Of course, you should read it all – but you don’t have to.

Throughout the month of July, 50% of profits from J&M book sales will be donate to One Law for All.

Discussion (96)¬

  1. Tomas (the Doubter) says:

    First!? Sorry, I just had to…

    Anyway, good one, Author!

  2. Alfie Noakes says:

    The barmaid’s right. It is poorly written, boring and vilifying. Much like the Old Testament. Stick with Philip Pullman if you want fantasy- you’ll get more out of it.

  3. Ben Elms-Lester says:

    Brilliant. That is exactly the point.

    Keep up the good work

  4. That’s a truly horrible idea!
    Beer that’s off!!
    No!!! No!1!! Nooooo!1!111!

  5. J Ascher says:

    Thanks for brewing up this one, Author! Really hits the spot.

  6. Cosmicstargoat says:

    The Burkaholic is hoisted by his own petard.

  7. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    It appears that the Qu’ran
    Is a violent version of spam
    Those who kill in it’s name
    Are fu…scrambled in the brain
    Kinda stupid, the Mohammedan.

  8. jb says:

    I bought myself a “Qur’an” (Oxford World’s Classic, supposedly a neutral academic translation), and a copy of The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran by Robert Spencer (which is of course utterly hostile to Islam). The project is to read the Spencer book with the Koran in hand, to see if I can determine for myself how accurate Spencer’s depiction is. The books are sitting there on a shelf, along with all the other books I intend to read some day, and as soon as I transform into the sort of person who follows through on things I will let you know the outcome of my research.

  9. bitter lemon says:

    speaking of poorlyy written, you should try reading the protocols sometime..

  10. RavenBlack says:

    The funny thing there is if you did drink a whole barrel of beer then by the end it would probably be seeming pretty magnificent. Is Mo suggesting that reading too much Koran impairs your judgement too?

  11. Profound philosophical difference. I have friends who really think you have to read ALL of a book even if it’s crap, even if they’re actively hating it and longing to be finished. I say that’s idiotic, when life is so short and there are so many books. Crap is crap!

    So I’m with the barmaid on this one. And the other ones.

  12. DocAtheist says:

    @Bitter Lemon, at least the “The Protocols (of the Elders of Zion)” was never a Jewish book but an antisemitic propaganda operation of the “false flag” sort, designed to cultivate and encourage more antisemitism. Jews never heard of it, until anti-semites started throwing it in their faces. And what a shock that was, too!

  13. Dave says:

    Oh yes. Very witty! Not often I laugh out loud but that hit the spot.

  14. steeve says:

    The unbelievers
    Have sharp critical senses.
    Must we drink it all?

    Come on NBH, limericks are so 2000 and late

  15. Kohlea says:

    Is anyone else having the same problem with the comments not showing up at first? It seems I’m unable to read them until some time after a comic has been published or until they exceed some threshold.

  16. Kohlea says:

    Now they showed up… but it’s still bugging me. The comments are often nearly as entertaining as the comics themselves.

  17. JohnM says:

    I flipped over to the comments section of the strip, because it is usually a rattling good read (though, I hasten to add, not as good as the actual strip) And discover I’m first up. Such is life – I’ll go and pour another glass of wine.

  18. JohnM says:

    “discover I’m first up”

    Now I see that’s not so. Some kind of glitch. The wine will have to wait

  19. Author says:

    @jb – you don’t need Spencer’s book. The Koran is enough.
    @Ophelia – absolutely. There are too many good books to waste precious time on bad ones.
    @Kohlea & JohnM – sorry. It’s a persistent caching problem, and I don’t know what to do about it.

  20. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Alfie Noakes, have you read Pullman’s ‘The Good Man Jesus, The Scoundrel Christ’? It may be only fiction but even so it’s a more believable version of events than the one found in the Bible. Everything from the not-so-immaculate conception to the resurrection is explained without recourse to the supernatural. And it’s as funny as Hell in places.

    The beauty of this cartoon is that even if Mo is right about the beer, Barmaid can simply change the barrel; if Barmaid is right about the Koran, what’s Mo to do?
    Advantage Barmaid (again), methinks.

  21. GeorgeA says:

    “ I have indeed, not read it all. But when I take up the end of a web, and find it packthread, I do not expect, by looking further, to find embroidery.” The Life of Samuel Johnson

  22. jerry w says:

    Perhaps the solution is to combine the factions and read the Koran through “bad beer goggles”. For the first few years this combination made my 2nd ex-wife somewhat easier on the palate for me.

  23. bitter lemon says:

    @DocAtheist: that’s what you all would want us to believe innit?

  24. Henry Ford says:

    The barmaid can change the barrel – so Mo can change his reilgion. There’s enough of them to chose from. I’ m off for a pint of Pitchfork………

  25. hotrats says:

    @bitter lemon:
    I do hope you are not suggesting that anyone is mistaken in identifying the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ as anything but a malicious fake. It is perhaps the most demonstrable fraud in literature. In 1921, the Times conclusively showed that the entire work was fabrication, largely based on a political satire on Napoleon III.

    A professor of criminal law at the University of Basel confirmed that 176 passages of the Protocols were clearly copied from Maurice Joly’s “Dialogues in Hell” and impregnated with Jewish references, and another section (in which the Devil appears) is plagiarised from a chapter in a German novel, ‘Biarritz’.

