The Oatmeal Explains How To Suck At Your Religion

Turns out there are many ways to do it:

Other reasons can be found here :)

It makes me wonder: When it comes to following any sort of religious dogma, is there any way for it to not suck? Anytime your reasoning refers back to “But this book said so,” you’ve lost the argument.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    It makes me wonder: When it comes to following any sort of religious dogma, is there any way for it to not suck? Anytime your reasoning refers back to “But this book said so,” you’ve lost the argument.

    This is an atheist forum, so I get the emphasis on religiousdogma. But there’s no need for the qualification. The problem is dogma. Period. As long as people are willing to turn off their brains and follow dogma- religious dogma, political dogma, social dogma- we’re in for a rough ride. Fix the dogma problem, and the religion problem will go away all by itself.

    • Edmond

      I don’t see that this is true.  Whenever someone finds that their personal interpretation of their religion conflicts with dogma, they just schism off and create a new religion.  Dogma will never hold a candle to the pliant customizability of being able to define the supernatural for yourself.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        All that means is that there’s a shift in dogma. It’s still dogma, and that’s still the root problem.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Anytime your reasoning refers back to “But this book said so,” you’ve lost the argument.

      Or haven’t made an argument in the first place.

  • Sailorsguide

    Mythology always refers to other people’s cultures. There is never mythology in your own only reality. (Until the next culture takes over yours and sees what idiocy you believed in an calls it a myth),

    • Mitch W.

      All mythologies are just religions that no one believes anymore.

      I love The Oatmeal.  I like Sriracha, and The Oatmeal likes Shriracha.  http://theoatmeal.com/comics/sriracha

      I like Tesla, and The Oatmeal likes Tesla.  http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla

      And The Oatmeal knows my dog.  http://theoatmeal.com/comics/my_dog

      • Bunko2087

        Mythologies aren’t just religions no one believes in anymore. All religions have mythology, even modern “mainstream” ones like Christianity and Judaism. Some people just choose not to call their myths myths. I practice polytheism and I definitely have mythology in my religion and myself and other people definitely believe in it.

  • wherearemybeets

    Reminds me of the thought process that contributed to my religious de-conversion.

  • jose

    You could ask that question over at Unequally Yoked, Hemant ;-)

  • Octoberfurst

     Yeah I agree. Any type of religious dogma pretty much sucks.  If you question it you are automatically thought of as  uniformed at best and evil at worst.

  • Pollo Diablo

    ‘a flaccid penis is a righteous penis’ — yep.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/47IDX2QAR6VU6ZAILFU6I23ACQ Joseph

    It never ceases to amaze me that religious people don’t see the obviousness of this comparison, and realize that the absurdity of their own origin stories are no different than those of the religions they mock.  Even a child should be able to observe how equally ridiculous they are (that is, if they aren’t conditioned by adults to believe that one is “true” and the other is “myth”).

    Grow up, people! 

  • jose

    As usual, the necessity to put oneself in the measured, reasonable center between some perceived extremes, to feel superior to both sides, leads a guy to equate conservative craziness and progressive goals.

    Sure, gay rights is just as stupid as “the war on the unborn”, oatmeal guy.

    • Nick

      The point he was trying to make is that Politics focus too much on hot button issues.

  • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

    ‎”Every time someone has homosexual intercourse, God punishes us by letting Nickelback release another album.”

    Things greater than that line:

    • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

       If you play a Nickelback record backwards, you’ll hear messages from Satan. 

      Even worse is, if you play it forwards, you’ll hear a Nickelback record.

