How to suck at your religion

Oh dear. Matthew Inman of the marvelous web-comic, The Oatmeal, seems to have experienced that exquisite twitch all modern atheists are doomed to experience — the I-know-what’s-best-for-you-silly-religious-people-come-heed-me spasm. This particular train of thought requires the thinker ignore the vast majority of Christian belief — which is entrenched in reason — and focus solely on minority caricatures of the creationist or the wailing-out evangelical, caricatures firmly established and grounded in The Holy Internet Worldview. Having thus defined the term “religion”, the moral high ground is taken, the sneers are unleashed, and all religious people fear and tremble, for atheism has demonstrated itself as supremely reasonable, authoritative, scientific, and gosh-darnit it’s a wonder everyone just doesn’t convert on the spot. Check it out.

Now I know it’s an impossible task, rebutting with clunking prose what is claimed by fantastic comics, but someone’s got to try, if only for this reason: It’s no kindness to the atheist to let him forever believe that the religious have all the intellectual history of a WBC preacher. I mean goodness, what if he stumbles upon a Dominican? The shock would kill him. Thus and therefore and onwards then, in that frustrating step-by-step manner:

Right, because this here is a totally non-judgmental comic.

Okay, pushing past the I-don’t-want-to-address-the-question-of-whether-an-embryo-is-a-human-life-I’ll-just-make-the-bishop-character-blame-devils-lol-isn’t-religion-stupid-and-evasive and moving towards the actual issue: Embryonic stem cell research, from a purely scientific perspective, sucks. In the past thirty years of research, there hasn’t been one single human disease cured. Not one. No success. Can’t stress this enough. Have thus resorted to sentence fragments.

Adult stem cell research on the other hand, fully supported by the Catholic Church, is awesome. It has been used — sucessfully — to cure lupus, to treat blindness and vision loss, to put severe Crohn disease in remission, to cure rheumatoid arthritis, to heal diseased hearts, to put freaking brain tumors in remission, to cure certain types of ovarian cancer, testicular cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia (Yes Mr. Inman, leukemia (the disease mentioned in your comic –leukemia, (pronounced leukemia, a disease which an overwhelming ass-ton of studies prove that adult stem cells can treat (sorry, had to fit all the studies in somehow)))).

Now let’s do some incredibly complex thinking here: We have on the one hand a potentially unethical treatment that’s never been shown to work. On the other — an undoubtedly ethical treatment that has produced splendid results, results who are walking around whole and healthy and can testify to the fact. The question is this: Is the fact that the Catholic Church supports the successful treatment while opposing the unsuccessful one hindering the advancement of medicine? Don’t think so. Neither does the State of California, which has ended funding of embryonic stem cell research. If this is the oppressive, close-minded attitude of the Catholic Church towards science, I’d say we could use a lot more of it.

As to the Galileo Affair, if I might be spared a moment to point out three fun facts, provided in part by George Sim Johnston:

1. That this is the only event in 2000 years of Church history that atheists can point to in order to claim that the Church is opposed to Science seems to indicate that the Church is not in fact opposed to Science.

2. The Church did not say that Galileo was teaching heresy. They rightly pointed out that if the earth did orbit the sun then there would be a shift in the position of a star observed from the earth on one side of the sun, and then six months later from the other side. Galileo was not able with the best of his telescopes to discern this “stellar parallax.” (This was a valid scientific objection, and it was not answered until 1838, when Friedrich Bessel succeeded in determining the parallax of star 61 Cygni.)

The Church gave Galileo the following offer: Copernicanism might be considered a hypothesis, one even superior to the Ptolemaic system, until further proof could be adduced. He refused it. Everyone had to believe in Copernicanism, despite the lack of evidence, and despite Galileo’s obviously wrongheaded claim – that the planets orbit the sun in perfect circles. This still wasn’t a problem until he tried to make his argument on theological grounds. (An irony that atheists remain blissfully unaware of, that the man they lift up as a martyr for scientific discovery was actually a martyr for bad theology.)

3. When Galileo was brought to the Inquisition for his interpretation of Scripture it was by the testimony of a rather stupid priest, Caccini, whose claims were “a web of hearsay, innuendo, and deliberate falsehood,” historian Arthur Koestler writes. The Inquisition dropped all charges against him.

Following this up, the Consultor of the Holy Office and Master of Controversial Questions (a Title which the existence of alone makes me proud of my religion) Cardinal Robert Bellarmine told Galileo it was perfectly acceptable to maintain Copernicanism as a working hypothesis, and if there were “real proof” that the earth circles around the sun, “then we should have to proceed with great circumspection in explaining passages of Scripture which appear to teach the contrary…” Basically, until you have proof, stop trying to interpret Scripture. Galileo ignored this, continued campaigning, and was then brought to the Inquisition, and put under house-arrest, where he died a mass-going, daily-prayer Catholic.

This is not to say that the actions of the Church hierarchy were just. This is simply to say that the myth of Galileo as proof of the Church’s hatred of Science is silly. The Church developed the Scientific Method, for poop’s sake. Moving on to Inman’s next characteristic of sucking at your religion:

I sympathize with this complaint, I truly do. I think, however, that it denies the nature of actual belief. If we believe that murder is wrong, and we truly hold this belief as vital, essential to our well-being and the well-being of the world, the idea of not teaching this belief to our children is unimaginably bizarre. The idea of saying, “Well sweetie, some people think killing others is always wrong, others think it’s okay in certain situations like war, and others think it’s always okay to work in their own self-interest or in the interest of their deeply held religious or ideological beliefs, and that killing others for the sake of those beliefs is okay. What do you think?”

Of course this makes no sense. Why not? Because the idea that murder is wrong is — for a lot of us — something we really, truly believe. The nature of belief makes us apply this idea — that murder is wrong — to the whole world. It’s not just wrong for me, it’s wrong for terrorists, extremists, warmongers, serial killers, and politicians. It is — yes — wrong for my child. Beliefs, in order to be beliefs at all, are universal in quality.

So to the Christian who truly believes those bizarre ideas of, oh I dunno, all nature having a cause, and that final cause — necessarily outside of nature — being supernatural, this is a little silly. For the Christian who believes (by the observation that human beings naturally long for perfection but cannot have it) that there exists a lost state of perfection for which we are made – not sharing this with your child is as alien an idea as not sharing the belief that murder is wrong.

And here’s the fascinating part: Let children choose for themselves, and it has been shown that they’ll choose the supernatural. Religious belief is an inherent part of human nature: That the Christian parent takes this natural, human belief and roots it specifically in human history — in the person of Jesus Christ — (though you’ll surely disagree) is not scary-evil brainwashing. In fact, letting kids choose for themselves is the surest way to make more religious people. Forcing religion down children’s throats is a sure way to make them rebel against you and become atheists.

No, it doesn’t. You know what does give people weird anxieties about sexuality? The current (oh-so-secular) sexual culture. We’re looking at 1 in 5 women having been raped, 1 in 3 reporting sexual abuse, 1 in 4 teenage girls contracting an STD, 2/3 of pregnancies unplanned, untold millions addicted to pornography, 63% of married women reporting they’d rather be watching a movie than having sex with their husbands, and the general degradation of the human body into an advertising, money-making machine.

Now this is not to say that a false view of Christian teaching can’t screw up your understanding of sexuality. Sure it can. This is simply to point out the obvious: The current, prevalent, secular understanding of sexuality has undoubtedly screwed up many, many people.

The basic tenet of Christianity’s teaching on sexuality, that sex, as a physical, chemical, biological, emotional and spiritual bond is a) best saved for the willful and promised bond marriage, and that b) it is both unitive and procreative and should be treated as such. If this gives you anxieties, there’s other issues going on.

This was remarkably fair-minded. I’m not sure if Inman meant to point out that liberal and conservative devotion both amount to religious belief, but that’s basically what gets across here. But as to voting based on religious beliefs in general, there’s an abyss between the atheist and the Christian that I fear uncrossable. If a religion is merely making a few claims — perhaps that Christ came, died, and rose — then of course voting solely on religious beliefs would be foolish. If a religion is comprehensive — that is if it claims to contain within its teachings a comprehensive view of the human person, his nature and ultimate end, and thereby his institutions, governments, societies etc. — then of course you vote on your religious beliefs! As a Catholic, I can’t help but trust 2000 years of intellectual and philosophical tradition over my strong desire to talk crap about other people, have lots of sex and not give to the poor.

As to the rest of Inman’s points, that religion shouldn’t be primarily validated by other people believing it, and that it shouldn’t make its critics fear for their lives, I absolutely agree with. His closing then:

Thank you so very much for your kind permission, sir. But allow me to give a more detailed explanation of why, precisely, I will carry on with my religion.

While my religion makes me happy (sometimes) and inspires me to help others (if I let it), and absolutely gives some explanation as to my existence on this dear rock, so does Oprah.

I carry on with my religion for no other reason than that I believe it to be true. This is the only reason to hold a religious belief. This is the only reason to hold any belief.  All else — from the happiness involved to the striking tradition of art, music, philosophy, education, charity, and culture that my religion has produced — is reaction to this Truth.

So how does one truly suck at their religion? By following the advice of Mr. Inman and deconstructing our religion until it becomes agreeable to the current standards of the world. We are to be happy, helpful, and full of purpose. Never mind believing ourselves to be right.

  • barefoot cinderella

    sooo.. he agrees that being judgmental is wrong then proceeds to bash judgmental christians for being judgmental.. this is one confused atheist..

    • Def_mornahan

      One of many.

    • Stephen Nowak

      It makes sense.
      I promise.

      (Actually, if you remember S.Kierkegaard’s dictum — “Once you label me you negate me” — it at least makes psychological sense. We can think ridiculously horrible things of other people, if only we can slap a Title on them, because then we find ourselves dealing with a Title; and a Title is a hazy and misty metaphor, and can’t possibly kick you for hurting its feelings.)

    • jack

      but you are being judgmental about him being judgmental about you being judgmental. The point is everyone is a little confused and no one truly has all the answers.

      • barefoot cinderella

        i don’t mind being judgmental.. Jesus didn’t say “don’t be judgmental”.. he said “judge not lest you be judged”.. somehow people forget the last few words.. there’s an ocean of difference between saying “you did something wrong” vs. “you’re a bad person”.. while the first may be considered judgmental, the second is condemnation — if anything Jesus didn’t teach condemning people, in fact he taught that everyone is worthy of salvation

        • jack

          I agree 100%. But I am pretty sure that is not Inman’s complaint. Inman’s complaint is the hypocrisy where Jesus says not to condemn anyone (which I agree with), yet something as simple as being gay or not believing condemns you to burn for a eternity in hell.

          • John

            Oh goodness. We have a smart on our hands here . . .

  • musiciangirl591

    along with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood works too! and my religion doesn’t give me “weird anxieties about sexuality”, i’d just rather save something special for a forever commitment instead of a temporary commitment…

  • barefoot cinderella

    by the way.. i’m loving the tags.. lol

    • musiciangirl591

      atheism and destupidification, win!

      • lulz

        hahahhaha yeah! aren’t we Christians smarter than everyone else!
        Oh wait, the author of this post complained atheists were like this. hyphyphyphyp hypocritical

  • ninjaandy1975

    So glad you’re back. Be sure to send a copy of this to The Oatmeal!

    • Peaslepuff

      Yes, I’m sure Inman will be suitably impressed with these overly defensive ramblings. Maybe we can attach all the comments, too, so Inman can have a good laugh.

      • enness

        Overly defensive? These days, that seems to be code for “bothering to defend oneself at all.”

        • Noparts1

          But only if you’re a Christian. Otherwise you’re speaking truth to power.

      • John

        >> with these overly defensive ramblings

        That entire “How to Suck at Your Religion” is one big defensive rambling. What do you suggest, to not say anything, be submissive and be a doormat? For some reason I think you would want this. Odd.

  • http://evangelizela.com/ Ricky Jones

    Can always trust you for intelligent, common-sense rebuttals to these well-put together, fanciful falsehoods. BTW, I love that it’s tagged under “destupidification”. Carry on.

    • Peaslepuff

      Falsehoods? Are you kidding me? I can think of a least one real-life example for everything Inman wrote, which is pretty amazing considering he was going for the hyperbolic approach.

      I think maybe you should rethink your statement.

      • tedseeber

        Except all of those real-life examples are mythological.

      • Helpful

        His Galileo comic seemed like a falsehood to me. How do you come up with a real-life example for that? I’m confused. Maybe you should talk about all the comics instead of the few that support your argument.

        • jack

          The point here is that the more humanity is grown, the more religion has evolved and changed. We believed in Zeus, then we learned about weather, we believed that the earth was flat, then we found out that it was round, we believed the earth was the center of the universe, then we found out that we were not even close, we believed the only life in all existence was on earth, then we found bacteria and water on mars, then we believed that god created us in his our image, then we found out that our image has changed greatly over time. As we find out more and more about the world, less and less religious superstition turns into reality. And if any of these discoveries contradict any religious beliefs (not necessarily Christian) than those who follow that religion will condemn science for religion in a heartbeat. That is why many have a hard time understanding evolution, but believe in a talking snake and that the first women was made from a rib.

          • Rex

            We haven’t found martian bacteria yet.

          • jack
          • Rex

            No no, it really hasn’t been confirmed! If it was, the amount of media coverage would have been stupendous. So far all we have is a martian meteorite with some squiggles that look like micro fossils, but are not. in fact, that’s one of the Curiosity rover’s mission parameters, to look for evidence of organic processes, past or present, when it reaches mars next month.
            —– Reply message —–

          • jack
          • Skorlan

            The idea that people in the middle ages believed the earth was flat is a 19th century invention designed to attack the middle ages. In fact, people ridiculed Christopher Columbus because by using trigonometry they knew approximately how far China and India were and knew he couldn’t put enough food and water in the ships of that time to get there.

            Luckily for him, there was an intervening continent.

      • enness

        “At least one”

        I beg your pardon, but do you expect this to impress me? There are two billion people in the world identifying as Christians — that’s just the Christians, not all the religious — and you can think of “at least one” of the type that makes even arch-conservatives like me think, ‘that’s nuts.’ Congratulations.

        • jack

          haha, he doesn’t know all 2 billion people man

          • michyymarie

            ..7 BILLION

  • http://www.facebook.com/pcathell Philip G Cathell

    Excellent post!!!

  • JoAnna Wahlund

    Yes! Thank you for so clearly deconstructing his strawman arguments so perfectly.

  • Joseph Belland

    Re: The Oatmeal’s demands that we keep religion to ourselves, I have a new favorite quote from Archbishop Chaput: “Asking a Christian to keep his religion out of the public square is like asking a married man to act single in public.”

    • Dymphna

      I would dearly like it if atheists kept their anti-religion to *themselves*.

      • Peaslepuff

        That’s funny, because not a single person at my workplace knows I’m an atheist, but I have to put up with people witnessing at work and talking about their religious beliefs CONSTANTLY. I wish they would shut the fuck up.

        • Romulus

          That’s funny too — because I know some atheists who’re absolutely constipated about religion: they don’t like it but can’t let it go and are constantly bringing it up.

          • John

            And they visit sites that are religious in theme. I find this “attraction” from atheists somewhat flattering.

          • jack

            You seem to not understand why people like me are here. Well I’ll tell you. My friend posted this article of fbook, so I read it and I read the comments. I really did not understand the reasoning behind a lot of the comments so I decided to question the people whose comments I did not understand. In the past couple of days I have learned a lot about the Catholic religion that I did not know before, and reasoning behind a lot of beliefs. Only discussion brings about understanding. If you really hate people questioning certain parts of your religion, well to bad. Maybe questions will prompt you to find the answers to them. If everyone on this board had the same mindset, then the entire comments section would be one big Catholic circlejerk about how stupid and ignorant the comic is. Maybe that is what you want, and I’m sorry not everyone agrees with you. It’s much better for me to post here than maybe an Atheist site where everyone would agree with me because there is nothing productive in that. Through discussion, the comment section has been full of insightful information and comments from every side. You are actually one of the few people who has not contributed to the discussion. You just wait till someone says something you don’t agree with and then say something like “wow, your smart /sarcasm.” Honestly your either a shitty member of this community board or a great troll (if you are then im pissed at you for making me write all this.)

        • Corita

          I think that atheists often forget that Christianity is a very big part of *culture* and is not just religion. The language of Christianity, its literary history, its common shorthand, for better or worse, are part of common culture.

          I don’t think that is any reason for an atheist person to keep quiet, or to neglect advancing their own contributions to common culture. It’s just the way the way it is. I have kept tv and the attendant advertisements out of my home because I can’t stand that culture, but I can’t avoid them in public. I also would be a truly unhappy person if I walked around all day seething about it.

          Definitely keep on having a problem wherever outright misogyny, intolerance, bigotry, and etc. are evident. But please, do yourself a favor and find a way to deal with your obsession about other people’s lives.

          • Corita

            A,d of course by “common culture” I am referring to that of places like the U.S. where it is, in fact, a dominant and very-much-informative element of our common way of speaking.

          • kr_metal

            Religion had little to do with USA’s history. In fact, it has more to do with Canadian history. We were built off pioneers and very religious folk. Ontario still has a Catholic school board. But look at as us now – we’re nearly 50% Atheist yet we all accept each other’s views including those of any religion.

        • musiciangirl591

          language check

        • enness

          That street goes both ways. I never ever brought up the subject — instead I was treated to the Dawkins Youtube channel and pressed about my opinion on the age of the Earth with an earnestness and singleness of mind that meant my efforts to change the subject (I couldn’t really leave, although I wanted to) were completely useless.

        • Jake E

          Well if I could quote Richard Dawkins from his speech at the DC rally while talking of the religious – “Mock them! Ridicule them in public! Religion makes specific claims about the universe that need to be ridiculed with contempt!”

          • Corita

            Ahh…the tolerance of atheist humanism.
            Love it.

    • Sophos

      Archbishop Chaput: “Asking a Christian to keep his religion out of the public square is like asking a married man to act single in public.”

      I would certainly not want to watch a married man consummate his marriage in public. Nor do I want him to go on about how much he loves his wife in every conversation.

      I also don’t want him to bad mouth her, or to wear her on his arm like a trinket.

      Does the metaphor carry through? Or is it being run through?

      • Joseph Belland

        “I would certainly not want to watch a married man consummate his marriage in public.” Funny, there’s a whole genre devoted to something similar, although the people involved are usually unmarried, just acting like married people. I understand it’s quite popular on the internet. But this is irrelevant, unless you think that sex is the only way of acting married.

        “Nor do I want him to go on about how much he loves his wife in every conversation.” So you would want him to deny he loves his wife, or pretend he doesn’t? There are other ways of showing love than proclaiming it verbally. And one can proclaim it verbally without being annoying. No one has yet to act offended when I tell my wife I love her publicly.

        “I also don’t want him to bad mouth her,” as no married man ever should publicly, “or to wear her on his arm like a trinket.” Even if my wife enjoys holding on to me as we stroll? Good luck imposing your belief that loving couples shouldn’t act affectionately in public on other people.

        I can’t tell from your comment but you either agree with me, or you have a bizarre notion of how married people should act.

        Would you prefer that married men only act lovingly towards their wives privately, then in public act like he does not love her by bad mouthing her, dating other women, or showing a general indifference towards her?

        But I have a feeling my reply is pointless, and I have little time to explain myself to people committed to misunderstanding me.

        • Sophos

          “Funny, there’s a whole genre devoted to something similar, although the people involved are usually unmarried, just acting like married people. I understand it’s quite popular on the internet. But this is irrelevant, unless you think that sex is the only way of acting married.”

          In that case I also don’t want to see individuals looking at pornography in public either, happy?
          And I obviously don’t think that sex is the only part of marriage as my post was longer than a single paragraph. But I can understand that in your fervor you didn’t bother to read it as a whole before coming up with you ‘witty’ and ‘insightful’ response.

          “So you would want him to deny he loves his wife, or pretend he doesn’t? There are other ways of showing love than proclaiming it verbally. And one can proclaim it verbally without being annoying. No one has yet to act offended when I tell my wife I love her publicly.”

          Again you failed to read what I actually wrote and chose to be offended instead. Perhaps a liberal use of capitals will facilitate your re-reading:

          “Nor do I want him to GO ON about how much he loves his wife in EVERY CONVERSATION”

          I’ve made adequate room for some affection so your point is moot. If you want to take the time out of my day to make me respond to your post, all I ask is that you respond to what I actually say and not what I could have said if I had worded my post differently.

          And returning to my liberal use of capitals to convey my meaning.
          “or to wear her on his arm LIKE A TRINKET.”

          “Even if my wife enjoys holding on to me as we stroll? Good luck imposing your belief that loving couples shouldn’t act affectionately in public on other people.”

          This is referring to flaunting your wife like an object. Not actually holding hands or linking arms.

          “I can’t tell from your comment but you either agree with me, or you have a bizarre notion of how married people should act.”

          Perhaps you should read more, it’ll make it easier to pay attention to specific wording as opposed to skimming sentences and drawing your own meaning from misinterpretations.

          “Would you prefer that married men only act lovingly towards their wives privately, then in public act like he does not love her by bad mouthing her, dating other women, or showing a general indifference towards her?”

          The entire point is that there are rules of courtesy regarding public displays of affection. But the entire point of the post is that this is an analogy of how public displays of religion should likewise be civil and not overbearing.

          “But I have a feeling my reply is pointless, and I have little time to explain myself to people committed to misunderstanding me.”

          It’s too bad that you’re unwilling to give time to people who misunderstand you, when I have given you so much of my time because you have successfully missed the entire, thinly veiled analogy.

          • Darn Hyena

            ^ This here

      • Guest

        I think the analogy carries very well! There is a fine line to run, a line between being outrageously overbearing and public about your wife (religion), and being trite with her, or making her seem unimportant. The analogy holds very well in that, while I wouldn’t want to make people uncomfortable, I also want them to know that this is indeed my wife, and I love her very much.

    • Chuck

      It’s ironic that you ask committed human beings in homosexual relationships to act single in public as well, and have done for hundreds of years. If gay committed couples are forced to remain quiet, then I see no problem with forcing Christianity to remain quiet in its proselytizing.

      • Jen

        We don’t ask them to act single. We ask them to be single. Just like priests and nuns and hey the leader of our church.

        • Chuck

          And this nullifies my claim how? If you expect us to be single, why can’t we expect you to be silent?

        • Menotyou

          How about the religious just be quite or act quite in public.

          • John

            They do, but unfortunately people who come to religious sites seem obsessed about a culture that they have no respect for and in return see the religious disagree with such remarks. I sense that they actively search for these types of articles and sites since most of their posting history show A) they post conservative sites strictly or B) they post on one site only and most of their posts are snarky and condescending.

          • Menotyou

            Is it because they don’t want people flying into buildings or killing doctors and them proclaiming that they have a higher moral value than those who don’t believe?

          • msmischief

            No.

            Because anyone who thought that posting such comments — oftentimes oozing with hubris, malice, and a quite unsubstantiated claim to superiority — would prevent those things would be so unutterably insane as to have been shut up in a lunatic asylum for his own safety a long, long, long time ago.

          • Menotyou

            I don’t believe in a magical fairy man in the sky who killed himself to save you from his own judgement because his magical plan in a garden turned out the way he already knew it was going to turn out (you know, because he’s omnipotent)…maybe that’s why I think I’m superior (at least on this subject) and why the magical fairy man believers should be in an asylum.

          • msmischief

            Thank you!

            For everyone else with an open mind — just look. Would you post anything oozing with arrogance and contempt like that if you wanted to persuade anyone of anything? Would you sell soap like that?

            Of course not. Then, you would actually be trying to sell soap.

          • Menotyou

            It is the magical fairy men believers that are trying to sell thier soap. That’s why they try to revise history and add thier religion to every social fabric. I have nothing to sell, I cannot sell something that does not exist. That might seem arogant to the religious, but it is reality for others.

    • Chuck

      Was my comment deleted for some reason?

      Anywho, I said: “It’s ironic that you ask homosexual men in committed relationships to act single in public because you disapprove of their lifestyle. If homosexual committed couples are forced to act single, I don’t see why Christians shouldn’t be forced to keep their proselytizing to themselves.”

  • http://universalcoolness.blogspot.com/ R.E.O. Johnson

    Haters gonna hate.
    “Did your religion help preserve society through the European dark ages?”
    Why, yes it did.
    “Well, just keep it to yourself, you judgmental, sex-repressed, mind-made-up, religious-person-thingy!”

    • Sophos

      Are you talking about Islam? Or are you referring to the pillaging of the middle-east with the crusades?

      • http://universalcoolness.blogspot.com/ R.E.O. Johnson

        This is called an “ad hominem.” By seeking to deface the Catholic church by saying it pillaged the Middle East, you’re trying to say that it did not play a part in preserving civilization in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. This is like me negating Islamic contributions to science and banking by saying, “Islamic contributions to science? Or do you mean the eradication of Christians under Shariah law?”

        • Sophos

          It’s not ad hominem because that is what brought Aristotle and mathematics back into the west.
          Islamic scholars preserved the greek and roman texts and developed their own new learnings, such as with math and astronomy.
          The crusades brought these texts back into the west and into the hands of individuals like Thomas Aquinas (though there was a great deal of uncertainty about how to react to these texts).

          Though Islam would later go into its own recession after the teachings of Al Ghazali.

          “This is like me negating Islamic contributions to science and banking by saying, “Islamic contributions to science? Or do you mean the eradication of Christians under Shariah law?””

          No, it would be like saying that Islam is responsible for preserving science through the dark ages”
          “You mean by Al Ghazali declaring math to be of the devil and the abandonment of science from 1,100 AD til present?”

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1125166276 John C. Wright

            “It’s not ad hominem because that is what brought Aristotle and mathematics back into the west.”

            Actually, no. Consult a reliable historian.

            In brief (and I omit many nuances and details) Latin translations of Aristotle existed in the West, preserved by monks in scriptoria. After the Crusades destroyed part of the Moslem piracy, and the Franks looted Byzantium, Greek originals, which had been preserved by Christians in the East, became more available in the West. The so-called Islamic science is nothing more than the Christian and Jewish scholars living in the dominions conquered by the Moslems, and the Moslems scholars who learned from them. So the movement and the debt of scholarship goes the other way.

          • Sophos

            “In brief (and I omit many nuances and details) Latin translations of Aristotle existed in the West, preserved by monks in scriptoria.”

            Though the texts did not leave the monastery and many secular texts were destroyed by the monks who decided to scrape the vellum for the scribing of religious texts.

            “The so-called Islamic science is nothing more than the Christian and Jewish scholars living in the dominions conquered by the Moslems, and the Moslems scholars who learned from them.”

            That’s bold. And also incorrect. A brief but non-encompassing list of Islamic scientists at the time:
            Jabir ibn Hayyan
            Jafar-Muhammad, Ahmad and al-Hasan
            Abbas ibn Firnas
            Hunayn ibn Ishaq
            al-Battani

            But then again, I’ve apparently never consulted a reliable historian despite knowing that you’re blatantly ignorant of the Islamic world at the time.

            Though you probably didn’t do much in terms of the history of Thomas Aquinas and the reintroduction of Aristotle in the West. Which is unfortunate because it’s interesting. Though my Thomist professor probably helped with that part.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            A simplistic understanding of history is no better than a simplistic understanding of religion. Start with the Translations, which were carried out by Hunayn ibn Ishaq at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. He and his nephews (who carried on) were Nestorian Christians, and the Nestorians had already translated many of the Greek texts into Syriac. In the House of Submission, this was always referred to as “foreign studies” or “Greek studies” and were never taught officially in the madrassas. The brilliant faylasuf — al Kindi, ibn Rushd, et al. — acted as individuals. The study of nature was never embedded in the culture.
            Then move on to the fact that classical knowledge in Latin was never lost in the West; and the Greek was never known. The old Roman aristocracy had been bilingual and had never bothered to translate it — especially the non-practical stuff. But the Franks, Lombards, Goths, etc. did not know Greek. As the old aristocracy died out, knowledge of Greek faded — although Pepin le Bref was able to ask the Pope for Greek texts and men capable of translating them, and receive them. Boethius began a project of translating Aristotle during the Gothic rule of Italy, and his “Old Logic” was the basis for the curriculum of the cathedral schools. Jacques of Venice was able to access the original Greek in Byzantium, and William of Moerbeke translated Archimedes from the Greek in Sicily. Gerard of Cremona went to Toledo, true; but only after it had been liberated. He translated into Latin from Arabic texts that had been translated by the Nestorian Christians from Syriac that had been translated from Greek prior to the Arab conquest (and looting). And of course, the Byzantines never forgot how to read Greek and never lost their Greek heritage until the Turkish conquest (and looting). The Latins knew these works existed, and diligently studied the summaries and precis that had been written in Latin by the likes of Pliny, Macrobius, and others. But the looting and plundering carried out by the Saracens, Vikings, and Magyars across the face of Western Europe pretty much put a sock in things for a while. Burgundy was ravaged by all three!
            As for the crusades, why does the 100-year long counter-attack get all the publicity when the 1000-year long attack gets barely mentioned?

    • Peaslepuff

      It also inspired a bunch of people to kill even more people. Yay religion!

      • Ghoura Agur

        As a powerless, helpless, insignificant bags of meat floating through the cosmic shitstorm of existence, this is…bad?

      • tedseeber

        So has atheism in the form of eugenics. Yay Atheism!

        • Guest

          Atheism is nothing more than a lack of belief in god, so assume that it has some form of cohesive beliefs beyond that is foolish.

          Atheists can be pro-life or pro-choice. They can be for or against LGBT rights. They can be many things, but the only think that makes them Atheists is they do not believe a god exists.

          • Skorlan

            The reason that Christians oppose murder is because we believe that all people are made in the image and likeness of God, whatever we may do to ourselves afterward. What reason do atheists have for opposing it?

    • Jianadaren

      Preserve society? Hardly. You could make a better argument that the chain of causation was closer to this:
      Rise of Christianity in Rome-> Collapse of Rome -> Dark Ages -> Rise of Deism and the Enlightenment -> Christianity’s weakened influence on society -> greatest technological progress in the history of the known universe and creation of the world’s most powerful and successful nation-> rise of Christian Evangelicalism -> Decline of American power and a step backwards in quality of discourse and national unity

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        You could make that argument, but you would be wrong. Serious historians of the relevant history no longer take such myths for granted. It’s not even good post hoc/propter hoc! Historians of Rome no more blame the “collapse of Rome” in the thinly settled and less urban and monetized Western provinces on the rise of Christianity in the Eastern provinces than criminologists blame the murder rate on skin color. But most people don’t do reasoning well, let alone statistical inference.

        • Glasofruix

          Sources?

    • Glasofruix

      Huh? The main reason we call this time dark ages is because your religion got its dirty hands on power, if it was’nt for jeebus we would be exploring the universe by now…

  • Def_mornahan

    I really love the ideal agnostic dad replying to his daughter’s question about death with, “Oh, people believe lots of things. What do you think?”

    If I were the daughter, and I were chippy enough, I’d answer, “I don’t have a damn clue, Dad, that’s why I asked you.” Where did this idea that “children have all the answers, we just need to listen to them” come from? I remember being a child. I didn’t have all the answers. I didn’t have any of them. Whether I have any now or not is another question…

    • Bo Tait

      “Whether I have any now or not is another question…”
      Isn’t that kind of the point of the comic? Even as adults we don’t really have the answers, so why tell a child that you do? It’s just dishonest. I’m not saying kids have all the answers, but I think the point is to try and get kids in the habit of thinking for themselves and not always relying on what ma and pa said.

      • Villalo

        Agree…

      • http://twitter.com/greg_graham Greg Graham

        While adults don’t have *all* the answers, they usually have more answers than do children, and sharing the knowledge they do have with their child is the responsible thing to do. Leaving children to figure out things on their own without guidance is irresponsible. As the child gets older, the guidance should lessen so that the child develops the ability to think for himself.

        • jack

          The problem with that is that everyone thinks they are right. The fundamentalist Muslims think they are right, the KKK thought they were right, Hitler thought he was right. There are still peope that exist that believe gays should not be able to marry the person they love because of some scriptures in the old testament (if so we should also make pork/shellfish illegal). If someone is brainwashed into believing something as a child it is much harder for them to shake that as an adult. If the child is exposed to a religion at an older age when he/she is taught more about the world and how it works, we would have a lot less fanatics one our hands.

          • Anonymous

            Could not agree more.

          • Richard

            Leaving aside your misrepresentation of the reasons a Catholic thinks marriage = 1 man + 1 woman, have you looked at the biographies of terrorists who have killed or attempted to kill Americans this past decade? They were relatively peaceful 20-somethings studying science and math at western universities, before they did a 180 and decided that killing people for Muhammad was the way to go. Presumably they adopted fanatical dreams of being suicide bombers *after* they decided to invest all those years and dollars in their future. Doesn’t sound like a childhood problem to me.

          • jack

            whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa
            So you are telling me that there are more fundamentalist Islamist that turn that way once they are mentally mature, than the ones that are exposed to it and immersed in it at a young age? I thought it was common sense, but here I go. Imagine a child is born into a family and they believe something crazy like it is a sin not to wear a pot on your head. Imagine that family makes that child read a book that verifies this. Then they take and raise that child in a community that all wear’s pots on their heads. That child is inevitably going to believe that he/she should wear a pot on their head and that it is a sin not to do so. If your parents are Christian, then you will probably be Christian as well. If your parents are Muslim than you will probably be Muslim as well. But it is more than parenthood. Christianity thrives in America because of the community, just as Fundamentalist Islam thrives in the Middle East. It is a culture. There are plenty of people that want to kill you in the name of Mohammed, but they are far away from here. Your safety is a product of our national security. Islam does not thrive in America, Christianity does. So the chances of someone being raised and convinced of Fundamentalist Islam in America is relatively small. Those you mentioned are outliers, and you can thank your god for that.

          • Holcom50

            Actually, Islam does thrive in America. If you want to see where, come visit Dearborn, Michigan.

          • jack

            Haha fair enough. What I should have said is that Christianity is the most popular religion in America which allows for it to thrive much easier. I guess I meant on a national scale.

          • kugland

            Of course people turn to terrorism after adulthood: the cause of anti-American terrorism is imperialism, and imperialism is too complex a subject for children to understand.

          • Guest1

            WHY does EVERYONE seem to neglect that the “old Testament “gays” passages are the only biblical source on God’s view of Homosexuality? Has ANYONE acknowledged the NEW TESTAMENT? ROMANS:

            Romans 1:26-27: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence [sic] of their error which was meet.”

            GOD DID NOT MAKE ANYONE HOMOSEXUAL.
            Ignorance is the prize of laziness to KNOW the TRUTH.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cody-Bird/1259970013 Cody Bird

            Also worth noting that Romans was not written by Jesus, it was written by Paul to a church that he wanted to direct. I have a hard time believing anything from the Pauline Epistles because Paul clearly had motive to push his own causes and beliefs to try and be the sole, or at least primary, voice in the early Christian church, which obviously was filled with differing beliefs and opinions (the life and lessons of Jesus was a lot to digest).

            When you can tell me where Jesus said anything about homosexuality, and where his message of love should differ for them in any way from homosexual individuals, then I’ll be more compelled to “KNOW the TRUTH”.

          • Danielfaa

            How can it be that your view on homosexuality has to rely on a 2000 year old book?
            And by the way, wasn’t it Jesus message that you should love anyone no matter who they were or where they came from?

          • Guest

            Love is not blind support of whatever a person wants to do. If you love your children, why would you deny them cake for dinner everyday? If that’s what they want, and you love them, shouldnt you allow them to indulge to make themselves happy?

          • http://twitter.com/ricetard comatose bones ♪

            Because obviously parents have the ability to deny their children of homosexual urges.
            You’re under the presupposition that homosexuality is a choice rather than a part of nature. Once you become homosexual, your point might be validated.

          • enness

            Can parents deny their children their urges to eat cake? Children like things that taste good without respect to their nutritional content, is that a choice?

          • michyymarie

            Now, there is a reason why that is completely different. Why would you refuse your child cake everyday? Because it is harming them in some way, right? Well, okay. Then how is being with the person they love who happens to be of the same gender hurting THEM? Exactly. It’s not.

          • enness

            You can’t just skip straight from question to conclusion. You haven’t done any of the actual hard work of demonstrating your logic.

            Let me ask you this: how do you know eating cake every day is bad for you? Can you see it harming people? Do you just assume that when people who eat cake every day fall into poor health, that is the sole or primary cause? You may be a researcher, but not everybody can be a researcher — they have other jobs. Chances are good that somebody had to tell you this in order for you to “know” it, right?

          • Del Sydebothom

            At what age does a book become untrustworthy? A day? Five days? Five years? Seventeen years, three months, two days, eighteen minutes and four seconds? Precisely how many seconds must past from the composition date of a book before it becomes untrustworthy?

          • Jacks

            More like a book that was written in a time where the world was a completely different place than it is now in every aspect. Also a book that has been edited, censored, and translated three times over that I start to question its stance on specific issues

          • Del Sydebothom

            Arguments based on the supposed lack of textual integrity of the Bible are well outside the mainstream of scientific consensus. I don’t know how important that is to you, of course, but even non-Christian textual critics trust the collective quality of the many surviving manuscripts and fragments of the biblical text. Arguments from translation are even less impressive, as they are all of them working from the same basic text, and can be immediately and easily checked against it by just about anyone with a computer–or access to a theological library.

            I will agree, though, that the Bible was written during eras much different than our own–an era of a more raw, less domesticated humanity. What relevance that has, I don’t know.

          • Del Sydebothom

            I would also add that 2,000 years, for whatever relevance it has, isn’t as long a time as it sounds. Get 25 80 year-old people in a room, and you have there represented about the number of years that separate us from the birth of Christ.

          • Jon Visser

            The same problems are happening now that happened then. Read my comment on Jabril Faraj.

          • enness

            I am thinking of a quote in which the author is ranting about slovenly, disrespectful, and disobedient youth as if they are worse at his time than in any other. It has such various attributions that I don’t want to waste time doing a search, but the consensus seems to be that it comes from the latter centuries B.C.
            Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose… :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/jabrilfaraj Jabril Faraj

            After thousands of translations and interpretations across the years…

          • Del Sydebothom

            lol. And there have been like, a gajillion presidents of the United States!

          • jack

            and people still question whether all parts of the constitution still apply today.

          • Jon Visser

            No, you are incorrect. The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that “after thousands of translations and interpretations across the years…” we still have exactly the same original texts. The negative connotation you have of interpretations are unfounded, false and historically inaccurate.

          • enness

            It has occurred to me that this question of age and validity should be particularly amusing to me as a musician, since on a daily basis I use technology that has remained essentially unchanged since Guido d’Arezzo and Giuseppe Stradivari.

          • enness

            Just like Vatican II — forget the specifics, it’s about the “spirit” of the thing, right? ;)

          • Andrew

            While I would disagree with your general opinion of Paul, I would do as you ask and say where Jesus speaks on homosexuality. In Matthew 19:4-6, Christ tells of the specifications for and purpose of Godly marriage ( after asked for his view on divorce). He states the participants of marriage, the reasons for marriage, who should end it, and who created marriage itself.
            As to how “his message of love should differ for … homosexuals,” I don’t believe it does. God’s message of love for all people is that he died to save them and, for their best interest, wants them to die to themselves. This so that they can be like him, truly alive. God loves homosexuals and non-homosexuals. Homosexuality is not a worse or better sin than any other, it is not worse than laziness nor better than murder. Like all sins, the deadliness of homosexuality lies in that it separates you from God, and just like all sins needs true repentance.

          • enness

            Precisely. The Son did not contradict the Father’s design. I don’t think His hard line on divorce would sit well with many of the same people.

          • Aaron

            I have to take issue with your view of Paul. The Bible was assembled around 500 years after Paul wrote his letters. The people who assembled it made the decision that those letters conveyed messages important to the faith. Paul had no control over that. He didn’t plan for his letters to dominate the New Testament. Lots of people wrote letters. Paul’s were just better I guess.

          • Skorlan

            Jesus didn’t directly comment on homosexuality because it wasn’t common iin the Jewish culture and among those he was addressing. Paul commented on it because it was extremely common in the Roman culture and among those he was addressing. If people aren’t committing a sin you are much less likely to say something to correct that type of misbehaviour.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/DKZPJANJJE4R46NISSCSQ6YJHE john

            Well, if god doesn’t make anyone homosexual, that means its a choice. You think that people choose to homosexual? If so you are not in touch with reality.

          • JAGreene86

            God does not create anyone to sin…but many will claim that “they had no choice, God made me weak, therefore, caused me to sin”.

            God does not create homosexuals for them to sin…we, as weak human beings, put people in those situations…including ourselves:

            If I had an affair with my wife…and my wife files for a divorce afterwards, can I really blame her for wanting a divorce? Or would I say “you caused me to have an affair, it’s your fault”?

            Or if I fired bullets in a crowd of people, and people died from it, could I say “it was their fault…they were in the way of the bullets”?

            People put themselves in bad positions, and then when bad things happen, people wonder why. Being homosexual is not a sin, per say, but if people use it as an “I have no choice” excuse, they’re putting themselves in a bad position, because they’re saying they’re too weak to deal with how they’ve created themselves to be, or how the world created them to be.

            I would love to meet a abstinence homosexual. I would love to meet a homosexual who has committed his or her life to remain chase…but they rarely exist, because the world says “You’re homosexual! You have the right to have sex with whomever you want!” But what if they choose not to? Is that a choice still?

            It’s not about what you are, it’s about what you’re willing to create yourself to be.

          • http://twitter.com/ricetard comatose bones ♪

            But you’re obviously a homosexual to know how natural (or unnatural) it is.

          • Jessica

            I’m not a homosexual and while I’m not really comfortable with seeing it flaunted through PDA, I don’t believe it’s a sin.

            It’s tiresome that in 2012, we’re still disputing that kind of sexuality like it’s as repulsive as baby-eating.

          • Menotyou

            Baby-eating is repulsive? Those pesky Atheists need to be given the memo. P.S. Homosexuality is natural, look at the animals in nature. It is sometimes (not all of the time) a behaviour caused by over-population. I say if Hetrosexual couples can have PDA, so can Homosexual couples (and sometimes no matter the sex preferences, it’s cute that two people are in love)

          • enness

            You set yourself up to be asked: what’s “natural” about overpopulation? You are seeming to suggest it is circumstantial, not typical.

          • Menotyou

            Ohhh, good one. But, seriously, overpopulation is natural when the population outgrows it’s environment such as lack of food supply, etc.

          • enness

            Funny you should express such impatience over the year. How easily we forget that only 20 or 30 years ago, it was still extremely debatable.

          • enness

            I’m not a cannibal. Neither are you, I hope. We don’t need to be one to know what we think about it, do we?

          • Jacks

            Its hard to take you seriously when you put homosexuality on the same level as adultery and murder. From what I gain from your post you have a very low opinion on homosexuals already, and your belief that it is a choice shows your ignorance. Someone who is homosexual has the same control over their sexuality as a heterosexual does. They can be just as abstinent, monogamous, and promiscious as any heterosexual.

          • http://www.facebook.com/julieta424 Julieta Contreras

            Well you’re right, homosexuality alone is not a sin… The sin is in the actions– like adultery and murder and homosexual sex. Just like it is a sin for any heterosexual to have sex outside of Marriage.

          • enness

            “Its hard to take you seriously when you put homosexuality on the same level as adultery and murder.”

            Well, it’s hard for me to take you seriously when you don’t. What’s your point? (See how easy it is to accomplish absolutely nothing?)

          • guest

            There is evidence pointing towards the fact that homosexuals are, in fact, born gay.