    In its attempt to vilify Jewry, it makes many absurd claims, for example that Jews were the authors of the French Revolution, and were working to cause international financial chaos; many of practices they describe, such as drinking blood, would be anathema to any Jew; and it quotes the Old Testament in Latin rather than Hebrew. The title of the ‘Biarritz’ section, ‘The Jewish Cemetery in Prague and the Council of Representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel’ shows the writer to be unaware that only 2 of the 12 tribes survived, an unthinkable mistake for a Jewish author.

    The book’s sole purpose was and is to generate anti-Semitic rage. Widely taught as fact in the Muslim world, it continues to offer excuses for those who wish to justify implacable hatred, and helps to keep relations with Israel at boiling point.

    A large number of Arab and Muslim leaders endorsed it as authentic, including Nasser, Anwar Sadat, King Faisal, and Colonel Gaddafi. Recent endorsements come from the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, and the Saudi education ministry. The charter of Hamas, the Palestinian party of government, states flatly that ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion embodies the plan of the Zionists’.

    For an entertaining fictionalized account of its writing, based on contemporary characters, check out Umberto Eco’s ‘The Prague Cemetery’.

  26. bitter lemon says:

    @hotrats: you plagiarized that out of wikipedia, it’s obviously fake. You guys control the internet anyway. And guess who owns the Times?

    Noelle-Neumann has conclusively proven that what the protocols could not achieve by their crude strategies has been realized in the present day as the “spiral of silence”.

  27. hotrats says:

    @bitter lemon:
    Noelle-Newman, whose writing were explicitly anti-Semitic between 1938 and 1941, did not intend ‘The Spiral of Silence’ to refer to matters of fact, only to opinion. To ‘plagiarize’ Wikipedia: ‘The theory, however, only applies to moral or opinion issues, not issues that can be proven right or wrong using facts’. There is all the difference in the world between condensing factual information and crudely adapting other people’s work for propaganda purposes.

    The fakery of the Protocols has been beyond dispute for nearly a century. Any suggestion that it represents a truth masked by a Jewish media conspiracy (itself an invention of Noelle Neumann, as a reporter for the Nazi newspaper ‘Das Reich’ in 1941) is just further propaganda in the same vein.

    Your use of ‘you people’, and making false claims about the theories of a published Nazi, suggests that you are trying to perpetuate this gross deception in your own posts.

  28. bitter lemon says:

    Godwin in 3 moves! Can you beat that!!!

    (ok it took 27 comments, still it was pretty good)

    I am a troll-god 🙂

  29. jb says:

    @Author — Yes, but Spencer’s book is shorter, and might possibly be a useful guide to the Koran’s “good parts.”

    The things is, there are a lot of liberals (including some I know personally) who, while not religious themselves, seem to be offended by the suggestion some religions are better than others. And especially by the idea that some religions might be inferior to Christianity! The idea strikes them as bigoted, and they therefore reject it out of hand (since, as we all know, bigotry is the worst thing in the universe).

    I’m not a liberal though, and I strongly suspect that Islam, by it’s very nature, because of its history and the specific content of its scriptures, is intrinsically more conducive to violent fundamentalism than Christianity. (FWIW, I’m also open to the idea that Buddhism might be intrinsically less violent). I think it’s even possible, as some claim, that fundamentalists such as the Wahhabis are in fact closer to the true letter and spirit of Islam than the so called “moderate Muslims” that pundits are always appealing to. (And even the moderates aren’t that moderate: I’ve seen data suggesting that in terms of social attitudes American conservative Protestants are in the main to the center or social liberal end of Muslim public opinion.) But I don’t want to be unfair, and I don’t want to go too far, so I feel I really ought to do some checking for myself. Reading a book like Spencer’s with the Koran in hand seems like it ought to be a good way to test the reliability of some of the more extreme criticisms of Islam coming from the hard-core pro-Western right.

  30. Author says:

    @bitter lemon – it doesn’t count as a Godwin if you are actually talking about Nazis.

  31. bitter lemon says:

    @Author: I didn’t introduce the N word. I was just discussing “fictional religious texts” (there’s an idea for you) and weak academic theories. I didn’t even accuse anyone of being religious! Or jewish for that matter.


  32. UncoBob says:

    @Bitter lemon: Wikipedia says so, anyway. And some of those who hold it to be genuine seem to be pretty unpleasant people with little regard for accuracy e.g the late unlamented Mr Hitler.

  33. bitter lemon says:

    @Author: ah I get it now.. you’re right.

    I think it was hotrats’ allegation that threw me off

    “you are trying to perpetuate this gross deception in your own posts” falsely led me to conclude I was being called a Nazi.

    A Pyrrhic victory, i must toil harder >:(

  34. hotrats says:

    @bitter lemon:
    UPOTWA reminds you that 1) a Pyrrhic victory is not a partial victory, but one won at disproportionate cost, and 2) for any victory you must actually win at something, not just revel in your status as a ranting troll.

  35. HaggisForBrains says:

    @ hotrats


    @ bitter lemon – Are you sponsored by Schweppes, or just using their URL to give you spurious gravitas.

