A resurrection today, due to unforeseen circumstances.

Original theology article from B&W.

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Discussion (42)¬

  1. Alfie+Noakes says:

    Thanks for posting in the face of adversity, Author. Chin up.

  2. Shoot arrow into wall, paint bull’s eye around it. The theistic scientific method.

  3. steve oberski says:

    “Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.”

  4. Mary2 says:

    Author, that is brilliant!

  5. tfkreference says:

    I recently read, I wish I could remember where, that theologians study the works of other theologians. I was going to say that this strip means that it must be deeper than that, but my irony meter can’t handle it.

  6. 1lived666 says:

    Author, brilliant. Comicstargoat, likewise. – Ah yes, the paint people use to create the illusion that they have not only hit the bullseye, but are themselves the very bullseye that all should seek out for guidance, knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment…and excused be damned.

  7. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    The practice of peddling repacked excrement
    Is now the jurisdiction of banks and the government
    Naive suckers insist
    That it is in their best interest
    To be told what is their best investment.

  8. Once again, you did it Author. I feel so inadequate, repeating the same word for strip after strip. And the word is, of course, “brilliant”.

  9. LastResort says:

    Theology and philosophy are ways of employing otherwise unemployable, over-educated but useless and incompetent lack-wits who are basically too harmless to be criminals and too lacking in any other skill to do a real job.
    Not that I have anything against the poor dears, but they really should be shut up in a cloister on an otherwise deserted island and left to chitter amongst themselves where they can’t waste the time of the more productive members of the species.
    The Good Author is also correct in that theology has the subsidiary purpose of making religion seem to have the faint glow from a thin patina of a mask of a legitimate academic subject to the more intellectually powerful among us. It doesn’t manage this, not if you have the wit of a worm and any real-world experience but that is its secondary purpose. After employing useless chair-warmers.
    As an alternative to having over-educated lackwits on the dole and drinking meths in underpasses, theology and philosophy are quite economically viable but no one should ever mistake them for real academic endeavours or fields of science.

    Mary2 I did a reply to your comment in last week’s string.

  10. I love the second panel. J and M are so breezy and glib about it, and those two balloons are SO MUCH to accept the truth of which. Loving? Creator? God? Communicated? With us? Perfect? Immutable? Holy? Scripture? You could write a book or at least a chapter on each one, but the boys just slap them down as if it were as easy as eating a piece of chocolate.

  11. Michael says:

    Here’s a quote from the last paragraph of the Butterflies & Wheels post which inspired the quote:

    How the Archbishop of Canterbury, a man who by his own admission believes in all the core teachings of the Christian faith, can claim that atheist critiques avoid the so-called ‘real arguments’ is beyond me. The fact is, there are no ‘real arguments’. Theology is at bottom a matter of faith, not genuine intellectual argument. Theologians can continue to write endless books and articles using dense and ‘learned’ tones, but there really is no need for atheists to read them as they all boil down to the same ultimate beliefs, beliefs that atheists, quite rightly in my view, reject on the basis that they do not have intellectual or moral credibility.

    Or as the barmaid says: “So, basically, theology is the practice of thinking up excuses for believing in bullshit”.

  12. DocAtheist says:

    Author, wishing you and your family the best possible, whatever the circumstances. Thank you so much for posting, especially at such a time. I’d not seen this one, yet, and I love it!

  13. Macha says:

    There are many things that need answers. There are answers to many things. But many things may have no answers. That’s the way it is.

    Thank you, Author.

  14. Mary2 says:

    Last Resort, replied to previous.

  15. Chris+Phoenix says:

    There is no word for people who don’t believe in unicorns.

  16. I had two educational experiences this morning. Here’s the first, for which I have no words except “over video games?”!!! But of course that isn’t it. It’s not about video games. It’s about a privileged prat with a sense of entitlement the size of this planet who wants to be meaningful, no matter how. I just hope they catch this fucker and subject him to intensive therapy.
    Okay, it isn’t just religion that makes people into murderous nutters.

    Speaking of which, I’ve been asking for years when all the peaceful Muslims I keep hearing about will start to take back their religion from the likes of ISIL. Maybe they are finally being goaded into doing that. Maybe theyve been doing that all along and the western media gives it no coverage. In any event, this guy is brilliant and eloquent and well worth a listen.