          • Menotyou

            Who will the religious hate if they can’t hate the gays? Besides that, everyone knows that if you hang around gay people “you will catch the gay”, thus, you can’t be born gay.

          • Skorlan

            One can say that someone’s activity is wrong without hating that person. If one identical twin is gay, there is only a 50% chance that the other one is gay also. Homosexuality is probably about environment at a young age, and since even identical twins have a different environment because the other twin is part of that early environment, they don’t have the same early environment.

          • Menotyou

            What if your version of what is wrong, is wrong? Why does your Holy book get to be the decision maker of right and wrong, especially when your Holy book contains atrocities beyond belief.

          • enness

            Life must be so much easier for people who can resort to straw men without shame.

          • Menotyou

            It is, thank you. What? Huh? The question was why does your version of right and wrong (regarding homosexuality) take precedent? Where was the strawman? Was it the part where your Holy book contains atrocities (that meant your Holy book is not a trustworthy moraly correct book, not a new arguement and shouldn’t be used to define right and wrong)

          • Stequi

            Please, point us to this true scientific “evidence” that homosexuals are born gay.

          • Menotyou

            You could just educate yourself with some good old fashion Google research. P.S. If the websites state that you are not born gay and they are religious websites, they are creating websites with agenda’s and should not be used for your research (P.S. I noticed how all Condoms don’t prevent HIV/AIDS websites were Catholic.)

          • enness

            LOL. What I believe Menotyou is saying is, “I can’t actually cough it up when asked directly.” Probably because there is no such proof, and if there was it wouldn’t particularly make a difference to the Catholic Church (I’ve heard there is some evidence of a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, therefore I’m going to take the local AAA out and buy them shots of tequila!).

          • Menotyou

            You got me! I can’t cough it up! Well, then I guess you have all of the answers http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/nature-nurture/bailey-pillard.html You really should at least show me proof of your side then.

          • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.thompson.50999405 Elizabeth Thompson

            The morality of homosexual relations has little to do with whether people are born gay or not. Some babies are born with cleft palates. That–in itself– doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

          • Menotyou

            But, who’s morality? Why does your morality (assuming that you think Homosexuality is immoral) take precedent over other persons morality (if they do not think it’s immoral)?

          • Jon Visser

            It’s always a choice – any activity or lifestyle is. You’ve just insulted most of the bi-sexual’s out there and those who swing. Don’t you know that there is no “homosexual” gene or genes (as proven by the Human Genome Project and identical twin studies)? If you still believe that you are born with it, you are not in touch with reality.

          • jack

            So you are basing an opinion on the faith of someone else’s faith that a human being, about 3,000 years ago wrote verbatim god’s word with no bias or personal opinion of his own, and this opinion negatively affects peoples lives and happiness? You can see why I am skeptical that Jesus would want that.

          • Andy S

            I’m skeptical of your scriptural dating…

          • jack

            haha I said “about.” I probably should have just said thousands.

          • enness

            Edited

          • Todd

            The word of God is self attesting, in other words it claims to be Gods devinely given, providentially protected word. So ultimately its a faith issue but not an unreasonable one. If you want to check the veracity of a telephone book, you start by looking up something say Dominoes Pizza, and either call them or go there to see if its ” true”. Obviously, much of what is written in scripture cannot be independently verified, but you would be absolutely stunned by the amount of it that can be. Happy Hunting

          • jack

            I’m confused on what you mean by “verified.”

          • enness

            It’s not hard to believe when you can see the “Sexual Revolution” playing out all around you and judge the fruits for yourself. I would think you’d have much bigger issues with something like the immaculate conception of Mary, etc.

            The pursuit of happiness may be guaranteed — the capture of it, not so much.

          • Teawithsheep

            Interesting point, though I have to say that plenty of my Catholic school classmates were raised in the same environment as I from the young age of 5 and still seemed perfectly capable of choosing to leave the Church when they no longer lived in their parents’ homes. I disagree that fanatics are purely the result of exposure to faith at a young age. My question is: How can Catholic parents remain true to their own faith without teaching it or even showing it to their children? If you spend any time at all parenting your own children, chances are that some values are going to become obvious to them; I am interested to hear your hypothesis of how a parent who fervently believes something can practice his or her own faith without ever letting their child see it. I would guess that the basis of your argument is that each individual should choose his or her own faith- the individual’s choice is supreme. So, how does each individual in a family practice a faith without letting it intersect *any* interactions with *any* other family member? Realistically, it cannot work that way with any faith that demands actions outside of belief, as Catholicism does. This holds true for other religions as well. An Orthodox Jewish mother would who keeps a Kosher kitchen would have to put her own spiritual life (or at the very least, her sanity) in peril if she was also going to serve her children meals that are not Kosher so as to avoid pushing a faith on them. What would a day in the life of such a family look like? Should the children wait until their parents have finished saying grace before coming to the table to eat so as to avoid the possibility that they might learn a prayer? Or should their parents simply not pray out of respect for their children’s individuality (a solution which fails to respect the individual choice of the parents to be people of faith)? Honestly, how could this work? I posit that what you suggest cannot happen: There is no way for parents to maintain their own faith without passing on at least some information about it to their children.

          • Danielfaa

            I my opinion values shouldn’t be told to our children, but rather shown. It is way more important to act like a role model than to tell how a role model should be. An abusive dad could preach about kindness all day and still make his children corrupt because of it.

          • Todd

            “Train up a child in the way he should go
            and when he is old he will not depart from it” “thus sayeth the Lord if any one is interested. None of us can demonstrate perfection, if you want your children to value and aspire to it you must point them to Christ.

          • jack

            “Train up a child in the way he should go
            and when he is old he will not depart from it”
            haha exactly, what about the rest of the world that doesn’t point them to Christ?

          • Holcom50

            I believe God is bigger than someone’s parents’ wrong ideas. The truth is the truth, if you look for it, you find it. If you don’t look for it, you don’t find it.

          • jack

            and if it’s force fed to you from the people you trust most in the world, then you already have it and there is no sense looking elsewhere.

          • jack

            ” So, how does each individual in a family practice a faith without letting it intersect *any* interactions with *any* other family member? ”

            I don’t believe you have to go to that extreme where you cannot pray at your own table. It’s more telling your kids that Jesus is the solution and you definitively go to heaven after you die. Now I can see why it would be difficult for a Christian parent to do this because they obviously want their child to come to heaven with them. Christian want other people to be saved with them, so naturally they wouldn’t want the parents of the 4.5 billion non-christians in the world to tell their kids that there is no heaven and was no Jesus definitively from a young age. The author of this blog fails to realize that the comic is talking about all religions and not just Christianity. It is just hypocritical to say I should tell all my kids about Jesus and then send them to school for Jesus and church for Jesus, but when an Islamic parent does the same thing, you would probably agree that they shouldn’t force their religion upon a child. They should be exposed to all religions and ideologies at the appropriate time. But back to your point, there is a huge difference between telling a child about your beliefs, and brainwashing them into your beliefs.

          • Teawithsheep

            You might be surprised to find that in true conservative fashion, I believe that it is solely the right of parents to bring up their children in a faith, and I would in fact defend the rights of Muslim parents, Hindu parents, Jewish parents, Mormon parents, and so on, to do the same. In fact, I have often found that I have more in common with people who believe other faiths than with people who believe nothing at all. And, I still argue that your answer is too simplistic. Map out the day-to-day actions of Catholic parents who go to daily Mass, go to confession every week, and stop by the church to pray at least once or twice each week in addition, and I think you would find there is no way for the parents to do all this without engaging in behaviors that would seem like “brainwashing”. And at any rate, I’m not sure that statistics stand in your favor. We have record-low rates of Mass attendance among American Catholics, suggesting that being reared in a faith does not in fact impair a person’s ability to choose his or her own path in life.

          • jack

            ” I believe that it is solely the right of parents to bring up their children in a faith, and I would in fact defend the rights of Muslim parents, Hindu parents, Jewish parents, Mormon parents, and so on, to do the same.”

            That is great if you believe that! I’m generally addressing people like this: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/07/05/louisiana-republican-when-i-voted-for-state-funds-to-go-to-religious-schools-i-didnt-mean-muslim-ones/

            But what if the Muslim parent taught their children that women are lesser than a man. What if a Christian during the civil war quotes scriptures to convince their child that slavery is ok. What if parents teach their kids that evolution is a farce and that certain groups of people should be treated less than human beings. That is what I am scared of and that is what happens more than you might think.

          • David

            Hi, I’m David.

            First of all, I think evolution is a farce, and I don’t see how that is a bad thing to believe. In fact I think evolutionary thinking logically leads to treating certain groups of people as less than human.

            Secondly,
            Are you advocating that the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit should be revoked because there have been some people who used that right to pass on bad/wrong/evil ideas?

            I think arguing from this position ignores the vast majority of people who raise their children in a religious home and do NOT create serial killers, rapists, racists, sexists, or tryannical slave masters.

            Thirdly, people are not stuck with believing what they were taught to believe as children. As evidenced by the large number of people that entered college with me planning not to do a lot of partying, and left college with a lot of drunken nights in their recent history.

          • Steve

            “I think evolution is a farce”

            And you’d seemed so reasonable before.

            Slightly tangential, but this is an example of a problem with religion, you seem like an intelligent, educated and reasonable person but here in this instance your religion is conflicting with the evidence, and there’s only going to be one winner.

          • Steve

            Oops, sorry my mistake. I missed the “Hi I’m david” part, thought I was replying to Teawithsheep. I think my point still stands though, religion can cause sensible people to ignore facts that don’t fit with their world view.

          • Sense

            “I think evolution is a farce, and I don’t see how that is a bad thing to believe.”

            It’s a bad thing to believe because there is a HUGE amount of data & research to support evolution, yet NONE to support creationism. Arbitrarily deciding that you are going to believe some things in the Bible word-for-word, and then ignoring others (I’m sure you don’t believe all of the Bible), is baffling beyond belief.

            If you don’t believe everything in the Bible 100% word-for-word then you evidently have some sense & intelligence, so why reject such a proven scientific fact as evolution, just because you’re told to do so by those who’ve been promoted to a higher “rank” in the church than yourself?

            Also, FYI, evolutionary theory has plenty of explanations as to why we do NOT just go around killing each other, that fit perfectly with the theory itself. This is a common anti evolution argument thrown around by Christians and has absolutely no scientific credence.

          • Skorlan

            Just as there are facts from biology to show that evolution occurred, although there is no proof that is was random, so there is proof from the field of physics to show that the universe was created.

          • enness

            If it were truly arbitrary, then it would be baffling; but perhaps it seems arbitrary because you go through the motions of listening to the explanation without the honest intention of ever really letting it penetrate. Only you know the answer.

            You make the common mistake of confusing truth and fact. The Bible does not read like a history text the whole way through. If I say to you, “You are the apple of my eye,” does that convey some meaning to you, as it does most English-speakers? Or do you think I’m crazy because you are not an apple, and are most certainly not in my eye?

          • KyleUndefined

            I was born and raised as a Southern Baptist. Ever since I can remember, I was always at the church. I didn’t have any say if I wanted to go or not, the answer was always “You’re going”. I was also put into private school at a young age, so I didn’t have any exposure to anything else but the Christian faith. We were taught that any music but gospel was the devils work, and that we would go to hell if we listened to it. That’s just one example, I could give many more.

            I was a curious kid, so I would explore other things as much as I could to see why exactly we should hate it. It just didn’t make any sense, but since I had no say in anything, I had to go a long with it. When I was 15, my family and I moved down to Florida. I was put into a public school (I was scared beyond belief, the public schools back home were awful), and much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. I was exposed to more than I ever was in a private school. I could think and question things without worrying that I would be punished. It was fantastic to say the least.

            This is when my love of science really took off, and I really began questioning a lot of things I was taught for so long back home. I slowly stopped going to church, since I finally given a choice to do so or not, because everything that I was learning was being condemned to hell by the churches I went to. There was really no clear answer as to why, just that it was the devils work. I haven’t been to a church in 6 years, and I have no intention on going back to one.

            I have grown to be a man of science, facts, and logical thinking. I don’t believe anything unless I can test it and see it for myself. I wouldn’t have it any other way, because to me, blindly following something that you have no factual data on that says it exists is silly and a waste of time.

            Now that the back story is out of the way, I would like to respond to your comment.

            1) It’s fine that you think evolution is a farce, as I think religion is one as well. However, your “In fact I think evolutionary thinking logically leads to treating certain groups of people as less than human.” statement is wrong and is a cheap jab. What proof do you have to make you think this? Personally, to me, it seems that some religious people(See: WBC) are usually the harmful ones and treat others less than human. I know not all of them do, but you know the point I’m making.

            2) I wouldn’t go that far and think that. I understand what he’s saying. Take me for example, if I hadn’t of moved to Florida and attended a public school, I would still be going to church and believing in God since that’s all I ever knew.

            I think that it’s perfectly fine for parents to practice their religion at their own home, I mean, it’s their home. If their child wants to understand what they’re doing, by all means explain what you’re doing and why. However, don’t tell them that what you’re doing is the only way and force them to go to religious areas that they don’t want to go to.

            There are many serial killers, rapists, racists, sexists, and tryannical slave masters who are religious. I mean, look at Hitler, he was born Catholic and ended up being Christian. You can raise a child to not be any of those things mentioned before and not be religious one bit, all you need to do is instill morals.

            3) I totally agree with this statement.

            To end, I do not have a problem with people who want to believe in a religion. It doesn’t affect me in any way, I just chose not to partake in that any longer. I wish more people could think the same way, and not cram religion down anyones throat, or hound someone to become religious.

          • Skorlan

            Hitler did not end up being Christian. He ended up believing in the occult. He used astrology to help him decide what to do next. He was just another child who decided that the religion of his parents was wrong and went out and did his own thing.

          • enness

            It’s easy to point out that your current position is a just as much result of your upbringing, although in your case it was a reaction (perhaps even an overreaction)to their authoritarian style. You can mull that over on your own, I’m not going to dwell on it.

            What really concerns me is that you seem ready to give a pass to anything that uses the name “Christian” unworthily. The most basic premise of the Final Solution, and indeed all eugenics, is that certain groups of people are so inferior that nature must be helped along by not permitting them to live. Are you familiar with the term ‘Lebensraum’? Room to live. That is what Hitler believed the superior race needed, and was justification to invade neighboring countries. Eugenics is not a Christian idea and never will be no matter what sheepskin cloak it goes about in.

          • jack

            Are you advocating that the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit should be revoked because there have been some people who used that right to pass on bad/wrong/evil ideas?

            haha no way man. A parent can do whatever he/she wants to do with their kid as long as it is inside the law. I’m not saying we are going to take a parent’s right to raise their kids away. I’m saying a good parent should try not to force controversial ideologies on a child at a young age.

          • enness

            I think we can agree that there is such a thing as age-inappropriate. What is “controversial,” of course, is highly subjective.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kathleen.green.399 Kathleen Green

            If you BELIEVE them…are they in truth controversial?

          • Eric Dodson

            I just found this aricle and wanted to comment on your post. I think evolution is fact and I believe that God instituted it, I do not believe that humans came from “monkeys” but I don’t really believe in the whole Adam and Eve scenario either. I believe that God created the big bang, he is who created the universe since there is scientific evidence that expansion is happening every day, and it had to start somewhere, and I don’t believe it was just nothing then the universe as we know it.
            As with that I believe that God has put life on millions of worlds throughout the cosmos and allowed his form of evolution to proceed, with simple lifeforms that mutate throguhtout the millinia into complex organisms and eventually even intelligent life as we know it. I believe that there was a species of what we would define as ape, that adapted better then others and over the millions of years was able to adapt into what we call humans, and it was all apart of Gods plan to populate the planet.
            If we started out as fully funtional humans as such in Adam and Eve then there would be no need to learn and adapt persay, and unless we were able to adapt (a crucial part of evolution in fact) Adam and Eve surely would have parrished in the wild alone without the walls of Eden to protect them.
            I love science fiction and I myself think that there might be worlds out there where the dominate form of life is not mammal but reptile, or insect, there’s is no way to verify this until we start to travel the stars and eventually we will and i’m sure that it’s apart of God’s plan seeing as eventually this world we call home will be destroyed and i’m sure he will protect us long enough to travel the stars and find a new home, and possibley other intelligent life out there, in this way I do not believe evolution is a farce, it’s just apart of the overall design of the cosmos…

          • enness

            Children do eventually reach the age of reason, no? We’re not expecting people to remain intellectual children their whole lives, and I hope all our Abrahamic brethren can agree with that. A person raised in such a household may have more to overcome, but that doesn’t mean (s)he is doomed.

            Also, I must have Chesterton on the brain because I can’t help thinking of this quote: “The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal.”
            While it often masquerades as other things, what historians call ‘Social Darwinism’ is at the foundation of eugenics, racial or otherwise. You can take that to the bank.

          • jack

            “The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal.”

            I think you are confused what “all men are created equal” means. Obviously some people are more physically gifted than others, some are born with mental problems, some are born blind etc. God did not literally create all men equal. What “all men created equal” really means is that no life is worth more than another’s life regardless of race, sex, gender, sexual preference, talents and more. Everyone deserves to be treated like human beings. Everyone deserves to have equal rights. It sounds like you are taking that phrase literally in which case you are wrong to do so.

          • enness

            My friend, if someone here is confused about the phrase, it is not I, but the originator of the quote — G.K. Chesterton. I would hesitate to say so, because he had a more brilliant mind than mine, and in comparison I am a hack.

          • anna

            I think he just assumed it was mainly directed at Christians with the drawing of the character with the priest collar and bishop’s hat and all, and to defend his own religion against the points brought up.

          • jack

            true, he used Christianity in his example, but he meant to criticize all religions

          • enness

            Isn’t the onus on the cartoonist to *show* us what he means, and not have to have Combox Jack or Jane translate for him? Just asking.

          • jack

            marc did not respond to every comic in the panel. He only responded to the ones that picked on Christianity.

          • enness

            Fair enough…I do kind of wonder if there is a Muslim response somewhere.

          • laursaurus

            Yeah! For vegans, consuming anything with or produced by a creature that has a face or a sea shell is an abomination. Even swatting an insect is unethical. So as soon as the baby is ready for solid food, the “indoctrination” begins. Like any other parent, they do the grocery shopping. While mainstream parents say “no” to a diet of Twinkies and Red Bull, because of legitimate nutritional concerns, vegan parents will say “no” because to consume it is to perpetuate evil.
            Imagine the cartoon version of the vegan parent explaining why abortion is ok, though.

          • Skorlan

            The next time you go to the March for Life in Washington, stop by the corner of 20th and Constitution and talk to the members of PETA standing there waiting for the March to begin. They always used to say they were the only ones with a consistent pro-life ethic.

          • Meg A.

            What do PETA members do at the March for Life?

            I read an interview with the president of PETA (not the current one) throughout which he was saying that everyone should give up eating meat, wearing leather and fur, etc.
            He may have gone into PETA’s belief that people should not own animals, not even as pets.

            But when asked if PETA had a position on abortion, he replied that “PETA doesn’t tell people what to do in their private lives.”

            Silly me, I thought that freedom to choose what to eat and what to wear was part of private life for everyone.

          • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.thompson.50999405 Elizabeth Thompson

            Reality is. Period. There is a reality about the world and about human nature. The fact that people disagree does not mean that no philosophy can reflect that reality better than another. It simply means we disagree.

          • jack

            “It is impossible to be “taught more about the world and how it works” in a vacuum.”

            This is not always true. We know the world is older than the bible leads to believe, we know snakes cannot talk, we know slavery is wrong, we know people live and die in pain and suffering their entire lives, etc.

            I have no problem with religion except when it has negative social or scientific influences. In more than one case religion has held the human race from moving forward. Today it is used to condemn homosexuals and discredit evolution. One day I hope science and society will win out like it has done in the past, but then there will be another argument.

            I’m glad you brought up agnosticism, because I do consider myself agnostic. Religion is based on faith, the answer “I don’t know” is the truth without any faith required. So you could actually be right, and all other religions could be wrong, but the probability is too small for me to give it credit (but it is still a possibility). Especially with parts of the bible many people once considered fact, are now known falsehoods.

            I was a Christian my entire life, but that changed in college. I was forced to go to church up until my senior year in high school. If I went to Liberty University I would have never heard the other side and the story and be still be glued to Fox News. I would be effectively brainwashed. Through college I was able to hear the other side of the story that my parents never let me see. I think kids should be taught multiple sides of an issue and the logic and reasoning behind both. You can make a kid believe in anything when they are little (i.e Santa Claus). You can tell them that cows go meow and cats go moo and they will believe you. Teach them basic morality and let them find the answer themselves. Otherwise you are manipulating a human being’s entire life to your own satisfaction. One day we may find the answers to the universe, but not in our lifetime. Only when the answer is fact, will it be acceptable to teach it as fact.

          • Stequi

            Jack: Please elaborate, which “parts of the bible many people once considered fact, are now known falsehoods”?

          • jack

            “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)”

            Stuff like that.

          • enness

            It is hardly a “falsehood,” any more than it is a falsehood that you were once a minor and therefore unable to legally vote, drive, or buy alcohol. Something changed: it was not the nature of voting, driving, or alcohol — no, it was you. Some aspects of Mosaic law are no longer binding because there is a new covenant established by Jesus Christ. That is the Catholic understanding, and you are on a Catholic blog.

          • jack

            I may be on a Catholic blog but that doesn’t mean I’m a Catholic. I can’t really defend the merits of slavery no matter what time period in history it is. People’s entire lives were dedicated to serving someone and they had no choice in the matter. People whose lives I believe were worth just as much as yours or mine. Even if society allows it that doesn’t make it right. Just because Jesus established a new covenant doesn’t mean basic morality has now changed. There is a difference between a human being owning another human beings life and the age of voting.

          • enness

            I didn’t say you were a Catholic, I’m telling you we are, so that is the perspective you’re going to get. I’s reasonable to assume tht if you were intimately familiar with it already I doubt you’d have made the post I responded to. Although, you might be surprised to know that you practically just made my argument for me with only very minor differences. :)

          • Shuurei

            “Teach them basic morality” means teaching them what the parents think is basic morality.

            What *I* think is basic morality is the commandments God gave us, either through Scripture or through Tradition in the Catholic Church, so that’s what I’ll be teaching my children. I will encourage them to learn about what other people believe. I will encourage them to understand why the Church teaches this or that, not just to accept it blindly. I will encourage them to keep on searching for Truth their entire lives, but they will see through our lives how that search for Truth led my soon-to-be husband and I both to the Catholic Church. That’s not something I could, even if I wanted to, deny.

          • jack

            The ten commandments are a great code to live by, and as far as I’m concerned it is a good code to teach your children. Where we would disagree is where while you might believe basic morality derives from the ten commandments I believe the ten commandments derive from basic morality. I believe this because even the moral codes in the Bible predate when the Bible was written. Their are also civilizations B.C with similar moral codes.

          • enness

            I find it interesting you assume Shuurei means the Ten Commandments, which were not mentioned at all in the post. That could refer to the Two Commandments of the New Testament, or thousands of small, seemingly implicit commandments. In any case — of course they do. According to Christianity, the Author of good pre-dates all of us. :)

          • pi2r2

            Funny you compare to vacuum, where there is more energy in a cubic millimeter than the entire known universe. Look it up.

          • Deven Kale

            That’s actually a pretty controversial idea, and according to physicist John Baez, very naive. He says it’s far more likely that the energy in a vacuum is more like 10^-9 (1/1000000000) joules per cubic meter, or so close to zero that it makes little difference.

          • pi2r2

            Knowledge is always in contention. For every fact and proof there is always opposition. Believe what you want, that is free will. Dr. Hal Putoff, who solved the mathematics for the mass decrease factor of matter in its superconductive state, told David Hudson, developer of such superconductive material, that when it disappears during annealment it goes to a place where there is no mass and no time. That is where God must be.

          • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.thompson.50999405 Elizabeth Thompson

            How fascinating.

          • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.thompson.50999405 Elizabeth Thompson

            “Religion is based on faith” is not true for many religious people, though perhaps for some. Many people’s adherence to religion is strengthened by their reasoning, empiric observations of human nature, and countless quantifiable and un-quantifiable experiences in their lives. Someone’s belief in God may be as crystal clear to him as “facts” such as 2+2=4.

            Is there any such thing as a pure fact? It all depends on what data you choose to accept when deciding what to believe.

            Truly only a few of us in this world have the scientific knowledge to understand–with reliable certainty–that the earth circles the sun and not vice versa, or about the particles that compose an atom. We call things like these scientific facts, but most people only take them as fact because a reputable source told them so.

            What “facts” are acceptable to be taught to children is entirely debatable.

          • Guest

            Actually, there are such things as pure facts. Mathematics is considered the “pure science” because you cannot disprove 2+2=4. It’s impossible. No matter how you slice it, if you add 2 to 2, you get 4. That is a fact. Science is the application of math and combining it with observation. Science has no set-in-stone beliefs. If the sun rose in the north tomorrow, and it continued to rise in the north, science would revise itself to fit this new norm. In terms of science, there are no pure facts, but science tries to continually renew itself to fit new data.

          • Deven Kale

            Just to be a stickler, there are instances where 2 + 2 /= 4. For example, say you have 2 sets of oranges, both containing 2 oranges, but one of those oranges is shared between the two sets. When you combine the two sets of two oranges (2 + 2), you will only get 3 oranges, not 4. In that case, 2 + 2 = 3.

            The more accurate statement is that 2 + 2 /= 5, because no matter how you look at it, 2 sets of 2 objects will never combine to make 5 objects.

        • Bo Tait

          I just don’t understand why people think I’m saying parents shouldn’t teach their kids anything, or shouldn’t guide them.
          I don’t think my original comment comes off like that at all.
          If it does to others, let me break my point down.
          I don’t think children should be programmed like robots at all times. I don’t think children should be left to figure out the world on their own. I’m prett sure there’s a healthy balance in the middle. The middle is where I live.

        • Sense

          Yes, adults do usually have more answers than children, but when it comes to something that NOBODY on earth has the answer to, the claim that you go to heaven should ALWAYS be explained as a belief, and not a fact. However, you’ll be hard pressed to find any religious people who won’t categorically claim it to be a fact, and teach it as such to their children.

          • enness

            Suppose a man named Jesus really did have the answer? Then it wouldn’t nobody.

        • Ric Mason

          Uh, Greg… You missed the guy’s point. Parents don’t have any knowledge about what happens when we die. Parents have beliefs, not knowledge. Big difference, Greg. Why spread a fairy tale?

      • Maureen O’Brien

        St. Augustine says that, if you really believed that, you wouldn’t teach your kids any language, any math, any skills at all. Because of course, later the kids could choose for themselves what to learn!

        The truth is that parents teach kids everything they know, everything they think good. If they don’t teach their kids, that’s called “criminal neglect,” not hip ambiguity about the answers.

        • Spam727

          There’s a difference between knowledge and faith though.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505842460 Mana Rengifo

            Well, not quite. They go hand in hand.
            What is knowledge? according to dictionary.com: it is “Information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.”
            And faith? “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”

            Then I say, if you have “complete trust [and] confidence” on a “piece of information” wouldn’t you pass that on to your children?
            Wouldn’t that piece of information be an important thing to let them know about?

            Then later on once they have that information, and after they have heard what other people know and have faith in, they can make their own informed decision. But you have passed on that knowledge you completely trust to be true.

          • Danielfaa

            Knowledge can be backed up by something other than a fictional book.

          • http://wizardsofsmart.net/ panesofglass

            Then why did Tolkien write The Silmarillian rather than a textbook treatise on philology?

          • Dancash

            Hopefully we’ve all moved passed believing because “for the Bible tells me so.” I don’t know of anyone with a real faith in God that holds that faith based solely on the writings found in the Holy Writ. We believe because we have experienced, felt, sensed the Divine and what we have found stands up under reason. So faith is not “backed up by… a fictional book,” but by the experiences of believers for the last 4,000 years.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6VCE664NLSCSV3VL3XMEIOY7XU Kate

            There are still plenty of people who will stand out and say, “I believe ___ because it says so in the Bible, and everything in the Bible is 100% true. It’s the straight word of God, and his word is the only word.”
            It’s a better argument for people who have had the types of experiences you mention, but the fact is that that does not include a majority of people.

          • T. B.

            But why do they believe in the Bible, and why do they do so as a fudamentalist? That is the core of their faith, not that adam and eve existed because the bibles says so; rather that they believe in the bible because they “have experienced, felt, sensed the Divine (in the bible)and what (they) have found (in the bible) stands up under reason.”

          • enness

            With no disrespect intended, I’d guess that is because our country is largely a sola scriptura country. You can read for yourself the link I provided in my response to Alexandra.

          • Talitha-Koum

            And never mind that those experiences could be mere sensationalism. Faith is not founded on fact, otherwise it wouldn’t be called Faith. faith: belief that is not based on proof (the definition just below the one Mana Rangifo thought best supported his statements). Sensations are not proof. However there is scientific proof that the mind can manifest sensations that seem to be “miraculous” but, in fact, are not. Also, if you want to talk numbers of years as proof that a religious belief is “right” then Hinduism predates your “believer” experiences by about 1000 years. No one is right; everyone is right. If “God” is really the God religions say he is, all-encompassing, infinitely-creative then don’t you think he created a multitude of ways to get to him, as we are all unique and yet are expressions of him? To be so narrow-minded is the very opposite of this God everyone propagates for their own ends.

          • Phillip J Jedlovec

            Faith really is based on proof. It is just that the proof is not in the form of a logical deduction or personal experience. The proof is in the authority of another person (in the case of religious faith, this person is God). We know something through faith when we trust someone who has told us it is true, and we trust their authority on the matter. For example, I know that the element called Actinium exists, not because I have verified it scientifically on my own, but because a bunch of scientists say they have discovered it and verified each other in their findings, and I trust their authority on the matter. Similarly, I believe the truths of the Catholic and Christian faith not because they make sense to me, but because God has told us they are true through Jesus Christ, who proved Himself to be God. And I trust God’s authority because he is incable of lying.

          • G Bijvank

            I don’t follow you at the end of your reply, first you make a good point about believing others about knowledge. And then you say that your source is God who told Jesus to tell us. I mean at the start you have a sound point. Not a very strong point because you could if you would find out for yourself and you can’t do that with religion. But still it’s a strong point. But just saying that the authority you use for religion is God is a bit strange to say. Because you never heard it from God or Jesus Christ but from your parents or from your priest. Those people read it in a book that is the whole source of all this. Not multiple scientists that all came to the same conclusion, but one book.

          • matt

            I think, like you, his point is a strong one and that is the fundamental reason why Catholicism has existed for 2,000 years via the Holy See, that is, through Apostolic Succession – the handing on of the faith, which Jesus we know from scripture commanded and promised His protection from the whims of the world. Requiring scientific proof for religious assent is relatively recent and not everyone believes in that, nor am I convinced that it is necessary. For me science is either interesting (like man this is strange and mysteriously awesome) or pragmatic (look how we can help people).

          • Guest

            But a scientist could SHOW you proof of discovery. Your church can’t claim proof. So know we are back to knowledge vs faith. Knowledge can be proven. Faith can’t. If it could, everyone would believe it.

          • Erika Allen77

            fictional book? sure..I guess the bible has nothing historical in it at all.

          • Talitha-Koum

            the bible has as much “historical fact” in it as the Torah and the Qur’an.

          • Justaguest

            Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has a lot of historic facts in it. As does All Quiet on the Western Front. American Gods accurately portrays real landmarks in perfect detail. Because a book has historic or verifiable facts obviously that means it isn’t fiction.

          • Jon Visser

            If the Bible is so fictional, why do archeologists use it as the primary source for research?

          • http://www.facebook.com/reylas83 Nick Salyer

            This is completely untrue

          • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.steele.315 Matthew Steele

            It is true in the VAGUEST of senses, to the point that saying it’s used as a primary source for research is almost entirely meaningless, except as a primary source on ‘what people at that time wrote down.’

            You can, for example, use the epistles of St. Paul for research into the state of Christianity at the time of St. Paul. To that extent, the Bible IS used as a primary source.

            But saying it’s ‘used as a primary source for research’ implies something like vast numbers of archaeologists cross-referencing the Bible and trying to find where that damn Garden is.

          • Kleptocratic

            You’re leaving out the other definition of ‘faith’ which is relevant to a theological argument. From the Oxford dictionary (as is your given definition):

            “strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof”

          • pi2r2

            No, that’s what they have in common.

        • Bo Tait

          I don’t know how you got to criminal neglect from what I said. That’s pretty entertaining. All I’m advocating is for kids to be allowed to explore their own thought process. And yes, ask questions as well.
          I’m a reasonable person, I’m not saying that parents should let kids decide whether or not looking before crossing the road is a good idea.

          • http://twitter.com/ricetard comatose bones ♪

            Well, people in general often think that their belief is knowledge. Whether they’re atheist, agnostic, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu–anything else, they’ll believe that they’re right.

            I think the question should be less about telling your kids what /you/ think is right and what/you/ believe to be true, and more on whether or not you’re forcing it down your kid’s throats. If you tell your kid what you think is the pure and absolute truth–that God exists, that God doesn’t exist, that Jesus died for sins, that only doing good works gets you into heaven–you have every right to express what you think, especially if you pass it on to your child. But if your child thinks otherwise, or disagrees with you, then that’s when the real issue with the parents comes in–how they deal with their child having a different perspective.

            Children should be allowed to ask questions of course! And think for themselves. But in asking their parents about their religious beliefs, their parents have every right to present their belief as fact, because that’s what every human does anyways.

          • Some Name

            This does disavow the basic parent-child relationship. Although children will always question, they still accept the general informational authority of the parents. Parents give me food, food tastes yummy, I stay alive. Parents tell me to do X, I do X, life is better, parent is wise. Parent tells me with total certainty that the world is a certain way, it will be so. The fact of parental certainty itself discourages questioning. THis is in the best case scenario, in which a child isn’t reprimanded or beaten for questioning. And yes, that happens.

          • Guest

            My only comment on this is, if that were the case than all atheists would have had atheist parents rather than growing up and finding for themselves that they disagreed with their parents beliefs. When we grow older we all question our beliefs and if we feel they are no longer true or that our beliefs no longer align with our parents then we change them. That may just be my opinion though.

          • pi2r2

            You’re right about it being your opinion.

          • enness

            I don’t know if you meant to come off so snarky, but it would be nice if one could find a point or rebuttal; otherwise it looks like Guest has hit on a general truth and you’re just pouting about it.

          • Chr236

            Agnostics do not do this. They present possibilities, give opinions and explicitly state their beliefs as beliefs, not facts.

          • http://twitter.com/ricetard comatose bones ♪

            But not everyone is agnostic, so not everyone is going to do this.

          • http://www.facebook.com/reylas83 Nick Salyer

            I don’t think you understand the term “agnostic”

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/AFNDBOLWAKE4I35NJNYR7GZL24 amd

            If atheism is a religion (belief) then being teetotal is a type of alcoholism and not taking drugs is a type of addiction. The point of atheists/agnostics/non theists and free thinkers is that they don’t “believe” they just know that they don’t know – and nor does anybody else – so they don’t make false claims about knowledge based on “faith” and often stand up against those who make those sorts of false claims. Faith being based upon, as the famous man once said “believing in what you know ain’t so”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kathleen.green.399 Kathleen Green

            re: “famous man” – If you know it
            ‘ain’t so’ then it is NOT faith.
            sound ‘cute’ but intrinsically flawed

          • Lumpup

            I remember trying to teach my kids to look before crossing the road. We stood for ages but the street was empty. So we went back inside an played a while at Frogger. Then we went and found a busy road and hopped skipped and jumped our way across using all our wits and senses of course. I have a big family (no condoms) and I’m not sure if they all got across, but I think the message did.

          • pi2r2

            You think therefore it did?

        • Autonomicdrek

          There’s a difference between learning a language and learning a faith. In general, you won’t be disowned if you learn another language and choose to speak it. I think, as a general rule, people are not condemned to hell for failing to learn algebra.

          • enness

            If you cannot or will not speak the predominant language of the place where you live — especially if you are a dependent child and can’t just move away — you might as well be disowned by the community, no? If no one can understand what you are saying?

            Not learning algebra may not have condemned me to hell, but it certainly would have made several years of my life hell. These are things that parents know way before their childen figure it out.

        • Guest

          Math and science are fact. Religion is opinion. The former, you teach children, the latter, you allow them to develop for themselves. It is not “criminal neglect” to refuse to force your particular myth on your offspring.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Glenn.Andrew.Peoples Glenn Andrew Peoples

        “Even as adults we don’t really have the answers, so why tell a child that you do? It’s just dishonest.”

        What a silly thing to say. If a person believes that he has the right answer, how is it dishonest to present it as the correct answer?

    • Corita

      I think that this scenario is an interesting one; particularly because I am a believer married to a non-believer and so I have thought about it a lot. When my (7-or-so-and-older) kids ask me stuff that I have a specifically religious answer for, I will often say, “Well, Catholics believe that….” and the implication is that “we’ believe it because we are Catholic….but it also leaves it open, at least verbally, for the possibility that there are other beliefs, including whatever hid Dad believes.

      Last night my very-serious, philosophical, 7yo asked me, “Mom, is everything in the Bible true?” And so we chatted about the different ways of talking and literature there are in the Bible and I told him that sometimes people disagreed about what a part of the Bible meant when it said something.

      My point is, that there are ways to be firm about belief and also give information to your (old enough to consider it properly) child.

      • Corita

        I meant to say that I do not go further than “Catholics believe…” because I think that it is up to *them* to grow in their own time, and take it further to the questioning stage, when they are ready. I will always reaffirm their absolute responsibility to pursue their life as a believer (or not) on their own terms. It won’t stop me from taking them to Church when they are my responsibility, nor will it mean I have to act like it’s all just a matter of opinion and unimportant what they think or do. That’s just stupid parenting, imo, if we are talking about serious stuff.

        • Sophos

          Despite me being an atheist and you a believer, I have to commend you on being so honest with your child. Great job!

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            It does sorta make me wonder how atheist parents handle their children’s questions.

          • Noone

            If it’s something that we don’t know, then the answer is simple “We don’t know, and neither does anyone else. Many people can’t handle not knowing and so make up answers”.

          • msmischief

            And how was it divinely revealed to you so that you know that other people don’t know?

            Or are you claiming mind reading skills?

          • Matthewkeates

            He would probably claim booking reading skills. There are some questions that we just don’t have an answer to, say like the origin of the universe, or the origin of life, and there are many more examples of questions to which we can firmly say no one has a complete understanding.

          • msmischief

            My, that’s impressive. He’s read every single book in existence and he knows by some magical mean that they contain the sum of all human knowledge.

            Except, of course, he couldn’t have gotten there, because many such books contain knowledge of what happens after death, often from experience.

            Unless you’re claiming that some books are divinely inspired so we can trust their claim that people don’t know the answers to certain questions?

          • Frank

            You are ridiculous.

          • msmischief

            That wasn’t written in a book so isn’t evidence — at least if you are not applying grotesquely different standards of evidence.

          • Lumpup

            What Frank wrote has been more than simply written in a book – it’s been published.
            Moreover it’s plausible. I believe it to be the Truth! And I’ll wager many others do too.

          • Chuck

            As an atheist, probably not in the same way we hope religious parents will answer questions. I would have to say that we would tell them the scientific version of things, but probably also state that science is constantly changing and open to new findings. The only time we’d go over “Christians believe…” is if they’ve encountered a Christian friend or are learning about it in school. Honestly, if I ever have children, I intend to take them to church, even though I am not religious myself, but intend to teach my child to keep an open mind and continue to challenge and question things.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            What “scientific” version? The *best you can say is that there is no data. Glad to see you would not tell them the Christian belief. (Or the Buddhist belief?) How can a kid make up his mind for himself if you withhold information from him?

          • Chuck

            You seem to be referring to a specific question. I would have to say that for most questions a child would ask there would be plenty of data. Can you refer to which question should be answered with there is “no data”? I’m not saying there isn’t such a question, but I was just referring to a general response.

            And this would not be withholding information from him. It would simply be informing him of the current scientific consensus. As I don’t adhere to most Christian beliefs, and find most of them to simply be ridiculous, I just wouldn’t find them relevant at the time of the question, and so wouldn’t mention them.

            If my child were to ask me about a specific religious belief I would discuss it with them.

          • Chuck

            More info: It would basically be akin to telling the child of every single myth about how babies are made, including the stork myth, the homunculus myth, etc. They simply wouldn’t be relevant. They will learn about them as they grow older anyway.

          • scrupuless

            Or you could tell them the truth about what we know, a male and a female have sex and produce a baby…. no myths required.

          • Bob

            “We don’t know.” And that’s the truth.

          • jack

            ha I would tell them every belief. But you would probably leave out scientific evidence that may or may not contradict the bible.

          • Sophos

            Depends on the question. Usually with asking the child for their thoughts to teach them metacognition. Then showing them how to research.

        • tedseeber

          My son is downright proud to be Catholic. Why shouldn’t he be? 20 generations on his great grandmother’s side are, and there is a family tradition of converting our spouses.

        • tedseeber

          My son is downright proud to be Catholic. Why shouldn’t he be? 20 generations on his great grandmother’s side are, and there is a family tradition of converting our spouses.

          • Corita

            Why did you write this to me? Does it have to do with what I wrote?

          • Noone

            Yeah, I can see how someone can be proud that they were indoctrinated into a particular denomination when they were a kid… wasn’t it very lucky that out of the thousands of religions you happened to picked the right one, and out of the thousands of denominations you again picked the right one! What an amazing coincidence!

          • Gigathulu

            And that they all managed to bullheadedly force their “loved ones” into the that same indoctrination? Pride!

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            It’s only an amazing coincidence if you don’t understand statistics.

          • kugland

            From a strictly materialist point of view there shouldn’t be any reason to be proud of any accomplishment whatsoever, since we are machines bound to the laws of physics.

          • Lumpup

            and I thought we were bags of meat sitting on a rock in outer space (gulp)!

          • ADinks

            I never thought I’d meet a person who claims to be a statistician who does not. Intriguing.

          • Jon Visser

            I was raised anti-Catholic. I hated Catholics and persecuted them. But, since I want to know fact and accurate history, I researched what Catholics actually believe, not what I was taught they believe. I found that the Catholic Church is the only Church that is grounded in historical Christianity. I had no choice but to convert to Catholicism. If I didn’t, my world-view would be in conflict with historical fact.

          • ADinks

            “Catholic Church is the only Church that is grounded in historical Christianity.” First fail.

            “I had no choice but to convert to Catholicism.” 2nd fail, and a major one.

            “If I didn’t, my world-view would be in conflict with historical fact.” Final fail. Especially since most scientific, historical, and archaeological evidence says otherwise. You are now currently failing at life in general.

          • guest

            20 generations ? proud to be a catholic? he didnt do anything to be “proud” of, no self acomplishment, he just managed to be born to you. as for the tradition of converting anyone, spouses, thats despicable. i bet you agreed with the forced conversions of jews in spain and in portugal during the inquisition? convert or die?

          • Lumpup

            God help them…

          • Lumpup

            … the spouses, I mean.

        • Guest

          I’m not a religious person in any way, and I’m trying very hard to refrain from responding to a lot of these comments that I personally deem to be ignorant/arrogant/stupid, or just generally disagree with. But Corita, you are a prime example of an awesome religious person. There should be more people out there like you. A person who believes in their faith AND common sense. Follow suit [religious] people.

      • http://indefinitecrisis.wordpress.com/ Michael H

        I’ve been having a similar issue with my atheist girlfriend. It’s always been “I don’t think I could raise my kid in the church,” and “I think the kid should choose,” which obviously has a profound affect on our relationship in the present because we know we’ll have to figure that out in the future.