    Update: Ah, I see that you’ve switched your linked website. I always thought that the idea of a link on one’s nickname was used to link to one’s own website, but perhaps I’ve misunderstood.

  36. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    I concur with Author about the Godwin, but make one further point. Bitter lemon, you certainly can’t cry ‘Godwin’ when you yourself introduced the Nazi-authored literature into the debate.
    “Have you read the anti-Semetic Protocols”?
    “The ones written by that Nazi chap”?
    “Ha, gotcha! Godwins. I win.”

    Troll-god indeed. A god by any other name still doesn’t exist.

  37. Wrinkly Dick says:

    Anti Semitic; does that mean anti Arab? There are many more Arabic Semites than those of the Jewish variety!

  38. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Shit! Semitic….
    Reminds me of a teacher who told us that the Jews had long been persecuted by people who were ‘anti-semantic’. I’m still not entirely sure he wasn’t taking the piss.

  39. hotrats says:

    I have always found it amusing that despite all the Jewish efforts to demarcate an identity distinct from from Arabs (especially Palestinians) in language, dress and traditions, research has shown them to be genetically indistinguishable – a single gene pool at war with itself over artificial differences.

    Their religions are also strikingly similar (Yes to One God, Abraham, religious courts, No to graven images, foreskins, pork, gays) but somehow they don’t see it.

  40. JohnM says:


    You can add the notion of the superiority of their kind over others.

  41. bitter lemon says:

    tsk tsk acolyte, the protocols were not authored by the Nazis, they merely used them to make their case. Even liberals believe that they were created in Tsarist Russia.

    @Haggis for brains, well at least you got your ‘nickname’ right.

    Lighten up folks! It’s almost as if I’d insulted the wrong religion or something.

  42. percyF says:

    Just beautiful.

  43. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Hotrats “Their religions are also strikingly similar (Yes to One God, Abraham, religious courts, No to graven images, foreskins, pork, gays) but somehow they don’t see it”

    If it’s true that there are none so blind as those that will not see, am I atheist or just godblind?
    Answers on a postcard please. But not to me. I already know the answer 🙂

  44. beechnut says:

    Ophelia, I’ve met people like that, too, and the one thing they have in common is that they really want me to like the book. Read it all, till (perhaps) one is benumbed into accepting its worldview, or so that they can be sure that one has given it every ounce of thought (in the belief that if one did, and the book being so utterly brilliant, one would certainly like/agree/believe). How often has it happened that I have said, “Yes, I’ve read it all, and I think it’s rubbish”, only to be told that I’m a hopeless case? Disappointment, if severe enough, breeds torture-chambers and thought-police.

  45. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Bitter Lemon, you are aware that Jesus was a Jew? That isn’t meant to sound condescending, but’s the only thing that explains your apparent inability to recognise that a Jew is the butt of most of Authors cartoons.

    Was that written by me? Or by a Jew intercepting and editing my posts between me and wherever my posts end up? We may never know!

  46. kennypo65 says:

    Of course one has to read the whole thing in order to understand it. If afterwards you still call bullshit, they will tell you you have to read it in the original Arabic.
    Bullshit is bullshit, no matter what the language.
    Personally, If I were forced to be a “person of faith” I would choose Buddhism. If you leave out the supernatural crap, it’s not a bad philosophy. Actually, I just happen to like the Dalai Lama. I’ve read some of his stuff and he seems to be a decent fellow; someone who I would like to know. That and I absolutely despise the Chinese government. Free Tibet!

  47. mary2 says:

    @jb, I dont think Christianity is inherently less nasty than Islam; just that modern Christians tend to ignore more of their holy book.

  48. mary2 says:

    Why do a small group of people go on discussion sites, pretend to present enemy views and then feel clever because they get a reaction? The same kind of idiot feels clever when they get a rise out of a caged animal after they keep poking it with a stick.

  49. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Mary2, you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. I’ve been having – or rather tried to have – a debate on that very point on a certain unfunny religious cartoon site. Thoroughly modern Christians they are; don’t take the Bible as God’s literal word; happy to accept that the O.T. is a jumble of myths and over-hyped historic events; even that God itself was made by man, initially as a pre-scientific explanation for what they didn’t understand but soon adapted for use as a tool to beat others with.
    “Oh, you silly, misinformed atheist” they crow “Nobody believes in that anymore, snigger snigger, we’ve moved on since the Bronze Age, don’tcha know”.
    So I asked how, if they know that gods are man-made, they can still believe that their god is real. Among the responses I got were these jewels:
    “There are some questions that are better left unanswered”, and “God saved my life when medicine couldn’t and gave me a daughter so he has to be real”.
    “Utter bollocks” uttered I, and left them to their delusions.

  50. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    As for your comment posted whilst I was composing my point above, I can say in all honesty that I wasn’t doing that. We here were all invited a few weeks ago to go to the site by one of their number, to see how humour about religion is ‘so much better’ when its done by and for people who understand religion (though obviously don’t understand humour or critical thinking). I just don’t think they realised just how much atheists do actually know about their religion. They quickly went from “We’re happy to debate belief with you, give us your best shot” to “Please stop asking us to think with our brains” in a surprisingly short time.

