Still persecuted, of course.

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Discussion (111)¬

  1. hotrats says:

    And they don’t even get the 72 virgins…

  2. Mark says:

    So of those 100,000, at least 90% were killed by other Xtians in a civil war.

  3. Hobbes says:

    Exaggeration? Geez, Who would have thought?

  4. floridakitesurfer says:


    That sums it all up so well. Xians love to feel persecuted and trumpet how persecuted they are. Hence Faux News has just started their annual outrage campaign about how persecuted Xians are in the form of the “war on Christmas”. Xians have it 90 percent their way, the persecution is that they should get 100 percent. There is no reciprocal persecution to me that I only get it 10 percent my way. That is at it should be. It also ticks them off no end any time they can’t tell me what to do in my bedroom.


  5. Paraplegal says:

    Just remember; if the government doesn’t actively assist me in imposing my religious view on you, then MY right to freedom of religion is curtailed. IT IS AN OUTRAGE how persecuted I am because of my faith.

  6. Numbers? says:

    Lies, damn lies, or statistics?

  7. RavenBlack says:

    “to break through the narrative that tends to dominate discussion in the West – that Christians can’t be persecuted because they belong to the world’s most powerful church.”

    Well done that man, you broke through it, now I would say that Christians *in the west* can’t be persecuted because they belong to the world’s most powerful church.

    “And ultimately I think making that point is more important than being precise about the death toll.”

    I have a similar thought! Relatedly, did you know that all Christians in the west actively want to deny atheists the right to live? (I thought it was more important to make the point that atheists don’t get some rights that Christians do than it was to be accurate about the ways in which that’s the case.)

    Deliberately lying is called being inaccurate these days, right?

  8. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    If I were stood to close to a Christian who was being slaughtered for his belief and got some of his blood on me, would I hae been splashed with martyr sauce?

  9. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Damn! Two o’s’ in ‘too. And there’s normally a ‘v’ in ‘have’.

  10. floridakitesurfer says:

    The too/to thing was obviously an error, but with the hae thing I was giving you too much credit. I was giving you a pass for the same reason I would give you a pass if you had spelled color with a u.

  11. Pete Schult says:

    floridakitesurfer says:

    “Hence Faux News has just started their annual outrage campaign about how persecuted Xians are in the form of the ‘war on Christmas’.”

    At long last, has Faux left no sense of decency? My parents raised me right, and as a self respecting atheist, I would *never* begin the War on Xmas before Thanksgiving.

  12. Carrying on the previous thread:

    Darwin Harmless wrote: Recently some are arguing that rationality evolved to help us justify our decisions to others in the group, not because we need it to make decisions.

    Scottspieg wrote: I will continue to read the comments but have some thinking to do (no, not reject theism, but perhaps view the arguments offered and possible defenses of them )

    Seldom has anybody verified or illistrated one of my statements so quickly or so well. Go for it, Scottspieg. Think away. Think on. Use reason the way reason evolved to be used, as a tool to refute arguments you don’t like. Who cares about truth?

  13. Author, once again the punchline like a bullet rather than a rapier. Brilliant. Again. Damn.

  14. Very crafty, that pull quote from Luke – building the persecution complex right in.

  15. foundationist says:

    Nice one, author!

    Hijacking or artificially inflating the number for the detestable “look how persecuted we are” move is particularly insulting to those Christians who really are persecuted and suffer daily because of their religious convictions.

    The same goes for those fuckwits who conflate not getting everything they want with being persecuted. You are insulting the Christians in Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Afghanistan, or Iran who have to fear for their lives and livelihood every day, not to forget the Muslims in Burma, the Ahmadyi in Pakistan, etc.

  16. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    fks, why would I get a pass for spelling ‘colour’ correctly? 😉
    As far as I’m aware, the only regular here who would get a pass for spelling ‘have’ as ‘hae’ is HaggisForBrains.

    Darwin, I noticed that about scottspeig’s last post too, but I have to admit that I’m intrigued as to how he’ll counter the arguments put to him.
    I may be waiting in vain, but stranger things have happened.

  17. CJ says:

    @hotrats – I never have understood the 72 virgins thing? Where do they get all the virgins from? Last I checked the ratio of men to women was about 49-51, no where near 1-72. Does that mean some or all of the virgins are not real women? All are children? Even then, some of the virgins would have to reconstituted every morning into virgins again. What woman in her right mind would want to lose her virginity night, after night, after night?

  18. steeve says:

    Poor Jesus, he’s so disappointed.

  19. omg says:

    Of course religious people don’t persecute others:

  20. Stephen P says:

    Whenever someone asserts that a group of Christians have been killed for their faith, one should ask if they would have survived if they had been a group of atheists.

  21. John M says:

    Well what man in his right mind, having just got past the hard bit, would then want to repeat it another 71 times. And perhaps the martyrs are not getting the real thing, given the ratio you mention – instead taking a walk, or rather ca. 70 walks, on the wild side. (RIP Lou Reed)

  22. John M says:

    @AoS I thought I’d better reply here, rather than on the previous thread where we were discussing this. It’s just a point about the light from our own galaxy not having had time to reach us yet and about it being blue shifted. The first may well be true from the point of seeing ourselves, but for more distant galaxies that have been longer in existence it may not be. The blue shift appears to be a ‘canard’. The best way to see this is to descend by one dimension and think of a 2D universe on the surface of an expanding 3D (topologically-speaking) sphere. Here all galaxies will be separating from one another from whatever direction they mutually view one another. Put some dots on a balloon, then blow it up.

  23. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Christian martyrs, a subject of gloom
    That many, murdered so soon
    But it’s not quite as sad
    For those performing jihad
    They happily go out with a boom.

  24. CJ says:

    @John M – I hadn’t thought it was all that bad from the man’s view point. Hm…

  25. Mary2 says:

    flordiakitesurfer and paraplegal: “Xians have it 90 percent their way, the persecution is that they should get 100 percent.” and ” if the government doesn’t actively assist me in imposing my religious view on you, then MY right to freedom of religion is curtailed.” Absolutely perfect descriptions of Christian persecution in the West. and foundationist – absolutely true. The government won’t pay for a nativity scene in a public space therefore I am persecuted – never mind those Christians who are actually dying because of their religion.

    I’ve never really got the whole virgin thing. I understand it as a means for men to ensure that resulting children are theirs (women can generally be pretty sure about such things) but I don’t get it as a reward. Unless you view your sexual partner as a blow-up doll to just lie there and be done unto, or you are really insecure and don’t want them to be comparing your performance with that of others, isn’t sex better with someone who knows what they are doing?

  26. Dan says:

    I almost feel like persecuting Christians just to make them happy.
    They sooo want to be persecuted get so little opportunity.
    Poor buggers.

  27. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    About the 72 virgins, and how it might not be the ‘paradise’ it is advertised as: Has anybody thought to check the smallprint?
    For instance, does it say that the virgins are what the martyrs are expecting, ie. young and beautiful women? Imagine expecting a Salma Hayek look-a-like and getting Mother Theresa.
    Does it say that they are even female (thinking about it, do female Islamic martyrs get the same deal?) Imagine expecting a Salma Hayek look-a-like and getting Pope John Paul.
    Does it take account of the martyrs’ sexual orientation? OK, that one’s just silly, I know.
    Are the virgins even human? Imagine expecting a Salma Hayek look-a-like and getting a salmon.

    As it happens, the answer is very possibly the latter – minus the salmon, of course. Some scholars claim that ‘virgins’ is a mis-translation, and what the martyrs are actually promised are plump and juicy white raisins of crystal clarity. It seems that back in the day, white raisins were a great and rare delicacy, and obviously (!) worth dying for. Maybe the mis-translation was deliberate as a response to the rising expectations of the potential martyrs.

    John M, yes, I can see how that might be possible for a much older galaxy than ours, but I think it would take some extraordinary circumstances to enable it to happen, maybe something akin to the light being bent through 180 degrees or so by a mega-masssive black hole.
    My idea about the light being blueshifted was based on the idea of the light ‘circumnavigating’ the Universe, so like a ‘plane circling the Earth, it will be receding from us from the front – red shifted – but approaching us from the back – blue shifted, but as this relies on a spherical Universe it’s a null hpothesis anyway. Not so much a canard as a red herring.
    As I said on the last thread, I’ve read very little about this particular aspect of cosmology so I don’t really know enough to talk about it in detail. It does fascinate me, though, and I’m not yet ready to give up on understanding it.

  28. hotrats says:

    I think you’ve nailed it:
    …or you are really insecure and don’t want them to be comparing your performance with that of others
    And reassuringly, a virgin has no frame of reference for your sexual adequacy or lack therof.

