This is just Koranophobia, pure and simple.

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Discussion (68)¬

  1. Fred+Flintstone says:

    And I doubt many read it now….

    Excellent as usual ‘Author’

  2. freethinkinfranklin says:

    this question could be asked of many of the buybulls followers… “have you actually read it”?
    I have and that’s why I reject it.

  3. jean-françois+gauthier says:

    ha! i see you your first-millenium bce illiterate herders and raise you *my* seventh-century ce illiterate herders!

  4. Fred+Flintstone says:

    I see your herders and raise you a fraudster, and a sci-fi writer…

  5. felix reychman says:

    … yes, and we all know people need a LOT of convincing to go out and conquer the world, right?

  6. Ballykeith says:

    Playing Allah’s advocate … There is – most people would agree – some writing of quality in the bible, so my question to anyone who has familiarity with the rival text: is there, in all fairness, some good writing in the Koran?

  7. E.A.+Blair says:

    “artifact”, not “artefact”.

  8. Robert+Andrews says:

    People are inspired by the emotional content. Made more so by beautiful poetry. It was probably read by the campfire.

    Most theists I know talk about ” being washed by the blood of the lamb”. And being “saved by the lord”. While I’m trying to point out in a cool rational tone about the Bible being not “scientifically factua”.

    We are on different waveleights. I’ve long since given up on those kind of believers.

  9. jb says:

    I bought myself what I’m hoping is a fair and neutral translation of The Koran, together with a copy of The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran, by Robert Spencer. The intended project is to read the two books in parallel, and try to judge for myself whether the Koran is really as bad as its worst critics say it is. I expect to be getting around to this just as soon as the day evolves a couple of additional hours.

  10. Cassandra says:

    My (unresearched) theory is that the Koran was never meant to be ‘read’. It was just meant to be swallowed whole and regurgitated.

    I mean, try reading the thing. It makes no flipping sense most of the time (any sense apart from, God is merciful and he’s going to flay the unbelievers in Hell, etc. etc.). It isn’t in chronological order, it doesn’t try to make any kind of coherent narrative or fable. Instead it’s ordered by chapter size. This is for convenience of memorisation, *not* convenience of understanding.

    Understanding isn’t important. Thinking on and relating to morals and messages isn’t important. Being a brainless mouthpiece for dogma is what’s important.

  11. IanB says:

    Unless they’re printed on soft absorbent paper I am not sure there’s any use for religious tracts.

  12. Grumpy says:

    jb…not sure how you class a neutral Koran (qu’ran), but I understand that the bastions of democracy and civil rights the Saudi Arabians, are flooding the world with their extreme conservative wahabbi version. All the young muslims (sunni)worldwide are being indoctrinated with this version of the religion of peace.

  13. Grumpy says:

    EA+Blair…artefact and artifact are one and the same and either version is correct.
    Artefact is the older of the two from the latin phrase arte factum.

  14. steeve says:

    I go with artefact, every time.

  15. smee says:

    Ian B: quite! A scroll format also helps.

  16. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    To understand, the qur’an, it’s said
    Must be read in ancient arab
    So the illiterate masses
    Are totally asses
    Clueless sheep, by the nose, lead.

  17. My favourite meme about Christians: They read their bible like a software user contract. Just scroll to the bottom and click “agree”.
    Don’t know who invented this, but I’m sure it applies to most readers of the Koran as well.
    I seem to remember reading about the Catholic church fighting to keep the bible untranslated into English, so that only those who could read Latin, i.e. the wealthy and educated ruling class, could make any sense out of it. It seems that book is much more influential if it is just waved around unopened.
    Thanks again, Author. You rock.

  18. smartalek says:

    I had been under the impression that “artefact” was the preferred spelling in the Queen’s English, while “artifact” was the standard on the States’ side of the pond…
    An analog (or analogue) to “grey” vs “gray,” “labour” vs “labor,” and so forth.
    Thank you for this correction.
    Learn something new every day.

  19. godsless says:

    Queen’s English? I don’t remember Freddie Mercury ever using artefact in any of his songs.

  20. white+squirrel says:

    ‘only the wealthy ruling class could make sense of the bible’

    says a lot about the bible

  21. plainsuch says:

    Maybe those Arabs were inspired by the Koran’s decree that anyone not inspired would have their head chopped off.

  22. Cassandra says:

    The thing is, although the Koran has been translated into probably all the most widely spoken languages today, it’s the original classical Arabic verses that are the basis for prayer in every part of the Muslim world. Praying involves repeating select verses straight from the Koran (usually several times). Millions of non-Arab Muslims spend hours each day in the holy enlightenment of mumbling their way through memorised words they don’t understand, over and over.

    What’s more, the fact that the Koran is functionally incomprehensible to the vast majority of Muslims is widely considered as a point of Islam’s superiority. They reckon all other religions’ sacred texts have been polluted and corrupted by translation and interpretation; the Koran by contrast has been lovingly kept in its pure and perfect original state*.

    *This isn’t even necessarily true; after Mohammad’s death there were a few different versions of the Koran being circulated in different cities. The Caliph at the time made the Medina version official and had the other ones destroyed.

