You gotta take the rough with the smooth.

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Discussion (68)¬

  1. Freethinkin Franklin says:

    sorry shit but that addage fails bigtime here… its more like “they can keep their rough AND smooth” i’ll stick with facts and truth…. you?

  2. Algolei says:

    Good news! Do what I say or I’ll send you to heckinahandbag!

    Good news! It’s free, not including tithing and otherwise giving up your freedom!

  3. hotrats says:

    Author, just sublime.

  4. pete says:

    Is this where the Mafioso got one of their business models from?

  5. Poor Richard says:

    Free to be you and me, and if redeemed, no longer worthless, just shit. Well, there’s always fertilizer and fuel.

  6. So the Catholic Church is worth tens of billions that it received from handing out this free service. If you are the Catholic Church then it seems the mythical Christ story really is good news.

  7. W. Corvi says:

    The worst is, nothing makes sense WITH it, either!

  8. DocAtheist says:

    Author, this must compete for 1st place among all your strips. It is so poignant, it could be an entire TV serial episode, condensed onto a storyboard. Well done!

  9. They usually try to slip that first bit in by putting it in the first person and having the faithful recite it. “I’m a piece of shit” is somehow easier to accept than hearing it from them.

  10. Hobbes says:

    Logic reigns supreme.

  11. Reg Vernon says:

    I never did get the concept of original sin. A good point, brilliantly made.

  12. FreeFox says:

    Original Sin explained: The tale of the original sin is a metaphor for a widespread, indeed almost universal human experience. While we have learned in modern secular culture not to point it out or even acknowledge it, almost every human has some deep seated feeling of being fundamentally wrong, the hidden shameful conviction that he or she should be different from what he or she is. Maybe you think you ought to be more manly or more feminine, more successful, less selfish, less needy, more assertive, smarter… almost all of us have been imbued by our parents and society with the feeling of being sinful, secular and religious alike. To define the term sin in this context: The shameful feeling of being disappointed in yourself in a matter you think you should be able to do better but lack the willpower to live up to your own expectation. Given that human culture is complex, our primary caregivers – those responsible in shaping our self-image and expectations towards ourselves – almost invariably fill us with mixed signals leading to either impossible or contradictory standards whose failure to fulfil causes us for our whole life to suffer from shame and a deep seated sense of worthlessness. Some people compensate by convincing themselves of their own grandiosity, others by masochistically denying their own needs, by shyness, by hiding in intellectualism, by sabotaging our own efforts, or a myriad other strategies… making us either feel like hypocrites (sinful) or as if God was persecuting us for something (punished). Any attempt to deal with this usually leads to critical self-awareness (eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) and the end of the paradise of a childhood in which our parents (God) could make us feel good simply by telling us everything was okay. Of course in reality the sense of shame leads to the self-awareness of it, not the other way around, but given that they occur usually together and it is only AFTER asking the right questions that you become consciously aware of the previously subconscious feeling, it’s an easy enough mistake to make.

    Hence almost all of us have this feeling of being somehow inherently wrong, and the Abrahamic religions have used the metaphor of the original sin to describe it. And the churches in their infinite fucked-up-ness and realising that shame is a great way to control people, drew all the wrong conclusions from it. ^_^

  13. Ellie says:

    Author: Perfect. Just perfect.

    Freefox: My parents were pretty awful but I’m very glad I didn’t have yours.

  14. FreeFox says:

    Ellie, that’s actually pretty funny. It doesn’t discount what I said, though. And kinda misses my point. ^_^

  15. Kevin Colquitt says:

    Imagine if any justice system in any country on the planet worked the way it does in the wholly babble.

    Your great, great, great grandfather murdered his brother sir. We’re going to have to lock you up too…and your children, you’re all guilty.

  16. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    There isn’t a fundamentalist manipulative proselytizer
    About theology who is the wiser
    About how to behave
    Or themselves even save
    Another self anointed dim witted advisor.

  17. omg says:

    Off context, but I find this one funny. I hope you like it:

  18. two cents' worth says:

    So, in J’s opinion, I’m worthless and deserve to be tortured for eternity, but he has redeemed me, and eternal happiness can be mine. “Can be”? Why not “is,” if the redemption is a done deed? And he promises “eternal” happiness. Starting when? If it doesn’t start immediately, why not? Now is part of eternity, right? Is the Federal Trade Commission investigating this guy? Sounds like a scam to me.

  19. hotrats says:

    reminds me of Clive James’s definition of religion: an advertising campaign without a product.

