A resurrection from 8 years ago today.

└ Tags:

Discussion (45)¬

  1. Ladyduck says:

    A classic! Thanks for making me laugh Author, although it reminds me of the dramatic impact such strong belief can have on the believer’s life. I once had a friend (she sadly passed away) who was extremely strong in her faith. When she got diagnosed with cancer she told everyone that God would save her. I remember thinking (guiltily) and with great sadness: “What arrogance, why would “he” save her and not countless others who are just as good a person as she is!”. Of course, she was wrong, nobody saved her and she died.

  2. HaggisForBrains says:

    Shouldn’t this cartoon be called “face”?

  3. Oozoid says:

    Go resurrection, yeah!

  4. Federico R. Bär says:

    +Ladyduck: I’m sorry for the loss. If you had actually pronounced the word “arrogance”, how would your late friend have reacted? It IS, in my opinion, the most adequate term but, unfortunately, believers also use it to ask unbelievers how dare we know more than God. Impossible to answer because, of course, it is a wrong question .-

  5. Robert Andrews says:

    Yeah! I love when Xtians say ‘there faith is strong’. so what’s the problem with listining to an argument from an atheist like me? If your faith is “strong” as you say it won’t be bothered by my contrary argument.

    I only get dirty looks at that point in my conversation. And “Why should I want to even listen to you”, retort.

    “Religion is good stuff for keeping the common people quiet”.–Napoleon

  6. IanB says:

    A good friend died some years back from cancer, she never expected god to save although she was convinced she’d go to an afterlife. Shortly after her death her husband a non believer was told by one of her church party if only she prayed harder god would have saved her”. I can say he’s a better man than I because he didn’t immediately punch them straight in the face for that remark.

  7. Grumpy says:

    And this dear readers is religion in a nutshell.

  8. oldebabe says:

    Good one, again, authors…

  9. pink squirrel says:

    re “When she got diagnosed with cancer she told everyone that ‘god’ would save her.”
    really- I was under the impression that if ‘god’ existed then the cancer she had would have been the will of ‘god’- besides maybe ‘god’ wanted her early?

  10. Michael says:

    IanB: ‘Shortly after her death her husband a non believer was told by one of her church party if only she prayed harder god would have saved her”.’

    When my wife was diagnosed with cancer a coworker told me that God had given cancer to my wife but if she and I prayed hard enough God would cure her. I responded that I don’t care to negotiate with terrorists.

    My wife has been cancer free for over five years.

  11. Red Crow says:

    IanB, your friend was a better many than me, too. My wife, too, died of cancers. She was a Catlick and had a Catlick send-off service. Not one of her friends, no priest and none of my colleagues used the “she’s in a better place” idiocy.
    The all knew my opinion of religion, I make little secret of it and were smart enough to know that any such platitudinous inanities would have been met with serious ill-feeling.

    If I am so anti-religion, why would I attend a religious service?
    Well, I wasn’t doing much else that day, it was a chance to see people I normally wouldn’t get much of an occasion to meet and it didn’t do any lasting harm.
    It was also the last thing I could do for her, assuming for the sake of argument that there still was a “her” for anything to matter to. If there is some sort of afterlife, she might have known I turned up. If not, the far more likely case, my turning up hurt few people very little.
    As it eventuated, I didn’t even punch out the priests. Something I am rather pleased with.
    She was a rather effective civilising and socialising influence on me.

    Fuller disclosure. I light a candle for her on her birthday, or on the nearest day I can manage. It hurts nothing, it isn’t even a waste of a candle as that would be used by someone and it just might make the spooky remnant of her feel nice.
    I know there is no spooky remnant but that doesn’t matter. It is just possible that I could be wrong.
    Unlikely, but possible.
    I have been wrong before.

    I so very desperately want to be wrong here.
    The worst aspect of religion is the false hope it offers.
    Even the evil it creates is more acceptable.
    That nagging, tiny bit of hope is fucking *ugly*.
    And criminal.
    And the most inhumane of cruelties.

