Mini Cheeses and Mo.

  39. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    ‘Sophisticated Theology’. How could I have forgotten that oxymoron?

  40. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Where is everybody? If you’ve all sneaked off to church there’ll be trouble.

  41. European says:

    @AoS: Last day of sacrifice holidays, slaughter a sheep…

  42. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Roast pork for me today. I really can’t see why Jaweh had such a downer on it; bloody delicious. And the crackling…….

  43. Coming to the party late but I’m constantly confronted with “cafeteria food”. Then there’s “British cuisine”, and who could forget “jumbo shrimps”. “Loving God” also seems like a pretty good oxymoron to me, given the job description the Christians give him.

  44. AofS. Mmmnnnn. Crackling. Sigh. Wish I had some right now.

  45. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    DH, British cuisine? Unless you’re referring to the French word ‘cuisine’ following ‘British’, that sounds a wee bit like stones and glass houses. I present exhibit A, cheese in a can.
    I rest my case 🙂

  46. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Author, have you forgotten to put the clocks back?

  47. steve oberski says:

    What kind of designer or creator only chooses to “reveal” himself to semi-stupefied peasants in desert regions?

    Christopher Hitchens

  48. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Steve, whatever did Hitch do to deserve that belated obituary?
    Just kidding of course.
    It’s the same kind of almighty deity that waits until a few hundreds or thousands of people have died in natural disasters before turning up to ‘miraculously’ save one: The kind that will not tolerate human suicide because it’s a deliberate act of destroying Its special creation, but is perfectly happy to let other humans stone and shoot women and children to death for having the audacity to allow themselves to be the victims of rape or ask for an education: The kind that turns Its back on the daily suffering of millions through disease, war, famine and drought so It can play silly buggers and make images of It’s son appear on a slice of toast or in a mildew growth – as any proud parent would, of course.
    What’s not to love?

  49. ippy says:

    Actually you also need to know Syro-Aramaic to understand the Quran:

  50. Author says:

    @AoS – Yes, I did. Thanks for the reminder.

  51. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Ippy, if you want to really understand the Koran (Bible, Torah, etc) you don’t need to learn dead languages, you just need to read up on a little psychology. It’s an understanding that won’t get you into Heaven, of course, but I don’t think we should worry too much about that…..or should we? I had a visit from the LDS today; the most fun I’ve had in ages but a long story and I haven’t the time to tell you about it at the mo.

  52. HaggisForBrains says:

    @ AoS 4 back: +1
    @ Aos 1 Back: We look forward to an entertaining account of Mor(m)on baiting. Glad it’s still legal (cf bear baiting)

  53. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Here we go then. Sorry about such a long post but it needs the context.

    I had a most entertaining, if rather short talk with a pair of LDS (that’s just a typo away from being a mind-altering substance, rather than just mind-numbing and lacking substance; but I digress) soldier ants….er…..’Spreaders of the Word’ this afternoon. I’ve been having fun over the summer with a pair that regularly patrol my area; I told them I was atheist right at the start but they’re persistent buggers. I started talking science at them, hoping it would do the trick, but one of them actually seemed interested when I started to explain about how evolution works, and he even started asking questions and actually looking at the evidence (I don’t recall the other one ever speaking, he just gripped his bible and sweated a lot). Each time he’d leave with a few facts to chew over, and every time he came back he would have the ‘official’ counter arguments; I’d explain the scientifically proven alternatives to the nonsense, then take him a little further, give him more to think about, and on it went. He was interested and he was learning and, possibly more importantly, he wasn’t rejecting it.
    I can only assume that he’s been moved to fresh pastures (can’t think why, he certainly seemed to enjoy our chats) because today he’d been replaced by an older chap who was determined to put the bad man in his place. He’d come fully armed and ready to show me the error of my ways, he had the sword of truth and wasn’t afraid to use it! So what masterpiece of theological thinking did he come armed with?
    “You cannot in all honesty be an atheist if you are good to people”!
    Yes, you read it right. But not because there can’t be good without gods, ohhh no, he had a new one (new to me anyway); We can deny the existence of gods all we like, and we can convince ourselves we’re right. But why are we not running wild, a-huntin’ ‘n’ shootin’ our neighbours and eating babies and so forth? After all, we’re not trying to get into Paradise…..are we? Well, as it happens, I’m assured that we most certainly are. And he knew this how?
    Well, according to him – and I think he was serious as he said it while maintaining a perfectly straight, if incredibly slappable and supercilious face, “Most of the people who call themselves atheists actually have a very real subconscious fear of Hell, so try to lead good lives because deep down they hope that the god they don’t believe in is a merciful god who can be reasoned with. If atheists really didn’t believe in Hell then with no fear of eternal punishment their Human Nature” he really did say it in bold, amazing trick if you can pull it off “would very quickly have them revert to the morality of savages”.
    And what did I do when faced with such a powerful logic? Yep, I laughed, until tears were running down my face and I could barely breath; if only I had a camera there to capture the look on his. Crestfallen he was, as though such uncontrolled laughter was the last response he’d expected. Credit where it’s due, he had the dignity (chutzpah?) to stand in silence until I brought myself under check, and then he went and blew it by saying “Aren’t you going to try and tell me why I’m wrong then?”.
    And all I could muster before losing it again was “Ask my mate, the one you’ve shifted; he’ll explain it to you”. And you know what? I really hope he does.