  51. hotrats says:

    In a word, anonymity. In the real world, trolls would have to deal with an appropriate response to their wind-ups, like a good smacking, wheras online they can indulge their infantile power fantasies free of consequences, like a burglar leaving a jobbie on the carpet.

  52. farumphry says:

    After the first 30 pages of Twilight, I gave up too. It was obsessed with glorifying sparkly vampires, going on and on and ON about how beautiful they are.

  53. jb says:

    I dont think Christianity is inherently less nasty than Islam; just that modern Christians tend to ignore more of their holy book.

    @Mary2 — I think it may go deeper than that. I’ve seen shockingly violent quotes from the Koran that to my knowledge have no counterpart in the New Testament. (The Old Testament is full of this sort of thing, but Christians have always maintained that the New Testament supersedes the Old). And unlike Mohammed, Jesus never waged a military campaign, and is always presented as a man of peace (that incident in the Temple aside). I may believe that all religions are false, but I see no a priori reason to believe that all religions must be morally equivalent in all respects, and it really does seem to me that Islam gives its followers far better justification for violence than does Christianity.

    However I acknowledge that I am no expert in this matter (hence my little project with Robert Spencer’s book), so I could be mistaken. Can you tell me then, what is the basis for your sense that Christianity is just as “nasty” as Islam? Can you show me violent quotes from the New Testament to match those from the Koran? Do you have a problem with the idea that any religion might be better than another, or only with Christianity being better than Islam? What about Buddhism? Do you see it as being just as nasty as Christianity and Islam? (Keep in mind that Buddhist countries, like other countries, have had kings and armies, and have fought wars).

    I guess what I am asking for is some reason to believe that you have actually thought this through, rather than simply reacting based on hostility to Christianity, or being motivated by a politically correct sense that unfavorably comparing a non-Western religion like Islam to Christianity is somehow “bigoted.”

  54. bitter lemon says:

    @mary2: Actually I was just trolling. It’s a form of sociability on the interweb don’t you know. Anyway your metaphor about poking animals is more accurate than you think, I do use animal subjects in my research (kindling epilepsy to evaluate complex network models of the brain).

    So in a sense you all are subjects of my study, and what you call poking, I would call stimulus. And the mixed outrage I tried to generate, etc were simply to evaluate my hypothesis that many posters here are motivated by anti-Islamic feelings rather than any obsessively rationalist belief in atheism.

    Frankly I find the sort of atheism professed here to be a bit juvenile. “You said your book has the answers, but it’s obviously wrong, ha ha”.

    If a god phenomenon were to exist, it would be obviously utterly beyond our comprehensibility. I mean we don’t understand dark energy, and to imagine that we could actually explain not only the universe, but even its creation, in a book (howsoever well or poorly written) is utterly absolutely stupid. So making fun of it is like taking candy from a child. A God with a beard and a son, FFS what these religions lack is not just sense but also the imagination necessary to sense the enormity of the universe.

    Actually I kind of agree with what somebody posted earlier about Buddhism, it’s one of the sensible religions because it focuses on humans and doesn’t try to explain the universe with childish tales. Even the Hindu stuff I find intriguing, some prof talked about some sacred chant that they have which is about the universe that asks all the right questions:

    What was there in the beginning? what was there before the beginning? what was it contained within? what set it in motion? CBR right there!

    Best of all the answer to those questions:
    Perhaps the one we worship knows it, or maybe even he knows it not
    Truly radical disbelief, I love that poem!!!
    Maybe I should read it in the original Indic, but I have no fucking clue where it comes from.

  55. Brother Daniel says:

    It’s hard to fight against common usage. Regardless of the fact that “Semitic” is a much broader category than “Jewish”, there’s no getting away from the fact that the term “anti-Semitic” or “antisemitic” really means “anti-Jewish” in common usage. I generally avoid the term, as it offends my sense of linguistic tidiness (see, guys, I’m not entirely without such sensibilities), but the argument “Arabs are Semites too, therefore anyone who’s anti-Semitic must also be anti-Arab” is a simple case of the etymological fallacy.

    As for how this (awful) bit of common usage came about, I would hazard a guess that the Nazis used “anti-Semitic” as a euphemism for the specifically anti-Jewish aspects of their ideology. Perhaps it came from there.

  56. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Bitter lemon, I hope you’re not too disappointed that you didn’t exactly spark the ‘mixed outrage’ you were seeking. It’s not like you can take solace in confirming your anti-Islam hypothesis either. Is it really so hard to understand that we simply don’t believe in gods of any flavour? Have you considered that Islam and Christianity are mocked here more than the others because they’re the ones that make the most noise?
    Could you give an example of this juvenile atheism you accuse us of?

  57. bay_dragon says:

    Despite the fact the beer is ‘off’ this strip is making me thirsty. Must be Friday and hot out.

  58. hotrats says:

    @ bitter lemon:
    # …the imagination necessary to sense the enormity of the universe. #

    Enormity used to mean only ‘great evil’ or ‘atrocity’, not enormousness, though it has been misused so routinely that dictionaries now list it as a meaning (often with a rearguard ‘disp.(uted)’ or ‘inf.(ormal)’ attached).