    …isn’t sex better with someone who knows what they are doing?
    Couldn’t agree more, especially when it means they are prepared to do some of the hard work.

  29. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Couldn’t agree more, especially when it means they are prepared to do some of the hard work

    Put your own shelves up, you lazy bugger.

  30. Undeluded says:

    Mary2 – I didn’t quite get if you referred to the Christian virgin (your eponym, though for all I know you may be named after your grandmother) or the houris of Islam. For the latter there is an extensive essay at: http://wikiislam.net/wiki/72_Virgins. So okay, they really need some (a lot) of erotic incitement to “martyr” themselves for an imaginary cause.

    However, it is the Christian virgin that boggles my mind, almost to the same level of ludicrousness as the ‘trinity.’ We know that the gospels (at least the two that mention the virgin birth) intended to demonstrate the fulfillment of the prophecy made by Isaiah in the Old Testament. This text is in Hebrew, and refers to an ‘alma’ – an unmarried young woman of child-bearing age, or just maiden. It has no reflection on her chastity (Hebrew has another word for virgin). The conversion of ‘alma’ to ‘virgin’ is due to the mistranslation to Greek (‘parthenos’) and from there to Latin, thence to English and other languages. This is a well-known and established historical fact, and it’s very conveniently ‘overlooked’ by all of Christendom (apologists can only claim that ‘alma’ does, indeed, mean ‘virgin’), becoming one the basic tenets of this religion. Virgin births of religious heroes were rife in pagan times, as the early translators of the Old Testament (long before Jesus’ birth) knew very well – so why not take the opportunity to put one here as well?

    Hail Mary – another miracle!

  31. CJ says:


    @Mary2 – darn straight it is better when no one who is playing is a virgin.

    @AcolyteofSagan – A very funny idea. The mind boggles. I’ve heard the raisin thing before and it sounds just as silly as 72 virgins of whatever species, gender, or condition.

    @undeluded – When I was old enough to have experienced the realities of losing one’s virginity and having a baby, to combine the two experiences into one sounded like just plain sadism. How could anyone do that to a nice Jewish girl? If the meaning of the original was “maiden,” it isn’t any worse that what any other woman had to go through at the time. Not that I mean to imply child bearing was/is fun or easy.

  32. Mary2 says:

    Undeluded, By that article’s description suicide bombers are ‘martyring’ themselves for 72 breathing, blow-up dolls.

    Don’t really have an issue with the Christian virgin, Mary: I can see why we would need ‘proof’ JC wasn’t Joseph’s bastard. This would be one of the few times where the theology makes more sense than the reality of lusting after people with no experience!

  33. Physicsroolz says:

    CJ, about the 72 virgins thing: for one thing I think it is actually 72 *raisins*. It was just mistranslated.
    Secondly and most importantly: any sociopathic, psychotic, scarred, hate-driven, 400-kilo, hairy-eared, muscle-bound, drugged-up, vicious, nasty scion of decades in the world’s worst prison systems could, technically, be a virgin if he’s never been intimate with a lady. Something for the martyrs to think about? Caveat emptor, and “read the fine print” maybe? [Oh, later posters have made some of those points. Sorry.] The son of the prison system could even *stay* a virgin after he’s … shall we say “met”… the martyr. So the bearded daddy guy wouldn’t need an infinite supply of them. Just one jail’s worth.
    Fun, yes?

    On the point of the believers being persecuted, it truly does happen every day. There are assaults ranging from sour looks, through spitting all the way up to raping and murdering of believers in quite a few countries. Usually by *other* believers. “Mo” in the strip conveniently does not mention this. Nor does he mention that believers in the third latest prophet [the one before J. Smith and J. Jones] persecute each other over which end of the egg to open and other serious matters. Nor do either of them mention that the infidel, heathen non-believers are persecuted by everyone but the Buddhists.
    I suppose all of those points would spoil the self-indulgent mood of entitlement the Jesus character enjoys.

    Mary2: “women can generally be sure…” well, there have been TV serials where, due to contract difficulties, Mum has been surprised by the arrival of a son she never knew she had. No, I didn’t follow the serial, but it was a cultural joke for a time.

    Undeluded: if the supreme example of virtue in a woman was an unmarried child being inseminated artificially to produce a hybrid monster then those people were seriously strange. Most of the time, the religious tell us they see *marriage* as the only place to have offspring. Celebrating an unwed one-parent family, even if she later gets hitched to Joe Carpenter, seems to invalidate all of their millennia of rants against all of the *real* unwed mothers.
    Or has no one noticed that?
    Religious people are seriously inconsistent.

  34. Physicsroolz says:

    CJ & Mary2 : to put it as politely as possible, I knew a virgin lady once. She told me it hurts. She got better. And you can take “better” in any sense you wish. She did.
    And that’s about as far as we can go in a family comic.

    But even if the lady who married Joe Carpenter was only an “alma” and that only meant “maiden”, doesn’t that *still* invalidate all the Christian ranting against pre-marital nookie and unwed mothers? If the mummy of their hybrid god on a stick meat-puppet deity thing is praiseworthy and revered and honoured should not *all* one-parent families be? Aren’t they praising her for the very thing they condemn millions of other girls for?
    Like I said, seriously inconsistent.
    Shouldn’t someone point this out to the Pope and maybe a few bishops?

  35. Chiefy says:

    You are quite right, Physicsroolz. I had not noticed how inconsistent religious people are, and I am going to fire off a strongly worded letter to the Pope. And perhaps to the leaders of every other sect that denigrates unmarried mothers.

  36. James Orpin says:

    From the BBC article they conclude with saying that out of 2.3 billion Christians 10,000 are martyred so regardless of the number they claim they are still persecuted. That works out at 0.0004% I should imagine the percentage of gay people murdered for being gay is much higher than that. Any murder is to be regretted but the numbers just don’t support global Christian persecution.

  37. Jobrag says:

    Do Christiam martyrs go straight to heaven? If they do can someone tell me what the fuss is about? If churches have mission statements part of them would surely be “getting more souls into heaven”, if it takes a suicide bomber to get them there is it such a bad thing?

  38. Mary2 says:

    Physicsroolz, The single mum bit had never occurred to me. Many thanks.

    James Orpin, Try looking at the percentage of transgendered people who get murdered for the crime of being transgendered. It is truly horrific.

    Jobrag, maybe it’s the Christian martyrs who get the raisins? That article of Undeluded’s precludes the mistranslation of the Qu’ran excuse – unless raisins can have big breasts and beautiful eyes. (Which they may, I’ve never seen a white raisin).

  39. Jobrag says:

    Ann Widdicombe is a virgin.

  40. FreeFox says:

    I have to ask the regulars here, do you really never get tired of pointing out the ridiculousness of literal religious faith? Every time I read one of you going on about creationism or the 72 virgins, I can’t help thinking: “Really? You have to beat up on little kids? You really can’t find someone intellectually your own size?” And I want to make it clear I don’t mean Author. For the most part his punchlines really hit those subtle, insidious bigotries and self-delusions of faith-based religionists. But just taking the really dumb shit that uneducated or American people believe because they can’t tell their left and their right thumb apart seems so… I dunno… rude, like in that Simon Amstell skit:

    “It feels like a sort of unkind thing to do, to attack religious people, because, you know, it’s too easy. Like you’re at a party and someone says, “Oh, I’m a Christian, I’m a Muslim, I’m a Jew.” It’s very rude there to say, “Oh, how ridiculous.” I feel at this point we have to treat people with kindness and love and respect, in the same way you treat a child running round a party saying “I’m a helicopter!” And you can say, “Good for you. We’re having fun. I’m a choo-choo train.”

    Like if you really go and slap your thigh and still go: “Dude, they believe Mary was a virgin, haw haw, can you believe it?” don’t you feel it kind of lowers yourself? We *know* they believe that shit. That isn’t even funny, it’s actually really sad. The ways the Vatican is twisting and turning trying to stay ahead of their crumbling faith, okay, that is funny. The way the Archbishop of Canterbury tries to save England from faggots is funny. But that American senators block ecological legislation because they don’t believe in climate change cos God promised Noah he’d never destroy the earth again, or that the Turkish government is right at this moment turning one of the most stable, secular, economically strong and culturally rich countries of the entire region into a woman-hating crazy patriarchal religious loony bin is horrifying. And that they can do so because enough people are little children who for whatever weird reason need to believe in sky faeries and a heaven made of milk and cookies and the sort of awesome sex they never get in real life means these people need to be cuddled and taught gently how to turn their own lives into something beautiful and how to play with girls without being afraid of cooties. Like you teach a child that it’s really nice and healthy to have invisible friends and to play pretend and dress up as Doctor Who and fight Daleks, but that really there is a time and place for that and a real world where they still have to do homework, and tidy their room, eat their brussels sprouts, and be polite to aunt Mathilda.