  12. Red Crow says:

    Ladyduck, you have my sympathies for your loss.
    Believing a super-daddy will suspend the processes we call “Laws of Physics”, biology or entropy and will chuck its detailed, millennia-long Master Plan just to help you win a bet, a lottery, a parking space or have your pain, disorder or disease cured may not be entirely arrogance, it may be desperation, fear, ignorance or stupidity.
    It might also be a matter of simple trust in the many, many people in authority who constantly scream and yell and yammer that this is the way things work.
    I was trained to think as a scientist but good teachers. Mostly, when I can be bothered. I trust only that which is replicable, falsifiable and breakable. Again, mostly.
    I have read the books of many mythologies, cults, larger cults and modern idiocies such as Spiritualism and Scientology and compared them to textbooks on the Physics, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Neurochemistry, ballistics and metallurgy shelves in the Library and the sciencey books seem more real, more authoritarian, more credible and far less like lies.
    All that being so, I have a dislike of religions, superstitions, cults, Wiccan inanities and crystalline aromatherapy using chakra points and acupunctures. I trust UFOlogists very little, crystal healers less and politicians not at all even if they are also “holy men”.
    But I am reasonably sure that I am not the Final Word And Ultimate Truth Of All The Cosmos.
    I could be wrong.
    It’s unlikely but G’zelt, the Wandering Weepy Goddess of the Worlds Of The N’ren may be the One True Creator of Everything and praying to her might actually work.
    The reason Christian and Muslim prayers never seem to work could be that they are praying to the wrong gods. Praying to G’zelt might be the way to do it.
    I know that I don’t know. Not for sure and certain. I do know that none of the gods used so far by human beings have ever truly responded to prayed requests with the granting of supernatural boons.
    We can tell that with one glance at the Guinness Book of Records wherein we find no immortals. Humans fear dying. Humans pray for more life as they die. If even one of those prayers had been answered with an “Oh, fuck, why not this once?” the world would know of it.
    That god’s church would be the only one going.

    So the people praying may not be arrogant, they may just be ignorant of the correct god to pray to.
    Has anyone tried Klono? Or Hamrathi? Or Gdelph?
    Or even Kal-El? Or me?

    If you are asking for help, don’t call the Coast Guard when your home is on fire.

  13. Red Crow says:

    Micheal, I am happy for your wife and I hope she remains so for many, many years but had some wittering poltroon suggested anything like that to me when my wife was dying of cancers, I would not have taken it in good spirit.
    Fortunately, not even her family made that mistake.
    Not even her priest was dumb enough to.
    I suspect the faithful can recognise a Hell-bound daemon when they encounter me.

  14. wrinkel42 says:

    Red Crow,
    Thank you for sharing.
    All the best.

  15. Red Crow says:

    wrinkel42 : ” Thank you for sharing.
    All the best.”

    Oh. Right. Okay. Message received and point taken.
    Be well.

    Author? Delete function?

  16. Ah, faith. The ability to believe in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. As you believe, so it will be. Yeah, sure.

    Red Crow, time passes and things change. I’m okay with that.

    Thanks again, Author. Whenever you resurrect something like this, I feel an urge to start reading the archives from the beginning again. How could I have forgotten this one?

  17. pink squirrel says:

    IF gays make ‘god’ do storms, topless women make ‘god’ do earthquakes and transwomen make ‘god’ do 9/11
    Then it has to be asked – which sub group are responsible for making ‘god’ do cancer

  18. dr John de Wipper says:

    The reason Christian and Muslim prayers never seem to work could be that they are praying to the wrong gods.
    I am even more sensitive to my mother’s argument (from even before she became openly atheist): Maybe because so many prayers cancel one another.
    2 examples:
    1. If my lottery ticket is to win, yours cannot also win, so our prayers cancel.
    2. (at least in Dutch) a common curse is: “Get [whatever uncurable disease, nowadays usually cancer]”. And that curse is usually invoked with the exclamation of (translated): “or let god damn me.” (which is supposed to make it stronger)
    Now which prayer is the god supposed to honor?
    Discussions like this did really help converting me (and all my brothers and sister) to atheism before legal maturity….

  19. two cents' worth says:

    Red Crow, I hope you won’t delete your posts, or give up on us. The denizens of this pub understand your point of view. You are welcome here. I can only imagine the grief you have been feeling since your wife died. You have my deepest sympathy. I can’t be there for you in person, but may I give you a {*hug*} and get you a drink?