  • Piet

    Reminds me of a news article about a Russian politician, who was discedited for saying his policies were influenced by messages from aliens.
    Claiming the same about messages from a god however is deemed perfectly normal by lots of people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bruce-Long/1793578486 Bruce Long

    The only way to make it not suck is to get rid of it. Try this on for size:

    This kind of behaviour on the part of religionists is in fact indicative and classically symptomatic of an obsessive compulsive disorder driven by aversion to cognitive dissonance and with a strong element of sociopathy and the need to control others.
    If a disease state is exemplified by a negative impact on organisms and persons individually and collectively, then there is ample evidence of such negative impact here.
    The negative impact on the religious devotee can be expressed in terms of a deficiency in processing information from the environment and the social sphere in such a way as to properly preserve the survival and wellbeing of the individual and the group. It’s the same dynamic that has everyone eating so much sugar that it kills us, but still selling and buying sweets and pop to young children.
    Pragmatic utilisation of religious faith and devotion for social cohesion and temporary personal relief in the face of stress comes at a cost: the cost is the individual’s ability to process veridical information and to distinguish information types for the furnishing of reliable knowledge (variable between persons and depending on their degree of submissiveness).
    Organisms that are unable to process information about what is real will be vulnerable in their environments. This is how L Ron Hubbard and Joseph Smith were able to dupe so many even though they clearly indicated (in Hubbard’s case) that they were starting a religion to make money.
    Religious faith is readily classifiable as a disease state, with symptoms manifest in varying degrees. The social standards for judging a child’s belief in Santa Claus are different to those for judging an adult’s belief in fictions as denoting real entities: the former is not pathological – the latter clearly is (if an adult believed in Santa Claus, this would be objectively indicative of mental illness despite community standards: a community that approved such would also be ill).
    The disease symptoms are 1. Cognitive impairment resulting in the inability to process important information and inability to distinguish information source types (fictional versus concrete), 2. obsessive compulsive behaviour in connection with the narratives of the belief system resulting in 3. sociopathic behaviour in connection with 1. and 2. and often 4. psychopathic and extreme passive aggresive behaviour in connection with 1. 2., and 3.
    That such memes and narrative are sanctioned by authorities in society does not minimise the nature of religious faith as a delusive disease state any more than the social authoritative sanctioning of earth-centered cosmology makes it true that the sun and planets go around the earth.
    Mankind will be able to work towards being truly be free when free of the scourge of religious faith

  • Michael James

    How about this response to the ‘New (same-ol’-same-ol’) atheism’

    http://imgur.com/a/lOtle#HJpOD

    • Glasofruix

      Pathetic?

    • Melissa

      I couldn’t get past the first sentence and the horrible grammar.  Not really doing much for your cause. I am sure you can come up with something better, yes?

