Hat tip to a whole team of guest scriptwriters this week: Maajid Nawaz for the question, then Adnan Rashid, Ibrahim Hewitt, and Mo Ansar for the answers. Thanks for your help guys!

A thought: if you’re too ashamed of your beliefs to admit to them in public, you might want to reconsider whether or not they’re worth holding on to.

Discussion (116)¬

  1. Ian+Jones says:

    This could be a 400 panel cartoon, and still no answer.

  2. Innocent Bystander says:

    The scholarly position is that in a non-sharia state, whilst the sharia penalties stand, there is no one deputed to carry them out. So people can ‘practise’ their Islam in the West without having to worry about breaking the rules. This is galling for the hard-liners – followers of “true” Islam – who therefore aim to make the government implement sharia law. Once sharia law is implemented, of course, then questions like stoning, etc. become irrelevant because it is the law. So it’s not really a question of people being ashamed of their beliefs; more that politically their beliefs won’t gain traction if too many people reject them as ‘extremist’. Put another way, it’s easier to convert non-Muslims to Islam if acolytes don’t have the wind put up them by the prospect of having mediaeval cruelties imposed on them, So Western liberal laws actually make conversions easier, which is why organizations like the British Council for Ex-Muslims should be given all of our support.

  3. FSM rules UK says:

    Usual failed deflections and whataboutery, when will they learn these are not valid counter arguments?

  4. Andrew says:

    Thank Allah for Maajid Nawaz.

  5. Ron+Murphy says:

    Some Muslims in the West are not so reticent an will state the case as Innocent Bystander puts it:

    Yes, Islam demands the death penalty for apostasy, and therefore the death penalty is required. But not to worry, because Sharia laws isn’t applicable in the West where Western laws apply.

    Oh, but we want Sharia law to apply in the West, and we’re starting by trying to implement Sharia courts in marriage disputes.

    Oh, and of course eventually all humanity will see the light of Islam, one way or another, so eventually Sharia law will prevail.

    Statements like these rarely come out in the course of a short debate where the connections would be obvious to everyone present. Instead the duplicitous practice of telling half truths is used. Muslims that hold to these statements will happily express them openly in only Muslim company, but are more cagey when expressing them in public, and resort to Mo’s tactic of avoiding answering specific questions.

    We all engage in something like this if we think our position is being misrepresented by specific and closed questioning, so we often want to make the clarification before giving the answer, or want to avoid a yes/no answer.

    The trouble for Islam is that the true representation of it, the answer they really want to give, is also the very answer they know is being teased out. The problem for Muslims being so questioned is not that their position is in danger of being misrepresented, but that it is in danger of being represented all to accurately.

    To satisfy Mehdi Hassan’s fear of Islamophobia I must say not all Muslims agree with all those statements. Some have some weird theological belief that somehow admits the innerrancy of the Quran while allowing their personal abrogation of those aspects of Sharia law in their own hearts and minds.

    The variety of beliefs of Muslims within Islam, not least evidenced by current affairs in Syria, Iraq, and pretty much any place there are Muslims, is in direct conflict to the Islamic statement of total Muslim brotherhood.

    I don’t think the world has ever seen quite so duplicitous and equivocating religious expression before. It really does lead to what by any other standards would be considered psychological dysfunction – which even in the not so extreme Islam is exactly how it seems.

  6. Graham ASH-PORTER says:

    Wow, wriggling like worms on a hook. Yet if this was asked in a Muslim theocratic country, they would be screaming for blood!

  7. Macha says:

    Time after time I’ve seen Muslim spokespersons stonewalling on this issue. So, nail, head, again.

  8. Mary2 says:

    So why was Christianity, for the most part, able to dump the nastier bits of their holy book? Is just a quirk of history? I mean, Islam used to be a lot more liberal in Arab countries than it is now – one only has to look at photos of Iran or Afghanistan in the 1950s to see women running around in short skirts and way back in the 13th century Islamic countries led the world for pursuit of secular knowledge and tolerance of ethnicity etc.

  9. arensb says:

    @InnocentBystander: I’ve heard a similar apologetic from Christians: the Bible says to sacrifice animals in atonement for certain sins, but Christians aren’t required to do so anymore because those sacrifices were supposed to take place at the temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed, so hey, whatcha gonna do?

    And if you want to see a Christian squirm the same way as Mo, here, or Nawaz’s interlocutors, ask him or her why the Bible condones slavery.
    Bryan Fischer, for instance, said that slavery as practiced in the US was not biblical, and cited a verse that implied that slaves should be prisoners of war. But that just leads to a version of Nawaz’s question: if all of the biblical conditions were met, would Fischer (or anyone) condone owning human beings?

  10. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    Islam, means submission, not talk
    Do as your told, do not squawk
    Islam doe not explain
    It diverts, quite often quite lame
    Settling the score with no paper, no scissors, but a rock.

  11. Markus+River says:

    One wonders why Mo prevaricates so much. Stoning of adulterers is considered just punishment in the Koran. The Koran is the final, inviolable and inerrant word of God. Why the feet of clay? Surely it can’t be a pang of common humanity.

  12. EricHalfaby says:

    Surely it is time for an anthology. The Collected Contributions of Nasser Ben Houja?

  13. liz says:

    I like how this exposes not only the embarrassing barbarity of Islam and the stupidity of trying to impose it on the civilized world, but also the futility of trying to argue against it from a Christian (or Jewish) perspective.

  14. machigai says:

    Oh, well done, Nassar!

  15. Kamunami says:

    I’m surprised he didn’t say that in an ideal islamic state there would be no adultery or something like that.

  16. Wow. Nassar, you are becoming my favourite poet. That is just brilliant, complete with spelling mistake and your patented scan style. Please forgive me if I can’t resist putting your inspired verse into standard limerick form. It’s a sacrilege, I know. I hope I haven’t wandered too far from you meaning.

    Islam means submission, not talk
    Do as you’re told, do not squawk
    You well might deplore
    How we settle the score
    Not with paper or scissors, but rock.

  17. Author, once again your ability to condense a situation into four panels of brilliance is simply…. brilliant. And again with the rapier punch line. Thank you.

  18. Chiefy says:

    Author, the video links were quite enlightening. This stuff writes itself! But I don’t envy your having to view all the crap to find these jewels of dissimulation. Your distillation of it into such a precise comedic form is what makes it great.

    In principle, Judaism and Christianity are no better than Islam as far as their arcane rules; the difference being that only Muslims still practice stoning and amputating hands. When the idea of stoning adulterers becomes abhorrent in the Islamic community, then we will be able to say they are as enlightened as the Jews and Christians. Hurrah.

  19. jb says:

    So why was Christianity, for the most part, able to dump the nastier bits of their holy book?

    My not especially educated opinion on this is that the holy books of Islam claim to be the literal word of God in a way that is more direct and explicit than those of Christianity, and that this leaves Muslims with less wiggle room for reinterpretation.

    After all, Christians have always known that the Old Testament was written down over a period of centuries by many hands. And there has always been dispute over which books to include in both Testaments. This leaves a fair amount of room for second guessing. Whereas, at least in my understanding, the Koran is a single work in a single language from a single hand that states flat out that every word it contains comes direct from God, and therefore can never be questioned. It shouldn’t be any surprise that a holy book like this would make the work of reformists Muslims a whole lot more difficult than that of reformist Christians.

  20. I watched that one with Hewitt a week or two ago (I’m assuming it’s the same one). It was interesting that it was Paxman who intervened to redirect the conversation – thanks a lot, Paxo, just let Hewitt off the hook why don’t you.

  21. MeNot says:

    Just a correction to M2. Iran and Afghanistan are predominantly muslim countries, but not Arab. Otherwise totally agree.

  22. Holms says:

    I agree with Innocent Bystander and Ron+Murphy: it is not shame exactly, but rather the knowledge that detailing their medieval beliefs to a non-muslim audience will evoke outrage, shock, scorn, enmity and similar, making it much harder for them to win support.

    “So why was Christianity, for the most part, able to dump the nastier bits of their holy book? Is just a quirk of history? I mean, Islam used to be a lot more liberal in Arab countries than it is now…”

    My suspicion is that christianity became much more liberal simply because it is a primarily western religion, and the western cultures were the primary beneficiaries of the enlightenment and rennaissance cultural movements of the 1600s and later. Remember, the christian theocracies were once approximately as barbaric as the current islamic theocracies, with religious purges, trials determined largely by christian law, punishments as extreme as execution by bonfire…

    Essentially, christianity is less barbaric not because of some inherent moral superiority, but becase it because less christian / more secular.

  23. Holms says:

    Hmm. That’s a forward slash separating ‘less christian’ and ‘more secular’, rather than a capital, italic I.

  24. Paddy says:

    Let’s play a game: thinking up more evasive non-answers! Starting with:

    “Hey, look over there!”

  25. Sinnataggen says:

    I wonder how many Muslims ever ask themselves what “the word of God” actually means.

  26. Macha says:

    Holms: Like you, I feel Islam is in serious need of an Enlightenment event. Indeed, Islam has had its Golden Age, a period in which scholarship thrived, where “the ink of a scholar is more holy than the blood of a martyr”. The decline seemed to start with the Crusades and ended up with meddling with boundaries, setting up puppet dictatorships and Oil. I reckon things are going to start to change dramatically, and not in a good way.

