A resurrection from 2009.

Discussion (37)¬

  1. Richard Harris says:

    Stone Age man, unable in his ignorance to comprehend naturalistic explanations for the phenomena of the world around him, necessarily resorted to supernatural explanations. Such explanations similarly appeal to the child, who also is unable, in his ignorance, to understand naturalistic explanations. That is how primitive superstition is transmitted to the modern world, in the name of religion.

  2. Kim says:

    Recognizably human? Was that intentional?

  3. Hackneymartian says:

    No use prevaricating, Author. Sooner or later you’re going to have to draw the Guardian as a tabloid

  4. David Hartley says:

    The idea that the Abrahamic religions were created by ignorant Stone Age men I feel is incorrect. Too much Social and individual engineering in them for that to be the case. The books were written for dummies not by dummies.

  5. Walter says:

    We know the stories were at least bronze age and some of them may be older.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    Judges 1:19
    and Jehovah is with Judah, and he occupieth the hill-country, but not to dispossess the inhabitants of the valley, for they
    have chariots of iron.

    American Standard Version
    Judges 1:19
    And Jehovah was with Judah; and drove out the inhabitants of the hill-country; for he could not drive out the
    inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

    Amplified Bible
    Judges 1:19
    The Lord was with Judah, and [Judah] drove out the inhabitants of the hill country, but he could not drive out those
    inhabiting the [difficult] valley basin because they had chariots of iron.

    Darby Bible
    Judges 1:19
    And Jehovah was with Judah; and he took possession of the hill-country, for he did not dispossess the inhabitants of
    the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

    English Standard Version
    Judges 1:19
    And the Lord was with Judah, and he took possession of theu hill country, but he could not drive out the
    inhabitants of the plain because they hadv chariots of iron.

    King James Version
    Judges 1:19
    And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the
    inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

    Note the Philistines were people of culture that lost out barbarians. SAD!

  6. Son of Glenner says:

    ladyduck: The report to which you refer seems to apply only to USA Christians. I wonder if the same results would apply to Christians in UK. (Or anywhere else.)

  7. nassar ben houdja says:

    About the questions of living
    They can be answered by giving
    The profits, for money
    Give advice, quite funny
    To those intimidated into snivelling.

  8. Ladyduck says:

    Son of glenner, this is true and I am wondering the same thing. But it kind of reminded me of a fairly recent study that showed that religious people in general are less moral than non religious people because they don’t do good deeds for the sake of doing the right thing, but because they are promised a reward or to avoid punishment if they do…. Which to me seems contrary to morality itself as the actions of the believers are solely motivated by self interest….

  9. Richard Harris says:

    David Hartley, I agree with you, but I did not claim that the Abrahamic religions originated in the Stone Age. The idea of gods originated in the Stone Age, and Judaism presumably in the Bronze Age.

    Religion: Stone Age Invention, Bronze Age Consolidation, Modern Era Abomination.

  10. Godless.Too says:

    So that would mean that Adam and Eve did not postulate gawds’ existence until after they ate the apple from the tree of knowledge and started to question? If the idea of gawds’ did not exist up until that point wouldn’t that mean that Eve and the Snake did a good thing?

  11. jb says:

    It isn’t just the Abrahamic religions that have their roots in the Bronze/Iron ages.

  12. Richard Harris says:

    jb, Karen Armstrong has made much of the Axial Age. I’ve got a copy of Gore Vidal’s “Creation” in my library, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

    From the link, “Many of the cultures of the axial age were considered second-generation societies because they were built on the societies that preceded them.” That’s, sort of, the point that I was originally making, that belief in the supernatural originated in the Stone Age. Even chimpanzees have been seen behaving as if in awe of the numinous when encountering a waterfall. (We don’t, of course, know exactly what was in their minds.) Some have been observed using (very crude, unfashioned) stone tools.

  13. David Hartley says:

    Richard Harris, perhaps I should have stated Bronze Age as that is the usual point of departure, but the oral tradition of Abraham(?), slicing off his own foreskin with a stone smacks to me of a flint tool. Like the way you ended your reply and concur wholeheartedly.

    The Flood as Cultural Genocide anyone? All those nasty people not of Noah washed away an eradication of our true anthropological roots.

  14. Anonymous says:

    ’twas the priests, not farmers,
    who shed blood.
    ’twas they who survived the flood.
    by being being gregarious,
    nefarious, hilarious,
    they’ve enlightened us all
    with their crud.

    apologies to Nassar

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Richard Harris, I’m going to use this – “Religion: Stone Age Invention, Bronze Age Consolidation, Modern Era Abomination.”