  20. Undeluded says:

    Thank you, Author, for not telling us what Barmaid”s response was that triggered the doldrums with J. Because it really doesn’t matter. Try (at one extreme): “Your being a piece of shit doesn’t make me one!'” or (at the other extreme): “I finally see the good news. Baptize me now!” If she’s not walking out of the CandB with them, he’ll never grasp either logic or sarcasm. Funny that it’s Mo who points that out.

  21. Undeluded says:

    Please pardon the “bold” goof above… It was intended for the word “not” only.

  22. Mother Goose says:

    This will go down as my favorite J & M. The idea that everyone is born a sinner is completely ridiculous. The catholic church could not exist without the concept.

  23. I am not a worthless piece of shit!

    I’m a very expensive piece of shit.

  24. J Ascher says:

    Yeah, there are some defeculties with Jesus’ approach!

  25. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Sin is like music or movies; there’s nothing original anymore, just the same old shit re-hashed for a new generation.

  26. AlexanderTheGoodEnough says:

    A commenter, one RickK, on a thread in reply to a letter to the editor advocating “teach the controversy,” brilliantly summarized what appears to be any Bible-belivin’ Christian’s fundamental dilemma with the Theory of Evolution and reality overall. To wit:

    Here is the equation I’ve been told by many Christians: If the Theory of Evolution is true, then the Adam and Eve story is necessarily false. If Adam and Eve, and Genesis in general, is just a story, then the concept of Original Sin collapses. If there was no Original Sin, then God created us complete with all of our sins and flaws from inception – our sins and flaws were His creation rather than our “fault”. If that is the case, then just what did Jesus live and, most importantly, die for?

    Good question, I’d say. Without a real and literal Adam & Eve & The Apple, the whole Christian conceptual edifice of Original Sin and the necessity of atonement and “forgiveness” falls sloppy dead.

    Honestly, creationist/Christian myth has never made a lick of sense to me since about the same time I stopped believing in Santa.

  27. Chris Phoenix says:

    AlexanderTheGoodEnough: Funny thing – when we (Westerners, at least) are little, we are taught to believe that there are two men in the sky with white beards, who know whether we’ve been bad or good, and will reward or punish us accordingly.

    When we get older, we stop believing in one of them, and eventually feel kind of scornful toward anyone who wants to still believe after the age of about 10.

    Most of us continue to believe in the other all our lives, and distrust anyone who stops.

    Go figure…

    Ps. Yes, I know that to an adult Christian, God is not literally a man in the sky with a beard. But that is the picture that’s given to youngsters to indoctrinate them into the belief, and I don’t believe it’s possible to separate the original belief from the evolved belief. If it were possible, then maybe all those children aren’t really Christian?

  28. Freefox, yes exactly. It’s almost impossible to grow to adulthood without being told many times that you don’t measure up, that there’s more you could do, that you are imperfect and should try harder. This is true no matter how loving and supportive your parents, teachers, and friends. Even the most successful people can feel like impostors and failures at some level or other. And this is the hook that the church has sunk so deeply into humanity. You know you are imperfect and miserable, but we can fix that because Jesus. “But thou oh Lord have mercy upon us miserable offenders.” (Note the use of first person, putting the words in the mouths of the faithful. They aren’t calling us miserable offenders, we’re taught and instructed to call ourselves that.) It would be great if it actually worked, but they are selling a placebo, not a real cure. Interesting the percentage of people that can get hooked on a placebo.

  29. I can’t figure out how to post the picture, but it’s the famous one of Jesus at a door. The following words have been added by somebody more brilliant than I:
    Knock Knock
    Who’s there
    Jesus. Let me in.
    I’ve come to save you?
    Save me from what?
    From what I’m going to do if you don’t let me in.

  30. Mary2 says:

    Author, very, very nice.

    I have always hated that Christian ‘I am a wretched sinner’ mentality. Like Freefox and Darwin H, I was brought up to believe I was far from perfect but have never understood that grovelling unworthiness that Christians are supposed to feel in front of their loving creator. Mary1 suffers from a ‘Christ-induced Uriah Heep Complex’ at times and I have never come so close to committing domestic violence.

