thinking and belief

This young woman, while sitting over her first cup of coffee for the day, has realized the inevitable: she has a fight on her hands.

Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, has asked that I be a weekly contributor to his blog’s new efforts. This cartoon was my first offering that was posted last week on the FriendlyAtheist. The deal is I can post it some time later on my own blog.  You can check it out here with all the comments.

What surprised me was the immediate vociferous reaction to the cartoon from believers. I drew the cartoon in such a way that it would be sympathetic towards both believers, atheists and everyone in between. This has been my experience. I remember saying this years and years ago.

Buy a print of this cartoon.

Many of my original cartoons are available. If you are interested, please email me.

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • amazonfeet

    Excellent ‘toon, David, but there are a couple of vociferous ones even here, and right now I can’t take being attacked by them, so will refrain from saying too much…but I get it, and as usual, you’ve hit it “spot-on”…. :)

  • David Waters

    It is indeed a Battlefield of the Mind.

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    “I can’t take being attacked by them.” That’s what the cartoon is expressing: the seeming hostility between thinking and believing and why can’t they Just Get Along. Personally my belief system is “rational”–or rather my rationality is in the service of my belief (bias) system. It’s “faith” that is beyond both my rationality and irrationality, logic and illogic. Far out.
    Whatever cartoon or thought you or anyone represents: it’s like stirring a pot or pit: all the yes-buts (as you have said) and qualifications, modifications and opposition. Isn’t the the nature of E Unum Pluribus: out of one – many? This is a Given, yes? Not an abberation or mistake. Why are we so surprised and dismayed at disagreement? (Not talking about how to fix lawnmowers or lobotomies or directions to San Jose here). Ultimate issues. Got to love it.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    It is a battle, indeed.

    Receiving the gift of faith is one thing…being kept in that faith isn’t easy.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

    Struggling to believe in something for which there is no proof & no evidence is one of the most emotionally (and sometimes physically) draining experiences a human can go through.
    Why? Because it is counter-intuitive. Religious belief flies in the face of common sense, yet so many adhere to it.
    It provides a level of superficial comfort, but there is a dear price to pay for that high.
    Leaving faith was the single most liberating experience in my life. Frightening? Yes? Painful? You bet, but so is quitting nicotine, heroin or alcohol “cold turkey”.
    This explains why religion often has a strong appeal to those who have a past history of substance abuse. They’ve merely substituted one “feel good” experience for another.

  • http://magdalenaperks.wordpress.com Magdalena Perks

    Religion and faith are not the same thing.

    I would call myself a thinking Christian, and I am of the opinion that some of the most brilliant thinkers in history were Christians. Basil the Great, probably the most intelligent human to ever live, had a marvelous faith; Thomas Aquinas, surely one of the most profound and original thinkers, both doubted and found his faith. Their example has strengthened my faith when it was weak. Faith, though, is not a function of intellect, but thought can inform and support faith.

  • Jenn

    Oh yeah. That’s me right now.
    But the coffee cup is too small, and should be filled with Fair Trade, small batch roasted, grind your own beans coffee, with chocolate. Then it would really be me.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    thanks jenn

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

    @Magdalena Perks,

    Religion and faith are not the same thing.

    Wow.
    You are so right. I regularly conflate and confuse the terms. Rather hypocritical of me, considering that I consider myself a Universalist Unitarian. Yes, I’m a religious atheist.
    If anyone ever catches me mixing them up again, I ask them to give me a swift kick in the butt. :-)

  • kls

    true. and then you realise you will never comprehend it, and that is when the true beauty of God is starting to emerge.

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    Godless: Quantum Physics is described as counter-intuitive. Tuition. Intuition. & Counterintuition: these 3 and the greatest of these is …

  • Pat Pope

    I think this is why some people purposely avoid thinking too deeply about matters. They know that it may be unpleasant and uncomfortable, so they choose to avoid it altogether.

  • meghann

    i’m just gonna walk with you till you get thru this. always prayin’ for ya D.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

    Godless: Quantum Physics is described as counter-intuitive.