    I have no time for religion. But I have even less time for those who would distort reality to polarize us into hate groups. Love to hear your thoughts on this guy. I found him amazingly eloquent, articulate and persuasive.

  17. Dan+Hughes says:

    Darwin Harmless, he is certainly an eloquent passionate speaker, but the debate achieves nothing. Adjectives describing religion as loving/peaceful/evil/aggressive etc all miss the point. Discussion of religion is the same as discussion of any other disease, in this case mental illness. Cure the disease (by every measure far the biggest killer in history) and you cure the symptoms (murder, hate, division) we endure every day. (Active ingredients of the medicine are ridicule and education, by the way, with perhaps a few other bits, like understanding, sympathy for the pain of the symptoms etc to go in the mix.)

  18. Hi, Darwin Harmless and Dan + Hughes. I too have no time for religion, but I make time because of its unwanted influence on my life and the lives of others who might not be as willing to tackle the cause. Sure, there are Muslims and Christians who deplore the activity of their fringe, but we must never forget the basis for these horrific fringe activities, their own holy books.

  19. Dan+Hughes says:

    cosmicstargoat, you are close to the mark but the holy books are one step removed and act as the agent for infection and reafirmation. We, the rational, should be tackling the problem by never failing to identify and treat the disease itself, religion and not be sidetracked by the symptoms.
    Just because the majority have few symptoms doesn’t stop them from infecting the next generation and from there we get a new minority who create the wars and are tacitly supported or at least tolerated by a large section of the moderates.

  20. JohnM says:

    Don’t be completely seduced by oration from Mehdi Hasan, When not in front of the Oxford Union he says things like this: “The kuffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Koran; they are described in the Koran as “a people of no intelligence”, Allah describes them as not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of “no
    intelligence” – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Koran describes the atheists as “cattle”, as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world.” A tad different to the clip you linked to.

    That said, he does seem to be as close to being as reformist a Muslim as one can have, yet one who still subscribes to all the nonsense in the Quran. He believes Mohammed flew over Jerusalem on a white horse, for example.

  21. LastResort says:

    I found a funny that’s even funnier than “J&M”.
    The deliberate spelling errors, poor thinking, logical phalluses (pun) and other mockings of the zealots are exceedingly well done.
    It is impressive work.

    JohnM, all Islam wants us dead. It is part of the basic creed of the cult. The entire confidence trick is built on the idea of killing infidels, heathens and False Believers. It may just be a criminal enterprise full of lies and fraud and raping children but it is one that *DEMANDS* the murder of everyone it dislikes.
    There is no such animal as “moderation” in Islam. There can’t be. It is against the very foundation of the cult to even suggest it.
    The other two Abrahamic schisms are not quite so monochrome but they, too, have their death sub-cults.
    Islam is one big death sub-cult and it is our death they want, need and drool over. Though even after they kill us they will need something to be their demon so a few ragged remnants will be permitted to live in horror, terror, squalor and misery.

    Isn’t life great?

    The future is finite. The future is a festering grave. The future is Islam with a boot on our face. The future is torture, maiming, murder and live bodies being thrown into the flames.

    I’m off to get another beer. Once the Muslims win they’ll ban it so I may as well have them while they are legal.

  22. Islam can never win a war with the West. Read “Carnage And Culture” by Davis.

  23. Cheerful Charlie says:

    Theology is the making up of bad excuses for things we are going to believe any way.
    – G. E. Moore

  24. JohnM says:

    Oh, dear. You really should try for an optimism booster. October is a good month for mushrooms, and three or four fresh caps of nature’s finest liberty bonnets, plus a half pint of really top-class, bottom-fermented, un-pasturised, cask-conditioned malt-and-hop extract would be my prescription. The world can look really rosy for an hour or three and not a hangover in sight.

    To avoid breaking the law, you will need to extract the ‘shrooms from the grass with your teeth and swallow them immediately. The law is an ass, so make sure there are only horses in the field at the time.

  25. two cents' worth says:

    Dan+Hughes, it might give you some hope to know that a “vaccine” against the “disease” has recently become available for children:

  26. Max T. Furr says:

    Oooh, I do love it! Thanks for the hoot this morning, Author.

  27. Nibien says:

    Someone trying to deride philosophy at the same time mentioning logic and thinking as though they were virtues, despite that being the exact domain of that which you cringe against?