    But making fun of their believe that their teddy bear can speak… really… that’s kinda sad.

  41. Undeluded says:

    “Martyr” is rather an indistinct term. First – it can mean either death or suffering. Second – it can be either voluntary or involuntary. Third – it can be for religious or non-religious reasons (politics, principles, honor). And, of course, any victim of anything (natural disaster, crime, any type of persecution and especially war) can be – and often is – labeled a martyr.

    Then, there are the “fake” martyrs – those who exaggerate their suffering to gain sympathy, money or whatever. They, too, could (quite correctly) be called martyrs.

    So “who is a martyr” can be an endless debate, and IMHO essentially fruitless.

    Personally, I think the term is a kind of cop-out – similar in some ways to ‘holy’ and ‘sacred.’ A martyr is exalted in some way, and pain or death is somehow ‘redeemed’ by future recognition (if not downright worship and/or various forms of after-life). I believe nobody can actually be called a martyr – not only because of the loose definition, but also because of the interpretation of moral “goodness” it implies, with no indication of whether or not this is justified.

    Unfortunately, this kind of shifts the focus away from the real problems – war, persecution, pogroms, natural disasters, nuclear melt-downs, etc. They all have victims – but ‘victim’ doesn’t sound as lofty and prestigious as ‘martyr.’

    Oh, yes – “thank god,” says Mo, that it is ‘only’ 10,000. Hallelujah!

  42. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    I have to ask the regulars here, do you really never get tired of pointing out the ridiculousness of literal religious faith?
    Of course we do, but we get more tired of them constantly spouting their bollocks and demanding we respect, shit, demanding we obey it,
    We can’t beat the crap out of them because that really would be unfair, so if we can’t laught at ’em, what do we do instead? Just say ‘OK, you win, religionists, have it your way’?
    I’m sure living in a theocracy can’t be that bad.
    Can it?

  43. Lewis R. Lowden, DAV says:

    floridakitesurfer – “…Faux [Fox News]…no sense of decency?” You hit the nail on the head with that statement; Faux News, following in the steps of Joseph P. McCarthy.

  44. two cents' worth says:

    Physicsroolz, when Mary2 wrote that “women can generally be sure…” I think she meant that they can be sure the children to whom they give birth are genetically theirs. (I think she wrote “generally” because it is possible, though not probable, that another woman’s egg could have been fertilized in vitro and implanted into the gestating mother’s uterus without the gestating mother’s knowledge.) When you wrote about a woman being “surprised by the arrival of a son she never knew she had,” was this a case of a woman who didn’t know she was pregnant, yet gave birth to a son? Or a case of a woman who gave birth to a child that she never laid eyes on before giving it up for adoption, and who had her child (a son) turn up at her door one day? Just curious. (For the record, after experiencing pregnancy myself, I thought it was impossible for a woman to be pregnant and not know it, but a simple Web search turned up information on a number of actual instances. The scariest ones were about women who had painful gynecological problems, erratic menstrual cycles, and weight problems, and were told they could never conceive, but found themselves giving birth.)

    Jobrag, yes, Christians believe that Christians who die for their faith go directly to heaven–no purgatory for them! It is another inconsistency: Christians should feel happy that their loved ones who have died are in heaven (or are on their way there, via purgatory), yet they feel sad (because, like the rest of us, they miss their loved ones who have died). Also, Christians consider suicide a sin, so they are dissuaded from taking their own lives just so they can get into heaven sooner.

  45. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    two cent’s worth, although I can’t recall its name, if I’m thinking of the same programme the mother had given birth to the child but had no recollection the pregnancy or the birth. It was probably meant to be a psychological thing, the trauma of birth or giving up the child causing her to block the whole thing from her memory.
    Could it have been Sunset Beach? That certainly had ridiculous story-lines, even by ‘normal’ soap opera standards.

  46. Physicsroolz says:

    Friggin hull, I am old.
    Two cents worth, the off hand comment about some mums not being sure was in reference to a USAlien [I *like* that, it sums up how different the USA Americans often are, emphasises the distinction between them and normal people like Canadians and gives them a nationality all of their own. Anyone find it offensive?] TV serial of the last Century in which Jo-Bob … ah, you get the idea. It was meant as funny. I sometimes forget that roughly half the population were born in *this* Century and aren’t familiar with cultural references from the era of the trilobite. Sorry.

    Two cents worth, I’m told, by reliable sources, that even when pregnant it is possible to menstruate but that the hormones controlling things interfere with each other and cause what radio guys call “cross-talk”. Signal confusion. That seems like rather a messy way of arranging things; the sort of incompetent job evolution would do but rather beneath the artistry of a designer. {Yet another sly dig at the “if he’s so fuggen marvellous why are testicles so vulnerable, why the appendix, why toothache, back pain and cancer” school of mockery} I am greatly happy that I’ll never need to find out about things like that from the inside.
    Not unless reincarnation happens.

    Freefox, sorry we harp on so much about the same idiocies, which I’ll freely admit even many religious folk have issues with. What points would you prefer us to mock heartily?
    Methuselah being a millennium old? All of his descendants living lesser spans with each generation?
    A boat full of tardigrades [1], fleas (several thousand separate species of the little buggers), roses, hops, cacti and everything all of those need to eat? [Roses, for one, would be extinct if waterlogged for six weeks worldwide, as would 99.9999% of land plants that aren’t lichen or mosses.] A boat that had to be roofed in for six weeks while the food was eaten. A boat that thusly had a disposal issue, in that the products of the elephants and gorillas and termites and crows eating all of that nice food had to collect on deck? The job Noah and crew had in dumping the used food overboard once the rains stopped?
    Or Columbus finding it in 1492?

    Okay, so that’s a rather naughty joke about what is a great nation with wonderful people, but in general the Americans, from Canada to Chile can take a joke at their expense. Indeed, I think that joke was USAlien in origin.
    But it subtly mocks yet another corner-stone of one of the religions of Abraham. The great flood myth.
    If you only have two sparrows and two mices what did the forty sorts of cat eat for six weeks? Wheetabix?

    And then there are soda straws. Soda straws disintegrate at a sour look. Harshly breathing on them will kill them when they are babies. Soda straws live in caves. If they live long enough, as many millions have, they become stalactites when they grow up. If they survive, they drip down to form stalagmites. They, too, exist in their millions. It takes many millennia of constant conditions, stable humidity, stable temperature, stable water flow and *stable* *gravity* to produce a cave full of stal-things of all dimensions from soda straws to huge, joined-up columns metres wide that look like colourful elephants.
    Yet there are live caves on this planet with exactly those sorts of limestone formations.
    Know what that means? No earthquakes of any consequence for millennia so the sequence of growths was never broken.
    And this implies? The planet did *not* stop rotating just so some nasty army guy could have his way with some other army guys.
    Soda straws and Joshua are incompatible.

    A man was standing morosely drinking at his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. His friend asked him why he was so sad.
    “I was just thinking,” he replied, “had I strangled that witch on our wedding night I’d be free by now.”
    Not funny? Maybe it’s the way I tell them? Or maybe “suffer not a witch to live” isn’t quite the advice for married couples Relate would offer? It’s part of the essence of the religion. It’s the word of the big beardy guy in the clouds. It has been used to justify a tremendous amount of savagery, but maybe that, too, is a far too easy target for cheap shots?

    Okay, how about an all-wise, all-powerful all-knowing big super-daddy who wants his puppets, his dollies, not to eat a certain fruit but who is too inept to program them properly? He can build in an aversion to eating dog poo but not one for that particular apple? Or, he can build mountains miles across and miles high but not a three-layered, fifty-metre high electrified fence? Or he can build Australia but he’s too dumb to put his special tree there? That situation is *planned* to fail. And if failure is built in to the system, even into the very puppets he is having his little obedience game with, then surely it is not *their* “sin” it is big daddy’s? If the design is flawed, the manufacturer pays. Everyone knows this, even car makers. Everyone, it seems, but spooky big daddies in the clouds. [Just as an aside, why didn’t stupid big daddy *give* them clothes? Not for modesty but to protect their danglies and soft bits from branches, thorns and frostbite? What the hell is *wrong* with not wanting abrasions, contusions and infestations? Only prurient geriatrics would think clothes only conceal.]
    I saw the major flaws in this idiocy when I first encountered it as a small child but I was told to shut up, stop asking stupid [?] questions and just obey for the priests know best. I’ve never done any of those three.

