Jesus died for our goats.

Today’s punchline shamelessly stolen from Daniel LePage (@lepage_d), who uttered the words in this Godless Spellchecker Podcast.

Discussion (97)¬

  1. bear47 says:

    LOL! oh, yes, basically that WAS all he did. Assuming of course that JC was an actual person and not just a fictional character.

  2. justducky says:

    as a goat farmer I guess I should thank Him far more often than I do.

  3. I got all choked up and threw down my gun, called him my pop and he called me his son. Thanks, from all the goats.

  4. two cents' worth says:

    Another great cartoon! This may explain why Jesus was born on Dec. 25th–as a Capricorn, under the Zodiac sign of the goat 😉 .

    If the sin of man was washed away once and for all, why is there still sin today? And why should we care that there is, since it was all washed away?

    Thinking about contradictions in religion before taking one’s morning dose of caffeine is not recommended.

  5. machigai says:

    Goats are really smart.

  6. Cygnia says:

    Great. Now I’m craving roast goat…

  7. JoJo says:

    Stop kidding around, guys.

  8. Doc says:

    My first comment, though I’ve loved this site for ages. It’s on my top five webcomics, and number one as far as intellect presented being more important to shading and anatomical accuracy. I pray you continue your outreach for sanity for years to come.

  9. What does he mean “all”? Goats don’t come cheap!

  10. Lakabux says:

    @cosmicstargoat: Goat named Sue?

  11. Cytryna says:

    And the newspaper title – spot-on 🙂

  12. If you’d ever smelled a burning goat, you would appreciate Jesus a lot more. Author, it’s not theft when you attribute. It’s an homage.

  13. Ephphatha says:

    “Using those who speak a different language, and using the lips of foreigners, I will speak to these people. But even then, they will not listen to Me.” 1 Corinthians 14:21

    right ear: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22%3A47-50&version=NIV

    left ear: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/04/story_n_3865320.html

    “Whoever has ears to hear, let them listen.” Mark 4:9

  14. Well, obviously this Ephphantha chap can’t take a hint, no matter how harshly worded. Have fun you guys (taking “guys” as a gender neutral tone these days).

    Oh my. Looks like we have a hard core specimen here: http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/ephphatha/

  15. Chiefy says:

    Ephphatha, for your convenience, I repeat the comment I left for you on the previous thread. I look forward to your reply:

    Ephphatha, I beg your unholy pardon for misspelling your nym. Fyi, none of the atheists here are fundamentalists. We are all heretics, as none of us conform to the teachings of the Holy Book of Atheism that was given to us by a being that does not exist.

    Speaking of fundamentalists, the Christian ones I know of, and I know many, don’t claim that every word of the Bible was dictated verbatim by God. If it were so, it would show God to be a rather second-rate author. Christians generally know that, and claim that God “inspired” the writings, leaving it up to men to turn the phrases.

    It seems to me that any semi-omnipotent god would be able to give mankind an indestructible book in his own handwriting, that could be mysteriously read by speakers of any language. What an amazing holy relic that would be! If Dr. Who can do it, why can’t God?

  16. Chiefy says:

    DH, it appears that Ephphatha has invited us to remove the gloves, so have at it. Not that you need my permission.

    It seems to me that, in the biblical context, a variant form of ephphatha could be “wet willy.” No offense meant. I know I am being a bit silly, but Ephphatha, you haven’t given us much substance to chew on, not even goat meat. We can look up our own Bible verses. I would rather hear your own thoughts on the matter, if you have any.

  17. Ephphatha says:

    Thank you, DH, for posting a link to the definition of Ephphatha.


    “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe… For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength… God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise… the weak to shame the strong… the lowly and despised—the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” I Corinthians 1:21, 25, 27, 28, 29

  18. eddyline says:

    Re: Corinthians yadda:yadda

    Translation: “my daddy’s stronger, smarter, and better than your daddy…and he can beat you up too!”

  19. Michael says:


    If you think atheists will be swayed by Biblical quotations you are sorely mistaken. Just as you would not be influenced by quotes from the Upanishads or the Qur’an we are not influenced by Biblical quotes about how foolish unbelievers are.

    If you want to have a discussion then by all means start one. But don’t throw out random quotes from a book atheists are not impressed with.

  20. Sparky_shark says:

    Crikey – if only I’d read that quote from Corcrapthians before…now I see how wrong I was! About everything! Funny thing though, seems to me that it says your God is foolish, weak and seems to choose foolishness…hmm. Perhaps some basic meedja training for you funny bible bashers would help a little?

  21. Hobbes says:

    LOVE IT!!! Thanks for the hoot, author. 😀

  22. djdummy says:

    The only thing they want to save is GROATS.

    Groat (coin), one of several coins formerly used in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, British Guiana and the British West Indies.

  23. hotrats says:

    In some parts of the Old Testament, the references to god loving the smell of burning meat can be found on almost every page. It’s almost like he can’t relax without it, and he’s not shy about demanding it or whining when he doesn’t get it. Then hey presto, jesus, and he couldn’t care less any more. Well that’s god for you, capricious and unreasonable.


    You’re wanted for questioning in the previous thread. Only.