  23. extro24 says:

    As a teenager I read an English translation of the Quran, and found it very boring and repetitive. There was no order to the verses, and no narrative. There were endless references to the “Unbelievers” and how they would be burned alive by Allah. The authors adopted a sort of “speaking from on high” tone (“Oh ye who believe”) and they seemed to have very little to say. To my surprise I concluded that the Quran was far inferior to the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita.

  24. Catty says:

    Multiple translations for every verse of the Quran; I recommend that everyone read it:

    For a less time-consuming alternative, this site uses only the Pickthall translation, but it has very handy annotations under the categories of Injustice, Intolerance, Cruelty and Violence, Absurdities, Good Stuff, Women, Science and History, Contradictions, Interpretations, Family Values, Sex, Language, Homosexuality, and Prophecy:

    The Quran isn’t as bad as most people think – it’s a hell of a lot WORSE. A lot is just clumsily plagiarised from the Hebrew Bible, seemingly randomly. A lot of it is just repetitious threats directed at doubters and disbelievers (the desperation with which it demands to be taken as fact is ludicrous). There are several hilarious passages assuring the reader that Mo isn’t a madman just making shit up. It’s ridiculously bad.

    The only reason that anyone believes it is that it requires intolerance of other religions and capital punishment for apostasy, it constantly threatens doubters and disbelievers with hell, etc.

    As with other religions, people get this stuff rammed into their brains when they are children and therefore as credulous as it is possible to be, and the cultish groupthink effect keeps it going. (If attempts at religious indoctrination didn’t occur until adolescence after a secular education, there’d be no religion.)

  25. Grumpy says:

    As with all these “holy” books there does not appear to be an original version. They have all, over many generations, been interpreted / modified / added to.
    The four gospels of the new testament were selected from over a dozen and even they disagree with each other, I have also found it laughably strange that the “authors” Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have very western and not middle eastern names.
    Have to agree with Catty about indoctrination, as the Jesuits (I think) say: Give me a boy until he is 7 and I will give you the man.

  26. FreeFox says:

    I have to agree with Robert Andrews. There seem to be two layers to scriptural reading. The one most often mocked here and fairly attacked by Author in most strips is the legalistic reading. To see the Bible or the Qu’ran or the Tanakh as a list of explanations and instructions. And doubtlessly there is a lot in these writings that has a legal character – it’s not for nothing that the first part of the Tanakh is called Torah, or “Law”, right? And the instructive character of these writings are part of the appeal. Mock all you want, but most people like to be told what is expected of them, to be given simple rules that do not require understanding. Especially dietary rules are great that way – easy to follow, make you feel like you are sacrificing for your parents/Deity to prove your worth, but not really hard to do comply with. So, you can’t have bacon or cheeseburgers. Big deal. But I doubt that was what made these religions and these books the hit.
    The legal part was always an instrument for the elites to use religion as a way to control the population: From controlling marriage and justifying slavery, it could be used to instill fear, provoke witch hunts, stoke hatreds, and incite wars. But that is mostly the whip. The carrot comes from the other part of these books, and that is one that seems to be overlooked a lot here at the Cock & Bull. Because for all your mocking, you have to admit, these faiths do reach a lot of people. In spite of the fact that they have next to no good rational argument on their side, they still leave sweet Richard Dawkins, sexy Brian Cox, charming Bill Nye, charismatic Neil deGrasse Tyson, brilliant Stephen Hawkins, and all the others in the dust, all over the world, as far daily thoughts and faithful fervour are concerned.
    More education would certainly help. Religion has a much better organised lobby than science does, that is true. And religion is using unfair memetic tricks, also true. But the sheer scope and reach of the major religions must be doing something right in the marketing department.
    I am sure most of you listened at one time or another to the famous Pale Blue Dot speech by Carl Sagan from the book of the same name. (If not, do so: ) Listen to his language, in fact to his own way of reading it. It is a sermon. I am not saying it isn’t true *and* backed by science. I love that speech. But in its diction, its meter, its style, with the repetitions, the use of adjectives, the choice of examples, it is exactly like a religious sermon.
    The Tanakh has other books, aside from the “Law”. It has the “histories” (let’s call them “stories”) and it has the “psalms” (poems and songs). If you read these stories – from Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, Abraham and Isaac, Job, Jonah, Noah, Jacob, to Samson and Delilah, King David, Solomon, Ruth, Leah, and many, many more – they are powerful stories. Powerful on the level that King Arthur’s story and that of the knights of the round table is powerful. The way the Illiad is powerful, or the myths of Greek, or Nordic Gods and Heroes. The way poetry is powerful.
    I guess, the beauty and power of the qu’ran is hard to see for people from the West, the same way that the beauty of Asian and Arabic music is really hard to hear for Westerners. We are used to different harmonies and different rhythms. But just how Bollywood does capture the dreams of other cultures, so does the qu’ran have a poetry that speaks to those who understand the language. Not to their brains, mind you. The legalistic part of the qu’ran is just as stupid and outdated and crude as the legalistic parts of the Tanakh and the Bible. But the poetic parts can be quite powerful to those who are open to it. Not saying that is a good thing. Just that it’s a fact.