    Sending bears to rend little children apart for mocking bald priests?
    Nuking cities full of the puppets *he* designed because they are acting as *he* designed them to act? [Humans don’t much like soaking themselves in blood and standing in a cage full of starved big cats. Not twice, anyway. If big daddy can build in *that* aversion, why not one to illicit nookie? We’d still have free will.] [Yes, that, too, bugged me as a tiny child. I haven’t aged gracefully.] Chemically transforming, and therefore murdering, a woman for using the curiosity *he* built into her for one last glance at what was after all her *home*? For taking one last, tear-filled look at her frigging *home*? How is that “just” or even sane? We’re supposed to respect, praise and applaud a monster who would murder a woman for weeping over her lost *home*?
    This is “merciful”? This is “loving”? No, this is an evil, sadistic, bullying brute of a sociopathic monstrosity who should be wiped out without a thought. It isn’t human enough to have rights or to be treated humanely, it is a verminous, odious cretin less deserving of life than an Ebola viron.
    And then there’s Leviticus and Numbers.
    If those weren’t part of the books of the Abrahamic religions those self-same religions would have them banned, expunged, expurgated, censored and burnt. Have you *read* them? Do you know how many reasons there are for killing slaves?

    Okay, no fair picking on the Christians just because they are easy targets. I could have done the same type of nasty, destructive mockery of the other two religions of the Middle East, or on many of their lesser brethren, [An angel called “Moroni”? Insert many, many jokes here.] but I think the CockandBull regulars are mainly more familiar with the fairy tales of Joe, Jesus and Mary, the Carpenters than with the others. I know I am.
    Sorry, Freefox, we don’t mock the six dozen fruits [who are technically virgins] or the tale of the raped unwed mother because they are the only targets available. We do it because those subjects came up … and because they are bloody hilarious.
    Imagine Jimmy the suicide bomber coming up to the gates to get his six dozen supple virgins and seeing Knuckles, Heart-eater, Zeb-the-Knife, Thirty-dead, Ugly Joe from Reno and a host of other knuckle-dragging hairies. And there stands the avatar of the big boss spook with a faeces eating grin as he explains:
    “I did promise virgins with large breasts. These guys are *huge*…and as for the wide-eyed thing, well, I did invent PCP…”
    Personally, I could sort of semi-respect a deity with that sort of evil sense of humour. It’s almost a poetic reward for being inhuman enough to suicide-bomb.
    Not that any of the humour-deprived male geriatrics in charge of any of the major religions would ever think of it. It’s exactly the sort of lessee-majesty that used to get cartoonists like our Good Author shipped off to furrin parts.

    Sorry, Freefox, you may be the nicest guy alive [apart, obviously, from me] but so long as you and your lot insist that we, too, worship pink flying unicorns with six heads and four sets of genitalia who nailed one of their own to a hot and very cross bun [wouldn’t you be cross if some unicorns nailed a guy to you?] to unstew our waggles from dermentation, and so long as you build churches to your boss pink unicorn while lamenting The Poor but doing little to help them[2] and so long as you insist on special status for your belief in unicorns of all colours, even minty ones, and so long as you stone and maim and burn those who see your unicorn stories as sort of daft, we will continue to make sport of your stories. Even the truly sad one about the little lost unicorn who fell down a mineshaft and tried to talk to Skippy, who, with the mental capacity of something so dim even a rabbit wouldn’t eat it took all the rescuing townsfolk to the beach so illustrating the message that the minty pink boss beardy spook unicorn in the sky is great for having made such a wise ‘roo. Yes, we will make fun with all of your glorious tales.
    And we’ll tell you we don’t need our waggles unstewed from dermentation, not even by minty pinkies.
    Preferably anonymously, from a safe distance and hoping you’re not clever enough to find our IP addresses.

    Just in case: all details given about my real identity [which I don’t have anyway] are fabricated. I’m not really male. I’m not really human. I don’t live anywhere near England and I don’t know anyone called Clark, whomever he may be. Oh, and I didn’t type this. It was typed by a secretary of a lackey of a minion of the really, truly evil alternate reality version of my truly evil doppleganger, of my most evil robot copy of my more evil clone of my evil twin, Sheena.
    And did I mention I’ve run away?

    [1] I *adore* tardigrades. They are a perfect example of something no Noah would save, though *I* would. “BBC Nature – Tardigrades: Water bears in space”
    [Now *that* is a title worth seeing.] http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/12855775

    [2] As I ask every November, if the BBC’s “Children In Need” is so successful how come they plan *next* year’s? I may look like a cynical, selfish git but I don’t give to any charity whose bosses earn more than I ever did and I *never* pay religions. I try to persuade others to follow my example. If we can’t educate them into extinction, maybe we can starve them. As far as churches doing good work goes, two millennia and more and we’re *still* hip deep in the poor. Science has done more to improve the lot of humanity in ten minutes [penicillin] than religion has done in all of history. I know this is yet another cheap shot but religions *ban* prophylactics, Science encourages them. Of those, which helps the poor more? “But they risk their eternal souls if they have nookie…” Yet another bit of idiocy from geriatric virgins who invented a stupid reason for their prejudices, a spooky big daddy who *created* sex but who is psychotically obsessed with who plays with the toys. Were those gods real they would be demented. As it is, the paedophiles who invented them are the crazy ones. Yet we are supposed to respect both?
    A deity who insists you be stoned to death and who then tortures you forever for a few seconds of happy, and the priests who think such an obscenity is worthy of anything more than being sneered at with utter contempt? These are “good”?

    One generation of using condoms and HIV would cease to exist in the human population. Freefox, can you point to one religion that supports that? One out of all of the millions? More condoms, fewer poor and fewer diseases among the poor but does *any* religion support that?
    Not rogue nuns working against their own bosses but the church itself.
    All of the above and you wonder why we mock?

  47. Physicsroolz says:

    Acolyte of Sagan, I don’t now what serial it was but i think the reality was that the original son was acted by an actor who left due to contractual difficulties; maybe he died, that would make enforcing his contract a little iffy. The company supplied a new son whom the mother had totally forgotten about.
    I don’t find this too strange, incidentally. My family are *far* stranger than that and my mother never could remember my name, even though she was the one who insisted on it. She kept calling me by my *younger* brother’s name. A name she hadn’t needed until years *after* I was born.
    So, forgetting the odd pregnancy and result thereof may seem odd to more mainstream people but I’d be prepared to accept it happening.
    Though I doubt it happens to me very often.
    [What do I do if I *am* a spammer? The verifier won’t let me tell you I am.]

  48. Mary2 says:

    Freefox, No. Never get tired of it. They are getting more and more power in my country – from being irrelevant ten years ago to ruling both sides of politics now. As this happens I have to read every day in the news, more and more creeping oppression from my own governments based on their religious beliefs. Bring on the mocking because it is either that or the revolution.
    There is also a difference to which you yourself alluded. I don’t mock individuals I meet at parties. I don’t call my friends credulous sheep. This website is, obviously, an atheist friendly space. This is a safe space within which I can laugh with likeminded people. I see this as no different to sitting around with my gay friends laughing at the assumptions made by straight people (apologies, Breeders 😉 ). In the rest of the world straight people are my friends, my colleagues and the people I meet at the shops. When I’m having dinner with Teh Gayz we are safe to talk about the stuff that straight people don’t get and have never experienced – no matter how pro-gay they are. I assume Black people or those belonging to other minority groups do exactly the same thing. I can be pro-Indigenous rights in Australia, I can fight for them and I can empathise, but I will never know what it is like to grow up Aboriginal and I do not resent them sitting together slanging off about bloody white people.
    I also learn a lot about the beliefs of others – which is interesting to discuss for its own sake. In the last week I have learnt about cosmology, I have researched the 72 virgins thing and thought more on the Virgin Mary belief (I’d never bothered to do any of these before). I think that thinking and knowledge through discussing ideas is beneficial in its own right and if my education grows because of jokes and comics instead of serious debate then so be it.