  31. drummer25 says:

    Nassar BH
    There was a young man from Japan
    Whose limericks just didn’t scan.
    When asked why this was,
    He said, “Simply because
    I like to pack as many words into each line as I can!”
    (/nit picking pedantry)

  32. John B. Hodges says:

    A peeve of mine is the common theological view that salvation is a free gift, all you have to do is believe that Jesus has given it to you. As I read the gospels, this does not remotely resemble what Jesus is reported to have said. I went through the four gospels collecting everything Jesus is reported to have told his followers to DO. It’s quite a list. He says several times that you have to DO all these things before you can enter Heaven; they are necessary but even full compliance may not be sufficient. See

  33. omg says:

    Darwin Harmless, just what you want to show us:

  34. hotrats says:

    The painting is ‘The Light of the World’ by William Homan Hunt.

    The original is at displayed at Keble College, Oxford. Toward the end of his life, Hunt painted a life-size version, which hangs in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

  35. hotrats says:

    oops, that’s William Holman Hunt, not Homan. My poofreading is getting worser.

  36. hotrats says:

    I don’t know if others have this problem, but all I get from (as in omg’s links) is a blank black page.

  37. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    The links work for me, hotrats. Are you on a restricted computer network? It’d have to be one with a sense of humour that allows J&M through but not an image-hosting site.

  38. hotrats says:

    A Firefox problem – I tried a different browser, and it worked. I’m on a superannuated iMac (14 years old!) that will only run a very old version of Firefox, but I stay with it because of its wonderful AdBlockPlus feature. Thanks for the feedback. I notice omg’s painting is a completely different one to the Holman Hunt, though illustrating the same babble verse.

  39. The oldest human (homo sapien) remains found are 200,000 years old! christianity started 2000 years ago or to put it another way for 1% of the total known time humans have existed! That means for 99% of the total time humans have been on earth they were instantly condemned at birth to go to hell!

  40. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Hotrats, I think that your link is to the original picture, whereas omg’s is to what looks like an illustration from one of those ever-so-twee bait-Bibles produced for impressionable children.
    I much prefer the Holman Hunt, it has a look of the aesthetic art of Edward Burne-Jones* about it. The two were contemporaries, so it’s possible that one influenced the other.

    *A miscreant if ever there was one, along with his friend William Morris and their arty set. Proof indeed that the strict Victorian values weren’t exactly adhered to by all. Andy Warhol might have thought he was being original with his Factory, but B-J and Morris beat him to it by a hundred years – and produced art (of all media; paintings, stained windows, ceramics, fabrics; furniture and fittings: lock, stock, the bloody lot) worth looking at.

  41. durham669 says:

    Love the punchline. Author, author!!! Reminds me of Dan Barker’s quote:

    “The very concept of sin comes from the Bible. Christianity offers to solve a problem of its own making! Would you be thankful to a person who cut you with a knife in order to sell you a bandage?”

  42. steve oberski says:

    @Damon Ashworth That means for 99% of the total time humans have been on earth they were instantly condemned at birth to go to hell!

    I can no longer remember the names of the debaters but a few years ago I listened to a debate between a fundie and an atheist, and I swear I am not making this up, when confronted with this very question, the fundie claimed that his god arranged things so that only those who deserved to go to hell were born before the arrival of the zombie jew.

    So checkmate atheists.

  43. LostJohn says:

    Damon Ashworth @September 6, 2013 at 9:41 am said:

    “The oldest human (homo sapien) remains found are 200,000 years old! christianity started 2000 years ago or to put it another way for 1% of the total known time humans have existed! That means for 99% of the total time humans have been on earth they were instantly condemned at birth to go to hell!”

    Sorry, but you are slightly off in your numbers. According to the lovely Mr. Ussher (whose house did not fall) (different spelling) (mostly) the arithmetic in the books make it roughly calculable that humans have only been instantly condemned for a bit over four millennia.
    Josh Carpenter, the Anointed (which means “oily”), was born in the year 4004 of the existence of Earth, roughly, and he did the being-comatose-then-wakening trick some 32 or 33 years later, say about 4036 Anno Terrae.
    It is now 6017 A.T. so for 1981 years “salvation” has been an option. That means that for 32% of the entire time Earth, and humans, have existed salvation has been available for the taking.
    Now, if you consider that pre-Jesusan humanity numbered in the tens of millions or less globally for much of its history and that more humans are alive now than were *ever* alive in the 67% of Earth’s lifetime that was pre-Josh, that’s not such an unfair deal.
    In the 4036 pre-salvation years there were fewer unsaved than are now alive in Tokyo, roughly, and everyone in Tokyo has a chance to be saved. So the spooky big daddy bearded savey thingy in the clouds isn’t quite as unfair as it at first looks.