  24. ScepticSarah says:

    Anyone else hear the ex-archbish chappie Rowan Williams on radio 4 this morning saying the church faces a struggle to sound credible? Err… Yup! And if even he admits it…

  25. Markus River says:

    “Pope JP2 – The patron saint of burying your head in the sand.” And freshly canonised too. Priceless.

  26. Mord_Sith says:

    I thought the fool god was Loki, the Abrahamic god is the jealous co-dependent one that has secret spy cherubs watching your every move?

    Kinda like a bad ex who can’t get the hint…

  27. Auntie1947 says:

    Goats are AWESOME – I’m so glad they have been saved from eternal damnation!!!

  28. Graham ASH-PORTER says:

    PJPII awarded Sainthood for burying his head in the sand! :0 🙂

  29. Macha says:

    ScepticSarah says:
    April 30, 2014 at 10:35 pm
    Anyone else hear the ex-archbish chappie Rowan Williams on radio 4 …

    He’s now known as “Lord Oystermouth”, which I find strangely apt.

  30. Pete says:

    So it’s goats who’re the chosen ones? god’s kids (pun intended)

    Re: JP2 – he should lose points for this

  31. DrJohn says:

    So now we know who to thank for the wonderful Goats do Roam

  32. Cygnia says:


    I love their rose!

  33. Jobrag says:

    I thought they did sheep as well, and doves can we have a bit respect for other sacrificial animals, please.

  34. steve oberski says:

    Author, I’ll have you know I snorted a perfectly good mouthful of beer through my nose when I read this one.

    But it was worth it.

  35. two cents' worth says:

    For another cartoon about the recently canonized popes (and comments about the cartoon), see http://www.gocomics.com/mikeluckovich/2014/05/01

  36. Mary2 says:

    Author, that is BRILLIANT!

  37. Mary2 says:

    “Where there’s life there’s hope, and need of vittles.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
    My random quotes are guaranteed to be a better read than yours!

  38. Mary2, brilliant idea. We should toss out random quotes from better books whenever the true believer quotes chapter and verse at us.

    “You are what you pretend to be, so don’t pretend to be anything you’re not.” – Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Mother Night

  39. hotrats says:

    Well, since you asked;

    “How much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements?”

    Joseph Heller, Catch-22

  40. Mark S. says:

    “Don’t be mean. We don’t have to be mean. Cuz, remember.. no matter where you go, there you are.” — Buckaroo Banzai

    More understandable than a lot of KJV.

    (Not a criticism of hotrats – just overlapped posting while I looked up the quote.)

  41. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    ‘If a faithful account was rendered of Man’s ideas uopn divinity, he would be obliged to acknowledge, that for the most part the word “gods” has been used to express the concealed, remote, unknown causes of the effects he witnessed; that he applies this term when the spring of the natural, the source of known causes, ceases to be visible: as soon as he loses the thread of these causes, or as soon as his mind can no longer follow the chain, he solves the difficulty, terminates his research, by ascribing it to his gods….
    When therefore, he ascribes to his gods the production of some phenomenon…does he, in fact, do any more thing than substitute for the darkness of his own mind, a sound to which he has been accustomed to listen to with reverential awe?’

    Paul Heinrich, Baron von Holbach, Systeme de la Nature,
    London 1770.

    Or in other words, Ephphatha, ignorance isn’t bliss, ignorance is religion.

    I like this game. 🙂

    By the way, Mrs o’S walked into the bedroom earlier as I was pulling off my boxers. Now she says I do too much for those dogs.

  42. Mary2 says:

    “I don’t believe in things like that – fairies or brownies or magic or anything. It’s old-fashioned.’
    ‘Well, we must be jolly old-fashioned then,’ said Bessie. ‘Because we not only believe in the Faraway Tree and love our funny friends there, but we go to see them too – and we visit the lands at the top of the Tree as well!”
    Enid Blyton, The Folk of the Faraway Tree

  43. On more of a religious note, and in keeping with the kinds of quotes Ephphatha tosses our way:

    “Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”
    – Bertrand Russel, Is There a God

    Acolyte, groan, following a spit take. Pulling off your boxers does seem like a very generous thing to do for them.

  44. Ephphatha says:

    If I considered myself to be the source of my own inspiration, I would be flattered by the vigorous competition that has broken out to outdo the inspired selection of quotes I used to respond here. So far only Chiefy’s demonstration of the power of silence has caused me to reflect on my manner of response to him, certainly not the butter knives everyone else brought to the sword and razor blade fight that was started. Nevertheless, it is gratifying, even as a third party, to see almost everyone but Chiefy behaving like there is a fire to be put out.

    Just to reiterate, I am here to read the comics and offer responses whenever I feel inclined to do so, not to try to use the reader comments section of this webspace as my own platform or to debate with mockers who are only looking for easy targets to vent their rage against God, apparently for not delivering heaven on earth and/or for daring not to address them as equals.

  45. steve oberski says:


    But what about the goats ?

  46. Macha says:

    Bleating goats.

    We need more sheep!

  47. hotrats says:


    You just don’t get it. Only believers rage at god. Nobody here rages at god, for what he has or hasn’t done, or for any other reason. You can’t rage at a figment of the imagination.