  49. Physicsroolz says:

    Acolyte of Sagan was seen to type: at November 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm
    FreeFox was seen to type at November 14, 2013 at 11:10 am,

    ” ‘I have to ask the regulars here, do you really never get tired of pointing out the ridiculousness of literal religious faith?’ ”
    “Of course we do … ”
    Actually, truthfully, no we don’t. It’s kind of fun.
    Doing it to the Moslems wouldn’t be. Not for long, but the Christians are not in the Fourteenth Century any more, unlike their younger cousins who venerate the third latest prophet [before Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones]. Christians don’t froth at the mouth, mob up and set light to people. Not often enough for me to worry overly much.
    So we can cheerfully poke at their books and their mysteries and their quaint little excuses for deviant behaviour like chastity and checking for a scrotum before letting the Pope take office.
    We’d never get away with doing anything like that to the other guys. Not even the first branch of the Judeo-Moslemo-Christiano-Mormon Abrahamic religion. Mock them and you’re evil, anti-semitic and racist.
    It’s nice that the Christians have either grown up enough to be just barely out of the infantile “but he hit me so I *got* to hit him back, Mummy” reaction to anything they don’t like [including me] or have become too scared to do what they so dearly would love to but it’s rather frustrating that we can’t have a funny little dance with the rest of them.
    It’s a shame they aren’t grown-up enough.
    Maybe, when they reach their twentieth century they will be.
    And before anyone calls me on it, you don’t know whether I’m Caucasian, like many Jews and Moslems, or not, like many others, so even if I didn’t like them as people I couldn’t be accused of racism. Indeed, many Mongoloids are Moslem so it’s *impossible* for hating them to be racism.
    Not that I hate anyone. I don’t. I don’t know them well enough to hate them. I don’t know them well enough to mildly dislike them. Nor do I know them well enough to love them, though I would prefer to do that.

    Okay, here’s my great big terrible secret: I love human beings. I love people.
    There, it’s out. I love you all.
    I just wish it were mutual.
    And that we could at least live in the same house without wanting to burn it down around our collective ears.
    People are fucking *magical*. How do you get an aluminium can levitated from Earth’s surface onto the moon? Throw humans at the problem. How do you kill an invisibly small parasite that attacks the very defensive mechanism meant to protect us against those little buggers? Throw humans at the problem.
    Humans are anti-gravity. Humans are the elixir of life. Humans could be so much, could do so much, could create so much loveliness.
    People are capable of such beautiful things.
    Have you ever seen the adoring, selfless love for its human that shines in a dog’s soft eyes? Your species is capable of being what she see you as. You are well able to be the perfect, glowing, magnificent *human* beings that they think we are. People *can* deserve the sort of love dogs give so easily.
    Some of us see it in you, this shining, bright, searingly brilliant light that could transform the cosmos. Some of us have been lucky, privileged enough to *marry* it. To live with one of those wonderful beings. To share in their beauty.
    Humans at their best are a glorious blessing on this universe.
    That is why I feel that harming, stunting, imprisoning the minds of or simply not helping people is so bad.
    The endless bounty of shared humanity could be so very much more glorious than it is now.
    Should we not all be working to make it so?

    Oh, bugger. I think I’ll shut the hell up, now.
    And I *still* can’t tell y’all I’m a spammer were I one. That’s anti-spammer discrimination that is.

  50. Mary2 says:

    Physicsroolz, Seriously impressive screed! One quibble: “One generation of using condoms and HIV would cease to exist”. Actually, “One gereration of using condoms” and there would not be another generation.

    Freefox, maybe you do have a point. My sarcastic, throw-away line about women “generally” being certain they are the genetic progenitor of the children they give birth to has spawned (if you’ll pardon the pun) an entirely unexpected direction within the conversation. That’s why I LOVE this website – second ownly to the fabulous comics of course – sorry, Author, didn’t mean to suggest …

  51. Mary2 says:

    Physicsroolz, I’d quite happily mock Muslims or Rastafarians if a) I knew anything much about them, and b) if they were trying to force their religion on to me.

    Actually, mocking Rastafarian beliefs would probably be a lot of fun. Don’t they believe an emperor of Ethiopa was God? How they hell did they decide which one?

  52. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    psst, Mary (I’m whispering so no-one else hears), I think you should look up ‘screed’; it isn’t exactly a compliment 😉

  53. Mary2 says:

    AOS, I did (believe it or not, it’s true)!!! I was going to use ‘rant’ but decided that was too uncomplimentary.

    screed: “a long discourse or essay, especially a diatribe.” You don’t think it was a (wonderful) diatribe?

  54. two cents' worth says:

    Physicsroolz, you asked whether any religion supports the use of condoms. For what it’s worth, I happen to know of two religious organizations that support the use of condoms: the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations and the United Church of Christ. However, you might not count them as religions, given that they (especially the UUs) don’t take scripture literally.

    Thanks for the link to the article on tardigrades. I’d never heard of them before. They are amazing!

  55. Physicsroolz says:

    Mary2: sorry, I should have been more explicit, one generation of using condoms as prophylactics, as shields to prevent infection. Obviously one would eschew the practice when conception was desired.
    As far as mocking Rastas goes, why do it? They are fun people. They don’t enforce their religion at gunpoint and they have a sense of humour. Rastfarianism is a religion I could enjoy. I seem to remember they picked the emperor of Ethiopia because they thought of that country as their spiritual home, and they don’s see him exactly as a god but as yet another avavtar of a god, a god spirit in flesh. Again, I could be wrong. Two things I do know, Rastas prefer being called Rastas or Rastafari than having the “-ism” and they like to spiritually make use of a certain banned herb. Not that I’ve ever encountered that particular plant, ever, in any way. Rastas tend to be mellow, and gentle and nice. Whether they count as a religion or not is debatable, even by themselves.

    Two cents’ worth : apologies for missing the punctuation mark in your name previously. I honestly didn’t notice it before.
    I would have thought the UUAC was more a collective of religious bosses, a talking shop, an inter-church committee than a religion per se. I could be wrong. I know nothing at all about the UCC but it would not surprise me that a tiny schism of Christianity supports condoms. In America one can find a rebel Christian priest that supports *any* random thought and generally he can find a congregation and funds. {I even thought of going that way myself when money was tight but I don’t have enough courage}. But I would lump that in with the rebellious nuns who help the homeless, the drug users and those who can’t afford private medical care; as people going against the main tenets of their religion. It’s like an archbishop of Canterbury saying the resurrection was a metaphor not a real, physical revival of a corpse. Again, I may be wrong-headed in this but in a place where people hold up soup cans to catch the souls of deep-fried aliens one can probably find a named church to support any silliness. Even modern medicine.
    Thinking on it, *I* don’t take religious scripture seriously, hell, I don’t take quantum physics seriously, it’s too strange, weird and amazing not to be a joke, so maybe I *should* have my very own religion? A religion without worship, faith or dogma and with Sundays off.
    And tardigrades *are* amazing. I’ve know of them for decades, so I’m surprised the BBC thinks they are somehow new, but I still think they are so cute. Though I probably wouldn’t want them swimming in my mug of tea. They are *tiny*, though, so one might not notice a couple. I do love the “heart-shaped” coming of age markings on the legs of the one in the BBC’s image. Nice tribal art. Especially for a creature with such clumsy-looking “hands”.

    Mary2 and Acolyte : “screed” will do. Rant would also fit. Ranting fit might be better. I don’t mind.

  56. hotrats says:

    Screed, rant, dissertation, you sure can type. Will your comments be coming out in paperback?

  57. FreeFox says:

    @Physicsroolz 1st answer: TL;DR – sorry, when you reached waterlogged roses my eyes glazed over. I know the Noah story is ridiculous if take literally. I know the Jews never were slaves in Egypt, Jesus didn’t raise anyone from the dead, and Mary probably never existed, and if she did she certainly wasn’t a virginal mother, and if she did it still doesn’t prove any of her son’s message. My point, who except morons gives a shit?

    @Mary: Not sure if I understood you right. Are you queer or do you just go slumming with us? Because I am, and I enjoy hanging out with other queers to get away from stupid straights every now and then, but frankly we hardly ever talk about them (you?) then, because, well, we’re meeting to get away, and unless someone just had an unpleasant personal run-in recently he needs to unload about, well, we’d rather spend time discussing sexy actors, each other’s love life, or planning beach trips… So, I totally get hanging out with freethinkers and enjoying some nice sciency chats without having stupid creationists bleating. I mean, hey, I’ve subscribed to VSauce, minutephysics, numberphile, ViHart, ASAPscience, smarter every day, crash course, and a bunch of other lovely science YouTube channels, and I watch them with my son and we go out and watch the stars. I tell him the stories about the constallations, but as great mythic stories, and then we talk about asteroids and Voyager leaving the solar system, about the Indian Mars mission, about how humans slowly understood plate tectonics in the last century, and of course dinosaurs and black holes (his favourite subjects at the moment…) I even tell him what his friends believe about the universe (they’re all devout Muslims) and how it’s unscientific and the virtues of the scientific method, but I’d feel like a jerk if I taught him to make fun of their childish beliefs, instead of helping him understand why people cling to such ideas.