  20. two cents' worth says:

    Ladyduck’s story reminds me of a joke. (My mind works in strange ways sometimes.) John is sitting on his front porch when his neighbor drives up. “A hurricane is coming. We’re supposed to evacuate. I’m heading inland. Want to come with me?” John replies, “No thanks. God will save me.” His neighbor shrugs and drives off. John goes indoors when the rain starts. Soon his street and front yard are flooded. A rescue worker in a canoe sees him through his living room window, paddles up, and shouts, “You need to evacuate! I’ll meet you at your front door and take you to the relief shelter.” John shouts back, “No thanks! God will save me!” The rescue worker paddles away, shaking her head. The water continues to rise. John escapes to his roof. A helicopter approaches. Someone holding a megaphone says, “Hang on! We’ll lower a sling for you and take you to safety!” John bellows, “No thanks! God will save me!” The helicopter departs. The rain keeps pouring down. Branches torn off by the wind whip by. The water creeps higher and higher. Night falls. The temperature drops. John finally succumbs. He finds himself at the Pearly Gates. “God,” he says, “I don’t mean to complain, but I trusted in you. Why didn’t you save me?” God replied, ” I sent you a car, a canoe, and a helicopter. What more did you want?”

  21. Thoughtful Person says:

    Red Crow, imagine a mind. It is a very, very large mind, somewhere between transfinite and infinite in both capacity and ability. It is a mind which can segregate off parts of itself that are in themselves somewhere close to infinite.
    This mind cannot ever get bored as it is capable of devising an infinite number of infinite things for it to play with, to explore.
    Some of these toys are multiverses. Some are universes wherein “multiverse” is an impossible concept. Some are mere puzzles writing themselves into the manifolds. Some have inhabited worlds, inhabited stars, clouds of dust and gas that live, warring tribes of deities of transfinite power and might, galactic empires, magical realms full of talking animals and robots.
    Some of the things the mind creates or cause to self-build, are vast, endless, eternal. Some are cyclic, some are …
    In short, everything is true. Even falsehoods are true.
    And in the colossal everything is the mind, watching, playing, sometimes interfering, sometimes observing, and sometimes being the things it has built.
    “We are gods.”
    Because the creator-mind that can never be bored, lives as each and every being, every microbe, every atom, every cosmic concept.
    It is wife, mother, distant ancestor, us, descendants and the vacuum.
    Yes, it is also all of the petty, tiny, weak-minded gods of all of the religions. They are all true and all meaningless. Not here, in this reality but in many, many infinities of others.

    If you are still following, imagine so tremendous a being in this our very own universe. This one is one of the “let well alone and see what happens” cosmoses.
    It might be a cosmos in which “other realities”, super-beings, magics, supernatural entities and even aliens are all impossible. A reality in which only this reality can be real and all else is fiction. A reality without gods, demons, ghouls and talking carrots.
    A reality in which death is final, there is no afterlife and all religions are lies and fraud. This is the universe with no soul.
    Why would a transfinite supermind build so bleak a universe?
    Why would it allow living, feeling beings to evolve into it, to live, suffer, lose, grieve and die forever?
    Why not?
    It is doing everything else and a universe like this one is interesting, at least interesting enough to occupy a tiny, tiny part of the supermind until the cosmos itself gives up and dies.

    If there is an infinite god it will eventually make a bleak, horrible, ugly, hateful universe in which the infinitesimal, transient lifeforms live and die for no reason, with no purpose and for so little a time.
    It will build such a thing because it can.

    Our universe may, indeed have a god but it could be a distant, uncaring, disinterested supermind that just watches everyone live and die. Like a collector watching beetles in his killing jar only larger and less compassionate. A supermind that sees this entire universe, from the expanding singularity to its heatdeath as only a source of entertainment and data.

    Somewhere, in the impossible other universes which can never exist relative to this one, there will also be one where souls exist and heavens are eternally full of joyous celebration but it isn’t “here”.

    We get the empty, meaningless one.

    It was just a random thought. Probably not even very original.
    But it explains the silences.

  22. pink squirrel says:

    Thoughtful person envisages a range of possible universes, created by an entity which is self-superfluous.
    given we don’t know which universe we inhabit from the range of possibilities it comes down to a subjective interpretation of the one we do know
    we do happen to live in a universe in which the infinitesimal, transient lifeforms live and die for no reason, with no purpose and for so little a time, an empty, meaningless one.
    “a bleak, horrible, ugly, hateful universe” NO – those are subjective emotive qualities which we can project on the universe if our own state of mind is pessimistic enough. However those qualities are not intrinsic to space time.

  23. jb says:

    Thoughtful Person — If you haven’t already read it, I suggest you would enjoy Star Maker, a classic 1937 science fiction novel by Olaf Stapledon. The “star maker” of the title, although not revealed until the end of the book, turns out to be a deity very much like the one you propose.