    No, we are ‘venting’ tolerant invitations to converse without hiding behind scripture, which you should have known would cut no ice here – it just makes you look brainwashed and unable to present an original point of view.

    And you can spare us the divisive pseudo compliments on the personalities here, at least until you’ve been around longer than a fortnight. Please check the header: this is the Discussion section, not Comments. If you have comments you would rather not discuss, keep them to yourself. It is not a place for you to vent, either.

  48. Chiefy says:

    “Chiefy’s demonstration of the power of silence…” Ephphatha, I don’t know whether I should be flattered or insulted. I simply had nothing to say to you after you disregarded my entreaty to share your own thoughts rather than parroting Bible verses. It’s nice to see that you have pulled your nose out of your book, if only briefly.

    No, rather than trying to put out fires, I would say we are trying to fan the flame, to get a reaction from you. We aren’t afraid to play with fire. Mockers we may be, but we are not angry with your god. Personally, I would feel sorry for him, if he existed. He apparently has some serious control issues. Is there some kind of divine rehab unit he could attend?

  49. Mary2 says:

    Ephphatha, No one was engaging you in a ‘razor fight’. We would love to engage you in a serious discussion but providing random bible quotes as your input means you are not holding up your end of any discussion.

    We weren’t competing with you; we were mocking you and your attempt to persuade us with random quotes from a book we don’t believe is any more true than are Enid Blyton’s – and there is just as much evidence that the fairies in the Faraway Tree.

    There is no competition between us or putting out fires; this is what we do for fun. Some of us also write limericks – you are welcome to join in.

    You are welcome here to read comics and have as much (or little) input into the comments as you wish.

    But, the VERY FIRST thing you need to learn about atheists is that NONE of us are angry at god. By very definition we do not believe a god exists or has ever existed. It makes no sense to suggest that we can be angry with him/her – any more than I could be angry at Darth Vader or Spiderman.

  50. Ephphatha says:

    You’re only splitting hairs now. Just substitute the word “God” where I have used it for the words “idea of God” or “idea of belief in God” and you get the same net result. Six of one, half a dozen of another. No points for moot points. Some of you, if not all of you, are terribly angry at the idea of belief in God.

  51. Mary2 says:

    “Some of you, if not all of you, are terribly angry at the idea of belief in God.”

    No, just angry that those with a belief in a god seem to think that gives them a right to impose laws based on that belief on everyone else.

  52. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Ephphatha, speaking as one who certainly knows the difference, this is nothing like a razor fight, and if you think that your random quotes from the Bible are a powerful weapon here you are sorely mistaken. Do you really think that you are showing us something new? Christ on a bike, the reason many of us here are atheist is because we have read the bloody thing, and have seen it for what it is; a collection of ancient myths and half-remembered tribal tales from many cultures and religions older than the desert ramblers portrayed in the O.T., all melded together into one hyper-myth and presented as the ultimate truth.
    And that impresses the good folk around here not a jot.

    How about answering one very simple question? Assuming that you have actually thought your faith through, you must have considered and rejected other religions, so what made you decide that the Christian god is the real one, rather than that of the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Seikh, Mormon, Jehova’s Witness, etc. faiths?
    Please answer in your own words rather than through even more Bible quotes, because being in the Bible doesn’t make it so.

  53. WalterWalcarpit says:

    How I wish I could quote a picture.
    Anyone have a simple solution?

  54. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Aha! I found one.
    If a picture can paint a thousand words … here’s my contribution to the quotation game.

    (Well, OK, it does have a few words, but my! the pictures give them a certain perspective)

    Edit: sorry folks, looks like you’ll have to copy & paste that line unless Author can fix it for me 🙁

  55. WalterWalcarpit, cutting and pasting worked and no real bother. Good one.

    On of the mysteries for me is how the Christians can think that this whole show was created just for human beings, with us being given dominion over all the other animals. And then they call atheists arrogant for presuming to think for themselves. Boggles the mind.

    Ephphatha, your metaphors are all harsh and violent, entirely the wrong track. There’s no razor fight here, no butter knives against swords. There’s no competition, and no conflict. We all just think you’re a good source of amusement.

    As for being angry at god, or angry at the idea of god, or even angry…I find no anger in my heart. Just amusement and bemusement that whole truckloads of seemingly intelligent folks can believe such obvious nonsense, and think they are arguing for their belief system by throwing out quotes from a book full of contradictions and fantasy.

    Also, what Acolyte of Sagan, Hotrats, Chiefy, Mary2 and most of all steve oberski said.

  56. Mary2 says:

    DH, very true.

    And Ephphatha, if you will answer just one question, properly, for us, it would definitely be Steve Oberski’s: “But what about the goats?”

    P.S. This is me being slightly amused on an empty weekend, not angry. It really takes a lot more than a person with mild smugness and self-satisfaction at their own erudition in argument to get me mad.

  57. UncoBob says:

    Interesting isn’t it how Ephphatha uses a faith-based model in his mind-reading about non-believer’s motives: that is, he holds his opinions without adequate (or any?) evidence. Actually, there’s some research on that, isn’t there?

    And if we want a battle of quotes, one from the prophet Hitch in “God is not great” p136 in the Allen and Unwin 2008 edition is “… religion is man-made”.