        In any case, she asked me how I could manage that, and I answered honestly: “Lutherans (and Catholics, Anglicans and most Orthodox denominations) also believe it becomes the kid’s choice. We baptize, we instruct, and then they have confirmation.” It’s not straight indoctrination. Either someone gets confirmed or they don’t. I cannot be confirmed for my child. My child must be confirmed of his or her own volition.

        So if a child asks a question, I can give an honest answer to a belief matrix (Lutheran Christianity) and, as a matter of education, teach philosophy and comparisons with other religions. As I go, I can demonstrate why I think Christianity is better suited to deal with the world than these other options, and my wife – well, now girlfriend, but if we were to marry – could do the same with an atheist position. The child can only choose if they are instructed on what they are choosing. If they are only ever presented one option – atheism, avoiding the church entirely – then they aren’t choosing atheism. It’s a default position.

        All we do is teach honestly, and the child can by virtue of faith make a belief.

        (This of course presupposes on my end efficacy of infant baptism. But I don’t think this should be a real contentious to the Girl in Question; since she believes baptism is just symbolic water trickling, why should she care if I get my child baptized with the belief that it is a divine promise generative of faith?)

        • Corita

          As someone who is married to an atheist, remember that beliefs can change over time, and not necessarily from atheist to believer. My very tolerant husband has become more intolerant as our marriage has progressed. Whereas he was content with raising our children in the Church when we got married, he has begun to feel it is wrong to do so. This is an incredibly difficult thing to get past.

          Just something to think about.

          • http://indefinitecrisis.wordpress.com/ Michael H

            It would be dishonest of me to say there weren’t days when the belief change doesn’t sometimes feel like I’m migrating from Lutheranism to atheism and other days when I feel like enrolling in an RCIA group at the parish down the street from my own congregation.

          • Corita

            I hear you. But I also meant that marrying an atheist might put you in the position of hearing them say to you one day down the road, “Well MY conscience tells me that I can’t let my children go to Catholic school/church/whathaveyou anymore!”

            That is the one thing I never expected to happen (It hasn’t been THAT bad yet, but it’s gotten close) and I wish I had contemplated that possibility beforehand.

          • Teawithsheep

            I admire your willingness to share how difficult it can be to parent when both parents do not agree about faith. I will certainly keep you and your husband in my prayers!

          • Corita

            Thank you, so much.

        • Charlie

          I don’t know about Lutherans, but Orthodox (c’est moi) don’t have confirmations. You’re baptized as a baby and boom, you’re a full member of the Church.

          • John Francis

            You guys do too have the sacrament of confirmation, just like Roman Catholics do. It’s just called “chrismation”, and yes it happens when you’re a baby right after you’re baptized. But it’s still an individual sacrament.

          • Charlie

            Yes, you’re right. I guess I normally don’t think of chrismation as a separate event, but it is indeed another sacrament. I should have mentioned that. My point, though, was that you don’t wait until someone is 16 before they’re full members; chrismation happens in the same service as baptism.

          • Matthew Roth

            I am intrigued by the idea of chrismation, and since that is outside of the Latin Catholic tradition, Confirmation at an early age (say, a year after 1st Communion). Mystagogy is interesting to me…

        • Doe

          You sir, deserve a medal

        • Chuck

          I got confirmed in 6th grade, when I was much too young to make an informed decision. I guess that means I am a bonafide Catholic, though I don’t really completely submit to the Church or the Bible, being an atheist. =/ Confirmation doesn’t really mean much in my opinion.

        • Christi Edwards

          Michael, I think you have a misconception of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Catholic Church. It is one of the three sacraments of initiation, along with baptism and Holy Eucharist. It is not a rite of passage or confirmation of one’s religious maturity. We do not confirm anything in the Sacrament of Confirmation: it is the Holy Spirit who confirms (strengthens) us. Thus this sacrament can be received at the same time as baptism and communion if deemed appropriate by the bishop, or at the “age of discretion.” Canon 891.

          It is not a sacrament of choice, but a completion and strengthening of the gifts of the Holy Spirit received at baptism. Many Catholics are also unclear as to the true meaning of the sacrament.

          • http://indefinitecrisis.wordpress.com/ Michael H

            I’m a Lutheran, not a Catholic. So why should I answer her according to a Catholic position instead of mine?

        • Lumpup

          “I’ve been having a similar issue with my atheist girlfriend.”

          Michael, you should get in touch with tedseeber above to find a solution for that problem. 20 generations of experience!

    • Peaslepuff

      The idea isn’t that children have all the answers (where did you even come up with that?), but that you should let them try to form their own opinions.

      • CertainlyNot

        What a bad idea and a good way to raise a douchbag for a kid.

        Here’s a better one: teach them right from wrong, but leaving room in all the “rules” for mercy.

        When they are old enough, explain to them why or give them the means to read on why scholars think one way is better than another.

        But to simply say, everything is equal is a moral abdication and to teach that religious people necessarily are “delusional” is a vicious thing to teach a child.

      • Carolyn Quigley

        –And therein lies the difference in understanding. A belief is not an opinion. Ex: it is not just my opinion that Pi=3.14159. It was taught to me when I was young and I believe it to be true, and I will teach it to my young. Teaching your children what you believe to be true does not prevent them from forming their own opinions.

        Also, are you telling me that when atheists’ children ask “where did we come from?” The atheists tell them “Well, some people believe that God created Man in His image. Others believe we evolved from monkeys. What do you think?”
        I was under the impression that atheists would rather only tell their kids the evolution theory and opine that any other belief is not even worth mentioning. Do they really follow their own advice?

    • jianadaren

      It’s not that children have the answers; it’s that adults who don’t have the answers shouldn’t pretend that they do. “I don’t know” is always a better response than making shit up.

      • http://blog.crimsonflames.com Daniel Fletcher

        It makes for a much less interesting Calvin and Hobbes though. Hopefully you get the reference.

      • msmischief

        Have you ever been to China? Would you answer any question from your child about China with “I don’t know” even if you were told things by a source you deemed reliable?

        • Scrupuless

          It’s not like you have been to the kingdom of heaven lol, horrible argument.

          • msmischief

            How do you know that? Even if I told you I hadn’t, how could you know I was telling the truth?

          • Lumpup

            I was stumped when my man said all men are liars.

        • Glasofruix

          Reliable sources have solid and verifiable evidence to back the up, which is not the case with religion.

          • msmischief

            Only if you automatically rule out of court the solid and verifiable evidence for it — in which case you are acting from dogma, not experience.

          • kugland

            Who is the authority that will define what a reliable source is? Scientific consensus? The media? I believe in the reliability of the testimony of the saints.

          • ADinks

            aka People who, just as you, have no real proof and claim to believe other people. It either turns into a daisy chain of prooflessness, or a circle of nonsense. Pick which you prefer.

          • kugland

            The saints testify about their experiences, not about their beliefs. If you had ever read any of the classics of christian mysticism you would know this, but of course you have not.

    • EvolutionHappened

      He’s trying to help guide the kid towards what they want to personally believe…not force them into the cookie cutter that the dad was pressed through. My own father did this, and I popped out agnostic, my brother, an athiest. My father was Catholic and my mother was Buddhist…given a choice children will choose their own path, they don’t need someone spoon feeding them an ideology…it’s in bad taste.

      • msmischief

        I hope he’s not, because that would be a stupid thing to do. You may want to believe that you have a million dollars in the bank, but it’s better to know the truth. By the same token, you may want to believe that there is no God so that you can believe that your life and actions are free from any permanent consequences, and feel superiority to your fellow man without the bother of actually having to do something superior, but there, too, it’s better to know the truth.

        • Lumpup

          “and feel superiority to your fellow man without the bother of actually having to do something superior, but there, too, it’s better to know the truth.”

          Really? If taking a harmless but deluded person down a peg results solely in removing their smile or worse, then I’d say it was cruel at least, rather than better, and I’d question the motives behind it.

    • trleith

      Germany, in the mid-to-late 19th century.

    • jack

      And if you were born in India he might tell you that you would be reincarnated and that is what you would believe. That is why a child needs to figure stuff out for themselves. Because according to you, god blessed you with parents that believe in the correct religion but the child who has not grown up in the same culture or household as you is condemned to burn in hell for eternity. To bad the parent listened to your advice and didn’t give him a chance to seek out other religions and philosophies.

      • Skorlan

        Catholics do not believe that those who do not believe as we do are doomed to hell. We believe that if a person always tries to do what God would have them do they would be baptized if they knew it was what He wanted, and therefore they have what we call “the baptism of desire” and are as likely to go to heaven as a faithful Catholic. Please check our faith before presuming we believe what we do NOT believe.

        • jack

          Well that is not in the Bible. Also children can be brainwashed into not doing what God wants them to do. People are trained their whole life based on belief, for the sole purpose to kill for religious reasons. I’d argue they didn’t have much of a chance for heaven from the start.

    • secularmusings@gmail.com

      The idea is not that children have the answers, that is ridiculous and it is building a strawman argument. The idea is that we should not assume our ideas to be right and arrogantly pass them on to our children, but that we should give our children the opportunity to decide for themselves, obviously that decision will come once they are older, what they believe.

    • Anonymous

      My father actually said basically the same thing to me when I was a kid. I see no negative side effects, and have never clung onto the idea of an afterlife as a means of coping with the fear of death, which I believe to be Mr. Inman’s intent here.

    • http://twitter.com/PoetAndPriest Paul Hughes

      Roughly, the idea comes (if I recall graduate school and they taught me well; neither is a given) from the Romantic period — “the child is the father of the man” and all that … although I guess we’d go back to Rousseau for some of this, as well. And the Garden of course.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000996312367 Allen Hernandezez

      It doesn’t stem from the belief that kids have the answers. Seriously? You got that from the comic? No, it came from the concept of letting a child deduct on his/her own using the brain some God supposedly gave him/her. How is that worse than taking something someone forced on you, for which they/you have NO proof, and shoving that down your kid’s throat? Parents should nurture a child’s intellect, not insult it.

    • Sense

      You seem to have entirely missed the point. The father isn’t asking the child so the child can provide him with an answer, he’s asking her because he wants her to think about it, rather than just categorically stating something to be true that nobody can quantify in any sense.

    • sagoAguilar

      my personal view when the dad ask back is to see, what she understand so far about the subject not to narrow her thoughts,is to listen her and debate.

      and that’s right when we where children we didn’t have all answers but we didnt have a close mind back then, full of prejudices and fears. Children are open to any answer but to know what is right is important research, teach and debate points of view. so right there, they will able to choose in what they should belive

    • http://www.facebook.com/erik.griffiths Erik Griffiths

      Its not about children having all the answers its about letting them decide what they believe, not forcing them to believe what you do.

      • Skorlan

        It’s not possible to force a person to believe anything. We are thinking beings by nature and even if we’re provided answers to our questions we are likely to think about the answers we have received. That’s why adults change the faiths they were raised in. Please note that Roman Catholics are the largest denomination in the US and former Roman Catholics are the second largest.

    • Satish Mallya

      Children *don’t* have all the answers….but neither do we.
      Let people make up their minds for themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/CatholicMomVA Christine~Soccer Mom

    Interesting that he doesn’t mind if our religion inspires us to the Corporal Works of Mercy, then tells us to keep it to ourselves.

    um… If we keep it to ourselves, how do we do anything it’s inspired us to do? You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

    • Sophos

      Jesus himself tells you not to make your corporal works about public religion, but to do everything for secret for your god.

      • http://universalcoolness.blogspot.com/ R.E.O. Johnson

        This was in response to the Pharisees’ vanity, which resulted in false works of mercy. Jesus isn’t illogical, though it’s possible to keep alms giving and private prayer (which should be private) secret, it’s a bit harder to keep secret that you’re tending to the sick, running an orphanage, etc. What must be done, is that credit of these works be attributed to our God, making it PUBLIC praise of him, rather than of the individual. That is, don’t thank me, for all good things come from God.

        • Sophos

          It isn’t hard to care for the sick, the orphaned, etc without attributing it to god in the public sphere.

          But then again, it’s easy to evangelize those in your charge.

          • http://universalcoolness.blogspot.com/ R.E.O. Johnson

            For a Christian this is simply not possible. Even if they don’t say a word about God, their faith has everything to do with their service. It is your choice, of course, to ignore the Christianity of a Christian, but don’t confuse a quiet Christian in the act of good works with an atheist who may be doing good works.

          • Sophos

            I don’t think you understand what I’m talking about.

            It is possible for a Christian to be a good person without pushing religion onto people that they are helping.
            Whether or not they are motivated by religion or because they actually care is irrelevant because that motivation does not need to be communicated to the individuals they are helping.

            In fact, vocalizing such motivation could be seen as taking advantaged of the position of the people that they are helping as a means for easy evangelism.

            I’ve hope I’ve made myself more clear so we can talk about the same thing.

          • http://universalcoolness.blogspot.com/ R.E.O. Johnson

            No, you don’t seem to get it. What you’re calling “pushing”, I’m calling being Christian. You seem to want Christians to help people, but not to be all Christian about it. Now, it’s quite possible that you don’t understand that being vocal about the goodness of God can be done without pressuring the other person to convert. But typically, or ideally, Christian acts are carried out with Christian love, which DOES NOT include putting the other person into their debt, making them feel guilty, or pushing them to convert.

          • Sophos

            I found it quite easy to work at the food kitchen without telling people that I was Catholic.

            As I said to Corita, my preferred philosophy was to invite people who wondered why I was there to mass.

          • Jwmmitch

            Jesus’ message was about doing these things (prayer, serving, etc) without drawing attention to yourself. you can’t really tend to the needy “in private” but you aren’t supposed to advertise that you’re doing it.

            Mixing in evangelism is mostly another issue.

          • Skorlan

            If I’m doing something for a reason then as far as I’m concerned the reason is a part of the action and needs to be mentioned in line with the action. Not to say I’m a Christian when I’m doing something is, to my mind, dishonest about the totality of my actions. And that’s not pushing someone to convert; it’s simply stating where I’m coming from with no expectations towards the other person. If they’re offended by my faith they will have to live with that, just as I will have to live with their being offended.

        • jack

          That is one thing I do not understand about Christianity. You praise god for healing the sick and the orphaned, but do not condemn him for making them sick and orphaned. For example, if I apply for a job and get it, my Christian parents would say “glory to god” but if I apply and do not get the job they would say “you should of built a better resume.”

      • ChrisKid

        He also specifically tells us to be his witnesses to the whole world, and he set us an example of very publicly done good works and faith. What he said about doing things in secret was that good works and prayer shouldn’t be done for personal aggrandizement, not that they should constantly be hidden.

        • Sophos

          You are more than welcome to do corporeal works of mercy for whatever motivation you have. But you should not use it as a means of indebting the people you’re helping so as to make them easier to evangelize.

          • Jwmmitch

            I mostly agree with you. Using the corporal works as a door to evangelism seems wrong, but i don’t think that means you should avoid a good opportunity to evangelize if the door presents itself.

          • Sophos

            I think we’re in agreement. I’ve said further down that the Christian should wait for the person they’re helping to break the ice on religion, for example: through asking about why they’re doing their works.

          • tedseeber

            We don’t give because we expect THEM to become Catholic. We give because WE are Catholic.

          • Sophos

            So then we should agree that there is no evangelization necessary to be attached to this and we can all move on with our lives.

      • Corita

        Naw, He said not to *fast* to get noticed for doing it, and to avoid being seen if you can.

        I think you can extrapolate that basic idea of doing the thing for its own good and NOT for the public accolades to any act of faith, sure, but you can’t really do stuff like heal the sick or tend to the dying without being seen, even if only by the sick or dying! Heck, one of the Works of Mercy is VISIT the imprisoned!

        Nice try on kind of applying a sort-of Scripture that you heard a couple of times, though.

        • Sophos

          “Naw, He said not to *fast* to get noticed for doing it, and to avoid being seen if you can.”

          This scripture will come up at the start of Lent, and it does mention fasting, but it goes on further, such as praying publicly as well.

          When the passage talks about fasting, it does not say to not fast in public, but not to work it up (appearing dejected and dishevelled). Care for the sick as any one who volunteers at a hospital does, but do not try to evangelize people by attempting to indebt them with good works.

          • Corita

            Ah, I think I see what your objection is apparently centered on. But that doesn’t really apply to the original commenter’s sentiment.

            Do you object to *any* kind of using the name of a religious organization, or ascribing your motives to a belief, when doing a charitable act? Or just to verbally evangelizing people while you help them?

          • Sophos

            It depends. If a church is localizing a food drive with in its property lines, then you’re aware that this is going to be a religious centred charity.

            If the volunteers go out into the public to do good works, then it would be better for them to not preach. In my opinion, but best suggestion for them to respond to people asking why they are helping with an invitation to a gathering at the church, etc.

            If you’re helping a person who is sickly, you should not be the one to bring up religion because you do not necessarily know the story of that person. Though, like I said, if they inquire what your motivations are, the invite works well.

          • Corita

            Well, I agree with you completely about evangelizing with our *actions* first, while out in the world. In many cases it makes sense not to bring up religion unless asked about it. I don’t think we should be afraid of mentioning the name of G-d, or something, either.

            I think your point could have been made more clearly at the beginning, Sophos; your criticism seemed way too broad and inappropriate to the comment.

          • Sophos

            To be honest, I wasn’t expecting such a large response. But at least we’ve come to an understanding.

            It always seems weird when people write G-d. Though that’s a noun as opposed to the tetragrammaton

          • Corita

            If the Name of someon is technically a verb, I think the part of speech becomes moot.

            I write it that way to remind myself that I am writing about Someone, not a concept and not some idol of my own understanding.

          • Corita

            sorry- that sounds short when I re-read it. It’s not meant to.

          • Sophos

            Hahaha, no worries. I’m no stranger as coming across harsher than I mean to be. I hope that I didn’t come across as offensive when I pointed it out.

          • Margaret Basso

            So we should keep our religion to ourselves because it has no benefit to another person? What is so awful about Catholicism that we should hide it? Jesus’ message was for us to go out and make disciples of ALL nations and to spread His Good News! If you put forth the effort of attempting to actually understand Catholicism, you might be surprised at how awesome it is!

          • City Of Wisdom

            If it is so wonderful, then people will want it for themselves and they will ask you to know how you live so well.
            But in order for that to happen, you must live well.

            That’s what I was taught.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            He also said to make disciples of all nations. He was not advocating relativism, but telling people don’t appear to be devout in order to get seen. It had less to do with being seen and more with the person’s motivation.

          • Sophos

            It’s possible to evangelize without waving signs. I’ve explained in this particular thread at least twice that you can do good works and if the person asks for your motivation, you can explain it to them.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            “Go forth, and make disciples of people who bring it up first, lest you involve yourself in awkward conversations.”

          • Romulus

            Psst…Matthew 10:27. From the housetops, baby.

          • Sophos

            Yay cherry picking!

          • musiciangirl591

            explain how this is cherry picking…

          • Romulus

            Whether deliberately or through ignorance, you are confusing Jesus’s words about prayer and good works (which he says should not be done with a view to being seen and praised), and the proclamation of the Gospel, which should be noisy, public, and unashamed.

      • musiciangirl591

        so… food banks should close down then?

        • Sophos

          There are three separate discussions in which I have voiced how I suggested (and practiced) how Christian service should work.

          But if you wish instead to ignore the rational discourse and instead wish to make a slippery slope claim that since I don’t believe that people should go out to the masses, do works and then evangelize while doing the works, that food banks should close. You can do that, though you’ll not have learned anything useful.

          You can also con yourself into believing that only Christians take care of the poor.

          • musiciangirl591

            what do you mean by evangelization? there’s a huge difference between being pushy and teaching…

          • Sophos

            I mean evangelization the same way that I’ve defined it three times in this one group of comments.

            “If you’re helping a person who is sickly, you should not be the one to bring up religion because you do not necessarily know the story of that person. Though, like I said, if they inquire what your motivations are, the invite works well.”

          • musiciangirl591

            i help my 88 year old grandma who needs looked after (she has alzetimers/dementia), religion is how we bond, we watch EWTN together, if the sickly person brings it up, is it ok then?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            “You can also con yourself into believing that only Christians take care of the poor. “

            It’s a history thing. No one said you could not imitate the Christians. Julian imperator wished that his fellow pagans would do so. And Nietzsche bewailed the fact that many of his fellow atheists did so.

            The same goes for the Buddhist influence in the East.

          • Desert Rat

            Actually the Hebrews are the ones that Christianity imitated on taking care of the lesser blessed, although I think they do things better because they DON’T evangalize, they do it for the spirit of the act, not the spirit of themselves.

    • Peaslepuff

      How about, you go around acting like a good Christian and help people and all that, but don’t bring up your religion constantly? Sound fair?

      • tedseeber

        If my religion is true (and yes, I actually, gasp, believe that it is far more true than the teenage temper tantrum that is modern atheism) then I should be talking about it.

        What I shouldn’t be doing is forcing other people to believe in it or shut up- like the atheists that are into censorship of everybody else do.

      • Helpful

        Why not? If it’s the reason for helping people “and all that” it’s obviously on a Christian’s mind. Why not speak what’s on your mind?

        • jack

          Because you should help people because you want to help them. Not to please some otherworldly being or to think you will be rewarded in some way. Good deeds does not require religion.

    • jianadaren

      Nonsense. Just act well and don’t vocalize your religious motivation for doing so- everyone will assume you’re doing it because you’re a good person who likes to make the world a better place. And that’s much for virtuous than doing it for the promise of salvation.

      • Skorlan

        And then there was the Christian who worked with someone she knew wasn’t Christian and she prayed for the person to convert. Seven years later the non-Christian converted and came to tell the Christian about Jesus. The previously Christian said, “I’ve been praying for you to find Jesus for 7 years.” The other woman responded, “You’re kidding. I would have converted years ago but I thought if you could be as good as you are without Jesus I didn’t need Him either.” Informing someone about why you’re doing something isn’t proselytizing, it’s being honest about where you’re coming from.

  • Hannah

    Thanks so much for this post, Marc! I always find myself having to explain to people that when I say that I believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church, I mean that I actually think that those teachings are correct, and that, yes, I also think that beliefs that oppose those teaching are incorrect. I’ve been called intolerant, but then I ask how I could claim to believe something if I’ll allow for opposing beliefs to be correct, and no one has ever been able to answer that. (Other than claiming that my beliefs may be only true for me, but that kind of relativism gets us no where).
    Also: well done on 1flesh.org! I’m hoping to contact you guys once I’m back at school to see if there’s any way I can help out. I’d love to be a part of that project.

    • musiciangirl591

      i’ve been called intolerant too, and a bigot and many other things lol

    • Sophos

      It depends on how you carry out your interpretation of the teachings of the Catholic Church.
      If you believe that homosexuals should not receive benefits from civil union, then you are being intolerant.
      If you believe that homosexuals should not be married in the Catholic Church than you are standing within your religion.
      Though people will blur these lines.

      • schwank

        I could also, as a Catholic, hold the belief that no one should receive benefits from civil unions, homo or hetero.

        • Sophos

          That would be a reductionalist political belief. And I would agree with you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674332165 Mark Toffler

            Sophos and Schwank: Beautiful.

        • tedseeber

          Or in fact, that any random grouping living together in a single household complex should get the benefits of civil unions. Monasteries and convents come to mind.

      • Hannah

        I don’t think that’s quite as cut-and-dry as you present it. The same-sex civil union thing seems to have a lot to do with what you believe the role of government is. The argument can be made that government should encourage strong unions/families and that giving benefits to same-sex unions is encouraging those unions, and that those unions are bad for society. I’m still on the fence about this one. I do not think, however, that you can categorically that that all people who oppose same-sex couples from receive certain benefits are intolerant.
        Besides that specific issue, I was saying that my belief that other religions/belief systems is often called intolerant. I was not claiming that any application of a belief system is automatically intolerant. I was just saying that one can not hold beliefs to be true and also allow for opposing beliefs to be true, and that this is often misinterpreted as “intolerance.”

        • Hannah

          Oops. Disregard. That comment was supposed to be somewhere else in this thread.

      • tedseeber

        I find if I believe that homosexuals AND heterosexuals AND polygamists AND pseudosexuals should all have the benefits of civil union, and that the word “marriage” should be reserved to those religions that define it, I’m called an intolerant bigot by all and sundry since March 2002. Before 2002, I was a hopeless liberal airhead for expressing *exactly the same opinion*.

        • enness

          Yeah, there’s no winning. Better to avoid playing their game altogether.

      • Collin

        So what if you believe murder should not be tolerated within secular law? Are you being intolerant?
        Should you instead only believe murder should be labeled a sin and taught as a sin in the Catholic Church so you can stand within your religion?
        Sorry if it seems like I’m trying to blur the lines, I’m not. I’m trying to understand your view so I can understand what we agree on and disagree on.
        Because I’m not very good at analogies I’ll also tell you what I was trying to show via analogy:
        If you truly believe something, why shouldn’t you try to bring it into the world? If you truly believe something is good, shouldn’t you try to carry it out? If you truly believe something is bad, shouldn’t you try to keep it from being carried out?

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        The lack of a civil institution of homosexual pairing might just as easily make you an ancient Greek or Roman, or for that matter anyone else in history prior to the present day. As Bertrand Russell pointed out, there is only one reason for the government to get involved in sex.

        • Sophos

          Though since you are a statistician you should be aware that civil unions results in a change of statistics about the individual, such as the purchases and resulting tax profit the government will make off the individuals.
          If the government solely wanted heterosexual couples for procreation, then the government would give child care benefits (which it does separately from civil union benefits in most western countries, US, Canada and the UK for sure).

  • Eliberaus

    You know, for a moment, after I read this post by Inman (whose posts usually provide some degree of entertainment – i.e. sinful pleasures) I sighed and thought, there is no way you are going to get The Truth to him, he won’t even want a sniff of it. You, sir, have done a fantastic job at deliver it on his front porch. I sincerely hope and pray he at least gets a good wiff!

    • Reality

      That whiff is bullshit, not truth, just FYI.

      • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

        @Reality Congratulations on debunking the entirety of Marc’s argument! Your reasoning skills are jaw dropping. /s

        • Reality

          “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

          I’m just saving time.

          • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

            Your quote is a two-edged sword: your assertion is dismissed until you can demonstrate the invalidity of Marc’s argument.

          • Reality

            Incorrect. You have asserted that God exists. You have provided no evidence. I have dismissed your claim.

            -End-

            It is not necessary to falsify an unfounded claim.

          • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

            Incorrect: I haven’t asserted any such thing. You, on the other hand, have prima facie denied the reasoning of Marc’s post without any explanation. After all, the “whiff” that Eliberaus was speaking of was Marc’s demonstration of the logical fallacies in Inman’s comic. You can’t deny a syllogistic reasoning process by calling it bullshit.

          • Reality

            The only people that capitalize the word “Truth” are religitards. Especially in this context, “Truth” is a euphemism for God, otherwise it wouldn’t be capitalized. An implicit assertion is still a claim that requires evidence.

          • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

            The only people who would use the word “religitard” aren’t worthy of being answered. See what I did there? See how convincing and undeniable my argument is? I can continue to make unsubstantiated claims like this just as long as you can. The only difference is that I know my claims of this sort have no substance.

            Anyway, you are trying your darnedest to turn this conversation from how Mr Inman was super-spectacularly ill-informed in his comic and Marc’s lucid exposé of the same, to a classic “does God exist” debate. I think you’re the only one here who wants to have that conversation.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674332165 Mark Toffler

            Religitard?

          • Eliberaus

            Sure, name calling is the surest way to win an argument Mr. Reality, oh yeah assumptions are a great condiment as well, bravo!

          • musiciangirl591

            yeah… once you get into swearing and classy names like “religitard” i really don’t want to listen to you anymore (fyi, anything that contains the ending -tard, we all know what that means and having mentally retarded relatives, i’m offended)

          • Romulus

            I have dismissed your claim.

            Utterly accidental conglomerations of atoms and molecules behaving entirely according to the laws of science don’t do things like that.

          • Noone

            And your evidence for that is what? This is the argument from personal incredulity.

          • Quirinus

            The evidence is our free will. Which is what makes your question and mine authentic and not illusory pseudo-questions.

          • Corita

            The subject of Marc’s post was not proving the existence of God, it was correcting factual inaccuracies about religions and their beliefs, and making arguments about the significance of those facts.

            So, your attempt at Driveby Atheist Argument 101, whether it succeeded or failed, was wrongly applied. Sorry.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            And any evidence (contingency; the human person’s intellect, free will, and morality; well-documented miracles; historical argument for Christianity; every culture throughout history, until the 20th century, recognizing some level of the supernatural) that fall outside of the view of scientism can be rejected. Right?

            These days, the average atheist’s argument amounts to “science cannot show that which cannot be shown by science; therefore, anything outside of the scientific method must be false.” Of course, since non-scientific matters cannot be tested with the scientific method, this view cannot be proven by that which it claims is the only criteria for the real.

            That’s not the only problem though. It may simply seem like a rejection of religion, but, because it necessarily implies relativism, it also attacks art (beauty is in the eye of the beholder!), ethics (who’s to say what’s right?), philosophy (outdated and pre-scientific. There is no truth, only fact!), and, ultimately, science (if the human brain is merely the product of completely random forces of nature, how can our reasoning and perception be trusted? Without faith in human reason and observations, how can science work?)

            It is a philosophy, grounded in science, that attacks philosophy and science, and cannot meet it’s own criteria of proof. Don’t just worship the intellect, use it! This is a view that defeats itself on multiple levels. Leave it behind.

          • Slim

            Since when is the fact that after research is done and nothing great has yet come of it you say the research shouldn’t have been done? I you knew what would become of it, it wouldn’t be called research! How do you know nothing significant has been found or will be found?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            …what?

          • Noone

            It’s a pretty incompetent God that makes miracles to try to persuade us, but then fails to give us any scientific evidence of those miracles.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            …are you familiar with the definition of miracle?

          • Romulus

            You don’t know what a miracle is or what it’s for. Somehow this does not prevent you from delivering ill-considered opinions.

            BTW, many miracles of the past century or so are accompanied by abundant scientific evidence. Have you never heard of the Lourdes Medical Bureau?

          • Chuck

            You have made very good points, justifying your belief. However in certain religions, having faith requires the suspension of logic and science altogether. It’s basically the other side of the coin of your argument.

            Scientific findings are not mentioned in our religion, therefore everything (or the things we pick) in science cannot be true.

            I am of the belief that science and faith can be marriaged, but it doesn’t work when one must suspend the belief, evidence, or logic of the other.

            Science remains the best possible way for us to find out about our world, and based on a purely logical point of view, it is more likely that we know almost nothing about the universe and should explore and research it to find out how we got here and why, than to simply believe that we already know everything there is to know already because of some writings somebody in a civilization 2000 years ago wrote in a religious manuscript.

            Therefore, when scientific findings reject religious dogma, the RATIONAL thing to do would be to drop the religious facet of that specific belief, and take up the scientific finding as the best possible explanation at the moment.

            In example:
            “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” -The Dalai Lama

            That doesn’t mean one has to completely and fully throw away their entire religious belief, but that religious aspect should be placed in less favor than the scientific aspect at that moment.

            It is inevitable that religion will continue to lose territory as scientific advances continue to be made. But the survival of the religion is based on your ability to adapt, and continue to live as a rational human being. You believe God gave you your mind and your rational thinking, and I KNOW that Christians LOVE to use logic and critical thinking in arguments most times, so you should accept that facet of yourself, and let go of some things, or investigate them further.

          • msmischief

            On what grounds do you argue that faith requires the suspension of logic and science?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            “You have made very good points, justifying your belief.”
            Thank you, but you misunderstand. That was a criticism of modern atheism, not a defense of the Church. If I were to defend my beliefs, I would have made the arguments I alluded to in my first paragraph.

            “However in certain religions, having faith requires the suspension of logic and science altogether.”

            You are right. Some religious people do reject science because they think it has an antagonistic relationship with Christianity, and some atheists hold the same view but choose the opposite side.

            The Catholic Church is not, was never, and never will be one of the religious groups you described. Science has never “gained ground” against the Church for several reasons:

            1. Truth cannot contradict truth. Good science and good theology can never do battle, for they are both true. If they are not in conflict, neither can lose ground to the other.

            2. Theology, philosophy, and science focus on different questions. Explaining how life develops, how the universe was formed, or where mass comes from do not disprove theological and philosophical topics, such as ethics, or the Immaculate Conception of Mary, or the “Filioque” part of the Creed. They rarely overlap (ethical disputes are the most common, (there is also the assumptions of science that: 1. The universe makes sense and 2. Through use of our intellect, we can figure it out, which fits perfectly with the Church’s understanding of the creation stories)).

            3. Science is wonderful. It is the best method for developing new technologies and medicines, as well as coming to a better understanding of nature. However, science being true, and good, does not mean all theology being false and/or bad.

            Yes, I do love reason (and beauty. science. All great stuff!). This is why someone objecting to the Church–most of the time, without actually knowing what the Church teaches–will not simply convince me to drop what I’m doing and become a cafeteria Catholic. Science is not opposed to Faith, and the Catholic Church is not a religion opposed to science. To put it simply, you cannot use science to argue against me theologically, because…every, single, time…I will agree with your premise (science rocks!) and reject your conclusion (that religion is therefore, false…or partially false).

            Thanks for this reply. It was kindly worded, and well thought out. However, whoever told you that the Church and science are enemies lied to you, and I would encourage you to look into the matter yourself. Enjoy the journey, friend, for it may well lead you somewhere beautiful.

          • msmischief

            One notes, of course, that science can not show that nothing exists that can’t be studied by science, but that seldom bothers them.

          • tedseeber

            And a lack of evidence (or at least ignorance of the evidence) fully describes the fake “reason” employed by atheists the world over

          • Noone

            What exactly do you think is strong evidence for the existence of God?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Much depends on what you regard as “evidence.” For example, what “evidence” do you have that SQRT(2) is irrational? Or that a closed and bounded set on the reals is topologically compact?

            Otherwise:
            1. That an objective universe exists. (This cannot be proven with empirical evidence since to regard evidence as empirical you must assume there is an objective universe a priori.)
            2. That the universe is ordered “by number, weight, and measure”; that is, rationally ordered.
            3. That the order of the universe is accessible to the human intellect.
            4. That the natural order operates through secondary causation; i.e., natures acting directly on natures.
            5. That natural laws exist; i.e., that #4 constitutes a “common course of nature.” (Thus, to the extent that Darwin’s theory is a scientific law, it provides mild evidence for the existence of God.)
            6. That some scientific theories are “better” or “worse” than others.
            7. That natural bodies come into existence and pass out of existence.
            8. That in nature some things are being actualized; i.e., that there is kinesis in nature.

            There’s probably other stuff.

          • Glasofruix

            Really? That’s your proof?

      • schwank

        I would also like to applaud Reality on convincing me that the points made in the comic make more sense than Marc’s reply. Cheers! Here’s to reason, humility, wisdom, love, and TRUTH!

  • Tyler Klement

    They should put his comic in the logic dictionary right beside “strawman”.

  • Kelly O’Sullivan

    Thank goodness for this article. After unfollowing The Oatmeal, I was considering writing a rebuttal of my own against all of the wonderful gaps in logic he presents. Then, I wake up the next morning, and you’ve done it for me. Brilliant!

    • Guest

      It’s a joke. Really? Are we going to be rebutting political cartoons next? Have you nothing better to do?

  • Someguy

    I’d have a lot more respect for the catholic church’s love of science and truth if it wasn’t for this sort of thing: http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2012/07/sanal-edamaruku-update-indian-catholics.html

    • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

      Read the first two paragraphs of Marc’s post again. He has already answered your complaint.

    • tedseeber

      After researching the case a bit further, it is the SECULAR authorities who are punishing him, not the religious authorities, and the case would be *exactly the same* had he said that the waters of the Ganges were dangerous to bathe in.

  • minxcomix

    How nice that the author of the Oatmeal has given us permission to continue to “carry on” with our religion, as long as we’ve met his criteria for proper belief, *and* as long as we do it in the manner he approves of.
    Hmmm, and it is *we* who try to force our beliefs on *him*?

    • JKPS

      You consider getting really upset over a humor site, and we’ll just continue laughing at you. Agreed?

      • tedseeber

        Thus, of course, proving the grandparent entirely right- that you want to force your beliefs onto other people.

        • Guest

          Honestly does it matter? If your beliefs are so right, you can deal with people pointing out problems.

      • enness

        For a “humor site” it’s remarkably unfunny. But I suppose that is a matter of perspective…therefore, I think you ought to get some. Try being the butt of ignorant jokes more often.

        • Guest

          Glad you don’t get to police what is or is not funny, as many people have different opinions and views from your own!

          Shame on them, though, right? I mean, liking something you don’t! That’s terrible!

          • John

            Enness said nothing about regulating different views, Guest. What the poster is saying, since I think you missed the point, is that it gets tiring to see ones religion being the butt of ignorant jokes. Case in point Inman’s webcomic. I basically just repeated what Enness said. Why? Because it was so straightforward.

            >> Shame on them, though, right? I mean, liking something you don’t! That’s terrible!

            Grow up. I seriously cannot believe you responded this way given what the poster said.

    • msmischief

      Remember, he and his fellow atheists have, by their own unaided reason, penetrated to the secret at the heart of the universe — a stunt that billions of people, including the very wisest, have failed.

      This shows that they are Very Wise People Indeed and should justly govern the world.

      Or possibly it demonstrates their hubris, which overflows into such demands.

  • Michael Strauss

    Wow, Inman just got beat down harder than FunnyJunk.

    • Sophos

      Uhhh? No, he didn’t. This is a retort, but it does not amount to raising over $200,000 for two good causes and avoiding a law suit.

      • http://indefinitecrisis.wordpress.com/ Michael H

        Inman’s PR stunt – and make no mistake, that’s exactly what it was; he made a public spectacle his reader’s charity by coopting this generosity to undermine the legal standing of FunnyJunk – is in no way related to an erroneous conclusion built on poor arguments regarding the place of personal religious convictions in the public sphere.

        • Sophos

          I wouldn’t call it a PR stunt as it expanded into something much larger than he had imagined it.
          This was the result of being fed-up with continuing legal battles over copyright.

          The success of that is far greater than the crowd that this post is attracting.
          But if you’re unaware of how hard Inman slammed FJ’s reasoning, you should read over his original post again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.clarke.96 Tom Clarke

    In 2006 scientists came up with a way to trick adult stem cells into creating dopamine and morph into other cells the way they always HOPED embryonic stem cells would work, and because they use YOUR cells they carry YOUR genes, thus not creating cancer the way embryonic stem cells do. This make the entire use of embryonic stem cells irrelevant to any real scientist. I love to point people to an appearance of Dr. Oz on the Oprah Show with Michael J. Fox telling people just this point! You can find it here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GanAulouak or search youtube with “Oprah Oz Fox”.

  • Dymphna

    Also, why do atheists have to swear so much?

    • Corita

      I am not an atheist and I swear, a lot.

      But I think atheists do it as part of the whole, anti-authority/iconoclasm thing.

      Come to think of it, I think that’s why I do it, too…

      • musiciangirl591

        i’m Catholic and i swear alot too, i actually got called out on it by a priest a while ago, its not just atheists :P

    • Dontfundthementals

      I swore just as much as a Christian as I do as an atheist. I know plenty of Christians who swear, and plenty of atheists who don’t. What a stupid comment.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        Please count how many comments here, in the post, and in the cartoons cited in the post used vulgar language. (It was not swearing; only crude.) We’ll let the stats tell us.

  • Hauskii

    Hoooo boy. Okay, not that I disagree with anything BadCatholic’s saying. At all. I just think that this is probably taking The Oatmeal comic a little too seriously.

    • Daniel Konkel

      I find this particular comic very representative of typical Gen X and Millennial atheists today. Marc’s response is certainly not in response to just the Oatmeal– it’s a response to a much larger group that would usually revere this set of ideas with a thumbs up.

    • schwank

      that may make sense if it were funny, but its not. The author is clearly trying to make a point, not just a joke.

      • Ghoura Agur

        One of his preachy ones. Not a walrus in sight.

    • http://www.prayingthemass.com/ Jeffrey Pinyan

      Whether or not Inman meant for his comic to be taken seriously, it’s clear other people are taking it seriously; thus it deserves a serious (well, Marc has his own standards of “serious”…) response.

    • enness

      After you hear the same thing a few thousand more times from different sources, you might reconsider.
      That’s the danger of “humor”: stealth. Things that people dismiss as not worthy of being taken seriously are often the most dangerous precisely for that reason.

  • whatalune

    I’ve love to see the last paragraph expanded to an entire post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001837523704 Matt LaMar

    Thank you for replying to this comic. I loved The Oatmeal, but this just crossed the line.

  • Rebecca Taylor

    Yeah the Catholic Church is so anti-stem cells that the Vatican recently gave $1 million to advance adult stem cell research. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/20/business/la-fi-vatican-stem-cells-20111020

    It is so awful when facts get in the way of the religion vs. science narrative.

  • http://www.takethepoorwithyou.blogspot.com/ Tienne McKenzie

    100% Amen to all of this. Thanks for writing it all out so beautifully. Favorite bit: “I’m not sure if Inman meant to point out that liberal and conservative devotion both amount to religious belief, but that’s basically what gets across here. But as to voting based on religious beliefs in general, there’s an abyss between the atheist and the Christian that I fear uncrossable. If a religion is merely making a few claims — perhaps that Christ came, died, and rose — then of course voting solely on religious beliefs would be foolish. If a religion is comprehensive — that is if it claims to contain within its teachings a comprehensive view of the human person, his nature and ultimate end, and thereby his institutions, governments, societies etc. — then of course you vote on your religious beliefs! As a Catholic, I can’t help but trust 2000 years of intellectual and philosophical tradition over my strong desire to talk crap about other people, have lots of sex and not give to the poor.” HA! Awesome. :)

  • CHARLIECHAPLIN2121

    IGNORANCE IS BLISS AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT?

  • Emily

    How to contact Matthew Inman: http://theoatmeal.com/pages/contact

    But be warned: “Do not expect diplomacy. The Oatmeal is a one man operation, and this gives me the right to say horrible things to you if it pleases me. You may even have a valid point or fantastic insight, but this won’t stop me from calling you horrible names and claiming to have spent an evening or two with your mother.”

    Translation: “It’s MY site, and I get to act like a hate-filled five-year-old who gets no attention at home.” :-S Sigh…. But, for what it’s worth, I loved your rebuttal! Hopefully more people will read this and get a better understanding of what the Church is *really* all about. :-)

    • Guest

      “Hopefully more people will read this and get a better understanding of what the Church is *really* all about.”

      So… messaging someone en-mass because they don’t agree with what he said is what the church is all about, eh?

      • John

        The poster said nothing about mass mailing Inman you twit.

      • John

        >> So… messaging someone en-mass because they don’t agree with what he said is what the church is all about, eh

        Inman just posted another site with a rebuttal to his webcomic on The Oatmeal’s Facebook page. Not en-mas emailing, but it’s swarming and wasn’t meant to foster civil debate. Due to Inman being an atheist he’s completely fine with this strategic move inorder to A) mock & ridicule and B) gain more exposure to his webcomic. Who’s the grown up in this situation . . . let alone the entire situation? It ain’t Matty.

  • Injoyfulhope

    As a strong Catholic with same-sex attraction, I have to say that the current culture makes me feel much more anxious about my sexuality than Catholicism. The Church says, “Oh you’re gay? Welcome to a world where we are all fallen. Come work to find joy by following your calling to chastity and love like everybody else.” Whereas the culture says, “If you’re gay, then you should be fulfilling your sexual needs by becoming part of a community that boasts your orientation and throwing off the chains of any religion that holds you back from ‘freedom.’” THAT makes me feel a lot more anxious about my sexuality than my religion based on pure and perfect Love.

