Discussion (35)¬

  1. Brilliant!

    I always thought that morality has evolved. I live in a muslim society, and though many preach to return to full implementation of the shari’a law, many become quiet or inconsistent when I ask them if they will incorporate beheadings and stonings as part of punishment.

    They can’t accept that their morality has evolved beyond the absolutes of religion. They consider it open-minded to ignore some parts of religion, saying it’s a part of being modern, while still clinging to beliefs like the wrongness of homosexuality and the obedience of women to men as a virtue.

    This is why I’m confused by people being ‘moderates,’ while still advocating the ‘trueness’ of their religion. Cherry-picking, really. I talked about this on my blog (click on my name. yes, I’m shamefully advertising it)

  2. MowMow says:

    An example of why moving toward a secular society is one way of moving toward unity of purpose. Secular laws are objective and can be amended or done away with as needed. Religious law insists on a repetitive loop of compulsive behavior which had relevance thousands of years ago but not now. However, religious law is a great tool for keeping people neurotic about things that, at the end of the day, don’t really matter.

    And it also draws attention to a person as an strong adherent of a religion rather than someone who chooses to blend in when it is appropriate to blend in. Which, as they know, causes huge problems later.

  3. Jerry w says:

    Sorry Mo, it can’t be a “Jewish thing”, because there’s that kosher prohibition about not allowing milk and meat to even touch the same plate or use the same silverware, much less a boiling pot. Yeah, much less…..

  4. kiyaroru says:

    Which Ten Commandments?
    Catholic or Protestant?

  5. archbish says:

    excellent one. love it.

  6. plente says:

    @Jerry: Actually, that passage, or others like it may well be the basis for the kosher prohibitions regarding meat & dairy. Any Talmud scholars out there?

  7. Scott says:

    Not to be so picky, but this is a poor subject for the strip since it has been decided (by theologians) that it was a ritual at the time of the heathens and so should not be practised – on a side, I don’t see anything wrong with not boiling a kid (that is young goat) in its mothers milk, or is the author fond of this practise??

    And in response to a comment by MowMow – Society laws are not objective at all – they are subjected to the rulers of society and democratic rule. Religious laws are not subjective (except to the particular deity that gave them) and so could be argued that they are universal morals not to be watered down by majority ruling.

  8. nina says:


    It’s funny to me that people who thump the buybull have rarely read it or if they have, understood it.

    People who insist there’s some external absolute morality are only demonstrating that they have no idea what moral is – since they can’t identify moral on their own.

  9. nina says:

    @ Scott

    religious “laws” are certainly interpretive according to the whim of the cult’s leader in any given year

    what we do is in nature and society is that things change and those that can adapt live.

    so religions that want to cling to the past are only ensuring their own doom as they become no longer relevant and people out grow them

  10. Mac says:

    Yes, that’s where the prohibition comes from.

    I also think this trope has been beaten to death (look no further than “God Hates Shrimp”)

  11. Intelligent Designer says:

    I’m surprised at Jeez, he appears to have forgotten that he already did away with the Mosaic 14 ‘Ten’ Commandments with his neat 2 Commandments (much easier to remember): Love my dad a lot more than anything else, and go around tossing everyone off, if that’s your thing, man!

    We need Mo to set the record straight here – which of the 14 or 15 imperatives did he dream up on the mountain, and which were pencilled in the margins later? More importantly, is the wife of my next-door-neighbour-but-one fair game?

  12. Joe Decker says:

    Scott, I’d disagree with you about religious laws being subjective. It’s fairly clear that if the Bible (OT and NT taken together) represents the text of Christian law, that the enormous diversity of Christian belief about what those laws means reflects various forms of subjective interpretation. There are multiple sources of subjectivity, in fact, from the subjective correctness of translations from the Greek, Hebrew, etc., to subjective questions of how contradictory passages are interepreted, to subjective questions of which passages are to be interpreted literally vs. alleghorically.

    Dire Straits said it best: “Two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong.”

  13. Crusader Rabid says:

    I dunno about goat, but chicken pieces soaked in buttermilk (before frying) works a treat.

  14. JohnnieCanuck says:

    Two versions of creation myths, two versions of the commandments, all in the OT. Whoever stuck all these bits together wasn’t much concerned about internal contradiction.

    The main point here is not that the commandment about kids in mother’s milk is weird in a modern context. It’s that with two sets of ‘Commandments’, picking and choosing is unavoidable. Whether or not the theologians have an explanation matters little to the thrust of the author’s argument.

    The inspired and in-errant Bible types are fond of belittling more moderate Christian sects as ‘cafeteria’ or ‘super-market’ Christians. It’s a holier-than-thou perspective which really seems silly, given for example, that none of them advocates stoning kids that sass their parents.

  15. Daoloth says:

    I believe that the “whoever” , who “stuck the bits together” was mostly the 3rd council of Cathage in AD 397.

    As with all these kinds documents redactive analysis reveals multiple sources, undermining the revelation idea. This is one reason why Islamic scholars resist redactive analysis of the Koran.

    The few bits which even the most rabidly insane (right, how would you notice?) can see does not fit gets passed off as “Satanic” verses.

    Woe betide anoyone who refers to those…

  16. Didac says:

    Cherry picking is literally as ancient as humankind. So, there is no problem with it in a moral level. Moral self-justification is seeked after the fact.

  17. Stephen Turner says:

    If we were supposed to take seriously the claims that such-and-such a holy book contains an eternal message for all mankind, wouldn’t it (i) have been in the world from the beginning, and (ii) have been accessible to everyone.