    Finally, it’s a damn good thing animal sacrifice has gone out of fashion given the increase in the world’s population. The pollution from burnt offerings would be a cause of climate change in its own right.

  58. efahl says:

    Battle of the Quotes? I’m in…

    “Roll another one
    Just like the other one
    You’ve been hangin on to it
    And I sure would like a hit

    Don’t bogart that goat, my friend
    Pass it over to me”

    – Country Joe’s sermon to the Fish (2:3)

  59. steve oberski says:


    You poor, poor unappreciated xtian martyr.

    Must be tough when you start to realize that you are not the centre of the universe, it was not created with you in mind and you do not have a special relationship with an invisible, psychopathic, homophobic, xenophobic, genocidal and misogynistic daddy figure.

    I’d suggest that you check out of whatever tax exempt, socially sanctioned, glorified adult day care centre/insane asylum (you know, that church that you go to) that you waste your time in and start to appreciate the true glory of reality.

    And no, while I’m sure that this will disappoint you to no end, I don’t hate your mythical friend, you or your religious nutjob friends.

    It’s your ideas that I find obscene and disgusting and the fact that you desperately cling to an anti-human morality buttressed by goat herder snuff porn.

    But most of all, you are just so very, very tedious and boring.

  60. Ephphatha says:

    Rather than addressing at any length things like M2’s textbook passive aggression, or DH telling me to “fuck off” in one breath and claiming to have no anger in his heart in the next, or SO telling me I’m tedious and boring even as he hastens to join the long and excited lineup to smite me, I am going to answer AoS’s burning fundamentalist-atheist question in the hope that my wish not to be drawn into debate with a group of flaming fundamentalist atheists like yourselves will finally be respected. Not that every insult leveled against me is not somehow justified either, but I do seem to be the only person here who openly confesses to being a hypocrite, which should also partly explain why I prefer to quote from the bible than trust my own words to achieve anything here.

    AoS asks:

    “How about answering one very simple question? Assuming that you have actually thought your faith through, you must have considered and rejected other religions, so what made you decide that the Christian god is the real one, rather than that of the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Seikh, Mormon, Jehova’s Witness, etc. faiths? Please answer in your own words rather than through even more Bible quotes, because being in the Bible doesn’t make it so.”

    Ephphatha answers:

    First of all, asking me not to quote from the bible to answer a question like this is almost as insane as Chiefy asking me not to quote from the bible in answer to a question about what goes on in God’s mind, not even my own. Secondly, I call your question a fundamentalist atheist question because it makes an implied argument that is argumentatively responsive only to fundamentalist Christian theology. On the contrary, countless many Christians besides myself consider Muslims, Hindi, Sihk, etc, to be our brothers and sisters, not God’s enemies or our own. What is the basis for this belief? Now perhaps you will be sane enough to allow me to quote from the bible. It is widely believed that Jesus was referring to people of other religions when he said, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen”. Only fundamentalist Christians believe that Christians alone are capable of achieving salvation. So, when Jesus said, for example, that the only way to the Father is through him, I hear him speaking to me, not to sheep of other pens. At the same time, however, it is also widely believed outside of fundamentalist Christian circles that people of other faiths will eventually become united, just as all things ultimately work out for the glory of God, including your naive, fundamentalist-atheist question.

  61. ScepticSarah says:

    Ephphatha, sweetie, if you really and genuinely do not want to get drawn into debate with atheists, of whatever denomination (or none, as has been pointed out at length) are you sure you are in the right place?

  62. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Ephphatha, I fundamentally believe in science, if that helps, and I consider myself a radical athiest, a term Douglas Adams coined (now there’s a rich vein of quotations) essentially to allude to the fact that he was not prepared to tolerate nonsense.
    I can see why you might interpret that defensively as fundamentalism but that really does miss the point – although it would appear to be an effective trolling mechanism.
    Anyway, it is in the very nature of science to accept as rational only that which has not yet been falsified, and by implication anything unfalsifiable cannot be tested and cannot be considered as rational.
    Such circumstances were cleverly predicted by the bible writers with the likes of the catch-all “thou shalt not test the word of god” so that the faithful feel protected from contrary evidence and perhaps indeed are blessed with an ability to sidestep the issue altogether.
    However the fact that one who adheres to a scientific method is more likely to change hes position in favour of a deity should such evidence actually emerge than one who refuses to oberve the relative abundance of evidence that suggests otherwise rather makes YOU the fundamentalist, not us.

    Don’t you think?

  63. WalterWalcarpit says:

    BTW, Ephphatha, Did you look at the link I posted above? I put it there for you to provide some perspective to this discussion. I would genuinely be interested in your response to it’s message.


  64. Wow! Once he stops slinging insults or bible quotes and actually says something, Ephphatha starts to remind me of our own dear FreeFox, the theist among us with whom I’ve had extended debates about his professed beliefs. The man is articulate and obviously intelligent. There’s hope for him yet. (Not that I expect Ephphatha to change his mind. Freefox hasn’t given an inch, and still mocks on occasion. But I’ve become quite fond of him.)