    Of course, this apologia for the psychopathic daemon of the books assumes the tale in the books is true but numerically unreliable. If it isn’t true, which, given the numbers of temporary, local little cults like Jesusism that have claimed to be true must be more likely, then this message has been an exercise in number-juggling. While useless for the purpose of getting on with Life, the Cosmos and Everything Else, a little hypothetical number juggling does no harm and it keeps the arithmetic circuits alive and exercised.

    As for me, I can never sin. Sin is a theological concept and for it to happen it would need a theon to go with it. As there are none, for true and for real and for absolute certainty, “sin” does not apply.
    Anyway, I am not one of Yam’s chosen. I am one of the Other People (ask anyone who has ever met me) so Yam’s rules don’t apply. Yam has no jurisdiction over any but its own “chosen”, the people Yam made.
    This also means I can’t be saved, just like those who lived in the 4036 years before “redemption”. Well, not by Yam I can’t.
    Which neatly eliminates one choice for “Pascal’s Wager”. Now, if only I can find reasons for eliminating all of the others…

    As a numerical aside that is vaguely coincidental and completely irrelevant: 1981 years after the birth of the mutant alien hybrid artificially-inseminated clone robot puppet form-of-flesh plaything Josh Carpenter, the Oiled One, was when I got married to the most wonderful and lovely and wise lady ever to gracefully touch this world. I just thought I’d mention it. It’s not relevant to anything but us.
    Another not-quite as impressive coincidence is that Minor Planet (or Asteroid) number 6017 was found in 1991 A.D. The guy who found it was not named Josh, Jesus or Carpenter though he did co-discover Comet Holt-Olmstead and “Olmstead” is an important name in “The Lensman” series.
    And Voyager One’s mission was 36 years old yesterday, 5/9/2013. She is still reporting back to us. She’s lasted longer than Josh the Oiled One did.
    I just thought you’d all like to know that.
    I don’t remember why.

  44. hotrats says:

    Ignoring divine arithmetic (where, remember, 3=1) I think the last word has to go to Christopher Hitchens:

    Let’s say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. (Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I’ll take 100,000.)

    In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years. Heaven watches this with complete indifference.

    And then 2000 years ago, thinks “That’s enough of that. It’s time to intervene,” and the best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East.

    Don’t lets appeal to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let’s go to the desert and have another revelation there.

  45. magnus says:

    Problem solved:
    There is always a backdoor open in theology 😉

  46. Mary2 says:

    Magnus, Still a little unfortunate that all those people had to sit in hell for thousands of years before being redeemed like lost luggage.

  47. omg says:

    Very nice transcripe. For those who have not ear Christopher Hitchens telling the story, he is fabulous:

  48. omg says:

    Of course, LostJohn, you can’t SIN if you only look at the juggling with numbers that can be found in the bible.

    Trigonometrie was not invented yet.

  49. LostJohn says:

    omg @ September 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm was seen to pun:

    Now you’re going off on a tangent, friend. We should stick to the point, carefully walk the line, enthusiastically cover the whole area of the discussion and politely keep the volume at a decent level, and never go hyper.

    Someone once said that Numbers are how you distinguish between Science and waffly, opinion subjects like politics and religion. He obviously never met the fourth book of Moses.
    Once you’ve read that, your mind can’t get any number.

    I think I need a beer.

  50. LostJohn misses the point that I was relating the information to the majority accepted, or at least practiced, timeline of a collection of convoluted and corrupted fictional stories with no “real” discernible chronology whether Gregorian or a literal interpretation by Ussher. As I said
    The oldest human (homo sapien) remains found are 200,000 years old! christianity started 2000 years ago or to put it another way for 1% of the total known time humans have existed! That means for 99% of the total time humans have been on earth they were instantly condemned at birth to go to hell!

  51. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Damon, it’s really your account that doesn’t make sense as you are trying to apply religious myth to scientific theory.
    We can either believe the biblical account, in which case all of those sinning OT bods (actually pre-crucifixion, but let’s not split hairs) from Adam and Eve onwards for the next 4036 years had no chance of redemption, or we can accept the scientific view that homo sapiens sapiens have existed for circa 200 000 years, and not a one of them was ever in danger of going to Hell or to Heaven.

  52. steve oberski says:

    @Acolyte of Sagan

    If I understood Damon Ashworth’s posts correctly, he is not presenting the biblical account as something that he believes but only to point out the how ridiculous a story it is in face of all the evidence that contradicts it.