  54. European says:

    Sorry Haggis, what makes you believe (!) that Mormon baiting is still legal? Might want to read up a bit:

  55. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    It’s OK, European, the Mormons don’t issue fatwas, just tight undies. Besides, I’ve been thinking, and if you really want to play with a Mormon’s head don’t use blasphemy, just casually drop into the conversation that Donny and Marie have been singing love songs to each other since the 1970’s. Give it a second to sink in and then say “I know they’re almost Mormon royalty, but don’t you think that it’s just a little bit strange, a brother and sister being that close? I’m not suggesting anything of course…but I still remember all those rumours about the Carpenters”.
    Either that or tell them that your name’s McKinney and you’d just love to join them 🙂

  56. Dan says:

    If we hold a J&M convention can it be on the observation deck of One World Trade Centre, New York on the morning of 11-Sep-2014?
    I’m assuming that will be the first occurrence of 11-Sep that the building is fully operational.

  57. TonV says:

    intelligent design (that is , the design of “intelligent design” lacks intelligence)
    theological proof or theological evidence

  58. HaggisForBrains says:

    @ AoS – Unbelievable! Well done. I think the hysterical laughter is the only answer to that sort of delusional crap, particularly as he made it clear that he expected some sort or argument, for which he no doubt considered himself well-prepared. This is one of these “not even wrong” situations.

    @ European – I don’t get the point of your link, but would say that as long as Mormons are allowed to proselytize, we should be allowed to mock, indeed it is incumbent upon us to do so. I am just amazed that no-one has yet done any serious mocking of Mittens and his Magic Knickers (at least not that I’ve heard) in the run-up to the Merkin election.

  59. Suffolk Blue says:

    So, if I learn Arabic and read the Koran from front to back (or is that back to front?) then I’ll believe that Mo acended to heaven on a winged horse. That’s gotta be some persuasive text, I tell ya.

  60. ippy says:

    AoS: of course on this contemporary level of analysing the workings of religious propaganda the understanding is easy. But if you want to understand the genesis of the Muslim faith (and all others) as a historical process you need to learn old languages and put those scribblings in their ancient contexts. And than imho it shows even more: it shows being part of a quite specific propaganda war between various factions, ethnic, economic and cultural. I personally find that very fascinating and wished much more for the use of science in the analysis of religion. There are great books out there, f.e. “The closing of the Western Mind” about the genesis of Christianity as the dominant ideology in Europe, unfortunately not so much about Islam. Ibn Warraq mentions this in “Why I am not a Muslim”.

  61. noreligion2 says:

    AoS, so you didn’t ask that guy if fear of punishment was the only thing keeping him from thievery, rape, murder, eating the flesh of babies etc.? Next time, be sure and do that, especially in front of the young missionary so he’ll be forced to look at his “elder” in a new light:”Gosh darn it Joshua, you mean the only thing keeping you from going all Jerry Sandusky on me is the fear of hell? Does our magic underwear come with a chastity lock option?”