  27. Robert,+not+Bob says:

    Sinnataggen: No, I’m sure they rarely do. Doubt is the worst and greatest sin, don’t forget.

  28. hotrats says:

    One of the attractions of Islam, for the simple-minded and morally cowardly, is that it offers to make all your decisions for you, based on the literal word of god to rinse away any lingering doubts one might have. All this does in effect is to privilege a class of preachers and give them the power of life and death over their minions. The odds of any of them rocking the boat with an islamic version of protestantism, as as the disillusioned priest Martin Buber did, are pretty remote.

    It could be argued that without the protestant revolution, which offered a more humanistic and less preacher-dominated version of Christianity, the power of the pope would still be absolute, rather like the Emir the mullahs would dearly love to install, and there would be no atheism, no science, no contraception, no human rights – write your own nightmare list.

    For modern westerners, the idea of religious absolutism evokes centuries of barbarity, repression, enforced ignorance and missed opportunity, which we accurately refer to as the Dark Ages. For islamists, and the sharia despotism they seek to impose, it represents a goal worth dying for.

  29. hotrats says:

    Oops – final paragraph fell off (and where has the editing function gone?) taking my conclusion with it…

    …Waiting for an islamic reformation is not a workable strategy. We need to speak out and identify islam for what it is – a torture chamber for the human spirit.

  30. Mary2 says:

    Hotrats, I disagree with your assessment of the importance of Protestantism. I entirely agree that it challenged the authority of the one, true Church and the power of the Pope but most early Protestantism was far more fundamentalist and severe than Catholicism e.g. Lutherans and Calvinism and then the Puritans – indeed the lacklustre approach of the Catholic religious orders to actually following any of their religious tenets was one of drivers for protestant revolts (along with selling Indulgences and Simony [the buying of clerical positions]). Also, Islam has always lacked this type of formal clerical hierarchy: a mullah is a ‘scholar’ and there is no recognition of different ranks as there is in especially Catholic Orders. Emir means Chief/Prince and is not a religious position but a ‘secular’ authority. Muslims have always been free to start schisms whenever they feel like it. Islamists (political extreme Muslims) would like to implement a Muslim caliphate but, in theory, it would be run by secular politicians within the strictures of Islam as determined by a council of mullahs e.g. Iran. Of course, religion would have the final say because who can argue against a god but the interpretation of Allah’s wishes has always been up to individual Mullahs – much like the pastors of early Protestantism. This is why any lunatic/Mullah can issue a Fatwa: there is no formal process.

    P.S. Pedantic point from a student of history to all people who use the phrase ‘Dark Ages’: we call them the Dark Ages because not much is known about the period – it has nothing to do with the morality or culture of the times. The earlier period of the Roman Empire left us lots of written material and so did the later Middle Ages but not the in between because Europe was a whole series of separate tribes at this point and not unified States or Empires. And, technically, the high-point of church authority and power was in the Middle Ages not the Dark Ages – much of Europe was still Pagan for most of this time.

  31. Robert,+not+Bob says:

    It’s not that Protestant churches are nicer than the Catholic church (generally speaking, they’re not), but that the Reformation engendered religious wars that demonstrated the necessity of getting the church out of government. Protestants fought each other too-the British were having civil wars over prayer books.

  32. Necessary Evil says:

    One difference with Christianity is that the New Testament came along and superseded a lot of the old Jewish law. “An eye for an eye” was replaced by “Turn the other cheek”. Islam has no such expedient.

  33. hotrats says:


    Thanks for your precise corrections, I will never misuse the term ‘Dark Ages’ again. Yes, early protestants were if anything more repressive and fanatical, but I think Robert not Bob nails the point I was trying to make, which is the separation of church and state as a precondition of progress, where the islamists are trying to permamnently unite them. (Yes, I know they are still connected in the UK by bishops in the Lords etc., but mostly the connection is only ceremonial).

    Schisms alone do not necessarily lead to reform, as we can see in the Sunni/Shia conflict; the leaders can’t get together to negotiate a peace, because as you point out, there is no hierarchy able to command the mullahs, let alone the idiot on the street brandishing an AK47 and shouting “Allah-hu-akbar”.

  34. JohnM says:

    @hotrats One of the attractions of Islam, for the simple-minded and morally cowardly, is that it offers to make all your decisions for you, based on the literal word of god to rinse away any lingering doubts one might have. All this does in effect is to privilege a class of preachers and give them the power of life and death over their minions.
    So, no different to any other religion then. And you are also spot-on with your assessment of how we should regard Islam,
    …Waiting for an islamic reformation is not a workable strategy. We need to speak out and identify islam for what it is – a torture chamber for the human spirit.

  35. Macha says:

    One of the things entertaining me at the moment is our Glorious Secretary of Education, Michael Gove (a politician for whom the phrase “inept posturing windbag” was surely invented). As he lurches from Big Idea to Big Idea, he has finally stumbled upon the notion that all School Governors must uphold “British Values”.

    Having rejected suggestions on Twitter that these values include “going out on Friday night, necking ten pints, scoffing a Vindaloo, then throwing up on the bus home”, he has finalised on the following as “British Values” :

    “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”

    Leaving aside the implication that other countries don’t share these values, it has prompted a spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain to comment that these new rules would :

    “make it very difficult to become a School Governor if conservative Muslim beliefs were deemed to be incompatible with British Values”


  36. You Brits seem to be doing something right.
    I wish we had this on my side of the big pond.
    Mary2, I also thank you for that clarification of the term “dark ages”. If you are correct I have been misusing it since I first heard it. I’m just not sure your slant on it is completely correct. Perhaps it holds both meanings, a time about which we know little, and a time during which the light of civilization, i.e. the Roman Empire, flickered very low.

  37. IanB says:

    Macha says: Quoting the hapless Gove

    “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”

    It did amuse me to see his boss the equally inept Cameron singing the praises of Magna Carta[1] whilst at the same time the state is just in the process of trying to have secret trials in which no one knows what the accused are alleged to have done or what the evidence against them is.

    [1] Not forgetting that he’s a number of years too early for the celebration which should be when the Charter than King John signed was ratified into law some years later.

  38. Hmmm. Have I been put into moderation? My last comment won’t post, but when I try to repost it I get the duplicated comment error.

  39. You Brits seem to be doing something right.
    (I tried to put in a link to article on state funded schools in Britain not allowed to teach creationism is this link why my post isn’t accepted?)
    I wish we had this on my side of the big pond.
    Mary2, I also thank you for that clarification of the term “dark ages”. If you are correct I have been misusing it since I first heard it. I’m just not sure your slant on it is completely correct. Perhaps it holds both meanings, a time about which we know little, and a time during which the light of civilization, i.e. the Roman Empire, flickered very low.

  40. Yep. That seems to be the problem. Apparently I can’t post the link.

  41. Macha says:

    Indeed, the DfE has now stated that schools can’t preach Creationism in science classes. Good, eh?

    If I can post a link to an article, here it is …

  42. IanB says:

    Ref Dark Ages, I was always under the impression that both were true as stated by Darwin Harmless. The organisation, technological ability and social level that Roman society reached wasn’t equalled until the late middle ages. Once the Romans left Britain the standard of housing, agriculture et al all declined for the best part of a millennium.

  43. Stephen Mynett says:

    Hi everyone, I tried to post earlier but perhaps the link I put in stopped it, so here we go minus the link. I have been lurking for ages and finally decided to post as the talk of the Reformation interested me.
    Martin Luther was just as bad as any pope, it is just simple to look back and think any enemy of the pope could be OK. Here is a cut and paste of the link I would have posted of Luther quotes.

    Martin Luther
    The damned whore, Reason

    The following quotes concerning the evil of human reason are from the father of Christian Protestantism, Martin Luther:

    “Die verfluchte Huhre, Vernunft.” (The damned whore, Reason).

    “Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”
    Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148

    “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but — more frequently than not — struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”

    “Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and … know nothing but the word of God.”

    “There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason… Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.”
    Martin Luther, quoted by Walter Kaufmann, The Faith of a Heretic, (Garden City, NY, Doubleday, 1963), p. 75

    “Reason should be destroyed in all Christians.”

    “Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his Reason.”

    “To be a Christian, you must “pluck out the eye of reason.””

    “People gave ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus] who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13] that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.”
    Martin Luther, “Works,” Volume 22, c. 1543

    “We know, on the authority of Moses, that longer than six thousand years the world did not exist.”
    Martin Luther, “Lectures on Genesis”

    “All our experience with history should teach us, when we look back, how badly human wisdom is betrayed when it relies on itself.”

  44. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Darwin, it isn’t necessarily the link that’s the problem. Several times during the last couple of weeks I’ve had posts vanish into the ether and got the duplicate comment message when I’ve tried to re-post.
    Methinks Author’s security is having a tin bath again!

    Mary, you are correct in your definition of the Dark Ages. So little information was left for posterity that we are quite literally in the dark as to what was going on throughout much of Europe durint those times. Darwin and IanB are only right insofar as they were most certainly dark times, but that’s purely coincidental as far as the phrase goes. Even after the Enlightenment there was still much barbarism across Europe, but it’s the Enlightenment that marks the end of the Dark Ages simply because better records were being kept, and not because there was an end to the constant fighting for power – both within and between countries, nor did it see an end to social, political and legal injustice.
    It’s maybe a minor distinction but the Dark Ages also happened to be dark ages, and I think a case could be made to argue that much of the world is still in a dark age even though the proliferation of technology, education and various forms of media heve ensured that (most of) the dark is no longer Dark.
    Does that make sense? I think it does, but I’m also tired, so please feel free to let me know if I’m talking bollocks.

