Discussion (77)¬

  1. Coffee all over the keyboard!

  2. John B. Hodges says:

    Jennifer Michael Hecht authored a book, A HISTORY OF DOUBT. As long as there as been religion, there have been doubters. Preachers and prophets have never liked them. The apostle Paul didn’t like them either.

  3. Three-tigers says:

    Reminds me of this….

    Brian: Please, please, please listen! I’ve got one or two things to say.
    The Crowd: Tell us! Tell us both of them!
    Brian: Look, you’ve got it all wrong! You don’t NEED to follow ME, You don’t NEED to follow ANYBODY! You’ve got to think for your selves! You’re ALL individuals!
    The Crowd: Yes! We’re all individuals!
    Brian: You’re all different!
    The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!
    Man in crowd: I’m not…
    The Crowd: Sch!

  4. Alfie Noakes says:

    Quite an ingenious strip, author. One of your very best (and I have read the lot of them!)

  5. bear47 says:

    Ah yes. It is wrong to generalize about Muslims. Even worse is to point out the absolute B.S. and hypocrisy of the “holy” Koran. They want it both ways, or, just their way of else.
    Just my opinion, yours may vary.

  6. And that incoherent and widely-held idea is what got Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s honorary degree from Brandeis snatched back. “She generalizes about Islam when there are 1.5 billion different Islams and all 1.5 billion Muslims are Deeply Offended by her!!!”

  7. Sinnataggen says:

    The obvious question that hardly anyone ever asks is: How does any one Muslim know that he or she has the same notion of Allah as any other Muslim? The same question can, of course be asked of Christians, Jews etc. What more divides them – or do they have in common – than the name of the entity they pray to?

  8. Chiefy says:

    Good one, Sinnataggen. What if it’s not Allah at all, but Sithrak?

  9. Chiefy says:

    Author, thanks for another great one!

    You should know that a couple of your Comix links are nonfunctional. “Calamities of Nature” and “The Atheist Pig” have left the theater. 🙁

  10. Author says:

    Thanks, Chiefy. I’ve fixed those links. The comics aren’t being updated, but they are still there.

  11. Another great one, Author. I’m gaining more and more respect for Barmaid. I think it’s likely that you yourself have offended 1.5 billion Muslims (though quite a few of them most likely appreciate your thoughts and even more have never encountered your strip so maybe only half a billion or so). That’s an achievement I envy.

  12. Chiefy says:

    The links don’t work for me, Author. I can get Calamities at, but I can’t find a link to the Pig’s archives.

  13. Chiefy says:

    Working now! Thank you, sir.

  14. hotrats says:

    The obvious question that hardly anyone ever asks is: How does any one Muslim know that he or she has the same notion of Allah as any other Muslim?

    How do they all know? The same way anyone who has been through Basic Training has the same notion of how to salute. It’s the same ‘notion’ of Allah for all of them, the one they have been told to adopt, or else. That’s kind of the whole point, that there is no wiggle room for interpretation, misunderstanding or disagreement.

    To be a muslim is to accept the orthodoxy without quibble; this is one reason why the kind of secularising Reformation that stopped Christians fighting each other to the death is unlikely to take hold in islam. Whatever else they disagree about, even the most extreme of the murderously mutually-antagonistic islamic sects agree about the notion of Allah; it’s the one spelled out ad nauseam in the Koran.

  15. European says:

    What is this site?
    Blocked in Turkey by decision of the Telecom Ministry since 1 March 2012

  16. Chiefy says:

    European, Oglaf is an entertaining, cynical, and often vulgar series of cartoon adventures. That particular strip isn’t sexually naughty, but pokes fun at religion in general through a look at the made-up (I think) worship of Sithrak, a rather nasty deity. Maybe you can find clones of part of it by googling. I’m not recommending that, if it would put you at risk. I don’t know how serious Turkey gets about stuff like that.

  17. Hobbes says:

    Author, you are to be a bottomless pit of great, satirical humor. If believers could confront their cognitive dissonance with objectivity, it would be the end of believing.

  18. Clifford Banes says:

    European, here’s a copy of a different Oglaf strip also about Sithrak:

  19. JoJo says:

    Fits in nicely with the ‘Muslim posts J&M cartoon on twitter to demonstrate he is not offended’ row. By the way, author, could you make the drawings in your strips more uniform with regard to their placement. The big blobs of permanent marker I keep having to plaster all over my monitor are making other uses of the computer rather more difficult… If Mo could just be in the same spot every week..?

