Does this cartoon offend you?

Last week, I managed to greatly upset a Catholic acquaintance from grad school by posting this picture (it’s one I’ve seen before, but haven’t been able to track down the source on):

It’s hard to argue that the portrayal of Muhammad is unfair. As I’ve discussed before, Muhammad having sex with a nine year old girl actually plays a fairly significant role in Islamic lore about his life. I’m not quite sure I’d call it a historical fact, as our sources for the historical Muhammad are kinda crappy, and given the messed up values of the time, it’s entirely possible that early Muslims made up this story because they thought it was a good thing. But I don’t think that keeps the story from being a fair target.

As for the current Pope, no, there’s no evidence he’s a child rapist. He’s just head of an organization with a history of enabling child rape. Again, I’ve covered the details before, and I’m not sure they’re widely enough known even today. Among other things the Pope himself, back when he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent out a letter to all Catholic bishops reminding them to keep secret the Church’s own investigations into sexual abuse by priests.

The cartoon expects the audience to more-or-less know this; it’s not trying to slander the Pope as a rapist (just an enabler of child rape). And the point isn’t just to be offensive–it’s to juxtapose the behavior of religious leaders with their claims to be able to make authoritative pronouncement on child abuse.

Even atheists who have no problem with harsh criticism of religion may be uncomfortable with this cartoon. And they should be uncomfortable, in the way that it’s always uncomfortable to hear about violence against children, and we all have a limit to how much being confronted with the bad stuff in the world we can deal with.

But it’s not wrong to mock religion in this way. In fact, there’s a pretty good test in here for whether your moral compass is well-calibrated. Which offends you more: the pretensions to moral authority of a man who had previously been involved in hushing up child rape? Or seeing said pretensions ridiculed?

  • John Moore

    You forgot to mention the bomb in Muhammad’s turban. That’s also not particularly unfair.

    • Rick

      Yeah, let’s just leave out the most childishly offensive part of the comic, why don’t we.

      • Chris Hallquist

        Good point. The bomb is an anachronism, he should have a sword instead.

        • http://www.loonwatch.com/ Michael

          He should also have a snake charming flute and a camel. Who needs smart satire, when we have crappy stereotypes?

    • Daniel

      That’s just a comic style. It’s like this comic: http://www.gocomics.com/bobgorrell/2012/11/15

      The comic is not saying tax hikes are literal iron weights. It’s just a drawn symbol. The bomb on Muhammad represents suicide bombers of the faith he is the head of, just as the boy sucking off the pope in the image in a drawn symbol of the child rapes that happen under the popes religion.

  • Z-Bama

    My only comment would be that “picking on” Pope Benedict and the Prophet Mohammed in this way is tiredand unoriginal. I would rather see social action instead of social commentary.

    • Zedge

      Commentary leads to conversations and conversations lead to awareness witch leads to change.

    • pazafraz

      I’d much rather whole heap of shut-the-fuck-up.

    • plutosdad

      Except that few people know of Benedict’s positions except activists. Few catholics (like my parents) know how he was actively involved in creating the culture of coverup that infects the European church. Few know how utterly evil he is, few know who Hans Küng is or what he is trying to achieve.

      So, no, raising awareness is a valid goal and actually part of action. You need to keep spreading the word to get more people involved to take action. Differnet people are good at different things.

      I work for a non profit, and this is always a big issue for discussion. But we have targetted donations for this reason, so people can give to general funds or directly to help people.

      • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

        I think the comic is not very effective at raising awareness, if that is its goal, because it doesn’t look like it is trying to be accurate. It looks like it is trying to depict nasty stereotypes. See: bomb on Mo’s head, boy kneeling in front of pope. To someone who is not aware of these things, how are they to know that the 9 y.o. wife, the Pope’s personal contributions to enabling rape, and the pope’s dogmatic opposition to condoms aren’t also stereotypes or exaggerations?

        • Aita

          Because neither one of those people is important as a person, only as their position?

  • turzovka

    Yes, it offends me. But that is nothing compared to my astonishment that there are atheists in this world who allegedly apply their intelligence to a set of facts. Boy, what a discouraging way to live… for nothing, except maybe a great error.