  53. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Steve, I know what he meant, I was commenting on what he said.
    Remember, you are now in UPOTWA territory.

  54. steve oberski says:

    @Acolyte of Sagan

    Obviously I’m going to have to start bringing my translator with me.

  55. LostJohn says:

    Damon Ashworth @ September 9, 2013 at 7:04 pm was seen to type: “LostJohn misses the point…”

    Nope, friend, no point missed here, as AoS observed. I just thought it was funny to do some number juggling on the “real” chronology of the universe. “Real” being a relative term here used to mean “completely fictional but assumed to have some value of reality by the unwise”.
    Sorry if I upset anyone.
    It was a (possibly lame?) attempt at humour. As was my reply to omg’s punning reference to trigonometry.
    Obviously humour is not my field.
    Ah, well, not to worry, I won’t try anything like that again. For I have seen the sine and it is true.
    Live well. ‘Bye.

  56. Chiefy says:

    Thanks for the knock-knock joke, DH. It isn’t that funny, but it certainly is poignant.

    John B, you’re right. As near as I can tell, the essence of Jesus’ teaching was “Leave your old life behind and follow me.” Any salvation there applied to the quality of one’s life, not one’s afterlife. I am of the opinion that all that eternal life and hellfire stuff got added later, to grow the cult.

    Lost John, I’m still giggling about my mind getting number. 🙂

    Only found this strip a few months ago, and I am almost caught up with the archives. It’s awesome!

  57. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    LostJohn, don’t go. I for one enjoy your humour.

    Steve, UPOTWA:- United Pedants Of The World Association. Just a bunch of old (and young, and anywhere in between) pedants who like to be, well, pedantic, but with a slice of humour attached.

  58. hotrats says:

    Lost John:
    Can I add my voice to Acolyte’s, and ask that you hang around a while – at least long enough to see that there is no bad feeling on this forum, even if we sometimes disagree and sound a bit bitchy, it’s all in good fun, and in the hope of raising a chuckle.

    I enjoy your posts and would miss you if you were to leave, under the impression that you weren’t appreciated. (btw Damon Ashworth isn’t even a regular here at the Cock and Bull, or he wouldn’t have been so brusque).

  59. Chiefy says:

    AoS, does that mean I am accepted into UPOTW? I can be as pedantic as anyone. Please message me my PIN, so I have it when my membership card arrives.

    OK, I will stop being neglectful.

  60. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Chiefy, it’s UPOTWA. You’ll have to cut out those mistakes if you want to join our happy band of miscreants. 😉

  61. Chiefy says:

    AoS, I didn’t realize there had been a permanent name change. I thought that was just your personal preference. UPOTWA it shall redundantly be.

  62. hotrats says:

    You need to say ‘that that’ in your second sentence, as the first ‘that’ reads as part of the compound verb ‘to think that’, so you need a second ‘that’ to specify an object (a permanent name change).

    If you were looking for a volunteer post at UPOTWA, I understand that there is a vacancy at the Department of Rendundancy Department.

  63. HaggisForBrains says:

    Chiefy – UPOTWA has to be redundant, firstly as a self-referencing joke, and secondly so that we can issue POTWAs to offenders. They are similar to fatwas, only not as violent. It’s a good job you didn’t ask for a PIN number, as that would have qualified for an instant POTWA, from hotrats’ DRD.

  64. Chiefy says:

    HB, “PIN number” is one of my pet peeves, along with the increasingly common misuse of “it’s” and “its.”
    Thank you, hotrats, I stand corrected on that “that that.” I applied to the DRD, twice.

  65. hotrats says:

    ‘PIN Number’ is an exaple of RAS syndrome (Redundant Acronym Syndrome). Others include ATM machine, SAT test, the RAC Club, AC current, the HIV virus, LCD display, and my personal favourite, a German drugstore chain called DM (for Drogerie Markt) which everyone refers to as the ‘DM Markt’.

    Inglish teachers, like what I am, refer to them as tautological pleonasms.

  66. botanist says:

    Oh yes – hereabouts friends travel on the RAT train.
    RAT stands for Real Ale Train. I cringe everytime I hear it…..

  67. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Other redundant acronyms; RCC: CofE: LDS. 🙂

  68. HaggisForBrains says:

    Hotrats – we seem to have a redundancy of words to describe redundancy. Pleonasm is new to me, and Mr Google tells me it is subtly different from tautology. Whatever. The first time I saw it here, my eyes registered neoplasm, a much nastier piece of work altogether.

    AoS +1!


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