    I have always loved the Oatmeal, especially the classic post about grammar and the alot. I was so hurt when I saw this comic that just hated on something I so love! I totally understand the mentality, but it’s still disappointing to see it.

    • Sophos

      You’re confusing the Oatmeal with Hyperbole and a Half. That’s where the alot comes from.

      • Injoyfulhope

        My sincere apologies – I have always found their comic writers similarly amusing. “10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling” would be a much better example of TheOatmeal’s excellent grammar-related humour.

    • Chuck

      I am more anxious about your attitude towards your same-sex attractions. Sexual attraction is built into human biology. When you deny it, you stress yourself so much that you become more prone to releasing that stress by preying upon weaker humans. i.e. children. Hence why there are many incidents of priests molesting children. (They are not just gay priests, but straight priests who deny themselves sexual satisfaction.)

      I don’t know about the whole pride thing, but you certainly shouldn’t be fighting against a part of who you are if you are attracted to the same-sex. Heterosexual people can be as open as they like about their relationships, and I think it’s time that homosexuals should receive the same type of acceptance.

      The church should work towards encouraging monogamy in same-sex relationships rather than telling them that they need to remain abstinent for life.

      • Jen

        Brady’s law. Show me exactly how many, and how their chastity vow makes their number any higher than the general population.

        • Chuck

          You have me there. After researching some more, I’ve found that the rate of known molestations in the Catholic church is much lower than the general population. 4% as opposed to the general population’s 10%.

          This is not to say that child molestors in the general public aren’t suffering from sexual stress however. A study by “The Abel and Harlow Child Molestation Prevention Study and the 1999 U.S. Census Statistical Abstract” found that 93% of child molestors consider themselves religious. 77% of them are married. 78% of them are Caucasian. While these statistics correlate very closely with the average American male It would make sense in Dr. Groth’s context that the stresses associated with sexual contraints that religion and society based upon religion, places upon men are highly correlated with sexual molestation.

          I still believe that even many of the cases within the Catholic Church could have been avoided if sex wasn’t so stigmatized.

          • CPE Gaebler

            So they correlate very closely with the average American male, but it “would make sense” if it’s because of religious and societal constraints anyway.
            ……..
            You should really not say such things unless there’s actual evidence supporting it.

          • Chuck

            93% of child molesters are religious. I think this is significant evidence to state that there may be a correlation here.

          • msmischief

            As opposed to what percentage of the general population?

          • JoAnna

            How many celibate Buddhist monks are child molestors?

          • barefoot cinderella

            that, my dear is a leading question.. because “celibate” means refraining from sexual activity..

          • Chuck

            I am certain there are some. Here is a link to a news article about one of them.

            http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=22,1838,0,0,1,0

          • barefoot cinderella

            sex isn’t stigmatized by the RC.. it is made into a sacrament through marriage..! wherever did this idea come from.. we almost worship sex we love it so much we made it into a sacrament

          • Chuck

            Well that’s certainly a way of looking at it that I hadn’t thought of before…

      • http://www.facebook.com/maryliziz Mary Liz Bartell

        That’s not how celibacy works Chuck. Celibacy is a vocational choice done out of Love for Jesus. The Priests are “married” to the Church. While the predators who have molested children are being rallied to the end celibacy campaign of modernists who feel that human beings are incapable of leading chaste and holy lives without sex. My husband and I did not have sex until our wedding night, and we waited and waited and waited and that abstaining only strengthened our relationship. Priests are experiencing a different type of Love from sexual expression of the marital union. There are many men who I know had girlfriends and then became priests. The truth is that child molesters don’t have to be Catholics, don’t have to be gay, don’t have to be straight. They are twisted into doing things to others to satisfy sexual desires that are deviant, evil, and huge offenses against God and Church. That’s not just illegal… it’s mental and spiritual illness that is never cured. The sad fact is more often children are molested by their own relatives. More Priests who are accused are often innocent these days. Sexuality and having sex would not keep a child molester from hurting a child. But having a healthy attitude towards sex and sexuality doesn’t save people from temptation that social initiatives and PRIDE LGBT drives for as far as tolerance is concerned. Being chaste and celibate doesn’t a molester make. SIN does it, sickness does it, and weakness does it.

        • Chuck

          I refer you to the post I made previously in response to Corita. There are two types of child molesters. Those who simply are predisposed towards an attraction towards children, and those who are driven to children through sexual stresses. Forcing oneself to find sex, a basic human biological urge, sinful and wrong can drive someone into the second category. So I would argue that in some cases, YES, being sexually fulfilled and having a healthy attitude towards sex CAN keep a child from being molested or keep an adult from having urges towards child molestation.

          Most of your arguments seem to be made on personal opinion and your view of what being a priest is, and I won’t argue with you on those points, but I am having trouble deriving your meaning in your statement: “But having a healthy attitude towards sex and sexuality doesn’t save people from temptation that social initiatives and PRIDE LGBT drives for as far as tolerance is concerned.”

          I would argue that nothing saves people from temptations altogether. However, I don’t see how being in love with some one and expressing your natural sexual urges should even BE a temptation. It is accepted for heterosexual couples. Why should it be a sin for only homosexual couples who are just being the person that God made them? What separates us from the beasts, in my opinion, is having meaningful monogamous relationships, and I think this is the direction that the Church should travel in.

          • musiciangirl591

            me and my boyfriend are chaste, are we more likely to become child molestors because we are “suppressed sexually”?

          • Chuck

            If you feel like ignoring the entire post, and posting your drivel without learning anything, feel free to do so. I have already stated what my views were on the matter, but I won’t bother repeating to you as it seems as if you’re intent on ignoring them.

            When you are ready to discuss again, please let me know.

          • Corita

            “Why should it be a sin for only homosexual couples who are just being the person that God made them? ”

            People say stuff like this all the time and it completely gets both religious teachings on sin and the way we talk about it wrong. And all of ti could be wrong from the perspective of how Sin Affects Us (or, how we are Judged, which is always the implication hanging over it, isn’t it?)

            I am Catholic, so I speak about that belief system. There is a continuum of sin-possibility, from the first spark of desire (not a sin), through prolonging/pursuing/developing desire, to the various circumstances of acting on that desire. Every point on that continuum can have its own considerations, and each person’s soul is in their own relationship with the Truth.

            “What makes something a sin” is complicated. sin is actually talked about in two ways that get lumped together: What is sinful…And How it affects our relationship with the Creator and Creation.

            Sin has an objective part: An action can be wrong, on an eternal level, because it violates the moral structure of Creation. (I think of morality as our description of a structural element of creation, like an engineering principle.) But the sin can be made worse or lessened by some other parts– or something can become a sin that wasn’t– by the circumstances of the action, the intention of the person,…in general the disposition of the soul toward reality.

            All of which to say that there is no teaching that “being” attracted to persons of the same sex is a sin. Sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin, according to the Church. So any couple, gay or straight, that has sex outside of marriage is committing that particular sin.

            And the problem of same-sex sexuality as being against the natural law, or not in line with the perfect intention of creation, is a separate issue. It might add to the effect on the soul of the person who is gay and sexually active. It might not! It really depends on the understanding of the person, and only God judges the true level of that.

            Some religious people, even Catholics, will become worked up about homosexual sex as being “the sin that cries out to God for vengeance” and some other sort-of-scripturally-inspired channeling of revulsion at the idea of homosexual sex acts. Not to put them down for revulsion (because I think we are both attracted to and revolted by things for a whole LOT of reasons that are impossible, sometimes, to tease out) but to say that their obsession with speaking about it in such violent terms is not really an expression of what our Church calls us to do– not in understanding creation and homosexual persons, nor in the way we are called to treat one another with charity and reserve stern talk and pronunciations for very, very specific circumstances.

            Sorry this is so long. Maybe only you, Chuck will read it (or maybe you won’t see it at all!) but I just felt like you might want to hear my perspective.

          • Chuck

            Thank you for your perspective! I enjoyed reading it and respect it entirely. I agree that not having sex outside of marriage is a perfectly reasonable definition of chastity and that it should be adhered. All I ask is that homosexuals be given the same chance to adhere to it, by having their marriages accepted by the church.

          • Corita

            That would make complete sense in its own right…but of course you have a separate problem of the point of sexuality in human identity. For traditional Catholicism, homsexual marriage isn’t a real sacrament because of the problem of integrity of the thing: form and function. (Did you know that young, first-time married people who know they are infertile can’t get married either?)

          • Chuck

            I didn’t know that. I hate to say it like this, but this is probably one of the reasons why I decide not to live my life by the rules of the Catholic church. They are still very antiquated.

      • Corita

        Oh, Chuck. Not having sex makes you a pedophile?

        The weirdo ideas about sex are where again?

        • Chuck

          I refer you to four papers by a Dr. Nicholas Groth on Child Molestors.

          24. Groth, A. Nicholas; Hobson, William F.; Gary, Thomas S. “The child molester: clinical observations.” In Social Work and Child Sexual Abuse. Edited by Jon R. Conte and David A. Shore. (New York: Haworth Press. 1982): 129-144. [BACK]

          25. Groth, A. Nicholas; Birnbaum, H Jean. “Adult sexual orientation and attraction to underage persons.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 7 no. 3 (1978): 175-181. Abstract available online at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=666571. [BACK]

          26. Groth, A. Nicholas; Hobson, William F.; Gary, Thomas S. “The child molester: clinical observations.” In Social Work and Child Sexual Abuse. Edited by Jon R. Conte and David A. Shore. (New York: Haworth Press. 1982): 129-144. [BACK]

          27. Groth, A. Nicholas; Birnbaum, H. Jean. “Adult sexual orientation and attraction to underage persons.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 7, no. 3 (1978): 175-181. Abstract available online at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=666571. Emphasis in the original.

          In short, he found that “The child offender is a relatively young adult either who has been sexually attracted to underage persons almost exclusively in his life or who turns to a child as a result of stresses in his adult sexual or marital relationships. Those offenders who are sexually attracted exclusively to children show a slight preference for boys over girls, yet these same individuals are uninterested in adult homosexual relationships. In fact, they frequently express a strong sexual aversion to adult males.[25]”

          These are not “weirdo” ideas, and consequences of forced abstinence have been clear based on the prevalence of molestation issues.

          I simply argue that many priests fall in the second category of having turned to a child “as a result of stresses in his adult sexual or marital relationships.”

          • CPEGaebler

            Uhhh… were any celibates involved in these studies? If not, then it is dishonest of you to just place them in a category which really looks like it’s talking about people with stresses that pop up in the sexual relationships that they already have.

          • Chuck

            I don’t see how its dishonest. I have stated that it is my opinion that celibacy may be included in one of Groth’s stresses.

            I agree that I am making an extrapolation on these findings. I don’t think there is a study yet to see if celibacy counts as one of these stresses, but I think that it could be. I think there is a strong enough argument for it to merit my mention of it.

          • Corita

            “I think there is a strong enough argument for it to merit my mention of it.”

            No, it’s not. See my response above. If you want any help on the difference between the hard science and the social sciences, and where they intersect in psychologically-based practices, let me know.

          • Corita

            1. You cited papers all by the same author. Not that this means they have reached incorrect conclusions, BUT they are soft science and led by one person. Which means they are doubly prone to subjectivity errors. Not to worry, though, I am not here to dispute the papers. My real point is:

            2. The “stressors” in a person’s life are generally *not* thought by most actual practitioners of psychosciences to be lack of sex. A stressor is something like, extreme conflict, or the death of a spouse, or profound mental disruption (ie depression). Your assertion that just *being* a priest makes you “under stress” is obviously predicated on a bias that you, personally, have about being celibate. And actually it means that you have cited papers that don’t prove what you want them to but interpreted them by means of the very same thesis that you want them to prove.

            I don’t know how often you whip out these papers but you might want to check your practice a bit. If you think are so desperately convinced that not having sex turns you into a pervert maybe you should examine your own strange ideas about sex.

          • Chuck

            I was aware that I wasn’t building the strongest of cases, but they are the papers I had at the time. I actually JUST read an article about homosexuality and sexual molestation (and they prove a VERY compelling argument that there is very little to no correlation between the two), and they mentioned the idea about the two different types of child molesters, which I personally agree with.

            Yes this is not hard science. But I think it is a reasonable hypothesis. I don’t think it’s strange at all. It just needs to be tested. (Not that I could think of any way that would be ethical to test this.)

          • Corita

            Of course there are different types of molesters. I actually think that our culture’s obsession with sexual identity –and particular desire–as determinative, that has brought us to the place where we see everything as “pedophilia” rather than behavior that violates others for any number of reasons.

          • Skorlan

            I checked one of these and it was a study of people who had been convicted of sexual crimes against children. I linked to a much more recent study of pedophiles on the side of the same page

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19327034

            and it said that pedophiles usually identify themselves as pedophiles, not as heterosexuals or homosexuals. And it talked about using voluntary control over sexual arousal.

      • David

        Did you just suggest injoyfulhope is going to molest children? And he didn’t deny his sexuality at all and the church doesn’t advocate that either.

        • Chuck

          I am suggesting it is a possibility. I did not state anything about him denying his homosexuality. But stating you’re gay over and over again is going to do nothing to satisfying your natural sexual urges. If he forces himself to remain abstinent for his entire life and deny his sexual urges, there is a likelihood of becoming sexually stressed and may possibly lead to even worse deviant behavior as a result of this stress.

          • Corita

            Chuck, please read my response as respectful, which I mean it to be.

            I just want to point out that you probably don’t know anyone who is same-sex attracted and embracing both it, AND chastity, with openness and surrender, as part of a total journey of the whole person, in faith. I do. I think that your

            It’s not any easier than any other way of life; in many ways it is a cross that — especially in our society, with its particular views on sex and identity– is difficult on a daily basis and never gives the illusion that one’s life will be settled “soon” like most people want to happen with their struggles.

            But there is a *huge* variety in the ways that people approach their sexuality and their identity and, gay or straight, they can be open and wholeness-seeking and loving…or NOT. The brokenness of the person struggling makes all the difference.

            Finally, I want to speak for a second for those who struggle with SSA. Not for everyone, but for the ones I know and love.:
            It is incredibly offensive for a stranger to come along and say, “You better watch it or you will turn into a pedophile.”
            Even worse, you seem also to be saying, “….Based on my theory that I have…Which I haven’t ever, ever subjected to any kind of interrogation or discussion before.”

            I hope this discussion is proving fruitful. And, as a general rule of thumb, ignore the people who sound crazy hateful and try to engage in fruitful dialogue with people who have something thoughtful to say. Your life will end someday like everybody else; try not to waste too much time on insane people.

          • Corita

            Oops- I left a hanging sentence. I meant to add that your opinion might change a great deal if you could conceive that there is such a thing as a normal– even joyful, sometimes– SSA, chaste person who does not believe that sexual attraction is the primary marker of his/her Identity. Believe me, not everyone who is religious and SSA is self-hating and desperate to “pray away the gay” or some nonsense. They are just like everybody else who is trying to figure out, day by day, how to live a life of integrity and wholeness.

          • Chuck

            Thank you Corita. You certainly have come off as respectful, and I appreciate that. I am sorry if what I’ve said has been offensive, and it WAS an opinion, and not something that was proven or anything. I apologize for that.

            I feel that it is PERFECTLY alright for someone to want to be celibate while they have a SSA. I am not one of those who feels that SSA people should always be sexual and embrace the societal view that people should have constant sexual excursions (though I have met people who have thought as such within the GLBT community).

            I also simply disagree with the view that the OP (if you can even find his post anymore in this barrage of posts) had which stated his distaste for SSA people to be sexual at ALL. This is also a view that the church and many conservative Christians have. They feel that sexual intercourse is something that heterosexual people ONLY should ever engage in, and that homosexual people should feel ashamed of showing sexuality, and should be compelled to be celibate for life if possible.

            I feel that this is an extremely prejudiced view, and one that is offensive to me, and many of those I know and love. Having grown up with a pastor as a father and a Catholic mother, I know intimately the feeling that your very existence is sinful and that you are different than others and you are found disgusting. It HONESTLY really is a HUGE incentive to simply take your own life and be done with it before you become tempted to engage in sexual activity.

            Trying to remain celibate and finding my SSA wrong and sinful really messed me up mentally, and has caused suicide in hundreds of LGBT kids in America. I am protective of them.

            Again, I am sorry that I was inconsiderate in my posts, and thank you for enlightening me as to your position and allowing me to share mine. I honestly feel like this was a productive discussion.

          • Corita

            Chuck, reading this, I just think you are wonderful.
            I ache over the children who grow up thinking that they are malformed, damaged and unloveable. I am so grateful that our churches are being forced to contend with the reality of homosexual desire as something that cannot be dismissed as some kind of evil choice. I welcome the purifying flames of scandal and disgrace that attack the religious institutions and individuals and force them to re-examine their Christian witness with respect to sexuality.

            I know what messages some of my Protestant brothers and sisters have grown up with, as far as sexuality, and some Catholics as well; that sex is a functional act, taht women are responsible for preserving the virtue of men, and that any other sexual desires mark you as perverted and disgusting. And etc.
            I am glad to be free of that as well, but I blame the messengers.

            I had a whole long treatise on desire and the Church but lucky you! I deleted it. I wish you all the best! Keep seeking love, Chuck!

      • msmischief

        Hands are built into human biology. Feet are built into human biology. Eyes are built into human biology.

        Nevertheless, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”

        • Chuck

          I’m not even going to deign that with a response. You’re obviously so zealous and fundamentalist that you would rather ignore everything about human rights, respect, and love because you chose a single scripture verse in your Bible out of the many scriptures that contradict each other.

          You would use scripture to justify slavery if it would let you keep your slaves and not have to do manual labor on your own.

          • msmischief

            Is this your response to every refutation?

            You demand that Christianity bless and sanction something because it’s natural, and you have vapors when someone points out that Christianity explicitly teaches that natural doesn’t cut and

            I note that as a bare minimum love and respect means that you don’t engage any acts that might infect your beloved with an incurable, fatal disease merely for your own gratification. Indeed the very notion should revolt you. And the most basic human right is that of life, so that also demands that you not infect any human being whatsoever for your own gratification. What you are defending is neither love nor respect nor a human right.

          • Chuck

            Okay wow. Now you’re just offensive and your ignorance has reached even greater bounds. It’s a waste of time for ANYONE to talk to you.

            All I have left to say before I get too angry to control myself is that Christianity explicitly sanctions slavery and murder of non-Christians. You can point out to other verses that contradict this, but the Bible is simply one whole book of contradictions. (Believe me, I’ve read the entire thing front to back, multiple times.)

            While the church may not believe in sanctioning something in the current time such as gay marriage, history has shown that the Catholic church is by no means an unchanging body. It evolves to meet the times in all cases (science, morality, etc.)

            Everything else in your post is pure bullshit and the only thing that revolts me is talking to you because you are a disgusting excuse for a human being. I might change my opinion if you decided to REALLY educate yourself about the lies you are spouting, but I know the chance of that is probably very slim. I really hope you learn and grow and improve though. Good luck in life.

          • jack

            It is the ignorance that only brainwashing from a young age can provide.

          • msmischief

            It’s the ignorance that only not being a slave of your gonads can provide — also known as knowledge.

          • msmischief

            As if the homosexual rights movement didn’t fight tooth-and-nail for the right to kill babies. As if they didn’t treat screening the blood supply as a matter of their civil rights rather than their victims’ lives. As if we didn’t know how to contain fatal, incurable STDs — we did it for syphilis — and refrain from doing it for AIDS because homosexual activists raged at the possibility.

          • Corita

            As a religious person and a “faithful to the Magisterium” Catholic I gotta say that you are looking like a completely ignorant dolt.

        • jack

          so the bible tells you to cripple yourself instead of doing something with no negative consequences. Sounds legit.

          • msmischief

            If you want the unquenchable fire it’s all yours.

          • jack

            Ok, so the only negative consequence is burning in hell. Sounds like you should join the WBC

      • Skorlan

        Less than 2% of priests were involved in the scandals, and many of them had only one episode because the therapy they were all sent to was actually effective for some of them, but unfortunately not for all.

      • Injoyfulhope

        I hear where you are coming from, and I thank you for your concern. However, I do not feel that I am being denied or denying myself anything in regards to my sexuality. Once upon a time I felt that the Church was suppressing me from embracing my sexuality. Then I realized that “the Church” couldn’t oppress or suppress anything about me; I am a free human being and could walk away. Honestly, I didn’t want to leave. Catholicism is much more than a set of rules and regulations for me, more than a religion – it’s a relationship. I choose to be chaste now, not because “the Church said so” but because I don’t believe, after much prayer and attention, that my vocation is to marriage (at least for now). I’m not “proud” about my orientation because I don’t feel like I can be proud about something I didn’t achieve, it’s just part of me, and I’m not fighting it (not anymore), I’m just searching for my vocation.

        I really get the concept of encouraging monogamy in same-sex relationships, as this was the same path I took in reasoning just under 6 months ago. After some research and thought, however, I can see that the Church isn’t just saying “straight sex is good, gay sex is bad”. She’s presenting what is the form of marriage laid out for us from before the fall and saying “I’m holding you to this really high standard. Good luck, you’re gonna need it.” We universally fail (cissexuals, too!), because of the fall, to hold to this standard, but She will continue to call us back to it. I don’t always understand how best to work toward Her ridiculously high can-only-be-achieved-by-grace standards, but I trust the Church because I trust the one leading it (that leader being the Holy Spirit) and I know that He’s called me to my own vocation, SSA and all.

    • Dietotaku

      how do you not see the disparity between catholic heterosexuals, who can get married and have all the sex they want and still go to heaven, and homosexuals who can never ever have any sex ever or they go to hell? the church doesn’t call ALL parishoners to celibacy, otherwise the entire congregation would either die off or be hellbound. you’re really more upset about secular culture telling you to embrace and enjoy your sexuality than by the church telling you to supress it?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/KGHAYW5F645OOQITBOUD37NT6A emily j

        When Catholic heterosexuals get married and have sex, it is for the purpose of procreation. Sex between two people of the same gender cannot result in a child, which is the whole reason for sex in the first place. Secular culture tells us to have sex because it feels good and we can do what we want with our bodies. There are lots of other things that make me feel good and that I use my body for because I can do what I want with it, and I choose to do them over having sex because I am not married and not currently looking to procreate. We are fully capable of controlling our sexual urges, just as we are fully capable of preventing ourselves from giving in to the urge to yell at someone who’s annoying us, or to run our car into the person in front of us who’s driving too slow when we’re already late. I don’t have to be having sex just because I am twenty, female and reasonably attractive, because that’s what society expects of me. I have waited this long for my husband and I will continue to wait for him.
        Additionally, Catholics most certainly do not believe that all heterosexual married couples who have all the sex they want automatically go to heaven, nor do homosexuals who have sex go to hell. That’s not for any of us to decide; God is the only one who can do that.

        • Chuck

          “I don’t have to be having sex just because I am twenty, female and reasonably attractive, because that’s what society expects of me. I have waited this long for my husband and I will continue to wait for him.”

          No you certainly don’t. And we are capable of controlling our sexual urges… up to a certain point. Heterosexual couples are asked to stay chaste until marriage. Homosexual couples are asked by the Church to stay chaste for life, and to never consort with the person they love.

          I am sure that you can see how this is unequal treatment.

          And I obviously disagree with your statement, that the only purpose of sex is for procreation. It is not, and it has NEVER been throughout history. In fact, and I’ve sure you’ve heard this argument many many times, but homosexuality occurs in many other extant animal species and in nature many times. And in Bonobos, very evolutionarily close cousins to humans, sex is used as a social construct both heterosexually and homosexually. It is used to relieve social tension and allows individuals to bond with each other.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/KGHAYW5F645OOQITBOUD37NT6A emily j

            I definitely think it’s unequal treatment. However, biologically speaking, the two pairs are innately unequal, because children can result from sex between the heterosexual couple, and children cannot result from sex between the homosexual couple. That is the purpose of sex- to procreate. The reasons behind sex- pleasure, closeness with another person- are not the purpose, the end goal. They are simply justifications for having sex, and indeed have been used throughout history.
            I know homosexuality occurs in many other species, and that they too use sex as a social construct, but I’m assuming you’re not suggesting that humans should engage in recreational sex just because other species do it too. I don’t agree with the idea of sex for relieving social tensions and allowing individuals to bond. To me, sex is far too special for that.

          • Chuck

            I agree that sex is special, especially because we ARE humans, and we have the capability of being in monogamous meaningful relationships. But I also feel that sex is large part of our biological identity, and that it is not possible and may be harmful to try to eliminate it completely from our society for any reason.

            I do not agree that because children cannot result from homosexual sex that the relationships between couples are unequal. In fact, I think you should take into consideration the huge dilemma that the human race is facing right now, which is overpopulation and starvation, and the number of children born into impoverished homes and put up for adoption.

            If there were a God, I do not believe that he would have created natural homosexual tendencies, or created sex to feel good or be so meaningful between two partners heterosexually or homosexually, and determine that the only thing it should be used for and its end goal is procreation. I believe that if there were a God, he would be more enlightened than that and see it is much more than that, and the potential for fostering a special bond between two people is much more important than making more humans.

            Especially since in the natural order of things, species which procreate too much drive themselves into huge population crashes, starvation, and ecological destruction. Homosexual partners can raise children from adoptions and be just as caring as heterosexual parents and give perhaps even better homes than many would face if they were left with their original parents. The bond between these homosexual parents and their adopted children is no less special between parents and biological children, and it’s more helpful to society and children as a whole.

            I believe basically, you are convinced that sex is only for procreation, and I completely disagree, and think that this issue goes much further than that.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/KGHAYW5F645OOQITBOUD37NT6A emily j

            I was saying that the relationships between the two types of couples are biologically unequal. Emotionally, they are certainly equal. I think that an emotional bond as much as a physical one, even more so in some cases, is the driving force behind any relationship. I agree that a physical bond can supplement an emotional one; however, I don’t think it’s necessary.
            I definitely don’t think sex is only for procreation- hell, when I’m married I’m going to have sex with my husband and enjoy it! I also agree that overpopulation and children being born to unfit parents are problems. I don’t think that sex should be eliminated from our society either. I think, however, that society as a whole is far too sexualized, and maybe if we focused a little less on sex and a little more on other things, we wouldn’t have problems like overpopulation and children born to unfit parents.

          • Chuck

            I agree. And yes, of course homosexuality is biological unequal! No one is denying that. But I feel as part of human rights, homosexual relationships should be treated equally with heterosexual ones, ESPECIALLY in the Church. Society IS over-sexualized, and while the Church claims to be accepting to homosexual members, not recognizing the love and relationships they have with one another is stigmatizing homosexuals from the church and turning them away from God. Because society is over-sexualized, and Christians and basic morality have turned its back on homosexuals (it is not the other way around), homosexuals are characterized as being overly sexual and having multiple partners, which causes them to spread diseases.

            If the Church would recognize homosexual monogamous couples, they would be recognizing a real love between two people, and keeping them safe from cheapening their relationships by falling into trappings of an overly sexualized society, and getting diseases. In addition, they would be turned towards accepting your religious views.

            I know currently you and the Church feel that homosexuality should not be accepted and should always be seen as sinful, but I think it is this view particularly that needs to change. After all, it is no longer sinful to fight against your master if you’re a slave, or to cut your hair short or wear pants if you’re a girl, or to marry people of different faiths than you.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/KGHAYW5F645OOQITBOUD37NT6A emily j

            I’m not just talking about society being oversexualized in terms of homosexuals, I’m talking about ALL people. For me, this is a much bigger issue than that. Personally I don’t think that homosexuals are more promiscuous or diseased than heterosexuals- quite the opposite, in my experience- but I digress.
            I think there are two main reasons that the Church does not accept homosexual relationships. First, because in the eyes of the Church, the purpose of a marriage is to procreate. It’s not the only purpose, but it’s the primary one, and it is what leads to the others. Because that primary purpose cannot be fulfilled, a homosexual union is not recognized as legitimate. Second, because this union is not legitimate, if two homosexual people have sex, they are having sex outside of marriage, which is a sin. Additionally, they are committing an act of sodomy, which is also a sin (for heterosexuals too, I might add). I think that if two homosexual people were in a chaste, non-sexual relationship with each other, the love that they had for each other should not and hopefully would not be discounted by the Church. Homosexuality in and of itself is not a sin. It’s when sex is brought into the equation that everything gets screwed up.
            Let me just be clear in saying that the arguments I have been making, I have tried to align as closely as possible with the views of the Church as I know them. Personally I have struggled to reconcile my beloved faith with the love I have for my friends and peers, both hetero and homosexual. I have some amazing gay friends, and I have some amazing straight friends who have been engaging in extramarital sex since we were fifteen. I see both sides. The idea that my gay friends would be turned away from a relationship with God because of the Church’s stance on homosexual marriage breaks my heart; however, I believe in the wisdom and holiness of those in my religion who have been called to establish these rules. Do I agree with everything the Church says? Not necessarily. But I will defend her, as the bride of Christ, to my death.

          • Chuck

            The Catholic Church may and has changed their stances and definitions of things. They are slower to than normal society (in some respects, in others they’re amazingly before their time), but accepting that the main purpose of marriage is to have children is one viewpoint they may have to change in the future in light of overpopulation, and other factors. I respect your position, but I also respectfully disagree with the current stance the church has taken though I understand their reasoning based on their dogma.

          • momofthree

            Emily, homosexual men have STD infection rates that dwarf other groups: “CDC estimates that MSM account for just 2% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009. MSM accounted for 49% of people living with HIV infection in 2008 (the most recent year national prevalence data are available).” They are promiscuous as a group….not all are, but there is something very different about their sexual behavior than about the sexual behavior of heterosexuals, and lesbian women. It is hard to admit this, but it is true.

          • momofthree

            Chuck, what you do you think about Dan Savage and his “Monogamish” advice? He is married and claims it is too hard to remain monogamous. He thinks this can work for heterosexual couples too. None of the male homosexual couples I know are monogamous.

          • Chuck

            I do not support much of anything that Dan Savage has to say, and I do not like that some people choose him to represent the gay community. I believe that homosexuals and heterosexuals should strive for monogamous relationships. I too think that relationships, and families should be stronger, but I don’t see why homosexual families can’t be a part of that strength.

            I’m sorry that none of the homosexual couples you know are monogamous. I am monogamous and have known MANY monogamous gay couples, many of whom have been together longer than my parents have (over 30 years). Many gay couples I have known throughout my life have stronger bonds and relationships than many of the straight couples I meet, or religious couples. One of the reasons why homosexuals probably aren’t prevalent in having monogamous relationships on the whole however is that the main institutions that support and reinforce monogamy (i.e. the Church) rejects them and their relationships.

          • momofthree

            I am glad to hear this, but it has not been my experience here in Massachusetts.

          • lulz

            You must know a lot of gay people.

          • Skorlan

            In 1927 St. Andre Bessette said to a 7 year old friend of mine, now deceased, that one day men and women would dress alike and this would be an abomination before the Lord. I was wearing jeans and a t shirt at the time. I changed how I dress because of my love for Jesus.

          • Goldiemil48

            The world is not overpopulated it is severely underpopulated. Every economic boom in history has been preceded by a population boom and the strongest economies in the world right now are India china and brazil, the three countries with the largest population explosions ever. The areas with the greatest poverty are the ones controlled by corrupt dictatorial atheistic governments like the many in Africa. If every family on the planet lived in an averaged sized American single family home on an average sized lot we would all fit inside Texas. Furthermore the US agriculture industry produces enough food every year to feed every person on the planet. We have yet to harness the full potential of this earth to house us and we never will

          • Lulz

            “The areas with the greatest poverty are the ones controlled by corrupt dictatorial atheistic governments like the many in Africa.”

            must be God punishing them for their lack of faith. Can I get an amen!!!!

          • Chuck

            We tend to aggregate in small areas, but I agree, that overcrowding is definitely not a cause for homosexuality. But purely teleologically speaking, ignoring all mechanisms for how it might work, it does benefit an overcrowded population. If that’s the reason for it, I don’t know, and I really doubt it, but people were saying that there is no reason for it, but that is one possibility.

          • Skorlan

            There is NO correlation in this world between population density and prosperity. You might stop to think about the green revolution in the late 60s when rice was developed that produced 10 times as much rice per plant than had previoulsy been possible. If there can be one such revolution there might well be another if we just put our minds to it.

            Starvation throughout history has had a high correlation with wars. Farmers tend not to grow crops when people are fighting in their fields, and this is as true today as it has always been. So all this concern about overpopulation is wasted worry.

          • Lulz

            Did you know that the male version of the G-spot is in his anus? Why would god do that?

          • Corita

            I doubt you are even serious, but what you wrote here is not actually true. First of all, the G-spot is at least partly a literary/scientific construction. The existence of a special sac of nerves with varying thickness (and varying sensitivities) has only recently been confirmed — they think– and it is not something that all women have or have the same way, or that even matters to satisfying sex!.

            http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/human-biology/vagina5.htm

            If you are talking about a super-sensitive spot where nerves are concentrated in the genital area, then you perhaps mean the prostate area, which is the area between the anus and the testicles, which is considered the correlation to the female g-spot.
            http://health.discovery.com/videos/sex-and-intimacy-the-male-g-spot.html

          • http://imperfectfornow.blogspot.com/ Mackman

            You know what else occurs “in nature?” Dogs eating their own vomit. Babies being eaten when food is scarce. The young being abandoned, or outright killed from mere carelessness. Female animals are quite literally raped over and over again in some species.

            All of this occurs in nature. I could go on. Do you still believe that something occurring “in nature” is anywhere close to an actual argument for its acceptability? It’s not.

            Once you’ve been reduced to arguments from nature, you’re truly at the end of your rope. You’ve opened up the door to rape, cannibalism, and reckless endangerment, and you’re unable to argue against it. After all, it’s perfectly natural.

          • momofthree

            Well, I would not go that far. I look to nature for hints at natural law. As I see it, homosexuality (specifically male homosexuality) is a conundrum. For all forms of sexual orientation, society considers it deviant if it cannot be productive or if in being productive it causes huge problems (consanguinity). For example, we consider a person who is sexually aroused by a prepubescent child to be extremely deviant (the child is infertile and does not display overt sexual characteristics). Likewise, a person only sexually attracted to the elderly or horses. If a person is sexually attracted to someone with whom they cannot ever reproduce, there is something odd going on there. They are sexually aroused by characteristics that are misleading them into spending their energy on an infertile (for them) partner. To wholly give up your fecundity is an ENORMOUS biological disadvantage. It is the ultimate in genetic suicide. How it ever could have evolved is a mystery to me, truly.

          • http://imperfectfornow.blogspot.com/ Mackman

            My only point was to point out that rape, cannibalism, abandonment, and so many other things are present in nature: Therefore, appealing to “nature” is worse than useless.

          • Chuck

            I would say that society considers an activity deviant if it causes active harm to a person or group of people (or animals in the case of bestiality). Homosexuality is benign, and harms and affects no one, or no more than the heterosexual population in general.

            Aside from that fact, homosexual relationships have every possibility of being productive, since homosexual couples cannot generally have their own children, they are more likely to adopt, and that benefits society and children who have no homes or have been pushed around foster homes.

            Your example of being attracted to the elderly is somewhat deviant, but as you may notice still accepted by law, and even by the Church regardless of being non-productive.

            As to your questions about the evolutionary advantage of homosexuality, I believe there have been studies that have shown that when populations of animals go past their carrying capacity, the percentage of homosexual activity in the population increases. It may act as a sort of population control. It may also simply be a mutation, or different types of mutations that simply produce the same phenotype (being homosexual).

            It may also simply be hormonal. There are a lot of interesting questions about it. =]

          • momofthree

            Chuck, I am not trying to bash you. These statistics are horrid. But I just don’t see that homosexuality (males) is as benign as you say in practice. See : “CDC estimates that MSM account for just 2% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009. MSM accounted for 49% of people living with HIV infection in 2008 (the most recent year national prevalence data are available).”

          • Chuck

            And do you think that to deny them from the ideals of monogamy and acceptance into the church is going to help these people? Regardless of whether or not you accept them into the church, homosexuality is GOING to exist. And the more unwelcome the feel at the Church the more likely they are to reject the Church’s ideals of monogamy.

            Common sense dictates that the spread of HIV from monogamous couples would be a factor of zero. By accepting monogamy in the gay community you are helping them to fight the spread of these diseases. In fact from that same fact sheet, the CDC states: “Social discrimination and cultural issues: For some MSM, social and economic factors, including
            homophobia, stigma, and lack of access to health care may increase risk behaviors or be a barrier to
            receiving HIV prevention services.”

            And when you cite the CDC, please cite it correctly. The CDC estimates that MSM accounts for 4% of the entire population of males. Not 2% ,but even that statistic is shown to be low through other studies.

          • momofthree

            The CDC quote was taken directly from the site.
            I do think you have a point here about accepting MSM into churches being a route to solidifying relationships…but I guess I just don’t see that in the male relationships I know. (I meant to qualify that before). I lived in SF for a while, and it was wild, and so much of it was anonymous….it just was not like hetero stuff at all.

          • Chuck

            Here is the PDF directly from the CDC site that contains the quote you were referring to. It states 4%. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/PDF/geographic.pdf

            Well I am pretty certain that you do not know all the details about the sex lives of all of your heterosexual friends, so I don’t know if you can reliably state that it’s nothing like heterosexual stuff.

            Also you are choosing one of the worst places as a representation of the gay community. The fact is, and I hope you’ll meet people like this, but the majority of the gay population is silent and not visible. You see the ones who engage in ludicrous acts and sleep around all of the time because they are the most visible and the loudest. The average gay person is the nice young man who helps you load your groceries into your car, or the real estate agent who helped sell you your house, or the young woman who volunteers at the soup kitchen or the teacher who teaches your son or daughter. They’re normal people and they live normal lives in which they come home to the person they love, and have loved for years. We generally don’t feel like bursting into public and showing off like the ones you do notice, because we like our privacy and have our own codes of decency.

            I’m sorry that your impressions of the gay community have come from poor examples, but all across America, even in rural areas, we exist. Please don’t judge an entire subset of the population on a few loud individuals who have developed little responsibility over their own bodies or the ones they consort with. I really wish you could just sit down with some of my friends or me over coffee and just chat with us. Odds are, a few of the people you know right now are gay and have been in a dedicated relationship and you’ve simply never suspected it.

          • Chuck
          • Skorlan

            The Church’s ideal of monogamy is only for one man one woman married people. For the rest of us the Church’s ideal is celibacy.

          • Skorlan

            There is no evidence that homosexuality has a genetic basis, so it is not possible for it to be due to a mutation. There is plenty of evidence that if a person is denied the ability to experience a normal emotional stage of development they get stuck in that stage. It doesn’t develop and they go on and develop all the other stages but they don’t get the one they didn’t experience normally. Something similar is probably going on in homosexuality.

          • Chuck

            On the contrary there is plenty of evidence that homosexuality has a genetic basis. Twin studies, biological traits that are commonly associated with homosexuality, including left-handednes, hair whorls, finger length, etc., and experiments done on animals manipulating specific genes.

            It would be more correct of you to say that there has not been any specific gay gene that is the cause for homosexuality, and I doubt that we will ever find exactly one specific gay gene responsible for it.

            More and more it looks as if the gene and environment interactions for the origins of homosexuality are increasingly more and more complicated. Environment can affect the expression of a certain gene, and genes can interact with each other to activate and deactivate each other. And this is also assuming that there is only one type of homosexuality. Research has shown that homosexuality is can really only be defined on a scale between completely homosexual or straight, and anything in between. It’s actually rather similar to skin color, and the gene interactions governing skin color are extremely complex, and yet they are affected by the environment as well, since people are able to tan.

            It’s not as simple as you think, essentially.

          • msmischief

            Vultures have evinced “homophobia” so it’s natural, too.

          • Chuck

            That honestly would not be surprising. I would actually expect to find that most species are homophobic as well. This is the part of nature that we need to get past and learn to accept others.

          • msmischief

            Such priorities you have. That something is natural trumps that it transmits fatal and incurable disease but not that it hurts your feelings.

          • momofthree

            can you explain that further or provide a reference?

          • Chuck

            It depends on what you are arguing. In our instance, we were arguing about whether or not the purpose of marriage was to have children. I argued that it wasn’t, and it’s perfectly normal, even in animal society to have sex for social purposes.

            In the case of homosexuality, the largest complaint that people have against it is that it is unnatural, which as shown by my argument, it is not.

            Arguing from a religious standpoint, if it is natural, (i.e. occurs in nature) then God must have created it. Taking other things into consideration: homosexuality occurs between two consenting adults, homosexuality doesn’t harm anyone, homosexuals have all of the capabilities of monogamous love and relationships, it stands to argue, that there is no good reason why they shouldn’t be accepted or allowed in the church as one, they are creations of God, they are natural and as human as everyone else, their only sin is LOVE, and to turn them away would simply be a form of discrimination for which there is no good justifiable reason other than “I find them icky” or “This Biblical scripture allows me to discriminate against them.” (The same rationale which was used to justify slavery)

            Do you think God would have had us place an ancient book with ancient law over developing our human sensibilities and learning to accept and love others? It’s my personal belief, but if there is a God, it’s a God of love, and a God of love wouldn’t create people just to suffer and would want us to love and accept each other for who they are.

          • jack

            Good post man

          • Corita

            ” if it is natural, (i.e. occurs in nature) then God must have created it.”

            Actually the Christian belief that Creation has fallen away from its original nature takes care of this objection.

            The arguments of natural law actually run up on these rocks, as well, though. To make arguments about what was *intended* for creation by using a fallen & distorted version of that Creation itself as one of the major pieces of evidence can get tricky!

          • Chuck

            To make arguments about what was *intended* for creation by using a 3000 year old book based on myths and stories from long-dead civilizations and humans who had much more barbaric societal laws than we have today as one of the major pieces of evidence can get tricky as well.

          • Corita

            Yup, it sure does! Either it’s a bunch of insanity or there has to be a helping hand at preserving all that truth…..

          • Chuck

            Maybe, maybe not, but we have texts just as old as or older than the Bible that have been preserved through the ages. I don’t think preservation necessarily means truth.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Funny. Aristotle didn’t have those books.

          • Skorlan

            Slavery was condemned by Pope Eugenius IV in the 1400s and the penalty for enslavement was automatic excommunication, just as it is for abortion today. And Catholics enslaved others anyway then just as they abort children anyway now.

          • Chuck

            I see… Excuse me, but was there a specific point you were trying to get across. If so, I’m afraid I missed it.

          • jack

            Well that is sure ironic. The imperfectness and unfairness of nature is an argument against God. If it is natural for a man to be gay and God man him that way, why should he be punished by your intolerance in the name of God his entire life? Why should he be shit on by society by something that was not his choice?

          • http://imperfectfornow.blogspot.com/ Mackman

            It’s not his choice to have homosexual attraction, sure. But it’s his choice to act on them. Just like it’s not our choice to feel lust, rage, selfishness, a desire to kill those who get in our way … but it’s our choice to act on them. All of these things are also “natural,” because ever since the Garden of Eden, we haven’t been what we should be.

            Your argument fails to take the Fall into account, and when you’re arguing on a Catholic blog, that’s kind of a big deal. Because of the Fall, sin comes “naturally” to us. That doesn’t make it right.

          • Chuck

            It is not your choice to have heterosexual attraction as well, but it is your choice to act on it, while the Bible asks you to be abstinent for life (according to Paul this is “better”). If you are free to sin and engage in your natural attractions, why should you deny the natural attractions of homosexuals. Is their sin greater than your sin?