    • Bob

      “what a discouraging way to live…for nothing”
      You are told what to believe, what to think, how to act, and how to treat others. That’s discouraging. That’s living for nothing. Free your mind and start living for yourself.

    • Bill

      “Being a Christian is great if your only goal in life is to die”

      • mine

        Being a Christian is great, because the goal of my life is LIFE.

        • yours

          And, of course, support of the death penalty.

          • JoFro

            Yes, becos to a dimwit like you, apparently, Christians are all American Republicans!

        • mavp

          …. a life that is lived based on the moral teachings of illiterate desert shepherds from the Bronze Age. Have fun with that!

          • JoFro

            Abraham was a literate businessman from Ur, Moses was a literate playboy prince in Egypt, Jesus, a tradesman who seemed to be a carpenter, read the scriptures of the Torah in the Synagogues, St Paul was a student of the greatest Jewish elder at the time, Rabbi Gamaliel…so much for being illiterate desert shepherds from the Bronze Age but why allow facts come in the way of your dimwitted bigotry?

  • anonymous

    If you actually believe what you wrote, one wonders why you cut the third figure from the image.

    • Chris Hallquist

      I didn’t cut it; that’s how I found the image. Someone linked the version with the rabbi in the Reddit thread, and it appears that the rabbi was added by someone other than the original creator, not something originally in the cartoon that was later cut.

    • Drew M.

      The drawing style of the Mohel is amateurish and completely different from the other two. Furthermore, the chat bubble is a completely different font. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see that he was added after the fact.

      Good thing for that autonomic system, lest you forget how to breathe.

  • Snerfl

    “given the messed up values of the time, it’s entirely possible that early Muslims made up this story because they thought it was a good thing. ”

    I can’t wait to see what they have to say about 21st century morality in another 1500 years.

    People sure are full of their own sense of superiority when they have no frame of reference for the context of the situation.

    • Aita

      Considering intellectuals already have a fair grasp of the concepts of automation, personal freedom, and the epicureal standard, and all of those concepts are at least a hundred years old (epicurean standards are a couple thousand years…), I don’t think it’s really all that bad…

      More is the case that people willingly follow this idiocy instead of things that actually benefit everyone.

    • JoFro

      Early Muslims made up the story? Huh? Do you have any knowledge of how Hadiths were collected in the Islamic world or did you just pull that observation out of your rear end?

    • Darren

      ”I can’t wait to see what they have to say about 21st century morality in another 1500 years.”

      Since you asked: The Baby-Eating Aliens.

      Enjoy!

  • DBL

    Fairness has nothing to do with humour. At all. The cartoon is completely unfair to all involved, and also quite hilarious. These two observations are not unrelated.

    • Frankly

      Not sure that it is unfair. As quiet eloquently explained in the post there is a reason for each piece (except perhaps the bomb).

      The only thing offensive about the cartoon is that it is necessary. If you didn’t have groups of people enabling the worst aspects of human behavior in the name of some great hairy thunderer the whole cartoon would be pointless.

    • Paul

      Yes. As Mel Brooks once said (paraphrase), “Tragedy is if I cut my little finger. Comedy is if you fall into an open sewer and die.”

  • daysleeper

    Muhammad came from a time when child marriages were not unusual. Times change and so does one’s way of thinking. There was a time when our own great grandparents looked down on homosexuality. To reject such ideas now would make one seem backwards thinking. Now who are we to say that in the future an illicit relationship between an adult man and a young boy would still be considered as unacceptable?

    What riles me is how by agreeing with the above cartoon one sits on his moral high chair thinking all high and mighty of himself. Perhaps when the time does come when there is a shift in mindset regarding sexual relationships, that these abovementioned people themselves may be looked upon by future generations as backwards thinking.

    • anonymous

      “Illicit”, by definition, means unacceptable. Good attempt at troll, but you give it away by being ‘too’ stupid. Either that, or you need to work on your diction because you are difficult to understand.

      I’m surprised that these men are depicted finding common ground is not discussed as the most offensive aspect of the cartoon. Not because it represents enemies getting along (which is, by itself, encouraging), but because it shows that even if religious followers manage to find peace amongst themselves, there will still be the religions themselves enabling these despicable behaviors and preventing things like social equality.