  62. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    That last setence of mine was all I could manage, noreligion2, and I doubt I’ll be seeing him again any time soon, but I would say that seeing one his elders so openly derided was itself an eye-opener for the young ‘un. Who knows, maybe he had an inkling of why I was laughing so hard, maybe he took more in than I thought whilst I was talking with his last partner-in-preaching.

  63. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Ippy: ” if you want to understand the genesis of the Muslim faith (and all others) as a historical process you need to learn old languages and put those scribblings in their ancient contexts.”.

    Well you could, or you could save a lot of time by just dotting a few different strains of bacteria around a petri dish, sit back and watch what happens when the cultures meet. Right there you’ve got the development of religion -and of civilisation – in microcosm.

  64. hotrats says:

    In my younger and wilder days I had a different approach to Jehovas Witnesses waking me up on Saturday mornings; having discovered that they had doctrinal objections to the blood transfusions that had saved my life as a ‘blue baby’, and that they were immune to rational argument, I would open the front door stark naked and ‘baptise’ them with a bucket of water, then scream obscenities about God and Jesus at them until they left not only my doorstep, but the whole street. I hope this was a formative experience for the children they dragged around with them.

  65. Acolyte of Sagan, Cheese in a can? Yuck. I’ve never seen such a thing. As for my slur against British cuisine, my mother was British. She’d take a roast and cook it to a quarter of its size, all grey and dry meat. She’d cook Brussel sprouts until you could suck them through a straw. She’d cook liver until it resembled shoe leather. It wasn’t until I reached majority that I discovered food could taste good. Mom’s gone now. I do miss her oatmeal cookies – flat and hard as a dog biscuit but wonderfully warming as you chewed them. Am i far enough off topic yet?

    Noreligion2 I agree that the best response to “why are you good without God and the threat of punishment” is a look of shock and horror and asking them if they don’t know the difference between right and wrong. What a stupid argument for morality, like we’d like to create a world of horrible behaviour just because we don’t think there’s a Hell.

    My avatar popped up again the first time I commented on this thread, then disappeared again. Go figure.

  66. hotrats, you do know that they thrive on that kind of response. It convinces them that they are doing God’s work and heading straight for martyrdom. I’ve seen fundies absolutely glow with pride at the abuse they were attracting.

  67. European says:

    @Haggis: The book I linked to is a documentation of cases around the world how any kind of religion is being insulated from any chance of criticising, mockingly or academically. Just wanted to caution all of us if we think that some groups can still be treated the way they should be – need to think again. Fad or trend?

  68. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    DH, have you not seen the classic ‘Blues Brothers’? “You got my Cheese Whizz, boy?”
    Also, your mother and mine would have been of the same generation, the one that believed that all meat and veg had to be cooked until done and then given another hour, just to be sure! My generation of Brits saw the first major influx of immigrants, and it didn’t take long for us to realise that food could actually taste nice rather than being mere sustinance.

  69. Somalipirate says:

    I love Mo’s philosophy 😀

  70. yhwh says:

    Late to the party but since the thread is still alive I give you my personal favourite “Christian Unity”.

  71. hotrats says:

    Good one, and for that matter, what about ‘Roman Catholic’?

  72. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    …or even ‘Religious Truth’?

  73. ippy says:

    I don’t think that we know all we could about the genesis of religion and history and archeology are quite important in the quest of mankind to understand its place in the universe. Of course it’s all part of “natural processes”, but it’s by far not simply a growing petri dish (even though I understand the sentiment to refer to mankind as a parasite on the planet), but after all we are not bacteria or ants (those are already marvellously complex) and not even usual apes, but you can witness here the emergence and collective self-actualisation of the only species we know with a conciousness of some sort. Try to put a complex mess like that into a set of formulas! I’m sure that even a genius like you could still learn things in that domain, and if not about the social structures and historical developments than maybe about the purpose of the social sciences and humanities.


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