Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ reaction

July 14, 2021 • 9:00 am

The “new” Jesus and Mo strip, called “fifth2”, is apparently a resurrection from 2008, and the website has this note:

The quote is the best bit from a very long 2006 essay by Martin Amis. You can read the first part of the essay by clicking on the screenshot below, which will take you to part two:

The entire paragraph quoted, which is Martin Amis writing from Pakistan.

Religion is sensitive ground, as well it might be. Here we walk on eggshells. Because religion is itself an eggshell. Today, in the West, there are no good excuses for religious belief – unless we think that ignorance, reaction and sentimentality are good excuses. This is of course not so in the East, where, we acknowledge, almost every living citizen in many huge and populous countries is intimately defined by religious belief. The excuses, here, are very persuasive; and we duly accept that ‘faith’ – recently and almost endearingly defined as ‘the desire for the approval of supernatural beings’ – is a world-historical force and a world-historical actor. All religions, unsurprisingly, have their terrorists, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, even Buddhist. But we are not hearing from those religions. We are hearing from Islam.

And in the cartoon, Jesus and Mo manage to disparage each other:

10 thoughts on “Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ reaction

  1. Sentimentality and tradition were effectively the reasons for the beliefs of the few religious people with whom I have seriously discussed religion. I don’t think they were analytically introspective people. Their epistemology included truth by desire.

    1. I can see that wishful thinking might be a big reason for adherence to certain religions, such as Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, where the promise of existence after death—one where your quality of afterlife is within your control during your lifetime, in most sects at least—would be a big draw. But there are certainly religions where there either is no afterlife or the afterlife is something to be viewed with a certain amount of dread. Judaism, as I understand it, belongs to the first group and certainly ancient Greek religion and Navajo cosmology are not exactly reassuring belief systems on the post-mortality score.

      The question of why you would have religions that don’t give you that kind of reassurance has always bothered me… given that you’re spinning a story about reality based on nothing factual, why not put the best spin on your prospects in the sweet bye-and-bye that you can?

      1. Your closing thoughts are interesting. In the case of Judaism, it would seem that the ultimate end of human existence is to be written by Yahweh in his Book of Life, whatever consolation that may provide. I welcome further explanation or correction of my observation by any with more knowledge of Judaism than I.

        1. In the case of Judaism, it would seem that the ultimate end of human existence is to be written by Yahweh in his Book of Life,

          I don’t recall seeing that anywhere in the BuyBull. I guess it is in the Torah or Talmud somewhere. Can you name the groups of present-day Judaism who try to kill each other over the conflicting interpretations? (That being the main purpose of religion, AFAICT).

          1. I, a goy, have sung in choirs of several synagogues in the Chicago area. I’ve sung the High Holidays, and I remember that a common greeting among those observant of Yom Kippur is “May you be inscribed in the book of life.” Like you, I don’t remember where in the Bible there’s reference to that idea, but Leviticus 23 lists the holidays including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.

            1. It’s a bit of an esoteric notion in the Old Testament, I suppose, maybe kept hidden deliberately? In Hart Crane’s superb ‘Proem: To Brooklyn Bridge’, Crane has the same view of the bridge as a precious mystery:

              And obscure as that Heaven of the Jews,
              Thy guerdon…

  2. I like Amis’s use of the word “sentimentality” in this context. It relates to my theory that the only reason Western intellectuals have for religious belief in this day and age is Fideism, that is, credo quia consolans. I’m thinking of Andrew Sullivan as a prominent example of such an intellectual, though he would most likely disagree with my assessment of him and attempt to defend his belief using Aquinas’s “proofs.”

    1. Still, he’s a very intelligent and widely read person. He must realize that the vast majority of thinkers on these issues think Aquinas’s proofs are fallacious. I’m inevitably puzzled by people like Sullivan. Very hard to explain how they think.

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