    • Jung Ji-Hoon

      Well even da Vinci was known to dapple into the. That different though, Mohammad was a self-proclaimed prophet, a messenger from God, thus his actions should transcend social norms. Instead we see he was simply a normal man of his days, seeking power through lies. Asking his followers to fight his enemies, promising them rewards even in death.

    • No dhimmi tool

      Blah, blah, blah. An intelligent and moral person knows IT’S WRONG TO HAVE SEX WITH A CHILD, regardless of the era.

      What utter nonsense trying to justify this vile act. SHAME ON YOU.

      • http://www.loonwatch.com/ Michael

        @No dhimmi tool “Blah, blah, blah. An intelligent and moral person knows IT’S WRONG TO HAVE SEX WITH A CHILD, regardless of the era. What utter nonsense trying to justify this vile act. SHAME ON YOU.”

        Do you know that TYPING IN CAPITAL LETTERS does not mean you’ve refuted someone’s argument?

        If you lived in 7th century, you wouldn’t be a humanist philosopher. You’d just be another Tom, Dick and Harry.

        There were many pederasts (technically “homosexual paedophiles”) in Ancient Greece. Were the great Greek philosophers who took practised pederasty not “intelligent and moral?” Do you honestly believe you are better than them?

        Anyway what is a “child?” Mexico’s age of consent is 12. Delaware’s age of consent was 7 in 1880.

    • Patrick

      I actually have some sympathy for the perspective you’re offering. But there are limits to how relevant it is to the conversation.

      Example: Looking at many of the American founding fathers, they were slavers. But… many of them were relatively decent to their slaves by the standards of their time, and many expressed grave reservations about the whole process. By the standards of their day, they were better men than they easily could have been, and in a way that’s all we can hope for.

      But hidden in this is the unstated conclusion that, were they alive today, they probably wouldn’t still be slavers. There’s an unstated conclusion that, were they born and raised in a time that offered them a chance to be better people, they would be.

      So if we’re going to have a conversation about whether Thomas Jefferson was a good man, its fair to say yes, even though he did some things we would consider morally repulsive today.

      But if we’re going to have a conversation about whether Thomas Jefferson is a moral exemplar who’s every action should be considered a moral guide for modern times… then he was a horrible person. From the perspective of the conversation, that’s the conclusion you’re forced to reach.

      So with regards to Muhammad… I”m open to concluding that he wasn’t such a bad guy, all things considered (whether we’re discussing the fictionalized character within the Koran, or whatever actual historical personage upon which the Koran was based). But that’s only if we’re discussing him as a historical figure. If we’re discussing him as a present day character, screw him. There’s little abuse that would be undeserved.

      • http://deusdiapente.blogspot.com J. Quinton

        The difference between the American founding fathers and Mohammad is that the FF weren’t claiming divine revelation as a guide for their morality. A timeless god should have known that having a 9 year old as a wife is immoral; or at least would be considered immoral 1400 years later. Knowing that, he should have told Mohammad not to marry a 9 year old.

        The comparison with the FF only makes sense if the fundamental critique behind the Mohammad/Aisha story makes sense: That Mohammad was not a prophet of god but a person of his time.

    • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

      It’s the argument from imagined popularity! If hypothetical future people believe something, it must be correct and there is no need to consider actual ethical arguments.

    • Aita

      My grandparents didn’t oppose homosexuals, nor did theirs. What they do, though, is irrelevant, since they aren’t me… and considering the greeks had most of it figured out (though we need to replace slavery with automation, surely), I really don’t see why it’s something “of the times” if people already figured shit out prior.

      • JoFro

        Greeks had figured out the wonders of boy love as well but for some reason most atheists today, unlike their counterparts in the 1960s and 1970s, seem to have gone all conservative on pedophilia, unlike homosexuality – that it somehow is some serious kind of evil – looks like they too were more enlightened in the 60s and 70s, just like the Greeks

    • jose

      The problem with that is that religious leaders claim to have universal, objective moral truths that apply to everybody no matter the historical context.