  20. author says:

    @JoJo – You just need to download the MoBlocker browser extension, which automatically censors any image of Mo.

  21. two cents' worth says:

    Clifford Banes, thanks for the link. I don’t know whether Trudy Cooper, Doug Bayne, or both of them created that particular cartoon, but the attention to detail is a delight! (Cooper and Bayne are the authors of Oglaf.) I particularly like the twist that both Baptists and followers of Sithrak are sure about where their souls are going after death, and can say, “I find that lack of responsibility really liberating.”

  22. Abz says:

    As Nassar is still on sick leave…
    A billion types of Islamic fervour
    As long as the word of the prophet does not pevert
    Break any law you like
    If you want your head on a spike
    There’s not that much room for manoeuvre

  23. Pete le Oz says:

    Sometimes this comic is the only laugh I get in a day. It is so good!

  24. Clifford Banes says:

    two cents, yes, that’s a genuine Oglaf strip, just mirrored so our friends in Turkey and other benighted lands might see it.

  25. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    You know, as unlikely as it may sound I do understand Mo’s point of view here; ‘insult one of us and you insult us all’ tends to be the reaction of most in-groups to an attack by outsiders. However, not every in-group reacts to insults – whether perceived or real – by blowing shit up.
    Or is that just a sweeping generalisation?

  26. There’s an appealing argument for MORE suicide bombers. Especially the senior management. Eventually they’ll PFHUTT their last tosspot and/or run out of Betty Crockers’ Semtex Slice Mix. Either way, everybody wins!

    I recall some fairly recent memes, where images of enraged Muslindividuals waving fairly abhorrent signs have had the signs’ lettering replaced with “I’m scared of women” or “I have a very small penis!” and so on. Very apt. And bloody clever.

  27. European says:

    Shitrak sucks 😉 But thanks a lot, very true…
    What I don’t get is how certain ‘believers’ in a just, retributive God can behave the way they behave (including censoring the internet…). If you look at correlations between professed religiosity and all kind of nasty indeces (violence, corruption, you name it), it makes you wonder. A prof said that without belief in an omniscient just God, there is no ethics. Assuming she is a believer, it would prove that believing in God is not a sufficient condition for ethical behaviour, either…

  28. European, “A prof said that without belief in an omniscient just God, there is no ethics.” What sloppy thinking tenure allows, and what an incredibly stupid statement all too common among the religious. The claim to own morality is refuted everywhere we look, yet they cling to it with such credulous certainty. I wish I could see how they make the connection.

  29. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    What sloppy thinking tenure allows…..and sloppy grammar, too. A Potwa on the alleged academician that can utter the sentence ‘..there is no ethics’*.

    But yes, there is quite a contradiction between the belief and the actions of the believers, European. It’s almost as though they don’t really trust their chosen deity to the job properly, isn’t it? To be fair though, the few that have actually bothered to think through the contradiction have at least the sense to claim that their actions are merely their god working through them.

    *Well, unless it’s a short-tongued one denying the existence of Essex, that is.

  30. machigai says:

    Sithrak via oglaf
    “Oh. Yeah…
    I was pretty angry when I wrote that.
    I didn’t realise anyone was still reading it.”

  31. AoS – I hesitate to correct you, but would simply suggest that “ethics” may be similar to “mathematics”, as in: “Ethics is a difficult subject, as is mathematics; physics is another one”. Try it with “are” instead of “is”.

  32. TrueFork says:

    @European: Are they blocking just this particular Oglaf episode or the whole site? If the former, I’m quite boggled.

    Here’s what it says:

    (2 armies of nasty warriors face to face)
    (2 acolytes of Sithrak walk between both forces)
    Stop fighting!
    Killing isn’t okay!
    The moment you die, the awful god Sithrak starts torturing you forever!
    Can’t you settle your differences through maiming?
    (1 acolyte is shot by arrow)
    (Acolyte’s soul ascends through tunnel of light)
    page 2:
    (Acolyte’s soul faces Sithrak)
    Oh, dread occasion, I know I can’t beg for mercy so I’ll just babble timidly ’til I start screaming.
    What are you talking about?
    The unconditional torment promised in your book of dismay
    written in the blood of your enemies on the skins of your friends.
    Oh. Yeah… I was pretty angry when I wrote that.
    I didn’t realise anyone was still reading it.
    So I’m going to send you back to life – tell your cult-mates not to worry.
    That stuff’s just teen poetry.
    (acolyte’s soul falls back into existence)
    (acolyte in bed, being nursed by his colleage)
    On top of everything else, Sithrak is messing with our heads!
    His hate for us knows no bounds!