          • http://imperfectfornow.blogspot.com/ Mackman

            Where do you get the impression that marriage is sinful? Paul describes his celibacy as a gift, and he acknowledges that people have different gifts, most of which are not celibacy (1 Cor. 7:7). For people with the gift of celibacy, it is better to remain unmarried. But for people without it, it is better to be married.

            Paul never advocates sin. I don’t understand how you can get from his discussion in 1 Cor. 7 to “marriage is sinful,” especially considering his discussion of marriage in Ephesians 5.

            I am not “free to sin”: none of us are, not without suffering the consequences. We are all broken in different ways, with greater sinful desires and tendencies in different areas. Their sin isn’t greater than any sins I do commit, but the difference is that they insist it’s not wrong, meaning they consciously do NOT repent of it. Repentance is a key component of the Christian life, and those who are consciously living in sin lack it.

          • Chuck

            And yet again you are putting words in my mouth and accusing me of saying something I never said. Search ANY of my comments for where I said “marriage is sinful” and you will have wasted 10 minutes and found absolutely nothing. When people respond to you, do you actually read what they say or do you just wildly imagine their response in your head and react to it?

            I stated that you hold homosexuals to double standards. Fine, sex outside of marriage is a sin. You may repent every time you commit this sin, but homosexuals aren’t afforded the same opportunity because they are not allowed to marry, and their marriages aren’t accepted. Therefore even if they’ve found someone they have devoted their life to and love, every time they act on that love they are sinning. I don’t know about you, but I generally don’t like feeling guilty EVERY SINGLE TIME I have sex. It’s really not arousing. Their only option is to feel guilty and feel like they are sinning every time they are with the one they love, or be celibate for the rest of their lives. This is the decision you are leaving them.

            Allow gays to have recognized marriage within the church and meaningful monogamous relationships, and you will have faithful believers who would be nothing happier than to remain chaste, and repent from their sins if they fall before marriage.

          • http://imperfectfornow.blogspot.com/ Mackman

            You said this; “It is not your choice to have heterosexual attraction as well, but it is your choice to act on it, while the Bible asks you to be abstinent for life (according to Paul this is “better”). If you are free to sin and engage in your natural attractions, why should you deny the natural attractions of homosexuals. Is their sin greater than your sin?

            That says to me, pretty clearly, that you’re assuming that acting on heterosexual attraction is sinful because the Bible asks us to be celibate. Apparently that’s not what you meant, but dude: Chill out. I’m sorry for misunderstanding you, but you failed to communicate clearly.

            We don’t have a double standard. We believe that all sex outside of marriage is wrong, and that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. That’s a single standard, one we believe all Christians are held to equally.

            This is not very different from people with anger problems, or lust problems, or pride problems. It feels really good for people to give in to their natural desires, and they justify it by saying, “I’m only doing what’s natural for me.” But it’s neither truly natural (pre-fall) or good, if it’s sinful.

            Finally, you act as though it’s a choice we’re consciously making. It really isn’t. If my view of what Scripture is, and what it says, allowed me to honestly say, “you know what? Sexuality doesn’t matter. Come on, be gay if you want to, God’s cool with it!”… I would love to be able to say that.

            But I can’t, because I think the Bible is true, really true, and it’d be folly to change it because it makes people unhappy. Happiness is not more important than the glory of God and the salvation of the people he loves.

          • Chuck

            I felt that my post was extremely clear.

            Anywho, you’re basically stating that it is wrong because the Bible said so. I will not refute that. The Bible has numerous scriptures stating that homosexuality is not acceptable.

            The Bible also has scriptures stating that slaves shouldn’t rise up against their masters, or that women shouldn’t show independence over their men. Even within the Church these views are no longer embraced.
            The point is that the Church often chooses which scriptures to follow and which ones can be interpreted differently. If the church decides it, they may acknowledge homosexual marriages despite what the scripture says, because a majority of the religious community is smart enough to not take every single verse in the Bible literally.

            I understand your point of view, and honestly, there is nothing I am going to do to change your mind. It simply isn’t possible. You’ve convinced yourself that homosexuality is wrong and you’ve found a few Bible verses to support your opinion, and you don’t mind that the Bible’s antiquated social norms are no longer society’s guiding light anymore. I have presented my case, and you have presented your case, and I don’t think we are going to get any further than this. Further discussion at this point will just serve to have us repeat our thoughts again and again which I believe we’ve already had one round of. Anyway, it was a pleasure discussing with you, and good day.

          • http://imperfectfornow.blogspot.com/ Mackman

            I’ll just say one more thing. Any morality that has to move with the times isn’t a morality worth following at all. Good day to you as well. God bless.

          • Skorlan

            There are plenty of heterosexual people who will never get married and are in the same situation as homosexual people are. They may not recognize that fact immediately the way a homosexual person does, but that doesn’t mean they are free to go have sex if they never get married. Some of us straight people are called to be single too. We just don’t always recognize that fact immediately.

        • Bo Tait

          If it were true that Catholic heterosexuals have sex to procreate, then why do Catholics advocate birth control measure such as the rythem method? If you are purposely trying to avoid getting pregnant, even by natural means, what is left? Only pleasure I guess, or expressions of love. However you put it, that doesn’t seem to jive with your definition of appropriate sex.

          So my question is, how do you feel about Catholic couples using natural means to avoid pregnancy in their sexual relationship?

          • Skorlan

            Humanae Vitae said there were 2 circumstances when deliberately limiting births was acceptable. One was to protect the woman’s health. The other was if the family could not afford to provide for a child.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14228594 Emily Teodorski

        All members of the church are called to *chastity* as it relates to their vocation in life.

      • Guest

        “The church doesn’t call ALL parishoners to celibacy, otherwise the entire congregation would either die off or be hellbound.”

        Likewise, Christ, making his message known through the Church, does not call ALL parishioners to marriage. If you have a same-sex attraction then the odds are you are not called to marriage, mostly because same-gender sex is not natural. Now if you do happen to be a homosexual and you are having sex, or have had sex, it’s not to late to go to heaven. It’s never to late to go to heaven. “Ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened.” God’s forgiveness is ready and waiting.

        Priests world over suppress and, in a way, transcend their sexuality and the VAST majority of them turn out fine, and go on to bring amazing spiritual guidance from Christ to His flock, as well as the greatest miracle, bring Christ Himself to Earth in the Eucharist.

        • Chuck

          “Likewise, Christ, making his message known through the Church, does not call ALL parishioners to marriage. If you have a same-sex attraction then the odds are you are not called to marriage, mostly because same-gender sex is not natural.”

          Excuse me, but where in the Bible does Jesus state that? It seems like your own invention to me. There is nothing in the Bible stating that people need to be “called to marriage”.

          • musiciangirl591

            try the letters of Paul

          • Chuck

            Give me a specific verse?

          • Guest

            Read Romans 1:18-28, paying attention to verse 27; 1 Tim 1:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11; 2 Pet 2:7-8
            Also read all of 1 Corinthians ch. 7. Pay attention to verse 17 and 38, but make sure to read the whole chapter and keep everything in context. There’s some great stuff in there.

          • Chuck

            I know very well that there are Bible scriptures against homosexuality (although even that is controversial when you translate it in the original Greek or Hebrew). That wasn’t what I was referring to. I wanted to know where you got the idea that some people are not “called to marriage”. Even reading Corinthians 7, hasn’t shown me any evidence of that. He states again, that if you have sexual urges, it okay to marry, but that it is better to remain celibate if you can control your urges.

            What if you are homosexual and you are not predisposed to remain abstinent for your entire life?

            What if someone believes that God has called them to bring acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual monogamy into the church. 1 Corinthians 7:17 seems to imply that he should remain homosexual as he follows his calling.

            I really am not one to get into scriptural debate however, because I think human rights, and showing love and acceptance for each other outweighs ANYTHING said in the Bible. For instance, if the Bible told me to kill my enemy or to keep slaves (as it does), I would not obey it.

          • Skorlan

            There are 3 sources of inspiration, or calling: God, the devil, and oneself. If you think God is calling you to do something that is in contradiction to what the Church teaches, you aren’t being inspired by God, since God promised Peter that the Church would always prevail over hell.

            The New Testament tells you to love your enemy. Paul asks one slave owner to free his slave. For the most part, though, the early Christians accepted slavery as a common condition of life. Scripture nowhere tells people to keep slaves, it simply doesn’t always tell them to get rid of their slaves when they convert.

      • musiciangirl591

        like emily said the Church does call all members to chastity, whether single, married (being faithful, etc), member of the religious…

        • Chuck

          Homosexuals can remain chaste if gay marriage were legal and accepted in the eyes of the Church.

          • msmischief

            And no doubt there are people who can remain chaste if only they were allowed temporary marriages, legal and accepted by the Church, and as many as they like.

          • Chuck

            So you’re going to build a slippery slope argument? You are saying that the love that two men in a homosexual relationship have for each other is not the same as a love that a heterosexual couple has for each other. In your eyes it is akin to sleeping with multiple people for short periods of time possibly because you think homosexuals are incapable of having lasting monogamous relationships. If so, you obviously have a very skewed view of reality.

          • msmischief

            So you’re going to evade the argument? What’s slippery slope about it? You assert that chastity can be preserved by sanctioning desires with matrimony. This would logically entail sanctioning desires with matrimony.

          • Chuck

            You don’t have an argument. You have a fallacy. Thus there is nothing to avoid. You are saying that a monogamous homosexual marriage is equatable to being sexually promiscuous which either means you are ignoring the difference, or are simply ignorant.

            And your whole “sanctioning desires with matrimony” statement is simply a stupid accusation. Is that what I said? No. That’s because you only equate homosexual relationships with sexual desire and refuse to acknowledge that there is a strong emotional bond there between two human beings. Matrimony should be sanctioned with love, and thus if a homosexual couple truly loves each other, then their marriage should be accepted.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        Late Modern civilization has decided in favor of the Triumph of the Will. The important thing nowadays is to “enjoy” sexuality (whatever that means) as much as your next Krispy Kreme doughnut, with results in both cases that would have been predictable had we opted instead for the Triumph of the Intellect.

        Here’s the thing. Love is never wrong. But love is not pleasure. (Nor is sex the same as coitus; etc.) Love is “to desire the good for the other precisely as other,” while pleasure is something one desires for oneself. The greater the emphasis on “enjoyment of your sexuality,” the more the other becomes a mere “sex object.” That is why the prohibition is not on love, but on sodomy. Heck, if we are commanded to love even our enemies, we are certainly called upon to love our dearest friends. But Late Moderns seem unable to conceive of love without pleasuring their sex organs.

        Furthermore, fMRI scans indicate that the more habituated one becomes to gratifying the appetities, the more that neural patterns originating in the more primitive parts of the brain become “vulcanized” and interfere with neural patterns originating in the neocortex, inhibiting rational thought. Since human nature is ordered toward being a “rational animal.” this sort of thing is objectively disordered.

        That being said, medieval penetentiary manuals do not treat sodomy as any more reprehensible that adultery, fornication, and other sins of the flesh.

      • Injoyfulhope

        I REALLY struggled with this concept for a long time. I mean, chastity seemed like a great concept for those straight couples, but what about us? Why am I being punished by simple nature of not being attracted to men? It was incredibly frustrating to realize that I am probably going to watch my older siblings develop chaste, straight relationships, get married, and have sex and children, while I had to bite my lip and suffer through life as an old maid. I was angry, lonely, and upset.

        Then I realized that maybe there was more to vocation than just marriage or religious life. ALL vocations express in some way the nuptial image of Christ’s profound love for his Church. Maybe I’m not called to marriage (but hey, maybe I am someday down the road! I’m still young!) and maybe that’s okay. Because I know that He has called me from all eternity and has called me by name. As Pope Benny XVI said, “Each of us is the result of a direct thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.” I continue to try to live (and often fail, and try again) a life of poverty (of spirit), chastity, and obedience to my Church. In doing that, I have found, to my delight and surprise, not suffering, but Joy! I mean it! It’s not my vocation to suffer through life, but to find Joy in my vocation in Christ! Maybe that makes me sound like a Jesus freak, but I have come to not only accept my sexuality, but to embrace a calling from Christ, whatever that may be.

        I totally get how frustrating Church teaching can be. I’ve ranted and raved about it plenty. But it is based on pure Love and about finding pure Joy. I’m willing to look into that.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/KGHAYW5F645OOQITBOUD37NT6A emily j

      Injoyfulhope, this is one of the most inspiring things I’ve heard in a very long time. I come from and go to college in a town where everyone thinks if you’re Catholic you must hate gay people. It’s also a place where the idea of following a call to chastity over fulfilling your sexual needs is looked down upon and openly ridiculed. What you just said gave me so much hope that there are others out there like you who can help show the world that the Catholic Church does not hate or condemn gay people. God is truly using you as an instrument of His love and acceptance.

      • Chuck

        As Jesus said, there are certain people who are called to chastity, and they are blessed, but it is better for a man to be married than to burn in lust. Yes, I am an atheist quoting scripture.

        I do not believe that by default gay men are “called to chastity”. There are people who are called to chastity, and will live their life according to such, but it is better to be in a committed relationship with someone you love than to burn in homosexual lust for the rest of your life because certain Catholics don’t like the idea of homosexual relationships.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/KGHAYW5F645OOQITBOUD37NT6A emily j

          I think you’re mixing up chastity and celibacy. All Catholics, whether they follow it or not, are called to chastity- that is, not having extramarital sex. Certain people are called to celibacy, and as you said, will live their lives accordingly.
          Additionally, regardless of whether or not I believe it to be true, I also didn’t say that gay men are by default called to chastity/celibacy. I simply wanted to say that I admire that Injoyfulhope is more interested in living a life of purity over giving into sexual desires, whether they be homosexual or heterosexual. I also don’t think it has to be so black and white- either in a committed relationship or burning in homosexual lust. I think lust is something that we are completely capable of controlling.

          • Chuck

            I was mixing it up. Sorry. I agree that controlling lust is certainly possible, and necessary for those who value monogamous relationships. If Injoyfulhope is committed to living in celibacy, I have no qualms in his choice, but I do not think that he should feel that “culture’s” viewpoint of having a healthy sexual life is disturbing or sinful, whether it be for heterosexual or homosexual relationships.

            I’m going to go out on a limb here (albeit a very short limb) and assume that his main problem is in viewing homosexual relationships as normal, and that this view is fueled by his religion.

            I simply urge him, and others like him to not take this view, because fulfilling your sexual urges is completely natural and forcing celibacy because you are disgusted by your homosexual tendencies (as a result of religious beliefs) could lead to severe consequences, if not simply unhappiness.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/KGHAYW5F645OOQITBOUD37NT6A emily j

            I agree with you that fulfilling your sexual urges is completely natural. What I don’t agree with, however, is that it is necessary to live a normal life. Plenty of celibate people, including ones that I know, live much happier lives than many non-celibate people.
            Based on Injoyfulhope’s post, it seems that he (or she- his/her gender was never mentioned) is not disgusted by his/her homosexual tendencies in the slightest. He/she sounds far less confused than many secular homosexuals I know in knowing that he/she is loved by God and welcome in the Church. Of course, he/she should look at all possible viewpoints, but he/she seems content as a gay member of the Church, as it were.

          • Chuck

            As I stated before, celibacy is something that only few people are called to. I cannot speak on Injoyfulhope’s behalf, so as to whether he or she is one of these people, I cannot determine.

            However I think that for most people, satisfying your sexual urges is normal and required in some cases if it keeps a member of society from turning to worse sins, such as molesting a child, or taking their lives because of perceiving their tendencies as a sin.

            I have already said this, but I simply disagree with his or her view that acting on your natural urges, and living an open life with your partner is disturbing or wrong.

          • Skorlan

            I suspect that if you could avoid the many sexual messages you receive in this society on a daily basis, you would be much less likely to feel a need to satisfy your sexual urges.

          • http://imperfectfornow.blogspot.com/ Mackman

            Why is it assumed that “natural” is a good thing? Why do people always assume that?

            It’s natural to punch someone when they anger you. It’s natural to not help those weaker than you (survival of the fittest, baby!). It’s natural to fulfill your desires without regard for the desires and needs of others.

            All of that is natural. Is all of that good?

          • Chuck

            Does that mean you should assume things that are natural are NOT good? Are you saying there is something wrong with homosexuality?

            Something that is natural isn’t always good, but we were having a discussion on whether or not the main purpose of sex is to procreate, and she was saying that homosexuality isn’t natural because it doesn’t produce children.

          • http://imperfectfornow.blogspot.com/ Mackman

            You said that “fulfilling your sexual urges is completely natural.” That’s very true. It is natural to fulfill our urges. That doesn’t mean it’s morally good.

            You somehow manage to get from the fact “I want to fulfill this sexual urge” to the moral statement “it is morally right for me to fulfill this sexual urge, and nobody can tell me otherwise, because it’s natural.” I was just pointing out the enormous gap in between the two ideas.

          • Chuck

            I think you ignoring a lot of my reasoning, which is spread here and there throughout this entire long-winded comment tree that I’ve been talking on far too long.

            I never jumped from I want to fulfill this sexual urge to it is morally right to fulfill this sexual urge because it is natural. You are assuming things because you didn’t read everything (which I don’t blame you for because it’s long, but I would appreciate it if you didn’t assume things).

            That homosexuality occurs in nature is simply me arguing a single aspect of one part of a discussion about whether or not sexual relations were solely for procreation.

            The moral part of my argument comes from the fact that the love shared between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples are the same, while heterosexual couples are allowed to be open about their relationships and even celebrate them in the community, while homosexual relationships are expected to be hidden in the shadows and are regarded as shameful and sinful.

            Why? Homosexual relationships harm no one. Arguably the quality of a homosexual relationship between two monogamous mates can be equal or greater to the quality of any heterosexual marriage. Homosexuals fulfill an important role because they do NOT reproduce which is more of a virtue these days than creating MORE children, and may even adopt children. It is better for homosexuals to be monogamous but are shunned from the church and aren’t encouraged to be monogamous by the church, and instead expected to be completely abstinent for their entire lives and unable to consort with the people they love.

            This is the basis for my moral argument. I believe any relationship between consenting adults that generates real love and causes no harm to anyone is simply good. And I feel that to deny these people the institution of monogamy and acceptance into the church is WRONG and discriminatory.

            So I hope I somewhat clarified my thinking on the issue for you. I’m sorry if its still a bit muddled. It’s late.

          • Skorlan

            You can consort with a person without having sex with him or her. One can have a relationship with another adult that generates real love without sex. Sex is both unitive and procreative. Leaving out either side of that equation is an abuse of sex.

          • ADinks

            “Sex is both unitive and procreative. Leaving out either side of that equation is an abuse of sex.” For starters, that is not a fact. That is merely your opinion, and one that stems from indoctrinated beliefs. It is also one that lacks any objective knowledge of human psychology, sexual health, and any views on the matter other than one (likely catholic, as opposed to exploring it from any and all possible viewpoints – to not do so is purely arrogant and stunting your own intellectuality). In short, this is by far one of the most ignorant statements I have ever read on the topic of sexual health. I think I have to leave before any of your other replies cause my brain’s cells to atrophy.

          • ADinks


            You said that “fulfilling your sexual urges is completely natural.” That’s very true. It is natural to fulfill our urges. That doesn’t mean it’s morally good.’

            Fair enough. Care to prove how sex for any other reason other than to pop out babies with a spouse — EVER — is morally bad? I want a universal, societal, measurable reason. Not something you read in a book or were told by someone else. Real evidence. And not “it ever had a bad outcome ever, so it’s bad entirely” kind of evidence. More like “it never leads to good outcomes ever” kind of evidence.

            I suspect I’ll be waiting for a long time.

          • http://imperfectfornow.blogspot.com/ Mackman

            First off, i’m not Catholic, meaning I don’t agree with the “procreation only” aspect of sex that they hold to.

            Second: how are you using “morally bad”? How are you arriving at such a concept? What proof can you offer that anything–be it murder, rape, theft, etc.–is morally bad?

          • ADinks

            ‘Why is it assumed that “natural” is a good thing? Why do people always assume that?’ Why not? Anyone who assumes that doing what is natural is a good thing are just using common sense. How the heck can doing something completely unnatural be good? Defying nature isn’t easy, so that makes it righteous? Okaaaaaay. God created the universe. God created natural order. God created biology and made our bodies the way they are. If having sex is natural, then God condones it. To not do so would make him either a hypocrite, an evil mad scientist who thinks of us as rats in a maze, or a bit of a sadist. And your example is fallacious and almost bitter. It’s entirely possible for intelligent humans to weigh each scenario you described. Also, having sex naturally is NOT a matter of “fulfilling your desires without regard for anyone else.” That’s a very myopic way of viewing it.

          • http://imperfectfornow.blogspot.com/ Mackman


            And your example is fallacious and almost bitter. It’s entirely possible for intelligent humans to weigh each scenario you described. ”

            But if a natural act is intrinsically good, there’d be no need to weigh anything. If you have to weigh “natural” actions to determine if they’re good or not, then the rightness of the act has nothing to do with whether it’s natural or not.

            Also, the doctrine of the Fall dictates that we use two definitions of natural. “Natural” as in the original state of creation, and “natural” as in the state of creation after the fall (which is where we are now). An easy example is selfishness, which is an entirely natural (post-fall) state of being, but is not good or right. God created lots of things, most of which were meant to be used for good but can also be used for evil.

            Sex, like pretty much everything, is good in some instances and bad in others. Are you seriously saying that everything that is “natural” is always good all the time?

          • ADinks

            Someone needs to take the cup of stupid juice away from this guy.

          • momofthree

            “because fulfilling your sexual urges is completely natural ” If you mean natural to mean “good” then tHis is just not always true at all. Forgetting for a moment all the clearly bizarre sexual urges (pedophila, zoophilia etc) my sis in law recently told me about her friend who had divorced his wife and was carrying on multiple open sexual relationships at once with much younger women (he is wealthy) after he went to some Buddhist/New Age center and “found out what he really wanted in life”. I rolled my eyes and replied, “So, he had to go study at this center and pay them some money to realize the totally novel idea that wealthy men have urges to have lots of sex with lots of pretty young women with no strings attached? ” Yep…completely natural.

          • Chuck

            Why do people always compare homosexuality with zoophilia or pedophilia? Both of these things involve sexually abusing those who cannot give consent, either because they simply can’t or they are not mature enough to decide for themselves.

            Homosexuality is real love between two consenting adults that harms no one except by offending your personal sensibilities.

            It’s not a matter of controlling ones sexual urges. It would be like if I had a religion that said that heterosexual relationships are disgusting, and you should be forced to be celibate and never engage in sexual interactions with another heterosexual person or pretend to be gay and create a gay family.

            Did you consciously choose to be heterosexual? I don’t think you did.

          • Zepol Aaron

            Homosexuality is not real love between two consenting adults. It’s simply attraction to the same sex. Mutual consent can exist.

            Pedophilia is not sexual abuse. It’s simply the attraction to prepubescent children. Mutual consent is possible in a sexual relationship between an adult and a child. There are already university papers from social scientists supporting this.

            Zoophilia is not sexual abuse. It’s simply the attraction to animals. A bit more difficult to define consensual relationship, though zoophiles argue that their animal partner can enjoy a sexual act without fully comprehending it.

            -

            The reason we Catholics group all non-heterosexual acts together is simply because they’re not ethical, and do not fulfill a teleological cause. The only teleologically fulfilling sexual union (and therefore ethical), is the relationship between a man and woman in a monogamous marriage.

            Everything else is simply blinded by worldly desire, and because of their nature, fail to properly fulfill the needs of a human being.

          • Chuck

            I would argue that mutual consent is NOT possible in the case of children and of animals. A child may agree, but a child is not mentally developed enough to be capable of making these decisions on their own. That’s the whole reason we have an age of consent. In zoophilia, there is no way to confirm mutual consent.

            Homosexuality in general, yes, is a sexual attraction, but real love can be fostered in these relationships that are identical to heterosexual meaningful relationships. (In general heterosexuality is just a sexual attraction as well.)

            Homosexuality is not ethical in YOUR viewpoint, and we’ve already argued its teleological aspect (it does occur in nature and does have an end of fostering relationships, and possibly raising adopted children).

            In general teleology isn’t accepted in biological or scientific audiences anyway, and I would argue that it doesn’t NEED to be applied to ethics either.

          • Chuck

            In addition, another teleological aspect of homosexuality: in studies, scientists found that homosexuality is highly correlated with overpopulation. The prevailing opinion is that it acts as a mechanism to return species to its carrying capacity.

          • momofthree

            can you show the documents supporting this? I have not seen them. Thanks.

          • Chuck

            It’s getting pretty narrow here… I am still looking for the original research, but for now I’m just finding a lot of news articles and discussions referencing a “study done on rats”. I will repost once I find the original research if it is available on the internet. Here is one such article.

            http://www.edenfantasys.com/sexis/sex-and-society/homosexuality-next-stage-evolution-0613111/

        • Chuck

          Edit: Just because I quote scripture doesn’t mean I’m good at it. Paul said this.

    • Skorlan

      I’m a single straight person and called to chastity too. And I will say that the love I feel from Jesus is so strong that I can understand Bernini’s sculpture of St. Teresa of Avila from the inside. I’ll take that over sex any day of the week.

  • Jay E.

    It always interests me how threatened internet atheists are by evangelization and the daring suggestion that what you believe might actually be right. Imagine the arrogance – actually thinking what you believe is the truth! Then telling other people about it! Definitely one of the more directly stupid legacies of relativism…

    • Noone

      Of course we are threatened by Christian evangelization. This world needs more rationality, not less of it.

      And it is indeed arrogant to think that you believe is the truth when you have no evidence for it.

      • of little consequence

        “And it is indeed arrogant to think that you believe is the truth when you have no evidence for it.”

        Unintentional irony, thy name is internet atheism.

      • msmischief

        More rationality? Then less atheism. Too many atheists are Rationalist who obviously believe that Reason is far too sacred to be — gasp — used.

        • jack

          hahahahahahhahahahahahaahhaahah what?
          Christian’s believe in a talking snake, that a women was made from a rib, that there was a flood that killed all life on earth and that one boat carried all the species on the earth, that water turned into wine, that a man walked on water, rose from the dead, and countless other crazy claims. You have witnessed nothing in your lifetime similar to these events. Just because you read it in a book does not make it true. That is why you need faith because there is a lack of reason, logic and evidence.

    • Guest

      I just get tired of being stopped in public to talk about what I believe. I am perfectly content with that I believe, and I just see your beliefs as a bunch of rambling on about things you never think critically about.

      • msmischief

        That’s funny. I’ve never been stopped in public to talk about what I believe.

  • Elmtree01

    It amazes me how easily people become the very thing they hate. The judgmentalness and narrowmindedness and downright illogic of the cartoons seems to show the author as just as narrow minded as those he opposes. But I guess that’s a trap humans frequently fall into- becoming what they hate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=610262023 Courtney Kirchoff

    Thanks for responding to this. I used to be such a fan of the Oatmeal, finding his comics to be quite humorous even if sometimes crude. Now, however, it appears Mr. Inman has sunk into the unoriginal attacks on people of faith. No one could’ve answered to his cliched approach to religion better than you, Sir Marc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Hegyi/1147657543 Mike Hegyi

    “Blah blah blah. Secular world is so bad. Religion so good. We’re not as bad as they make us out to be. Blah blah blah”

    Whatever good you can do with religion, you can do as a secular person. Religion specifically calls for murder in many places, especially in the first half of the bible. Secular Humanism never does. So the net effect of religion is bad. Whine and complain all you want, basing your beliefs on superstition and lack of reason, combined with the fact that if the Oatmeal made this little gift to the world a few hundred years ago, or today in the Middle East, they would have been murdered, and you’ve got a very negative aspect of the human race, like a tumor. And like a tumor, it should be removed ASAP with the knife of critical thinking.

    • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

      A bit of self-awareness might be called for, or at least a self-application of your magic knife.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674332165 Mark Toffler

      Man, you’re dumb. Secular humanism never calls for murder?

      • Sophos

        Secular humanism does not call for murder.

        • musiciangirl591

          • Richard J Leyba

            could you perhaps provide an example in which Secular Humanism calls for murder?

          • musiciangirl591

            abortion? euthanasia?

          • Sophos

            Secular humanism does not necessarily coincide with those.
            Nor do they necessarily constitute murder.

            Though if you define your terms such that your conclusion is contained within your definition, then your argument will be flawless (as circles always are).

          • Sophos

            It should be noted that the Catholic Church will permit abortive surgery in the case that both the child and mother are at risk of death. Such as with the case of ectopic pregnancy.

            The Catholic Church also approves of euthanasia when a patient rejects medical treatment of their own will, even if the choice will result in death.

          • musiciangirl591

            actually no, i went to Catholic school for 11 years, (get that A LONG TIME), the Church does not approve of euthanasia, but there is a difference between ordinary and extraordinary means, ordinary is food, water, things to sustain life, extraordinary is anything not needed for life, if it comes to the point where the ordinary means are too expensive, painful, etc, they can be removed, but to say that the Church approves of euthanasia is a horrible lie

          • Skorlan

            In the case of ectopic pregnancy one is attempting to save the mother, not to kill the unborn child. That is an unintended consequence of the act and would be avoided if that were possible. Therefore it is not abortion, which intends the death of the child. Go look up the Church’s teachings on double effects.

          • Richard J Leyba

            abortion and euthanasia are both not exclusive to Secular Humanism or a necessary component to Secular Humanism. they are also not directly caused by a belief in Secular Humanism nor are they considered the eventual outcome of Secular Humanism.

            do you have any other examples?

    • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

      Also, one might ask what your definition of “murder” is. If it is the unjustified killing of another human, then I would like to know your criteria for judging God to be unjust in the OT. Especially when one of the commandments that God gives to his followers is Thou Shalt Not Kill (better translated Murder).

      This is a Catholic blog. The Catholic Church teaches Murder is a mortal sin. You and the Church are in agreement on that point.

      Also, I accept that secular humanism never calls for murder. But it also fails to present a compelling reason for such a judgment.

      • Noone

        You’re basically saying that it’s fine to kill millions of people, as long as you can justify it.

        I’m sure that most murderers think that they are justified to kill as well.

        • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

          I didn’t basically say that. You’re basically assuming that one should judge God on the same plane as one judges men, which isn’t possible due to their completely different and unequal states of being (viz., creator vs created).

          If the killing is justified, however, then it’s fine. Emphasis on justified. I think the way you used it was to mean “rationalized away”, which is something different. I’m justified to kill a mugger who threatens lethal force against me, for instance.

      • Glasofruix

        Then your god is a sinfull little bastard who deserves to burn in hell.

        • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

          Yeah, you’re right, if you were to assume that God is on the same existential plane as us. Except He isn’t. If God is commanding the killing of people, it should be assumed that they deserve it. The Bible operates under the premise that God, being God, is perfectly just. Whatever actions he undertakes will be just too.

          That premise, btw, is necessary if God is to be God. See Anselm (Proslogion) or Aquinas on that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

      Are you interested at all in the way the Church reads the Bible? Our philosophical and theological tradition? You don’t have to be. However, you look foolish when you simply ignore what the Church actually says. Kind of like plugging your ears and screaming “I CAN’T HEAR YOU! HEY GUYS, LOOK HOW UNREASONABLE THEY ARE”

      • jack

        well the Westboro Baptist Church agrees with you…

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

          You are ignorant of both the Catholic Church and the Westboro Baptists. Our beliefs are different on most subjects, AND they believe Catholics are hellbound.

          Of course, if you were interested in the Church’s Tradition, interpretation of scripture, theology, and philosophy…or if you took five seconds to read a “you’re going to hell” list from those heretics, you’d probably know that already.

          But, by all means, continue to show the amazing reason of new atheism by comparing me to someone you’re against and assuming my beliefs are the same. Perhaps you’d like to use a stupid American to show my stupidity? Or maybe a violent gamer to show I’m a murderer-in-the-making?

          • jack

            haha you took my point wrong man. I guess I could of elaborated. Any church can interpret the Bible any way they want to. The WBC makes completely unreasonable claims about what the Bible means and obviously Catholics make the Bible sound a lot better than the WBC. But there are so many interpretations of the Bible through so many types of Christianity it is ridiculous to expect me to know all of these. My criticism’s come from the Bible because that is what your faith is based on as a whole.

            The point was different churches read the Bible differently.

          • Skorlan

            No, the Catholic Church is not based on the Bible. The books of the New Testament were selected by the Catholic Church. These books were written by members of the Catholic Church. The Old Testament used by the Catholic Church is most of the Septuagint, with a few books and a Psalm omitted because Jerome who translated them into Latin thought they didn’t belong.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            So, when you said WBC agrees with me, you meant they disagree? ;)

          • jack

            precisely. They agree that they can read the Bible however they feel best. Catholic’s leave out a lot of the Old Testament and it seems WBC leaves out a lot of the new (the best part in my opinion).

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            No, we don’t. We interpret the Old Testament differently, but…*if you were interested in the Church’s Tradition, interpretation of scripture, theology, and philosophy, you’d probably already know that.*

            (Think I’ve said that enough yet?)

    • enness

      What a stunning summary of Marc’s response — one of the finest exemplars I’ve seen of the internet phenomenon known as “pretending to read.” I forget who I am borrowing this from (someone who put it more eloquently, no doubt), but it’s like trying to have a conversation with someone who only tolerates another person speaking until the next breath and then shoves in some egocentric non-sequitur to illustrate that it was really always about them.

      “Whatever good you can do with religion, you can do as a secular person.”

      Nope. If you think there is any basis for the idea of inherent human dignity or the lofty notion that all men are created equal (which, if you look around you, is really a pretty revolutionary thing to believe) if you believe we’re just animals with large brains spinning aimlessly through the nothingness on a rock just like billions of other ones, you’re kidding yourself. Really.

      • jack

        “if you believe we’re just animals with large brains spinning aimlessly through the nothingness on a rock just like billions of other ones, you’re kidding yourself. Really.”

        We are animals: Check
        We have larger than average brains: Check
        We are spinning aimlessly: X (We orbit the sun)
        We are surrounded by nothingness: Check (if by nothingness you mean space)
        We live on a rock like billions of other ones: Check

        What you just described is reality and also fact, and if you believe it you have probably been through elementary school science.

        “Nope. If you think there is any basis for the idea of inherent human dignity or the lofty notion that all men are created equal (which, if you look around you, is really a pretty revolutionary thing to believe)”

        The bible is a proponent of slavery, and also that women are lesser than men. It also seems many people on this board think of gays as less than regular human beings. Christianity, as well as many other religions, has been a hotbed for intolerance and hate. If you truly believe that if you are not a Christian, you cannot do good in the world, then you are truly lost.

        • Skorlan

          If we live on a rock like billions of others, one would expect to find life on those others. One doesn’t, and therefore there is something different about this rock. Aimlessly implies no motivation, but there is certainly no proof that there is NOT a God and that therefore there is no purpose in our orbits.

          The Bible allows slavery but isn’t a proponent of it any more than it is a proponent of divorce. The New Testament doesn’t show women as lesser than men. Genesis shows woman coming from the side of man, which makes the point about the two being complementary.

          • jack

            I know man, but doesn’t it seem as we progress as human beings religions are forced to nitpick more and more out of their documents in order for that religion not to collapse upon itself. If the Bible was truly God’s word and God was truly righteous, then you wouldn’t have to defend it. Why would a righteous God allow slavery? Unless the book is not the word of God and instead the word of man. Also a women being created from a rib of a man paints a women in a lesser light than the man.

            “If we live on a rock like billions of others, one would expect to find life on those others. One doesn’t, and therefore there is something different about this rock.”

            Interesting point, there is something different about this rock. It has all the specifications to hold life. We have not yet found a planet as livable as earth. Except for 1. We have seen about 1.25% of what we think are the range parameters of the universe and we have already found a planet that has “habitable” conditions.
            http://news.cnet.com/8301-19514_3-57337039-239/earth-like-planet-found-in-distant-suns-habitable-zone/

            We have barely explore any of the universe and we have a scientist that says he is 99.9% sure there is living bacteria in our own solar system, on mars. But we will find out for sure in 20 years. There is evidence that points to life on other planets. We are not the center of the universe, we are not the center of our galaxy, we are not the center of our solar system, we are not special. We are in the boondocks and probability tells us that we are likely not alone.

            And you are right, there is no proof there is not a god. One day I believe we will find out enough about the universe to be sure there is not a god, but not in my lifetime. It is the reason I am agnostic and not atheist. But if there is a god, there is much more evidence that points to a deistic creator than any worshiped in religion.

    • John

      First post on this site? What an impression! You sir, are one educated fellow. /sarcasm

      • jack

        haha man you have really given nothing to this discussion. Everyone of your post is just a snide little comment.

  • Gurthgrimstone

    “While my religion makes me happy (sometimes) and inspires me to help others (if I let it), and absolutely gives some explanation as to my existence on this dear rock, so does Oprah.”

    LOOOOL, Marc you’re the best..

  • Peaslepuff

    I think you’re being highly oversensitive in regards to a webcomic posted on a humor site. He wasn’t saying all religion is bad – in fact, he even makes a point of clarifying that.

    • Romulus

      He wasn’t saying all religion is bad

      Indeed not. In fact, he says that radical self-deception at one’s existential heart is just A-OK, so long as it helps one cope. All being proposed as the voice of principled reason. Unintentional irony — on multiple levels — must be the specialized idiom of atheist comedians.

      • Sophos

        There’s a reason why Tim Hawkins is the only Christian comedian that I enjoy.

        • Romulus

          Comedy being a narrative of conflict and chaos resolving into harmony and fruitful order, the mystery is that atheists should find it enjoyable at all.

          More of that unintentional irony.

          • Sophos

            Comedy is about wandering into the darkness, and then laughing at it.

          • Romulus

            Sorry, no. There’s nothing funny about darkness.

          • Lulz

            unless it’s a racist joke. amirite?

    • HungryCatholic

      Yes. Your snarky replies to nearly every single comment on this thread is not being overly sensitive. I’m not saying all oversensitive atheists are bad, though

    • enness

      Of course he didn’t say all religion is bad! It just happens that the only “good” religion perfectly coincides with his biases about how it ought to be done.

  • Another Michael H

    Furthermore, I’d argue that if your religion/indispensable-cosmological-system doesn’t make you feel crappy from time to time, you:

    1. Have a hormone imbalance.
    2. Are pretty darn near perfect.
    3. Have a pretty pathetic cosmological system.
    4. Define “perfection” as “me at present.”

  • lzhpke13

    Something interesting to share; my brother and I were raised Lutheran. I am not seriously religious, not would I quite say I’m agnostic or atheist. I call myself religiously neutral. My brother however, defines himself as atheist. However, he has told me and my parents that despite this, he will still absolutely have his children baptized and raise in the Lutheran church. I thought this was a good but odd decision given his beliefs so I asked him why; he told me part of it was that he still thought it was important for his kids to have a religious identification growing up given that the rest of our family does and that most kids do. The bigger part though was that he thought they couldn’t properly decide on their own beliefs without being exposed to a religion, and he will stick with the Lutheran church because they teach people to make their own decisions, and he respects that. I agree with his point; not exposing your kids to religion because you don’t believe in God doesn’t mean you are letting them make their own decision, it means you want them to make your decision. The same goes for anyone who takes their child to church, temple, etc and says you MUST believe this religion because we are right and you have no choice.

    • jack

      then he should also expose them to Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Then his logic will make sense.

      • lzhpke13

        My guess is that he will- he’s an Archaeologist and aspiring professor and loves history and different religions and cultures, etc- so it seems likely that he would. My comment was about raising them with a religion. He’s not going to take them from religious institution to religious institution over the weekend- given that kids want to do other things like see their friends and need to do homework, they would probably end up resenting that. But I had something to this effect in my original post then cut it because it looked too long. This my issue with the internet; you explain yourself properly in one swoop and someone complains “ugh your post is too long and boring” but when you edit your content to the real point and context someone finds fault with your logic and you have to explain your self anyway. There is no winning with the internet…

        • jack

          You could have just said he will haha.

  • Tim Fischer

    I kinda stopped reading with any interest once the writer compared the act of committing murder with the abstract idea of an afterlife. “Belief” might not be the correct term to apply. “Not believing” in murder is about the same as “not believing” that the ocean is pink. Ex. Question: Is the ocean pink? Answer: I do not believe so. Murder is a physical act which results in the death of another living person/animal. The afterlife is an abstract concept which can not be defined in any way, shape or form, other than speculation, usually in the form of mythological stories. Also, The Oatmeal isn’t a church or religion and has never put forth the proposition that all of us should be nonjudgemental. So, The Oatmeal can be as judgmental as it wants to be, without being hypocritical.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

      You kind of missed the point. Marc was using the example of “Is murder unjust?” Well, justice is not something that can be observed through the senses. It is a question about the objectivity of morality and ethics using an example that is commonly seen as unethical.

      • Richard J Leyba

        justice can be observed via empathy and understanding that human beings are composed of the same sensations and feelings of hope, fear, love, anger, confusion, hate, joy, and passion, along with all those other neat human things. to understand that a person is like me, capable of my hurts and dreams, and that my hurts and dreams are dependent on other people agreeing that I am worth a reduction in hurt and a promotion of dreams, I can do the same and assign worth to another human being. this does not require an objective morality or a God or gods.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

          Uh huh. Murder…just or unjust? Why?

          • Richard J Leyba

            unjust, because I am afraid that I or others I love will be murdered, and wish to do what I can to protect the life of myself and my loved ones via cooperation in action and policy with like minded human beings who don’t want to be murdered. collectively, we represent a group of people dedicated to not being murdered. we are called society.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            So it’s unjust because society says so?

          • Richard J Leyba

            well, society has the means of enforcing said belief. in other situations without social cohesion or justice systems, some consider it okay to murder other people when they have more resources/women/cover, and they do, and it sucks for the person with has everything but a machete. in those cases, the concept that murder is wrong is not enforced, and there isn’t terribly much of a society that can produce other nonmurdery things like art and hierarchy and roads, so you don’t see them often.

            I, like all organisms, am interested in survival. I believe society forms for the purpose of protecting the individuals inside of it, and most individuals do not want to be murdered, so generally not murdering eachother is one of the first laws we write down, and then other laws conducive to not dying arbitrarily like property rights and then stuff like contract law and all that are written after.

            this process is not dependent on a God or gods and may not even be objectively “true”, in the “true” sense that all murder is wrong, even if no human beings existed in the universe. however, this process seems to exist either way. society may change its definition of what should and should not be done, but everything seems to be in the interests of the group (or members of the group) to not die arbitrarily.

          • Richard J Leyba

            in fact, the neat thing about murder is that we can all agree it sucks, regardless of faith, belief, practice, physical type, gender, or status. it is a pretty concrete beginning to social cohesion, which does not seem to require an explanation. of course, anyone can say “murder is not wrong”, and even believe it in their hearts that its okay to crush a nerds face in because he has a cooler blanket, but people involved with those kinds of systems eventually form weaker societies and die out. neat!

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            But you have already agreed that murder is unjust. Is it still unjust if societal conventions do not define it as unjust?

          • Richard J Leyba

            if societal conventions do not view murder as unjust, you will have a terribly short societal convention.

            I could say murder is universally unjust, but what I would be saying is that believing that murder is unjust is a necessary requirement for social cohesion, and it may lead me to a Socratic trap which says that morality is universal, which doesn’t make any sense to me.