  27. bookworm says:

    Nassar+Ben+Houdja said:
    To understand, the qur’an, it’s said
    Must be read in ancient arab

    Actually I guess it’s quite good most people read it translated.
    It happens that those who read it in “ancient arab” get their brain so f*ked up they blow up themselves in public places or come up with the idea the the best thing they can do for Allah is to chop peoples’ heads off or rape young girls.

  28. FreeFox says:

    Hey, Bookworm. About 20% of all Muslims are Arabs, and many more know Arabic as a second language. It’s true that the Arabic of Qur’an (btw apologies for my rubbish phone “correcting” my spelling to qu’ran all through the last post) is antiquated, but in about the same way that Shakespearean English is. Hundreds of millions of people can and do read and understand the Qur’an, and only a few thousand of those blow shit up or condone rape. I really don’t want to downplay the role religious madness plays in a lot of the bad stuff that happens (through, really, Americans’ should sweep at their own door: Western neocolonialism and war profiteering has a lot *more* to do with it). But to claim that basically all literate Muslims are more or less automatically criminally insane is more of that divisive bollocks that leads to hatred and death.

  29. FreeFox says:

    PS.: I noted that nobody here discussed the news that Blair agreed with Bush (via Powell) in 2002, almost a year before the invasion, to make war on Iraq, and basically that they just had to come with some reason now. And while Bush maybe a religious nutjob, Blair and his New Labour certainly weren’t. It seems you can be quite rational and civilised and still plot the murder of a million people, simply to feed your buddies in the industry.

  30. Canneloni says:

    I’ll ignore your conspiracy theories, FreeFox, and just address your claim that “But to claim that basically all literate Muslims are more or less automatically criminally insane is more of that divisive bollocks that leads to hatred and death.”

    I would say that anyone living in the world today who belongs to a religion that insists on death for unbelievers, mutilation for thieves, stoning for women who commit adultery, beheading for those who insult the religion (whether they are members or not), death by being thrown from a high place for homosexuals, etc, etc, may not be criminally insane, but it would certainly be best to treat them as if they are!

  31. Bothered-of-Tunbridge says:

    To digress a little.
    1 A. D. is the first year Joshua Bethlehem was alive, yes? The first “anno domini” or “year of the boss”.
    So here’s the issue. Was he born on 25/12/0001, in which case 1 A.D. was almost entirely *not* a year of the boss but was only really a week of it?
    Or was he born on 25/12/-0001, Christmas One B..C., in which case he was born “Before Christ” in the dark ages before the boss came down to enlighten us and forgive us and bless us and all that good shit? If that was the case then 1 B.C. isn’t entirely B. C., is it?
    It matters, sort of, in the canon of the stories, as in the first case some 51/52 people who should have been born in the “saved era” are really not and should be discarded as toxic waste and in the second there is a 1/52 surplus of infants who have sneaked in by way of a logical back door and who should be toxically wasted.
    It’s a book-keeping issue and a problem of who gets to go to the big banquets in the sky.

    Second problem, derivative of the first. If Mommet’s word is the one true word and if it is the only way to get to the big orgy in the clouds after you blow away some heretics, why did Daddy wait six hundred odd years after lying to the Jews before telling us about it?
    Why did the psychopath-in-charge wait until Mommet’s time to give the book to him? Why didn’t super-sociopath send down that one true book millions and millions of years before the Seventh Century so milliards and trilliards of dead guys could be blessed and join it in the singing and the wenching?
    If Big Guy In The Sky (Rupert Murdoch?) really cared about its meat puppets why didn’t it send down annotated copies of the book by the millions of copies, inscribed in tantalum text embedded in diamond leaves in the era of Homo Habilis?
    Surely, were Muslimism not a gigantic lie, fraud and confidence trick, any decent deity would have thought of that one?
    Or was Daddy just too massively, deeply

  32. bookworm says:

    FreeFox wrote “neocolonialism and war profiteering”

    Sorry but this is the kind of “leftist” excuses I hate. Islam has been barbaric since about 1200. They killed, raped and cut heads off for Allah long before USA and “neocolonialism”. Arguing that Boko Haram rapes girls because of neocolonialism is not even wrong. It’s like finding excuses for why rapist rape their victim. Maybe Charles Manson killed people as an act rebel against capitalism and materialism? Maybe. Any kind of excuse is good for rapist. When a man rapes girl or he cuts peoples’ head off he is a murderer, psycho, rapist etc.
    But when he does it shouting “Allah Akbar” the neocolonialism and war profiteering is to blame.
    Oh, and one should never criticize Islam because Muslims temper is quite unstable and it may lead to death (usually death of critics).
    Sorry but being in 21 century and claiming that women should not have equal rights, or apostates or Jews should be killed because some god said so should never be excused.

  33. Grumpy says:

    Hi Freefox, I think you possibly meant to say “..only a few thousand of those blow shit up and commit rape.”
    The estimated number of muslims worldwide is 1.6 billion, if 99% are moderate and just want to get on with their lives then we only have 16 million nutjobs to worry about.
    Do you not think that the deafening silence from the moderate muslim community each time a murderous attack is perpetrated in the name of Islam is a little bit like silently condoning these acts ?
    I don’t recall seeing 10’s or 100’s of thousands of muslims out on the streets saying “Not in my name ” after the Charlie Hebdo attack.
    As for the Iraq war, more than half a million children died before a bullet was fired, due to the UN sanctions that were imposed.
    Bush and Blair both needed a war for their political lives and egos, Iraq was chosen as Saddam had now become the bogey man and as “dubya” pointed out himself, that Iraq was a target rich environment, in other words it was good for TV audiences. Not only was the invasion illegal as there was no UN resolution but the coalition forces broke the Geneva Convention by not securing the infrastructure of the country, causing it to fall into chaos. But hey ho, we are the good guys so don’t expect any war crimes tribunals anytime soon.