    I have no idea what the treat to Turkish national security is in that…

  33. hotrats says:

    POTWA in haste, repent at leisure…

  34. Ephphatha says:

    Interesting that in order to get a laugh this time, words they never said anything like had to be put into the mouths of Jesus and Muhammad.

  35. Ephphatha – you’re new here, aren’t you?

  36. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    HFB & hotrats, like mathematics and physics, ethics can be used in either the plural or singular sense, but unlike the first two words the OED also lists the singular ethic for use in referring to a specific set of moral principals (Quaker ethic, business ethic, work ethic, etc.).* As the professor quoted by European was making the tired old claim that all ethical systems stem from an omnipotent god then the word was used in its plural sense.

    Ephphatha, interesting that in order to control the vast majority of humanity, every single word they are alleged to have uttered had to be put into the mouths of the gods and their prophets and other clingers-on.
    And none of it matches the brilliance Author fits into four little panels.

    *The OED does list physic, but it’s an archaic word meaning a medicine; the art of healing; the medical profession.

  37. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Is there really a mathematic? What does it eat?

  38. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    WalterWalcarpit says:
    April 28, 2014 iat 3:37 am
    Is there really a mathematic? What does it eat?

    Dim Sum?

  39. hotrats says:

    Is there really a mathematic? What does it eat?
    Cube roots.

  40. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Cube roots.
    That’s got to be more filling than a square meal.

  41. Chiefy says:

    AoS, brilliant reply to Aphphatha! I hope he sticks around. It’s always fun to have contrary ideas presented, even if they are not original.

  42. Ephphatha says:

    Cheify, what is so “brilliant” about AoS’s double standard? Is what’s bad for the goose somehow good for the gander? What does it profit Sagan’s acolyte to lose his own logically consistent soul just to gain your ‘high’ praise, Cheify?

  43. Once again, and despite the entertainment Chiefy anticipates with his new chew toy, allow me to be the first: Ephphatha, you have wandered into the wrong local. We’re an affectionate and convivial crowd here and you don’t seem to fit. Fuck off.

  44. Mary2 says:

    DH, A bit harsh, n’est ce pas?

    Ephphatha, Jesus and Mo represent their believers as much as the original characters: I don’t think you can doubt that the sentiments expressed have often been voiced by both Christians and Muslims.

    WalterW, excellent question. Fab answers AOS and hotrats.

  45. JohnM says:

    You might also have noted that Ephphatha cannot even offer regulars here the honour of spelling our nyms correctly.

  46. European says:

    @TrueFork Haven’t been on for a while. The entire oglaf site seems blocked in Turkey, as is youtube and tens of thousands of other sites

  47. European says:

    @AoS She spoke Turkish, but she meant ethics tout court, not different forms of ethics (actually, morality might have been a better translation of ahlâk, an Arabic word which incidentally is also a plural word used as a singular)

  48. hotrats says:

    To be even handed, Chiefy also got Ephphatha’s name wrong; but he/she must be out of their tiny Chinese mind if they imagine that you could create an entertaining cartoon using ‘approved’ quotes from the Babble and Kran.

    AoS is right on the money on in pointing out that every word of god has been fabricated, and one could add, especially in Jesus’ case, his ‘real’ quotes are unverifiable attributions made decades later by people who never met him.

    I concur with Mary2 that DH comes across as less than ‘affectionate and convivial’ in his unconditional travel advice. I would only have changed it to ‘…and if you can’t respect that, you can just fuck off.’ But then, as everyone knows, I’m just an old softie who tends to err on the side of giving moronic critics more rope in the hope that they will hang around and make fools of themselves (or in DH’s memorable phrase, become ‘chew toys’ for the regulars). I am only surprised at how few mad evangelists, flamers and trolls we attract.

  49. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Ephphatha says:
    April 29, 2014 at 2:32 am
    Cheify, what is so “brilliant” about AoS’s double standard? Is what’s bad for the goose somehow good for the gander?