    By the way, have you seen the Mormon Advent calendar?
    Every time a door is opened somebody tells you to fuck off. 🙂

  45. Mary2 says:

    Hotrats, good point about schisms. At least a hierarchy can be reasoned with but if any loon can start their own sect it probably encourages extremism – because a moderate wouldn’t feel the need to start their own sect.

    You folks are certainly right in that, after the fall of the Roman Empire technology and ‘civilisation’ was lost from many parts of Europe for a very long time: even something as fundamental as the pottery wheel disappeared from Britain for the next 500 years. The term Dark Ages did originally have both meanings but was instituted by scholars of the Early Renaissance who dismissed their own recent history and harked back to the ‘golden age’ of classical Rome and Greece. The term has fallen out of use or become restricted to the early Middle Ages as historians now recognise that many of the important steps towards all those things we now hold dear e.g. the rule of law etc. began during this period.

  46. Abhijeet says:

    Bacon attack on mosque!

    Just about the worst thing that those opposing Islamisation of the UK can do is to establish Muslims as victims.

  47. Muscleguy says:

    Christianity had the Reformation. One of the effects of that was bibles in the vernacular instead of just Latin. Once ordinary people could read it themselves all sorts of disputes arose and Protestantism fractured into a plethora of denominations and sects all claiming slightly different things. They can’t all be right therefore, can they?

    That would not have happened in Europe with a single church based in Rome or Avenna.

    Islam is in the same position with the ruling that a Koran is only holy if it is in the original medieval Arabic. So while you can buy an English translation you cannot win a theological dispute without learning that Arabic.

    Plenty of liberal Moslems think Islam needs a similar process but nobody knows how to achieve it. And of course there is Suffi Islam, you don’t hear much about them issuing fatwahs etc.

    So the trick is to have a holy book in the vernacular that is the same as a holy book in any other language. Then your theologians can all agree that ‘virgin’ is a mistranslation but it’s good for the ordinary folk to believe it.

  48. IanB says:

    “Bacon attack on mosque!”

    Bacon as an offensive weapon! Sometimes I wonder if I’ve slipped into an alternate reality.

  49. steve oberski says:

    Strange that moderate muslims do not take offence at actual, real attacks by deranged islamists on Shia mosques in Iraq using guns and bombs.

  50. Stephen Mynett, I’m glad you stopped lurking and started posting. Very informative quotes and I had no idea how Martin Luther established the mold for Ken Ham. So welcome to the C&B. I look forward to your contributions in the future.

    Also, many thanks to Mary2, Macha, Acolyte, IanB and everybody else contributing to this discussion of the dark ages. You all warm my heart and make me feel that the C&B is my kind of local.

    Abhijeet, spot on. I think any attacks on mosques or churches are doing damage to the cause of reason. Mosques and churches are not the enemy, and giving Christians or Muslims confirmed victim status will only lead to repression against us. Particularly since those slinging bacon at the mosque might as easily be Christian idiots as atheist idiots.

    The weapons we have is reason, ridicule, laughter, derision. When somebody says something extremely stupid, which religious people do all the time, it is our duty to point at them, laugh, explain, and otherwise not allow their statements the dignity and respect they demand. But there is a line to be drawn. Let the other side take out their frustration with guns and bombs and physical attacks. That’s for losers.

    Self defence is another matter, of course. But we are not the ones wanting a holy war. We are the ones wanting the holy wars to stop.

  51. Ephphatha says:


    Is stoning a tenet of “Islamic” law?

    “Stoning is a highly debated issue among Muslim religious clerics, and there is no consensus within the global Muslim community over the validity of the practice as “Islamic Law.” Although there is no mention of stoning in the Quran, many Muslim clerics cite instances in the Hadith, the acts and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, when discussing the legitimacy of the practice of stoning in Islam. Although the Quran (Surah al-Nur 24:2-9) stipulates 100 lashes for adultery, the Prophet Muhammad reportedly had a number of men and women stoned in his time, which is taken as evidence for those who argue for the codifying of this punishment as Shariah, or Islamic Law. However, it is unclear whether these punishments were carried out before or after the revelation of the part of the Quran that mentions the punishment of adultery (Surah al-Nur). After the Prophet Muhammad’s death, the first generation of Muslim legal scholars included adultery as one of the six major offences in Islamic law for which the penalty is fixed by God and Quran (hudud). However, because the justification for stoning relies completely on the Hadith and not on the Quran, many scholars question its label as hudud, the very definition of such being “punishments mandated by God.” Such inconsistencies between the Hadith and Quran have been a source of confusion and remain controversial to this day.”

  52. Macha says:

    So? All of this is basic stuff from the “Dummies guide to Islam”.

  53. steve+oberski says:

    Hey Ephphatha, good work, you need to keep those cutting and pasting skills honed.

  54. Macha says:


    There’s a lot of putting to death in the Bible, including stoning. Luckily, for us Infidels and with regard to Xtianity, common sense (Renaissance and the rest) prevailed and the Godly quietly put aside references to capital punishment for farting on a Sunday.

  55. steve oberski says:

    Hey Ephphatha, good work, you need to keep those cutting and pasting skills well honed.

  56. JohnM says:

    @ DH
    Up to a point, the bacon-hurlers are in fact doing what you propose – ridiculing the stupidity of religious prescription which declares some particular thing or other, evil. So the guilty verdicts are a warning to us in a way. Ridicule religion, and we’ll find a way of using the law to get you

  57. hotrats says:

    Such inconsistencies between the Hadith and Quran have been a source of confusion and remain controversial to this day.

    Reducing the enormity of encouraging people to throw rocks at a helpless, trussed-up victim until they die of their wounds, to a scriptural ‘inconsistency’ is breathtakingly crass.

    The real ‘inconsistency’ is between this disgusting practice and civilised behaviour. The issue is only a source of confusion and controversy to those with no conception of fundamental human dignity, either for the perpetrators or their godforsaken targets.

    Whether or not it is a ‘tenet of islamic law’ is trivial compared to the fact that it is practiced at all in the modern world, for any ‘reason’; however and whenever it occurs, it is unjustifiable, atavistic barbarity.

    It makes me wonder if Eph even bothers to read the mindless crap he quotes so blithely.

  58. steve oberski says:

    @JohnM I don’t think the “bacon-hurlers” were engaging in an exchange of opinions in the marketplace of ideas.

    Their intent was to foment violence against clearly identifiable individuals and as such the criminal charges were appropriate, in my opinion.

    Lacking information on their background and motivations I refuse to speculate on the severity of the sentence.

  59. ShallowEnder says:

    Macha, according to Leviticus {Latin for “the laughing one”?} farting on a Sunday is a stoning offence if and only if two necessary and sufficient conditions are met:
    1: Sundays are your Sabbath – as we know, there are at least three Sabbaths: sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday and just after midnight Saturday-into-Sunday until midnight Sunday-into-Monday. There may be more, based on exotic schisms like the creed that has their Sabbath based on Eden Standard Time, and
    2: farting is hard work. If you have to force it it is work and that’s banned, if it slips out easily that’s leisure and is considered halal or kosher.

    hotrats: Personally, I will never understand how a biped can bury a woman waist deep in sand and throw rocks at her until she dies while maintaining their pose as a human being. I don’t care what she did, even including treason, mass-murder and genocide that is a disgusting, inhuman, savage and deeply disturbing way to treat anyone or any living thing. To do it for a spot of nookie or because she was raped and didn’t get killed in the attack is the act of a sick, depraved and evil being with all the humanity of a rabies virus.
    Come to consider it, rabies viruses have far more humanity than that. They do what they do because they are unable to do elsewise. The stone-throwing sub-humans [of any race, gender or creed] do it for fun. They are worse than any virus or fungal mass.

    What about it, Ephphatha, darling, are stone throwing scunners evil vermin? If so does that make the priests ordering and condoning the murders evil? Does that make your priests evil for supporting those evil priests?

    No babble quotes or YouTube videos, just your honest assessment, if your priests see the stone-cold killers of women as “fellow holy men” does that make your priests evil in turn?
    No equivocation, no insulting me for not asking a deep meaningful question and no running away: by honouring the evil shites are your priests contaminated by evil?
    Should you be boycotting your priests and cutting their funding until they attack and condemn the evil?
    Or are you, too, complicit in supporting the stoning to death of helpless women and girls?

    Well, Eppy, dear?

  60. ShallowEnder says:

    re Me: I know I’m insistent and relentless but I’ve yet to get an answer so I keep trying. That often makes me very.[1]

    What I want is for Ephphatha to make the logical connection that she is supporting the evil that those priestly, sacred, learned, respectable, holy, pillars-of-the-community men do in the name of the various gods and demons.
    To me it is obvious.
    I just wish to know if it is obvious to her or whether there is in fact a flaw in my reasoning process or my assumptions.
    I’m quite prepared to accept that her priests are not evil if she can show me how they can support, aid and condone evil while remaining clean of its stain.