  34. Bothered-of-Tunbridge says:

    Bookworm, all monotheistic religious nutters, without exception, MUST excuse all others in their excesses and atrocities because they believe and condone the same things.
    Every priest of the Anglican churches supports Boko Haram because every priest supports the idea that “book learning is evil”, the idea that heretics and apostates and infidels should be excised by torture and murder and the idea that their one true truth is necessary to the survival of everyone.
    No Catholic Bishop can condemn ISIS destroying temples or tying prisoners to millennia-old historic pillars as they blow them to dust because they would then be condemning their very own “faith”.
    They all, without exception, support each other.
    It is a monolith of monotheistic murder and mayhem, not separate targets.
    Boko is just the American Bible Belt and its Senators.
    All religions derived from the Judean cults are the same thing, even Satanism and Santaism.
    Only elder, pagan, polytheistic religions are even slightly different. And, as Aztec and Maya show, even some of them can be slightly gory.
    Freefox supports Boko Haram because his religion demands that he do. It is not his fault, he is just indoctrinated to see atrocities committed for a deity as benign, acceptable and even merciful.
    Rape and torture lasts only a short time, murder ends the pain and these will save her from eternity in a variety of hells so it is a good thing to rape and torture and murder.
    In addition to the above, anything that isn’t US is sub-human and a demon and can’t really feel pain so killing it is again a mercy. Killing apostates, heretics and infidels is holy and good.
    So Freefox should be expected to show sympathy to Boko and ISIS and the rest of the rapists, even to paedophile priests who rape babies, for they are saving the souls of evil people from eternal damnation and that is good works.
    What is surprising is not that the Popes don’t condemn and attack their fellow travellers in ISIS and Boko but that so many Christians, Jews, Satanists and Muslims don’t join them.
    It is surprising how seemingly civilised we have managed to train them into behaving.
    In spite of their belief that civilised behaviour is haram.

  35. Stephen Mynett says:

    “And while Bush maybe a religious nutjob, Blair and his New Labour certainly weren’t.”

    Not sure about this statement, a lot of new labour may have been non-religious but Blair was certainly a theist shithead, it takes a certain type of person to convert to Catholicism as more and reports of abuse and cover-ups are coming to light.

  36. IanB says:

    FreeFox says: I noted that nobody here discussed the news that Blair agreed with Bush (via Powell) in 2002, almost a year before the invasion, to make war on Iraq, and basically that they just had to come with some reason now. And while Bush maybe a religious nutjob, Blair and his New Labour certainly weren’t.

    Blair certainly is a religious nutjob, almost as soon as he left office he came out as a officially as left-footer and formally converted. The loathsome Cherie is a long term catholic and their children attended church schools. He almost certainly hid it and any religious agenda to hand onto to the reins of power long enough to fulfil his destiny.

    He should be in solitary for his natural life.

  37. leweclectic666 says:

    The reading of the Koran, the Bible (or any book for the matter) is not the real issue of importance here…the real issue of importance is in how that reader interprets what they have read and then their will and desire to spread their interpretation of what they read to others. From there all things are possible; the proof lies in today’s religions.

  38. Catty says:


    I think the ‘legalistic’/’non-legalistic’ dichotomy is dubious. It smacks of grasping-at-straws apologetics. The typical Bible or Quran story is just weird, tedious, intimidating and gruesome (with all those massacres at God’s behest), pointless or something resembling the first draft of a daytime soap opera script. People believe it, or bits of it, (or tell themselves they do) or they don’t.

    As for ‘marketing’ or the ‘qualities’ of these scriptures, there are better books on which to focus theistic solipsism, but either no one believes them anymore (e.g., Greek and Norse mythology) or they were never the focus of a religion in the first place. If Bible stories are so captivating why have so few Christians actually read the Bible? Religions reach a lot of people because – as I pointed out – the groupthink effect, children are easy to cajole and convince, and dissenters can be killed (or ostracised). No one ever shouted, “BEHEAD THOSE WHO INSULT BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY!” or “READ CARL SAGAN EVERY SUNDAY OR YOU’LL BURN IN HELL!”

    “It seems you can be quite rational and civilised and still plot the murder of a million people, simply to feed your buddies in the industry.”
    Yes, the war was initiated dishonestly, handled appallingly, and people lined their pockets, but do you really think those politicians – or any Western politicians – still want to be involved in conflict anywhere in the region now or even just a short time after the invasion? Do you really think that all that nation-building and election-holding stuff was just a cover for Blair’s alleged desire to commit genocide? If our enemies wanted us to leave, all they have to do is… nothing at all. Just stop shooting, bombing and beheading, let people vote in democratic elections, and we’re gone. But they go on.