    Quantum Physics does not instruct us as how to live our lives. It merely informs as as to what might possibly be. In addition, the advocates of Quantum Physics will abandon it if there enough evidence has been accumulated to suggest that it is wrong. You see no such element of self-correction within religious faith. Lastly, coming to terms with or understanding Quantum Physics does not require that we abandon intellectual integrity. Faith does. These are all important distinctions.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

    Let’s try this again without typos:

    Godless: Quantum Physics is described as counter-intuitive.

    Quantum Physics does not instruct us as how to live our lives. It merely informs us as to what might possibly be. In addition, the advocates of Quantum Physics will abandon it if enough evidence has been accumulated to suggest that it is wrong. You see no such element of self-correction within religious faith. Lastly, coming to terms with or understanding Quantum Physics does not require that we abandon intellectual integrity. Faith does. These are all important distinctions.

  • Susanna K.

    There’s a poster that used to hang outside the Lay Minister’s office at my college. It said, “Jesus had his doubts. Why can’t you?”

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

    @Susanna K.,

    There’s a poster that used to hang outside the Lay Minister’s office at my college. It said, “Jesus had his doubts. Why can’t you?”

    While that may seem enlightened on the surface, it begs the question; “At what point does questioning or doubt become unacceptable?”
    From my own observations, questioning is only given lip service when it comes to matters of faith. At some point, it becomes a liability to those who have a vested interest in maintaining their own faith and the faith of others.
    When those of faith claim that they encourage doubt, what I hear is, “Feel free to doubt just short of the point where your faith is in jeopardy and then go no further.”

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    Godless: in other words, counterintuitive is ok as long as it’s not Counter counter-intuitive. Etc. Faith is illogical, irrational. Absurd. That’s what it’s good for. But I know, I know: we’ve got a language problem here As always. Round and round.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

    @sam scoville,

    But I know, I know: we’ve got a language problem here As always. Round and round.

    I’ve been wrong before and I’ll most certainly be wrong again. If I’m in error here, feel free to show me where my argument falls short.

  • fishon

    amazonfeet
    December 7, 2011 | 7:15 am

    Excellent ‘toon, David, but there are a couple of vociferous ones even here, and right now I can’t take being attacked by them, so will refrain from saying too much…
    ——-Man, do I hear you on that. However, I am of the opposite camp, I am guessing. I become beaten down by those who attack me and my belief system. Certainly works both ways.

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    I’m not saying you’re wrong–just trying to sustain conversation (I call it converse action, my idiocy) on how we talk about ultimate matters on the one hand, practical matters on the other hand, rationality and irrationality, logic, analogic and illogic, belief (bias), faith (by virtue of the absurd). More interesting to me than NASCAR or politics or pop culture. Got to love it.

  • fishon

    Pat Pope
    December 7, 2011 | 10:40 am

    I think this is why some people purposely avoid thinking too deeply about matters. They know that it may be unpleasant and uncomfortable, so they choose to avoid it altogether.
    ——–Now that is the truth.
    As a pastor I have run into many folks who tell me, “Too complicated; I don’t want to think about it.”

  • Bill Mann

    One’s beliefs are just that: a matter of belief. Someone believes there is a god. Someone else believes there is not. Each offers proof that satisfies their own belief. What seems clear, obvious and true to one seems flawed and full of holes to another.

    Belief is based on whatever criteria we, as individuals, trust. For some, belief in God is as simple as reading it in a holy book or hearing it from an authority figure. For others, it is based on experience(s) that cannot be explained otherwise, even after much effort to do so. Some see hypocrisy where they expect holiness and find that to be proof of no god. Some see contradiction in explanations of God’s existence and see that as proof of no god. Some believe that, since God’s existence cannot be proven with logic, this is sufficient proof of non-existence.

    Many, regardless of which side their beliefs fall on, are driven by the innate human need to be right and seek to support their belief by proving the other side wrong.

    But regardless of which way we believe, God or no god, perhaps one thing we can all agree on is the value of Love in our lives. It is our ability to give and receive Love, unconditionally, that changes our life, the lives of those around us and, ultimately, the whole world. Love, kindness and respect for each other’s beliefs.

    For some, God is Love. For others, Love is “God.” But in the end, it is the Love that really matters.

