Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ rage

May 14, 2014 • 4:14 am

The New Jesus and Mo strip ponders  the demise of Islamic  literalism, but the future doesn’t look bright:


But I have to wonder whether we have any right to criticize Islam in this way, given that Catholics in the U.S. also beef when they’re publicly criticized? After all, as we learned yesterday, it’s only a matter of degree.

h/t: Linda Grilli

33 thoughts on “Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ rage

      1. seconded. I don’t either. Things will only appear to “improve” from time to time but at the most fundamental level, things will always remain the same so long as the ignorant (willful or otherwise), fearful and superstitious remain walking among us w/o a straight jacket and sane supposedly people give them credence, which I strongly suspect will be forever.

        1. Well, at least some of them wear distinctive attire so that we may identify them and move to the other side of the street: clerical collars and such….

      2. I think the more realistic light at the end of the tunnel is that western modernity has basically house-trained Christianity.* Thus we know house-training Islam (and other religions) is doable. That should be the mid-term goal. Heck, we don’t even have to bother figuring out ways to make their religious book consistent with broad civil rights; change the culture, and people in that culture invent their own justifications for why their holy book supports their new cultural beliefs.
        *Not perfectly, but I’ll take Fred Phelps over Torquemada any day of the week.

        1. It would be a looong tunnel. The most effective route could be improvement of the economic situation of the large populations of muslims living in poverty without gainful employment. This is like how Christian fundamentalism can be fought over here.

          1. Yes I agree, I’d just add education (which is a part of improving their economic situation, but IMO important enough to get it’s own shout out).

  1. Ouch, faith takes a huge beating in just four comic panels! From the literalism of religious texts, to the abandonment of faith, to coping strategies when your position become increasingly untenable (think about deniers of evolution and anthropogenic climate change).

  2. “But I have to wonder whether we have any right to criticize Islam in this way, given that Catholics in the U.S. also beef when they’re publicly criticized? After all, as we learned yesterday, it’s only a matter of degree.”

    Nothing about something being a part of a continuum prevents legitimate criticism of it.

    With lots of moral issues we aren’t arguing about whether there should be a line but where to draw it. Blasphemy laws are outrageous. And they are used by indivdiual Muslims and governments of Muslim nations to silence criticism. We can object to blasphemy laws in the strongest way, while still acknowledging that free speech is not an unlimited right. Death threats, for instance, are speech, but I think people, such as Islamic extremists who make specific threats to people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali should be arrested.

    Morality isn’t just a black and white issue. Over simplifying moral problems is what extremists do, favoring low effort cognition and easy answers. Recognizing that many moral issues are matters of degree is an acknowledgement that forms a part of our understanding how we arrive at our moral judgements, and that even though something can be a matter of degrees, the degrees matter.

    1. Scote, given Jerry’s earlier posts on Islam as well as his responses to various people on those posts, I’m pretty sure the paragraph you quote was intended to be somewhat sarcastic/tongue in cheek. He doesn’t wonder, and he thinks we do have a right to criticize.

      1. I think that comment (Jerry’s last paragraph) is referring to the argument in the comments of the Hijab post. Yesterday someone said basically, while attacking Muslims for their dress code, we might also examine our own dress codes and how both are justified with similar arguments. Here Jerry seems to have re-phrased that as, “you have no right to criticize Muslim dress codes, if you also enforce (much more reasonable) dress codes.” I don’t think anyone yesterday was suggesting the Hijab could not or should not be criticized, though. Certainly no one questioned our “right” to criticize it. I guess Jerry read the comment about Western dress codes and saw, “people in glass houses should not throw stones.” I didn’t get the impression that that was the point of the comment, but maybe I’m just being naive.

  3. There is no ‘degree’ of delusion in religion. You are either in or out. Whether you don’t eat meat on Friday or kill thousands in a suicide bombing, you still act as if life is eternal. The consequence of this is that it either screws your real life over or the real lives of many.

    1. Though I am sure there must be some, though in very small numbers, the typical believer does not act as if life is eternal. At least not their life. This doesn’t surprise me, but it does crack me up. Between having to counter evolutionary history and not having the level of conviction their gods demand, I can almost feel sorry for them.

      1. Nobody loves god. They love their pets more than god.

        They love the idea that they get to live forever. That’s what motivates them to behave the way they do and I can almost feel sorry for them too.