    Well, whilst I blush at the brilliant epithet, I was making a serious point about your original post. You accuse Author of putting words into the mouths of the two prophets yet completely overlook the fact that the holy books of their religions are entirely human constructs. If billions of deluded followers can live their lives based on fictional works, are you really going to begrudge this bunch of miscreants the chance of a few guffaws based upon the same?
    And, as Mary2 accurately pointed out, our Jesus and Mo are meant to be a representation of the views of the believers as much as a representation of the chaps themselves.

    European, I wasn’t aware that my pedantry was aimed at a translation from the Turkish, and a translation of an ambiguous word to boot. The professor’s Potwa is hereby rescinded!

  50. Brother Daniel says:

    Ephphatha, perhaps it would help if you tried to spell out in detail whatever point you thought you were trying to make. It seems an empty one, to me.

  51. machigai says:

    Jesus didn’t say anything in this strip.

  52. Mary2, yes, I was a bit harsh, though preemptive is more the word I would use. Ephphatha is an obvious troll. He swaggers into the C&B, insults our beloved proprietor, throws a punch at one of our regulars, and this convivial lot respond with logic, reason, and polite respect. You’re all a bunch of sweeties, but I’m not. And I REALLY wanted to tell him to fuck off before somebody else did, which I can’t imagine would be long in coming.

    Hey, have those mysterious plus signs disappeared again?

  53. Ephphatha says:

    Half your point is taken Mary2. My Christian brethren and I are hopeless hypocrites who make easy targets. It is only when you and your brethren try to paint Jesus with the same brush that we all fall down, like Jack and Jill.

    AoS, you seem to forget that Christians believe God put words into man’s mouth, not the other way around. At the same time, however, I do not “begrudge” anyone the right to set themselves up like a bowling pin. Ultimately, all things work for the glory of God, or so the miscreant followers of Jesus Christ believe.

  54. two cents' worth says:

    Bhagwan, thanks for the link! I just hope my irony meter is still under warranty 🙂 .

  55. WalterWalcarpit says:

    That oglaf is seriously weird!
    I came across this one and tweeted it with the innocent words ‘and now for something completely different’.
    Then I read some more.
    Suffice to say that I don’t think it was because of the Sithrac satire that the site was blocked.

  56. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Fab answers indeed, AOS and hotrats. I shall try to prepare an appropriate garnish for Mathematic’s meal.

    Meanwhile my brain is spinning somewhat after proofreading my son’s philosophy of science essay. I can’t help thinking that falsificationism is a perfect tool for Ken Ham.

  57. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Ephphata, you seem to forget that Christians believing God put words into man’s mouth, not the other way around is a classic example of a God Delusion.

  58. hotrats says:


    Ultimately, all things work for the glory of God, or so the miscreant followers of Jesus Christ believe.

    No, ‘ultimately’ the universe ends in entropic heat death, and if that’s the glory of god, you’re welcome to it. Please consider, if it’s true, then it doesn’t matter how you behave, or what you believe – child abuse, slavery, sadism, no problem, it’s all for god’s glory.

    And I’ll thank you not to insult the authentic miscreants here by misapplying the term to the credulous inadequates who believe something as pompous and absurd as this.

  59. two cents’ worth – I’m afraid that you find that irony meters’ warranties are not worth two cents.

    Now trying to resist the temptation to add plus signs to my nym just to mess with DH’s mind.

  60. Ephphatha says:

    hotrats, if all things did not ultimately work for the glory of God, then I would be thanking you to spare me your stale scientific theory and fundamentalist-atheist theology, which only have the power to rattle fundamentalist theists.

    “Many possible fates are predicted by rival scientific theories, including futures of both finite and infinite duration… There is a growing consensus among cosmologists that the universe is flat and will continue to expand forever.”

  61. Chiefy says:

    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?

  62. hotrats says:


    What Chiefy said; ‘fundamentalist-atheist theology’ is your own fantasy, there is no such belief system as atheology, the study of no gods…

    If the heat death of the universe is too stale a theory for you, how about the generally accepted to be inevitable expansion of the Sun, which will at the very least render the planet Earth uninhabitable? Or will that count as a Rapture?

    And you still haven’t anwered why, if everything is automatically to the greater glory of god, what does it matter how we behave? That’s certainly how huge numbers of catholic clergy seem to have felt about institutionalised child abuse.

  63. Ephphatha says:


    I use the words “fundamentalist atheism” to refer to that which is argumentatively responsive only to fundamentalist theism.