    It’s rather like the old MP’s Expenses Scandal in the UK Parliament a few years back. Many MP’s were peculating on a massive scale and every one of the rest of them was keeping quiet about it. To me, that makes all several hundred of them unindicted co-conspirators and thus equally criminal. They evaded justice but that does not make them innocent.
    The same logic applies to priestly people. If nuns torture and abuse children and the Pope allows it then he is guilty. If the righteous holy men of a village cause a girl to be murdered then the Pope is guilty.
    The entire rotten edifice of all of the religions is balanced on a scalpel’s edge of barely tolerating each other and of affording a semblance of mutual respect. This is evil by its very acceptance of evil.
    If a Christian church were to treat as honoured equals a Satanic Mission that celebrated Mass by cooking babies and eating them both of them would be condemned as evil. Accepting the killing of women for the petty, trivial and often unproven “offence” of having a bit of sex is just as morally wrong.
    Not condemning the Islamists makes the Catholics and Mormons evil.
    Also the Sikhs, Buddhists, Shintoists, Wiccans, Druids and followers of Zeta. [Anyone I’ve not offended yet?]
    Not condemning, loudly in print and on radio and TV the Boko beasts makes every other schism just as liable for their evil.
    Not condemning her priests makes Ephphatha part of the Great Satanic Evil.
    Keeping your silence is morally equivalent to supporting.
    Eppy supports evil.
    As do they all.

    “I want to go after those that stood and cheered.”
    Extra points for character and movie. More for naming the actor who played the part.

    And if Leviticus is Latin for “the laughing one” [see SE’s previous], does that mean he’s really the Origin Story of ‘The Joker’ (TM)? It’s obvious what he found funny, all those “there are five obols in a sicle” laws. That was a really good prank, and he even pulled it off. I may be the first to see through his disguise. Though there are probably those who would see this suggestion as deeply offensive.

    [1] Trying. It makes me very trying. And quite a lot of work. But I’m worth it. Well, I think I am. [2]

    [2] I thought I needed to explain the second sentence as otherwise the humour deprived would object to it as a dangling participle or semi-dependant clause or incomplete foot or something. To me, it was a clever literary device.
    I’m easily pleased at times.

  61. Stephen Mynett says:

    I agree with ShallowEnder about the guilt of the pope, although I would go a little further. I respect the right of any person to believe what they want, I think believing in gods is ridiculous but that should not make it illegal. However, believing is one thing, supporting odious institutions is another. Considering the vast amount of abuse and torture in the Catholic church and the cover-ups anyone who still supports the RCC has some complicity in those crimes and while they may not be legally complicit, they are morally.

    As for getting a straight answer from Ephphatha, I fear you will be spending time chatting to Godot before that happens. I have little time for idiots who try claim Hitler was an atheist, he mentions doing god’s work in his writings and speeches and both the Catholic and Protestant churches were supportive of the Reich. If you get a chance, look at Karlheinz Deschner’s book “With god and the fascists” it has been translated into English and is a good read. He has written a lot on religion, including a ten volume Christianity’s criminal history, although that has not been translated.

  62. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    ShallowEnder says:
    June 23, 2014 at 12:39 am

    What I want is for Ephphatha to make the logical connection….

    Putting aside the comic genius of that line, dear Ephy believes that everything that happens does so for the ‘glory of God’ and so it matters not who does what to whom, all attrocities are justified in Ephy’s mind because they make his god smile. Were he to condemn the stoning of a rape victim he would be condemning his god, because the stoning was ultimately for his god’s glory. What happens to people is of no concern to Ephy, not when every agonisingly slow, painful and torturous death makes his god just that little bit more glorious, and everybody gets to Heaven in the end anyway* so what’s a little bit of pain in the Earthly realm?.
    And that’s death, not ‘death’.

    * Not that the Bible says that, or even anything remotely like it, but it’s a good lie that Ephy and his ilk tell themselves to justify worshipping the monster, and to remove any vestiges of guilt they might feel about not caring a sloppy shit what happens to their fellow human beings.

  63. Macha says:

    AoS: That’s the kind of thing making the likes of Ephph potentially a very dangerous individual.

    He is relentless in imposing his ideas on an audience – he actually believes what he preaches and is absolutely certain that his logic is irrefutable. He never gives up, he doesn’t entertain any notion of compromise. He brands people as evil (Acolyte of Satan), which with his set of morals makes them a non-person.

    Now, as it stands, this all makes him a bit of a joke and a target for scorn – but imagine if his kind had power. With power, they’d turn into murderous fanatics – you, for example, would be marched off for “re-education” and their Talibanesque squads would be dishing out “appropriate punishment” on the streets.

    Religion has to be made weak – with Xtianity, this is already the case (mostly) in the West, but with Islam it’s definitely still a “work in progress”.

  64. Macha says:

    @ShallowEnder: In fact they’re incessant in their defence of the indefensible. That Pillar of Western Thought, William Lane Craig, defended the slaughter of Canaanite children on the grounds :

    1. If they had been left to grow up, they would have become corrupt and hence gone to Hell on their death

    2. Because they were slaughtered as innocents, God took them in his arms and led them into Heaven.

    So, the Israelites actually did them a service, see?

  65. Mary2 says:

    Stephen Mynett, brilliant Luther quotes. Thanks for that.

    Muscleguy, good points.

    Hotrats, true, but I would make the same arguments for any form of capital punishment (with the caveat that some ARE more cruel than others)

    Bacon hurlers are just pointless and nasty. Ridiculing ideas is commendable, ridiculing people is not (yes, I am making an arbitrary distinction; yes, I am often guilty of ridiculing people myself).

    Macha, I agree with your dangers of religion people idea though I don’t think we have yet won with Christianity. The extremist nutters seem to be gaining numbers and power: certainly in both the USA and Australia.

  66. JohnM says:

    @steve oberski
    Whilst bacon hurling, pig planting etc, is rather more ‘in your face’ than spoken or written ridicule of holy ordinances, it seems to me that if the former is intended to foment violence the same could be said of the latter. Bacon hurlers may be just as incensed about religious extremism as we all are, but with a “belly full of music and a bad road out” they may not be sufficiently proficient in language to show their disapprobation in an ‘acceptable’ way. So if the court found intent in their case, it could find intent in our case for simply verbally ridiculing the nonsense. Hate speech anyone, for e.g. speaking the name *ll*h when you are not Muslim (as in Malaysia)? It’s already happening.

  67. JohnM says:

    I’m puzzled why you see bacon hurling as a personlised insult, yet would have the same thing done verbally not so. Where can we draw the line? Is hurling photos of bacon OK? Suppose the photos were printed on paper that had been processed using derivatives from pig farming in some way? Don’t laugh – food containing horse circulated widely in Europe, yet no one knew.

  68. Macha says:

    I must say when I first read about this (baconGate), my first reaction was to be shocked at the sentence, reckoning that a “£50 fine and 50 hours Community Service” would have been more appropriate.

    However, a couple of things make me doubt the validity of this gut reaction. Firstly, this offence (behaving in a threatening or abusive manner) in Scottish Law, is part of Common Law and actually carries life imprisonment as a maximum sentence, so in that sense they got off lightly. As a comparator, a person who jumped out in front of Cameron and yelled “no ifs, no buts, no more cuts” got 200 hours CS for the same offence.

    The second thing is that the two individuals concerned were “not very nice people” and had been involved in racially aggravated incidents before, so maybe the Beak took that into account.

  69. steve oberski says:


    This is not an easy issue to resolve as there does not seem to be a line one can draw and say that on this side we have free exchange of ideas and on the other side we have violence.

    And like you say, once you start criminalizing certain types of protest it becomes easier to criminalize all types.

    I’m not necessarily against the more physical types of protest such as pie hurling, paint throwing and so on but I think that in this case the protesters have to be willing to accept the penalties under law if they wish to engage in civil disobedience. In fact I think this makes that form of protest more effective as it demonstrates a level of commitment on the part of the protesters.

  70. ShallowEnder says:

    Every so often the news services of the world report something good. That she should never have been jailed in the first instance is both obvious and moot, it’s too late to argue that point. She should now be massively compensated for the cruelties inflicted upon her during the case and her incarceration. It won’t happen but it should.

    In the case of the bacon pair, Lambie and Cruikshank, what should have happened is that the Muslims should have talked it over with them in the local over a couple of pints [of lemonade] and the issue should have been settled with an apology and a small restitution. The mosque obviously wasn’t harmed, it’s still being used, and no humans were hurt – certainly no one was stoned to death – so this should have been settled in a civilised manner between neighbours.[1] Even if a couple of the neighbours are ignorant chavs.
    Involve “religious offence” though and that sort of thing is instantly impossible. The Muslims almost certainly never even considered gentle arbitration between equals[1] as a possible course of action, and once “religious offence” came to his notice the judge certainly wouldn’t.
    It was a massively stupid, but entirely predictable over-reaction. Jailing a young lady for a year and giving her a criminal record which will ruin much of the rest of her life for a childish prank that harmed no one was insane, unjust and a perfect example of Sharia law in action.