            I could also say murder is only unjust because a group of people have agreed to it, and I suppose I would agree on that with something like marijuana laws (something that is unjust only because it is a law that it is unjust). but murder itself, the very primal fear of death not viewed from a rational perspective, but a deep and private, inherent fear we can all appreciate as “bad”, is an important and necessary part of anyone’s individual makeup (we have mostly killed off the “freethinkers” through history who are not born with undeniable moral imperatives, as they try to murder us a lot). it can be banked on, and can be expected in some form, but I don’t think I can say it is not independent from groups enforcing the belief, although the belief does not come from the group, but the individual.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            Hoping this can be read (this is not a good combox format for conversations). It seems you’re having trouble deciding if something as simple as “murder is unjust” is true while claiming that justice can be observed easily and doesn’t rely on objective ethics.

            If one man murders another, has he acted unjustly? Is this because society says so? Why must we agree with society? Is it because the murdered man would have said so? What makes his voice more important than the murderer’s? Is it because this is a universal truth? How can morality be objective only when most of us agree and subjective the rest of the time?

          • Richard J Leyba

            well, “murder is unjust” is definitely a belief I believe, but don’t have that tied to really any objective source beyond my own fear of being murdered and my realization everyone I know hated the idea of being murdered too. lets answer questions.

            Yes.

            No, but society is made up of individuals who all agree it is murder and pay taxes to pay cops to enforce the belief.

            we do not have to agree with society. we have the option of not agreeing, and if we can surmount our own restrictions (some don’t have any), we will find cops, and institutions more than likely in our future. there is no guarantee on this either.

            the murdered man is irrelevant, because under law we decide both men are equal in the eyes of the law.

            in a society that says murder is wrong among
            equal citizens, his voice and want and will is irrelevant to his culpability under the law.

            I do not understand the last question.

          • jack

            murder and all of the ten commandments were laws in societies before the bible was even written.

          • Glasofruix

            Would you like to be murdered? No? The murder is unjust. The vast majority of “morals” brought by the bible was already defined and used many many years before.

          • msmischief

            so what you are saying is that my personal likes and dislikes determine the truth.

            However, you neglect to note that if I don’t want to be murdered, it doesn’t follow that I object to, or even don’t want, you to be murdered. So your conclusion doesn’t follow.

          • jack

            basically what he is saying is the bible did not bring about morals. They are embedded in our human nature. Otherwise you would have gone to jail for eating bacon whenever you last ate bacon lol.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

            While I thank you for choosing me as the source of all justice, I must decline. While I do not like boredom, I do not wish to declare that it is unjust to not entertain me. ;)

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      No, murder is determined by a jury of twelve men and women and depends on their judgment of the mens rea of the accused. Not every killing is a murder. It has nothing to do, e.g., with the killing of an animal.

  • ThinkCritically

    I got too pissed off to read beyond his “stem cell” section. He tries to prove that adult stem cell research is the place to continue our research b/c we’ve already found cures there, and that we shouldn’t investigate embryonic stem cells because we haven’t found cures there yet. OK, sure that’s factually accurate. But…. we’ve invested billions upon billions of dollars into asc research, and barely put a cent (comparatively) into esc research b/c of the “moral” issues associated with it. However, it is widely accepted by the scientific community that esc’s offer a huge improvement over asc’s with respect to their ability to cure diseases.

    also, keep in mind, asc’s have been extensively researched for nearly half a century. esc’s were discovered barely a decade ago.

    I can provide citations for all of this, if needed.

    • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

      When the “moral” issue resolves to whether ESCR involves the “killing” of “human” “lives” in the interest of “Science”, it ought to be considered a bit more “important” than the “scare quotes” make it appear.

    • musiciangirl591

      umbilical cord blood works better than embryonic stem cells, just saying

    • enness

      Just out of curiosity, what is it you think they maybe, might do that ASCs (or possibly IPSCs) aren’t doing already?

  • http://www.youtube.com/thebigjb Thebigjb

    Very well written! The only thing I felt like expanding on is the role of the parent in teaching what they believe. You covered it pretty well, but that particular segment of the comic drove me crazy while reminding me of a conversation I had with someone about “contaminating” my children with only one set of beliefs.

    Sorry, but don’t we do that all the time?? No, thank you, I will raise my children the way I believe to be correct and with the *beliefs* I feel are correct yet will remain open minded and available enough to discuss doubts, concerns, and questions when they arise. And do so without being afraid that I’m going to “lose” my child.

    • enness

      Right: it is exactly as controversial as eating broccoli or taking a bath, which children have..uh…been known to resist. :)

      It is naive to think that by teaching them nothing, they remain a blank slate. The rest of the world will be all too happy to fill in. A choice for one thing is necessarily a choice against the other, and vice-versa; inaction is a decision, and a virtual guarantee, that your child will be informed by everyone except you.

    • Lulz

      and so will the terrorist in the middle east who obviously knows what is best for his child.

  • Guest

    As an addendum, hopefully not one already mentioned, Copernicus was a Jesuit priest.

    • musiciangirl591

      Louie Pasteur prayed the Rosary everyday before work, Gregor Mendel (the father of genetics) was a monk, Darwin was an ordained minister, there’s prob more but thats all i can think of off the top of my head :P

      • Noone

        Mendel was a terrible monk, and did it only because he wanted to be left alone to grow plants. There weren’t any universities back then.

        Charles Darwin was not an ordained minister – where did you get that from?

        • HaileyGallo

          Haha, Darwin became and atheist after his daughter, Annie, died. His protege coined the term “Agnostic” and was INCREDIBLY outspoken about it. LoL. People and their declaration…. Next, someone is going to mention Darwin’s “deathbed confession” that never happened…

          • musiciangirl591

            ok…

        • musiciangirl591

          my biology class (at a very secular university!)

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          Mendel was a perfectly fine monk. His research on plants was funded by the monastery as part of a long-standing commitment to agricultural research. (Interestingly, he did not want to do biology. His training was in physics, but he was obedient to his Order. His physics background may be why he devised rigorous experiments, previously unknown in biology.)

          Mendel did his work in the mid-to-late 1800s. You cannot possibly suppose that there “weren’t any universities back then.” Not even an atheist could believe such nonsense. There were universities thick as flies in the Middle Ages, let alone the Victorian Age. The university of Paris dates to the 1200s. Bologna to 1088. Salerno to the 11th or 12 cent. Oxford and Cambridge to the early 1200s. There were more than 80 such institutions by the end of the Middle Ages: self-governing, incorporated, with standard curricula, degrees of attainment, ius ubique docendi, and even funny hats. Their curriculum was entirely devoted to logic, reason, and natural philosophy. (You could not “major” in history or literature, let alone basket weaving or “studies.”) This body of knowledge had to be mastered before matriculating in the doctoral programs of theology, law, or medicine. You will note that this means every medieval theologian was first rigorously trained in natural philosophy.

          Why do people who claim to champion reason show so little skill in using it? Or reduce themselves to making up facts instead of using actual ones?

          You are correct that Chuck was not an ordained minister. He had considered becoming a clergyman and read extensively (including Paley’s book, which he admired as being “as elegant as Euclid”), but in the end was too indolent to pursue the matter.

          In addition, FYI, Copernicus was not a Jesuit priest. He was a canon of the cathedral chapter at Warmia and was once short-listed for the bishop’s chair.

  • http://twitter.com/jakeslaw John Jakubczyk

    The fellow is trying to convince himself and that is why he is yelling so loud through his cartoons. He is angry at God, something typical with self styled atheists. That he is upset with people who merely seek the truth is because such people threaten his personal world view. He is to be pitied and considered in one’s prayers. By the way, his arguments (to use his word) suck.

    • Guest

      It’s a joke. Not an argument. Why do these rebuttals always go after non-serious forms of criticism? Is everyone afraid to do more than take pot-shots at those who oppose them?

      • anon y. mouse

        Because the authors of these rebuttals realize that couching things as a joke is just a not-so-clever way to try to avoid criticism.

        Plus, if this comic was a joke, it was a bad one.

      • John

        Pot shots? Tell that Inman first. He’s quite the courageous soul to create such a comic.

      • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

        If it was a joke, I missed the punch line.

        • Lulz

          hahahahahahahahahaha. It’s funny because the punchline is your beliefs.

    • Doopa

      He yells in all his cartoons. It’s his style, and it’s quite a successful one.

    • jack

      He is probably frustrated with all the intolerance and hate that Christianity forces upon America. If Christians really did try to be like Jesus then no one would care. But instead they force feed their children information, condemn gays, and ignore science in place of their beliefs. And it is frustrating because people do all these horrible things for the sake of a god that I don’t believe even exists.

  • Goblin Lord

    I agree with some of your rebuttals here, as the comic does overstate its case. But there are a few problems with your criticisms, too:

    “Matthew Inman of the marvelous web-comic, The Oatmeal, seems to have experienced that exquisite twitch all modern atheists are doomed to experience — the I-know-what’s-best-for-you-silly-religious-people-come-heed-me spasm. This particular train of thought requires the thinker ignore the vast majority of Christian belief — which is entrenched in reason — and focus solely on minority caricatures of the creationist or the wailing-out evangelical, caricatures firmly established and grounded in The Holy Internet Worldview.”

    There is nothing “fringe” about the creationist and evangelical worldviews in America. For instance, prevalence estimates for creationist beliefs in America are still very high (though they have declined slightly, iirc):
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/145286/Four-Americans-Believe-Strict-Creationism.aspx
    Just because *your* religious beliefs are grounded in good reason and science doesn’t mean those of all believers are. You come off as overly defensive here, as I doubt Inman would even have much of a problem with your variety of religion. I should also note that not “all modern atheists” experience this twitch – I know I would have stopped reading you a long time ago if I did. You’re not being particularly fair with that generalization.

    And for the record, I very much agree that religious people shouldn’t be keeping their beliefs to themselves. The way for people with conflicting worldviews to coexist isn’t to hide their thoughts away. I kind of wish we’d all get thicker skins and be able to discuss religion and philosophy more freely. There’s nothing wrong with being offended every once in awhile.

    • Jen

      His strawman is a bishop and he says Catholic Church. That is very much our “variety.”

  • enness

    This comic managed to top yesterday’s Most Ignorant Thing I’ve Ever Seen. That’s a feat that should be accompanied by some sort of award.

    • John

      I must admit, I do like the style of it. I’m a nerd for different fonts and comics.

      >> Most Ignorant Thing I’ve Ever Seen.

      Inman probably gets most of his knowledge from the internet. So, in his mind he’s very “educated.”

  • Ariel M

    What a WONDERFUL article. Thanks Marc!! Keep it up!! God bless you and this extremely dark, cynical oatmeal writer. He needs our prayers to understand the Church and all its truth and beauty.

  • Jg92

    I think you’ve started a war you can’t win, see the charles carreon incident

    • JoAnna

      How is writing a rebuttal blog post a “war”?

    • John

      Does this site attract posters who aren’t regular visitors . . . like they have one or two posts, and most likely it’s by atheists or agnostics. Are you starving for attention or something?

      • HaileyGallo

        Haha, are you the post police now? “Your post gets no credibility because I don’t see you obsessively posting on other articles like me!” Haha, get a life

        • John

          Don’t worry, I just discovered this site and I post on other sites that deal with non-religious stuff. I’ll be back to read other articles.

          >> “Your post gets no credibility because I don’t see you obsessively posting on other articles like me!”

          LOL where did I say the post gets no credibility?

          >> Haha, get a life

          Sorry Hailey if I grow suspicious of these trolls and I question their reason for being here.

  • Plaidy

    I’m willing to bet embryonic stem cells have achieved greater advances in medicine than prayer. Oh logical fallacy because I’m comparing things that aren’t alike. MY BAD. I thought it was okay because a satirical webcomic was equal to atheist propaganda.

    Thank you Theoatmeal for raising over $200k for charity.

    • musiciangirl591

      umbilical cord blood works better the embryonic stem cells

      • Glasofruix

        Yet. Because embryonic stem cell research is at halt

        • msmischief

          Yes. Because ESCR was pouring money down the drain. So some bigoted fools thought it would be actually better to spend it on stuff that got results.

  • Chuck

    “1. That this is the only event in 2000 years of Church history that atheists can point to in order to claim that the Church is opposed to Science seems to indicate that the Church is not in fact opposed to Science.”

    One of the reasons I like the Catholic Church much more than other Christian denominations, is that contrary to popular belief, they really are more accepting of logic and science, and are more open to accepting people.

    Purely from a Christian standpoint however, as I am sure that the artist didn’t mean to say that the comic is solely for Catholics, there have been many incidences in which Christianity as a whole has been at odds with science. The whole creationism debacle for instance, and there were a few other astronomical debates (i.e. Copernicus, etc — who I actually think this comic is referencing, and not Galileo).

    • Skorlan

      The reason the calendar based on Copernicus’s work is called the Gregorian calendar is that it’s named after Pope Gregory XIII who told the Catholic Church to use it. Copernicus’s book was dedicated to the Pope, and since it was published on Copernicus’s deathbed, he never suffered any difficulties over it.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernicus#Controversy

  • Archaratar

    It seems the focus of the article is that “the christian church is not anti-science and never has been”,(not even to Galileo) but there are school systems encouraging animism and intelligent design with heavy leanings toward monotheism, arguing with extreme difficulty against lex parsimoniae. Then there are the extreme activities and beliefs that spawn from this and are connected, such as Graverobbing based on honor to the materials of the dead body, which stunts medicinal training, then there is the resistance to geological argumentation that the earth is older than 6k years old(challenging Hutton), possession versus mental illness-based epilepsies, and this is just based on my initial search. Children who ask questions are hoping for assistance in answering. Counter-asking the less informed child, “What do you think” is like asking your student for their finals essay at the beginning of term.

  • Pontius Pilate

    You lost me at the part where you said Christian belief was entrenched in reason. Good one!

  • enness

    By the way, I don’t know if anybody else sees it, but GLSEN has a banner on this page advertising the “Safe Space Kit.” I can’t decide whether I find that more obnoxious, or more laugh-out-loud funny.

  • http://kernilsanders.wordpress.com/ Kernil

    oatmeal was spot on. sounds like it struck a nerve :o

    • anon y. mouse

      Glad we have you around to tell us how the author was really feeling.

  • HaileyGallo

    Wow. Talk about completely missing the mark and taking things personally. You act as though Inman said, “This applies to all religious people everywhere all the time,”. No. These are examples of when people take their religion too far and shove it down the throats of others.

    -Are you a member of a church that judges everyone outside of it? No, oh then that wasn’t direct at you. Guess what, though? That exists, and it’s not just the Westboro Baptist Church that does it. Each of the big three Monotheistic religions and their infinite sub sects believes that they are right and that only they have the right answer and that the rest of the world is going to hell. That’s not judgement?
    -Embryonic stem cells ARE relevant to medical science and have shown great promise in reversing a lot of illnesses (health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/diabetes/articles/2009/03/13/stem-cells-10-diseases-they-may–or-may-not–cure)
    -Galileo was in fact jailed because of his discoveries, but not until he wrote Dialogo and intentionally exposed the church position, by means of satirizing Bellarmine, as silly and not scientifically sound.
    -The Dawkins quote, “The is no such thing as a Christian child, only the child of Christian parents,” very much applies here. Raising them and repeating dogma to them as fact is choosing for them, and that’s wrong. If you think religion is important teach your kid ALL religions and let them decide what they want to believe, even if it differs from your own. You’re supposed to teach children to think, not tell them what to think. Also, comparing a discussion about the after life to the ethics of taking life is absurd because you’re taking something that affects NO ONE, ie the concept of heaven, and something like murder, which directly affects the person being killed, their family, etc. and equating them. Sorry no. That straw man looks nothing like what it’s supposed to.
    -Your argument on sex is also absurd. The reason for the increasing numbers of STDs and Uplanned pregnancies is DIRECTLY due to lack of sexual education. Abstinence only education has not only proven to be ineffect, but actually detrimental. Countries like Denmark start their sexual education in kindergarten (they’re also a predominantly atheistic country) and their rat of STDs, rapes, and unplanned pregnancies are dramatically lower. The more you make sex taboo and the less you talk about it, the more dangerous it becomes. I’d also like to see your source for the statistics. It’s not yours or any religion’s place to dictate what sex is or is not supposed to be to someone. If YOU would like to choose for sex to be this monumental thing only used for making a baby, then go ahead, but why is it your place to tell ANYONE ELSE, children or adults, that it must be that way for them or else they are unclean and sinful?
    -DUH Inman intended to show that liberals can also show religious bias! That’s why he included a panel where the liberal says, “I voting for that guy because he didn’t say God as much”. And 2000 years of philosophy and intellect? Do you realize the innovations that were destroyed because of Christians?! The steam engine was being developed in Geece 2000 years ago, but those genius Christians knew that destroying it would TOTALLY make life better! How about their resistance and condemnation of vaccination in t he 18th century? So wise. They were the ORIGINAL quack anti-vaxxers.
    -You suck at your religion when you use it to do awful things like kill or discriminate in the name of it. If you’re like the WBC and cause more suffering to people with your religion, you suck at your religion. If you’re just living your life and not trying to shove your personal philosophy based on nothing but the fact that you believe it to be true, and are trying to be a good person, then you don’t suck at your religion.

    However, if you see a comic written by a known atheist that depicts SPECIFIC things about RELIGION in general, and NONE of it actually applies to you, then you suck at context.

    • John

      >> Wow. Talk about completely missing the mark and taking things personally.

      How can a religious person not take this personally, even a little, even if they “get it”? Get over yourself.

      • HaileyGallo

        I missed the part where Inman titled this cartoon, “How all religious people suck at their religion, because they all do all of this all of the time”. If you don’t do any of these things, then it’s not about you or your use of religion! Quit being overly sensitive to criticism of a supernatural belief system that might somehow resemble yours in some way.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KGHAYW5F645OOQITBOUD37NT6A emily j

    When Catholic heterosexuals get married and have sex, it is for the purpose of procreation. Sex between two people of the same gender cannot result in a child, which is the whole reason for sex in the first place. Secular culture tells us to have sex because it feels good and we can do what we want with our bodies. There are lots of other things that make me feel good and that I use my body for because I can do what I want with it, and I choose to do them over having sex because I am not married and not currently looking to procreate. We are fully capable of controlling our sexual urges, just as we are fully capable of preventing ourselves from giving in to the urge to yell at someone who’s annoying us, or to run our car into the person in front of us who’s driving too slow when we’re already late. I don’t have to be having sex just because I am twenty, female and reasonably attractive, because that’s what society expects of me. I have waited this long for my husband and I will continue to wait for him.
    Additionally, Catholics most certainly do not believe that all heterosexual married couples who have all the sex they want automatically go to heaven, nor do homosexuals who have sex go to hell. That’s not for any of us to decide; God is the only one who can do that.

    • http://twitter.com/ericrz Eric Rzeszut

      “Sex between two people of the same gender cannot result in a child, which is the whole reason for sex in the first place. ”

      Says you. It is *a* reason, but not “the whole reason.” Or are you suggesting that two people past the age of child-bearing have no business having sex, even if married?

      Sex for procreation keeps the human race in existence. That’s good. Eating food keeps us alive. That’s also good. But suggesting that sex is for procreation only is like suggesting eating is for staying alive, only.

  • Guest

    This is the best article you’ve written in months. And that’s saying something! Keep up the good work!

  • Martial_Artist

    @Mark Shea,

    Not to be either pedantic nor moralistic, I think I prefer “shed load” to “ασσ-ton,” but that is probably because I tend to shy away from untransliterated crudities.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  • Martial_Artist

    Secondarily, don’t you think it is a little unfair taking to task atheists who are also characterizable as being members of the subgroup of humanity identified as I D ten Ts?

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  • Austin

    Marc, you need to go on tour all over the country and do something with the Catholic youth. We need someone like you to look up to and inspire us. I can speak for myself that you have inspired me many times to be a better person and a better Catholic. Thank you for all that you do. Keep up the posts and all the other good work!!!!!!

  • Dafuq

    The whole point is keep it to yourself and quit forcing shit on others.

    • musiciangirl591

      atheism does that time to time, come to Clarion University :P

    • John

      Welcome to the site. I hope you’ll stop by again and not be “one (or two) wonder.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/francois.tremblay3 François Tremblay

    Well, for Galileo, the Pope at this time was actually open to his theory understanding that the Bible is not a book of natural sciences. What happened with Galileo is that his theory lacked of proves, it’s later that they could have enough proves to validate his theory. He was using his theory to ridicule the catholic faith, that’s why he had problems with the Church. The whole scientific community was prudent and did not accept his theory, not because of religion, but because it was lacking evidence at the time. You can watch an interesting documentary about it on http://www.ChurchMilitant.TV in the CIA episodes, it’s really interesting.

  • swaggerton

    Religious beliefs are like penises; its fine to have one and its fine to be proud of it, but dont go waving it around in public and dont shove it down a child’s throat.

    • Anon Y. Mouse

      And that old cliche is like a wart: No one wants to see it, but people love to show it off.

  • Bryan Elliott

    Except that Catholic belief is _not_ based on reason. It’s based on scripture and _mangled_ by a form of “reasoning” called presuppositional apologetics.

    • Tom

      St. Thomas Aquinas would like a word with you….

      • Bryan Elliott

        I’ve read Aquinas. Man couldn’t get away from the circular argument.

        • John

          Sure ya did, Elliot, sure ya did.

        • Tom

          We must have been reading different Aquinases then, because what little I’ve read of his Summa (and it was very little, I’ll admit, just the famous “five ways”) shows that his arguments aren’t in the least bit circular.

          • Bryan Elliott

            Presuppositionalism is by its definition circluar.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      Two errors in one post is actually not too bad, considering. But the Catholic church, like the Orthodox, Coptic, and Eastern churches, is an apostolic church. That is, they obtain their beliefs from the Apostolic Traditions, which include, but are not limited to, the letters, bioi, and other documents included in the Bible. It would be better said that the scriptures are based on their faith rather than vice versa.

      What form of “reasoning” do you use? And who calls Aristotelian logic “presuppositional apologetics”? Keep in mind that many of the arguments stem from Aristotle himself and he very likely had never heard of Judaism, let alone a far future Christianity.

  • Joseph Marcel Lamothe

    Could have worked in that the Copernicus was a priest who dedicated his theory to the Pope…..

  • Doopa

    “I carry on with my religion for no other reason than that I believe it to be true. This is the only reason to hold a religious belief.”

    A lot of religious people would disagree with you here. It is common to believe purely out of a desire to believe – it’s the premise of “faith.” If you’re believing what you honestly think is actual fact and aren’t afraid to scrutinize and be skeptical in the name of truth, you’re going to have a hard time with your religion.

    In fact this is the reason why so many eschew religion entirely. Looking for truth instead of comfort. I’m not even sure I believe you, unless it’s just poor wording. You’re saying you aren’t in it for the community appeal, the hope of an eternal life, feeling like a perfect being loves you? But because you think the claims of a virgin birth/transubstantiation/old guy in a funny hat taking direct orders from the creator of the universe/heaven are totally legitimate and verifiable claims that would stand on their own merit? I find this suspicious at best.

    • msmischief

      Yes, and it’s common to disbelieve purely out of a desire to disbelieve — to hang out with the cool kids, to spite the parents, to avoid the specter of your acts having consequences.

      this is why the ad hominem is a fallacy.

  • Vmonkey1

    you conveniently left out a part to address. what do you have to say about this section?

    • John

      That was never part of the original “How to Suck at Your Religion.” If you want the site to comment on that, then I suggest to send it to webmaster.

      • Vmonkey1

        except it was apart of the original comic. and that section made a lot of sense. Marc discuss every part of the comic (except the one about the peanut butter on the crotch thing, but that part was a little nonsensical), but conveniently left out the section that, arguably, was the strongest point of the comic

        I want to know Marc’s opinion on beliving other religions are crazy because of the tenets of that religion, but not his own, which also have crazy ideas. Like the part of the image states “Scientologists believe that Xenu dropped frozen bodies into volcanoes? That’s ridiculous. What really happened is (insert ridiculous Christian references from Genesis to Jesus). Those Scientologists have is all wrong!”

        • John

          You’re right. I stand corrected.

          >> Marc discuss every part of the comic (except the one about the peanut butter on the crotch thing, but that part was a little nonsensical), but conveniently left out the section that, arguably, was the strongest point of the comic

          Marc did not discuss every part.

      • jack

        yes it was

  • jack

    The funny thing about this response to the comic is the author assumes Inman is talking purely about Christianity. See everyone thinks they have the right religion. A fundamentalist Islamist believes women should not show there skin. A terrorist has to be brainwashed into thinking that they should blindly follow their one true god and it is their duty to kill the themselves and the infidel. You really want a child to be taught from a young age that kind of violence and hate? Same goes for fundamentalist Christians except to a lesser extreme. Can’t you see the hypocrisy in that? Are you that blind? Children are easily brainwashed into believing in Santa Claus at a young age. There are so many religions in this world and every one of them is as passionate in their belief as you are. The only reason you think you have chosen the right one is because your parents told you so. If you were born is the middle east you would probably be Islamic and if your parents brainwashed you into believing women were not equal to men, you would probably believe that too.

    • Anon Y Mouse

      Given that every drawn religious figure in the comic was drawn as a Catholic, the father’s speech to the daughter was clearly a description of Christianity, and the panel on sexuality referred exclusively to Jesus and God, I don’t think it’s far off-base to assume that Inman was referring primarily to Christianity.

      As for the remainder of your post, it’s the genetic fallacy, which means it can be ignored out of hand.

      • jack

        You can assume whatever you like, but the comic is called “How to suck at your religion.” This response does not address the entire comic and not all of the examples apply to Christianity.

        As for my genetic fallacy argument, my point was is that every other religion has an equal claim as Christianity. Just because you believe it does not make it any more true or false.

      • msmischief

        There is the little issue that only 30% of all children raised atheists stay atheist once grown. Perhaps it’s just envy.

    • John

      Oh look, a non brain washed person! Please, enlighten us with your fearless and humble mind!

      The fact that you sought out this site to add to this comic says a lot about you.

      • jack

        Does it say I like discussing religion with people?

  • Clare Marie Joyce

    awesome :) keep it up!

  • Geohump

    Congratulations, in summary you believe in your religion, because you believe in it.

    Fail.

  • ruthven78

    How to fail at being a critic by G.Lester (not me)

    -Failing to understand the notion of hypocrisy in the first pane
    -Failing to google the difference between embryonic and adult stem cells (embryonic does everything adult does, and more)
    -Being unable to differentiate ethics from opinion (teaching children pane)
    -A forgetfulness of the biblical notion of sex, which is that women are little more than objects, and rape is alright in most circumstances. Secondly that sex is reserved for one person for your entire life (which is a pleasant fairy tale, but nobody is ever able to tell who they will spend the left of their life with).
    -Failure to note that for approximately 1900 of those 2000 years, women were inequal, blacks were slaves, homosexuality was a punishable offense, and the life expectancy was around age 40.
    -Belief is not equivalent to truth. Belief should follow what can be demonstrated, not what makes you feel warm and fuzzy.

    Actually he was wrong on every count. So. Damn. At least he was able to sound like he knew what he was talking about.

    • msmischief

      embryonic does everything adult does, and more — except, like, actually work and stuff.

  • Dipsauce

    hey marc! You should get a Tumblr “share button.” just like you have facebook and twitter share buttons. there’s quite the tumblr catholic community.

  • Matthew H

    Real good reflection. An excellent look at the hubris and arrogance of people who make comics/statements like this, who make caricatures out of so many people (and the image of the accusing bishop for emphasis).

    I love a public web-comic talking to others about “keeping it to themselves.”

    Much like the anti-dogmatism dogmatism, this don’t-preach preaching just has to make one laugh.

  • Estragon

    Believing allows one to make judgements on his or her own life, in accordence with those beliefs. Knowing is universal truth. I think Mr. Inman’s point is just that.

    The point of religon is when death asks you kindly what you think the afterlife to be, you answer. And when he tells you otherwise, you laugh, startled but not suprised, and say “that was my second guess”

    The view of religon as being subjective or objective really drives people apart. Damn shame. Its so simple to flame on the internet. My money is on everyone secretly disliking everyone, till the end of time .

    I really hope we are all wrong.

  • barefoot cinderella

    this isn’t the first time that theoatmeal has overreached.. i understand it’s a satire and he employs a lot of hyperbole but sometimes he lets that get in the way of facts.. here he is getting the proper schooling.. next time, fact check..

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/05/18/nikola-tesla-wasnt-god-and-thomas-edison-wasnt-the-devil/

    • John

      Inman’s response is that of a sore loser. He’s probably the epitome of a geek sitting safely behind his laptop if I ever saw one.

      • John

        And on cue, Inman, within an hour of me commenting on Shameless Popery on its own rebuttal, has posted that site to its Facebook page. I think one Oatmeal reader said and I paraphrase loosely “Inman encourages debate and this site doesnt.” Well, Inman’s intent of posting the site wasn’t for thoughtful, honest and civilized debate but to SWARM the site. The site reaching 600+ comments . . . within 1 hour. Before Shameless Popery was posted on The Oatmeal’s site the rebuttal had less than 100.

  • Guest1571

    “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

    CS Lewis.

  • JAGreene86

    As strange as it sounds, but we need faith in order to be knowledgeable. We need to trust that the information that is being provided to us, either by our senses and/or our “electrical connections”, is accurate. For example:

    Someone who is blind cannot trust their eyes, right?
    Someone who is deaf cannot trust their ears, right?

    However, to them, there is nothing wrong, unless someone points out that they’re blind or deaf…but how do they know someone is telling the truth when they say “you’re blind” or “you’re deaf”?

    What if the whole world was blind…would we be able to know that we were blind? What if the whole world was deaf? Would we know that we were deaf?

    What if there was one person who could see? What if there was one person who could hear? And they told the world “you’re blind” and “you’re deaf”. Would we believe them? Or claim them to be crazy? (A lot of it would probably be determined how they treated us…if they treated us well, we’re more inclined to trust…if not, then we won’t be so inclined to trust).

    Knowledge, in a strange sense, has to come from a “higher power”, because we don’t conjure up information and knowledge…we discover it…but the thing about “discoveries” is the fact that it had to be there before we even knew it was there. Also, there’s that sense of trusting what we actually see…or claiming it as just a mere illusion and mirage.

    Knowledge is like us being blind, and opening our eyes for the first time. We don’t see just a blank canvas and then fill it in with whatever we want…everything we see had to be there before we even opened our eyes. Knowledge is never created…it is only discovered.

    As much as Atheist want to point at knowledge as “proof” that God doesn’t exist, I would argue that the more knowledge they have, the closer they’re getting to realizing that there is, indeed, someone who “created” that knowledge before they even discovered it…because the more discoveries, the more they come to be aware that they did not create all of their knowledge.

    So, do we trust the knowledge do we have? Or, more importantly…do we trust the resource in which that knowledge comes from? For all knowledge comes from some sort of source, and not all knowledge is accurate, and not all sources are honest.

    In my experience in life…answering those questions about trusting knowledge and trusting sources is determined by what we want…but what we want cannot change what is already True. Truth already is…it’s just a matter of us finding it and believing it to be True.

  • John

    On almost every conservative site I’ve been to there’s always a handful of atheists and/or trolls that mock. This I find humorous for various reasons. I mean, I don’t expect anything more from them. That would be too much.

    • Glasofruix

      The same goes for atheist websites, there’s allways some religious dude threatening people with lellfire and talking about the forgiveness of his particular skyfairy…

      • John

        “Some religious dude”? Oh my, one dude amongst the atheists . . . I bet you take all your bitterness, shape your perspective about “those people who believe in the book of lies and fairy tales” by that one guy and cherry pick whatever the Catholic Church has done. Have you looked at this site? Sorry, glas, unless you show me a site filled with theists trolls I won’t lose sleep over it. I’ll admit there are douchebag theists bible thumpers, but in my experience I don’t have a problem with religious people. I can name you two sites right that are crawling with atheist trolls (or even agnostic trolls): TheDailyCaller and BadCatholic.

        • Glasofruix

          You are not the brightest star in the sky, are you?
          Ofc there’s a crapload of them, come by the friendly atheist blog and seacrh for DG, Ndonan, Nordog, MommaJ, rwlawoffice (just to cite the regular trolls)….

  • Glasofruix

    “Christian belief — which is entrenched in reason ”

    Or how to lose credibility in 7 words…

    The article, which is quite well written, is full of usual and useless strawmen religious folks like to bash and bash again. But, then, from someone who supports the bag of lies called 1flesh it’s hardly surprising.

    • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

      The strawmen that Marc was bashing were handed to him by Mr Inman, an atheist, the author of the comic strip.

  • Dexter_tiro

    brilliant, this is awesome! God bless you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.gerard.roberts David Roberts
    • John

      No wonder there’s so many accounts on this article that only have a handful of posts dedicated to this site . . . people are linking it up to sites like reddit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Help-Stop-Atheist-Brainwashing/137097886429822 CertainlyNot

    “New Atheism” is just lies and distortions, wrapped up in hate, despair, and “f-yous”, really.

    http://imgur.com/a/lOtle#HJpOD

    But, it is still powerful propaganda, appeals to emotions, prejudice, ignorance and so forth.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    I do not agree that because children cannot result from homosexual sex that the relationships between couples are unequal.

    They are necessarily unequal for the reason you just gave. Just as dogs and apples are necessarily unequal. They are simply not the same thing. Part of the problem is that Late Moderns are using terms like “sex” and “love” and so on in weirdly idiosyncratic ways.

    In terms of government intrusion into sexual relations, the only compelling State interest justifying such intrusion is the potentiality for children. That is why from the most ancient times — e.g., the Code of Khamurapi, Plato’s “The Laws,” etc. — the only laws regulating marriage have to do with children and inheritance or with legal liabilities of the conjugal couple. Basically, from a secular point of view, a marriage is a contract between the couple and society that the couple assumes full responsibility for raising any offspring that may result from their coupling, lest they be thrown upon the King’s Purse. Hence, the various restrictions and regulations on consanguinity, faithfulness, permanence, etc.

    It’s why we have laws and regulations on playing with fire, but not on playing with ice cubes. Despite a superficial similarity of kind — “playing” — there is an important difference in potential consequences.

    Religiously, there is much more to it than that. My grandmother’s marriage manual, in which she recorded much genealogical information over the years, notes that children cannot be the purpose of marriage, since rape can result in children. (In fact, in pagan Germanic law, rape constituted a marriage, ipso facto. “The act makes the marriage.” Whereas in Roman law and Church law, consent was required.) But we mustn’t shove religious beliefs into matters, right?

    • http://twitter.com/ericrz Eric Rzeszut

      Are you then suggesting that heterosexual marriage between two 70 year olds, or between a man and a woman who have been sterilized, shouldn’t be sanctioned by the state? After all, it’s the same argument — with no potential for children, why should the state have a say?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6VCE664NLSCSV3VL3XMEIOY7XU Kate

    While you have made several very fine points throughout this post, and I very much appreciate some further information on some areas. I still have to say that I am a continued fan of this cartoon. It gave me more than a few good chuckles.

    Your particular point about belief and teaching children that “murder is wrong”. Well, no crap murder is wrong- but believing that murder is wrong is not mandated by religious beliefs. Having a conscience is not determined by your religious affiliation, so I fail to see the point you are trying to make there.

    To the rest of the people commenting on the blog about how stupid it is to expect children to figure things out for themselves and argue that id they could do that we shouldn’t have to teach them anything… I have no direct words to you that I care to make public. I will however say, that this comic is in no way insisting that children are omnipotent, it is merely saying that dogmatic beliefs should not be perpetuated without question. Blind faith, while faith, is still blind. If you don’t know why you believe in something, then you probably shouldn’t. Kids are perpetually in a position of “obey your parents,” so when exactly are they supposed to decide for themselves what they believe in and have their reasons why? A parent who allows children to know more about religious beliefs on the whole provides their child with a better opportunity to choose what they truly believe in and hold fast to it in their lives. We as humans are born with curiosity and a desire to seek out knowledge, hence children and their perpetual question, “Why?” So, why stifle that curiosity? Encourage it!

    The piece regarding voting by religious affiliation… I feel you have truly missed the mark in this case, or perhaps didn’t, and worded it poorly.
    “If a religion is comprehensive — that is if it claims to contain within its teachings a comprehensive view of the human person, his nature and ultimate end, and thereby his institutions, governments, societies etc. — then of course you vote on your religious beliefs!As a Catholic, I can’t help but trust 2000 years of intellectual and philosophical tradition over my strong desire to talk crap about other people, have lots of sex and not give to the poor.”
    — What in the world does talking crap, having sex, and giving to the poor have to do with your voting habits? What the cartoonist is pointing out is that A LOT of our country’s voters will default to making a character judgement about the candidates on the basis of how they say things- i.e. mentioning God- a CLEAR indicator of their relative religious beliefs to the masses- although inherently a flawed concept. He is saying that the voters look only at the small side of the candidates- and honestly, the part of their personal life that is not really going to impact what they do in office. He’s saying they are ignoring the larger and more important issues of this country- economic reform, health care, social issues, job development, etc.- THE THINGS A PRESIDENT WILL ACTUALLY CREATE POLICIES FOR IN THIS COUNTRY. And, I have to say, that I agree with his assessment of a majority of voter- especially those in the older demographic ranges. It happens, and it happens a lot. I am from a small town in middle America where there is not much deep contemplation of the larger issues that happen in this country, so when it comes to voting time they WILL vote for the “better man” or the “cuter candidate”. IT HAPPENS. I assure you that it does, and that is what the comic is arguing against. Don’t blindly assume that a religious candidate is going to turn your country around based on his personal belief system. One man does not make the calls in this country, the president is not a king and he is not a dictator. We are not living in the time of Henry VIII- we won’t have to worry about whether or not our president is going to toss aside our religion in favor of another.

    I will however, agree with you on the tone of the final piece in the comic. But, not for the reasons that you use. I read the final segment and thought that anyone, even those who I disagree with on MANY areas could read the final part about “helping people” and “making you happier” and justify any and all of their beliefs by saying “Well it DOES!” Even if those beliefs and behaviors that they feel are now justified are in some way persecuting or demeaning other people in hurtful ways.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Jianadaren
    You could make a better argument that the chain of causation was closer to this:
    Rise of Christianity in Rome-> Collapse of Rome -> Dark Ages -> Rise of Deism and the Enlightenment -> Christianity’s weakened influence on society -> greatest technological progress in the history of the known universe and creation of the world’s most powerful and successful nation-> rise of Christian Evangelicalism -> Decline of American power and a step backwards in quality of discourse and national unity

    You could make such an argument, but only if you were as ignorant of historical scholarship as of the nature of causation. Alas, as knowledge of statistics would show, coincidence is not causation, but a belief in magic. Believe it or not, historians have continued to study the collapse of the western provinces of the Empire even after history shifted from a branch of literature to a branch of academic study. The rise of Christianity primarily in the Eastern provinces has little connection with the barbarian invasions and collapse of imperial order in the Western provinces. But for some reason Late Modern fundamentalists often forget about the Orthodox church.

  • Gentlemandrunk

    “I carry on with my religion for no other reason than that I believe it to be true. This is the only reason to hold a religious belief.”

    This is the issue with which I find the biggest problem. This among other things is what led me to finally abandon the superstitions indoctrinated during my 12 years served in catholic school. Religion is based solely on belief and not fact. I can believe that if I jump off my roof that I’ll fly but that don’t make it so.

    Look I wanted to believe I really did and it took 27 years before I could let it all go, but the fact of the matter is that I never really believed. Oh sure I’d pull the old prayer out when a family member was sick or passed away. I wanted to believe, especially after losing family to illness. The thing is, I can’t believe. Nothing but evidence will make me believe.

    Believe isn’t a choice, you either do or you don’t. I could swear up and down I saw Bigfoot but
    even if I had a blurry photo or a shaky video, that wouldn’t be enough. People would never believe me until an actually living Bigfoot was captured or a dead Bigfoot was discovered.

    The bible, the Latin Vulgate wasn’t even compiled until 400 AD. Where a bunch of men played pick and choose with want they wanted in there (after various synods) the schism came and the protestants decided to play pick and choose with the bible too. I think religion would be way easier to swallow if there was a single shred of historical evidence that Jesus was even a real historical person. The evidence suggests that Paul and Constantine have way more to do with Christianity that Jesus does.

    So I think when Atheists come across as condescending, when they make you feel stupid for what you believe it’s probably because some part of you is a quivering mass of pants pooping doubt. The idea that Jesus will fly into your life like superman and save the day when things are at their worst is really comforting. I know, been there done that. I think the issue is that atheist have a certainty that the believer struggles daily to achieve. I don’t deny that there are catholic writing that really do a good job to rationalize belief, I read City of God (abridged) as a twenty something, but philosophy isn’t fact.

    When claiming a position of moral authority, one must stand on that position and never falter. Superman must always be superman, he can’t go off and sometimes be a jerk or a criminal, nor can he turn a blind eye to immorality. So when a moral authority fails to hold up it’s own code then we have a problem.

    It’s the certainty in face of a staggering lack of evidence in spite of the corruption and cover-ups and the culpability for the churches atrocities ,of every believer from the parishioner in the back pew all the way up to the popes golden throne. It’s that you are unshakably positive that you’re opinion on what is or isn’t true that opens you up to mockery.

    The church never cured a disease but science has. The church didn’t break the bonds of this earth and give man the ability to take flight or explore the surface of the moon. One could even argue that religion has done nothing but stunt the development of the human race.

    • msmischief

      Actually people would believe you — there are those who believe it now. By your logic, that’s no problem. It is only the position you are objecting to, that you should believe only what is true, that has grounds to object.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      Actually, demonstrating such ignorance of history does not exactly make anyone quiver. Constantine had other concerns, and his family either adopted Arianism or (in Julian’s case) reverted to paganism. No serious scholar of the period doubts the physical existence of Jesus, regardless what they think of his claims. And most of the arguments sed contra have been arguments that likewise throw doubt on the existence of Socrates, Hannibal, Plotinus, et al.

      As long as you are mentioning all the things the Church has not done, the Church has never mowed my lawn, or waxed my car. But why should it? For that matter, science has never won the Superbowl. It has however, broken the bonds of earth and given us intercontinental missiles armed with multiple nuclear warheads. And nerve gas. Oft with the assistance of Nobel Laureates.

      You evidently equate the “development of the human race” with technological inventions, rather than with hospitals, orphanages, art, music, and other non-technological stuff.

  • Guest

    “While my religion makes me happy (sometimes) and inspires me to help others (if I let it), and absolutely gives some explanation as to my existence on this dear rock, so does Oprah.
    I carry on with my religion for no other reason than that I believe it to be true. This is the only reason to hold a religious belief. This is the only reason to hold any belief. All else — from the happiness involved to the striking tradition of art, music, philosophy, education, charity, and culture that my religion has produced — is reaction to this Truth.”

    AWESOME. Again.

  • Santoki

    So let me get this straight, you absolutely agree with him when he’s talking about Scientology, Mormons, Islam, and the Dark Lord Fire Ape? It’s just the parts that pick on you that are wrong? Interesting.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

      It’s curious how Christians believing Christianity comes as a shock to some people.

  • http://twitter.com/andystaple Andy Staple

    So when you state that the Galileo issue was the ONLY time Atheists could point to where Catholicism and Science weren’t in-tune, did you do any research and lie, or do you just plead ignorance?

    Antonio Snider-Pellegrino had this theory about how continents drifted around on the earths surface. You know… the precursor to tectonic plates, and he was excommunicated for Heresy.

    What about Pope Pius XI stating how his sons book which was false, “refutes so well the aborrations of darwinism”. What about the long line of Popes who forbid the study of nature, and compared it to Magic?

    You are clearly outside your mind to make such a bold and errant claim.

  • Evan Hammond

    I couldn’t get past “vast majority of Christian belief — which is entrenched in reason”.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      Don’t worry. With a little training and with close reading of the Prior and Posterior Analytics, you can learn to follow an argument to its conclusion without throwing in the towel.