    This is not mere pedantic nitpicking – normally I am happy for definitions to shift, or ‘awful’ would still mean ‘impressed’ – rather in these troubled times, the more words for serious wickedness we have, the better. I know ‘enormousness’ is a horrible, lumpy pillow of a word, but you still have vastness, magnitude and immensity at your disposal.

  59. mary2 says:

    @AOS, apologies, I did not mean to speak against actual discussion. Challenging ideas is how the world moves forward. I see this as very different to running into a room, shouting ‘fire’ and then giggling about how many people you caused to evacuate. My comment was purely in response to Bitter Lemon’s incredibly unsubtle use of something as over the top as the Protocols purely to get a reaction and then crowing Nah nah ne nah nah.

  60. bitter lemon says:

    @Acolyte: The outrage was not really a motive, it was simply to test a hypothesis. I’m not emotionally attached to the anti-Islam bias conjecture of mine, but in any case I don’t feel I can rule it out just yet. I don’t think you can presume that all people here share your motivations or beliefs. You might have read Sagan, but maybe somebody served in Iraq, or perhaps a reader lost someone in a terrorist attack that had religious origins.

    Let me explain what I meant by ‘juvenile atheism’ using an analogy. Imagine a young boy laughing at the kid who still believes in Santa, and you have a sense of what I’m suggesting. The boy is right about the Santa illusion and might even have decided that there is no god and therefore is laughing at the idiocy of those who still believe in this. But isn’t this too easy?

    Consider the fact that every particle of our body has been created inside stars or supernovae, that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and most of us will not last longer than a 100 years. Also that this might just be one of many universes, and the bearded old guy and the 2000 year old book appear trivial and futile. But when thinking in these terms I find it difficult to be outraged about people who oppose homosexuality and alcohol. A shake of the head is about all the feeling I can muster towards theists, and similarly I also find it surprising that anyone considers it worthwhile to even make fun of them, or take a position opposing them. To even join that debate is to belittle oneself.

    Now I know that when one shifts gears, religions are responsible for a lot of terrible deeds. I mean the second bloodiest war in history was led by a guy who thought he was the younger brother of jesus, and those guys did the killing with battle-axes, not nukes. So I can understand some of the frustration you all feel, but in the long run, religion is just a passing fad. There are individual trees that are older than christianity, and even a few that are even older than buddhism.

    Religion can be taken seriously (even seriously enough to be made fun of) only at a specific scale, go bigger or smaller and it ceases to matter.

  61. mary2 says:

    @jb, just my feelings about the vibe of the thing. I totally agree with you that religions (like anything else) can and should be ranked – dont see Janists imposing their views on others, and that Islam as currently promoted is far more disgusting than the common types of Christianity – and that this may be directly related to their book being full of exhortations to convert the non-believers. I freely admit that my biblical knowledge is biased towards the old testament (when we were kids, my brother and I received a book of bible stories each – he got the new testament!) and my knowledge of the Qur’an is even less.

    My impressions come more from the study of human nature and history; their have been periods in which Christians have used their bible to justify hideous atrocities like purges of Jews and in such times they are happy to quote the old testament. I have also heard them use Jesus and the money-changers to suggest that JC may be in favour of violence. In recent times, both in the USA and here in Australia, we have seen a rise in Dominionist Christians. While they may not be ready to go to war on their god’s behalf, they are certainly happy to force others to their will. These guys follow the new testament – they use Revelations and the coming apocolypse to justify their nastiness.

    On the other hand, there was a time when Islam was the enlightened religion – when Muslim countries led the world in science and philosophy.

    So, while I totally support your position of comparing holy books and ideologies and agree with you the Buddhism is a much less harmful religion in itself than the Abrahamic faiths – it is about a personal road to nirvana, focussing on the internal struggle – I think we also need to take into account the different interpretations of these religions in different places and times. In response to the rise of the Wahabi (nutjob) Islamists, there has also been a rise in the number of Muslim authors trying to prove that ‘Jihad’ should more correctly be interpreted as the struggle within each soul. Whether or not this can be supported by theology will not change the fact that each religion is made up of wildly differing sects which come to power and influence based on factors totally separate to the writings in the holy books.

    Hope this makes sense, am typing on my phone which is tedious and leads me to truncate my thoughts . . .

  62. sweetpityfulmercy says:

    I have read it all about 4 times now. From cover to cover. I must be a masochist. It is almost completly unreadable. It is a terribly patched together collection of hate and nonsense. It has almost no saving graces. It’s quite clearly an Iron age book badly scrawled by men, loosly based on the fits and seizures of a manipulative mentally ill man. Just saying.

  63. mary2 says:

    Oops. I kneel humbly, with head bowed, waiting for my POTWA for the unforgivable sin of using ‘their’ instead of ‘there’. Can I ever outlive the shame?

  64. hotrats says:

    # Can I ever outlive the shame? #
    yes you can, unless it’s for flagrently exaggerated contrition; kneeling humbly is after all one of the things we disapprove of. As I understand it POTWAs are for serious abuses of terminology, truth or logic, not typos or even iffy grammar. English is tricky, and it would put non-native speakers at a serious disadvantage to be so pernickety.