    @Physicsroolz 2nd answer: You only poke fun where it’s safe?! That cheapens it even more. Again you are making my point: For the most part literalist religion is either horrific, like hereabouts or in the US, where it’s actually destructive and ruining lives and generally life on the planet, or it’s so pathetic, like in Europe or Canada and Australia, that it’s really cheap. The battle is won there, you no longer need to make fun of the idea of luminiferous aether, or lamarckism, or alchemy. Making fun of homeopathy when it still costs the public health systems in the EU shitloads of money better spent elsewhere, yeah, I can get that. Or making fun of creationists ON CREATIONIST WEBSITES in the hopes of making them think, or on forums where both sides are discussing the public school system, in the hopes of changing the minds of the undecided. Yeah. Go for it. Get rid of stupidity in school rooms. But… preaching to the choir?! Feeling collectively superiour to idiots? I dunno… *shrugs* I can’t ehlp but feel kinda sad every time I read it. Which is a pity. I really like visiting the Cock & Bull otherwise.

    I’m with you on the loving humanity thing, though I suppose we can also agree that humanity at the same time is also about the worst thing that ever clambered down from the trees.

    (Also, physicsroolz, I dunno where you get off lumping me with literalists… ask around, the regulars here will tell you that I have never been on the side of bigots, charlatans, organised religion, or other bronze-age-scribbling worshipping gits. If I am an git, I’m an git mui generis. 😉

    @two cents worth: I resent your re-defining of religious as only literalism. ^_^

    @AoS: Wrote to you along, personal, emotional response and the web ate it. Sorry, man.

  58. Physicsroolz says:

    Freefox: my apologies. You are totally correct and I was wrong to include you in with the loonies. You are far more than that. I truly apologise.
    On the subject of safety, were I brave I’d use my real name. I do hide behind anonymity. A lot. I never claimed to be courageous. Maybe that’s evil, like the bad guys choosing soft targets. I need to think on that.
    Have a truly nice day, and a lovely weekend.

  59. two cents' worth says:

    Firefox, no offense meant. When I wrote, “you might not count them as religions,” I ought to have italicized “you”–I was referring specifically to Physicsroolz.

    An atheist Unitarian Universalist minister told me about a book called Religion Without God. I need to find out whether he meant the book by Ronald Dworkin or the book by Ray Billington; then I’ll add it to my list of books I want to read.

  60. two cents' worth says:

    AARGH–I wrote “Firefox” when I meant to write “FreeFox.” Sorry–the caffeine hasn’t quite kicked in yet :-/

  61. Trine says:

    @two cents’ worth: I don’t want religion; with or without god…

  62. two cents' worth says:

    Trine, I don’t mean to promote religion. I’m just interested in learning more so I can understand people better, and so I can make informed comments when discussing religion. One of the things I like about the Cock & Bull is that people point me to interesting Web sites, books, etc. that are new to me. Many of those in the pub know more about Christianity and Islam than the average Christian or Muslim does, and that’s one of the reasons why they’re able to contribute so much to the conversation here in the pub. If I keep learning, one day I might be as articulate and convincing as they are.

  63. FreeFox says:

    @2CW: Have you tried Petersen’s “Maps of Meaning” and Joseph Campbell’s “The POwer of Myth” (either the book or the series of videos with Bill Moyer). Or Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”?

  64. two cents' worth says:

    FreeFox, thanks for the tips! Petersen’s Maps of Meaning is new to me. I did see the videos of The Power of Myth when they were first aired, but, like Julia Sweeney, I think I’ll find a different “take away” if I view them again. Or would you recommend the book instead? (The amazon.com listing for the book shows Bill Moyers as a co-author. Is the book basically a transcript of the videos, or does it include extra material?) Fortunately for me, both The Power of Myth (in book and video form) and Maps of Meaning are available at my local library. (I’m a recovering book-aholic, and do not allow myself to buy a book until I’ve read it, and then only if I know I’ll want to read it at least two more times 😉 .)

    Speaking of Julia Sweeney, I must also thank Darwin Harmless for mentioning one of her audio clips ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri3-DpSn7AA ) in the thread under the previous J&M cartoon. If anyone in the pub missed DH’s post, he wrote, “…she started out as a devout Catholic with fantasies of becoming a nun. Step by step she moved through levels of belief until she faced the fact that everything she’d been told about God was nonsense and worse. Give her a listen. She’s really worth it.” I heartily agree! Like the Author, she has the gift of teaching through humor.

  65. two cents' worth says:

    I messed up on turning off the italics–I mean to use them only for the book titles. To err is human; I hope the others in the pub are divine enough to forgive the error 😉 .

  66. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    To err is human… to really screw up requires a computer….and you’ve just proven the last line of that saying.
    I hope the others in the pub are divine enough to forgive the error
    As a repeat offender, who am I to criticise? Well, except for the ‘divine’ bit; that’s reserved for Author alone 😉

    FreeFox, a shame about your missing post, it’s happening a lot around these parts. I’m beginning to suspect I may be right about one of Author’s digital sentinels having a twisted sense of humour.
    Good to see you back on form; love that you and your cub are having good times; you won’t be surprised that I do the same with my eldest grandson when the skies are clear, though not so deep into the myths yet as he’s only three, but now he’s big enough to use my telescope he’s developed an obsession with the moon and Jupiter.
    Good days, my friend.

  67. FreeFox says:

    I love Google Sky and other astronomy and satellite wtaching apps on my phone… I have a reasonable grasp of the stars, but of course there are lots I have no idea what they are, and now whenever he asks me, I can whip out the phone, point it at the sky, and we can check up on them together… we can even read up on them immediately on Wikipedia. (I love smart mobile phones…)
    And we both love the idea that it goes on, and on, and on… I told him about exoplanets recently, especially earthlike ones, and he got all excited and was really crushed that there is no hope at the moment of reaching any of them. That was how we got back to Mars and the Indian Mars mission, and the old Biosphere 2 thing. But in the end I told him a story (he knows it’s a story) about a Victorian space with aether ships, and canals on a dry, desert Mars with a dying ancient culture and with dinosaurs on a steamy, jungle- infested Venus and brave two-fisted explorers rescuing princesses (or princes 😉 ) from ancient trap-studded temples…

  68. hotrats says:

    You certainly are ‘an git mui generis’, and I wouldn’t have it any other way – more power to you. But ridicule comes in many forms, and almost as an inevitable precursor, has sheer disbelief at the stupidity-gullibiliity-hypocrisy of the believers, as the cartoon often shows.

    All of us have this sense of ‘WTF are they on?’ – the religious have it themselves, for followers of other religions – and many feel the need to express it here; in a spirit of solidarity (Reg), we should be comfortable with a bit of healthy venting at the absurdity of it all. With luck, contributors will stick around and find more worthy candidates for their contempt, like the actual behaviour of the religious.

    Things seems to be going horribly wrong at the Vatican these days; the bank is being indicted for money-laundering, and the Pope has so lost the plot that he not only blithely let gays off the meat-hook of sin, but he doesn’t mind risking the wrath of the Mafia in dismantling corrupt agencies within the church, and is now even saying that rigid ideology is an illness, and that bishops and cardinals should get out amongst the poor a bit more. That’s exactly the sort of thing the Conclave of Cardinals is supposed to weed out from the papal shortlist. At this rate he’ll be giving the money back, and then where will they all be?

  69. floridakitesurfer says:

    Free Fox,
    Above you used an idea that I used to use, but now scrupulously avoid. You denigrated Judeo-Christian ideas as originating in the Bronze Age. The fun of this is obvious. Humans really hadn’t learned that much about their environment back then and it is really insulting to say a modern human’s knowledge is no better than the knowledge of a human from the Bronze Age.

    The thing is that it isn’t true. The Bronze Age ended about 1200 BC and the very oldest stuff in the Bible is most likely from about 900 BC. Most of it was written after 600 BC. Your take on what I just wrote might be something like: “Who cares? It is all crap any way. Why worry about whether I accurately date the crap or inaccurately date the crap?”

    Of course one answer would just be taking pride in knowing that your words are true to the best of your knowledge. But also remember that Biblical literalists think the Bible really was written in the Bronze Age. According to the chronology of Bishop Usher, all the Biblical players from Adam to Joshua lived in the time period that archeologists refer to as the Bronze Age. So if we say that Bible stories are a bunch of Bronze Age stories then we just ceded that we believe their chronology is actually correct. Far from being the insult that we intend, I think that referring to Bible stories as “Bronze Age” is actually taken by literalists as agreeing with them on this important point.