    I hate Marmite. It makes me vomit. The smell of it is enough. Were Muslims to pour Marmite through my letterbox it would do me real physical harm. It would also cost me thousands in cleaning bills to remove every trace of the daemonic stench. If Muslims were to do this, would any of them be jailed? Even though it would be a real, physical and damaging assault on my person? Not a chance. That isn’t a “hate crime”.
    Nor was chucking dead pig into a totally useless and unnecessary building. It was a daft prank perpetrated by a couple of daft planks, a stupid joke done by a couple of arseholes who – at worst – should have been named and shamed and mocked in the local newspaper. No legal or policing agency should ever have been involved.
    In the case of me and a dreaded Marmite attack, I would expect the bastards to pay for the cleaning, possibly even to do the cleaning as an act of conciliation and contrition. I would never expect them to be jailed for a daft prank, even though in my case it would also be GBH. [It would definitely be GBH on the person of anyone in range when the aroma hit me. Projectile emesis is not nice.]
    But then I am a reasonably reasonable person, a fairly civilised person and I don’t scream and have temper tantrums and set light to people when a petty joke crosses a law made by five millennia dead desert chiefs who didn’t much like bacon and who made their personal dislike into a facet of dogma.
    That sentence was Sharia at work in UKland.
    The Islamists must be overjoyed with it.
    One more tiny step in the Islamification of Earth.

    [1] Of course we aren’t “equals” to Islamists. We’re qafr, KFR, kafirs. We can’t be neighbours as we’re not really people. Which makes any attack on us a holy act and any act we take to mock or deride them an offence against their deity. It’s unfair and rather one-sided but they are always right and we are always wrong by definition. [2]
    Seen in that light, the pair, Lambie and Cruikshank got off very lightly. They should have been dismembered, tortured and stoned to death, twice, each. Then they should have been really punished.
    L&C are probably too dim to worry about how narrowly they escaped disaster. Had they done this in a couple of years, after UKland is absorbed into the Great Emirate, they could have been in serious trouble.

    [2] “There are two kinds of believers, the True Believers and the False Believers. The determination of who is which is always done by the True Believers.”

  71. Ephphatha says:

    Not so fast, hotrats. Setting aside how out of place it sounds for someone like you to be highlighting how “breathtakingly crass”, “disgusting” and “uncivilized” others can be, I think it is much more noteworthy to highlight the incredibly disproportionate concern that you and others here seem to have with the relatively small number of deaths caused by stoning each year compared to, lets say, the much more alarming and rapidly growing numbers of deaths each year caused by consumption of counterfeit processed foods, and especially counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs.

    Makes one wonder if you take any time to consider the shocking disproportionality, setting aside the hypocrisy, of the objections you so blithely raise.

  72. Ephphatha says:

    AoS, I have already answered the question ShallowEnder keeps repeating for no apparent reason when I said that I condemn acts of evil no matter who they are committed by. Neither of you are paying attention, and since I am growing especially tired of your arguments from ignorance , it’s off to Coventry with you.

    I will just add that the reasoning you use to try to dismiss my “glory of God” assertions will be flattened like a pancake when the appropriate opportunity arises to raise the related scientific facts, which fundamentalist atheists completely ignore when decrying evil and suffering in the world.

  73. steve oberski says:

    I’d be interested in comparing and contrasting the case of Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina being arrested, charged with hooliganism and sentenced to two years imprisonment for a performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior with that of the Bacon Hurlers (which would be a great name for a rock band although not as good as Pussy Riot).

    The Pussy Riot incident attracted international attention and garnered much support for the plight of the band members. I saw a number of interviews of the band members and they came across as articulate and passionate defenders of democracy in Russia and outspoken critics of the relationship between the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox church.

    I think the fact that the Pussy Riot members were jailed helped their cause and in fact may have been what they had planned for.

    I suspect that the motives of the Bacon Hurlers where not nearly as pure and over the course of time they will be revealed for the nasty bigots that they are.

    But on the surface the 2 incidents share a number of common features that make me question my initial response to the Bacon Hurlers saga.

  74. Macha says:

    @steve oberski

    I have to say that the Hurlers (I like the tag btw, redolent of H Potter) seem to be a pair of scroats with “previous”. So not good.

    But yes, it’s a tricky line to draw. If it’s a genuine protest against an idea or a repressive ****cracy, then OK, but if it’s against a group of citizens, then not.

  75. JohnM says:

    @ steve oberski
    Another fine mess you’ve got us into, Mr O. with your observations on Bacon Hurlers. We all pride ourselves on not being bigoted – yet continually finger-point at the absurdity of religious belief and thus (because of their close association with it) at religious believers. It’s a minefield for secular inhabitants of multicultural countries, a killing ground which liberals have handed over on a plate to religious fascists of all colours. But some of us kafirs absolutely refuse to become dhimmi.(Cries of “racism”, “xenophobia”, etc., will now emanate from your friendly neighbourhood mosque)

  76. ShallowEnder says:

    steve oberski, equating Lambie and Cruikshank with the Pussy Riot girls occurred to me but was instantly dismissed. Pussy Riot were creating a commercial video in a building without paying bribes and kickbacks to the owners, the owners objected to not getting their cut so they called in the cops which eventually lead to the heavies hammering down the ladies. It was all about not paying the proper respect to the bosses.
    L&C are mere chavs with a dumb idea. They lashed out at a vague target in a vague way with a vague weapon that they had a vague idea was somehow “bad” to their target. In all likelihood they don’t care about the Islamification of our laws or the growing threat of the UKland Theocracy, they just wanted to annoy someone.
    They could equally well have spray-painted “Fuck the Pope” on a railway carriage or “Hamers are Shitt” [sic] on an otherwise anonymous wall. Which is the main reason I see their sentences as grossly draconian. They are petty nuisances not major felons. They should have been talked to by the offended party and asked for a small contribution towards the cleaning effort then ignored as the ineffectual, pathetic arseholes they seem to be.
    Instead, they were treated as Machiavellian masterminds of a major degree who are able to destabilise entire civilisations with a couple of rashers of ham. That’s slightly demented.
    But, as I mentioned, not entirely surprising in 21st Century UKland.

    Ephphatha, darling, you have yet to answer my question. My question is: are your priests evil?
    You seem to be saying you will condemn ll evil but you do not accept my logical extension of the term from stone-throwers and Boko kidnappers to your priests. So I ask once again and as simply as I can: do you accept that your priests are evil?
    No quotes, no YouTube, no books, no “evidence” that is merely the regurgitation of some other equivocator’s word salads: your priests honour evil, does this make your priests evil?
    Just a “yes” will do.

    And, no, I do not ignore the evil that major international companies do in the name of profit. In my own way, I fight them. I have absolutely no visible effect on them as they don’t give a fuck whether I buy their poisons or not but I do fight them. I also fight other unwinnable battles. You often seem to be one of them.
    Though I suspect I’m getting to you, dearest, so maybe you are a winnable one. I certainly hope so, I think you are worth the effort.

  77. ShallowEnder says:

    What is it with me? I proof-read and preovereedd and even look away so the retinal image dies off then pruffrede again and still things like ” ll ” instead of ” all ” manage to slip through.
    ” … condemn ll evil …” should have read ” … condemn all evil …”.
    At least two of the spelling arrows in this one were deliberate and done for humerus effect.
    Maybe more.

    And, Ephphy, darling, telling me I’m arguing from ignorance is slightly insulting. I’ve spent a good part of a century filling my brain with stuff and it’s a good one. I’ll admit I have very little knowledge of 12th Century Russian poetry [if there was any] and I’m pretty vague on the results of Nineteenth Century elections in Moravia [again, should there have been any] but the Catholic priest who married me off to the lady who became my wife was pretty damned impressed with my knowledge of faiths I didn’t hold or belong to. I always was interested in mythology, mysticism and abnormal psychology, among many other things. I consider myself an autodidact and dilettante more than an expert or scholar but I’m fairly well educated for all of that. I put in the time and effort, even yet, and I feel the job has been done fairly well.
    So shove your tiny, snobbish, parochial patronising world up your rosy red arse, girl, and take the rainforest out of your own eye before commenting on the Plank’s mass in mine.
    As an insult, hitting me in my pride is a brilliant stroke, girly, but you didn’t really annoy me much. I’m better than that and bigger, brighter and vastly more clever than you could ever imagine. You’ll need a far sharper and deadlier tool to cut me to the core.
    Anyway, there are entire Libraries I’ve yet to read and seventy thousand languages I can not speak so considering me ignorant is actually pretty much a compliment. It means I’m at least trying to learn. I don’t assume one poorly written collection of hate, bile and spew is all the wisdom of the worlds.
    Unlike many millions of others.
    If you’re trying to put me down, baby, you’ll have to try a lot harder.

  78. opposablethumbs says:

    ShallowEnder, (way upthread) – wasn’t that a line from The Accused with Jodie Foster? But I’m not sure whether it was her character or that character’s lawyer who spoke the line.
    Ephphatha, I had thought you couldn’t get any deeper into the worst kind of moral quagmire, but well done, you just did. Yes, rapacious capitalism leads corporate profiteers to care less than nothing for the wellbeing of millions – now why on earth would someone with half a scruple of moral integrity want to use this fact to imply that deliberate and legally mandated torture is somehow less horrific and less important than it is? I’m so very glad I’ll never meet you in person.

  79. steve oberski says:


    It’s difficult to criticize religious beliefs without subjecting the believers to ridicule.

    It’s especially difficult when the believers are so heavily invested in their belief system that any criticism of their dogma is immediately seen as a personal attack on themselves.