  • Michael James

    Keys to being an effective atheist.
    1. Ignore the claim that we are as fanatical and fundamental as any religious groups out there and we have the same qualities of a controlling cult with anyone who disagrees with us.2. Tell everyone that you were once religious or a Christian or your parents/family were religious/Christians so you know EVERYTHING they believe but you saw through the religion and you now know that all Christians are just deluded fruit-bats. Explain how you have now ‘realized’ that reasonable, rational scientific, logical investigation is the only way to truly understand the world we live in.  (note: ignore your hypocrisy in your own life when you pray in troubled times!)3. Make sure your main focus is on Christians, you can ‘touch’ on other groups to appear even-handed and even though we claim ‘religion’ is the problem, there is not need to speak out about the religion of satanism, if the bad exists he is on our side so no need to stir that hornets nest. Ensure you are careful to make Christians your constant target, you don’t want to get killed in a Jihad, do you? So only ‘mention’ the other religions but quickly return to Christians and add, that there is no difference between radical Muslims and ‘fundamentalist’ Christians.3. Remember that you are looking for faults in other religions (Christians) not trying to defend your own religion/cult so do not try to prove atheism. When ever you are asked to prove claims of God’s non-existence just claim you cannot prove a non-entity even though it has never been proved that God is a non-entity just keep stating, ‘you have to prove God’ I do not have to disprove him. Remember, it’s much easier to destroy and be negative than be positive and build up. 4. When referring to other atheists always use power-filled terms like ‘intelligent, educated, positive thinkers, strong minded, self-dependent and independent.’ Ensure you use every opportunity to call Christians childish degrading names and insult them with statements which include the terms like ignorant, clueless, uneducated the goal  here is to provoke and frustrate the Christian to the point they become angry, then, you can then claim they are a hypocrite for not  being ‘loving like Jesus.’5. Always talk about just being a ‘good and nice’ person remembering that, ‘good and nice’ are relative to each people and culture, just like cannibals who say ‘I really enjoyed eating Bill last night, he was really ‘good’ or paedophiles saying ‘they love little Janet, she was so ‘good.’ You are allowed to define ‘good’ however you would like because there is no moral standard, code or higher authority to  define what ‘good’ is. No one can set the objective moral standard because this would put them in the place of thinking they are ‘god.’6. Be sure to set your own moral standards and compass very, very, very low so that you’ll never look like a hypocrite in public.The lower the better.7. Be as argumentative, obnoxious, loud, sarcastic and verbal as possible – there is no need to make sense or use logic in your arguments – just keep arguing.8. Use words like ‘straw-man,’ ‘circular reasoning,’ ‘ad hominem,’ ‘fallacy,’ ‘red herring’ and ‘non sequiturs’ against any argument which reveals the false claims, smoke-screens and failed theories of atheism whether you understand those terms or not.9. Never answer any exposing question directly but quickly change the subject to make a completely different point. If     you’re asked why you keep changing the subject just repeat this step as necessary.10. Always bring up examples like the spaghetti monster, Zeus, and Santa Claus to prove that if you must believe in one God then you have to believe in all of them, even when it is explained one is transcendent, eternal and historical the other are mythical cultural folk-lore.11. Always ask for ‘evidence’ for the existence of God but never accept anything presented to you especially when you are told that God is a Spirit so you can not perceive Him with the physical senses or with any physical equipment. Also ignore the reply that ‘God is God and he does not need to ‘prove’ himself to his creation, we are to answer to Him, He does not answer to us!’ At the end of a discussion remind them that all you needed was some type of ‘ real evidence’ for God. If this does not work put your fingers in your ears and scream ‘lalalalalalalala’12. Use the Christian crusades, the Salam witch hunts, and the inquisition which happened five hundred years ago to ‘prove’ how bad ‘religion’ is for the world. Again, on this one, some careful atheistic tap-dancing is necessary as we have to ignore pointing the finger at the religion of satanism.Here’s a master Key:Use steps 7 through 9 to get away from any historical facts of all the good that the various Christian churches and charities have done around the world through the centuries.13. Express disinterest and laugh out loud if necessary at the question “ Isn’t it amazing that Christians continue to preach love and forgiveness to the world given the historical fact atheists have committed the most ongoing blatant atrocities against Christians. Shouldn’t these Christians, ‘who you claim are the problem,’ in retribution,  have wiped atheists from the face of the earth for the crimes atheists have committed against Christians, rather than continue to preach love, forgiveness, acceptance and tolerate your arrogant ways.14. Blindly ignore any questions about millions of Christians being killed by atheists in the last 200 years, but if questions persist claim that this was NOT done ‘in the name’ of atheism . which makes it alright. Failing this, refer to steps 7 through 9, this should get you past any awkward questions about atheists who are guilty for crimes against humanity, human genocide and ethnic cleansing.15. Remember to call yourself a “free-thinker” and “open-minded” but ensure you do not practice what you preach with such ‘virtues’ when it comes to Christianity. Being open-minded with Christians is not an option available to the atheists as this would open a can of worms we do not want to get into, you must understand that you are not ‘free-to-think’ that ‘there is a God.’16. Try to laugh out loud or make some disparaging noise every time a Christian makes a statement about what they believe, even if you don’t think it is funny or you don’t know what they are talking about or you may think they have a good point just try to make them look stupid with your laugh or disrespectful noise.17. Claim that atheism is for intelligent people who are rooted in “rational, reasonable common sense” thinking even though we cannot provide any evidence of the non-existence of God, or any  ‘rational, reasonable common sense’ explanation for the formation/existence of matter or the cause of the ignition of ‘life’ or our existence, ignore the fact that less than 10% of the human population claim to be atheists and then use steps 7 through 9 to get away from the question: “what does that say about the other 90% of humanity?”18. Refuse to accept or believe anything in the Bible because it was written by MEN. Believe and quote other writings of MEN to prove that the Bible is wrong. (note: completely ignore the inconsistency between steps 20 & 21)19. When referring to the Bible use the words ‘myth,’ ’fables,’ ‘fairy-tales,’ ‘ideas’ and ‘opinions’ as often as possible. Ignore the ‘suggestion’ that atheism is nothing more than a unproved theory.(note: Ignore the question or use steps 7 to 9 to answer the question ‘don’t you believe your books and writings of science written by men just like we believe our bible which was written by men?”)20. Only use the Bible as the authority when it will advance the atheist religion/cult and will contribute to the atheist dogmas and doctrines. Ignore the question ‘You have quoted the bible as evidence, so if the bible is true in one place the entire bible must be true, so what about the scripture that says, YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN or THE LORD IS GOOD AND HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER or WHERE GOD REVEALS HIS MERCIFUL NATURE WHEN HE SENT JONAH AND SPARED THE EVIL CITY OF NINEVEH?’21. Only quote the Bible verses that put God in a bad light, make sure every scripture quoted makes God look like a mean, unfair judge who is morally void and never ever allow anyone to quote scriptures which show Him in the positive light of a righteous judge and especially not a loving heavenly father.22. Tell everyone you have read the Bible and that you understand what it teaches whether you have or have not, even if you have only read the parts which support your argument and the atheistic religion/cult, you have still ‘read the bible,’ right!?Refer to step 7 through 9 when once you have stated that the problem in the world is religion, but it is then pointed out to you that atheism is a religion/cult its self with it‘s own evangelical preachers of hating God who preach their own doctrines based on their own unholy writings.23. Reject all notions that you live by any type of faith even though you must put your faith in the writings of your own atheist high priests and gurus like Darwin, Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Atkins and any other book that supports your ‘beliefs.’ Yes we put our faith in these writings and believe them wholeheartedly but ignore this obvious flaw in our doctrine as well.24. Make the claim that you only have one life and don’t want to waste it on religion, then ignore your own hypocrisy by living out your own self-serving religion/cult of atheism.25. If your conscience begins to bother you because of moral guilt you can numb this with arrogance, self-deception, self-importance, judgement of the ‘religious’(Christians) people, delusions, of NO coming judgement and if this fails try some drugs, alcohol, sex, rape, murder whatever you feel like, remember, ‘good’ is relative and you only have one life, so live it, best of all there is no hell, right?26. If doing the drugs and stuff does not appeal to you and you want to appear as a ‘morally’ upstanding person of the community, skip those other things but never let go of your self-righteous arrogance and pride. It is this arrogance and pride that will get you through many a hard times when you are struggling with a question of conscience and faith in the religion of atheism. 