  24. Deimos says:

    Pink squirrel- what group so annoyed God that he made 9/11?
    Oh where to start….
    Daily Mail readers, lib dem voters, Arsenal fans, people who wear socks with sandals, me, you, anyone who ever watched Big Brother…..
    Sorry I will take my medicine and calm down now, but it was a great opportunity to rant.

  25. Grumpy says:

    Deimos: I must be taking the same meds.

  26. plainsuch says:

    Don’t be hating on my socks with sandals. They keep the athletes foot fungi from eating my feet off.

  27. plainsuch says:

    Since Faith is so strong it need not fear crumbling to dust when the light of reality shines on it. So there’s no need forbidding Blasphemy. Or, maybe, I have that all backward. Anyway, remember to celebrate International Blasphemy Rights Day, held each year on September 30.

    If you don’t know where to start try the following link: Blasphemy… Easy to learn, difficult to master.

  28. Thoughtful Person says:

    Deimos, what could possibly motivate any god, even an evil one to do this?
    Or to allow it? Only in a godless cosmos can such things happen with monotonous frequency.
    We do not live in a world of Magic.

    jb, Science Fiction? You recommend SF? Here? Wow, you are brave. I thought the drinkers at the “C&B” sneered at such kiddy stuff. They certainly don’t seem to like anything that smacks of speculative engineering.
    Even their resident Christian, Mr. Freefox, is hard-headed in this regard.
    If this crowd has a collective faith it is the faith that “Star Trek” is worse than Biblical fictions.
    To keep any jot of their respect it would be very wise never to admit even knowing of any individual SF item. Though, as “Star Trek” is often mentioned in the respectable BBC News knowing if that is probably safe enough.

    Pink Squirrel, you are not seeing the Very Big Picture. Yes, in the proposed scheme there would be universes that are merely empty and meaning-free but this one is the One True Unique cosmos that is also “a bleak, horrible, ugly, hateful universe”.
    In the Grandest Scheme Of Meta-Things there would naturally (or unnaturally, perhaps even supernaturally) be at least one of those for the great supermind to watch.
    It can design or cause to self-evolve any sort of universe it can dream of so one with an emotional bias to its spacetime fabric would not be strange.
    Indeed, there should be universes, perhaps even this one, that are actively malevolent in and of themselves without the need for the driving urges of magical over-beings.
    Malevolence as an intrinsic property of the manifold. Malevolence as a basic condition of the vacuum field, not as an aspect of a caring sentience. Malevolence as fine structure.
    That would explain “Pseudo-celebrity Big Brother”, if anything can.

  29. Thoughtful Person says:

    “… knowing if that …” should, of course have read “… knowing OF that …” in the previous. Any typographicals I’ve missed can be mocked and jeered at as you will. 🙂

    To Red Crow’s delete function, I would add a request for a post-posting edit function, please. Thank you, kissykissy, hugs.

    Oh, I forgot to comment on the COMIC!. Witty, pointed, slightly evil, funny and brilliant as you so very often are, Author, even if it is a repeat.
    You should have an asteroid named after you.

  30. pink squirrel says:

    but this one is the One True Unique cosmos that is also “a bleak, horrible, ugly, hateful universe”.
    ok but a] why should it just be one unique universe with those properties -surely many of them are possible
    b] it remains pessimistic to define our’s in those terms.
    c] an actively malevolent universe would likely be too hostile for life to evolve

  31. pink squirrel says:

    , as “Star Trek” is often mentioned in the respectable BBC News knowing if that is probably safe enough.
    given that the BBC produce Doctor Who, which is designated as sci fi, it is likely that the BBC see star trek as factual. A comparison of the scientific literacy of the two programs does suggest that the writers of Star Trek at least aim for scientific accuracy

  32. Canneloni says:

    NO! No editing functions, please, ThoughtfulPerson. What could be worse than replying to an argument only to find later that the original post has been changed, leaving you looking foolish?

    (Well, OK, lots of things worse than that, but it is still undesirable).

    Please let’s leave history unchanged – and unchangeable.

  33. HaggisForBrains says:

    TP & Canneloni – Curiously, there was an edit function for a short period some years ago, and it was much lamented when it suddenly disappeared. I don’t think it was used to alter an argument, but enabled typos and html fails to be corrected. I think when it was available that there was a time limit for editing, but I may be remembering incorrectly. Perhaps DH can confirm.

    How about trying to bring it back, Author?

  34. Author says:

    Testing a new comment editing plugin.