    Personally I think that’s just to damn bad for the believers, if they are not willing to subject their religious ideas to the same level of scrutiny as they would their beliefs in any other part of their life then they are not fit to participate in the free exchange of ideas in the marketplace of ideas.

    The best I can do is try to remember is that while people deserve respect, ideas and institutions do not. Beyond that I won’t let the hurt feelings of the religious stifle my criticism of their beliefs.

    Which is why the Bacon Hurler incident makes me uncomfortable, I can’t see any other reason than intimidation of identifiable individuals as the motive.

    But what if these same people had been eating a ham sandwich in the vicinity of the very same mosque, would that constitute intimidation ? No mater what their motives were ? I would say no but I would be hard pressed to explain why I consider the first intimidation and the second not.

  80. Ephphatha says:

    ShallowEnder, your question is do I accept that “my”priests are evil. First, since I have already stated that I condemn all acts of evil no matter who commits them, what remains to be answered? Second, why do you call them “my” priests? Apart from the fact that I do not consider people who use ordination as a cover to commit crimes to be genuine clergy, your line of questioning reminds me of Chris Hitchens vicious criticism of Pope Benedict XVI. Unfortunately for both of them, it was not until after Hitchens died that it became public knowledge that PB XVI had personally defrocked nearly 400 priests when he was in a position to do so. Hitchens was therefore verbally crucifying a man for not doing precisely what he was in fact in the process of doing, just as you seem to be trying to do to verbally crucify me now. However, I find it easy to instantly forgive all of your trespasses against me, SE, because I know there is nothing bad I can say about you that you would not instantly agree with as the only other person here who openly and readily confesses to being a sinner.

    Which reminds me that I would like to take a poll:

    Does everyone here admit to being a sinner?

    Yes or no answers please, just as cartoon ‘Jesus’ asks cartoon ‘Mo’ to answer in this latest J&M comic.

  81. Mary2 says:

    JohnM, Short answer = dunno. I am aware of the hypocrisy of my position. I don’t think verbal personal insults are acceptable but, as regular readers here would know, I do not always live up to my own values.

    I guess I believe that if a person engages with one, one should feel free to challenge their beliefs; one should feel free to challenge beliefs in the public domain – including with ridicule and mockery; but when a person and their friends seek out another person or group to ridicule, humiliate or insult them (i.e. throwing bacon at their mosque) that is waaay overstepping a line. I have no problem with websites expressing racial hatred (although I may believe the proponents are idiots) but I think planting a burning cross in someone’s front lawn is a whole other level. Please bear in mind that I have not read the attached articles and have no knowledge of the particulars of this case.

    After reading Steve O’s response I think it is the ‘seeking out’ bit I find inappropriate. I have no problem with physical protests and, if Mullahs were marching in the street shouting ‘death for adulterers’ I would probably not object to bacon tossing.

    ShallowEnder, I disagree that this type of behaviour is a minor spat to be settled over a cuppa. I think this behaviour is an attempt to intimidate an entire minority group – not a difference of theological doctrine. Again, not being familiar with this particular case, I don’t see any difference between this behaviour and painting swastikas on the fences opposite a Jewish enclave.

    Steve O, good point re Pussy Riot. I totally support their actions. I think the difference is they are not the majority group attempting to silence a minority; they belong to the powerless speaking out against powerful groups who are seeking to silence them. I think Macha and ShallowEnder sum it up beautifully: “ In all likelihood they don’t care about the Islamification of our laws or the growing threat of the UKland Theocracy, they just wanted to annoy someone.”

    Ephy, Seriously? You are comparing my choice to eat too much processed food with government endorsed painful and prolonged killing of people for ‘victimless’ crimes?

  82. oake says:


    Do I admit to being a sinner?


    Why do you ask?

  83. Ephphatha says:

    You misread what I wrote about processed foods. Please read again.

    Thank you for your answer, oake. To answer yours: I ask the question to separate the holier-than-thou fundamentalist atheists from the self-aware, intellectually honest atheists.

  84. steve oberski says:

    I think that Ephphatha provides an operative definition for religion as illustrated by her need to divide people into groups. It’s all about divisive, sectarian in group/out group strife, for religion there always has to be an other to demonize.

    Ephphatha, if you are going to ask stupid questions, at least define your terms.

  85. Ephphatha says:


    a) an offense against religious or moral law

    b) any action that is considered reprehensible, evil, wicked, bad, wrong, immoral, foul, vile, dishonorable, corrupt, iniquitous, depraved, reprobate, villainous, nefarious, vicious, malicious, malevolent, sinister, diabolical, fiendish, despicable, atrocious, heinous, odious, contemptible, horrible, execrable, etc.

  86. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    I second Steve. Let’s have Ephy’s definition of ‘sin’.

    On a related note, Ephy said to me I will just add that the reasoning you use to try to dismiss my “glory of God” assertions will be flattened like a pancake when the appropriate opportunity arises to raise the related scientific facts, which fundamentalist atheists completely ignore when decrying evil and suffering in the world.

    Does he not understand that the appropriate opportunity to bring evidence to a debate is while the debate is happening?
    I get so sick of people, usually religious, who claim to have solid, irrefutable evidence of something but fail to present it.
    And then he tries to switch attention away from religious atrocities and on to pharmaceutical profiteering! If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard a child use such diversional tactics I’d be a very wealthy old git.

    My favourite from the master of prevarication has to be his Does everyone here admit to being a sinner?
    Yes or no answers please….
    Putting aside the sheer hypocrisy of that last bit, though, methinks dear Ephy is still smarting at being proven to be a liar and from being given an object lesson in critical thinking, and is trying to lay a similar trap, which is why I would demand his definition of sin before replying. We all know how the religious like to take the literal meaning of words when it helps their cause, and to invent new meanings when it doesn’t. I think that in this case his idea is to ‘prove’ (note the quote marks) that atheists who admit to being sinners are really religious believers in disguise by using the literal definition of sin as a ‘transgression of God’s laws’.

    I am really looking forward to seeing the scientific evidence to prove that acts of evil are for the glory of God. Honestly, I cannot wait.
    The one thing that would be sure to make me change my mind, namely solid evidence for the existence of God, is the one thing I thought I would never see, yet Ephy has the evidence.
    I’m all agog at the prospect of seeing the peer-reviewed scientific article published in a reputable scientific journal he claims to have. At least, I hope it’s a peer-reviwed article because that is what differentiates unproven hypotheses from scientific facts, or theories, as we holier-than-thou fundies call them.
    I do hope it won’t be in the form of a youtube clip or Bible passage. That would be a real disappointment.

  87. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Oh, I see he’s done a cut and paste from an on-line dictionary and expected us not to know that there is no such thing as a moral ‘law’ outside of his Bible.
    He really does think we’re as stupid as he is.

  88. ShallowEnder says:

    opposablethumbs, you get five points for the movie’s title, five for the main actor’s name and five for the character but you missed out on the twenty points for the actor who played the lawyer. IMDB or WikiP would have fed you them. You get thirty bonus points for being honest enough not to use them. Well played. You win this lovely invisible green T’chkkha with detachable Yrrns and a year’s supply of Grff to keep it happy. Enjoy.

    Ephphatha, darling, please get this right: I can never sin. repeat, and emphasise, I can *NEVER* sin.
    I can do bad things, and I have, but sin is not in me. Why not? Because I respect no moral authority above myself. I accept legal authorities more powerful than me but I do not accept their being morally superior to me. I am the only judge of my actions.
    It helps in this that there are no gods, Time Lords, Zetans or Atlanteans to over-ride my moral authority. So far as moral law goes, I am it.
    That does not make me the moral arbiter of your behaviour. Not in any way. I know how I would like you to behave but I am neither your judge nor your confessor. I do not know if you can sin.
    I know I can not.
    But I could do much evil should I wish. I am stronger, faster and more vicious than many people -slower, weaker and less vicious than many others, too. I could do a vast amount of harm and cause much distress. That I don’t is only because I see it as wrong. I see hurting people as wrong. I see killing as wrong, even if a book allegedly written by a god or a Zetan or a Time Lord tells me it is a holy act.
    I am the highest and only moral authority with jurisdiction over me. I am “good” only because I think that is better than being “evil, and only I can decide hat those terms mean.
    Though I’m always open to advice on the subject. Especially in situations where I have little or no experience. I may not take it but I’ll always consider it.
    Not having a bonded, restrictive and limited little faith is enabling, ennobling and liberating. It is also a fucking heavy burden.
    I am not a sinner because I can never sin.
    Religious folk would no doubt completely disagree with all I say, and that is their right. What they don’t have is the right to assert their moral authority over mine. Their morality is not relevant to me. It does not concern me. It does not encompass me. I am one of the Other People whom the tribe of Adam and Jaweh married into. I am not of your god’s making and none of its business.
    So even if your religion marks me out as “sinner” I still do not sin for nothing I do contravenes any of your laws or your god’s desires. I am completely and utterly outside its purview.
    No matter what your trivial little cults tell you, I am not a sinner. I can never sin. I am and will remain Innocent.
    None of which stops me from being an evil little shit should I wish to be.
    Oh, and Eppy, dearest lady, I actually am holier than thou. For one thing I could make a solipsistic case for being my very own genuine god but that sounds a little on the megalomaniacal side so I’ll just say I have a morality that does not allow me to kidnap, rape, torture, murder or dehumanise in the name of anything abstract or counter-factual. It allows me to kill in defence of others but only if I really, really must and can. That puts me morally several rungs up from every church I’ve yet to encounter.
    Oh, I could kill, rape, torture, steal, lie, cheat and dehumanise for fun or profit if I felt like it but I see that, too, as wrong so I don’t. Which neatly squishes the “atheists are evil, too” argument. We don’t need to be. We can refrain from killing in the “name of atheism” just as we can in the name of all four hundred billion gods.
    And I chose to.
    I am not perfect, I have done bad things. I may even have done evil things though I try very hard not to. But I shall never sin.
    Your mileage may vary.