    At any rate, I am not trying to dictate that you MUST follow my lead. I am merely pointing out my thoughts on this topic in case you find that viewpoint valid or at least interesting.


  70. FreeFox says:

    @FKS: brilliant. Thanks, mate. Been reading up on it on Wikipedia. Fascinating stuff.

  71. Mary2 says:

    Freefox, Ouch!! We now have to present our ‘Queer’ credentials? Is that like a ‘No True Christian’ thing? I was only joking in last week’s column about having a secret handshake and hidden agenda!

    You have been a regular on this forum for as long as I have and are someone whose thought-provoking contributions I relish. Therefore I am surprised that you do not know as much about who I am (or the bits that I choose to share) as I know those bits you’ve shared.

    We obviously have very different ideas about why we hang out with other GLBT people. I certainly don’t believe my straight friends are “slumming” when they spend time with me and I don’t believe I have ever felt the need to “get away from stupid straights every now and then”. Some of my friends just happen to be gay and some straight (some Black; some White etc.). It is obvious to me that it’s beneficial to sometimes spend time with people who have been through similar experiences: my straight friends are often more aggressively pro-gay rights than I but I doubt they have ever been yelled at by strangers for holding their partner’s hand in the street.

    No more have I felt that way about ‘Believers’. My partner of 15 years is a ‘Believer’, and, yes, also a woman.

    The battle against literalist religion has not been won in Australia. Ten years ago, yes, I would have said it would never happen but now a ‘religious right’ in the mould of the Tea Party is gaining strength with every election. We have several fundamentalist parties who hold the balance of power outright in one State (of seven) – meaning all legislation must be made with them in mind – and gaining power in the others. Our two most recent Prime Ministers have been capital C Christians who publicly use their religion as a basis for their social policies (in theory –there is nothing Christian about Australia’s treatment of refugees). Every day I see more public attacks on who I am and my place in the citizenry as well as policies shrinking civil liberties and demonising minority groups. This is what the rest of Australia has to fight against.

    I don’t think there is anything cowardly about poking fun “where it’s safe”. I don’t see the need to ridicule people in the street or on their own safe-spaces on the internet but it’s a depressing world and I like having a group of like-minded people I can share a laugh with – even at the expense of others’ beliefs.

    I don’t feel “superior to idiots” I feel inferior to some of the minds in this comments section and enjoy being made to think and to challenge my own ideas and beliefs while learning about those of other people.

    I think there is a dose of hypocrisy in someone suggesting we should not make fun of religious beliefs while calling Christians “bronze-age-scribbling worshipping gits”.

    Freefox, forgive me if I have over-reacted to your post (I do generally gain a lot from conversing with you) but it really hit a nerve to feel both my honesty and personal life impugned.

  72. Mary2 says:

    FloridaKiteSurfer, I love the idea of the bronze age having a specific end date. I know you said “about” 1200BC but a wonderful image popped into my head where a whistle blows and everyone has to hand-over their bronze weaponry and farm implements to have them replaced with the new stuff. Like the large organisation I work for where, regularly, a message will appear on the computer screens requesting we log-off but leave the machines on for the upgrade.

  73. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Mary, I can tell you exactly when the Iron Age began. It was the day after my wife and I married; she pointed at ours and said “I hope you don’t think I’m ever using that again”! 🙂

  74. FreeFox, yes I am sick to death of hearing about the 73 virgins. And I’m tired of harping on all the other idiocies that Physicsroolz listed. This is why I am so very happy when a live chew toy like Scottspieg shows up and says things that, to him, sound very reasonable.

    I might take a run at the odd evolution denier, but don’t bother going on about the group as a whole. We all know they are blind to reason and evidence, so why bring it up again. I mean, really, taking Noah’s ark literally? For me this crowd gets interesting when we have somebody to argue with. You and I had a pretty good run. Ah, them were the days, eh.

    But as Mary2 said, there are reasons to get inflamed about the fundies and their silly crazy beliefs. The fact is they are not children running around a party claiming to be a helicopter. They hold high political positions, like Supreme Court Justice Scalia who believes in the devil and passes judgement on American laws. They are presidential candidates and infiltrators of school boards. They are fucking scary. When the fanatic is breaking into your house intent on whacking you with an axe, it’s not a good time to laugh and take him lightly. People have died over this shit. People have gone into hiding. People have been intimidated into silence. No wonder we go on and on about how fucking stupid it all is.

    But yes, I’m tired of it.

  75. Mark S. says:

    FreeFox asks “I have to ask the regulars here, do you really never get tired of pointing out the ridiculousness of literal religious faith?”

    Isn’t laughing at religion the entire point of Jesus and Mo?

  76. omg says:

    Darwin Harmless,
    Bill Maher is always funny, but even if he is funny, he make us think and realize that some people witch so much power are believing in devil and in god. The worst thing is, they are making important decision with this kind of believe. That scare me…

  77. Chiefy says:

    DH, your video seems to have been taken down. Maybe this one expresses the same sentiment: http://youtu.be/0PEA5QXbfX0.
    Nice zinger in there on M. Bachmann, too.

  78. sweetpityfulmercy says:

    Freefox. I personally do not tire of it. Religions burned and tortured for centuries, they murdered those who disbeleive. Some still do.

    I see their centuries of complete control, and raise them a little light mockery.

  79. John M says:

    @ Chiefy
    DHs link brought up Bill Mayer’s show just minutes ago. I’m listening to it as I write this.

  80. Chiefy says:

    John M, all I get is “video is currently unavailable.” Maybe it’s by location. Are you in the US?

  81. hotrats says:

    It seems peaceful, but this is the very spot (Megiddo, Israel) where a lot of Christians believe life on Earth will end. The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert Man to destructive courses, the world actually could come to an end…

    This is why rational people, anti-religionists, must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves. And those who consider themselves only moderately religious really need to look in the mirror, and realise that the solace and comfort that religion brings you actually comes at a terrible price.

    If you belonged to a political party or social club that was tied to such bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence and sheer ignorance as religion is, you would resign in protest. To do otherwise is to be an enabler, a Mafia wife, of the true devils of extremism who draw their legitimacy from the billions of their fellow travellers.

    If the world does come to an end, or whether it limps into the future decimated by the effects of religion-inspired nuclear terrorism, let’s remember what the real problem was: that we learned how to precipitate mass death before we got past the neurological disorder of wishing for it.

    That’s it: Grow Up or Die.

    Bill Mayer, ‘Religulous’ closing speech.

  82. Acolyte of Sagan says:


    he make us think and realize that some people witch so much power are believing in devil and in god. The worst thing is, they are making important decision with this kind of believe. That scare me…

    I think there is an attitude among many that since we have always been ruled by the religious, and since we are still here, there is no problem in continuing the status quo. The trouble is that we haven’t always had nuclear weapons, and that’s the part that scares me.


    The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert Man to destructive courses, the world actually could come to an end…

    That reminds me of some theological nonsense (is there any other kind?) I read once that claimed the ‘proof of God’s omnipotence’ is that its existence isn’t prerequisite to its having an effect.
    Personally, I’d see that as a sign that humanity has an inherent fault, but I’m obviously no theologian – thank god 😉

    If the world does come to an end, or whether it limps into the future decimated by the effects of religion-inspired nuclear terrorism,…

    This is a point that Sagan never tired of making, but he was accused of playing on the Cold War paranoia of the time because, of course, religious people would never wish to annihilate life on Earth – unlike those pesky godless Commies. Obviously his critics in that department never read Revelations nor listened to the end-timers drooling at the prospect of Armageddon, much less heard the ‘Death to the West’ demands of the Islamists, or looked too closely at the mutually respectful (!) relations between the Jews and Muslims around Israel and Palestine.

  83. John M says:

    @ Chiefy That must be it – I’m in France. There are websites around, such as “Hide my ass” that can fake your IPAddr, so the desired URL thinks you are somewhere else.

