Thousands of Years of Religious Slaughter in One Cartoon

You know what’s hilarious? The idea that for millennia, various religious and ethnic factions have slaughtered each other over the right to claim a small strip of arid land in the Middle East because they think God wants them to have it. I mean, come on, that’s a hoot.

You know what’s even more hilarious? When that centuries-old cycle of violence, fanaticism, imperialism, and madness is depicted in cartoon form.

Oh, and to make it just unbearably funny, you throw in a song with lyrics by Pat Boone.

I give you Nina Paley‘s This Land is Mine.

Paley — who also created the wonderful Sita Sings the Blues — gives some of the background on this video, and a larger potential project called Seder-Masochism, here.

About Paul Fidalgo

Paul is communications director for the Center for Inquiry, as well as an actor and musician. His blog is iMortal, and he tweets as @paulfidalgo, and the blog tweets as @iMortal_blog.
The opinions expressed on this blog are personal to Paul and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Inquiry.

  • Paul Little

    Did she pay for the rights to use the music this time… or did she steal it again?

  • Kahomono

    The story would be a real knee-slapper if only it weren’t (a) true and (b) continuing to this day.

  • Joshua Zelinsky

    Not sure the headine is accurate. A lot of the groups depicted fighting were not religiously motivated. It takes very little for people to kill each other. 

  • Bart Mitchell

    I know it was intended as humorous,  but I couldn’t feel anything other than profoundly sad while watching that.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    At 1:40 it’s Stop! Hammer time!!!

  • Tom Hinkel

    Not sure the headine is accurate. A lot of the groups depicted fighting
    were not religiously motivated. It takes very little for people to kill
    each other.

    Vox?  Is that you??

  • JohnnieCanuck

    “So take my hand and walk this land with me.”

    I feel bad that I laughed.

  • Deven Kale

    I love the ending! That’s pretty much my idea of what any god who allows that type of behavior in his name would be like. :)

  • Isilzha

    Funny how god hasn’t cared enough to stop by and clear things up!

  • Isilzha

    With a song with lyrics like THAT?  I’d say it was fair use (parody) and she’s making a point about how deeply the idea of “god given” crap permeates the human mind and into popular culture.  

  • chicago dyke, Blonde

    this is lovely. came here via Friendly Atheist. good job, woman. it’s more or less what i believe about people who invest everything, including the ultimate “sacrifice” for “holy sand,” as bartcop calls it.

    get over it, people. there is/are no god(s). no one cares what your zip code is except people who judge you by a zip code… and those are people, not “god(s).” you can’t take it with you when you die, yo. just ask the priests of Marduk, YWHW, Thoth, Zion, the trinity of gods who were once worshipped around a black stone at what is today called mecca… i can go on and on. everyone is an atheist, except for the god(s) of their choice. and regardless, we all still die, alone and without  divine “help.”  no god ever truly granted an end to suffering, or immortality or anything that is the ultimate desire of a longing, suffering human. accept this. it’s called “growing up.” even if you can’t, it’s not worth sacrificing all “your people” in bloody trauma because some (shit kicking, grifter, not willing to pay taxes or work for a living) “holy person” tells you otherwise.

    or, just give me a million dollars, and i’ll sell you a bridge in NYC. trust me, it’s worth a lot!  i could use the money, and if you’re that dumb, you don’t need it. i’ll feed a homeless person and help out a gay teen at a shelter with the proceeds, i promise.

  • Guest

    That’s mans history. The stronger countries took over weaker ones. In countries which were not at war with others, the stronger people always controlled and exploited the weaker ones within their own communities. Did Kublai Khan fight for religion? Did communist countries end up with equality for the people? Did the tribes live in peace with each other before conquerors invaded? Did early settlers not displace weaker earlier settlers? Those living in the calm within the storm should grateful for what they have. The fact is that if you are not competitive and fighting fit, others who are will ride on you. Those who believe that Darwin is right should know this the best.

  • RetweetLister

    Holy shit. That was great!

  • Nospam

    I found this much more sad than anything. Obviously, almost all lands have had a succession of inhabitants, and those successions have often been violent, often exacerbated by religion.

    Not sure that I would single out one chief villain in that particular area, as she seems to (hear the Exodus music?). Also not sure I would single out that one area in the entire world for special LMAO funniness of a brutish, prolonged, and religion-exacerbated conflict.

    History is complex.  Few take the time to study it. Fewer still are capable of evaluating it dispassionately. But wherever one may stand, one must at least try to fail at being amused by violence against anyone.

  • Deven Kale

    I thought you had a pretty good point right up until the end, when you strawmanned evolution. If you think that’s all “survival of the fittest” means, you need to do some more research. Here’s a hint, there any many different types of fitness. Strength is only one measurement of fitness, and  not always the most effective for success.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    You aren’t just thinking of ‘survival of the fittest’ are you? That’s turned out to be an unfortunate choice of words, given the number of people who assume that it refers to whomever can do the most pushups or march the furthest with full battle gear, as you seem to be doing. That’s just training to make the best of one’s genetic potential.