  65. jerry w says:

    @bitter lemon

    …..“fictional religious texts”? Being redundant never strengthens spurious logic. It seems that you may have too much time on your hands, were you to return to masturbating (not verbally this time) perhaps you could keep at least one of your hands occupied? Just asking….

  66. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Bitter lemon said “most of us will not last longer than a 100 years. Also that this might just be one of many universes, and the bearded old guy and the 2000 year old book appear trivial and futile. But when thinking in these terms I find it difficult to be outraged about people who oppose homosexuality and alcohol.”
    How can you not be outraged towards those wishing to make our short time in he sun miserable if we fail to live up to their bigotted ideals? As religious ideals are still a massive cause of opression then we have every right to express outrage at those continuing to promote the myths and shackle mankind to their own brand of lunacy.
    Why am I not surprised that you’re going to stick around here until you find the one person who might just fit the criteria of your anti-Islam hypothesis? I bet you can’t wait to crow “See, I was right”! But of course you won’t be, will you? Except in your own mind, that is.

  67. Poor Richard says:

    The only antidote is “Moby Dick,” also a definitively soporific book, but much funnier, with insights into Islam, biology, and (for Jerry, just above here) masturbation.

  68. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Hotrats, very good going. You’ve been a member for just a couple of weeks and can already recite the rules verbatim. There isn’t any German in you, is there? Nothing personal of course, but as we don’t fit bitter lemon’s ‘anti-Islamic atheists’ stereotype, the least we can do to cheer him/her up is play up to a few nationalistic ones.
    See? Atheists really are nice people.

    Mary2, no apology necessary. It was just coincidence that you left your comment about trollish behaviour as I was composing my response to your ‘equally violent religions’ post. My next post was more to pre-empt a possible accusation from our new pet troll of being the type of pat that calls the kittle black’.

    And finally, this quote from bitter lemon (really, why so bitter?):
    “Let me explain what I meant by ‘juvenile atheism’ using an analogy. Imagine a young boy laughing at the kid who still believes in Santa, and you have a sense of what I’m suggesting. The boy is right about the Santa illusion and might even have decided that there is no god and therefore is laughing at the idiocy of those who still believe in this. But isn’t this too easy?”
    Yes, far too bloody easy. Like shooting very big fish in very small barrels. But even the most dunderheaded of children eventually realise the truth of Santa, so I live in the hope that maybe, just occasionally, some of those who still believe in fairy stories long after their wisdom teeth put in an appearance* might actually realise why we’re laughing.

    *Admittedly my late granny used to put her teeth under her pillow every night. Not because of the Tooth Fairy, she was hiding them in case of burglars 🙂

    ps (does one need a ‘ps’ on a comments board?). A nondescript Australian actor, an ex-Spice Girl and an elderly Jewish chap are holding auditions to find the new Jesus Christ.
    The first line of a joke? In a way. It’s ITV1’s idea of prime-time Saturday evening television. I kid you not.

  69. Mary2 says:

    @AOS, I am ignoring Bitter Lemon’s newly turned philosophical musings.

    While I agree that, when you are standing far enough away, even the pyramids will look small, I currently live in a State where a new government sponsored by religious extremists has just undone my right to ‘civil union’ my spouse of over a decade and reduced legal recognition of my marriage to the level of registering a pet. It is hard to maintain a distant and superior attitude to the folly of religious persuasion when you are slapped in the face with the harsh realities of its impact on the real world on a daily basis.

    Thank god (if you’ll pardon the expression) – the first time I have ever remembered to tick the spammer/swearing box! There is hope for us all.

  70. hotrats says:

    # Acolyte of Sagan says: May 26, 2012 at 3:33 pm
    # Hotrats, on behalf of my fellow members, welcome aboard.

    Doesn’t time fly? I make that 6 weeks…

    # There isn’t any German in you, is there?

    Not in me exactly, but my spouse, domicile and students are all as German as it gets. FreeFox (somewhat quiet recently) is German I think, but the wrong kind of stereotype.

  71. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Time does indeed fly, Hotrats. Six weeks eh? With your insistence on checking every detail I’m not sure whether to admire you for approaching things scientifically, or suggest that your Teutonic environment is rubbing off on you. Maybe there is something in national stereotyping after all 🙂
    FreeFox (conspicuous by his absence, but he’ll be back when he has the time) is indeed German, but certainly can’t be accused of fitting ANY stereotype, never mind a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ one.

    Mary2, you’re not referring to one of the 50 states that form the ‘Land of the Free’, are you? I never cease to be amazed at a religion that fantasises about seeing a lion lay with a lamb, but can’t tolerate the happiness brought on by a woman laying with a woman.

  72. steeve says:

    The lion shall indeed lie down with the lamb, but the lamb won’t get much sleep.. Woody Allen

  73. steeve says:

    BL is right about the sense of scale, though. One of my favourite things to do in times of stress is to go out on a dark night, find an open field, lie back and look at stars whilst thinking back to the first time I watched ‘Cosmos’. Every atom of this self-centred little life of mine will eventually return to the universe whence they came. Now THAT’S magic.