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    Fishon: as a teacher I run into many who tell me “too complicated: I don’t want to think about it.” Fortunately some of us love to think about it, tweak and twiddle, modify and elaborate, challenge and be challenged–it’s a meaning of life. Others play golf. Hunt. Run for office. As Father Daniel Berrigan said in the activist 60′s–”don’t just do something: stand there.” My sentiments exactly. What a luxury. Ivory Tower. Get Naked, as my students sometimes call it. (“gymnasium” – “naked training”) xxxooo, The Naked Bastard.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

    @sam scoville,

    …we talk about ultimate matters on the one hand, practical matters on the other hand…

    Interesting. This clears things up a bit, then. At least in my mind it does.
    It appears that the main difference between our weltanschauungen is that I see practical matters and ultimate matters as inextricably linked and, in fact, the same thing.
    What I’ve understood from your comments to date is that you do not.
    A very large (but not necessarily insurmountable) gap.

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    You seem to “privilege” your sense of rationality and logic–and cast the irrational and illogical (probably not analogical because you may incorporate analogy into your sense of “logic” but it’s illogical, descriptively) I actually see my rationality and logic (such as it is–hardly syllogistic) as always in the service of my attitude, outlook, frame of mind–which is to say, my illogical and irrational belief & bias system–and my unconscious, of which my consciousness is merely tip-of-the-I’s berg, or as some linguists said: a snowball on the tip of the iceberg. I’m not claiming my priorities make common sense or are defensible against any self-described “rationalist.” Just sayin’ is all. As you say: makes for a large (but not necessarily insurmountable) gap. I’m not weeping over my coffee or trying to set people free. Just putting IT in play, is all. An occupational hazard.

  • Jane

    I agree with Bill. I think what you said sums it up for me!!

  • fishon

    sam scoville
    December 7, 2011 | 12:00 pm

    Fishon: as a teacher I run into many who tell me “too complicated: I don’t want to think about it.” Fortunately some of us love to think about it, tweak and twiddle, modify and elaborate, challenge and be challenged–it’s a meaning of life. Others play golf. Hunt. Run for office.
    ——Well Sam, I like to hunt. Don’t care much about the kill anymore, though. I like to think too. I think a lot. Sometimes it is frustrating because my great thoughts and wisdom do not flow to paper as I wish. Totally my fault though. Wasted years of too much hunting, etc in my past. This being a great thinker, but not being able to get it out—–dang, what torture!

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    It’s all hunting in good will–say. That’s how I frame it when I’m not being a Naked Bastard.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

    @Bill Mann,

    Love, kindness and respect for each other’s beliefs.

    You had me on love and kindness, Bill. Lost me on respect for others beliefs. I’ll respect people, but I don’t automatically have respect for their beliefs. Too many of those are harmful or downright dangerous.
    Overall agree with the gist of your comment, though.

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    Good Will: hunting. My problem, Fishon(it’s MY problem, I’m saying), with Naked Pastor and his sympathizers: his cartoons and commentary seem to me (to ME, I said, damnit) to portray THE VICTIM & victimized: hunted, haunted –weeping over coffee, pushed to the end of the see-saw, belly-cut and bloody all over the ground, living dead. Excluded. Cast out. Poor things, a poor we have with us all ways. A victim is victimized by a victimizer, yes? Someone to blame. Naked Bastards. Pretty hard to “get free” from this victimized-frame-of-mind. We swim in it. It’s like someone with their hands squeezing their own throat: “help, help, I can’t breath,” they cry–”but if you touch my hands, I’ll kick yr ass.” Something like that. LIKE, I said. Not IS.

  • Gina

    I love this one. That’s me, on and off for the last few years. It is one thing to struggle with your faith. It is another thing to admit it to the people you went to church with. People at church seem to get really hostile when you question and doubt and I just am sad that it is not a safe place to wrestle with faith issues… so I quit going and I am starting to find my way. I find a lot of helpful things on the web, like this page, that helps me to see that other people have been there too and maybe questioning the Bible and the church’s interpretation of it is not the most horrible thing in the world I can do.

  • Stephanie Butcher

    Omgosh – This is my favourite cartoon to date!! Amazing!