    “Western neocolonialism and war profiteering has a lot *more* to do with it”
    This line has worn thinner than Keira Knightley under a steam-roller. The whole idea of Western (or Israeli) provocation for Muslims following the strictures of their own religion has been debunked a million times. It is ridiculous and shameful that it continues to be peddled. It is also dangerous as it contributes to obscuring the facts of the biggest problem we face. The colonialism to worry about is the kind that has resulted in mosques and madrassas being built all over the West.

    Have you actually read any of Islam’s history, or the Quran, or any opinion surveys about what modern Muslims believe? According to a recent UNICEF poll 90% of Jordanian women believe that it is acceptable for a man to hit his wife. Where do you think that comes from? Dubya? Bibi? Golda Meir? Field Marshal Lord Kitchener?

    I recommend that you read this for a start:

    Track down a copy of the Muslim Brotherhood’s multi-phase strategic plan for the Islamisation of the West if you really want a fright.

  39. two cents' worth says:

    Bothered-of-Tunbridge, here are my thoughts on the first of your two questions.

    Like any bookkeeping problem, the answer depends on the accounting/legal philosophy of who’s doing the bookkeeping. (Is inventory valued based on “Last In, First Out” or on “First In, First Out?” Etc.)

    The text on Harry Potter provides his birthday (July 31), but not his birth year. The text on J provides neither the year nor the day of his birth. Long ago, someone estimated when he was born and made his birth the dividing point between BC (or BCE) and AD (or CE). I think that this someone assumed that J was born at the end of 1 BC, but (per ) more recent estimates are that he was born sometime between what we call 6 and 1 BC. If he really was born when shepherds were watching their flocks by night, it was probably during the season when lambs are born, which could be anywhere from what we call November through what we call March. Christmas is December 25th because it was a pagan feast day that Christians co-opted for the purposes of celebrating J’s birthday. But, for all we know, J was born at midnight (24:00:00) on Dec. 31st.

    That said, I think the bookkeeping problem is not related to when J was born, but either to when he began preaching (when people could first start believing that he was God, and therefore be eligible for heaven) or when he died (when he became the redeemer and made people eligible for heaven).

    According to Christian Universalists ( ), there is no bookkeeping problem, because J gave the entire human race a ticket to heaven (though some may have a layover in a form of purgatory before they get to the pearly gates).

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this comment is only for the purpose of amusement. This comment does not hold itself out as providing any religious, financial, legal, or other advice. 🙂

  40. Bothered-of-Tunbridge I think you are mistaken about our friend FreeFox. I don’t think he would claim to be a Muslim. Maybe he would. He certainly claims to have a closet full of strange beliefs. But I think he is far too sophisticated for anything as simplistic as Islam.

  41. FreeFox says:

    Thanks for the unexpected vote of confidence, Darwin. You are right. I loathe the muslim faith. It is the most simplistic and psychologically damaging of all Abrahamic faiths. I have been immersed in it for 6 years and mostly I feel like Agent Smith. But I do know a *lot* of normal Quran reading muslims. And while they are all damaged, almost none would do anything violent.

  42. FreeFox says:

    I am also blindingly drunk and will postpone all other responses until tomorrow. Or next century. I will prolly suffer from unbearable hangover tomorrow.

  43. FreeFox says:

    Do you know that because of this fuckimg war I have not been able to sleep a single night in over a year inless I am drunk out of my skull.. [dleted sum embarrassing prsonal stuff]? Do you have any idea wat a million dead bodies smell like?

  44. Nobody has commented on my post about the Niqab controversy being used as an election strategy by our previous government. A failed strategy, apparently and thank randomness for that. I said that Zunera Ishaq had us by the value system, stating that she came to Canada because we offer her the freedom to wear what she wants. I simply can’t argue with that. But I could try to make her aware of our feelings.

    FreeFox, maybe you need a change of geographic location. There’s no reason to do this to yourself. I’d recommend San Francisco or Toronto or Vancouver. All three have vibrant queer cultures without enough dead bodies to raise a stink.

  45. FreeFox says:

    Complicated question, m’dear Darwin. Unfortunately there are reasons. Though in 1,234 days I reach the statute of limitations on the original reason. Vancouver does sound nice. Also always fancied the idea of returning to the land of the Sami in Northern Scandinavia. (Also, owe my head, gotta piss, puke, and pass out again. Hopefully roughly in that order.)

  46. Bothered-of-Tunbridge says:

    Bravo, two cent’s worth, and a very thoughtful and kind reply. I commend you.

    The date of A.D. was decided at one of those all-Catholic conventions in the 500’s. At the time, there were many A.D.’s and other local start dates and the resultant mess of dating systems made the contemporary equivalent of the Internet rather unwieldy. So they decided to standardise everything.
    This could be the only standardisation effort that mostly worked and mostly became universal until S.I. units. That we still rely on it, though, as you say the actual date of the hybrid’s spawning is in doubt, is quite a tribute to its utility and the lack of any really useful alternative.
    In truth, dating anything much older than last Tuesday has always been a bit of an iffy proposition though it is getting better.