  • Thankfuldood

    Thank you thank you! I read this on a friend’s Facebook page and wanted to respond…luckily you did it with eloquence that I couldn’t. Thank you!

  • TMD

    I also have a response, less thorough than Marc’s response, but snarkier: http://messianicdrew.blogspot.com/2012/07/how-to-suck-at-criticizing-religion.html

    • http://twitter.com/ericrz Eric Rzeszut

      Oh please. “Messianic Jews” — an oxymoronic term if there ever was one — take this to a whole new level. Not only do you suck at ONE religion, you suck at TWO by dragging down Judaism and pretending it’s compatible with belief in Jesus as the messiah.

  • Dykdyksfbay

    Right, because so many people died in the name of Oatmeal.

  • Stevenr

    I stopped reading when you said Christianity is “entrenched in reason”.

  • Nony

    Did you just use a sexual abuse statistic as part of a pro-Catholicism argument?! Might want to re-think that one…

  • Lauren

    Thank you. That is all I can say. Thank you.

  • big_pause

    Hypatia

  • H742693

    You lost me at “the vast majority of Christian belief — which is entrenched in reason.” Faith is utterly without reason.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

      Since the world is limited to what can be shown through the scientific method, you can, of course, prove this, correct?

  • Leanne

    Let me break this down for you. Dont take it so seriously. Its the oatmeal, your supposed to laugh and move on. Its not some senior project, that you must analyze this comic to death. Its just funny. Get over yourself!

  • Annie013

    I think you missed the point, or nailed it entirely. He’s not trying to apply this to ALL christians. He’s specifically targeting the minority fundamentalist wackjobs who suck at religion.

    If you’re not one of those people, why are you taking it so personally?

    “This particular train of thought requires the thinker ignore the vast majority of Christian belief — which is entrenched in reason — and focus solely on minority caricatures of the creationist or the wailing-out evangelical, caricatures”

    • CertainlyNot

      Because….because there is a wider context to what is going on.

      New Atheists have been attacking religion and mocking religous people for five long years now, trying ot “win” converts and singing prayers to themselves like “imagine no religion”.

      They keep track of their progress in the league tables of religion, showing how much progress they’ve made.

      Understand?

  • stochasticsoul

    Not sure what to make of that IBD article you link to b/c according to the CIRM’s website, they still seem to advocate and fund ESCR.
    http://cirm.ca.gov/about-stem-cells/stem-cell-basics/myths-misconceptions/myths-and-misconceptions-about-stem-cell-rese#5

  • Rick S

    Murder has a tangible effect. It causes pain and loss to living humans. We can teach our children that murder is wrong, because it is fundamentally, morally wrong. We cannot teach our children what happens when we die, because nobody knows. It is irresponsible to 1) claim that you do know, and 2) actively help to close your child’s mind to other possibilities, of which there are roughly infinity. Out of all of Inman’s points, this seems like pretty much the stupidest one to try to invalidate.Discussing beliefs with your child is a very different matter than telling them what (not) to believe, when any reason to believe that thing is a matter of pure imagination.

  • Dizzles

    The vast majority of Christian belief is (supposed to be) entrenched in FAITH, not REASON.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      But that is true of any belief. Most of us do not have particle accelerators in our basements, and so must put our faith in the announcements of CERN. Remember, to be faithful means to put trust in or to rely on another.

  • TwoReplies

    If you’re religious and OFFENDED by this web-comic.
    YOU HAVE SERIOUS ISSUES AND MISSED BOTH THE POINT of the comic AND the points YOUR RELIGION TEACHES, ENTIRELY.

    And so, YOU SUCK AT YOUR RELIGION.

    (…and at understating satire and life apparently since you’re likely lacking a sense of humor.)

  • Jint

    “We’re looking at 1 in 5 women having been raped, 1 in 3 reporting sexual abuse, 1 in 4 teenage girls contracting an STD, 2/3 of pregnancies unplanned, untold millions addicted to pornography, 63% of married women reporting they’d rather be watching a movie than having sex with their husbands, and the general degradation of the human body into an advertising, money-making machine.”

    Source please?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000996312367 Allen Hernandezez

    Actually, yes, you are supposed to be helpful because it’s right — not because you think YOU are right and some immutable law someone else passed to you says you should. You kinda kicked yourself with that last sentence, buddy.

  • http://eyejustmadeitup.blogspot.com flailx

    Absofraking brilliant. I love most of The Oatmeal’s comics but his Atheist prosthelytizing ones I could do without. Great analysis, thank you!

  • stochasticsoul

    The notion that the Catholic Church developed the scientific method is a joke, right? Otherwise, you clearly have some (non-church-approved) reading to do. Maybe start with this: “The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210-1685. ”
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Emergence-Scientific-Culture-Modernity/dp/0199296448
    At best, it started within the Catholic academic tradition since that’s really all there was at the time, but science emerged as a separate discipline in part by differentiating itself from the Church and the Scholastic tradition. But beyond that, serious historians today question whether there can be said to be a single scientific method or even a method at all (ala Feyerabend).

  • Hells Mascot

    I am an agnostic, but I very much like hearing rhetoric and/or discourse on both sides of the discussion. I feel like this is a cogent and engaging deliberation on both people’s perception of religion and on criticism of human worldviews. I thought the comic was great as a comic, and it did its job if it spawned excellent rebuttals such as this.

  • Vox42

    What you have failed to understand is that Inman is making fun of people, not the actual religions. It’s not his job to accurately portray the official catholic stance on these things. This is his opinion regarding people that he seems to have interacted with. If his understanding of the Catholic position is incorrect, then the people who he has interacted with have not given the correct information. Inman has no obligation to fairly or accurately represent the official view of any religion since he is speaking to personal behavior.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/7RNNPBRAXAEGUV556X6TCTUMYQ yvj

      “Inman has no obligation to fairly or accurately represent the official view of any religion since he is speaking to personal behavior. ”

      Wut?

      I know in comedy everything is fair game and that’s how it should be but can you actually read that sentence over to yourself and not find something off about it? Something fallacious?

      • Moonfish

        Nope, not a thing wrong with that sentence.

      • http://twitter.com/Locker205 Zachary Taylor

        The title is “how to suck at your religion.” The Cartoon is EXPLICITLY not talking about the concept of religion, or the official doctrines of a particular institution, just particular actions.

        The entire premise of this article is so flawed it just hurts.

        • Jacob Suggs

          Nah, you see, when you draw a Catholic Bishop saying stupid crap, then you are saying Catholic Bishops, and implicitly, Catholicism says stupid crap. And he’s using this as fodder to criticize religion in general – BY USING AS AN EXAMPLE SOMETHING WHICH DOES NOT IN FACT EXIST.

          Now, fair enough, comedic license. But if you’re going to try to make a point then say that no one should get offended because none of the stuff you used to make your point is true, then you’ve just said you haven’t made your point.

          So I suppose we can just assume the author is a bag of hot air who draws stupid comics that look kind of like they’re making points they aren’t, or we can take him at face value and assume he believes the evidence he presents to make his point is true. At which point it makes perfect sense to critique.

          Otherwise, he’s nothing more than Rush Limbaugh and co: a pundit who occasionally accidentally unleashes the inner screaming loudmouth and then backs off and hides under “but I’m just an entertainer” whenever people legitimately criticize his arguments.

          • http://twitter.com/Locker205 Zachary Taylor

            “Nah, you see, when you draw a Catholic Bishop saying stupid crap, then you are saying Catholic Bishops, and implicitly, Catholicism says stupid crap.”

            No, you’re saying that the particular crap you’re criticizing tends to come from Catholic Bishops. You’re willfully ignoring the cartoonist’s caveat with all your interpretation.

            “And he’s using this as fodder to criticize religion in general – BY USING AS AN EXAMPLE SOMETHING WHICH DOES NOT IN FACT EXIST.”

            The rest of your post is based on a false dichotomy between being literal and being false. Humorous exaggeration relies on the fact that an informed reader will know the facts that are actually being talked about, and be able to evaluate the point.

            And, since this is an American cartoon geared towards an English-speaking audience, you shouldn’t be shocked that it uses Christian examples.

          • enness

            The problem as I see it is that cartoons like these do not tend to attract an informed audience, but an uninformed one, who will either triumphally chest-bump over it if they have already formed biases, or potentially be damaged if not.
            Perhaps the artist has the advantage of knowing just to what degree he is exaggerating; unfortunately, many people if pressed would probably say it is not by much.

          • CloudAran

            So your issue is that those without pre-existing biases might be “damaged” (read: influenced, dropping the valuation) by the opinions of another in a public forum?

            What’s you solution to that concern? Because I can only see it leading to censorship. Individuals have the right to free speech and by extension that means we trust those who listen to make their own intelligent decisions about what to believe, what to disbelieve, what to dig into more and form their own opinion. On the other side of the great divide, religious affiliates perpetuate similar exaggerations and many atheists would argue that the teaching of religion at an early age is influencing those incapable of reasoning for themselves (an arguement Inman brings up in his web comic, even proposing a pretty neutral solution where one does not give up teaching, but rather teachers religion much like religion/philosophy academics explore their religions in context).

            You’ll also note that Inman actually endorses religion as the conclusion of his comic, just not the acts of certain religious individuals (please excuse the language if that offends you, I’m just quoting the subject content):

            “However, Does your religion inspire you to help people? Does it make you happier? Does it help you cope with the fact that you are a bag of meat sitting on a rock in outer space and that someday you will DIE and you are completely powerless, helpless, and insignificant in the wake of this beautiful cosmic shitstorm we call existence? Does it help with that? Yes? Excellent! Carry on with your religion!”

            The only caveat to this being a footnote below:

            “Just keep it to your fucking self!”

            It’s obvious this is directed at evangelicals, but it seems pretty applicable to what I would call “evangelical atheists” (though I guess you already call them Neo Atheists?) and any other religious group, which does not respect the fact that religious is a private choice by an individual.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/AFNDBOLWAKE4I35NJNYR7GZL24 amd

            Atheists/agnostics /non-theists and other rational thinkers (must drive the religious insane that they cannot be stuck in a box the way religiots can) are all too happy to ignore religious silliness, if only zealots WOULD keep their invisible sky fairy nonsense to themselves.

            If atheism is a religion
            then being teetotal is a type of alcoholism and not taking drugs is a type of addiction. Also, atheists would then have a place to worship. Though nothing to actually worship, of course.

        • enness

          I thought it was pretty implicit that, according to him, the only religion that doesn’t suck is the kind that he defines at the end. Unfortunately the rest is based on a caricature — as it all too often is.

    • CertainlyNot

      Maybe, maybe not.

      Maybe he’s just fulfilling the New Atheist destiny to be an sanctioned asshole to everyone who is “religious”, just being sly about it?

      Afterall, he didn’t take any time to criticize New Atheists, did he? They have declared religious people “evil”, you know, a “threat to civilization”.

      Maybe he’s just trying to … “rustle jimmies” like so many posters think, for no reason other than he has a little half-truth, no physical proof of god, and he think that makes him a superior moralist or something.

      It’s all too unclear and that’s partly why it fails.

      http://imgur.com/a/lOtle#HJpOD%EF%BB%BF

      • Midgetron

        Or maybe he’s, you know, making a funny comic. The goal was to get laughs, and he succeeded. If you think there should be a comic poking fun at atheists, then make a comic poking fun at new atheists. Stop complaining that one certain cartoonist isn’t making the comic you think needs to be made. Christ on a crutch, Motley Crue never made a synthesizer-and-theremin prog-rock album, but I don’t go around bitching about it. I recognize that that’s just not their thing.

        • CertainlyNot

          Would it be funny to have made comics about blacks during the civil rights struggle? (it was done)

          Why should we simply ignore the greater context of what is going on?

          • Machi

            Why should we complain about everything instead of moving on with our lives?

          • CertainlyNot

            It’s obvious isn’t it?

            Atheism poisons everything.
            ;-)

          • Dubois109

            So youve read Hitchens or youre simply using his sub-title of the most prominent book he wrote in his life to make a non-point? Yes, atheism poisons everything. The non-organized group of people who choose to question what theyre told and not act as if they know the creation of the universe are poisonous. What a ludicrously reasonable way to live theyve developed.

          • TurtleGirl

            I believe there is some famous quote that goes something like “Question everything. Learn Something. Answer Nothing.” And I use it as a philosophy to live by. Why should I blindly follow what I am told? Why can’t I make an educated guess for myself and if that’s not good enough for you, then you don’t have to follow blindly. Religion as a whole is theories and stories, therefore, it SHOULD be questioned before you decide if it is what you believe.

          • vk

            I agree, you SHOULD question everything.

            As a Catholic convert at the age of 14, which B-T-DUBS, my parents didn’t force any beliefs on me, and I was NOT taught jack about religion whatsoever, I can say questioning the things you are taught is the best way to go about it.
            If I didn’t ask questions, I wouldn’t know WHY the CC teaches what it does. I chose to believe a church that has been standing for 2000+ years because I couldn’t argue with the facts that were presented. If I don’t fully understand a teaching, of course I’m going to oppose it, in my humanity, in my sinfulness, in my pride, I’m going to believe that I’M right until proven otherwise.

            And ignorance is a disease on both sides. Non-believers, if they are going to talk trash about certain religions, need to educate themselves better on the teachings, and WHY they teach it. BUT believers as well, there are far too many people who believe, but don’ take the extra step to find out why. How can you spread the Gospel if you are ill informed on what you supposedly find to be truth.

          • Guest

            Maybe you’d better do a little more historical research OUTSIDE the church’s approved reading list to determine WHY that church has stood for 2000+ years. Especially the part where they fought tooth and nail to keep the Bible from being made available to the common man.

          • Phil

            You’ve got to be kidding me. You think the Church has an approved reading list? Lol. And you wonder why we have problems with comics like this. They perpetuate ignorance about religion and silly stereotypes and imagined history. (like keeping the bible from the common man? wow. I think perhaps you are far more in need of a history book)

          • Alexandra

            The greater context being that Christians are finally losing some of their Christian privilege and religious BS is being challenged? It’s awesome. Good on Inman for using his position as a well liked cartoonist to point out the damage that Christian privilege does to our society.

          • enness

            “Christian privilege” lol. In another age we’d have been fed to the lions. In this country, perhaps you mean white Protestant privilege, to be perfectly honest. This is a Catholic website, so it’s not at all out of place to reference Catholic history. You might want to read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Catholicism_in_the_United_States

          • Alexandra

            Oh that’s cute. I love it when Christians in the West think that they’re any kind of oppressed.

          • Guest

            Yep. Them and all their First World problems. ;)

        • enness

          If you think ignorance is funny, go ahead and laugh, but I don’t have to respect you for it.

    • Jon Visser

      It doesn’t matter what world-view, religion or belief you ascribe to, if someone doesn’t accurately portray someone else through use of false information, that is defamation. It is everyones job to speak facts and truth. If what you say is correct, that “Inman has no obligation to fairly or accurately represent” because “the people who he has interacted with have not given the correct information,” than he is a very poor researcher unable to verify the facts easily available on the web. His ignorance would not hold up in a court of law given that he uses the web for his comic. Plus, the very basic premise that he is expressing his world-view contradicts his last statement, “just keep it to your f-ing self.”

      • Guest

        If you read the comic, it means you were on Inman’s website. Trolling.

        • That_darn_kt

          Or you read this blog post we’re all commenting on, which contains most of the panels pasted into it.

        • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

          No it doesn’t, Guest. Inman’s comics are often hilarious. I go there all the time. Doesn’t mean someone has to let a fight get picked without fighting back.

          The simple fact is that Inman’s rant against religion is not that creative, sophisticated, or intelligent. It’s pat, shallow, and obtuse.

    • pi2r2

      Duh!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2XDBHIYMAH4R75XTXE6XJDTSL4 Common-sense-man

      I am looking forward to Inman making a cartoon called “How to suck at Islam”…

      • arquinsiel

        You missed that panel then I take it?

      • lightswitch windowshade

        This is a blanket comic using Christianity as an example.The entire thing is how to suck at Islam (or Judaism or Christianity or Zoroastrianism) in the guise of Christianity.

        • Rio

          Whichever religion or person he’s attacking, and however serious, Inman will always have a defense for it, which is “I’m a comedian and I speak in hyperbole. If you sharpshoot my work you will find that I exaggerate for the sake of comedy.” [http://theoatmeal.com/blog/tesla_response].

          Thus, he’s unique among all high-klout people in the sense that he has the “unchallengeable” privilege of influencing millions of young people with whatever he wants to say without being personally responsible for any negative effects it may cause — because “it’s just comedy, you idiot.” So whatever it is — violence towards animals and people, foul language — it will make its impact but he’s not responsible for it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/tbpaolini Tiago Becerra Paolini

            Comedian or not, no person is beyond any criticism. Humor is not the “magic excuse” that allows you to do anything. So, sorry, no privileges.

    • Boombha

      So his understanding of the personal behavior of someone who has a specific faith is based SOLELY on how well the individual represents it, and nothing at all to do with his own biases and misunderstandings and how they influence how he perceives his interactions with others? So, the reason he has such a negative interpretation of the personal behavior of Christians and others with a faith, isn’t at all because he perceives them negatively, but SOLELY because they misrepresent their own religion?

    • Nscates08

      Since many people are part of a religion and the religion is part of the people, the people who adopt a religious belief, hold those beliefs stronger than anything else they have, and believe it to be part of their existence, read this comic. Given the coexistence of a people and how their religion interacts with every part of their life, in my original opinion is that I’m not sure if it really matters whether Inman is making fun of people or their actual religions, considering that most people take their particular religion personally.

      However, you are true in that one who holds a religion may very well not be as offended. My personal reactions to this cartoon as a devout practicing Catholic are:
      1. Not being offended.
      2. That I wish so many people weren’t so ignorant about their religion, however then I realize how much I probably don’t know about my religion (so who am I to not put myself among ‘the idiots’, which leads me to my second reaction.
      3. That I wish folks who are seeking more information, history, beliefs about a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, etc. faith would seek either religious authority figures or (better recommendation) actual texts that have been approved by that particular religion as acceptable (supplemental exegetical texts of the actual books and translations of the Quran ,Bible, Hindu texts, books written by faith leaders (such as papal encyclicals and texts from church councils). My only reason for preference of the second option is that what is written down is vetted, and in some cases such texts (Quran,Hindu, Bible, Catholic encyclicals) may be considered infallible by the text’s parent religion.
      4. Special condition for obtaining more information about Atheism/Agnosticism: What I recommend someone to do to get more information about these people are to talk to as many of them as you possibly can and read as much texts as you possibly can due Atheism’s extreme ambiguity and diversity. I can almost guarantee you won’t ever hear/read the same story twice. Caution though, this can be extremely overwhelming and can leave a person in search of more information feeling very lost, confused, exhausted, in desire of maybe creating their own set of Atheist beliefs that they decide to ‘keep to themselves…or not’.

  • MsNyx

    Religion – “which is entrenched in reason”. I missed everything after that. Since when does religion have ANYTHING to do with logic or reason? Religion is faith. Religion is fiction. Sheesh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=696460166 Natalie Taylor

    I think that this is a well reasoned and thoughtful counter to the oatmeal article. The only point I would argue is the point about parenting.

    If I was pressed to identify with any religion I would have to say Anglicanism however a more accurate description would be agnostic (I just don’t know but my brain/heart feels there is something more) I came to these conclusions myself. My mom grew up in a religious household she went through the whole process, my dad was not, when it came time for us to “go to church” my parents left it up to us to decide. I choose to go for awhile more out of curiousity then anything and every Sunday I would go with my grandparents. After awhile I started to only go during “special events” Christmas/Easter. Then I just didn’t want to go anymore, for whatever reason thier teachings just didn’t resonate with me. I don’t begrudge my friends/famiy who choose to practice whatever faith they choose, it DOES however become a problem when they judge how I live my life and try to make me feel bad about the choices I make in my life.

  • Rory

    The only weak part of this was your response to the ‘judgemental’ section of the post. Rather than answering a legitimate question about fundamentalist religious groups and their tendency to condemn all who disagree with them (off the top of my head, the West Baptist Church), you simply pointed out that The Oatmeal was judgemental too. Two wrongs don’t make a right – poor answer.

    I’m a fan of The Oatmeal, and I think the comic needs to be taken for what it is: an attack on extremist groups whose intolerance is just shameful, and not on religion in general.

    All in all though, your post was admirably rational. Religious debate needs more like this.

  • ThatDCGuy

    You say I will go to Hell because I do not believe in Cheesus – I say, you will rot in the ground and worms will eat your brain… What’s the difference? We both think the other person is wrong… You have your “Truth,” I have my disbelief in a fairy tale. Can’t we just leave it at that?

  • Derek_Smith

    I love the jimmies this comic has rustled

    Buddhist here, and I wasnt offended…I thought this was funny, but then people like you have to contradict everything you say by trying to make it as if you were ok with the comic and camly replying, but instead you are “I CANT BELIEVE HE WROTE THIS, BLA BLA BLA, STEM CELLS ARE BAD, EXCEPT FOR THE ONESE BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH”, I just wanna let you know that you had that backwords AND wrong. Adult stem cells “cured” about half of those you listed, and more then that list have been cured with embryonic. biologist here, I can vouch, mostly because I have done the research myself, and guess what, I’M NOT GOING TO HELL, mostly because it DOESN’T EXSIST.

    ~rant over

    • CertainlyNot

      The New Atheist defense of Buddhists is totally specious and tactical, just like the exception for jews.

      Jews hardly keep it to themselves or from their children. (He should meet some of the Jews of Hebron, too.)

      But they can’t talk about the jews. Why? It would be look really bad from them to START BASHING JEWS, given the history of what happens when you start bashing people just because of their religious beliefs.

      I WANT to hear about your Buddhist beliefs, unlike the New Atheist bravo and Dawkins Army of Cartoon Atheists (DACA). I find it fascinating. I find that I can inform my faith by learning about yours!! Religous people are talking to each other all the time. The Dalai Lama is received with honor, for instance, and is glad to talk to other people of faith.

      I DO NOT want to hear about atheism, *per se* (even though atheists can be interesting people). All atheism says is “no god”. This is completely flat and boring. I can think that myself. The next thing they do is blasphemy…oh, and that just brings out the best in everyone.

      There is nothing else on offer from them that requires atheism. Atheism is not necessary.

    • Skorlan

      Where did you post your research results with respect to successful embryonic stem cell research? I’m at a major research university so I will easily be able to look up the peer reviewed journals you cite. thank you in advance for the information.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CrankyEditor Tamar Love Grande

    Did M. Inman give you permission to steal all his images?

    • JoAnna

      Please Google “Fair Use”

  • calabazasestupendas

    Let children choose for themselves, and it has been shown that they’ll choose the supernatural

    Shown how exactly? Since the overall proportion of world population who declare themselves Atheist or Agnostic has been steadily increasing since…well…ever…This is statistically wrong.

  • Sense

    In reply to the ridiculous comment about the Galileo affair being “the only event in 2000 years of Church history that atheists can point to in order to claim that the Church is opposed to Science”, could I quickly draw the audience’s attention to the word “creationism”? This whole article is full of inaccuracies & wild claims.

    • http://profiles.google.com/andrew.p.hill Andrew Hill

      Yes, creationism…which the Catholic Church does not espouse. Great logic, that.

  • http://www.toothygrinsstore.com/HydroFloss-p/hydrofloss01.htm Toothy Grins

    This is a cool post in response to The Oatmeal’s cartoon. I don’t take sides on this debate. But I have noticed that atheists in general have some very illogical arguments.

    Atheism itself dogmatic and atheism cannot be proven to be accurate in the same way that they accuse the belief in religious ideology to be unprovable.

    It is really a very strange battle that has been going on for a very long time.

    • CertainlyNot

      It’s not a strange battle.

      “Old Atheists” sang to Krishna, sang to Rama, developed New Age spirituality. They said, peace, love, and understanding.

      The “New Atheism” is lies, distortions, and half-truths, wrapped up in hate of religious people.

      • http://www.toothygrinsstore.com/HydroFloss-p/hydrofloss01.htm Toothy Grins

        Yes, somewhere people lost their faith in God and in religion too.

        And as much as no one wants to talk about it, demons have entered the priesthood and they are doing their evil to destroy people’s faith in religion and in God.
        This is a shame. It is difficult to lead people to any religion when those in that religion cause harm to others.
        This is the biggest problem for Catholicism today.

        The Church’s wish to shield these demons is also a problem. It doesn’t make any sense. Failure to punish wrong doing is also a problem. A problem with severe consequences on the ability to reach out to new people.

        As I’m sure you are aware, Church attendance is way down from where it was 50 years ago.

  • Aztec300zx

    I think this comic says it all & get right 2 the point ,any one who believes in something that doesn’t exists,should have there head examined.The 1 point i want 2 make( & oh, there soooo many) that if u believe in this crap then u don’t believe in sieance,then as far as religion is concerned there never was prehistoric man, no dinosaurs,after all religion started about 5k yrs ago so how could there be prehistoric man, or the dinosaurs.a good example of this was that Jurassic park was banned in Israeli.because of the dinosaur theme.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_265RXLWSQHFXNVJSILUMM5ODDQ Nick

    First reply, about judgment. It’s a non-issue if this comic is judgmental, because we who are on the side of the comic don’t have a celestial being to listen to, who told us that he/she/it is the only one who can judge, and that we shall not cast judgment on others.

    Secondly, about Galileo. So, the God-believers of the time, whatever they would call themselves, they wanted scientific proof that a pair of large entities rotated around each other in the opposite order as previously suggested, but they expect everyone to take their word that an all-powerful being created the two things in question? I’d say that doesn’t exactly and directly hinder scientific advancement for that specific situation, because it’s absolutely irrelevant to advancement anywhere around the time period, but it is insanely hypocritical, and a needless hindrance towards that advancement. “We will shape your world because we say we can, but no no, you can’t shape ours.” Nice.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      Actually, the scientists at the time were in consensus that the earth was motionless in the center of the world. The evidences were empirical. You could see the sun going around the earth. There was no persistent east wind blowing things away. There was no detectable Coriolis effect. There was no observable stellar parallax. It could be shown by simple geometry that either the stars were no farther than 100x the distance of Saturn or else they were of such huge magnitude as to dwarf the entire world out to the orb of Mars. When this was pointed out, the Copernicans played the God card: it didn’t matter that the stars would be incomparably huge in their system, because God could do it.

      Copernicanism was supported by some mathematical astronomers, by the literati and artists (i.e., the humanists) and by some churchmen. It was opposed by the physicists, other mathematician-astronomers, and by some churchmen.

      Geostationary theories had stood for a couple millennia as “settled science.” The religiously-based heliocentric notion had been thoroughly falsified by the ancient Greek pagans. The Church, when interpreting her scriptures, naturally relied on this settled science insofar as the imagery involved astronomical matters, and this meant that by the 17th century there was a thick crust of writings whose imagery was based on both Aristotelian physics and Ptolemaic astronomy.

      In the middle of the Thirty Years War, the officials were rather sensitive about private, untrained individuals mouthing off about scriptural interpretation, which Galileo had done in his Letter to Castelli. In the past, the Church had understood imagery as metaphorical or historico-literal as the best secular knowledge indicated and had no problem with changing a reading protocol; but they weren’t about to do it on one person’s say-so in the face of the scientific consensus, and with virtually no supporting data.

      Concepts of inertia, gravitation, etc. needed to be worked out. The Airy disc had to be understood as an artifact of the telescope, not a real thing. The paradigm shift took about a century and a half. Which is a little bit longer than it took quantum theory and relativity to move from fringe notion to settled science.

      Hope this helps.

  • http://www.digitalmcgyver.com/ Micke Kazarnowicz

    Wow. You managed to pick a web comic apart. Now here’s something tougher: Stephen Fry’s speech about why the Catholic Church is not a force of good. Which I, as an ex Catholic, wholeheartedly agree with. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL5WVecNdhk

    • CertainlyNot

      It’s not at all clear that Stephen Fry is a force for good. He gives people permission to offend each other, just because of their religious beliefs. New Atheists quote him often. And they take it all the way, no limits, bring on the blasphemy!

      Besides, Catholics and Catholic leadership are aware of all the atrocities in the past, no atheism required.

      Did you know that the Catholic Church opposed the war in Iraq? (I don’t want to overstate that, but they did.)

      Here is the rest of Mr. Fry, as a force for good in the world, making swearing into an artform. I’m not saying, I’m just saying. This is the world upside down:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_osQvkeNRM

      • http://www.digitalmcgyver.com/ Micke Kazarnowicz

        Oh, sorry my bad. Being against “The war in Iraq” totally makes up for thousands of raped children, people tortured and all the suffering that the Catholic church still brings on humans (gays and lesbians, anyone?).

        My main issue with Catholics is that they believe that the Pope, one of the most evil persons in the world, is the voice of God on earth. The power that gives him is scarier than anything else.

        (Also, Stephen Fry never said he was a force of good. Catholics claim they are though.)

        • JoAnna

          Jerry Sandusky raped kids too. Therefore, neither public universities nor football coaches are forces for good, and both should be banned forthwith.

          • http://www.digitalmcgyver.com/ Micke Kazarnowicz

            So you’re saying Catholic logic says that one school out of thousands compares to thousands of priests raping kids? Yes, I see now how Catholic force is a force of stringent logic AND good.

          • Deven Kale

            What happened with Jerry Sandusky was just one man. While it is definitely still a horrible act and, in a perfect world, shouldn’t have happened, it’s still nowhere near as nasty as what happens with the Catholic church. The difference between Penn State and the Catholic church should be obvious: One man at Penn State was a pedophile and was caught and prosecuted, dozens of men in the Catholic church were hidden away in order to avoid prosecution while the victims are told not to speak out, according to official papal policy.

            There is no official policy at Penn State regarding what to do with child rapists, while the Catholic church says to hide them and convince the victims that telling the authorities is a no-no. I think there’s a huge difference of degree here, and comparing the two is disingenuous at best, but far more likely deliberately misleading.

  • John

    Inman just posted a rebuttal from Shameless Rebuttal on his Facebook site. Let’s just say that site is being flooded with The Oatmeal followers . . . it’s like The Oatmeal is a mini religion and Inman is the founding father. How ironic.

    • John

      *Shameless Popery

  • ProudAgnostic

    The author says “Well sweetie, some people think killing others is always wrong, others think it’s okay in certain situations like war, and others think it’s always okay to work in their own self-interest or in the interest of their deeply held religious or ideological beliefs, and that killing others for the sake of those beliefs is okay. What do you think?” while completely ignoring that these are all valid opinions. Not everyone has the same view of murder, as the author just proved with his own statement! People who strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves and other people up, for whatever reason, think murder is okay in that situation. It’s really sad to think that there are children who will have parents who tell them with absolute certainty what ‘the truth’ on religion is. Religion should be a personal journey, beginning with oneself, not one’s parents. I think the dad who lets his daughter believe what she wants to believe is doing her far more good than forcing her into his beliefs, even if he believes she’ll go to hell for it.

  • veryharried

    “We’re looking at 1 in 5 women having been raped” (subjugation of women is never perpetuated by organized religion), “1 in 3 reporting sexual abuse” (cough, cough, Catholic Church), “1 in 4 teenage girls contracting an STD” (god forbid they use a condom, literally), “2/3 of pregnancies unplanned” (and how, pray-tell, does one plan a pregnancy when one is told to never use any viable means of contraception?), “untold millions addicted to pornography” (some would argue that pornography in and of itself is not a vice — however, the addiction to it, I would postulate, might stem from a church-directed supression of healthy sexual urges), “63% of married women reporting they’d rather be watching a movie than having sex with their husbands” (well, one must love, honor, and obey one’s husband, amirite ladies?!), and the general degradation of the human body into an advertising, money-making machine (religions would know nothing of advertising, money-making machines, right? Right?!).

  • http://profiles.google.com/donn.christianson Donn Christianson

    You can believe whatever you want to be true. That doesn’t mean the evidence supports it or that it is, in fact, a truth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sara.dean3 Sara Dean

    Thank you for a clever and clear rebuttal. I especially respect the supporting links for adult stem cell research. Well done!

  • Lbeeson
  • CharlesJorgenson

    I myself was raised catholic and have become an atheist. The funny thing is that in part i have Catholics in my church to thank for that. I was already a person focused on logic and fact and as such often found the bible laughable but i took it as a persons interpretations of events and that at one point the major points of the book had happened.

    But as time went on and i got older, i found myself being judged more often by Catholics and others in the church than by people i knew around me. i was in my teen years and was awkward and questioning and what i got in return was “act like we do, stop asking questions”. I got judged for how i dressed, i got judged for everything i did.

    Meanwhile i saw people, catholic people, going out and committing sins every week, from adultery to stealing etc etc and then coming in every Sunday and repenting and acting like its all ok, just to go do it again. I didnt do this, yet im the one that get judged? I’m sorry but if you keep doing what you know you shouldn’t be doing then obviously you aren’t following your religion and have no right to claim it as your own.

    There is nothing inherently too wrong with the catholic religion, its the execution that is flawed. So many people dont practice what they preach. Jesus gave up his possessions and lived quaintly and suggested others did too yet now we go to worship him in a gilded castle with marble floors? Give the church all your money but let the starving and poor do without? Multi-million dollar mega churches with TV shows and advertisements. Churches aren’t supposed to be for profit. its hypocritical.

    Catholicism teaches tolerance and acceptance yet every day i hear of some person condemning others who arent like them or dont believe what they do. Even though i’m at a point where i dont believe in the religion i do understand how it could be a good thing for people to be taught, as long as they are taught correctly. Thats the problem.

    Everything that The Oatmeal brought up in their comic i have experienced. True or not when it comes to the actual religion, these are the things that i hear from religious people. Thats his whole point. You can be religious and be good at it, or you can be religious, and suck at it.

  • Matt I

    Wow.. blatant copyright infringement. Keep your eyes open for a takedown notice!

    • Mike

      He at least gave credit to the author and made a critique of it which qualifies it for fair use. Unlike funnyjunk who branded The Oatmeal’s content as their own. Now that’s a takedown worthy abuse.

  • Mike

    The premise of this retort assumes atheism is a religious body, you know what they say about assumptions. It also tries to take a comic seriously, two misconceptions makes for a shaky foundation to build an argument on. If you’re a true believer, is there any need to defend your side? This isn’t an attack, he posted it on his site for like-minded people. Basically it boils down to self-affirmation, which is why atheists are going to enjoy the comic panel. Both sides just get to bolster their ego and their id. Common ground found, now can we all just get along? :D

  • Jocelyn

    I don’t totally agree with Matt Inman’s comic, though I usually love it. I don’t totally agree with the fumbling efforts to debunk it either (though this is the best of them). I was raised Anglican and chose to be evangelical later in life and then stopped drinking the kool-aid in favour of an as-yet-undefined variety of “Scientific Jesus-y-ism,” and oh, yeah. I’m a scientist.

    The thing is, all the different breakdowns of this comic by religious people have made the SAME mistake: you can’t really judge Inman for what he says because he never claimed to be non-judgmental. He never claimed to be intolerant… something that religious people generally claim to be, whether it fits the doctrine or not. Don’t make this mistake when you are refuting his arguments. The reason religious people are targeted is because they stand up and proclaim beliefs in things that should be manifest in their behaviour. There would be less for people like Inman to take issue with if Christians just did what they said.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      you can’t really judge Inman for what he says because he never claimed to be non-judgmental.

      That does not follow logically.

      And in any case, he was not charged with being judgmental but in being factually wrong on a number of key points.

  • Guest

    I believe what The Oatmeal is trying to say is that if you blame your religion for being a (pick your adjective for terrible) person to other people you should get rid of the religion, you stink at it. What I take from the comic is that the religions themselves aren’t the problem, the people using religion as an excuse to be terrible is the problem. Don’t take it as an attack on your religions, take it as a screed against the people that make your religions look bad.

  • kpatb

    This article is such a load of rubbish on so many levels.
    It is definitely missing the point of the comic and makes several terrible points that were obviously made by someone who blindly believes in their religion. I’m glad I read this article… because it just proves to me that people really still are so ignorant and as a scientist (who is spiritual by the way), this article makes me want to laugh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erik.griffiths Erik Griffiths

    Go ahead and carry on believing its true, and anybody who has taken the time to compare your holy text to modern information will laugh at you.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      Why? It cannot be only because they don’t understand what the Orthodox, Roman, Coptic, and Eastern churches believe.

      • CertainlyNot

        Why? You dare to ask?

        New Atheism brainwashes its adherents. Clear as day.

  • Tom

    I think you forgot to read the last line:

    “JUST KEEP IT TO YOUR FUCKING SELF”

    It is people like you that he is writing about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erik.griffiths Erik Griffiths

    Here’s the interesting thing. In religious countries or regions rape is more likely to happen. In America right wing states, which are traditionally more religious, the rate rate per 100,000 is 6 points higher than traditional less religious states. Additionally Europe which is more secular than America also has a much lower rape rate. Now you could argue that correlation does not prove causation, but the way the bible treats women and sex, that is very unlikely.

  • ZebraJen

    If you need a book written by a magic man in the sky to tell you that murder is wrong then we are all doomed. It is entirely possible to argue against murder in purely secular terms. Christians did invent morality or good behavior, but you never hesitate to arrogantly claim to have a monopoly on it.

    • ZebraJen

      “did not”
      obviously

  • Ethel_cardew

    Confused as to why so many people are finding it offensive. If your religion and by that I mean the way you practice it doesn’t do the things in his comic, how does it relate to you? I look at the comic and say I don’t force my religion on others, I don’t hate or judge people who don’t agree with me, I don’t have issues about my sexuality because of my religion, I don’t make death threats to those who draw my God, I vote based on more than just what party is has my beliefs etc so this doesn’t apply to me, my faith and how I practice my religion. If it hit a nerve maybe you need to think about why.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      If your religion and by that I mean the way you practice it doesn’t do the things in his comic, how does it relate to you?

      Simple. Try this thought experiment. Imagine a similar comic about crime in which criminals are portrayed as stereotypical Afro-American homeboys talking jive. Would an answer like “If you don’t do the things in this comic, how does it relate to you?” pass muster?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/AFNDBOLWAKE4I35NJNYR7GZL24 amd

        You’re born black or white. Religion is a lifestyle choice, usually inflicted on you by dogmatic parents. You can choose rationality and to disassociate yourself with religiots at any time. You can never choose not to be black, white, Asian etc. Absolutely no comparison.

        If you are doing none of the things outlined by the hilarious Oatmeal post, you have nothing to worry about and don’t need to get your knickers in a knot about it. If you are doing any of these things, it’s a good thing you are angry and upset, you deserve to be.

  • http://abramkj.wordpress.com/ Abram

    “Carry on with your religion!*
    *Just keep it to your f***ing self.”**

    **(unless you are the Oatmeal)

  • alex88

    I stopped reading after I saw the grotesquely inaccurate statistic that 2/3 of all pregnancies are unplanned. Only about 49% are. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-Unintended-Pregnancy-US.html

    • Skorlan

      A number of Guttmacher’s studies recently have been found to be seriously flawed. I don’t know if this is one of them or not, but I would check other sources if this is a recent article.

  • SuperStandardMan

    “We’re looking at 1 in 5 women having been raped, 1 in 3 reporting sexual abuse, 1 in 4 teenage girls contracting an STD, 2/3 of pregnancies unplanned, untold millions addicted to pornography, 63% of married women reporting they’d rather be watching a movie than having sex with their husbands, …” CITE YOUR SOURCES

  • Obscura

    Thank you so, so much for this post. I was a fan of the Oatmeal until he jumped onto the “let’s attack religion” bandwagon. Yes, he should absolutely have done his research and he’s acting every bit as fanatical as he accuses us of being. I’m glad you stood up to him! Thank you!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002323490287 Micah Williams

    I’m pretty sure the guy was referrring to people and not religion as a whole.

  • Michele Craig

    I am an Oatmeal fan and a Catholic. I posted this comic to my facebook and would do it again, because most of the people of my Facebook friends would see the absurdity of the whole thing. Of course it is not absolute “truth” about the Catholic Church — just like The Oatmeal’s take on Thomas Edison vs. Tessla was not absolute fact, but an opinionated point of view. For those of use who like the Oatmeal, this is why we read it. I mean, come on, Siracha rooster sauce “napalming the jungle?” This is not politically correct speech.

    I enjoyed reading your article, because I think it was in the spirit of the Oatmeal (the article I linked from — posted by the way from the Oatmeal) was ridiculous and I think just made all Catholics look silly.

    What both of you failed to see, however, is that Inman LOVES to stir things up. And thus, by responding, totally fell into his agenda.

    You cannot in good faith say that the Catholic Church and individual members have always been non-judgmental, pro-science, correct in their political views, etc. I think his whole point is “practice what you preach.” He isn’t preaching it, so he doesn’t have to practice it.

    • CertainlyNot

      “Inman LOVES to stir things up. ”

      So what?

      He’s missed the mark by a mile and so he’s just making people angry at each other. It’s just like the New Atheism: more heat and hate than light.

  • Autonomicdrek

    Simple question for the Bad Catholic: if someone doesn’t believe in Jesus, what happens to them after they die?

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      That’s easy.

      “[T]here will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek. There is no partiality with God.

      All who sin outside the law will also perish without reference to it, and all who sin under the law will be judged in accordance with it. For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified. For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law unto themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus.” (Romans 2:10-16)

      This is what led to the Christian notions of “conscience” and the “naturally Christian man.” Nietzsche, of course, reached an opposite conclusion and mocked Anglophone atheists who thought they could keep Christian morality without the Christianity as “flatheads.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/ainsley.trumper Ainsley Trumper

    He’s having a go, a joke about, the OTT religions, and I think he’s saying that, as long as your religion is not forced upon others, doesn’t hinder overall human progress and advancement, and generally makes you happy, then it’s a good religion, and he is hapy with your choice. But he can’t, like myself and a lot of other people, stand that some must enforce their ways of thinking on to others through unfair means such as lies, and also that in some cases some must also suffer, in the name of a certain deity.

    Although most of all, it’s a goddamn comic, and that fact it’s OTT and poking fun is what makes it funny. Relax

  • SenselessNoise

    “In the past thirty years of [embryonic stem cell] research, there hasn’t been one single human disease cured.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/01/23/first-humans-show-improvement-from-stem-cell-treatment/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22281388

    hESC is a fairly new field. It takes a while for things this complicated to be perfected and implemented (especially when religious presidents cut funding to it). But still, you’re wrong. But anyways, he was using the Galileo situation as a parallel. Regardless, it doesn’t matter – harvesting embryonic stem cells does not require the death of the embryo, but most religious people don’t want to hear that (genetic testing in IVF removes a hESC regularly without harming the embryo, that could be grown and cultured into more hESC’s).

    What the comic is getting at is that religion, much like your genitals, shouldn’t be wave d around and crammed down peoples’ throats. As an atheist, I’m tired of being told I’m going to hell, I’m a sinner, etc. etc. I spent 6 years in a Christian school, going to Bible camp and church functions and whatever. When I truly sat down to skeptically read the Bible (after having read it cover to cover some 3 times before), I started to see the contradictions, the glaring inaccuracies, the impossibilities. That’s when I stopped believing.

    Still, I refute your argument that people are innately religious. I think that’s crap. Sure, if you tell a kid you can either go to paradise for eternity when you die or simply cease to exist, guess what they’re going to pick? Try telling them they can either burn in hell for eternity or cease to exist, guess which they’ll pick? People want to believe that things happen for a reason – it gives them a way to cope with how the world works and why bad things happen. But the fact is that the world sucks, the people in it suck, and if a magical sky wizard can’t cure hunger or AIDS in Africa then he’s not going to give a damn about whether you get that A on your English 101 research paper.