  16. two cents' worth says:

    Fortunately for us, despite what Mo says in the last frame, the Author has provided this “friendly place for readers of J&M to . . . ridicule the sincerely held beliefs of millions.”

  17. Richard Harris says:

    David, stone tools can be just as sharp as a scalpel. But I was not claiming that Abraham was of the Stone Age. The idea of spirits (animatism, animism), and subsequently, of gods (theism), goes back way before him. There is even archeological evidence, such as the Venus of Hohle Fels. It’s an Upper Paleolithic Venus figurine made of mammoth ivory that was located near Schelklingen, Germany. It is dated to between 35,000 and 40,000 years ago, belonging to the early Aurignacian, at the very beginning of the Upper Paleolithic,

  18. David Hartley says:

    Richard, yes I know the figurine. I do tend to relate my comments and thoughts on religion to those most pertinent to today’s politics rightly or wrongly.

    So it was I claiming the idea of Abraham as Stone Age I hadn’t misread you. Another imaginary individual so it’s all speculation as to the intent and purpose of such figures the further we are from their original imposition.

  19. ac says:

    To everybody who uses the term “Abrahamic Religions” I recommend this eye opening book:


    “Abrahamic Religions — On the Uses and Abuses of History”, Aaron W. Hughes

    “An attempt to dismantle an overused but essentially meaningless category in the modern world – ”Abrahamic religions.””

  20. Laripu says:

    @Richard Harris: i think you’ve hit on the mechanism in the first post. While prehistoric people were probably very practical and not prone to making up stupid stories for no reason, there’s an emotional component. A terrified crying child in a thunderstorm is a good reason to make up a story. “The thunder and lightning come from the sky god. He doesn’t hate us. He loves us and hates our enemies. He hates the others, the tribe that takes our food. The sky god won’t hurt us, so don’t cry, don’t be afraid, my child, don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid.”

    Pope John II understood that well and also said to his flock: “Be not afraid”. It’s the reason religion is accepted without critical thinking by most people. Fundamentally, in evolutionary terms, we’re not that different from a crying child cowering in a cave.

  21. Son of Glenner says:

    ac: It may be an eye-opening book, it’s certainly at an eye-watering price! (£45.99)

  22. theovinus says:

    Re the Hughes book rejecting the term “Abrahamic religions”, does this Wikipedia section:


    sum up the tl;dr version? If so, I’m not sure it matters to us atheists, certainly not to the point of buying and reading a whole book on the subject. I just see the three as “slave religions” with their relentless emphasis on groveling and abasement.

  23. Son of Glenner says:

    Laripu: “$15.37 = under £11”! Oxford University Press clearance sale of unsold stock?

  24. M27Holts says:

    I have been put on earth to observe. We will wait another few hundred years for human biomass to reach profitable levels before the factory ships arrive. Homo sapiens are a delicacy to be discovered on the tables of the andromeda federation. Your religious ignoramuses will welcome being a consumable. They will call it…..The rapture!

  25. Donn says:

    theovirus, I reckon you’re right, that’s enough for me to dismiss the objection. Though we may apparently take some interest in the nature of these religions, at least as far as to reject them as unwholesome, it isn’t such a delicate matter that we need to worry about whether the word “Abrahamic” itself influences our thoughts about them. Anyway, much of the objection would appear to apply to any alternative word you like, as with such a word we’d still be lumping all three in the same basket. Though it seems quite fair to do so, viewing them from a distance.

    As for the emergence of religion … it doesn’t seem to me all that likely that it was to sooth the fears of ignorant savages in front of the unknown. They knew their world as well as anyone today does or better, and I can’t imagine it held so many more terrors for them than it did for their ancestors, or a bear or whatever. My guess, off hand, is that they went in for mystical experience as a part of specialization in healing etc., and formal religion developed from the attempt to verbalize and systematize that experience. With early recognition of its potential for power over people.

  26. Walter says:

    I think Christianity is the odd man out in this category. The Trinity puts a lot of pressure on its claim to monotheistic. Males don’t have to have foreskin amputated. Christians can eat pork, except in temporary fast periods. Christians can have pictures of Yahuwahu or whoever their deity of choice is.

    Perhaps Christianity would be better studied as a relative of Hinduism, as it arose mainly among Greek speakers as its defining scriptures are written in Greek mainly for the general Hellenistic population which of course had a lot of Hellenized Jews. The base language of Hinduism (Sanscrit) is of course like Greek an Indo-European language so basic thought patterns should be similar.

  27. Laripu says:

    @Walter: “Yahuwahu” made me laugh more than the cartoon.
    @Son of Glenner: Amazon is incredibly competitive in the US.