    Allow me to save my answer to your question about the sun for a rainy day. That is, a day when I see a comic published here that I anticipate will raise a broader, more salient question than yours. No offense intended.

    In answer to your second question:

  64. WalterWalcarpit says:

    .… According to Saint Paul the Apologist?

    Stick around, Ephphatha, or read some archives, it will rain sooner than you might expect.

  65. hotrats says:


    I use the words “fundamentalist atheism” to refer to that which is argumentatively responsive only to fundamentalist theism.

    That sounds like a category of your own creation. I can’t see anything in my comments to you that would justify such an accusation. I am ‘argumentatively responsive’ to any form of theism, from relatively harmless babble study to full-on religious extremism. The concept of ‘fundamentalist atheism’ remains meaningless, however much it tells us about your prejudices.

    Your ‘answer’ – and for pity’s sake no more quotes from your compendium of hysterical sycophancy – contains a rare moment of candour:

    20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?

    Sounds like Ming the Merciless – another loudmouthed alien overlord. In the memorable words of Christopher Hitchens, I will not be spoken to in that tone of voice.

  66. Brother Daniel says:

    Ephphatha, do you have any serious points to raise? Or are you simply trolling?

    I’m asking sincerely.

  67. TrueFork says:

    Quite disturbing what’s happening in Turkey, even more disturbing that I can easily imagine it happening in the rest of the EU. Here in Belgium some sites are blocked (piratebay and the like) as well. Fortunately proxies can still get around it.

  68. Ephphatha says:

    hotrats, your reaction and that of other respondents here to scripture being quoted reminds me of how the subjects of exorcism react to the presence of a crucifix and being splashed with holy water. Why would you allow yourselves to be seen pleading with me not to quote any more scripture, like the demons who begged Jesus to send them into the herd of pigs? Are you powerless to control yourselves? How is it that words you believe have no power can nevertheless demonstrate so much power over you?

    BD, if you are seriously not already seeing any serious points being made, then just be patient. Eventually, the truth that I bear witness to (assuming that I will be permitted to continue to bear witness to it here) will become either pleasantly or painfully obvious to you, depending on the spirit in which you receive it.

  69. hotrats says:

    Why would you allow yourselves to be seen pleading with me not to quote any more scripture, like the demons who begged Jesus to send them into the herd of pigs?

    Because the demons had a valid point – we also find it infantile, tedious and irrelevant to a degree beyond your wildest imagination. Please don’t bear witness to any more scriptural truth here. You have no idea how sad it makes you look, responding to patient invitations to dialogue by quoting Bronze Age goat-fuckers and their tunnel-view of reality.

    Frankly I can’t be bothered waiting any longer while you tease us with the prospect of making a serious point, in which agreement with your personal definition of ‘serious’ seems vanishingly unlikely. To quote Dylan Thomas, Too late cock, too late.

  70. Ephphatha says:

    I’m sure that everyone who is as full of hatred and contempt for all that is held sacred by theists will agree with every word you said, hotrats. I am here to read the comics and offer comments in response whenever I feel compelled to do so, not to enter into dialogue with the peanut gallery.

  71. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Oooh, bitchy!
    Ephphatha, if you can direct me to a comments section anywhere on the interweb that is as erudite, entertaining and frankly educational as this one I for one would be glad to be introduced to it.
    The regulars at the Cock and Bull are not actually all athiest per se; more than you might expect are still exploring their spirituality. The thing is such explorations are best done in a safe and caring space and as such there is frankly no room in here for fundamentalists of any kind – they might get served by the Barmaid they’ll soon find themselves ostracised into a corner.
    And to suggest such a thing as a fundamentalist Athiest is about as useful as suggesting that not collecting stamps is a hobby.

    If you do indeed have anything salient or sentient to contribute we would enjoy the craick. If not, would you please refer back to Darwin Harmless’ initial unwelcome address – because he speed-read you like a fortune cookie.

  72. Brother Daniel says:

    @Ephphatha: So you’re simply trolling. Thank you for making it clear! 🙂

  73. Ephphatha says:

    Aos, please 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 how much 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 did not choose Christianity so much as God chose Christianity for me: 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 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. I appreciate that you offered me your ‘atheist testimony’, and especially that you kept it brief. I am not great 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 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, AoS. I’m sure that I will be posting more comments that you will find provocative and/or evocative.

  74. Ephphatha says:

    oops! above was posted on the wrong page.

  75. fenchurch says:

    Something something not feeding trolls something.


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