    LastResort is the physical incarnation of the Dunning-Kruger effect, ironically destroying himself by lashing out at his superiors in sad defense of his intellectual inferiority in order to compensate for his (obviously justified) inferiority complex.

    I’d be half surprised if you could so much pass the Wason selection task.

  28. JohnM says:

    Nibien “I’d be half surprised if you could so much pass the Wason selection task.”

    Back atcha.

  29. LastResort says:

    Niblen, might I casually mention the trio of pot, kettle and black?
    It is entirely possible I could fail miserably any test set up by and for philosophers, just as recent immigrants to England from the colonies once miserably failed IQ tests. The test is skewed towards philosophers, it selects for philosophers. It is self-serving and prejudiced.
    That said, I don’t do tests any more. I had enough of that crap in my educational years and the dreary centuries of my working life. I’ve retired, I don’t need to justify my manhood, my wit or my vocabulary. In short, FOAD, wankstain.

    JohnM I am a Writer, of sorts, and I deliberately abuse the English language(s) in ways they were never meant to be tortured for comedic and narrative effects. Chances are that I could write tests of grammar, or tests for Gam’ma, but I don’t care to. [To abuse the rules it helps to know what they are.]
    I’m happy as I am. And if, perchance, I happen to be less than the monumental genius my acquaintances tell me I am, I don’t give a rat’s fart.
    I have fun. Not much, but it is what I have.
    I never need compete with anyone again. So I am not fuggen going to.
    I know you asked Niblen to take the grammar test, not me, but I just thought I’d pre-empt his suggestion that I, too, should.



    . SPOILERS .





    And I disagree with one of the answers to the philosophy test as used on that particular web site cited by Niblen.

    Spoilers follow…

    .Spoilers .


    The seventeen-year-old would not be drinking beer and there is no reason to test her because she’s a good girl and wouldn’t break the rules.
    Anyway, I trust her, so if she is drinking beer then she is over 21, no matter what her ID says, which means her card does not need to be turned over even though that is the “necessary” thing to do.
    Philosophy cares nothing for people, only being “right” according to the books, the Authorities and the rules.
    Cardboard rectangles don’t care if you don’t trust them, girls do.
    And if it’s a male 17-year-old it will feel pretty manly if it sneaks one past the bouncer.
    Either way, carding it is wrong. Even if it is the right answer.

  30. JohnM says:

    Last Resort

    I wasn’t proposing the grammar test for anyone at all in the C&B, because we’d all doubtless fail at some point along the progression of difficulty – though you might prove the exception because of your wordsmith’s background. I really intended it to highlight the fact no-one in our band of atheists in the C&B is perfect in every way. We leave that kind of thing to drive-by mouth-shootings which from time-to-time interrupt our godless musings.

    What I found interesting in the Wason test was to enter a wrong answer, which brings up explanation for the correct one. Made me realise there exist simple conjectural propositions that some people are just not able to think around. The extension to beliefs in things paranormal and the patently unreal follows. Sort of.

  31. More shameless promotion here. America is suckered into religion just like they are suckered into eating the crap food that the Corporations shovel at us from every corner. For those of you in the UK, check the link to Coca-Cola and their shameful attempt to try to rationalize the use of their products.

  32. HaggisForBrains says:

    JohnM – as a Scot I can now proudly claim, as a result of doing the recommended test, that I can read English almost as quickly as a native speaker. Mummy would have been so proud!

  33. JohnM says:

    H for B

    IIRC the best English is spoken, if not written, in Scotland – in Edinburgh no less. Not sure how this factoid was arrived at, so I’ll leave it at that.

  34. Thomas says:

    Cosmicstargoat I’m pleased that your list doesn’t tout the damaging and false parable that obesity is only because of a moral failure on the part of those that are obese and that diet and exercise are effective as a weight loss technique.

    Like many religous things theology could have some value if it wasn’t being ruined by theists actually believing that stuff and thus not using it to ask new and revalent questions in new and possibly insightful ways to explain unexpected things about actually real universe to people who wouldn’t otherwise learn of them in ways that make them easier to understand. Sort of like xkcd’s what if’s but packaged so rednecks will be okay with it.

  35. Empiricist says:

    Late, but I thought I should thank you, hotrats for your reminding us about how totally stunning some crystals can be. Your link to the Wiki article on bismuth is appreciated.