    Mr. Harmless, I never said Freefox is a Muslim, I hinted that he and all the other Jews and Christians, Adventists, Baptists, Eastern Orthodoctors and Muslims are all the same thing. And that they all support the same ideas. And that they can’t condemn any “doing it in the name of the boss” excuse that any of the other schisms use without ridiculing their own.
    By being any sort of Jew or Christian or Satanist, Freefox, the Pope and your local Bishop are supporting and condoning flying aircraft into buildings, kidnapping and gang-raping children and all those other good deeds.
    Only by condemning the very idea of doing anything in the name of a god can they be innocent of collaboration.
    And I don’t see any monotheist from the Abraham religion doing that. Ever.
    If you support banning prophylactics in the name of your spook in the sky, you support everything for which anyone claims that justification.
    Only by condemning it all can you escape guilt.
    I, of course, condemn all actions, even benevolent ones, done in the name of a fictional deity. (I don’t condemn benevolent actions, just doing them in the name of a fictional entity. I do condemn evil actions. Even those done for other reasons. Those moral stances should be a given in polite society but I thought I would mention them in case there were any ambiguities in my positions.)
    So I can chuck the first stone. 🙂

    It’s very nice to be all innocent, to have the moral high ground and to be so wonderful as me.

  47. Bothered-of-Tunbridge says:

    Freefox, no personal offence intended, mate. And I truly hope things get a lot better for you.

  48. extro24 says:

    @Bothered-of-Tunbridge: The dating of the birth of JC is the first contradiction in the New Testament. The census of Quirinius occurred in about 6 AD, while Herod died about 4BC. So a dead king tried to kill the baby Jesus. Obviously nonsense.
    @Catty: Yes, the Quran is very bad literature indeed. And very comical when you start quoting it to Muslims. Take the following verse: “Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.” (Quran 4:46). Last time I quoted this verse in Facebook the reaction was laughter, silence and outrage. Making fun of the Quran is probably the best way to puncture the warm feelings that the poetry engenders. And it is impossible to behead the anonymous infidel on the Internet that mocks the Quran by quoting it.

  49. extro24 says:

    Correction: that was Quran 4:56. I see we cannot edit our comments.

  50. white+squirrel says:

    Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have very western and not middle eastern names
    the first 3 are latin names recognisable as Mattius [or similar] Marcus and Lucius
    also you have it back to front
    the gospel names would have come first and then western parents would have give their children those names, so whatever the gospel authors names might have been, [however exterme] they would have become common in any xian based society

  51. white+squirrel says:

    there is no such thing as the ‘quran’
    for two reasons
    1] Mo states in the text that ‘ all the later text supercedes all the earlier text’
    2] after mo died one of the islamic rulers collected all the extant versions of the quran and rearrenged them from chronological order to word length of chaper order
    and then had all other copies destroyed
    this means that we no longer know which were the earlier parts Mo said should be superceded by the later parts
    therefore it follows that the quran as spoken by/dictated to Mo no longer exists

  52. FreeFox says:

    Okay, here we go again. Dear Bothered-of-Tunbridge. I am not a Christian, Muslim, Jew, or any other kind of monotheist. If you need a label, you could call me a polytheistic gnostic neo-platonist. I believe that words like soul, afterlife, or sin, and that the names of deities like Athena, Mars, Raven, Ganesha, Mate Carrefou, and also (capital-G) “God(ess)” describe real things/experiences – in the same way that words like beauty, grief, justice, democracy or strife describe complex, elusive, and often highly subjective but nevertheless real things.
    Loki, Athena, and Raven for example all describe the aspect of human nature that solves conflicts through craftiness. Loki is channelled when that craftiness comes from a source of jealousy and with the intent to hurt and destroy. Raven is channelled when that craftiness comes from a source of mischief and reckless curiosity. Athena is channelled when it comes from a source of cool, strategic wisdom. These concepts are more than “mere” metaphors and deserve a certain level of anthropomorphisation, because they are repeating patterns in all humans and all human societies that act with a recognisable agency. Like the sugar dragon that “makes” you grumpy and snap at people when you don’t have enough glucose in your blood. It is an autonomous process with a recognisable personality that manifests itself in your behaviour. (But it is nothing supernatural whatsoever.)
    I know you will still scoff at the need to anthropomorphise something you still consider at best a metaphor. Think about it this way: Neuroscience tells us that what experience as “self” in ourselves and others does not actually exist. There is no little person living in your head, directing everything else. Not even a single committee, the way it’s depicted in the Pixar film “Inside Out”. Instead our personality, agency, conscience, etc. are all emergent properties of our neural network, itself a mix of hardwiring (genetics) and programming (experience). Why do we persist in thinking of ourselves and of everyone around us as single beings with personality? Why do we put a single, recognisable “mask” over that wildly whirring clockwork of separate, interlocking processes?
    My deities, from “The God(ess)” to some Genius Loci, are such “masks” worn by complex, non-supernatural processes and emergent properties that display repeating, recognisable personalities.
    (You understand that this is a very, very drastically simplified description, almost every sentence of which would need further explanations and modification.)
    That said, I recognise in stories like that Job or Jacob, just like in Greek or Hindu myths or in fables, the attempts by humans to describe these “masks”. And what I wanted to say about the Bible or the Qur’an is that mixed in with the crazy rules about eating pigs and crabs, or about wanking, buggery, or doing the dirty with your neighbours wife, these books include stories that have summed up some of these repeating, recognisable patterns of human life (the same way Shakespeare’s King Lear or Macbeth has, btw) in a way that speaks to millions of people on a subconscious level that makes them feel understood – and who thus see in those texts “sacred” truths. (And in the case of Qur’an they are less “stories” with a moral, the way we are used to in the West, and more a form of poetic description of the world and of relationships and emotions, that is especially keyed to speak to people in certain cultures, like the Middle East.)
    But you are mistaken if you think I cannot criticise sacred writings, or deities, or anything at all. I fight with God all the time. I can hate God with a passion, just as I can love Him. I hate God for the people I loved that He killed, as I love Him for the world that included them and all other experiences I cherish. I recognise that huge parts of the Bible and the Qur’an are badly written, dull as dishwater, and filled with appalling morals. (Hell, I consider the entire concept of Christianity, ie. the salvation of humans through the sacrifice of God’s son, to be one of the grandest, most successful cons in history.)
    I even think you a mistaken if you think monotheists generally are incapable of bearing the awareness that God and Church are fallible. Jesus faltered in Gethsemane. Peter chickened out and denied Jesus, and he was still appointed Jesus’ rep on earth. The entire point of the story of Job is to acknowledge that God doesn’t always have good or just reasons for the fucked up things he does, and at the end of the story of the flood God publically admits that he made a horrible mistake.
    Unfortunately too many people are indeed incapable of dealing with the truth that the processes that wear the masks of Gods are often capricious and cruel. They want their Gods to be perfect, and they have to twist and lie to themselves to cling to that belief. But that is no more the case for religion than for any other idol. Right or wrong, my country? Nationalism, racism, and most other ideological –isms include the memetic trap that there is something pure, sacred and taboo. And when people start thinking that way, it always ends bad.