    I hereby rescind my travel suggestion. Maybe if Ephphatha sticks around he’ll become another of our cherished regulars. That’s if he can get over his aggressive and pugnacious attitudes and stop insulting everybody from Author on down.

    UncoBob, speaking of religious pollution, I visited many Budhist temples in China and became convinced that a good part of China’s famous air pollution is caused by the burning of incense. Those places would make my eyes water. Could have been worse, of course. Could have been goats. But the only goats being burned were the bits we left on the barbie too long on Wumen Jia in the Muslim quarter of Tai’an. Damn. Now I’m having a craving for barbie goat meat. Maybe that’s why god likes the smell.

  65. Ephphatha , you wrote: “…many Christians besides myself consider Muslims, Hindi, Sihk, etc, to be our brothers and sisters, not God’s enemies or our own.”

    This is interesting because this is also what I believe, that all people are fundamentally the same, with the same desires, loves, passions, regardless of their beliefs. I came to this conclusion by meeting people from different cultures, unaided by any words from Jesus. This doesn’t mean I’m enlightened. Only that the similarities among people are obvious to anybody who looks with any empathy.

    This said, I consider some cultures to have produced absolute poison, particularly the cultures that put women into subservient positions, or exalt humans above all other creatures. Christianity has traditionally been a patriarchal religion, a historical fact you can’t deny. It’s been almost as bad as Islam for repressing women. While it’s true that no Christians today expect women to completely hide behind a black formless garment, they do promote anti-sexual and anti-equality attitudes, with several of the major religions still refusing to give women a role in the management of their con game.

    I am particularly outraged by the claim of religion to have a monopoly on morality. It is such an obviously bogus claim, refuted everywhere anybody chooses to look, yet it is the most common charge laid against us atheists, that we can’t have morals without a divine hall monitor.

    I’m also pro-science and find the very idea of “revealed knowledge” to be utter nonsense. Since I don’t like nonsense, this makes me an enemy of virtually all religions. Still, it’s a rare person with whom I can’t find some common ground and this apparently even includes you, Ephphatha. Surprise surprise.

    I think your beliefs and logic suck the big one, but fuck on (assuming that’s the opposite of fuck off).

  66. mary2 says:

    Oy, I don’t think anyone has ever accused me of being ‘passive aggressive’ (or any other kind of passive) before. Usually I am just considered to be normal, garden variety aggressive. So much for my attempts to be inclusive and friendly!

  67. Mary2 says:

    Judges 2 2:2 – An angel of Yahweh punishes the Hebrews because they were too tolerant of people of other religions: “And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars”

    Revelation 2 2:26 “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
    2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers:”

    Yeah, really sounds like all humans are equal.

    Please explain to me how non-Christians are supposed to achieve salvation when the bible clearly states that “whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life” and that others will not go to heaven?

    If you are going to quote the bible as true and accurate, you don’t just get to pick the bits that agree with you.

  68. hotrats says:


    I call your question a fundamentalist atheist question because it makes an implied argument that is argumentatively responsive only to fundamentalist Christian theology.

    No, you call it it that because you have an emotional attachment to the silly idea that all atheists are fundamentalists; I say this because reasoning with you about it seems to be pointless. The ‘implied argument’ is your own desperate invention; there is nothing fundamentalist about the christian position that other religions do not lead to salvation; it is the hallmark of even the mildest versions of christianity, and an article of faith for all catholics.

    Whatever you choose to assume, you are not being mistaken for a fundamentalist here, so please stop insisting on that obsessional analysis of the discussion. You will find we are just as good at demolishing the unitarian, wishy-washy, happy-clappy ecumentical-harmless arguments of the believing community as the fundamentalist ones.

    Your diversion of the question into your own rejection of it is just evading the question; calling it ‘naive’ does not entitle you to refuse to answer, as you have done here. You have yet to express a coherent point of view.

    If you cannot articulate why christianity is right for you, how do you know it to be the case? No fundamentalism expressed or implied, so feel free to answer.

  69. Hats off to Mary2 and Hotrats for calling Ephphatha on his evasions. Wish I’d said that. Rock on, you guys. I’m going to sit on the sidelines with my popcorn.

    Except: I really would like an answer to how Christians can pick out bible verses that support their prejudices while ignoring the nasty bits. And I know they usually fall back on rejecting the Old Testament since Jesus brought the new one, but then they mix everything up anyway. So, Ephphatha, how do you decide which verses to quote and which to ignore when taking your position in an argument?

    Don’t you get tired of having the likes of Mary2 toss back quotes that make your position look foolish?

  70. A further thought on Christians cherry picking the bible: I notice that they often manage to ignore the literal meaning and go for some “deeper” metaphor. For example, my father was fond of proclaiming that “Every man has his Isaac.”, meaning that every man has something he is unwilling to give up to follow god’s commands. He was conveniently ignoring the fact that it was a human boy that god was demanding be killed, by his own father, and presenting the story like god was telling Abraham to give up his stamp collection or his favourite camel.

    My mother when asked to justify the killing of infants by god in the destruction of Sodom said “What chance would they have had anyway, living in such a sinful city.” (In fairness I think she was driven to that position by the bullying of an atheist and was desperately trying to defend her belief that god is an okay dude.)