  • Haley

    I’m learning Arabic right now and my teacher is Muslim and he is very open when talking about his faith. When somone in our class asked about the whole child marriage thing he told us that Mohammad does marry a nine year old in the Koran, but not to have sex with her or anything weird like that. Her mother had died in childbirth and her father and grandfather died in the same battle fighting with Mohammad, so she was basically going to be a street child and probably would have died. Adoption is not allowed in Islamic tradition, so the only way he could take her in was to marry her. They didn’t have sex until she was a woman, which in Islam is when a girl first gets her period (that’s still really young in my opinion, but I think many cultures back then were like that.) It’s actually expressly forbidden to have sex with a girl before she becomes a woman. Some people just took the fact that he married a nine year old and ran with it though, because there are perverts in every religion.

    Also, I wasn’t aware of this, but a woman can’t be forced into marriage either. Their imans (I think that’s what they are called, their priests) take each party aside seperatly and ask if they truly want to marry the other person. If one of them says no, the priest isn’t supposed to do it, it’s a mega-sin. But in practice, of course, this is overlooked in some cases I wold imagine. Or the girl may be pressured to say yes by her family. In the Koran though, it’s a huge no no. All religions on paper are altered in practice though, so I don’t think Muslims should be looked down on for this.

    • No dhimmi tool

      You need to stop taking Arab lessons from a Muslim, as he is telling you lies about Islam and Mohammed. Muslims will lie to you to get you to convert. Try an Arab Christian or atheist teacher instead.

      http://www.wikiislam.net/wiki/Aisha_Age_of_Consummation#Aisha_was_pre-pubescent_when_Muhammad_consummated_the_marriage

      “Aisha said, “The Apostle of Allah married me when I was seven years old.” (The narrator Sulaiman said: “Or six years.”). “He had intercourse with me when I was 9 years old.” Abu-Dawud 2:2116

    • Patrick

      Yeah, you have to be careful about this sort of thing. What your teacher actually gave you is a common apologetic, in which its alleged that Aisha went through puberty at a precociously young age, thereby justifying the whole “sex with a kid” thing. There’s no actual textual support for this theory.

    • http://www.smidoz.wordpress.com Smidoz

      Ya, I couldn’t imagine a Mullanahrefusing to marry anyone to the great prophet, so I don’t think that the issue of consent is valid. It also seems likely that a certain amount of conditioning went in, this seems to be the common thing among molestors, I hear.

      The link given is true the marriage was at seven, most likely, the moving of the marriage to the consumation date normally results in the date of consumation at around 13 (like Juliet), which doesn’t seem much better.

      I don’t think having an atheist or Christian teacher is much use either, as much as a Muslim is likely to try give a charitable version of their religion, the other groups will be very uncharitable, which isn’t really fair either, just don’t discuss religion during lessons. Once you have learnt Arabic, do your own research.

      The thing I really agree with is that we shouldn’t look down on Musilims, so much as the religion, there are plenty of religious nuts out there who genuinly want to do the right thing, I know, I’m one, & find that some of the points Chris makes are actually really valid, even if I don’t agree with the conclusion, but it is reasonable to assume that people are going to make fun of religions, & in particular religous people, it’s simply up to the religious to see what kind of valuable dialogue can come out of it rather than just taking offence & filling our bags of stones.

    • JoFro

      Did he tell you why adoption is banned in Islam? Seriously, read up on why that happened! What you will find is Mohammad marrying his own adopted son’s wife because he found her desriable. Keep reading and for goodness sakes, don’t only listen to your Islamic teacher….his Aisha story goes against the various accepted Hadiths as well, where Aisha got married to Mo at 6, and intercourse by 9

  • daysleeper

    Anonymous perhaps I might need to expand on on my sentence for you to fully understand it. So here goes: who are we to say that something that is unacceptable now may be considered acceptable in the future. And please do tell me at which point of the above article I was trying to troll

    My point is yes Muhammad did marry what by today’s context is a child. But social norms in the 7th century and now differ greatly. Now instead of just bluntly criticizing a belief you might want to do a bit of research a provide a learned argument than trying to put down someone as ”too’ stupid’

    Also kudos to you Haley for making an effort to learn more about Islam despite I believe not being muslim

    • No dhimmi tool

      Blah, blah, blah. An intelligent and moral person knows IT’S WRONG TO HAVE SEX WITH A CHILD, regardless of the era.