  89. ShallowEnder says:

    Well fuck me with a Zetan hair-dryer, I just worked out that I could have said all that in seven words:
    “I cannot sin. I am The LAW.
    Neat, yeah?

  90. ShallowEnder says:

    opposablethumbs, you should be told that the Holy Book Of Thorm The Stupendous has injunctions about the buying and selling of replacement Grff, and that your T’chkkha will be sternly discombobulated if you ever run out. It may even turn blue while remaining completely invisible and imperceptible and not susceptible to postage.

    According to Sub-book six of Epicuriantiisuses’s Second Book Of Trails, “The Tale Of The Wandering Eye”, under Thorm’s Magnificent Laws For The People He Wasn’t Particularly Choosy About, Grff can only be purchased at six Scythian obols per Lydian scuttle in sacks of Thibetan Orca wool on the fifteenth Sabbath at registered Varthan holy sites.
    That there has been no registered holy site and indeed no register to register them into nor registered holy registrar to do the registering into any register into which things might otherwise have been registered for sixteen millennia is a bit of an issue.
    Also a mouthful.
    The obols must be made of pure green-gold Bdellium and bear the bare face of the Bear on each of their 13 sides for using false currency is a sin punishable by getting stoned on good Yllinen from Uth on the Hbd river where the tribes of Thrrr go to drink – but only in midweek days. On other days other things may happen, or not, according to the will.
    Another small difficulty is that no one remembers which one was the first Sabbath so finding the location of the fifteenth is less than perfectly easy.

    Extra points, but no more Grff as I’ve run out, for the book, chapters and verse I’m so lamely lampooning.

    Ephphatha, anyone can write a Leviticus. What makes yours better than mine?
    Especially as mine is funnier.

    [Hmm, was that a massive clue?]

  91. Macha says:

    Wow! Went to bed. Zeds all night. Woke up. Did the rounds. 15 new posts! All that while I was asleep. Ain’t a rotating planet wonderful?

    I see that Ephy has been banging on about sin. A couple of points to start off :

    1 Is it OK to refer to you as Ephy? It’s so much easier than Ephph..thingy? If it’s not OK, let me know and I’ll desist.

    2 Why did you find it necessary to resort to a cut & paste definition of sin? Can’t you manage to define it in your own words? A bit disappointing that.

    Anyway, I don’t know why, but it got me thinking about what I did yesterday (maybe the rotating planet thought).

    Yesterday, I had a very nice bacon & egg breakfast (sin!), followed by a tasty Salade Niçoise (sin!) lunch and finished off with a pleasant Steak and Roquefort sauce (sin!) dinner with a few glasses of a splendid red wine (sin!).

    I do this kind of thing each and every day. So, according to You and your Brothers, I’m destined for some Hell or other, because I sinned, and keep sinning, big time.

    But “sin” is the wrong word isn’t it? A word used deliberately to cloud the issue by implying some kind of badness. No, what you’re really referring to is “rule”. Rules invented by You and your Brothers, on the one hand to provide a convenient means of tribal bonding, but on the other hand used to identify Infidels and to provide You and your Brothers an excuse for their extermination by referring to a higher authority, thus absolving you of any responsibility.

    PS: The only time Jesus Christ is mentioned in our house at Christmas is if we burn the mince pies ….

  92. Mary2 says:

    Steve O. I would have no problem with eating a ham sandwich outside a mosque (theoretically – I don’t eat ham). Like you, I don’t care about incidental ‘hurt feelings’: if you don’t want your beliefs ridiculed; don’t have ridiculous beliefs. Motive is the difference. There is a difference between going out of your way just to hurt someone and ‘offending’ a group just by going about your business or expressing an opinion.

    Ephy, No. I am not a sinner. Sin is a religious concept: to transgress against God. I don’t agree with the use of ‘sin’ to describe wider transgressions; we already have non-religious words to describe immoral, unethical, illegal etc. I freely admit to not always living up to my own or society’s moral values and, occasionally, to even breaking the law (minor ones only but that is a value judgment).

    Macha, I agree. It doesn’t pay to move away from the computer or you come back to thousands of comments. I am glad the world rotates but it does make it difficult when you are on the side of fewer commenters – one is always arriving late to the conversation.

  93. oake says:

    Ephphatha “Thank you for your answer, oake. To answer yours: I ask the question to separate the holier-than-thou fundamentalist atheists from the self-aware, intellectually honest atheists.”

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I took your question literally.

    My understanding of “sin” as opposed to ‘crime” is along the lines of your first definition, viz. “an offence against religious rules”.

    I happily admit to not observing plenty of the rules imposed by the plethora of religions. For example, I don’t fast during Ramadan, I eat pork and seafood, I drink alcohol on occasion, I’ve been known to work on Friday/Saturday/Sunday, I don’t believe that Jesus died to save me, and I don’t pray to any god.

    I am therefore, by definition, a sinner.

    What I try very hard not to do is commit serious crimes, or perform acts that I, or any reasonable person, would consider morally reprehensible.

    However, if you think I’m going to seek redemption for my ‘sins’, then we’re living in different worlds.

  94. IanB says:

    ShallowEnder says:
    [i]”It was a daft prank perpetrated by a couple of daft planks, a stupid joke done by a couple of arseholes who – at worst – should have been named and shamed and mocked in the local newspaper.”[/i]

    I am pretty certain it would count as criminal damage at worst were it not for the insult to the muhammadans and their prophet [b]piss be upon him[/b] as such it should have been a fixed penalty crime or maybe magistrates court.

    I’ll make a note never to offer you Marmite 😀 BTW good luck with getting Ephphatha to answer a straight question with a straight answer

    Ephphatha says:
    [i]”raise the related scientific facts,”[/i]

    Go on then some facts would make an interesting change.

    [i]Does everyone here admit to being a sinner?[/i]

    Do you want to go with the classical definition of violating the will of god? if so of course not it’s an impossibility given the 99.99999% probability of the non existence of a deity.

    Have I ever behaved in ways that on reflection I would prefer not to have done then yes

  95. Macha says:

    Another thing …

    Ephy: You refer to the defrocking of 400 priests by Pope Ratzinger. So bloody what? When I read about that (earlier this year, January?), it brought home to me the essentially repulsive and reprehensible concept of “Christian Redemption”. These child rapists were not brought to justice, they were forgiven by their own personal conduit-to-Jesus, then let free out into the wild to carry on their antics, presumably with an occasional Confession to clear out their newly clogged-up pipework.

    This mechanism used by the RCC in order to sweep kiddy-fiddler problems under the carpet has existed for centuries. Its use reached a peak this year either because of the continuing bad publicity, or because the Pope was running scared, or both. In fact he ran so scared that he resigned and is now living, protected from justice, inside the Vatican.

    You talk of “moral law”. Well just how moral is all that?

    Now about your forthcoming scientific proof of the goodness and glory of God. One of the leading proponents of this nonsense is your buddy William Lane Craig. I truly hope that you’re going to come out with something new, because that fellow’s arguments have been laid to waste umpteen times. So if you come with rehashed Craigisms, they’ll be immediately downgraded with a “WC” tag, which will be indicative of their source as well as a suggestion as to their final resting place.

  96. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Still waiting for Ephy’s peer reviewed scientific proof of the glory of God.

    That bit about the 400 defrocked priests; the punchline writes itself.

  97. Macha says:

    Like why were they wearing frocks?

  98. opposablethumbs says:

    ShallowEnder, thank you for the prize (I think!). I shall treasure it anyway, even if it is a bit, um, challenging to look after properly.

    Ephphatha, you’re not going to “gotcha” anyone with your silliness you know. “Sin” is a load of incoherent religious drivel, and I certainly try to live up to a far more moral standard than any stupid nonsense about shellfish and mixed fibres and collecting sticks on an arbitrary special day of the week or properly worshipping the right skyfairymonster. When you consider that there are consensual behaviours that harm nobody which are labelled “sins” while conversely religion can and does commend slavery, rape and torture (how many merry bands of “good” xtians refuse to recognise rape within marriage, for only one example) it should be obvious that any overlap between moral behaviour and religion is purely accidental.

    Of course I do not consistently live up to that standard! It’s obvious, you disingenuous weasel (with apologies to weasels). But I try to, out of compassion and humanity, because it is the right thing to do (and not out of fear of a bogeyman either).

  99. ShallowEnder says:

    IanB: use the greater than and lesser than symbols at the bottom of the keyboard rather than the square brackets near the middle.