    This second point covers a) the lack of clarity of the actual words, b) the obscurity of the language used (what proportion of the world spoke Arabic or whatever?), c) the fact that the message was not available to, for instance the peoples of America.

    The message may or may not have good parts, but we can be reasonably confident that it is human rather than divine.

  18. Daoloth says:

    @St. Dont worry about that. Racism is your saviour here. god is arabic, at least according to some islamist scholars.

  19. nina says:

    It’s funny to me that the world has witnessed the creation of Mormonism and Scientology

    and yet very few seem to consider that all religions started that way – one guy wanting to get money for no work and the method was being a toady to an skydaddy bully who will smite them if they don’t hand over the cash and follow a buncha rules that they can think make them insiders to the bully.

  20. ms morbo says:

    the one thats always confused me is the “seven deadly sins”. really, greed AND gluttony on the same list? okey, greed i understand, but why then also add on a specific kind of greed? isn’t that just over egging the point?

  21. Neuseline says:

    @ms morbo. Gluttony is what most Americans are guilty of when they tuck into food served on platters the size of wagon wheels, and greed is what bankers think means their entitlement to fat bonuses.

  22. Daoloth says:

    @Nina. Check out the cargo cults sometime
    During WWII US planes brought cargo to pacific islands who had never seen planes or white people before. The local residents started to build wooden planes and towers to attact the magic metal birds.
    These guys are waiting for John Frum to bring the cargo. One of the funniest bits is when someone (Attenborough, I think) asks them whether, after 30-odd years, they should give up waiting for him. Local witch-doctor looks him up and down and says “You have been waiting 2000 years for yours”. Priceless.

  23. Scooby71 says:


    And at least one of the cargo cults in Vanuatu regards Prince Philip as a divine being, believing him to be the brother of John Frum.

  24. Okay the other ones then – why can’t we take your name in vain if we want to? What’s the big deal? You’re omnipotent, remember? What do you care if we use your ‘name’ to swear with? And is it even really your name anyway? Isn’t it the name we’ve given you? Do you really care what we do with the name we’ve stuck on you? Aren’t you kind of above that? Aren’t you just too god damn glorious and transcendent and special to be so petty?

  25. Daoloth says:

    @ Ophelia. Its not her name- its her job.
    @ Scooby. We should try to set up a version of that sect here. Get tax exemption. Special status. Demand our own schools. Tee hee hee.

  26. nina says:

    “You have been waiting 2000 years for yours”. Priceless.

    and too true!

  27. Don says:


    Mr Deity has an interesting take on that.

  28. Stephen Turner says:

    I think I’ve spotted a niche in the labor market for somebody willing to change their name to John Frum. [This idea is copyright.]

    Daoloth: I wonder if the Islamist scholars, or rather Islamist “scholars”, include any of those campaigning to have time measured from Mecca instead of from Greenwich. After all, Mecca is the center of the world, doncha know.

  29. Daoloth says:

    @Don. Thanks for that one. “God isnt my real name- its my stage name”.
    Coffee came out my nose…

  30. Lenoxus says:

    The argument that the apparent strangeness of Mosaic laws is irrelevant becauase they’ve been overturned by the New Covenent is absurd. The question remains, Why did God ever issue those laws in the first place? If we were all Hebrews in ancient Israel, we couldn’t just tell ourselves “Oh, these rules are only meant for some remote desert tribes, not us in the modern world.”

    Why did God ever single out a people to abide by all those cultural practices, sometimes on pain of death, a punishment to be carried out by the people themselves? Not only would getting stoned to death suck, but can you imagine being ordered by God to stone someone to death? It would have been more merciful of him to strike violators with lightning — then at least there’d be no ambiguity as to what exactly the law was, and no worried that you might be killing an innocent person.

    Some have argued that by piling on the weird and wicked rules, God was trying to send the message of the futility of keeping the Law, and “paving the way” for Christ’s message of mercy and love. So basically, the laws were one big joke? Or does the creator of a billion galaxies genuinely have a preference for the smell of cooked meat over that of vegetables? And why exactly does it take theologians and interpreters to deliver that answer — couldn’t God have simply said it himself? Say, I don’t know, to the gathered Israelites newly freed from Egypt? Because, given the apparent reality of God’s wrath (ten plagues, anyone?) I’m not sure I see how they would figure out it was all a bunch of “metaphors”.

    (That said, I don’t think there ever was an exodus, so most of the stuff about worshiping a golden calf, all those conquests, etc, are basically fictional. But that’s irrelevant to the point that they don’t even make internal sense.)

    Some even go so far as to basically say “Well, of course the Bible doesn’t make sense — it was written by hundreds of people over thousands of years! It’s not fair to expect it to be a coherent work!” Yet the same people nonetheless call themselves Christians. Strange.

  31. Harry says:

    The “don’t boil a calf in its mother’s milk” is a similar biblical rule to not taking eggs from a mother bird while she is sitting on the nest. It’s a sensitivity towards not purposely exacerbating what is already a harsh situation – i.e., killing an animal, or taking the issue of an animal, for your eating pleasure. Although ritual slaughter seems gross, its intent is to minimize the suffering of the animal. Not saying that everything makes sense, or there isn’t some barbarism in any value system that is millennia old, but the comic is meant as a joke -it’s not meant as an exegesis on the moral value of kosher laws.

  32. fenchurch says:

    Wait, what about the other 603 commandments???

  33. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Never boil kid-meat in its mother’s milk, it kills the taste. Instead, simmer the meat gently in a good meat stock and use the milk in your mashed tatties.

  34. ottebrain says:

    Surely panel 1 is a spoing?


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