      What utter nonsense trying to justify this vile act. SHAME ON YOU.

      • Chloe

        Seriously? and you call yourself a person? They had no idea what was going on back then! IT HAPPENED, that’s the thing LEARN FROM IT. JUST like SLAVERY! You think back now and you think, well they should have known that it was wrong! “blah blah blah… regardless of the era” well… they know now? So “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it all” I’m pretty sure SOMEONE’S told you that before.

      • http://www.loonwatch.com/ Michael

        @No dhimmi tool “Blah, blah, blah. An intelligent and moral person knows IT’S WRONG TO HAVE SEX WITH A CHILD, regardless of the era. What utter nonsense trying to justify this vile act. SHAME ON YOU.”

        Do you know that TYPING IN CAPITAL LETTERS does not mean you’ve refuted someone’s argument?

        If you lived in 7th century, you wouldn’t be a humanist philosopher. You’d just be another Tom, Dick and Harry.

        There were many pederasts (technically “homosexual paedophiles”) in Ancient Greece. Were the great Greek philosophers who took practised pederasty not “intelligent and moral?” Do you honestly believe you are better than them?

        Anyway what is a “child?” Mexico’s age of consent is 12. Delaware’s age of consent was 7 in 1880.

    • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

      Islam is renowned for its dedication to cultural relativism.

  • adrian

    the truth never offends me!

    • http://www.loonwatch.com/ Michael

      Yeah.

      1) Prophet Mohammed wore a bomb for a turban.
      2) Ai’sha wore a niqab.
      3) Pope Benedict receives fellatios from boys.

  • MNb

    Oh, I had to laugh. Authorities never can be mocked enough. There is one thing that rubs me the wrong way and that’s probably because I am European.
    The way Mohammed is drawn resembles way too much nazi anti-jew propaganda. He looks like a relative of Jud Süss. Der Stürmer used charicatures like that as well. Just compare:

    http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/sturmer.htm

    I think that’s pretty unfair.

    • JoFro

      Can’t help it that both Arabs and Jews are a Semite people with similar features!

      • baal

        JoFro – your comments are off. Art similarity is more than shared generics.

  • Jimena

    Really? I think this cartoon is amazingly hilarious!

  • elitistb

    “My point is yes Muhammad did marry what by today’s context is a child. But social norms in the 7th century and now differ greatly. Now instead of just bluntly criticizing a belief you might want to do a bit of research a provide a learned argument than trying to put down someone as ”too’ stupid’”

    I guess if I would be religious I would hold my prophets to a greater standard than just following the norms of the day. It is somewhat telling when the man who purports to have a line of communication straight to God still engaged in such behaviors. For instance, let us take Haley’s statement: “Adoption is not allowed in Islamic tradition, so the only way he could take her in was to marry her.” Well why didn’t they just invent adoption? He was the prophet of God, and he couldn’t come up with “Hey, I’m creating this method of incorporating this girl into my family as just another child?” The Sumerians had adoption, and they existed long before this culture. What is the point of a prophet, then?

    • JoFro

      Seriously, find out why adoption is banned in Islam? There was nothing against adoption in Arabia before Muhammad did something that disgusted his own early followers until he, quite conviently, got another revelation from Allah….by the way, remember that Mo had two sons, who were adopted, when he was married to his first wife…so find out why..it should amuse you

  • http://thebronzeblog.wordpress.com Bronze Dog

    About the whole changing of morality: It changes because we gain knowledge that informs decisions (greater knowledge of benefits and risks) as well as potentially expanded empathy when we learn that other people really are people. Contrary to what divine command theorists and the like try to imply about secular morality, these sorts of changes are not random, arbitrary fashion, or the like. We use moral reasoning. Sex with children is wrong for good general reasons: They’re not developed enough to give informed consent, and adults can take advantage of them because of a imbalance in power and authority. Divine command theory, from what I’ve seen, doesn’t have these sorts of reasons for moral declarations, just arbitrary authority and/or might equals right.