  • fishon

    sam scoville
    December 7, 2011 | 2:14 pm

    Good Will: hunting. My problem, Fishon(it’s MY problem, I’m saying), with Naked Pastor and his sympathizers: his cartoons and commentary seem to me (to ME, I said, damnit) to portray THE VICTIM & victimized: hunted, haunted –weeping over coffee, pushed to the end of the see-saw, belly-cut and bloody all over the ground, living dead. Excluded. Cast out. Poor things, a poor we have with us all ways. A victim is victimized by a victimizer, yes? Someone to blame. Naked Bastards. Pretty hard to “get free” from this victimized-frame-of-mind. We swim in it. It’s like someone with their hands squeezing their own throat: “help, help, I can’t breath,” they cry–”but if you touch my hands, I’ll kick yr ass.” Something like that. LIKE, I said. Not IS.
    ———-Aha, Sam, you put my thoughts into poetic words. I gotta tell ya, as a pastor, it is hell cutting the string with the professional victimized-frame-of-mind person. But then that problem is not exclusive to pastors, as you well know.

    Ah heck, not thinking about it is easier, so I’ll not think about the 2 I am cutting off now. Wonder how I’ll sleep tonight?

  • James

    As a Christian Gnostic, I don’t have a hard time with this cartoon at all; If we read the Gospels carefully, when Jesus asked that He be believed in, it’s not in the modern connotation of “I believe in Santa Claus”, but in the first century idiomatic, “Trust me enough to emulate me through my teachings”. My answer to any who doubt the existence of God, or Christ for that matter, is that I don’t need to thrust my fingers into His wounds to follow Him. If the God I have found, turns out to be a bit of “bad potato” it’s no harm to me to love my neighbors, and perhaps the world is just that bit of a better place to live in because of it. Meanwhile, if I am right, and God exists, I have believed(followed) without seeing.

    I love your cartoons.

  • http://theprivilegedcontrartian.wordpress.com Tana

    Good Will: hunting. My problem, Fishon(it’s MY problem, I’m saying), with Naked Pastor and his sympathizers: his cartoons and commentary seem to me (to ME, I said, damnit) to portray THE VICTIM & victimized: hunted, haunted –weeping over coffee, pushed to the end of the see-saw, belly-cut and bloody all over the ground, living dead. Excluded. Cast out. Poor things, a poor we have with us all ways. A victim is victimized by a victimizer, yes? Someone to blame. Naked Bastards. Pretty hard to “get free” from this victimized-frame-of-mind. We swim in it. It’s like someone with their hands squeezing their own throat: “help, help, I can’t breath,” they cry–”but if you touch my hands, I’ll kick yr ass.” Something like that. LIKE, I said. Not IS.

    Sam, people go through many phases of spiritual growth. And yes, much to your apparent chagrin, one of them is victimization if a person’s experience was unhealthy within a religious group.

    David’s work touches on many different phases a person might go through as she leaves a certain frame of mind in search for health and wholeness, from my point of view. Like all art, however, each person is going to see what he sees from his own perspective.

    It’s also interesting to me that you conflate a victimization with a hunger for pity. Would you accuse members of an AA group of meeting together to pity one another? Because in my estimation nakedpastor simply provides those of us who are working through various phases of post-churchdom an online meeting room in which to gather and relate to one another.

  • http://theprivilegedcontrartian.wordpress.com Tana

    I don’t know why it italicized the entire comment. Mea culpa.

  • http://caedmonmichael.net Caedmon

    I just completed a spiritual formation course for seminary students designed primarily to help the student deal with the issue in the drawing.

    How do we let our guard down long enough to honestly wrestle and learn, without losing our faith entirely?

    Most of us have found/are finding two things:

    1) God can handle our questions and our questioning; we’re the ones with the limitations.

    2) Many of the things I believed in need to be dismantled before I will ever learn to know Christ.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    It’s comments like this one of yours Sam that makes me truly consider blocking you. This site is obviously attractive to people who have had negative experiences and would like the freedom, for a change, to talk about it without being victimized all over again the same way they were in the sick system they left. It takes courage for people to talk through their pain on their way to wholeness. You just seem to delight in coming here to scold them and belittle them. It points to the obvious fact that you are a deeply troubled person who delights in trivializing and denigrating the wounded. For an intelligent person you are not very wise.

    You are not welcome here when you use that spiteful tone. One more time and you will be blocked. Promise.