    • Skorlan

      No faithful Catholic is going to tell you you’re going to hell, because the Catholic Church teaches that if you don’t know about God due to invincible ignorance you are not responsible for acting on information you can’t attain. If you act as best you can, then it is presumed that if you knew there was a God and knew He wanted you baptized you would have done so, and therefore have a baptism of desire. Of course, you will still be judged on your actions which could get you anywhere after you die.

  • Michael H West

    I definitely laughed at the comic, but yours has to be one of the most well-reasoned rebuttals of this (or anything like it), I’ve ever read. I’m an atheist (because that’s what I believe to be true- I’m totally using that line in the future), but if everyone was able to explain their beliefs so reasonably, there’d be a lot more understanding in the world.

    Well done, sir.

  • CertainlyNot

    Many Atheists will lie for their religion.

    Here is more like what they say amongst each other.

    http://i.imgur.com/kMK4g.jpg

    And it is a socio-religious movement.

    See how fiercely they defend it even against reason, sometimes as if their life depended on it; check how often they post whether they are gaining in followership; see how they come back to the same websites, post the same anti-religious nonsense, day after day, as if it were their moral cause in life to make everyone an atheist, just like them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1572961194 Stefan Kotzamanis

      What an absolutely ridiculous post.

      “Many atheists will lie for THEIR religion?”

      Atheists (uncapitalized, by the way) share one thing in common – the lack of belief in a deity. That’s it, nothing more. There is no scripture, canon or dogma by which atheists align themselves with; they simply do not believe in God(s). I would consider myself to be quite a hard-line, so called ‘militant’ atheist, but a vast majority of my mates are atheists that never give a second of thought to religion.

      And in regards to your last bit about ‘coming back to religious sites etc’, of course atheists like myself do! We despise religion! We wish to see the world free of it… this is no different to Jehovah’s Witnesses (only that we are far less intruding and annoying.)

      A few moments ago i read an article on the dailymail about David Cameron wanting to legalzie gay marriage by 2015. The comments were abhorrent! One cannot read the comments without feeling disgust towards those individuals corrupted by religion.

      To be honest, some people’s lives do depend on it. Some people are thrown out of their homes and abandoned for breaking away from the beliefs of their parents.

      I see nothing wrong with Christians trying to convert people, so i don’t see why you should be bothered with atheists arguing for their cause.

      • CertainlyNot

        To despise religion is either to declare yourself a sociopath or indicate you do not understand the meaning of the term.

        Atheism is not a religion. Atheists all have an adopted system of values/ethics that forms their religion, whether it is no-god or God, ad-hoc or systematic.

        Your Atheism does not make you a better person, your behavior does.

        There is nothing that says that atheists must hate religion. That’s just a long bullshit story that you made up.

        It’s also terribly a-historical. Before New Atheism poisoned everything, atheists were happy to make New Age religions and make feminist critiques and sing to Rama and Krishna.

        So, once again, lies, distortions, and half-truths from New Atheism.

  • http://twitter.com/TheMalteseBippy Chαrℓєmαηgє ♀

    You’re comparing telling a child that murder is wrong to telling them what happens after death? Have you died and seen what happens?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1572961194 Stefan Kotzamanis

    ” Christian belief is entrenched in reason”

    LOL. I stopped reading after that… come on.

    The comic is about how SUCKING at your religion, not the problems with religion or why it’s false. You totally missed the point.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7RNNPBRAXAEGUV556X6TCTUMYQ yvj

    Not denying the obnoxious nature of many religious people, and the dark side that can come with it. (Though one can argue the dark side of human nature popping) But the irony of telling people to keep ideology to themselves is pretty amusing.

    Never read the Oatmeal so I’m assuming it leans towards social commentary in which case the irony won’t be as pronounced.

    That being said, it had some pretty funny parts

  • Hi

    Ask Inman the Oatmeal why does he belief what he belief. The reason Inman belief in something to produce such cartoon. Man, Inman, you’re being question for the belief you project them on your cartoon. The questions is why having that belief then? Aren’t we all fools and die anyway? Shouldn’t you keep that cartoon belief of yours to yourselves only? lol

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3DX3RWS6ZGDX6MSUPWYHYQHD3E Vince

    “I carry on with my religion for no other reason than that I believe it to be true… So how does one truly suck at their religion? By following the advice of Mr. Inman and deconstructing our religion until it becomes agreeable to the current standards of the world. We are to be happy, helpful, and full of purpose. Never mind believing ourselves to be right.” If you could contradict yourself any more, the universe would collapse in on itself.

  • lolfaggot

    Stop-with-the-hyphens-it’s-not-as-cool-as-you-think

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=596345253 Peter Giraldeau

    Everything about this article bothers me. I should begin by prefacing this tirade by stating that I am Atheist. I do not believe in a higher power or some all seeing, all knowing entity who created the earth. I do not believe in the divinity of a man whose historical presence has not been proven. However I believe strongly in an individuals right to believe in whatever they choose to believe. I also believe that faith is inherently beneficial to mankind, regardless of whether that faith is in God, Allah, Science, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The thing I hate most about organized religion is that people take it too seriously. You have taken a joke, representative, not of you or your ilk, but rather of individuals all across the spectrum of religious belief. He does not target anyone specifically and his observations are broad enough to encompass many individuals but leave out the vast majority.

    Perhaps I should begin by addressing your observations about asking a child what they think and teaching about beliefs at a young age. You stated that no one would ask how a child feels about taking a human life nor would they teach that in some situations it is acceptable to do so. Here you are flat out wrong. Your example simply demonstrates your adherence to principles which are not all encompassing and teach placidity. Thou shall not kill has limits, limits which include self-defence, war, defence of others etc. These are situations in which many individuals the world over feel that taking a human life is acceptable. You cannot with honesty say that in a situation where it was your life or your attackers you would allow him to kill you rather than adhering to a principle in the bible. Your beliefs will be the last thing on your mind in that instant when you have to make that decision. Or in a situation no person should experience, your life or your child’s. In that situation you would do everything in your power to save your child, or yourself and you would not regret the decision because the bible tells you that God will be forgiving. So why not teach your child to think for themselves and decide what to believe? Ask a child if he thinks its wrong to take what isn’t his and he’ll say yes. Ask a child if he thinks its wrong to kill and he’ll say yes, but ask him a ‘what if’ question after and his response will shock and perhaps inspire you to rethink your own views. Kids make sense, at least the un-indoctrinated ones.

    You speak of ‘secular’ sexual activity as being the cause of teen pregnancy, rape, sexual assault and sexual anxiety but you fail to realize that it is religious teaching which refuses to teach about contraception that causes teen pregnancy and STDS. Catholic guilt which causes repressed individuals to lash out sexually (unless its mental illness but that’s a different story). Secular sexual practice involves contraception, family planning beyond ‘family planning’ and acknowledges that human beings are animals and animals have sexual urges which can be maintained in a healthy manner so long as they are educated on the subject.

    You also talk about the divorce rate and how it is so high. Picture this, two sexually healthy young adults enter into a relationship and they repress their sexual feelings until they can no longer, so powerful is their lust for one another, so they do the only thing their religion allows, they get married. They get married, have unprotected sex because sex is a procreative activity, and they have a child that they can’t afford. So they have money troubles and begin fighting, then the sex gets bad and is unrewarding for both of them because neither knows what they are doing, what their preferences are and how to go about achieving satisfaction. So they get divorced, its the only reasonable option. But since many religions frown on divorce they will most likely stay in an unhappy relationship feeding their sexual appetites by other means (and that’s where porn addiction starts).

    I feel as though you have written this entire article to bash atheism and The Oatmeal because you can’t handle thinking rationally about your religion and the problems it has caused throughout history. The problems it is causing now. Perhaps you are merely blinded to the connection or perhaps you choose not to see it. Either way I hope that you and others like you can see that many people respect your religious beliefs and would even fight for your right to maintain them. But when you say stupid things and blame anyone or anything but yourself you’re going to have a bad time.

    • CertainlyNot

      Let me ask this: so what if it “bashes atheism”?

      This is what you read among your co-religionists on r/atheism: “I don’t give a flying fuck about the [billions of] Muslims who are good people”.

      What is your response to that?

    • http://wasteyourtime.mtgames.org/ Scaevola

      Hypocritical much? Marc wrote this in response to a religion-bashing comic. One that isn’t funny, but is a serious takedown of religious believers of all stripes. Where’s your ire at that?

      Also, Marc very nicely rebutted the claims of Inman–with reasoned-out answers. He took a very rational approach to answering the claims that The Oatmeal makes about believers. I don’t know where you’re getting this idea of him not “thinking rationally about [his] religion” from.

      Finally, I won’t answer your views on sex and divorce if you wilfully choose to remain ignorant of the Church’s true teaching on sex and marriage. You can believe the popular narrative, or you can see what the Church itself teaches.

  • Fitsofhappyness

    The article about “curing lupus” is incorrect. From what I can tell it put The lupus into remission. Which is a far cry from curing it. Lupus is a disease of flares and remissions (I should know, I have it). The adult stem cells successful calmed a flare and induced remission but the long term success was still yet to be seen. Meaning these patients could develop another flare at any time.

  • Avidliongoren

    Very well written and with adequate humor & snark not to get me bored and read through the whole thing despite me agreeing with the oatmeal comic. Thank you for the a smart look at the other side & not using bible verses to refute points in the comic. I would like to know your thoughts on the part of the comic where religions (not just catholic) would debunk/ridicule other religions based on how ridiculous they are, like most believers do about Scientology.

  • http://twitter.com/AayPizzle Alex Park

    “I carry on with my religion for no other reason than that I believe it to be true. This is the only reason to hold a religious belief. This is the only reason to hold any belief.”

    I have to disagree with you on this point. In fact, I have no concrete faith that a higher power exists. I am not an atheist in the sense that I *believe* that there is no higher power, but I do not believe God’s existence to be “true.” However, I still believe that I am “religious,” in that I go to church (but only when I’m comfortable doing so); I, as an adult, chose to be baptized; and I am completely comfortable holding a theological and spiritual discussion based on Christianity.

    The truth is, Christianity, or more generally, spirituality, gives me strength and comfort when I need it. I don’t need faith that my God is “true” to get that strength and comfort.

    And I suspect there are many more like me.

  • AceofCrazy

    The world would be better off without religion in its current form at all now. I’m happy that generations are becoming increasingly secular. Let people act because they believe their actions are right or wrong, and not because the [insert religious doctrine here] tells them that such actions represent their path to Heaven.

    Do because doing is favorable to society at large. To become fanatic of any set of beliefs is to create another space for tension and conflict. It should simply be enough to believe in the unknown and have faith in ignorance. Death is the end or it is not, and simply so.

    I find it sad that anyone is so threatened or offended by a comic that they feel the need to write these pointless, lengthy arguments in defense of themselves and their religion. If you are confident, then let it be. Whether or not you like it, the trend is toward a secular, agnostic society.

    As for voting, I will never vote for anyone that doesn’t put science and civil rights at the forefront of their campaign. Religion is too often just another excuse to perpetuate bigotry and hatred. Gay? Do you have any right to cast the first stone? No you don’t, I don’t care what book you read when genetics are science and mythological texts are fancy. Are you a woman? Well it’s a good thing we live in this millennium, isn’t it? Stem cells? Well yes, of course life begins at conception, but it’s no one’s place to judge another for their private affairs. Abortions will always happen, legal or illegal. The difference will be the safety and assured professionalism that women can seek in public, or in dirty, dangerous back alleys.

    Religion, at least, thankfully, Christianity is a fading trend in more educated areas of the United States. This is coming from someone very much agnostic and open to the belief that their is an order to things, but doesn’t presume to understand when their are religions quite older than Christianity to look to. This comic was very entertaining and well said.

    • CertainlyNot

      The world would be better off without religion in its current form at all now.
      ——-
      Totally unscientific, hyped-up bullshit.

  • Ted

    I found this article to be very informative and even minded, I never knew how the church’s stance on stem cells worked, and how it treated certain issues that challenged scriptural interpretation. However, this author does seem to be a perpetrator of many of the logical and rhetorical flaws the author seems to attack in the first place. First of all Mr. Inman’s judgement of religions in general (not just the catholic church) isn’t a tenet handed down by some atheist organization or system of beliefs, it is simply his personal opinion. However, what he is reacting to is an established institution telling people to judge severely those that make difficult choices such as abortion, contraceptives or other issues that fall in moral grey areas while claiming a supposed moral high ground based on the teachings of an institution with a history of theft, murder, torture, war, and child molestation (too soon?). As an atheist that has some respect for the moral codes present in literature such as the bible, koran or the vedas I have an appreciation for the morality religion can impart on a person; however, it is the the institutions that seem to consistently cause problems by forcing only one interpretation on others. Therefore, in response to the Galileo issue, why is it that the church’s interpretation was so much better than Galileo’s and what gave them the right to put him under house arrest for attempting to teach a different interpretation with a deficit of proof equal or lesser to that of the church. Why is it that some have interpreted scripture as forbidding gay marriage and can force that belief on men that are in love with other men, or women in love with another woman? And, not having closely scrutinized the entire bible, why have we decided for obvious reasons that the sections on slavery are out of date and no longer applicable, while the sections on homosexuality are regarded as, well, scripture? As to your section on murder, yes murder is wrong, but there are shades of grey, I would have no problem taking a life if I were to be drafted into what I believed a necessary war, or in the last defense of my own life or the life of a loved one; but would not take one for anger or revenge. I know that my father does not share this belief, but the fact that he did not impart his own dogma on me when I was at a young age forced me to think about the issue instead of blindly adopting a stance without thought. I firmly believe that any of those rapes or assaults or murder statistics could come just as easily from a christian as an atheist a muslim or a jew. I do however appreciate the even-keeled tone adopted by this site and appreciate this kind of discourse even if I do not agree with what is written.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1038511154 Arafat Kabir

    One retarded article.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6SMOTX2GGT327G7NESGKTZY4HI Glen

    I think more so the people who represent the religion and church in the fashion in his comic’s is really what he is making fun of. I have come across a few good intentioned and heart felt people that reacted in similar fashion in the comics. I represent my heritage and a part of that is the religion that my ancestors had, now I don’t practice or believe in it exactly. But one day I met a person such as like the comics and said that I am studying it. I got the “your going to hell…amongst other things” speech. I know not everyone from any religion is like this and most want to distance themselves from people who are a bit over the top. But I understand from my own personal experiences growing up, that these things do happen and it just seems like the artists is poking fun at those people and not really religion itself. In my opinion.

    As far as the stem cells, from my limited knowledge from what I have read, watched on the news and from science classes. Adult stem cells do have the ability as the writer of this post says it can do and has helped advanced medicine but there is a vast difference between adult and embryonic stem cells. The biggest difference is that adult stem cells are more constricted on what they can do with them, since they are developed into certain roles it may be harder to utilize. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying go kill babies to get embryonic stem cells. However, the use of stem cells from the umbilical cord which are more able to be grown into cells that could be more wide ranging to help advance science should be supported because it does not involve killing a baby and can lead to better treatments.

  • Jstudent23

    While I don’t agree with your interpretations of religion, I do respect that those are your beliefs and appreciate that you weren’t an ass in how you presented your rebuttal. Just thought someone should point that out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1447755676 Michel Wssing

    suck or be great at your religion , your choice, but remember

    Having a religion is like having a dick.
    It may be nice to have one, and you can be very proud of it.
    BUT
    You dont go out and swing it around in public
    AND
    You definately don’t shove it down my childrens throat

    that beeing said:

    Peace

    • CertainlyNot

      Actually, you’ve got that wrong.

      New Atheism is like having a dick. They should it to everyone and they are so proud of it, nothing can stop them from showing. And I mean both literally and figuratively.

      On the other hand, it is very interesting to talk to people who have different religions.

      Did you know that in much Islamic teaching, everyone, no matter how rich they are, are expected to have some sort of contributory trade or skill?

      Do you know the aspects of God that the Jews teach?

      Do you understand the concepts of karma and reincarnation?

      New Atheism, for so many, is the end of inquiry. They declare “no god” and that’s it. Off to Nickleback, nipples, weed, and non-flaccid penises!

      • CertainlyNot

        “should it to everyone” s/b “show it to everyone.

  • Exhumeatheistrix

    I appreciate the care that went into this post but no, ultimately its as silly as the comic that inspired it. There are so many fallacies, inconsistencies and just plain contradictory things in this post that it is too exhausting to catalogue them. Really though, there’s just no point in arguing about other people’s imaginary friends sometimes.

    • CertainlyNot

      I never talk logic with “exhumeantheistrix”. It’s their kryptonite.

      See, others can cast aspersions just like you.

      Maybe you try something more clever, next time? It’s a hope for humanity.

      Next.

    • CertainlyNot

      I never talk logic with “exhumeantheistrix”. It’s their kryptonite.

      See, others can cast aspersions just like you.

      Maybe you try something more clever, next time? It’s a hope for humanity.

      Next.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/AFNDBOLWAKE4I35NJNYR7GZL24 amd

      Agreed, it is pointless entering into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. If someone’s premise is that they have an invisible friend in the sky who they can send telepathic messages to and get wishes granted, well, it’s all over for rational debate really. Thanks for reminding me of that, must leave this site before I forget how many intelligent, rational people there really are in the world.

  • Dash Rendar

    Hi there. I’d call myself an atheist… I think. I read Inman’s comic first, then your reply to it, and I must say, that you make some valid points. It was nice to read and gave me kind of a good feeling, that there still are sane people out there. :D Thank you for that.

  • Armistead Linda

    At the risk of having my cool-snide-hipster-card revoked , you sir have a new follower to your blog! Thank you Oatmeal or I’d have never found it :-)

  • Matt

    You did a fair comparison there .. murder == religion. lol

  • Potato Jesus

    So he gets the main point of the whole comic “well I can say you’re wrong but you’re wrong because im going to go extended version of what he said exactly.

  • Liquid Wolf

    Atheism is a religion with followers just as good and bad as any other belief.

    This comic is not the worst depiction of religion I have ever seen, and it appears responses and reactions to it are cropping up only because it was a popular comic.

    Like Pokemon or Harry Potter before this, the comic exists solely for itself and the fans. Your responses are clearly not aimed at the author or his group because they don’t take the work seriously. When you come at them with a serious response, they just laugh.

    If you are going to engage something like this and make it your equal, then you should probably engage it on the same battlefield. Make a comic that argues his points, rather than writing a critique on something that no one takes seriously.

    Otherwise you just strike your audience as reacting and giving equal weight to something that really shouldn’t matter. Have a good time with it… laugh, poke fun, and get your points across without looking like a tired, old, man yelling at kids for their shenanigans.

  • Elbatalia

    ” We are to be happy, helpful, and full of purpose. Never mind believing ourselves to be right.”
    Emm..I think this is why religions all over the world were made. To make people feel happy and complete. Some people just don’t think a religion as given is enough as an explanation.
    You sound a lot like a scientist. “I don’t care being happy since I’m right.” Whaaat? And I suppose you will be happy in the afterlife …right?Ok…

  • guest

    The real hilarity in these “Catholic Responses” is that they are so angry about a comic that does not even condemn Christianity. What Inmann has done in his comic is explained in amusing terms, that Christianity, and any religion for that matter, has its place. The moral of this comic is that religious extremists; I.E. abortion clinic bombers, Muslim extremists who threaten to kill cartoonists for representing Mohamad in a TV show ( yes, Matt Stone and Trey Parker.) These types of religious extremists do in fact, suck at religion. Inmann also points out that those who use their faith to inspire others, help them, and better the world in general are doing it right, and that they have a valuable place in society.

    • CertainlyNot

      “The atheist’s cognitive dissonance. It burns.”

      abortion clinic bombers, Muslim extremists, fuck-idiot blasphemers? You got all that from this cartoon?

      This is what was in the cartoon, a total caricature of Christians, filled with lies, distortions, mocking and deprecation that is mild compared to the New Atheist hate factory that feeds the internet, for five long years now.

      “Everyone knows what really happened is an omnipotent father figure built outer space and then put a garden on earth where a naked couple ate some fruit which was bad and then he had magic no-touchy sex with a virgin who gave birth to this bearded hippy guy who got killed until he came back to life as a zombie where he floats around teaching us all not to masturbate too much or we’ll be sent to the earth’s core and barbequed for all eternity!”

      The virgin birth story is signifies the manifestation of a spiritual prescence in the world. It is the Light that came into the world and the darkness has not overcome it.

      The story has other significance too.

      It is a beautiful metaphor and both he is an ugly, “crazy”, and quite apparently a totally IGNORANT person. Maybe you are brainwshed by New Atheism in the same way?

      Despite calling themselves “brights”, the depths of New Atheist ignorance and associated brainwashing seems as unbounded.

  • http://www.facebook.com/reylas83 Nick Salyer

    Wow… what discourse! Hahaha… Can’t we just agree to disagree?

    • CertainlyNot

      How can we?

      There are thousands of men who gather each week or sometimes daily to plot against me. They hate me because of my freedoms. They hate me because of my religion.

      The other group is radical Islam.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MYSOHWU7F55FCF7AI2YDSNOWBM earnric

    “potentially unethical treatment that’s never been shown to work” …

    That’s why you do research… To SEE if something works. Worrying about cells in petri dishes and the viability of 10 day old balls of cells has nothing to do with morality, but everything to do with 2000 year old nonsense.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

      Yeah, who cares about performing experimentation that kills people? It might maybe be possibly better than the non-lethal experiments, which have fantastic results!

  • auntiegrav

    It’s all just Marketing. Religion sells a product that never has to be produced (God, Heaven, Flying spaghetti, Hank’s Ass), for as much as they can get (first, second, third-born children, a tithe, ‘volunteerism’).
    That said, religion has a definite place in human development. A human being is an ape that builds a model of the universe in its memory until it reaches physical maturity and ‘fixes’ the model more or less permanently. The human then moves all of their ‘stuff’ into the model universe and avoids the real universe at all costs.
    The key to religion being ‘good’ for our future is that its customs and cultures should help children and adults form reasonable models that are connected to the real needs of the universe (serve God, if you will). Belief doesn’t matter, actions do. If beliefs lead humans down a destructive path, then those beliefs need to be adjusted to fit a constructive, creative path. Whether God is supernatural or not, He represents the epitome of being useful to the future: consuming nothing and creating everything. We only have to find out how to create a little more than we consume in resources.
    Good = anything that adds to the future usefulness
    Bad = anything that subtracts from the future usefulness
    Evil = an action based on unquestioned belief that subtracts from the future usefulness

    • CertainlyNot

      It’s more than a pity that you could read something like the beatitudes and come away with “it’s all just marketing.” What causes this attitude in our society, except that you are already conditioned to think that everything is “marketing”? How could you listen to the Dalai Lama speak and come away with the notion that he’s just selling something? This is repulsive to our best instincts, to think this way.

      How STOOOPID do you need to be to equate an entire system of values and ethics and tradition, culture, faith and family like Judasism with FSM and “Hank’s Ass”?

      BRIANWASHED BY NEW ATHEISM!

      • auntiegrav

        It’s called “reason and logic”, you might try it sometime. That something is complex and accepted by millions of people does not change the cause-effect relationship of its activities. You further go on to equate the Dalai Lama to Catholicism or Judaism, when they are clearly different types of behaviors. The Dalai Lama questions EVERYTHING, whereas the rest are based on the premise that they each have some special place that cannot be questioned except within pre-digested terms. Atheists do the same thing these days. They brainwash themselves with the type of rhetoric which religionists use, and nod and agree with each other and drive their Toyota Pious while listening to the inanities of NPR, yet none are willing to question humanism itself: the belief that humans are special in comparison to the cockroach or the carrot. All of the premises of Divine Creation as a marketing tool are based on people believing that they have some ‘reward’ coming after their organism ceases to function. Granted, a lack of evidence is not proof of absence, but the humans who witness to the existence of evidence don’t seem to feel any need for reality-based data. Each year, we find more and more evidence that human memory and imagination, as well as the chain of historical ‘evidence’ is faulty, and the pool of supportable documentation is shrinking rapidly. Atheists tend to use this as a reason to discount religion completely. I do not. By saying “It’s all marketing”, I am pointing out the methodology of religion. The humor and sarcasm of Hank’s Ass and FSM are for those with a sense of such things.
        If your religion has validity, it won’t have to use children as victims of its dogmatic teachings; especially children who are saddled with parents that choose to wallow in ignorance of the universe.

  • pi2r2

    Amazingly candid, thank you!

  • Frank

    Yawn…

  • kmom

    Marc, Marc,Marc,
    There are so many good points, not that I think they are all bull’s eye hits, but most are worthy of good hard thinking. There is one point that you made that is so backwards, so wrong, I shudder because you inserted it in your essay.
    “You know what does give people weird anxieties about sexuality? The current (oh-so-secular) sexual culture. We’re looking at 1 in 5 women having been raped, 1 in 3 reporting sexual abuse, 1 in 4 teenage girls contracting an STD..”

    Okay, there are some very shocking statistics in here . I work with children every day and I am so dismayed by the sexualization of childhood. But there is absolutely no evidence that the current sexual acceptance is related to the high incidents of rape. Rape is not sexual act , Marc. It is violent. It is performed by people who feel slighted and angry and the only they can get a power surge is to hurt, objectify and take away the power of someone else.That is why there are so many children who are raped- they are vulnerable.

    The “more permissive” Sweden and other European countries have a lower rate of rapes and a higher rate of reporting them.Strict societies like Pakistan and Iraq, actually have a higher rate of rape. The women are so void of rights and power they dare not report it- they are often held accountable for the act . There are news stories all the time about this problem. During the Victorian age 1 in 4 houses in London was considered a brothel. This is a fact from a history class I took. Women and children were vulnerable to a very high rate of abandonment from the men in the family and the women could not possibly make enough money to clothe,feed and shelter themselves in the city, let alone the families they cared for, So they were forced into a horrible situation where , even if they were merely a “kept woman” they were held responsible for their status as “a fallen woman”.And STDs- have you ever read about how many people had syphilis and gonnorreah in the Victorian age? This is not a new problem. The rate of increase is tracking a short span of years – the last 60 or so.

    During the Puritan age, by the way , there is a fantastically high rate of births that occur before nine months of marriage. They were able to glean this fact looking at church records. When you read diaries such as “The Midwife’s Tale”, a story about a midwife from Hallowell Maine, you can read about the horrible vulnerability of women in our own society some two hundred years ago. They were raped, they were coerced.

    There is no equality and little quality , I sometimes fear. It dismays me that people still want to blame victims – oh you were not blaming the victims of rape but you were in the neighborhood. And Marc, men are raped too. But I will not let someone make a sloppy remark like that with out some retort.
    I am a warrior when it comes to defending these people. I am letting you know you need to back up and think that over a little bit more.

  • AgnosticMan

    I imagine those defending religion in these comments did NOT grow up in the Bible Belt.

    There’s not a single good thing religion did for my girlfriend or myself growing up. We were taught sex was wrong, other religions were stupid and evil but ours was perfect, not to question religion, homosexuals were weird and we should stay away from them, and et cetera. I bought my cousin a Harry Potter book, and when my aunt read a few pages of it, it was banned from the house as witchcraft. We avoid eating with my grandmother in public places because she gets fervent and yells things like Lord, blessed, and the Devil loud enough for everyone to hear. My mother was treated poorly at church because she was divorced. Also, every pre-teen in this setting judges. They judge a lot. We weren’t taught to not judge.

    When you grow up in this environment, you hate religion because of what people do with it. If you take your blinders off, you will realize that no matter what religion you’re a part of, there are people in it who have done horrible things because of its teachings.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

      I’m a lifelong Catholic, born and raised in the great state of Alabama.

  • Ken

    HUMOR. Some people can recognize it. Some are perpetually constipated.

  • Goothe

    I’ve never seen so many strawman arguments in one article. Somebody get a match!

  • http://profiles.google.com/artskoe J Artskoe

    INMAN’S characters look like Strongbad. Coinky-dink?

  • http://www.morningquiettime.wordpress.com/ Roberto Bacalski

    Bravo! This is one of the most intelligent rebuttals to atheism I have read recently. My heart sinks every time I hear someone say, “When I have kids I’m going to let them believe whatever they want.” Would you say that about science? No! Science and religion have the same goal: Truth. Ignoring the discoveries and revelations of the prophets and the great theologians of the past is like ignoring the work of Curie and Einstein and telling every generation to figure the world out for themselves. We would never grow nor attain that state of perfection for which we naturally yearn.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/AFNDBOLWAKE4I35NJNYR7GZL24 amd

      Science is based on knowledge, hard won, and based on empirical evidence. Science adapts, constantly, to new knowledge and ideas, science is the reason you are able to type this nonsense into your keyboard. Religion is based on wanting to believe in invisible sky fairies and is completely non-adaptive, being founded on the witterings of primitive misogynists. When religion ruled the world, they called it The Dark Ages. The two are not comparable. though the fact that you don’t understand that tells me you won’t get what I am saying anyway Too stupid for science? Try religion.

  • Closet_atheist

    I noticed you did not respond to the panels comparing Scientology to Christian beliefs. Wise decision.

  • jerry lynch

    Simply marvelous and a joy to read. Like your style.This has to be, for me, among the best “…and when I end the refrain, strike home…” pieces I have ever read. No vitriolic, no moralizing, no condemnation, no indignation, no apologies. A perfect detente between reason and faith. Thank you.

  • http://theraineyview.wordpress.com/ Serena

    It’s absurd even to care what fact-free people like the scrawler of this cartoon think. He thinks embryonic stem cells cure leukemia, and he doesn’t care if getting them kills human beings. So, right away, his claim to promote religions that don’t lead to killing falls on its face; he himself just proved he’s OK with killing. And he just proved he himself has no concept of what’s going on in science or technology (and whatever happened to the once-universally-recognized distinction between science and technology?) He thinks parents tell bizarre scare stories to children about sex, because he can’t handle the fact that sex is, in fact, dangerous, complex and currently causing unprecedented havoc in humanity due to its unnatural separation from its proper context. He thinks many pastors preach that only their own congregations can be saved. I’ve never even met a clergy member who believes anything close to that. He obviously doesn’t merit the time of any serious reader.

  • spookymulder8

    Funnily enough for atheists, there is no scientific evidence for evolution, nor can we even really prove heliocentrism… If you buy into Einstein, then general relativity states the center could be anywhere, it could even be the Earth. Properly understanding the Geocentric model means an Earth placed in the center of Mass at the universe, which according to Mach’s Principle could be the absolute center of a rotating sphere, where the Earth is non-rotating and unmoving with the entire universe of ether revolving around it taking the sun, stars and planets and other heavenly bodies with them. And the mapping of the geometry can be mapped out to be the same matching our observations under both heliocentric and geocentric models. Whether it’s a universe where the Earth rotates around the sun which rotates around our galaxy which rotates around something else, or a central non moving earth with the universe rotating around it, physics dictates that all the phenomena we associate with a revolving, rotating Earth would be exactly the same.

    Hopefully Marc will take some time to check that out, alongside the Creationist positions and with regards to established Catholic Dogmas from Vatican I etc. before just assuming and taking the naturalistic tales about the universe’s origins.

    Anyway, these cartoons are typical of atheistic narcissism. Atheists happily judge everyone else harshly, and don’t even have philosophical grounds for right or wrong, such concepts are meaningless in atheism. For being such ‘scientism worshiping’ dopes, they frequently can’t draw a line between what is actual observable, testable, experimental science and what is vainly speculative philosophy with a lot of scientific words thrown in. For them, their dogma of assumed materialist naturalism is all that matters, no matter how miraculous and absurd their propositions to defend it. The cartoon on parenting only illustrates that they themselves have no justification for passing on anything meaningful to their kids, and let’s not pretend they don’t indoctrinate their kids in their own vague, contradictory, hateful belief system or science fiction origins stories about biological or cosmological evolution either. At least Christians have actual heroes and story and conflict in Genesis which is a lot more exciting and intriguing to out human nature, which by the way is an immaterial thing that atheists should technically claim doesn’t exist, but frequently love to assume without noticing the inherent contradiction with their own belief system.

    At least the politics cartoon illustrates something worthwhile about the stupidity of our times, but only goes to underscore how we will never be at peace unless we can all agree on our underlying philosophy about who we are and what life is and what is moral. Unfortunately atheism provides no answers or solutions, it will only bring more division by leaving everything up to selfish individualism.

    As for Mr. Oatmeal’s closing remarks, he undoes everything he attempts to try to rally against. If we’re just going to be hunks of meaningless meat who will die and stuff, then so what? lol? Let’s just continue to kill and suck at our religions and feel free to make Mr. Oatmeal a part of the party whether he likes it or not… Gotta do something to entertain ourselves in this meaningless short existence we have. And if treating Mr Oatmeal like a hunk of meat that we may beat or kill or main and maybe have a BBQ out of Oatmeal shish kebob, then he’s got no real grounds to complain… Luckily for him, religion exists and people prefer to be reasonable because they know in their hearts that order and concepts of right or wrong exist. This is called conscience, and the law of God written on our hearts is that “Thou must behave logically, for I am the Divine Logic that you all acknowledge exists and try to live up to to some degree, so you’d better try and get to know me better in order to be perfectly logical beings!”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AFNDBOLWAKE4I35NJNYR7GZL24 amd

    Great Oatmeal blog, very accurately portrays religion, and the fact that that drives the zealots mental just speaks volumes. You wouldn’t expect someone in the grip of the god flu to get it, sadly. They got you when you were too young to make a judgement and you were never able to shake free. See the panel of shoving dogma down the throat of a 25 year old.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AFNDBOLWAKE4I35NJNYR7GZL24 amd

    The bible is the word of god. But how can be sure? Because the bible tells us so. But why believe the bible? Because the bible is infallible. But how do you know it is infallible? Because the bible is the word of god. Around and around and around it goes. Circular logic, believed by the ignorant, fear-ridden and not terribly bright.

    Knowing that all religion is a nonsense does not preclude the idea of a god or spirituality. Just accept the words I don’t know (and neither does anybody else). They are very freeing and leave room for personal growth and real exploration, not just indoctrination. The brutality and ignorance present in the bible is there for all to see, but those who were indoctrinated early often choose not to do so.

    Eventually, if we survive the onslaught of religious war long enough we will out evolve the man-made concept of religion, and those who once wasted their lives heeding the anachronistic, violent and contradictory scribblings of primitives who thought the earth was flat will be looked back upon in disbelief and amusement.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AFNDBOLWAKE4I35NJNYR7GZL24 amd

    And finally, it does say a lot about the general IQ and rationality of people with the god flu that they cannot quite seem to understand that atheists/agnostics/non-theists and other rational thinkers do not have a belief. They have the opposite of that. The absence of belief is not belief. Let me try to make it simpler for the challenged amongst you: If atheism is a belief then being unemployed is a career and not collecting stamps is a hobby.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jared-Clark/100003276108344 Jared Clark

      It is not a religion, but it is belief.

      I believe my brother will not kill me in my sleep, but I do not worship him.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/AFNDBOLWAKE4I35NJNYR7GZL24 amd

        No, lack of belief is not belief. Lack of faith is not faith. An absence of something cannot be classified as having something. It’s quite a basic concept, really. Additionally, your analogy actually does not make any sense. I conclude from this strange post that you are religious (based on the fact that religious people are not logical or rational).

  • lightswitch windowshade

    The Oatmeal’s point is that if you would harm another person over your religion (like their religion dictates something yours doesn’t, you will fight over what you religiously can and cannot do, i.e. a 2-person holy war because I don’t know what else to call it)(or the Taliban/Crusades), you are not a very good religious person, and should change your take on your religion, become more easygoing. And if your beliefs help you cope with the fact that life sucks at times, but you’ll get over it, you have found the root of religion, to have something to blame/thank when things go “boink”/well. That is the point of religion. Not to convert others. If your life is happy believing what you believe, you should stay that way. And if not, then you should believe something else.

  • angrybirdwatcher

    I sincerely appreciate the hard work you put into this post. Citing history and facts and information I assume you diligently researched and what not. But Matthew Inman makes comics about Sriracha and bear-bat hybrids and pelvis-thrusting cats. I’m not saying you have to respect what Inman says about religion or even like it, but I couldn’t read your entire post because I felt uncomfortable knowing how much time you put into it rebutting a guy who spends his days drawing dogs that roll around in horse shit.

    But then again, with almost 1000 comments, you’re obviously paying the bills with these diatribes. So I guess I don’t blame you for trying to earn a living. And after all, someone has to rebut these cartoon caricatures that sit beside the Bobcats. It’s an important duty, and, like you said, someone’s got to do it.

    Wait. Why was that again?

  • Dd

    *Just keep it to your fucking self.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003040858456 Bob Seidensticker

    I appreciate that adult stem cell treatments have been applied to more diseases than embryonic stem cells, but mightn’t this be simply because of the stigma (and lack of funding)?

  • http://www.facebook.com/angie.rechtienefloyd Angie Matt Rechtiene-Floyd

    This comic is offensive and rediculous to Christians everywhere. It just goes to show that if he believes Christians soley get their beliefs from their parents and wivestales that are passed down from generation to generation he has never heard of such a thing as “The Bible”, which is what we base our beliefs on and that events within the Bible have been proven historically as well, not just dreamt up by some guy as in Scientology. It’s also ironic that he says that Christians judge people but all of the things he said about Christians were not only completely inaccurate but very critical and judgemental. I can honestly say that I answered his questions at the end such as, does your religion make you want to help people, and make you happier, feel small and helpless in this existance-yes, because I know I am powerless and that I am not in control-my God is. I also know that he gives me grace so I can help others even if they are ugly to me such as Inman, and it gives me freedom to know that I can let these things go and be happier because I cannot change ignorant people like Inman-only God can-therefore I am happier and can deal with things easier. As for the other closing statements and questions-would I die for my religion? I would hope that I would die for my God as he sent his son to die for me, and keeping it to myself-that I cannot do, not only for fear that ignorance will continue to spread through people like Inman and those that take his and others words for it that do not do their research but because I am called to by my God, so that people are not decieved an mislead like this man.

  • Emmers

    Thanks for writing this, Marc! I just (foolishly) stumbled upon this little jewel over at the Oatmeal today, and boy did it put me in a foul mood. I feel much better seeing how well you handled the sed contra. Mad props to you, my friend – you were much fairer to this guy that I would have been. Anti-Catholicism is truly the last unquestionably acceptable form of bigotry in our culture. x-(

  • Jerry Lynch

    So apparently crucial are the notions of ritual, sacrament, dogam, and tradition, they are forever lost in trying to find a real and proper place for these things at the cost of Christ’s element message of a spirit of action.

  • Because Reasons

    I like both this article and Inman’s comic. I loved learning the actual facts here, particularly about Galileo. I attended Catholic school up until college, so I’m baffled that they never covered that. Unfortunately, my experience with religion teachers were most of the hypocrisy Inman points out. I realize that the majority are not like that. However, we must all keep in mind that 1) stereotypes exist for a reason and 2) generally only make up a small part of the overall group. Look at the stereotypical blonde, mother-in-law and husband (particularly in the media). Having said that, I took Inman’s jokes with a grain of salt, not as facts arguing against Christianity. I looked at the bigger picture and assumed he only chose to portray that religion either because it is the one he feels most familiar with or because it is easily one of the most recognizable and is pervasive in the U.S. Just because you don’t like the way he chose to present his message, doesn’t mean his message isn’t food-for-thought. There are a lot of talking points we could take from it, such as Marc Barnes has in explaining why parents should share and instill their religious belief in their children. And when Inman mentions that one shouldn’t mock other religions (as hypocritical as that is), it tries to have the reader realize that while other religions may sound crazy to him, many believe it to be true just as strongly as the reader believes in his.

  • Brad

    Well said sir!

  • Homo-evolves

    So nice to see so many sucking at their religion. Carry on fine folk. The best part is that religions are dying out because we are evolving beyond the need for mysterious coping mechanisms for what we do not understand. We are discovering our way out of the dark. That Is the future.

  • Ric Mason

    I’d never heard of the Oatmeal before. Thanks! You turned me into a huge fan! His humor is right on. Like all humor it works because of the obviousness of it. People are so brainwashed with religious ideas that it’s refreshing to see so many people falling away from them and laughing at how they used to be. Do you not see this? Whatever… Thanks again!

  • Two Feet on the Ground

    Just a quick comment about the “analysis” of panel one. If someone calls you out for being judgmental, you might as well contribute some time a thoughtful response if you feel you’re being unfairly characterized. To just turn right back around and essentially assert, “No, YOU’RE the one who’s judgmental” underscores the kind of backwards thinking the comic is all about, i.e. you proved his point.

  • Sabrina L.

    Positively brilliant, Marc. Your arguments are solid and give me great confidence.

  • name

    Holy shit. Did you really break down a fuckin comic? Tell me again how you are a badass? Jackasses. You bring humor to my life. Thank you for being productive members of sosiety.

  • CatholicDadof3

    You seem afraid of the fact that Galileo was wrong and that the Church condemned his heliocentrism and THAT would make you look like a freak to many brainwashed masses who have never heard of the Michelson Morley experiment that showed that the Earth is not moving. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&ved=0CFMQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.galileowaswrong.com%2Fgalileowaswrong%2Fsamples%2FPDF%2520Chapter%25205%2520Sample.pdf&ei=pSklUYmYDunuiQKG7oGoAg&usg=AFQjCNE2mduJml4VpXyUpLq6x5uhwZj2Fw&bvm=bv.42661473,d.cGE

  • Sal

    What a fascinating perspective. Lovely attempt.

  • The Great T

    I think the real reason ithat you’ll continue your religion is that you’re scared, afraid that there is no reason. Would it really be so bad if it were all worthless? Embrace the anarchy.

  • Ben Dover

    Suck a dick and die.

  • H.U

    If Matthew Inman would be consistent with his own doctrine, he should have kept this cartoon to him self and himself only. Or perhaps the whole cartoons is purposely self ironic, since he publicly judges and condemns those who have a different opinion about the truth.

  • Christianlove

    I am of the opinion that this is ridiculous. You can’t make the argument against feeling like a religion is telling you what to believe by telling someone what to believe. Not all Christians are religious, judgmental, bible pushers. Why does everyone get to have their opinion on what they believe as truth but if you’re a Christian and try to say what you believe, you are attacked? If we have freedom of speech then we all have freedom of speech. If there is no judgment then there is no judgment. If we are to spread love then we are to spread love. We should all seek to understand rather than to be understood and maybe there would be less hate.

  • Alex Clark

    I’d like to see your source about Galileo. I just spent about an hour researching him and I came up with the following:

    He was tried for his support of heliocentricity and how it goes against scripture understanding
    He alienated the Jesuits and insulted the pope, which didn’t help him

  • Vio

    Oh my god. That picture of the dad. He’s telling his daughter her favorite color has to be purple. My dad actually told me my favorite color has to be purple! And he makes me go to church every Sunday!

  • newenglandsun

    Pope Benedict XVI approved of a book that defends stem cell research. Catholics are anti-stem cell research?

  • Kyle

    “This particular train of thought requires the thinker ignore the vast majority of Christian belief — which is entrenched in reason — and focus solely on minority caricatures of the creationist or the wailing-out evangelical, caricatures firmly established and grounded in The Holy Internet Worldview.”

    You seem to be saying that the comic makes generalizations about your religion. It does quite the opposite. The comic necessarily recognizes that there are all different kinds of Christians. It has to in order to say “how not to suck at your religion.” It tells you how to be one of the good Christians and not one of the bad ones. It never makes any claims about what percentage of Christians are doing it wrong.

  • http://deshackra.com/ shackra sislock

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