And laughter. Don’t forget laughter.

Discussion (46)¬

  1. Dilige et quod vis fac says:

    Ad “reason” 🙂 One of the meanings of the Greek word “logos” is “reason”. Then the first line of the Gospel of John could also read: “In the beginning was the Reason, and the Reason was with God, and the Reason was God.” 🙂

  2. Scooby says:

    I thought JC had precisely nothing to say about the gays.

  3. John Moore says:

    Don’t you just love how J&M refer to them as “The Gays”. I guess a great many folks are morally bankrupt as well…..

  4. Bodach says:

    Scooby, you’re right; Jesus didn’t say anything about the gehys but his dad did in the OT. Numerology or Deutoliticus or some such. I think he said they were bad.

  5. Shaughn says:

    Some say that some said old Jay (or Al – same guy) told them so – but that’s all hearsay. God knows and he alone what he really said. Probably the same as jesus: nothing at all.

  6. Scooby says:

    @Bodach – but surely Jesus coming meant that much of the stuff in the OT no longer applies, which means Christians are allowed to eat shellfish and wear mixed fibres. I get confused with which cherries we’re allowed to pick.

  7. Brilliant. Just plain brilliant.

  8. wright1 says:

    @ Scooby: that’s basically the story of my deconversion. There I was, happily picking cherries out of the Bible tree, avoiding the ones I didn’t like. Then I realized what I was doing… and that EVERY Christian I knew was doing the SAME THING.

    At which point I threw away my bucket and walked. Haven’t been back since.

  9. muteman says:

    Well, if we’re talking about what who said….beside the fact that there’s an infinite high possibility in theory that god doesn’t exist (meaning, it practically doesn’t exist), there’s also a very very high possibility Jesus didn’t exist as well.

    So, that more or less means a fairytale said so or didn’t say so. 🙂

  10. AchillesAndTortoise says:

    By “moral bankruptcy”, I suppose they mean “different morals from ours”. Excellent strip, Author!

  11. Don says:


    I’m pretty sure that Mathew and Luke confirm that Jesus said that the OT rules still applied. It was Paul who moved away from that, probably because learning and following all those wierd rules (let alone the circumcision) was proving to be a really bad selling point among the wealthy Greek and Roman converts he was keen on attracting.

    He kept the bit about the gays, though.

  12. franny says:


    I thought, and I may be wrong, that the OT declared it an abomination to lie with another man.
    Therefore, technically speaking, as long as the gheys shag standing up god’s all right with it.

    By the same token straight men just sleeping next to each other kind of condemns them. Takes the fun out of camping …..and school dorms… although, come to think about it there may be a connection afterall..

    It gets very confusing.

  13. nina says:

    it’s funny to me that any one can consider their system moral when it makes any group of people lesser than

    revealed, indeed. funny how revealed always aligns with the person’s biases.

  14. Jerry w says:

    Ah yes, warmth, honesty, and compassion. In your church, once you can fake these you’ve got it made.

  15. Jerry w says:

    @ Don says:
    “…..I’m pretty sure that Mathew and Luke confirm that Jesus said that the OT rules still applied. It was Paul who moved away from that”…..

    And then a few thousand years later, Paul moved away from the Beatles. Some folks never learn…..

  16. Reg says:

    Isn’t this just the best comic ever??

  17. Analyst says:

    Scooby says: “I thought JC had precisely nothing to say about the gays.”

    Actually he did. Search for (pais centurion).

  18. Urmensch says:

    You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

    @franny I thought that was about how to respond if asked ‘Does this make me look fat?’

  19. Martin says:

    @Urmensch: Lmao… *wiping tears of laughter from my eyes* almost better than the comic… thank you

  20. ketil w.grevstad says:

    hehe funny funny.

    Dont discuss with a barmaid, she tell you what you want to hear or she dont dont bother what you said.

  21. nina says:

    you can’t “lie” with a person of your same gender as you would a person of your opposite gender.

    the mechanics are totally different – so I guess it is an abomination to try to do the same thing regardless of your partner – clearly the lesson is to vary your technique and take the other person into account

  22. MrGronk says:

    @Urmensch et als;
    “Abomination” in Leviticus means something that makes you defiled and spiritually unclean (buggery, shellfish, etc), rather than you being evil to the core. In other words, committing an abomination made you spiritually icky, but nothing that a bit of rabbinic mumbo-jumbo couldn’t put right. You can interpret Leviticus as saying that a spot of sodomy was no worse than eating a shellfish.
    I rather fancy some scallops now.

  23. madfish says:

    Been meaning to mention it for a while now; the barmaid is looking even better than ever in the new version of the strip.

  24. Stephen Turner says:

    Is there any chance of getting Barmaid’s phone number?