    Edited to add: seems to work!

  35. Thoughtful Person says:

    Pink Squirrel, last try at tying it all together: this would not be the one true universe that has those properties, it would be The One True Universe and it has those properties. This would be the universe in which other universe don’t happen, in which “multiverse” is only a debunked theory. It would also be bleak, horrible, ugly, futile and all those other things just because it is.
    Why would this lone, singleton universe be so nasty? Why not?
    There would probably be nice ones, even though in this universe there can’t be others but this would not be one of the nicer ones.

    Hell, girl, it was just a throwaway idea, a momentary thought, a quantum dream of a godling that made some sort of sense even in a Scientific paradigm.
    It wasn’t important.

    An actively malevolent universe need not be hostile to life. Indeed it would want life to torture and to play with. In the Grandest Scheme all types of universe would exist, even those that are impossible and incompatible with others. A supermind would need the distraction provided by such a complete set of things.
    We wouldn’t want it to get bored by limiting its options, would we? It might do things if it got bored.

    Lastly, finally, and as an adieu, the BBC is run by people who “graduated” in Media Studies, Business Studies and other soggy subjects. Their view of Science was formed in Primary School and never matured from there. They can’t understand the difference between “Star Trek” and reality. The bosses are even further from a science-based education and understand even less.
    Unfortunately, the UK aristocracy, including its Parliament, are in the same puddle of muddy thinking.
    It’s a problem.
    It means that, for example, every time a quantum entanglement experiment is done, the BBC website hails it as a step towards “Star Trek” teleportation when it is truly nothing of the sort and that their “technology consultant” has less of a science-based education than does any random house-plant.
    And the Science is a tack-on to the education of our children instead of being the only part that is fully funded and …
    Ah, all old, tired arguments and as futile as our lives in this poky corner of the Grandest Scheme.

    Love you, bye.

  36. Thoughtful Person says:

    Thank you, Author. You are nice.

  37. pink squirrel says:

    Re’A supermind would need the distraction provided by such a complete set of things.’
    That is presumptive concerning what a supermind would need/not need.
    Thank you author for adding a typo correction aid.

  38. HaggisForBrains says:

    Thank you, Author.


    And it works!

  39. FreeFox says:

    Is there a rule in the C&B regarding ninja edits?

    Edit: Never mind, I see that we only have 5 minutes to edit comments. That solves the problem. Sweet. ^_^

    Second Edit: And I see HaggisForBrains had already adressed that point. Now I feel stupid. ^_^

  40. smartalek says:

    Edit function?!

    ETA: Edit function!!

    ETA: Not that I ever make typos.
    Well, hardly ever.

  41. helenahandbasket says:

    Ladyduck, my father died a couple of years back and I gave an atheist eulogy. Afterwards we overheard the ushers at the crematorium wonder loudly why atheists bothered as “its not as if they were going anywhere”. My father would have had a good laugh at that one.

  42. jb says:

    I’m going to experiment with the new edit system now. I will use this comment to mention that the edit system on another site I read allows 5 minutes after a comment has been posted but before the comment is visible to anyone else in which the comment can be edited or deleted. This seems like a good idea, and maybe the new system here works the same way. Let’s find out…

    Edit: OK, there is a delete button, which is nice. Can’t tell if the comment is visible during the edit period. If it isn’t visible, that completely solves the ninja edit problem. Author, do you know the answer to this?

  43. two cents' worth says:

    FreeFox, I don’t think you were stupid for checking the edit function. You (like smartalek) were replicating HFB’s results, confirming that we can rely on the edit function when we want to make changes to our posts.

    Now jb is extending this line of basic research, exploring the ninja edit problem further.

    We give thanks, O Author, to thee for providing the edit function 🙂 . And I give thanks to HFB, FreeFox, smartalek, and jb for testing it and sharing their results!

  44. Author says:

    jb, the comment is visible immediately.

  45. Tomas (not the doubter) says:

    Thoughtful Person: science fiction, “kiddy stuff”? You obviously haven’t read much of it. Unless you were being sarcastic…


NOTE: This comments section is provided as a friendly place for readers of J&M to talk, to exchange jokes and ideas, to engage in profound philosophical discussion, and to ridicule the sincerely held beliefs of millions. As such, comments of a racist, sexist or homophobic nature will not be tolerated.

If you are posting for the first time, or you change your username and/or email, your comment will be held in moderation until approval. When your first comment is approved, subsequent comments will be published automatically.