  • fishon

    Tana
    December 7, 2011 | 5:29 pm
    ———Tana, I can’t speak for Sam, but for me and my experiences, that is before I became a Christian at 33, then later became a pastor at 50, and now a pastor for 14 years, I have seen and see now untold numbers of people who hang on to the victimhood with a tight grip. We live in a time where victimhood is at epidemic levels. It is in all parts of our society, not just in the spiritual realm.

    YOU: Would you accuse members of an AA group of meeting together to pity one another?
    —-You bet. There is a certain amount of folks in AA that will never leave the comfort of victim. I know of what I speak. I’ve been there.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    fishon: i know you are speaking to tana but i want to interject: being a victim is a solemn and sacred journey and i think we must tread softly on that holy ground. it is not up to us to tell someone their time is up. that is something that person alone must come to decide. am i saying that some people don’t become dependent upon their victimization? of course not. but who are we to decide where that line is for a certain individual?

  • Pat Pope

    I would appreciate that action Naked Pastor.

  • http://rescuetheplot.com/ David Eastham

    Ooph! This cartoon really strikes a chord with me. I grew up in a home with one parent. Mom made sure we went to church each week. I never really understood faith as a kid. And love, as a concept of relationship, was something that was strange to me. It was rare around our house, for example, to hug until I was older.

    As a teenager, I met a lot of people. Teens of other faiths or of no faith, and that planted a seed that got me thinking later throughout college. I thought college would be different–less confusing–because I elected to go to a private school over a state school. This private school had a focus on Biblical teachings and Christian morality.

    I’m happy for the professors there. I’m happy for the connections I made and the friends who I met there, however it was college. I was naive to think that the community was any different than any other place. It was good marketing on their part. Everyone bickered. Everyone argued. There were points of brilliance and tragic miscommunications. Everyone hurt each other and it was always eye opening to see dysfunctional believers on that scale.

    Since that time, I have been slowly distancing myself from large groups of the faithful. I’m not really sure why. I think grief plays a big role in that, as I have had to say goodbye to family, friends, and mentors who’ve passed away in recent years.

    I guess these cartoons are the only meditations that I have right now. I’m very happy that they are available. Because, like the woman in the cartoon, sometimes I don’t know what to think or what to believe.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    wow david. that says it.

  • fishon

    nakedpastor
    December 7, 2011 | 6:46 pm

    fishon: i know you are speaking to tana but i want to interject: being a victim is a solemn and sacred journey and i think we must tread softly on that holy ground.
    ——That is just plain babble. I have been beaten down, trampled upon, thrown aside like a piece of crap by a pastor and his cronies, when I was an elder in the church I was born again in. Lies and more lies were told; efforts to drag me to the pit left more tears on the ground than I thought I possibly held. The effort to ruin my good name became a game to the punks. Wherever you have been in the pain you discribe from time to time, well I have been there too. This is not about my pain worse than your pain, it is just fact. I know the pain–AND IT WAS NOT a solemn and sacred journey ON holy ground. IT WAS HELL.

    YOU: it is not up to us to tell someone their time is up. that is something that person alone must come to decide.
    ——Sure it is. Jesus said in Matt. 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
    Forgiveness is a huge part of getting over victimhood–genuine or made up “Woe is me.”

    YOU: am i saying that some people don’t become dependent upon their victimization? of course not. but who are we to decide where that line is for a certain individual?
    —–If not you, who?
    Do you really believe it is healthy and compassionate to let them wallor around in their victimization? Are you telling me that if one of your grown up children was a victim and they decided to decend into victimhood continually, allowing it to harm themselves and their family, you would not involve yourself and maybe become firm–draw a line in the sand, and say, “No more from me; I refuse to help you wallow with the pigs with my blessing?

    But wait a minute, you did trample on what you call sacred journey, holy ground, when you threatened Sam. And you stated to me:::it is not up to us to tell someone their time is up.——However you did just that to a victim, Sam.

    Victim how, you ask?
    YOU WRITE SAM:::It points to the obvious fact that you are a deeply troubled person who delights in trivializing and denigrating the wounded.
    ——-Well your own words JUDGE Sam to be a victim::”deeply troubled person.” By any definition, that makes him a victim of something, yet you treaten to cut the string, tell him time is up, ‘block him.’ You treaten to do the same thing you take me on for.