    When I think about it, I had scary parents. Amazing that they managed to act so loving and responsible.

  71. Ephphatha says:

    Thank you for re-framing your cuss words, DH, and for finding some common ground for us to begin a civilized discussion, at least in the second of your most recent series of responses. I agree with almost everything you said in that particular post, especially regarding the subjugation of women and the exaltation of human life above all other life forms. Just as every family has its own dark history and crazy relatives that they try to keep locked up in the attic, so too do larger social and spiritual organizations, like atheists and Christians, have dark histories and problematic groups still festering within them today, which only seem disproportionately large because of all the noise they make. It should also comfort you to know, DH, that I bristle just as much when fundamentalist Christians make grossly oversimplified characterizations of atheists as I bristle when fundamentalist atheists mischaracterize mainstream Christians. The fundamentalist groups on each side remind me of: http://youtu.be/E4YZKGpe-D0

    Please feel free to continue challenging whatever responses I may be permitted to continue posting here, DH, and to expect me to respond. Sorry that I do not have more time at the moment.

  72. Ephphatha says:

    Please forgive me, M2, for not having already expressed my appreciation for your efforts to make me feel welcome here. Only the combination of being pressed for time and distracted by all of the acrimony has prevented me from previously acknowledging your congeniality, Miss Piggy;) I do not even care about the way you claim not be angry as you slice me into bit-sized pieces so much as I care about the way you interpret those verses from Judges and Revelation… as permission from God for the Judeo-Christian world to discriminate against all other religions.

    But I think you have earned the same diplomatic immunity from prosecution as a fundamentalist atheist that DH has earned. Therefore, to answer your question about how non-Christians can win salvation, and to explain how I believe it is ideally won at the same time, allow me to combine scripture with an analogy from the wonderful world of pier reviewed-and-accepted science.

    “Is this not Joseph’s son?” Luke 4:22

    “Wherever two or three are together in believing in me, there I am with them.” Matthew 18:22

  73. Ephphatha says:

    hotrats, I get a very youthful, wet behind the ears vibe from you and Sagan’s Acolyte. I suggest that you both take a seat in the stands while the more experienced athletes use the playing field.

  74. hotrats says:

    Yes, you’re right, I’m 12, and I can still see right through you to the shit-stirring troll inside. You’re a christian by analogy with quantum tunnelling? Of course you are. And that’s ‘peer’ reviewed, dear.

    The ‘more experienced athlete’ seems to be ‘using the playing field’ to masturbate in public. And what a tiny dick.

  75. Ephphatha says:

    “ecumentical”, hotrats? You just like to cast first stones to prove the folly of your youth, right?

    “masturbate in public”? “tiny dick”? You’re just an otherwise mature theist hater who doesn’t use analogies, right hotrats?

  76. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Ephphatha, with your expertise at evading the question, I’d suggest you take up politics. I ask why you are specifically a Christian and you respond with ‘we’re all brothers and sisters really’. That isn’t an answer, nor is the word salad that followed.
    Now, I’m sorry if my question seemed a wee bit simple, but it was intended to be a simple question so that’s how it came out. I didn’t want to know what you believe, just why you believe it, why you believe that Christianity is the ‘right’ religion – as shown by your assertation that those members of other religions will get their chance to be at one with the ‘real’ one.
    I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you why I’m atheist, just to show you the sort of response that I’m looking for.
    I compared what I read in the Bible with the science that I have managed to learn in my brief half-century (give or take a couple((!)) of years) of life, and I found the Bible somewhat lacking in evidence and credibility (when the book supposedly quoted directly from Jaweh can’t even get the order of the creation of the Universe right, it’s not exactly a promising start, n’est pas?).
    I began with the Christian faith because that was the prominent religion that was force-fed to me as a child, but once I had done with that, I took a look at the other major religions and found them no more compelling – although some had far more entertaining stories.
    And that’s why I’m atheist, and there’s really nothing fundamentalist about not believing in gods, just as there’s nothing fundamentalist about not believing in the Tooth Fairy and unicorns.
    Your turn….

  77. Ephphatha says:

    Aos, feel free to bust me in the future, as I am about to bust you, if you ever catch me using undescriptive, cliché phrases like “word salad”. Something I’ve noticed about fundamentalist atheists and their theist counterparts is that they seem to like disqualifying each others remarks without specifically qualifying what they mean. By offering an example, for example. “Word salad” is a specific example of what I mean.

    To answer what is left of your question after my word salad specifically addressed the faulty assumption on which it was primarily based, I believe that I did not choose Christianity so much as God chose Christianity for me: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6:44&version=NIV That verse should also partly explain why I do not expect to convert you or anyone else here to Christianity by myself or at all. That is, as opposed to bearing witness to truths that I believe are either being ignored or overlooked here.