    LastResort, I guess Winter is closing in where you live? Summer is over and the nights are turning to 25 and 26-hour long marathons of the jötnar’s worst nightmares? You have my sympathies.
    I would offer a manly hug and cuddle to keep the demons at bay but we all know this would only inflame the passions of the guys with pitchforks. Which, to my mind, makes it all the more worth doing.

    Thomas, I’m not arguing but what possible value, apart from LR’s scheme of employing the inept and otherwise useless, could theology be? It is a field of endeavour completely void of meaning, use or worth in the real world and only supportable by its connection to faith and the power and privilege the use of that support can bring to the elite. Were there no churches to support, theology would be completely merged with and a branch of the study of mythologies or of pathological psychological conditions. Maybe both. There, it would have intellectual worth. Just as studies of the Norse myths do.
    It would be “English Lit.” with foreign stories as content.
    Uhnn, did I just argue against myself? Yes, I did. You are correct, Thomas, theology would have some value without religion, but it would not, really, be theology, would it? It would merely be the study of the myths of three small, temporary cults.
    And the social damage they caused.

    On the subject of “what-ifs”, some previous posters have mentioned these gems from XKCD. I offer WI50, WI73 and the lovely WI40 as perfect examples of why the stories of Science are *FAR* more interesting and more fun than anything the dumb Abrahamic religions have ever produced. Lots of the other “what-ifs” are funny, educational and intriguing but those three are truly wonderful.
    And everyone should buy his book.
    No, I’m not his mother and I do not get a cut.

  36. Empiricist says:

    Author, I do hope those circumstances are small, temporary, and easily remedied if they are bad circumstances or huge, delightful, long-lasting, joyous and happy-making if they are good ones.
    Best wishes, either way.

  37. Empiricist says:

    A lethal dose of neutrinoes?

    Who thinks up this stuff?

  38. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Not so much a joke as a matter of fact:
    What’s the difference between a theologian and a scientist?
    A scientist knows when to abandon a failed hypothesis.

  39. hotrats says:


    Not so much a matter of fact, as a problem of definition.

    For a scientist, a hypothesis is a conceptual framework designed to make intelligible a series of experiments and observations, from which the hypothesis will be shown to be true or false. Given this precise definition, the ‘hypothesis’ that god exists is untestable, making meaningless any wider speculation about god’s attributes.

    A theologian does not treat god as a hypothesis, but as an article of faith. For believers, looking at god as a scientific theory to be studied empirically, and rejected if no clear evidence is found, is tantamount to blasphemy, making the relationship no longer ‘personal’.

    It is deeply ironic that the ‘god hypothesis’ is emphatically rejected by the both science and religion.

    For scientists, the proposition that a supernatural entity created the universe and takes a personal interest in us, is no more than an intellectually toxic mixture of conceit, ignorance and wish-thinking that cannot be elevated to the status of ‘hypothesis’.

    For a believer, god is too exalted to be put to the indignity of being questioned by his creations. No ‘hypothesis’ could ever be more than the mewlings of a mere mortal in the face of eternity.

    So there we have it. God is both

    a) too pathetic and incoherent
    b) too magnificent and mysterious

    to be classed as a hypothesis.

    And I have to point out, Einstein’s ‘Cosmological Constant’ was a failed hypothesis for many years, but real scientists working on dark matter are now finding it harder to dismiss:

  40. RossR says:

    I just glanced at the original article on B&W, and was quite surprised to see that the almighty and everlasting one also claims to be *intelligent*! I don’t recall seeing that in my AV – could somebody enlighten me?

  41. hotrats says:


    Love the avatar.
    You are quite right to say that intelligence per se is not usually numbered among god’s attributes, but there are all too many references to his infinite ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ which surely comes to much the same thing. To quote one C&V among many proclaiming god’s omniscience:

    Psalm 147 Authorized (King James) Version
    v5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

    Tip of the hat to Ophelia at Butterflies and Wheels for the original post.

  42. RossR says:

    Thanks for that. But “infinite understanding” is not really a substitute for intelligence: infinite understanding is what you see on the face of somebody who isn’t really listening, or a three-week old baby who doesn’t understand a word.
    Um.. on second thoughts, I think you really have a point…


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