Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ obstinacy

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “things”, came with an email note:

It’s probably more of a motto than a policy statement, and it’s definitely more widely adhered to than it should be.

This is pretty much the case, and never truer when believers deal with theodicy: the Achilles heel of religion. If there’s a kind, loving, and all-powerful God, why do so many children and innocents die from natural disasters and diseases (“physical evils”)? There’s no good answer that can be reconciled with the Abrahamic God.  Theologians, of course, do have an unconvincing explanation for “moral evil”—people doing bad stuff to others. That answer: “free will”, which allows some people to do evil, is necessary for God’s schema of salvation. But as for physical evils like cancer, earthquakes, fires, and tsunamis, believers have to default to the position of “God is mysterious.”

And yet believers still believe—all the harder—in the face of this unanswerable argument. Perhaps we’ll have more on that later today. 

21 Comments

  1. W.T. Effingham
    Posted November 11, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance…and if they don’t seem baffled enough with enough bullsnot, baffle harder with more bullsnot.”

  2. Posted November 11, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I think this is the President Eject’s strategy.

  3. A C Harper
    Posted November 11, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    If god moves in a mysterious way how can the god industry ‘know’ that every life is sacred, slavery is no longer acceptable, premarital sex is a no no, some forms of wealth are allowed and some are not.

    The more parsimonious explanation is that ‘god’ is just a hook to hang current social morality upon, independent of the observation that shit happens even to good people.

    • Posted November 11, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      There’s always the divine inspiration to interpret the the ancient Abrahamic text to fit the new paradigm.

      Alternatively we can find a sign in the chaotic events around us.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted November 11, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      All these rules are made up by priests to show that they, and only they, have a direct line to whatever deity they are selling to the masses. It has been this way ever since the first priest invented the scam and started taking ten percent of everyone else’s valuables. It isn’t any deity who moves in mysterious ways but priests who need to show how necessary they are by obfuscating and creating complex theologies.

  4. phoffman56
    Posted November 11, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    “…harder (even) to believe (now), believe harder”

    True now, after the Drumpf dump, of the QAnon moron, as well.

  5. eric
    Posted November 11, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    That answer: “free will”, which allows some people to do evil, is necessary for God’s schema of salvation.

    I submit to you that ‘free will’ doesn’t solve the theodicy issue for the vast majority of bad things humans do to each other. I call this the ‘most good human’ argument.

    1. Human personalities have a range. Some are very good (cooperative, social, nonviolent, etc.) just by nature. They choose little or no evil. Think Gandhi.

    2. The Gandhi’s of the world have just as much free will as the rest of us.

    3. So God could’ve given us all Gandhi-like personalities, and we’d all still have free will (in this theological framework).

    4. Thus any suffering caused by non-Gandhi like people cannot be defended by ‘free will’, because God could’ve given us all Gandhi-like personalities AND free will.

    Or in short: we could all be as good as the most good human. Any suffering in excess of that, resulting from us not being a most-good human, is theologically unnecessary.

    • Charles Jones
      Posted November 11, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      But how entertaining for The Lord would this be? He had to create humans with the innate desire to do terrible things to each other or we’d be too boring to watch.

      Clearly, Adam and Eve were so tedius that after only a few days He had to create a Satan with the mission of triggering the corruption of the entire Earth.

      The Lord now certainly loves His Earth TV!

    • savage
      Posted November 11, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Some Christian sects have taken the doctrine of predestination quite far, but they still believe that the damned humans are ultimately to blame for their fate.

      That is because of the belief in an immortal soul, which is not subject to material causes. Therefore, Christians would probably not accept your point 1).

  6. Posted November 11, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Have any other subscribers to JandMo emails not got the last couple? I’ve not.

    I could have fat-fingered an “unsubscribe” I guess, but I’ve just tried subscribing again and got: “That email address is already subscribed”. Strange.

    (Yes, I’m checked my gmail spam trap.)

    • Dan Morrison
      Posted November 11, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Had the same problem with email for this site “WEIT” for two or three weeks for no apparent reason. Had to go to the web-site. Then the emails started again. Maybe the emails have free will?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted November 11, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      An automatic monthly contribution should automatically subscribe you, right? If so, I’ve never gotten anything more than the monthly email re. the contribution.

    • Posted November 12, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Yes, I hadn’t noticed till I saw this post. I was on holiday last week and didn’t notice no email. I’ve been subscribed almost from the start, so I’ve dropped Author a line to warn him. Cock up at the Cock & Bull?

  7. jezgrove
    Posted November 11, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Jesus ‘n’ Mo are brilliant as always :o)

  8. Posted November 11, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Mo says “believe harder”… whilst thee grit thy teeth!
    Squeeze the moisture out, it then goes brittle, flakey, collapses in on itself…
    Fuck yeah Mo, GO HARD buddy!

  9. Posted November 11, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard, it’s so impossible, it just has to be true.

  10. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 11, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    I had to let that sink in a bit — another sharp one! When things *become* difficult to believe — over thousands of years, this is a perfectly reasonable expectation for many truth claims. It is utterly sad, victims of religion really do have to “believe harder”.

  11. KD
    Posted November 12, 2020 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    If there’s a kind, loving, and all-powerful God. . .

    But if you read the Abrahamic Bible, either the Old Testament or the New Testament, while its clear you are supposed to say that God is kind and loving (just as you might describe Stalin or Hitler if you were their subject), none of the behavior exhibited seems consistent with kindness or love, it is more in the way of partiality. God likes this one and doesn’t like that one, so this one gets the Kingdom and this one’s family dies and he gets boils.

    God is arbitrary, and you walk through life groveling out of fear of provoking wraith for eating shellfish or talking to a married woman. The New Testament supposedly exhibits God’s love for the world, but how is that accomplished? Let’s see, human sacrifice?

    No, it all comes from a much darker place in the human psyche than “kindness” or “love” as these are conventionally understood. If the Abrahamic God exists, he is not the embodiment of bourgeois kindness, he’d be much closer to an Aztec high priest.

    • KD
      Posted November 12, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

      God is Love, and as Nietzsche assures us, Love is always beyond good and evil. [Influenced by Kierkegaard here no less.]

  12. raindeerfly2
    Posted November 12, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Instead of guessing what it means why don’t you just read the Bible! You would see why! It’s not because of GOD they die, it’s because of us, mankind. Altering food crops and insect sprays we put on them. GOD doesn’t do it, man does it to himself! Desasters happen like earthquakes because of how the earth was first formed, also why the weather changes. It’s not man, it’s how the earth works! Don’t want to die in an earthquake, don’t live on a fault line. Don’t want to be hurt by a valcano, don’t elect to live on top of one or under one either. Man made decisions!

    • Posted November 12, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      OMG OMG. Here we go, folks. Why can’t God stop earthquakes, then? Has he no power to do so? And what about those people who live inland but still die from tsunamis or hurricanes or tornadoes? What do you tell them?

      Most important, how on Earth do little kids choose to get cancers and other diseases. That’s not the fault of mankind–it’s the fault of God, who either doesn’t care to intervene or doesn’t have the power to do so.

      I would have suspected that your comment is a joke except somehow I think you’re sincere. You’re also deeply, deeply muddled.


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