  74. JohnM says:

    @Mary2 July 7, 2012 at 3:12 am

    There, they’re, their! You would be unusual indeed if you didn’t occasionally type the wrong one. 😉

  75. steeve says:

    Your right their, JohnM

  76. Dalai Llama says:

    @AOS: “ps (does one need a ‘ps’ on a comments board?). A nondescript Australian actor, an ex-Spice Girl and an elderly Jewish chap are holding auditions to find the new Jesus Christ.
    The first line of a joke? In a way. It’s ITV1?s idea of prime-time Saturday evening television. I kid you not.”

    While the rest of the proposed cast doesn’t exactly fill me with delight, Tim Minchin as Judas actually sounds pretty awesome.

  77. Daoloth says:

    Hey author–isn’t it about time for the annual ritual of the “display of sexual morality”? PZ Myers and Thunderfoot have already held theirs…

  78. mary2 says:

    @AOS – definitely NOT ‘the land of the free’. I live in Queensland (ironically named for a place which doesn’t like Gays) Australia – a State well renowned for electing parochial loons as politicians.

    Our State govt early this year introduced Civil Partnerships legislation (marriage is a federal responsibility – this was the highest they could go). After the election of a new govt in March their first act was to downgrade it to a ‘relationship register’ and stop allowing it to be accompanied by a ceremony as this ’emulates marriage’ – even though the Premier is on record as supporting gay marriage – his party is run by Christian extremists. We are in for an unpleasant few years.

  79. hotrats says:

    Remember the Monty Python ‘Bruces’ sketch, set in the Philosophy Department of the University of Woolloomooloo?

    Faculty Rules 1, 3, 5 and 7: No pooftahs!

    And that was 42 years ago…

  80. bay_dragon says:

    Tim Minchin rules!

  81. HaggisForBrains says:

    IIRC – Rule 6: There is no rule 6!

  82. FreeFox says:

    Yeah, sorry for the absence but a combination of personal issues, work, and being stymied by the proceedings here kept me from pitching in. Thanks for the compliment that I don’t fullfill too many of my mum’s family’s national clichees. Given that one of my maternal great-grandfathers was executed as evil Nazi war criminal, and his son a lifelong defender of his father’s Prussian “virtues”, and that the entire side of my family would gleefully have seen me wear the pink triangle (plus a green and a black one, probably), I am not too keen on being grouped together with them on any ground. Of course, on my British father’s side we have an RAF pilot who helped burn down 2/3rds of Dortmund, making hard to judge by numbers who is the bigger murderer of civilians, so it all evens out a bit.
    I am still on the fence about Pat Kittle’s and Bitter Lemon’s contributions. On the one hand of course it was very nice to see someone else stirr up this festering pool of the, what was it, infantile atheist circle jerk? Something like that. But the whole is-Author-Jewish debate was so silly it was painful to read. Would have been even if it had been actually a question, but pretty much unbearable after Author had quite clearly said he was an Atheist but not Jewish. *shudders with shame for Patty… who I am bound to loathe doubly for reminding me of a hated nickname*
    And while I laud Bitter Lemon’s scientific approach and his take on “sophisticated religion”, that whole protocols of Zion debate was also at best yawn-worthy and in places pretty cringy. How can someone who (correctly) sees questions of the existance of the God-as-Old-Bearded-Father as infantile and irrelevant at the same time get such a childish glee out of passing a chestnut like that. (Which I find probably especiall unfunny for a) my German war-criminal-family-background and b) after having lived almost 2 years in Egypt and having had to put up with otherwise really nice people completely taken in by anti-semitic conspiracy theories…)

    @jb: About being disgusted, I think Author got it right. I am pretty certain I could disgust most of you (not all though) with tales of my personal experiments, both morally and purely, erm, aethetically, and I would never presume that people should pretend tolerance, that isn’t the issue of the comic: It’s whether those being outraged are themselves clearly obessessing about it, the way many Catholic, Muslism, and Mormon officials seem never to get their head out of other people’s underwear. When you hunt out offences to be disgusted by, you clearly have your own issues. (Leaving aside the Catholic obsession with defiling children and blaming them for it afterwards)

  83. FreeFox says:

    As for the Koran – it clearly is the worst written religious text I ever tried to read. And I conscientiously plodded through the entire bible several times, the bhagavad gita, the ganesha and the mudgala purana, both eddas, all the Greek and Roman myths I could get my hands on, several versions of the Arthurian legends, the principia discordia, LaVey’s satanic bible, Crowley’s book of the law, some of the avestas, a lot of Koestler, much Jung and some Freud, all of Campbell, and a bit of Hitchens, Russel, and even Dawkins…
    But the Koran conquered me. I had to give up. Ugh.

  84. Mary2 says:

    Jesus, FreeFox (if you’ll pardon the expletive) you have more stamina (or masochistic tendencies) than I do! I am attempting to read the bible and it is taking all the will power I have. Thank all the gods who ever existed I have finally made it through Leviticus and Numbers – the two most boring chapters I have ever read of anything. Even the poetic language of the King James version isn’t enough to have prevented me from wanting to stab forks in my eyes. If I had known that Deuteronomy was just an abridged version of the previous two books, I may have skipped them altogether – although you never know when it will come in handy to know exactly how to sacrifice each of the seven goats, 8 bulls and 5 sheep needed to appease a god so he will cure you of leprosy!