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      tmf;dr

    • Glasofruix

      Have you ever heard of text indentation?

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Did you copy and paste that? Your formatting is so messed up, most people are probably not going to try to decipher the comment.

      If you’re at all interested in having a conversation, and not just spamming us, I’d be happy to address some of your points.

    • Piet

       So, you found out your religion is just as dumb as all the other ones, but you are to angry to face it, so you take it out on athesists?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/47IDX2QAR6VU6ZAILFU6I23ACQ Joseph

       Wow, Michael James has us atheists all figured out.  And his arguments are so effective and clearly presented.  Nothing more to do here, folks… let’s all pack up and go home now. 

  • http://twitter.com/lauren2mt Lauren Mullen

    This comic is so incredibly juvenile, not to mention rather stereotypical: you really think that all Christians/religious people are psychotic cult leaders who have never once examined their own beliefs? Just like all atheists are insane nuts hell-bent on  eradicating all religion from the earth?

    If one must resort to insulting and debasing the viewpoint you find offensive in order to feel intellectually superior, then I think that one’s own viewpoint is probably not a whole lot better.

  • Glasofruix

    There’s a rebuttal on badcatho, as usual it’s full of shit and overused religious rantings about how atheists are bad and how religion is wonderful…

  • TMD
  • McJeeves

    But I read about evolution and the big bang in a book… Makes sense now.


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