    Your go on to give an example of the kind of answer that you are still looking for from me, which was considerate of you, even though it looks like you are just trying to draw words out of me that you can use as a trap. Nevertheless, I appreciate that you offered me your ‘atheist testimony’, and especially that you kept it brief. I am not strong believer in the ‘power of testimony’. It is more customary for fundamentalist Christians than the mainstream to use their soapbox time to talk about themselves, but I don’t mind telling you that I was raised Christian, became an atheist as a young adult and remained so for most of my adult life. It was only recently – within the last three years, or so – that the spiritually I was raised with reasserted itself (or was reasserted by God). It happened in a way that is only significant to me, not in a way that I believe I can use to convince others of the reality of God. I just hope the same thing will happen for the rest of you soon. It may have happened already and you just didn’t notice. But what I have learned following the reassertion of my original spirituality I do believe I can use to help reopen hearts, minds, and especially ears of others (hence: “Ephphatha”) to ‘hearing’ God, if you will, as I believe I did. As I have said before, though, I am not here to try to turn this forum into my own platform. I would like the ringmaster to continue to set the topic, tone and pace. I am just a respondent here. However, if the ringmaster is content to let everyone use this space like a coffee shop, then you may continue to challenge and question me if you want. God, weather and ringmaster permitting, I’m sure that I will be posting more comments here that you will find provocative and/or evocative.

  78. misanthropope says:

    oh look, it shares word-for-word the superstitions of the authority figures of its infancy, and confuses the most mundane story of human history with the direct action of Infinity.

    please, please share more of your wisdom with me, i have never heard its like.

  79. I think we’ve found a new benchmark for tedious.

  80. Mary2 says:

    Dear Ephphatha,

    I am quite happy to answer the charge of being a ‘fundamentalist’ atheist if, by that, you mean a strident and determinedly materialistic, observational evidence based beliefs type of person. Guilty, your honour!

    How else would you interpret those passages of the bible (and the many others) where your god condemns whole ethnic groups to death for the crime of not being Hebrew?

    Luke 4:22 This passage is talking about Jesus beginning his preaching career in a synagogue – he tells the crowd that god has chosen him to preach and they reply with, “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?” My understanding of this would be only that Joseph was a preacher who preached to Egyptians (gentiles) and now Jesus is following in his footsteps. It seems to reinforce MY point that one must accept Jesus as Saviour before one can be accepted by Yahweh. You quote from Matthew would seem to further back up my point and contradict your own.

    I do not understand your connection between the quote from Luke and the ‘Josephson Effect’ except the name Joseph but this may be because I have no understanding of electricity, physics or quantum physics. Thanks for the video – that helped. Correct me if I have got this wrong. You seem to be suggesting that the attraction of another (perhaps the preacher?) will draw the person to an unlikely destination (salvation?) – if this is the case, then, there would still need to be a belief in Jesus. Please explain.

  81. JohnM says:

    Ephphatha quoted the following:
    “Using those who speak a different language, and using the lips of foreigners, I will speak to these people. But even then, they will not listen to Me.” 1 Corinthians 14:21

    Reading the comments in this thread, I see Ephphapha has been ‘hoist with his own petard’. Spoing!

  82. Mary2 says:

    John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

    To paraphrase a hackneyed atheist expression… if this quote is true then god not only knows we are atheists but approves. If he wanted us to be Christians he would ‘draw’ us. This makes nonsense of the idea that he would also condemn us for not believing in him. To quote those important 20th century thinkers, Spandau Ballet: “Round and round it goes. Oh, don’t you know, This is the game that we came here for. Round and round it goes” (key change) …

    Welcome to the coffee shop!

  83. JohnM says:


    Tedious – yes, but also innocuous, if not bland or even somewhat puerile. But interestingly, it highlights something I’ve long known. It is a much easier task for those who aspire to entire Universitiy with ‘A’ levels in Arts, compared to Maths and/or Science. Composing an intellectual-sounding word salad, liberally spliced with important sounding quotes has to be easier than getting to grips with a differential calculus of Complex Functions or gaining an understanding of Quantum Relativity. And I know this by having easily gained the ability to compose intellectual-sounding word salads myself. Of course, I wouldn’t dream of using this skill in the C & B 🙂

  84. Macha says:


    What does a Josephson junction (the existence of which was predicted from fairly simple quantum mechanics) have to do with anything?

    Please explain. I am a keen student of all things quantum mechanical and wonder if I’m missing some profound sublety.

    If you had tried to make some philosophical point about, for example, quantum erasers, I would understand. But straightforward quantum tunneling?

  85. Ephphatha says:

    Thanks for copping a plea, M2. In my opinion (as prosecuting attorney, not judge), you are only guilty of second degree fundamentalist atheism. You lack the prerequisite unwillingness to revisit scripture and stunted emotional maturity for a first degree charge to be laid. Only your determined materialism will hang you for second degree. I will present the case against you for materialism later and try to answer your Josephson effect question in my response to Macha.

    Meanwhile, you may want to charge me with first degree fundamentalist Christianity for my response to your question about God’s wrath, for which I am willing to hang because I believe that someone or something has to be above the law as he/she/it does the dirty jobs someone’s gotta do… lest the sh_t be allowed to roll downhill so far that we all become buried beneath it. Should ‘Mother Nature’, if you would prefer to call her that, not be allowed to push back when we push her too far?

    In response to your question about one way to salvation, I believe there is only one way for me, and I’m sure that it would not work as a defense on judgement day for me to say that I decided not to believe because the message made no sense to me when I extrapolated it outside of my own backyard.