  25. daoloth says:

    Leviticus 18:22 is often translated as “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” There is another one about what you should do with such naughty boys (death) at 20:13.

    However it is also, apparently, abominable to eat shellfish (Leviticus 11, 9-12) and not keeping the Sabbath is also punishable by death (Exodus 31:14).
    We need more stonings of such shellfish-eating sabbath breakers.

    It gets more interesting. A number of biblical scholars claim that, given that the passages are in amongst a whole load of others about idolatory and practices in pagan temples it is male prostitution that is being condemned. But redactive analysis is much less fun than stoning.

  26. Atheismo says:

    Someone should organize a “See How Many Sins You Can Commit in One Day” day. Not just the traditional ten commands either, but all the rediculousness in Leviticus, Dueteronomy, etc. I’d participate in that. I’m having a good time just trying to determine my battle plans. I’m thinking lobster dinner on a Sunday (pick any day, really, since the sabbath is arbitrary) followed by ghey seks with a man who is not my wife. (That’s as far as I’ve gotten, but it was fun getting here.)

  27. Caveat to the “See How Many Sins You Can Commit in One Day” day idea:

    No crimes, just sins. So all the “punishable in a court of law” sins have to be observed. No stealing, don’t perjure yourself, and no false gods.

  28. AchillesAndTortoise says:

    @Atheismo: Why no false gods? I suggest praying to Mecca five times a day (remembering of course to eat bacon after each one), praying to Krishna (with some holy cow to eat beforehand), and of course some good ol’ sacrifices to Zeus and Amon-Ra.

  29. Gopi says:

    I agree with interpreting Leviticus literally. Positions matter.

    I think that the message about Onan is also important. Don’t spill your seed. I’m not convinced that we need divine revelation to tell us not to leave disgusting sticky messes everywhere.

  30. I’ll settle for eating the most treif food imaginable: Bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with beef tenderloin and cheddar cheese. Mmm. Sacrelicious.

  31. Stonyground says:

    I heard somewhere that there are Bible translations which ran into problems with that ‘not lying with man’ stuff. I believe that if read by a woman, it suggested that lesbianism was compulsory.

    On the sins in one day thing, I think that is a great idea. I think that the key part is that you do no harm to anyone, the things that are regarded as sins with good reason should be off limits. The point of the exercise should be to draw attention to religion’s legion of completely pointless rules. The event should be held on a Saturday because on that day, according to YHWH doing anything at all is a sin, especially collecting firewood so everyone starts with one free point. According to JC, I can commit adultery just by “looking at a woman with a lustful eye”, something that I do rather a lot.

  32. nina says:


    Dip me in honey and throw me to the lesbians!

  33. John Moore says:

    @nina – Stop that!!!We have enough to deal with without all of this ribaldry, harlotism, etc!!!!!

  34. AchillesAndTortoise says:

    Hey… for the as many sins as possible in one day idea, why not have it on Blasphemy Day?

    And about our new interpretation of Leviticus… so men can’t sleep with men on pain of death, and women can’t sleep with men on pain of death, meaning they must be lesbians… so who do we men get to sleep with? I thought the bible was supposed to be biased against women, not men!

  35. Atheismo says:

    Good idea, AchillesAndTortoise! That gives me plenty of time to sift through the OT and find all the “thou shalt nots”. (I was just being tounge in cheek with the no false gods stuff and giving a nod towards my christian country, the one, the only, US and A.)

    Stonyground – That’s good guidance (shouldn’t that be the rule in all we do?), but I think we also have to consider a ban on violating local laws on See How Many Sins You Can Commit in One Day Day, even if you don’t support those laws. Just pointing out the absurdity of being forbidden to eat shell fish, or push a button on a specific day, should be the goal. There’s no need to turn people into criminals.

  36. MaryD says:

    I don’t see the connection between atheism and homosexuality.
    As a rationalist I see no evidence of a god so I don’t believe there is one.
    As a rationalist I see evidence that the man species of monkey requires two sexes for reproduction so where does the mono-sexuality of homosexuality come in? Surely ‘the bits don’t fit’.

    If you feel the need to adopt a religion then I’m afraid its ‘moral code’ comes as part of the package. What about the ‘human rights’ of murderers and thieves? Shouldn’t they get to be priests too?

  37. Urmensch says:

    Nature is not teleological. It is enough that there is a need for sexual release and pregnancy will happen. If humans only had sex in order to reproduce why would human couples continue to have sex even when the female is pregnant? What about all the sex that can’t lead to pregnancy?
    Saying ‘the bits don’t fit’ just shows a lack of imagination.