    Of course, the fact that these people are doing things we find horrible and anachronistic undermines the idea that their morality is derived from some perfect ethereal being or that they have timeless values. It suggests their morality and, by extension, their gods’ morality is underdeveloped.

  • Will

    I thought the comic is funny.

    What, for hundreds of years they commit the most atrocious of crimes but pointing that out is what crosses the line?

    Religion is offensive.

  • utherpenpusher

    I’m not offended, personally, but I think the bomb in Muhammad’s turban is stereotypical and calls into question the claim to moral superiority of the cartoon. I think it’s uninspired and, on balance, it can’t possibly produce any positive change whatsoever. The people who disagree with it will be offended, and the people who don’t won’t.

    It also fails on a conceptual level. On the one hand, we have Muhammad in his 6th century moral context, a prophet, founder/restorer of a religion, behaving according to 6th century morality (provided the story is true at all), and on the other hand we have the Pope – an important religious leader (but not as important to Christianity as Muhammad is to Islam, and only really relevant to Catholicism) who doesn’t seem to have grasped the prevailing morality of his own time. What is the connection? That they’re both religious?

    • JoFro

      Muahmmad’s morality was not common in 6th century Arabia – in fact if you read about the 6th century, its quite common to find out its just the opposite. There is a reason why Jews and Christians found Mohmmad’s morality appaling in the 6th century

      • http://www.loonwatch.com/ Michael

        @JoFro “Muahmmad’s morality was not common in 6th century Arabia – in fact if you read about the 6th century, its quite common to find out its just the opposite.”

        Yeah. Evil Mohammed said that burying infants alive is forbidden. Arabia wasn’t an egalitarian utopia before Mohammed. He himself was actually quite liberal by 7th century Arab standards.

        @JoFro “There is a reason why Jews and Christians found Mohmmad’s morality appaling in the 6th century.”

        They didn’t. There’s nothing in the Qu’ran and the ahadith, that is morally “worse” than anything in the Torah and the Talmud. Jews and Christians hated Mohammed because they thought he was a false prophet. And Jews hated Jesus for the same reason.

  • reblstevn

    And still there is no clear evidence that there was an extermination campaign against the jews during the national socialists leadership of Germany. That seems to be more offensive to the “Hey Look At Me, I’m An Atheist” starved for attention hipsters.

    • baal

      I’m not particularly offended but the cartoon fails to be funny for me. The art isn’t all that great. The Aisha detail was likely codified age of consent ideas that are still present in current Islamic States (i.e. none but you might have to marry her). While that seems less nasty on an initial thought than the on going Church cover up s of child rape, the more you think about the time scales and the fact that no cover up is needed sort of works as a dawning horror. Have the two negatively portrayed authority figures earned more or less what ever scorn and derision we can heap on them? Pretty much yes. I won’t speak out against this particular rendition; it’s not particularly compelling how it’s carried out. However, the execution* leaves the various supporters of those 2 religions an out on the substantive complaint.

      I would also not put this up at work. Coming out of the blue, it could be very shocking to have to deal with this type of an argument in an otherwise peaceable surrounding. When you’re being overtly political (and this image is), it’s fair to question your choice of where and when to be political. Too often it just makes you look like a nut job (regardless of the message, it’s a distance from the norm problem). I would think it’d be ok for a sign at a protest or posted as a reply when some RCC loyalist starts defending jerry sandusky.

      **bombs are anachronistic, the overall artistry is meh, shades of anti-jew propaganda art style, the scaling is weird, the Pope probably wouldn’t take the lords name in vain and the prophet wouldn’t know what a condom is…these can be used for humorous effect but in having these choices and not others, the messaging is muddied rather than funny.

      • c_u_tech

        From Wikipedia’s histoy of the condom:

        The oldest claimed representation of condom use is a painting in the French cave Grotte des Combarrelles;[2]:11 the paintings in this cave are 12,000–15,000 years old.

    • baal

      ack, accidentally clicked the wrong reply. My comment to the holocaust denier who thinks the image is just a cry for attention is…there isn’t a point in trying to explain reality to someone who denies well proven things.

  • TMac

    Yawn.
    Oh… another atheist posting something offensive to some religions and telling them that they need to be more tolerant
    Oh…. you mean like he is?
    What a joke.