    Your last question, about how it may follow from scripture that God approves of you being an atheist (at least right now), you may be correct. I already posted the following verses here but on last week’s page. Please read them again in the context of your question: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+9%3A16-24&version=NIV

    I do not presume to have completely addressed your questions with these answers, M2, so feel free to tighten the same screws or pose other questions. And thanks for being a good sport.

  86. Ephphatha says:

    Thank you for your question, Macha. I see no unsportsmanlike conduct in your post, so here is my answer to your question:

    I believe there is a microcosm/macrocosm relationship between the Josephson effect and what I will call the ‘Christ effect’. Perhaps the following legend will clarify. If not, feel free to follow up. I will not have any more time to respond today but should have time tomorrow.

    two superconductors = (i.e., analogous to) two people together in belief
    insulating barrier = Jesus Christ
    supercurrent = power of God

  87. “two superconductors = (i.e., analogous to) two people together in belief
    insulating barrier = Jesus Christ
    supercurrent = power of God”

    Ephantha, I assume you are talking in metaphors. Otherwise you don’t make any sense at all. Metaphors have power, but only if they actually describe something real. In this case they don’t.

  88. Macha says:


    However …

    The Josephson effect is Physics – more precisely the physics of Quantum Mechanics. It was predicted from the underpinning mathematics of QM. It was looked for – and found – by Physicists. Its behaviour was then found to be exactly – to a massively high degree of accuracy – as calculated from the mathematics.

    So it’s actually all about Science. The ability of science to predict stuff. The power of science to predict stuff very precisely.

    Once you start inventing metaphors about it and, presumably, trying to extract some “higher meaning” from the science, you’re entering that field of Semantic Gymnastics called Philosophy. In Philosophy, I can assure you, there are more ways to skin a cat than there are cats to skin.

    Thinking about the Josephson junction and given the inclination, I could probably come up with multiple metaphors covering God, Satan, Buddha, Zeus and a whole host of non-existent things. The point is that all of these metaphors would be meaningless. A metaphor is intended to clarify a concept, not to justify its proof.

    Furthermore, Physics isn’t just sitting there waiting to have metaphors pulled from it – it just “is”. There are some areas of Physics with some interesting and not-understood phenomena (questions of causality surrounding quantum entanglement, for example), however answers to these questions will come from Physics, not Philosophy or Religion.

    Finally, to misquote Feynman – “we are lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose — which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell. Possibly.”

    I probably won’t come back to this page, because it’s Wednesday – so, Author, could we please have chickens this time?

  89. HFNaz says:

    Mo should have done the same, then every muslim could have saved a cow every year!

  90. two cents' worth says:

    AoS, I’m just catching up, but I must thank you for your comment about your boxers. It made me laugh out loud at a time when I greatly needed a laugh!

  91. Macha, thanks for those words. I wish I knew enough physics to have generated them myself.

    When I said that Ephphatha’s metaphors did not describe anything real, I was not, of course, referring to the physics side of his equations, but to the metaphysical side. Amazing how some people can generate nonsense and think they’ve found a persuasive argument or real connection between ideas.

    I hope Freefox will excuse me for comparing him to Ephphatha. There’s really no comparison, other than that they’re both quite wacky.

  92. P.S. Macha, I absolutely love Feynman’s “possibly”. I’m sure he really meant “most likely”, but leaving open the possibility of new knowledge that would change conclusions is the defining characteristic of a great scientist.

  93. Macha says:

    Hi DH,

    I guess you’ve seen this before …



  94. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    two cents’ worth, you’re welcome.Glad I could help.

    Macha, ‘In philosophy there are more ways to skin a cat than there are cats to skin.’
    Brilliant. Is it your own?

  95. There need to be some kind of “J-Mo” awards for Nobel-laureate-like behavior by pub stalwarts. Seriously. For example, the ‘Seafpaffa’ award : (ahem):

    When the shiniest, pieces-scatteringest, noisiest, loudest Pigeon bursts into the quiet room, where the atheists murmur to one another as they discuss the latest translation of the LXX, or the ‘a’hadith discovered in Syrian ruins, or the best nun joke… He nonchalantly takes the hat from the author’s head, frisbees it across the room onto the boardgame between AoS and hotrats, and demands a non-alcoholic pint. Resting his sequined elbow on the ‘Get Well Nassar’ collection plate, he begins telling really bad jokes, but he adds a twist by telling them badly.

    Into the warm, fart-filled silence he shouts, “YOU’RE ALL THEREFORE WRONG! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….”, helps himself to the collection plate, and storms out, muttering something about rude, arrogant, angry atheists.

    All the old, hoary heads shake slowly. Then DH asks, “What did he say?”

    This cartoon has been a super popcorn show!

  96. Macha says:


    I’m sure it can’t be original, but I don’t know – it was just kind of floating around there …

  97. fenchurch says:

    @TwoCentsWorth — all that sin that got washed away had to go *somewhere*. Maybe it leeched into the water table? A modern parable for pollution of our aquifiers, but not some made-up iron age horse (goat?) sh|t.

    (Can I say ‘shit’ on this site? Something tells me I can’t say ‘shit’, unless you can but everyone has just been really polite/not cussin’ up to now.)


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