  53. FreeFox says:

    And dear Catta, I didn’t mean to imply that it could be justified to react to any kind of provocation through murder and terrorism, nor even that the current murder and terrorism is indeed to any relevant extent a reaction to some provocation. I do think that if you create poverty and ignorance through oppression and exploitation, to breed the sort of mental states that lead to murder and terrorism. But that is less a moral problem and more akin to breeding cholera and dysentery when you leave excrement and offal in drinking water. When I blame the US, Europe or Russia for being to a large part responsible for the wars in Iraq and Syria, as well as Libya or the Ukraine, I was talking things like this:

  54. Bothered-of-Tunbridge says:

    Freefox, my apologies for lumping you in with the general mass of murderous monotheists. Can I ever be forgiven?
    You have obviously thought about this a lot more than most priests ever do.
    But I have never suggested that monotheists can not find error in their inerrant deity. They do it all the time, then they instantly ret-con the flaw away with some unobtanium-coated handwavery.
    Why did an all-merciful, all-loving, all-powerful boss make evil? Because it gave us free will and we choose evil. (This neatly avoids even discussing the original creation of evil by raising a totally bogus non sequitur that blames humans for the cruelty of the gods.)
    Why couldn’t an all-powerful creator make its meat puppets like being good instead of liking being evil, after all it created us to like cakes, so why not to like helping instead of harming? Because we are “sinners”. Note that this again neatly avoids the question of why the concept of “sin” was created by a benevolent maker by once more putting the blame on the victims.
    Handwavium to try to whitewash the inexcusable.
    The worst of which is the “done in the name of …” delusion.
    Once one accepts that a crime, any crime, no matter how small can be done in the name of a godling or to save the eternal soul of the victim then anything and everything can be excused.
    That is religion’s Original Sin.
    Pretend that I have a god. Pretend that my One True God, the Dread Dormannu, tells me I can take your goods, take your wife and take your daughters whenever I wish, in his name for I am the Highest Priest Available and everything I do in DD’s name is good and true and worthy and will save your soul. The Abrahamic religionists must agree with and support, condone and accept my asocial behaviour.
    So long as DD is hand-waved into being yet another name for Jeff-Over, as it would be were my church so rich and populous as some of the others.
    The horrors perpetrated by theists in the name of Joe or Jeff or DD are what we must stop.
    We must stop the very idea that anything can be justified by it pleasing a fictional phantasm.
    It is bad enough that we can commit crimes in the names of real humans.

    Are we still pals, FF?
    And a very Merry Christmas Winter Solstice Holiday and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all.

  55. two cents' worth says:

    FreeFox, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having such trouble with insomnia on top of everything else. I wish I could make some helpful suggestions, but given your situation, I suspect that techniques such as self-hypnosis (or–apropos of the cartoon–reading boring parts of the Qur’an or the begats in the Bible) won’t meet your needs. I hope that you’ll be able to find something that will help you get some sleep at night without making you miserable in the morning.

  56. two cents' worth says:

    Aargh! I forgot to delete the dangling line of my last comment. Maybe I’d post fewer mistakes if I drafted my comments in Word, then pasted them into the J&M comment window. Without the edit feature, writing in the comment window reminds me of when I had to do my first school work using a big, fat, red pencil with a thick, black, soft lead and no eraser.

  57. Author says:

    I deleted it, tcw. Sorry about the no-comment-editing thing. I’ve tried several times to get editing plugins to work, but there’s something about this highly secure environment that stops them.