  38. John Moore says:

    @MaryD – There are documented cases of animals (rams) for instance that only have homosexual sex. They have found the these rams have a genetic makeup different from herd by about 1%, but alas no gauge of their moral fiber…..

  39. Urmensch says:

    MaryD seems to think murderers and thieves are somehow analagous to homosexuals.
    Perhaps she could ‘rationally’ defend how exactly homosexuals are like criminals?

  40. Uncle Roger says:

    Hey, count me in for the Sins of the Day fest! (Only, do I really have to have sex with a guy? Guys are gross! Besides, my wife is the jealous type. Can I just cop a feel or something?) We should make sure it’s not just limited to Christianity. Bacon is good, as are cheeseburgers.

  41. Uncle Roger says:

    @MaryD — there isn’t really a connection between atheism and homosexuality. There are plenty of gay men and women who are theists. And there are plenty of straight atheists. Where there is a connection is between homophobia and theism.

    Atheists rarely have a reason to be anti-gay — they have no god to tell them how terrible it is, so they are free to be themselves or allow others to do so. But being an atheist doesn’t make you any more or less likely to be gay. (It does make you more likely to be okay with it if you are gay, though.)

    And, of course, reproduction is not the primary motivation for people falling in love these days. If it were, I’d have women lining up at my door (I make great kids.)

    Lastly, I agree that adopting a religion means following the rules of that belief set, but, when it comes to homosexuality, that all too often results in tragedy. Too many gay men deny their sexuality because they believe it is wrong and that they can’t possibly be gay — consider Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Gov. McGreevey, the WBC guy, and so on. (I wrote about this here: ).

    As for murderers, thieves, and priests — atheists are far more anti-murder than christians and muslims. (If I were a true bible-following christian, I would have had to kill each of my kids hundreds of times each.) The same is likely true of theft.

  42. lol says:

    re: panel 2.

    I’m dubious as to how the chemical process that we dub “love” is a firm basis for any set of morals. Why should we give it any particular meaning? I’m also fairly sure that love sets some people above others as far as the lover is concerned, so it isn’t really a good start for any sort of egalitarian system.
    I’m less opposed to the idea of compassion, though, as that seems more linked to Dan Barker’s idea that a “morality based on reason” would be arrived at by attempting to “minimise harm”. However, I’m still concerned that an emotion forms the basis of such a morality, since I find it plausible that any two people, when faced with two different sorts of suffering, might consider one more dire than the other. How do you deal with these discrepancies between the people’s own morality to form the rules of a society? The only solution I see is to base consensus, which can be problematic.
    I’m also tempted to ask, “Which universal human rights?”.
    Panel 3 actually reminds me of a Physicist with whom I lived for a year at University. He was an atheist and was pretty firmly anti-gay – while, of course, railing at religion being unfair to women – as is another atheist friend of mine. To be fair, though, it’s always frustrated me that people of faith concentrate so much on homosexuality. The Qur’an seems to say that homosexual acts are a sin, but there’s nothing to suggest it’s the “worst sin ever”, to paraphrase the Simpsons. I’m fairly certain there are sins condemned far worse in the literature, but as far as the practitioners go, the anti-gay thing takes up far too much time.

  43. author says:

    @lol – I’m dubious about love as a basis for morality, too. But the barmaid used to be a bit of a hippy, so I think we should cut her some slack.

    Re human rights, the UDHR seems like a reasonable place to start.

    Your physicist friend was probably gay.

  44. lol says:

    Slack, sure, but should we give her drug-addled pronouncements credence? 😛
    I’m far from an expert on these things, but he was pretty prolific when it came to women. I’m more inclined to think that he was simply a mess of unthinking self-contradition.

  45. dysamoria says:

    Being prolific with women doesn’t mean the guy isn’t gay. There are plenty of cases in which people force themselves, their kids, etc. to have tons of sex with many women because they think it’ll force the gay out. Look at the men who marry women & start families only to one day divorce because they can no longer live the lie & cannot have honest enjoyable sex with their wives. Forcing someone to do acts they’re not naturally inclined toward is as useful as prayer and equally self-delusional. (note: this doesn’t include good-habit-making procedures like exercise and healthy eating 😉

  46. lol says:

    point taken, but I still think it’s a bit odd that the immediate diagnosis for homophobia is, if it can’t be religious bigotry, repressed homosexuality; it seems to give too suspiciously convenient an answer to the puzzle of the irreligious homophobe – that an intelligent (at least enough to attend a prestigious scientific institution) feminist atheist physicist’s unsoundness cannot be an intellectual blindness, but must be a personal insecurity.

    sorry for commenting all over the archives – i generally stay a passive reader for months on end, then exam stress and a hot topic will force me to catch up with all my old discussions.


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