  84. FreeFox says:

    @Mary: Anas?n? satay?m, of course you don’t need to present any credentials. I don’t discriminate against straights. Some of my best friends are straight. (Okay, I’m fibbing, a part of me is still thrilled at every fellow queer and wants to run up and hug them and chant ‘we are not alone’ on my inside. So, here, hugs.) But you have to admit your original post has a different meaning whether it’s written by a queer or not. After all, it was to some extend about the comfort of closed groups. I am sorry to hear about the deteriorating situation in Australia. As someone living in a country where the formerly laicist government has lifted the ban on hijabs for civil servants and has now begun to recruit citizens and police to slut-shame students into moving into gender-seperated halls and flats while trying to pass more and more restictive laws I know how bad it feels. I am also sorry if you feel I was being hypocritical. I do indeed feel superiour to morons. (I also feel inferiour to some people, but I am conceited enough for that to happen not all that often. I counterbalance that by always feeling morally unworthy of being a member of any group I consider nice enough to want to be a member of.) I certainly never wanted to call for respect towards idiocy, religious or otherwise. People believing the Bible, Koran, Gitas, Tanakh, Sagas, Star Wars movies, Christmas Carols, NSA claims to legal innocence or Andy Kaufman sketches literally are morons, no doubt about it, and I have no problem with anyone who calls a moron a moron. I also don’t think they need or deserve protection from ridicule – though many of them need help and non-violent education. And obviously I don’t mind humour directed at religion or any other idiocy – after all, faithful follower of J&M for years. I just feel it cheapens an intelligent person to mock things that are too obvious. It makes me think: “Really, you just discovered that the idea of every species on earth having 2 members on board of one wooden boat to save them from a deluge is quite silly? Awww, aren’t you cute and innocent and a bit dumb to still be giggling about that.” Maybe I just bitch because it makes me feel like an outsider again…
    We may not agree on sophisticated theology, but I had hoped I’d find more people to agree on sophisticated humour with… 😉 Like, I really had to laugh about your idea of the organised turn-over of the bronze- to the iron-age. Brilliant image. It reminds me of a joke I once went into hysterical giggles over, until everyone was staring at me like I was nuts. I mean, I had milk streaming out of my nose and still couldn’t stop… The joke was “Why do chickens lay eggs? Answer: If they threw them, they’d break.” And I had this image in my head of a farmer being roused in the middle of the night by a huge commotion in the coop. He puts on his boots, throws over a parker and grabs the shotgun to rush out. When he opens the roof of the coop, everything freezes: Chickens in the middle of a huge egg-fight, all staring at the farmer, like, shit, we’ve been caught. Yolk and eggwhites dripping everywhere, the only sound. One quickly hides the egg she’s holding behind her back. Another has half a shell over the head, doesn’t see the farmer and throws one last egg shouting “fire in the hole” before noticing how silent everything has gone, lifting the shell and smiling embarressedly at the farmer, like “oops”. Another carefully beds the last egg carefully in her nest and backs away… So. That is what I am talking about. Sophisticated humour. Like egg fights. ^_^

    @Mark S & sweetpityfulmercy: See above. ^_^

  85. hotrats says:

    Apologies all round, that’s of course Bill Maher, not Mayer. That’s what I get for trusting other posts…

  86. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Sophisticated humour, he says, then tells a chicken joke. If that’s the level you want, FreeFox:
    What timber did Noah use for the Ark’s frame?

  87. Mary2 says:

    Freefox, Best Friends again? (After we share the secret handshake, of course) 😉

    You do have several excellent points about picking soft targets etc. but I’m afraid sophisticated humour has never been my strong point. My favourite joke of all time is: The other day I went to a zoo which only had one animal in it and that was a dog. It was a Shih Tzu (Shit Zoo). [Hopefully that translates from Australian into English].

    Hotrats, I thought you’d really set the mark high for the rest of us to follow until I saw you had assistance from Bill Maher and scriptwriters! Excellent.

    AOS, ” the ‘proof of God’s omnipotence’ is that its existence isn’t prerequisite to its having an effect.” = nice.

  88. Still my favourite cartoon: The Lone Ranger, looking a bit overweight, wearing a business suit in an office setting with venetian blinds in the background, talking on the phone: “What am I talking here, Tonto. Am I talking chopped liver? No. I’m talking silver bullets. I don’t care how you get them. Just get them.” (Appeared in the New Yorker magazine)

    Is that sophisticated humour? I dunno. But it still cracks me up thirty years after seeing it.

  89. PhysicsRoolz says:

    Freefox: points taken.
    On deep and mature consideration of your postings I have decided you are correct, I am completely and utterly wrong and I must retire from the arena.
    Go in peace and have fun.

  90. Mary2 says:

    PhysicsRoolz, Don’t you dare retire. You just got here! New people, new conversations. We all make each other think and, to me, thinking is a much undervalued trait. FreeFox has made us all aware of the dangers of taking cheap shots.

  91. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    PhysicsRoolz, I’m with Mary on this (even though I don’t know the handshake), don’t let that naughty fox put you off; he loves a good argument, so go ahead and give him one.

    Mary – love the Shih Tzu gag.

    One of my all-time favourites, relocated to the Cock and Bull:
    A young penguin goes into the pub, waddles up to the bar and asks “Has my dad been in today?”
    “I don’t know” replies Barmaid, “what’s he look like?”

  92. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    By the way, my potential double-entendre re. FreeFox was unintentional.

  93. hotrats says:

    My favourite New Yorker cartoon (circa 1968).

    A businessman in a smart suit sits at a restaurant table with a long-haired, bearded young man, giving the waiter his order:
    “I’ll have a sirloin steak, medium rare; and a bowl of rabbit food for Gautama Buddha here.”

  94. hotrats says:

    John M:

    Aha! So you’re in France – how does it shape up?

    We’re playin’ in a tent, It’s payin’ the rent,
    If you pooch a civilian, It’s a major event
    In France, way down in France, way on down, way on down, down in France

    The girls is all salty, The boys is all sweet,
    The food ain’t too shabby, An’ they piss in the street
    In France…

    They got diseases, Like you never seen,
    Got a mystery blow-job, Turn your peter green
    In France…

    They got some coffee, Eatin’ right through the cup,
    An’ when they go ka-ka, They make you stand up
    In France etc.

    Frank Zappa, ‘Them or Us’ – Sly tip of the hat to Fleetwood Mac there, with ‘Turn your peter green’.

  95. FreeFox says:

    I knew I could rely on y’all. ^_^

    @AoS: Awwwww…

  96. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Throughout the years of having our own kids and foster-kids, and both of us working all kinds of odd hours, Mrs o’Sagan and I were too often like the proverbial ships in the night, so we always tried to make the most of any unexpected opportunity for intimacy, which meant a lot impulsive, spur-of-the-moment sexual activity.
    Well, one day she was leaning over into the freezer right in front of me; her short skirt had ridden up and – well, let’s just say that the sex was hot, fast, and thoroughly satisfying for the both of us.

    And we’re still banned from Tesco. 🙂 🙂

  97. floridakitesurfer says:

    That rocked!!
    I am totally stealing that.

  98. omg says:

    I hope it is not the freezer I just both…

  99. Suffolk Blue says:

    AoS – I did a double-take when I read your Noah’s ark “joke” above, as 4×2 is Cockney Rhyming Slang for jew. Then I realised it was the animals went in 2×2.

    hotrats – thanks for the Zappa lyric. I’ve often wondered about the “peter green” line, but I don’t think it’s a deliberate nod to the Mac guitarist.

  100. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Suffolk Blue, my jokes may not be funny, but do you really have to wrap the word in scare-quotes? I’ve got feelings, you know.
    For clarity, 2×2 refers to the lengths of pre-cut timber one buys from the timber merchant which has a width and breadth of approx. 2 inches x 2 inches.
    Nothing to do with casseroles at all.

  101. Suffolk Blue says:

    LOL – AoS – sorry to hurt your feelings! I know of course what 2x2s are. But what’s that got to do with casseroles?

  102. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Very convuluted, made-up on the spot rhyming slang. Casseroles and stews?

  103. Mary2 says:

    AOS. Love the freezer joke – you told it beautifully.

  104. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Thanks, Mary. There is an alternative punchline of ‘…satisfying for the both of us……and we got a round of applause from the supermarket’s other customers.

    I’ve got a ton of shaggy dog stories; so many that everybody who knows me well think there’s a punchline coming – even when there isn’t. It can be a real pain trying to give somebody bad news when you just know they’re just waiting for the funny bit at the end.

  105. Suffolk Blue says:

    Blimey, AoS, no wonder I didn’t have a Scooby what you were on abaht.

  106. hotrats says:

    Reminds me of the only Bernard Manning joke I ever found funny:
    ‘I went to the eye doctor. He said, “You know, you’ve really got to stop masturbating.” I said, “Why, am I going blind?” He said “No, but you’re upsetting the other patients in the waiting-room.”‘

  107. JohnM says:

    France where I live, it really rocks – and my peter is still pink, though somewhat flaccid, after radical prostatectomy for cancer that was detected and treated for free by the amazing French health service. In USA I’d have been dead now, and likely so in UK too, as there was no routine screening for the disease at the time. I even get free injections to give me a hard on.

  108. hotrats says:

    Glad to hear you’re on the mend, isn’t socialised medicine wonderful?

  109. John M says:

    It certainly is 🙂


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