  85. hotrats says:

    In the late stages of WW II, the author Evelyn Waugh was trapped in the company of Randolph Churchill, the boorish son of the Prime Minister.

    “In the hope of keeping him quiet,” he wrote to a friend, “Freddie and I bet him £20 that he cannot read the whole Bible in a fortnight. Unhappily it has not had the result we hoped. He has never read any of it before and is hideously excited; keeps reading quotations aloud… or merely slapping his side & chortling ‘God, isn’t God a shit!’.”

  86. FreeFox says:

    @Mary: I read it the first time when I was 11 together with my older sister at night under the bed covers while she was having religiour instructions in preparation of her confirmation (she was Lutheran… back then I was just a fan of fucked up, blood-curdling and sex-filled stories, now I guess I am something of a neo-pagan polytheist Campbellian Gnostic or something…) and we discussed God and stuff… stuff they tried to keep from us in religious class, like that the bible obviously accepts that there are other gods (they’re just not as “good”), that God is an utter bastard but in quite a sexy psychotic way, that David was about the sexiest bloke you could imagine – having it apparently with Jonathan, Jonathan’s dad the king, and Jonathan’s sister, and having a heavy teasing flirt with God going (the dance scene), before resorting to killing husbands to commit adultery in his dotage… and being a father probably even more sucky than ours, though had there been a kingdom in the offering my borther and I might have murdered each other, too. I found only the New Testament really boring, at least until I got older. I’m still on the fence about Paul… on the one hand he was a bigotted misogynistic self-loathing queer homophobe, on the other hand he was clearly a really astute politician, opinionated, manipulative, insecure, and had at his heart a deep love for life and the world and the need to merge with it in spite of his many limitations… so all in all I guess I think he is a pretty hot chap.
    The Nordic sagas and Roman and Greek myths and Arthurian and other Celtic legends are just brilliant, and reading Campbell on them a few years later makes them an epiphany about life and living it. Brilliant stuff. The Gitas and Puranas are a bit hard to get used to, so I admit I skipped some of the more lyrical stuff, but they have great tales. LaVey and Crowly are a mix of hilarious bullshit and deep wisdom – IMNSOHO.

    @hotrats: But Freddie was right… God is quite a shit. Which is why I can’t believe why churches always want to hide that side and make him this bloodless “Chaste-Love-For-Everybody” ghost… like, look around in the bloody world… OF COURSE he’s a shit… who else could have made a world such as this… God is a complete cunt (and I am using the word with no intention to insult any ladies, just to convey the immensity of God’s unbelievable shittiness), but a brillian, loving, glorious, breathtaking cunt. Which, too, explains the world as it is. ^_^

  87. WalterWalcarpit says:

    There’s a new cartoon out so this is a bit of a punt …
    But as one who believes profoundly in asking the questions because I am inevitably not the only pertinant ignorant in the room, I now have two:

    What, precisely, is a “Godwin” and is it only to be found prowling internet fora?

    And @freefox, as imprecisely as you like, what is your meaning of ^_^?
    Am I the only one to have tried it in a Skype text to attempt a pictorial translation?

  88. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Ps @Mary2 I’m back in the sunshine state for a wee while and I have to say it is looking bedraggled. Whether the weather or that there Son of Joh (himself somewhere to the right of hitler) who is planning the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef because it slows the profiteering of some mineral magnates is now suing the federal government for introducing a mining tax that might share the natural wealth. If I had a thunderbolt …

    On that domestic issue of recognising diversity in human partnerships, the Uk recently consulted on civil partnerships being upgraded to marriage. Unfortunate for me that it did not consider going both ways inasmuch as one cannot be in a civil partnership unless one is gay – marriage is our only option as far as inter-national bureaucrats are concerned.

  89. colyte of Sagan says:

    Nice to have you back, FreeFox; still a shrinking violet, I see 🙂

  90. colyte of Sagan says:

    Walter, Godwin’s Law states (and I’m paraphrasing) that the longer a dicussion thread continues, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or the Nazi Party approaches 1.
    It is generally agreed that the person who introduces the Nazis / Hitler loses the debate, unless of course it is pertinent to the conversation.

    As for FreeFox’s ^_^; think of a fox’s ears. Possibly arched eyebrows, but my money’s on the fox.

  91. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Damn! Mis-spelling my own moniker again. ‘Colyte’ doesn’t have the same ring, does it? It sounds like a brand of smokeless coal.

  92. FreeFox says:

    @Walter: What he said.
    @Colyte: Shrinking violet, that’s me. ^_^

  93. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Heh, shrinking pseudonym, that’s me.

  94. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Walter, I nearly missed your ‘as imprecisely as you like’. Almost too subtle.

  95. WalterWalcarpit says:

    I get the fox!
    Was it you, AoS, who once suggested “Haggis for Brains” might have been a line from Thunderbirds?
    And thanks for the intro to a Godwin. Now if ever I think my life is sad, I can think of bitter lemon and know it can get worse.

    See you in the next thread.

  96. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Walter, it was indeed I. I’d imagined Parker serving lunch, something on the lines of “Meatballs for Virgil, haggis for Brains….”.


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