      1. I appreciate it. With beef prices at their highest in three decades, maybe the Church should extend the ban on meat to all Fridays, like they used to; more for those of us who want to eat it. I’ve read some sources that say that historically, food scarcity and/or famine was a major driver behind establishing fasting. Why not modernize it and base it on commodity prices?

      2. “Please describe to me how someone else not eating meat on Friday screws over my real life.”

        Pretty easy: when they declare that not eating meat on Friday needs to be the law, and that serving meat on Fridays should be illegal. In the US we still have the legacy of blue laws that prohibit business from being open or selling certain products on Sundays.

        That being said, I do think there can be degrees of delusion. I’m pretty comfortable in saying that a 72 virgins Islamic murder suicide bomber is more deluded than, say, a typical Deist.

        1. I would perjure myself if I did not say that Blue Laws actually affect my life directly in negative ways, whereas I am hard pressed to show for the significance on my own life of suicide bomber in the Middle East.

          It is not like I do not care. When I see documentaries about the Middle East I become very emotional, but I also get emotional watching the Hunger Games. When people die needlessly, it is never a good thing, real or not.

          1. 9/11. Particularly if you live in the US. A trigger for assholes with political power to start two wars thereby directly increasing our debt by trillions and significantly contributing, along with other assinine policies by said assholes, particularly those policies giving themselves and their chums the freedom to create a truly spectacular derivatives market implosion, to a major economic down turn. Along with the steady incursions against civil liberties, the DHS and the TSA.

            I can’t speak for everyone but by my measure my life, and the lives of pretty much everyone I know, have been seriously affected by suicide bombers. Perhaps not “directly,” but at one or two, or more, steps away. And the affects are orders of magnitude more harmful than not being able to buy alcohol on Sundays.

            1. I must concede that I am in contradiction to my earlier statement. For I have had direct employment benefits because of terrorism. However, I would not claim that the outcome of said employment was harmful to anyone; in fact, it has been beneficial to humanity and modestly to science.

        2. How are deists deluded? Or did you mean theists? (Not saying they’re right.. but it’s an open question isn’t it?)

          1. If there is belief in the afterlife then there is delusion. Most Deists I ever thought about really do not think much about the transcendent.

            In short, I Deists are a fading species. Deists are just waffling-agnostics and agnostics and just waffling-atheists. If people are going to make the jump from Theism, the chances of stopping at Deism are becoming increasingly slim to none.

            But, yeah, old time Deists, like in the vein of Einstein, are not deluded.

      3. In and of itself of course it doesn’t screw over the lives of the non-religious. It’s a restricted personal choice for ‘obedience.’ Challenging it is impolite.

        But such taboos are based on the ideas that 1.) faith is a virtue and 2.) the gods are pleased by otherwise pointless worldly sacrifices. When those beliefs accumulate in a society atheism isn’t seen as a reasonable conclusion, but a personal choice for rebellion. That’s worse than impolite.

    2. Of course there are “degrees” of delusion in religion, just as there are degrees of delusion in pseudoscience.

      The specific problem with religion and pseudoscience is that the reasonable checks and balances are absent. They both involve what comes down to conspiracy-style habits of thought, where criticism is automatically dismissible as soon as the skeptics qualify as Dishonest Outsiders — those who close their hearts as well as their minds. That line is always going to be arbitrary, an expression of an individual’s background and personality and personal need to believe, because if it wasn’t arbitrary we wouldn’t be talking about religion or pseudoscience.

      Every time a religious believer supports science and its discoveries, it’s lucky. They decided to approach God in a way which makes as much sense to atheists as possible: minimize its impact and the value of belief. Good for them. But the system still sucks. They didn’t discover the “right” way to approach God. There is no God. They’re successfully blending into the natural world.

      And the “fanatics” are successfully blending into the other one… the all-important, all encompassing one which doesn’t exist.

  4. Jesus is providing Mo with a coping strategy for those occasions when reality intrudes upon emotion-based utopian delusion.

    Seven hundred extra years of experience enables broader perspective.

  5. Have you thought about clinging to your belief with an increased fanaticism which threatens to erupt into violence should anyone question it?

    Yes, hopefully this will one day be replaced by the more modern strategy of clinging to your belief with an increased fanaticism which threatens to erupt into sneering bafflegab should anyone question it. That’s a genuine improvement.

    1. Bafflegab. That is a new one for me. It is immediately useful to me in two ways:

      god-of-the-gaps = misunderstood science+bafflegab

      sophisticated theology = sophistry+bafflegab

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