    • Michael Dickens

      OP’s message isn’t “be more tolerant.” It’s more along the lines of “child rape is bad, and it is okay to ridicule people who rape children and/or enable the rape of children.” That’s pretty much the opposite of tolerance, i.e. “we should be intolerant of child rape.”

  • Godlesspanther

    I don’t find it particularly offensive, nor do I find it particularly clever. I do think that we need to expose how those who adhere to an authoritarian and dogmatic structure do end up with really fucked up priorities.

    We can discus the issue in a dry and analytical way, but the people we are trying to reach would never read such an analysis. A short and simple message that they may find offensive may get them to think about it.

  • daysleeper

    Quite heartening to see that there are others who are possibly not Muslim or Catholic agreeing that the above cartoon Is offensive. Why is there a need for atheists to provoke those with religious beliefs. I do not understand the need to be antagonistic towards others.

    As for the Sumerians, they came from a much earlier time. To put it in comparison, wasn’t it much recently that those of African descent were segregated in most of the US?

  • daysleeper

    Now how would you know that your grandparents did not oppose homosexuals? Did this topic can up with any of your conversations? How about your great grandparents? They might’ve actually actively persercuted these people. Now imagine your whole bloodline bigots and your own parents inbred simpletons. Doesn’t sound right doesn’t it? Especially when I don’t have an inkling of an idea of who you are. Of course it doesn’t matter because its not who you are but was my comment on your family necessary?

    My point is not all Muslims are terrorists and not all not all catholics paedophiles and there is absolutely no need to paint such a provocative picture. Yes there are wrong doers but these people come from all walks of life believers and atheist alike. Antagonistic behavior towards others has to stop. Nothing good will ever come out of it.

  • daysleeper

    As for the greeks, this might prove interesting http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pederasty_in_ancient_Greece

  • eric

    Agree with Godlesspanther; my main reaction to this is that it’s a bad comic completely aside from the question of whether the content is offensive. Its heavy-handed and not clever. It doesn’t make me re-examine my views about Catholicism or Islam, it makes me think that the cartoonist threw together a bunch of tropes without much thought as to the overall message or effect.
    Good art that sends a message can be very effective without necessarily going into analytic detail. And a rational, detailed analytic argument can be very effective without necessarily being entertaining. But this is a sort of ‘worst of both’ – it doesn’t have the wit good fiction should have, but it also doesn’t have the analytic detail a good essay should have. Reminds me a bit of Atlas Shrugged in that way.

  • Darren

    Actually, I think the cartoon would be more effective if there where no boy, no bomb on Muhammad’s head, and if the word “rape” was replaced with something non-pejorative, such as “have sex with” or better yet, “consummate our marriage”.

    This is not for fear of offending, but without the pejorative aspects, the cartoon would better show how the morale compasses of these two leaders are seriously flawed.

    As I described it, there would be no objection from either Islam or Catholicism:
    A man having sexual relations with his lawful wife? Not a sin. The fact that she is 9 years old? Not a sin. The fact that she was forced into marriage, possibly even sold? Not a sin. But if Muhammad had used a condom? Whoa, Nelly! Now we have a problem!

    The cartoon as presented is just the sort of thing to justify the Catholics and the Muslims in their belief that they are oh so persecuted. Far better to show them something repugnant, then show them that they are forced by their faith to believe that repugnance to be actually Good.

    • JoFro

      Being forced into a marriage is a sin in Catholicism! Heck, there are Catholic female saints who have been given honour primarily because they would not be forced into getting married….

      • Darren

        Sigh… As it is in Islam, or so is my understanding. Not forced by a knife to the neck, forced by family, by tribe, by rank, by societal or economic conditions.

        • Ron

          Most educated Muslims would say that forced marriage is wrong, wrong, wrong, and against Islam. Some interpretations of Shari’a seem to condone it, but Muslims seem blissfully unaware of that. In any case, it is rare outside of north Africa and central Asia.

    • Danny McVey

      Hi, I’m new here. Nice comment, Darren.

  • Taoist

    I wonder if Christians realize that they use the same type of arguments against Islam as Atheists do against them? Both Christians and Atheists use the literal words of the holy book in order to portray them as evil.