    The fitness of an organism involves any inherited characteristic that gives it a better reproductive survival rate over its competitors; which can be members of its own species or others that utilise the same resources.

    The fitness measure applies to the particular place and time in question. When the environment or food sources or predators change, then the fitness of individuals likely will as well.Actually Darwin’s work has led to the understanding of how altruism can be valuable to a species’ fitness. Murder and theft aren’t always the best strategies, even at international levels. Ask the Irish if they aren’t glad the Troubles are over (most of them, anyway).

  • GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Amazing how the same “Abrahamic god” promised the same land to rival groups, thus setting up centuries of war and bloodshed. 

    This god is either a terribly inept real estate agent (giving the same property to more than one buyer) or he has a really really twisted sick sense of humor. 

  • Guest

    Troubles will come in cycles. Just as there is rise, there is fall in societies. I don’t think you have to wait long to see that. That Darwin explain altruism, is wishful thinking. Man are inevitably selfish but compromises only because of living in groups strengthen defense for himself. Fitness as far as I know, means those most able and have the drive to take advantage of the environment.
    People are born with unequal abilities. That is why some get straight As without needing to try while others struggle to get Bs and Cs. Some always play to packed houses, while others struggle to play or sing one piece well. You would hardly expect those who are better endowed to share their spoils would you? If you were a businessman and took risks which meant that you could go bankrupt, would you be willing to share most of your profits with others? If you never had to work a day in your life because of inheritance, would you share most of it? If you think that altruism is inborn, start by asking what you are willing to share. There are many unable to maintain themselves and still want to have more children willing to share your wealth.

  • B17

    Ugh.  I can’t stand Nina Paley.  She’s a big “there should be no copyright in any form” zealot.  Not only does she think everyone should be allowed to pirate everything, but if Walmart and want to print all their own books and not give a dime to the book authors, it’s okay with her.  She’s just another idiot artist who doesn’t know jack about economics.

  • Mark

    You wrote: “You know what’s hilarious? The idea that for millennia, various religious and ethnic factions have slaughtered each other over the right to claim a small strip of arid land in the Middle East…”

    Yes, that is hilarious.  What’s even more amazing is that Jesus clearly said that if you want to inherit the kingdom of heaven then you have to give away all your worldly possessions. That would include real-estate and personal belongings.  As you already know, everyone (and I mean everyone) has ignored Jesus teachings on this matter and they all continue to fight over property and trinkets. 

    What would it be like to live in a world where the Christians and Jews told the Muslims that if they cherish Jerulasem so much then they should have it as a gift.  and then of course the Muslims would say “no no” you Jews and Christians feel a long and ancient history to that place so you should have it for your own.

    That is what Jesus commanded and until that happens there will be no heaven on Earth, no second comming of Christ and no rapture.

    Yes, We are fighting over small strips of arid land and we have been fighting for thousands of years and God is sitting on his throne looking down at us and wondering when we will quit being so stupid.

  • Blacksheep

    Right now, $=fit.

  • Nazani14

    I’d say the heirs of Andy Williams should be thankful.  I’ll bet most of us had no idea that he could actually sing, and this exposure ought to generate a few downloads.

  • Nazani14

    It wasn’t always so arid and sandy.  Well into neolithic times, there was  a lot more vegetation and wildlife.  Then humans and their grazing animals and poor farming practices created what you see today.  If not for constant warfare to reduce our numbers, the environmental devastation would have happened even faster. 

  • mywall

    How does one steal a piece of data? Presumably someone shared it or sold it to her.

  • Ibis3

     I don’t think she’s singling any group out as the villain. Each subsequent group is as bloodthirsty and as absurd (again, not “LMAO funny”)  as the last.  The only winner is Death.

  • WoodyTanaka

    “How does one steal a piece of data?”  By making use of it when one does not have the legal right to do so, of course.

  • nakedanthropologist

    Not really.  Fitness is the ability to adapt to environments and changes therein, and bare young that will (presumably) also survive to bear young,  There’s a lot of factors that come into play, and financial success is only one of them.

  • Sashatoo

    Which just makes everything she says or does wrong. 

  • Guest

    See, the nice thing is you can condense the decades of slaughter including, but not necessarily limited to, the brutal oppression of religious dissidents in non-religious societies into a 30 second commercial, since it only took a few decades to reach body counts in the tens of millions.   But what am I saying.  Anything done by a person in a religious culture in the name of religion is the fault of religion.  Anything done by non-religious people against religion is the fault of, well, something or some secular religion treating atheism like a religion because religion is always bad and all.  Modern atheism: making Lloyd Christmas look brilliant every time.  

    By the way, for the philosophically impaired,  even if every religious believer in history was entirely evil and horrible and all evil was because of religion doesn’t prove or disprove anything about the existence of the supernatural or the divine.  It might just prove people are evil or suck at being good. Something that atheist dominated cultures like the USSR or China might suggest goes beyond the boundaries of religion. 

  • sam

    Great vid.  I like the appearance of yhwh at the end.