  28. ac says:

    theovinus, Wikipedia’s is really not a good summary of the book. The book tells a detailed story of how the term appeared in the modern use. It originates from Louis Massignon, “Catholic, Scholar, Islamist and Mystic.” He and his followers were so influential that Catholic Church started to make official proclamations that effectively make Catholicism more Muslim(!) The modern use of the term is the result of the effort of Massignon and his followers.

    Hughes writes: “The fact remains, however, that there is no common “Abrahamic” religion. The “Abraham” of “Abrahamic religions” is a theological invention, now increasingly the product of an ecumenical, as opposed to supersessionist, imagination. What we do possess is a mythic story in Genesis that has been picked up and elaborated upon by Jews, Christian, and Muslims. This is a story that, as the previous chapter tried to argue, has provided the seeds of dissent and destruction for well over two millennia. Now, on the contrary, it is imagined as the harbinger of peaceful coexistence.”

    “Those seeking an ecumenical Abraham, much like their supersessionist counterparts, are on unstable historical terrain. Those interested in reclaiming this Abraham for interfaith dialogue are not motivated by historical study, even though they may try to make certain appeals to it. Rather they imagine variously constructed romanticized and pristine periods of interfaith interaction. They subsequently create a set of words and categories based on their own contemporary concerns and desires, and then read these into various historical and textual sources. For example, many interested in the project of reclamation point to the “interfaith utopia” of Muslim Spain (the subject of chapter 6), however, their portrayal is romantic and their interest is largely political.”

    The person using “Abrahamic religion” uses it completely ahistorically and further spreads the religious and political propaganda, not the truth. The book details the exact points and actors in the history of the 20th century who introduced the term and their motivations.

  29. Linnæus really screwed up calling us ‘sapiens’: ‘credentis’, ‘stultus’ or even ‘pontesbrooklyniensisemptor’ would have been better.

  30. Walter says:

    RE: Yahuwahu

    That comes from “The Cartoon History of the Universe” series by Larry Gonick, which I highly recommend.

    I alway thought it would be a good thing to yell when coming over the “city”[1] walls to kill the inhabitants and cattle etcetera.
    We never discussed if you are going to kill all the women, whether it was allowed or perhaps demanded that you rape the women first.

    [1] The “cities” in those days would be villages today by population nowadaze.
    All those questions we never asked in Sunday school.

  31. Laripu says:

    @richardelguru: “pontesbrooklyniensisemptor”, yet another example of the comments being as good or better than the original cartoon.

    J&M has a clever readership.

    I suppose one would have to be somewhat clever in order to give no credence to what the great majority sincerely believe. Or at least that to which the great majority give lip service. (If you can do that while getting blown by a prostitute in Las Vegas… like Trump… that’s lip service squared.)

  32. Freefox, this reminded me of our theological debates in the deep past.
    Thinking of you, lad.

  33. David Hartley says:

    as, sometimes the real world intrudes on scholarly attempts at rationalising that world.

    I personally understand Abraham as a Theological conceit, in fact the whole nonsense is a conceit.

    However for every scholar that recognises this there are many, many millions of followers that are absolute in their beliefs. They are the people I have usually been involved in attempts to explain these concepts to.

    Therefore one needs context and setting the scene so at least made it possible to attempt to debug with the information that the Abrahamic religions have earlier roots.

    Especially pertinent when Abraham is

  34. David Hartley says:

    Especially as Abraham is Ibrahim and the two belief systems are the severest threat to the World.

    In trying to claim that ancient man would have been trying to make sense of the World through such means is to accede to the propaganda also. Do not forget the physical mutilations that still attend the three faiths claiming common root with this particular confection. It was always a gang of thieves imposing their will by force not some existential collective will to understand.

    Personally I ascribe to the view that the Patriarchs and Prophets were never individuals but gangs of thieves, or temples as they so designate themselves and that the longevity claimed is merely the number of years it took that particular bunch of thieves to impose themselves into any welcoming society.

    So as stated earlier I tend to approach it all as politics rather than philosophy. I find all Monotheism to be without spiritual meaning at all.

    P.S. PC on upgrade so on my phone hence the split post. Who needs this tippy tappy when you can have a real computer 🙂

  35. arngon62 says:

    I just found these wonderful representations of the problems of incarnate. Perfect.


NOTE: This comments section is provided as a friendly place for readers of J&M to talk, to exchange jokes and ideas, to engage in profound philosophical discussion, and to ridicule the sincerely held beliefs of millions. As such, comments of a racist, sexist or homophobic nature will not be tolerated.

If you are posting for the first time, or you change your username and/or email, your comment will be held in moderation until approval. When your first comment is approved, subsequent comments will be published automatically.