    • http://www.loonwatch.com/ Michael

      I’ve also found that ironic. Glass houses…

  • Ralphie

    There were morals before there were religions. Gorillas treat their young better.

    • JoFro

      But chimps, are closest cousins, eat theirs during battle :D

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  • N

    rape? if you read those historical books you will find that the Prophet sws didnt live with Aisha under the same roof until she was much older. & please use your brain (if its possible).. in those time everyone everywhere in the world got married at that age. It was just custom. So don’t take it out of context just to insult others & to feel mighty. I suggest you all go read books..

  • Ron

    I don’t know why, but I don’t find it funny. Maybe just because it is such stale news. Also because many atheists find it too easy to attack religion and yet ignore the spiritual issues that religion ‘at its best’ (admittedly not great) tries to deal with. That’s almost as distressing to me as religion.

  • Zachary Simon

    In places where printing this could lead to jail or death it is essential. Outside those places it is detrimental. It’s tricky, but you can’t fight a culture war with well-mannered arguments, but you can’t win one without them, either.

  • mugasofer

    Um, no, Mohammad *having* a 9-year-old wife – not *having sex with* a nine year old – is a part of the lore and as close as you’re going to get to established fact. There’s some debate as to whether their marriage was consummated *at all*, I understand, let alone when she was a preteen.

    As for “the pope runs the church, the church sheltered child abusers, therefore the pope is a hypocrite … well, I’m no huge fan of the (previous – I come from the future!) pope, but that’s kinda unfair. It’s not as if he authorized it personally or anything; I’m Irish, and I can tell you it was as much a part of the screwed-up culture (here, I can’t speak for anywhere else) as the church. Plenty of teachers and other adult authority figures had the same immunity, which is of course why pedophiles gravitated to such positions.

    Also, seriously, he’s wearing a bomb-turban? I’m sorry, I can’t get offended by anything that hilareous (your post, OTOH…)

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.cousins.14 David Cousins

    If there is no God–then why the fuss about the point made in the cartoon? The actions presented shouldn’t matter. But if God exists-then it does matter because those mockingly portrayed are in the same boat as those who gleefully made the cartoon.

  • Collin237

    This cartoon is not even close to being offensive. It’s actually quite civil for a cartoon, and this is typical of cartoons about Islam. But if Mohammed weren’t there, if the sole target were Christianity, you can be sure the cartoonist would have drawn something much more vulgar.

    It’s a game of opportunity. In the current political era, a Christian or a Jew offended by a cartoon will at worst send hate mail, and will most probably do nothing but whine. A Muslim offended by a cartoon, however, might try to have the cartoonist killed.

    So don’t try to make this into offending Islam. The Muslims that put out fatwas against cartoonists are well deserving of civil disobedience, which is exactly what they’re getting. Rather, it’s Christians and Jews whom atheists make a habit of actually offending, taking advantage of — and showing utter ingratitude toward — our mostly benevolent norm.

  • Hadrian Embalsado

    Well that’s two religions in a nutshell.

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  • MNb

    “Muslims will lie to you to get you to convert. ”
    Weird. I live in a town with four mosques; I know quite a few muslims. What’s more, my female counterpart happens to be a muslima.
    No, they don’t typically lie to me. They don’t try to convert me either.
    But I guess you are the expert, not me.

  • JoFro

    I lived in an Islamic country for a few years – yes, many who are on Dawa missions very much do lie about their faith. Other times, they B.S you about how the Quran proves science. Those Muslims who dont lie are those who dont discuss religion or politics anyways when you hang around them. Other Muslims who dont live their faith nyways, dont try to convert you because they could be called out for it, so they just shut up

  • PoliSci

    how would you know they were not lying? Are you educated enough Theology to understand the Quran, the Hadith and the Surah to understand if they were lying? They don’t “typically” lie to you. Why lie at all? If they do not convert you with nuances of acceptance, minor teachings, explanations of culture; you will never be fully accepted or shunned. Taqqiha is well known practice and in prescribed to them as acceptable use in the teachings of Mohammed. And you are the expert? Sure!

  • Ron

    What’s a female counterpart?


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