  58. plainsuch says:

    I’m glad to hear from you again, eloquent as ever. Sometimes I worry a bit when yuo don’t comment for a while.
    This is intended as a friendly suggestion – I hope you can find something, pharmecuetical or otherwise, less addictive to get the sleep you need. The path you’re on leads to a raging alcohol addiction, and there will still be those million bodies to deal with. Two problems where there was one before.

  59. white+squirrel says:

    A phobia is an irrational fear
    given the affect of the quran on many human minds a fear of the quran is quite possibly fully rational

  60. two cents' worth says:

    Thank you, O Author, for fixing my comment! A highly secure environment is worth the annoyance caused by the lack of an edit function. And, as a recovering perfectionist, I must admit that it’s good, in a way, for those of us who post errors and for the others in the pub to be reminded that to err is human, that we’re all human, and that posting an a comment with imperfect copy editing is far from the worst error one can commit.

  61. HaggisForBrains says:

    FF – good to see you back. Your comments always open my eyes to a new point of view, one generally quite different from most of the others here. Please take care of yourself.

  62. jb says:

    I have mixed feelings about being able to edit comments, because if a comment has already generated replies, an edit may invalidate those replies in some way.

    I prefer a system I’ve seen on other sites, where you have a preview window that shows what your comment will look like as you type (including markup, so you can check that your links work, and that you haven’t accidentally italicized half of the comment), and then after you submit your comment you have a grace period lasting several minutes before the comment is actually posted, during which you can fix mistakes. But I think that once your comment is visible to others it should be immutable.

  63. FreeFox says:

    Wow. No angry or pedantic arguments that either I am delusional or that this is no “true” Scotsm…, er, religion? You chaps are slacking…
    I agree with you, Bothered-of-Tunbridge. Most mainstream organised religion completely fails to give an acceptable theodicy (ie. justification for the existence of evil.) All attempts are utter bollocks. It’s not all caused by free will, and if it were, it wouldn’t relieve God the Creator from responsibility. It’s not a sensible warning to mend our ways. There is no hidden justice in it. It doesn’t work as necessary evil towards some long term good. Only the reincarnation/karma idea could hold any kind of water (who can prove we didn’t all somehow earn our misfortunes in previous lives?) but as long as there is no indication whatsoever that there is reincarnation, the theory remains a cop out. Theodicy totally failed.
    But of course – we don’t have to justify God, do we? I mean, we don’t justify nature? Nature does loads of morally reprehensible things… if we applied human ethics to natural processes. It is not as if by getting rid of God, we get rid of evil. Evil and misery still exist, whether we justify it or not, and whether we find someone to blame or not. Where does the notion come from that God has to justify Himself for misery and more than a mountain would have to justify itself for an avalanche?
    Because we expect God to care. While very, very obviously (- if you posit the existence of any kind of God -) He just doesn’t. At least not in the way we would want from a parent or guardian.
    I expect my religious theory to be testable and show repeatable and halfway reliably predictive results. And, so, yes, (if we accept the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient God) when you look around in the world, you have to come to the conclusion that God is a bastard. If there is an omnipotent God, logic and experience prove beyond a reasonable doubt that He *must* be a total cunt. (Or total dick. No gender defamation intended.)
    In a way, the Book of Job already comes to that conclusion. When Job confronts God with accusations of God’s injustice, God doesn’t attempt to justify himself. He also scoffs at the attempts by Job’s friends to justify God. His only explanation is a (rather pompous) list showing His greatness. He basically says: “Yeah? So, maybe I was a dick to you? What are you gone do about it? Go ahead. Sue me. Bring it on.” And Job – wisely – accepts that that is a fight he would lose. There is a whole school of Jewish theology (Zachary Braiterman, Emmanuel Levinas, David Blumenthal, et al.) that refuses to exculpate God at all and instead leaves the full blame of evil with God. And in Isaiah 45:7 God says Himself: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”
    The problem why most religious people chose to ignore this, is the same reason that most people chose to ignore that the Iraq War of 2003 and all its consequences were caused by Bush, Chaney, Blair, etc. with deliberate lies to the public. Why aren’t they jailed for mass murder and war crimes? Why does nobody seriously ask why they made up this war in the first place? They sat down and planned an unnecessary war for over a year… why? Why is there no huge public inquiry into this?
    The poet Christian Morgenstern has the answer: “And he comes to the conclusion: / His mishap was an illusion, / for, he reasons pointedly, / that which must not, can not be.”
    That which must not, cannot be…
    So people keep believing in the justice of God, or that climate change isn’t real or at least not too bad, or that the West is a democracy. Because to see the truth would be too uncomfortable.

  64. white+squirrel says:

    There is also the small problem in that humans who beleive that ‘god’ dispenses justice also tend to believe that ‘god’ shares the same ideas as to what constitutes a good or evil act
    but assuming ‘god’ existed there is no real justification for that belief
    especailly given that ‘god’ can to decide to arbitarily change the definition of good/evil to whatever it wants

  65. Shaughn says:


    Isaiah 55:8’s infallible truth says it all: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

    So, believers are talking rubbish when talking about their gods thinking and doint to justify theit thinking and doings.

  66. Shaughn says:

    Scusi. For doint read doing an for theit read their…

  67. white+squirrel says:

    Shaughn ‘comes out’ revealings theit me to be doint ‘gangsta rap’ innit


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