    I go out of my way not to eat curries near people who say they dislike the smell, even though I love them. It’s a reflection of my desire for them to not offend me with their mayo or Marmite. I don’t particularly avoid eating bacon sarnies in a house full of Vegans but I’d probably not find any there so that’s a moot point. My sisters don’t object to cooking dead animals for me though they don’t partake of it themselves.
    I don’t see much, if any, difference in this between my sister and a Muslim. Neither want to eat bits of dead pig. That’s fine, it leaves more for me. But my sisters wouldn’t object were I to do a full English in their kitchen, indeed, as said they’ll even cook it for me.
    So I see the hurling of a bit of meat at or into a building that cost much effort ad money but which has no useful function as a trivial prank at worst.
    That the Musselmen “attacked by bacon” panic and scream and shout and call in The Law [not me, for I am The *LAW*, it was some lesser law] is an example of extreme idiocy, rampant psychoses and terrible judgement. That a judge did not dismiss the case with utter contempt for the plaintiffs is sick. Also stupid and craven.

    We should start a campaign: “Free the Bacon Two, and free the bacon, too!”

    Mary2: Should the smell of cooking bacon cause you nausea, as Marmite does me, I would never have it in the house when you visit nor would I ask for it were I to visit your house or eat out with you. That is just common politeness. But I have eaten meats in the households of Vegetarians. Again, it was common politeness, they cooked it for me.
    I wouldn’t expect a Muslim to cook me a bacon sarnie. I wouldn’t expect him to have bacon to cook. But were he to begin to open a jar of Marmite I would excuse myself and leave … for a distant timezone. That, too, is me being polite.
    However, as you’ve admitted to not being a sinner but committing crimes could I have the pleasure of arresting you? Please? I’ve never arrested anyone and it seems like it is something one should do at least once. All I’ll need is citizenship of some country [I’ve never been a citizen, only a subject of monarchs] and a list of all the charges and specifications. [That in itself could be fun.]
    I would arrest myself but I’d rather not tell me what I’ve done as some of it is possibly naughty and I never tell myself naughty things.
    In case I start to like them.

    opposablethumbs: I don’t care what the holy folk do, I am holier than them and I do recognise the use of force even within marriage. If she says “no” then it is “no”. If “she” is a “he” and he says “no” it is still “no”. If either he or she says “yes” and I’m too tired, it might still be “no”. I took that stance even when I was younger and randier[1] and the laws of my country said wives were effectively owned property.
    Aren’t I just a nice guy?

    [1] That’s a lie. I was never randier, I just had more energy to spend. Is randiness a theoretical sin? Isn’t it “coveting thy neighbour’s wife’s arse”?[2] I think I’ve done that. Maybe once, by accident.

    [2] “arse” not “ass”, I’m not American. I don’t do donkeys. Though I have found them to be pleasant enough companions, for overgrown rabbits.

    Macha: why not wear frocks? The Greeks did. It makes boffing in Saturnalias much easier. [Yes, I know those were Roman but Chronotalia’s never caught on. I think Chronos was too much of a grumpy bastard to party. Even I might have been had I to look after Time all the time.] In England’s screamingly green and sultry land I wear only a thin robe when I’m at home in the Summer days, if we have any. That’s even easier than a dress and just about decent enough for company.[Useful for Mormons, too, but I’ll leave that to the imagination.] Robes are cool. Though not quite cool enough at present.

    Acolyte: he defrocked them for Saturnalian activities? But hundreds at a time seems a little extreme, even for a pope.
    Is mocking a pope sacrilege? Can I do sacrilege even though there are no gods and I am The Law?
    If I say something like: “the reason Mo’s skymonster daddy didn’t excommunicate and send Mo to various hells for being a baby-raping little chav is that raping babies was condoned by the sky daddy and the society at large at the time and it only became baby-raping and a ‘bad thing’ in a few relatively civilised countries fairly recently, but Mo’s still a baby rapist” : is it blasphemy even though Mo’s toast and there are no gods to blaspheme against? And even though I am, as I may have mentioned, The *LAW* [Sorry, but I just can’t do the voice right.]

    How about it, Ephphy, dearest lady? Can I do sacrilege and blasphemy? If so, how is it possible when those are religious terms and I have none?
    Surely only you and yours can do those?

    Hey, what do you know, I asked Epphy a different question!

  100. Macha says:

    Hey, you’re OK aren’t you? Brilliant polemics.

    I kind of do wear frocks actually – I’m a big fan of nightshirts, they’re much more comfortable than jimmies and are great for hugging around you. When it’s really cold, I even wear a hat.

    It’s pretty hot at the moment, so I’m doing zeds in my trolleys (hate the feeling of dangling bollocks).

  101. Mary2 says:

    ShallowEnder, I’m not concerned about the offense felt but the motive of the offenders. Their action was intended not to ‘offend’ but to intimidate. They were telling a whole minority section of the population ‘you are not welcome here’. Their actions may even have led to fear of escalation as violent forms of intimidation of minority groups are not unknown. If they had done something similar to a majority or ‘in’ group e.g. Christians it would not have had the same intimidation factor and would be relegated to stupid prank.

    Anyone who wants to arrest me needs to bring their own handcuffs. I don’t think any law I have ever broken is severe enough for me to be actually arrested: I have far too straight-laced and boring to have a capital ‘p’ Past.

  102. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    ShallowEnder, go easy on the Marmite, fella, it’s bloody delicious!
    And so begins a schism in atheism to rival that ofthe Catholic / Protestant split. My lot will be the Marmite Atheists, your’s the Marmite Hateists.

    Still feckin’ waiting for Ephy’s scientific proof of the glory of God.

  103. ShallowEnder says:

    Mary2, may I now manfully and gently pout?
    I don’t have handcuffs so that’s a show-stopper. I would ask if you have spare pairs but I’m not sure that’s a polite question to ask of a lady.
    Still, it’s nice to know you really are the nice lady you seem to be. I wish I were.

    I do understand the difference you point to and I accept your principled stance. I wish I were as good as you but I fear I may not be.

    And straight lace can be damned sexy, but you probably know this?

  104. ShallowEnder says:

    Acolyte of Satan … oops, sorry, I meant “of Sagan of course … only the truly depraved and utterly evil would like Marmite. My hordes of villagers with torches and pitchforks will be storming your castle quite promptly. Would 0431 be an opportune time for your good self or should we stage the event at some more decorous time of the clock? We will, naturally, be supplying our own fogs, mists, intermittent moonlight and owls hooting.
    Please have all your evil jars in easily accessible rows for immolation. We thank you for your co-operation.

    Meanwhile, here’s some scientific proof for the glory of gods in general: gods are glorious because all glory belongs to them, therefore all gods have glory therefore any specific god should be gloried so it inevitably follows by the ineluctable modality of the physical that Epphy’s god has glory, so Glory Be To Ephphy’s god. Q.E.D. and biscuits.
    Now that is *Science* that is.
    It says so in this big book I’m writing … I mean that some god or daemon is inspiring me to write. Though, if it is coming out of me, shouldn’t it be *ex*piring me?

  105. Ephphatha says:

    AoS, having sacrificed your credibility on the altar of pretending to have tested me, you have been officially consigned to Coventry. Expect no response from me in the future.

  106. Holms says:

    Oh that is rich, Ephph. Fail to answer a question for weeks on end, then resort to copy+pasted dictionary passages as an evasive half answer, accuse the other person of having no credibility… then quit the conversation in a huff! But wait – what happens if everyone else hangs on that unanswered question?

    Like so: I too am “Still feckin’ waiting for Ephy’s scientific proof of the glory of God.”

    P.S. I belong to the Vegemite Reformation – Followers of the One True Condiment. I hereby declare all pro-marmite arguments invalid by, reason of ‘disagreeing with me means you are wrong’ and also ‘nuh-uh, not listening lalalalalala’.

  107. stevegallacci says:

    But they are both nasty (vegemite and marmite, seriously, as a Yank, I’m mystified by the attraction of either, unless its all a cruel joke on us across-the-pond types). Fortunately, I’m going low-carb, so I can dodge the whole condiment controversy

  108. Robert,+not+Bob says:

    This Yank loves vegemite… interestingly, I learned to like it growing up as a Seventh-Day Adventist (an Adventist-owned company used to make an almost identical product). Marmite I haven’t tried. That I know of.

    I think No True Christian is the closest thing to an answer you’re going to get, Acolyte. You guys’ answers to the sin question were a lot more verbose than mine. My thought was “Null concept. No.”

  109. steve+oberski says:


    Why is Acolyte of Sagan getting preferential treatment ?

    I demand to be put on the list as well.

  110. IanB says:

    It would appear we’re all waiting with bated breath for Ephphatha’s proof. It mostl ikely will be a long wait

    Thanks to ShallowerEnder for the correction on formatting, different from another site I use

  111. Mary2 says:

    ShallowEnder, I’ve only had half a beer but I think I must be drunk because your definition of the glory of god almost made sense!

    As a proud Australian I should be genetically predisposed towards a love of vegemite however I remain agnostic towards both it and marmite, which I have never eaten. I’m a fence-sitter on this one. I may tick a box on the next census but won’t go out of my way to encounter either.

  112. ShallowEnder says:

    Mary2, my definition “almost made sense”? What have you been smoking and can I have some?
    I cookie-cut that explanation from boiling down just about every philosophy and theology text, treatise, volume and encyclopaedia that I’ve ever encountered and changed not one jot of the concepts in it.
    It is exactly what our darling, pretty little Ephphy, has been saying since she walked in the door.
    And if it makes any sort of sense then I definitely should become a preacher. There’s gold in them there occupations.

    IanB, you are most welcome.


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