    Your acknowlegment of him as a “deeply trouble person” makes all the difference, David. You write to Sam about people and pain; however, you take sides against a man who is obviously in pain and a victim of who knows what, and you threaten him with explusion and EXCLUSION.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    You’re trolling fishon. Trolling big time. There is so much wrong with what you said I don’t have the time to answer. Nor the heart for it. You come across as a big mean bully. You might not mean to, but you do. Just sayin’. btw: it’s one thing to express one’s hurts here. it’s another thing to shit on others’ hurts like sam likes to do. and you too. i get letters every friggin day from countless people who don’t dare comment on this blog but would love to because of the mean reaction they KNOW they will receive from you and sam. you need to know that. and i wrestle every day with whether or not to let you stay because you restrict and damage this community with your attitude and words. am i being patient and gracious with you and sam or plain irresponsible?

  • Pseudonym

    “Faith is so much better than belief. Belief is when someone else does the thinking.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

  • fishon

    Ok, David, no worrys. If I am a problem to people in a way that keeps them from blogging on here, then they have way bigger problems than me as an excuse.

    Well, I told you a long time ago that I would leave if ask to. You don’t have to wrestle with making a decision as what to do any more. I’ll take care of that.

    I am tempted to pop in and see, in a month or two, just how many of the “countless people who don’t dare comment on this blog but would love to because of the mean reaction they KNOW they will receive from” Sam and I, will be blogging. But I won’t know, cause when I am gone I am gone. There you go,David, now your blog roll will explode. You can tell all those who are afraid of the trolling fishon that he is dead. They have nothing to fear any more. I am gone, never to be heard of here again; I promise. And one thing you can count on, my promise.

  • Samuel

    Hello, scientists have made it quite clear through research that the universe is expanding, not only that but increasing in speed in it’s expansion.
    So reverse that you bring the universe back to a beginning.

    So who started it?
    So what was before the universe? Hot gases you might say and carbon?
    So where’d the hot gas and carbon come from?

    Two leading atheist believe,that you have to come as a atheist to a point of believing that something comes from nothing!

    I prefer to believe that The bible Is true, it takes faith.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    fishon: that’s not the reaction i hoped for. but it’s in keeping. and i’ll accept it. you are welcome here any time. i want to make that clear. but with modified behavior of kindness towards people in this room. that’s only fair.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com The Godless Monster

    @Samuel,

    So who started it?
    So what was before the universe? Hot gases you might say and carbon?
    So where’d the hot gas and carbon come from?

    Two leading atheist believe,that you have to come as a atheist to a point of believing that something comes from nothing!

    Samuel, who or what started your god?

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    Naked Pastor and all: there’s much truth in what you (NP)say about my tone and attitude. Even with all my disclaimers (“my problem”-”how I see it”–”LIKE not IS”), the observations are pointed, even barbed. Salt in open wounds– salutary? Doesn’t feel like it. A recent former student published a book of poetry entitled It’s Not the Truth if it Doesn’t Hurt.” I attended a 12-step group years ago for a year. The steps make good sense: a self-help/self-discipline/self-assess program. We finally did more complaining than assessing. Many seem to have left “church” because they felt blocked, inhibited, criticized, rejected. Isn’t that the reason you finally left, David? Were you deeply troubled at the time? A victim? Do you still feel that blocking, critical, rejection and victimization? Good guys on the one hand: bad guys on the other. It’s almost impossible to get free of this double bind. Wild horses can’t seem to do it.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    My 9-year-old aspiring-cartoonist daughter loves your cartoons but only understand a few (thank goodness — she has not been raised with confusion. But she loved this one and got it right away.

    Though I doubt many of your readers may be interested, but some Buddhist have questioned the historicity of the Buddha — was he a myth?

    This doubt and the problem with their scripture has stirred a similar phenomena as in Christianity. The comparison of both reactions is instructive. So, for those interested, see Jayarava’s comment in this excellent post by Glenn Wallis:
    http://speculativenonbuddhism.com/2011/12/04/ghost-buddha/

    Congrads on the regular “Friendly Atheist” spot — you will be superb and are deeply welcome. Don’t let the fundies discourage you.

  • http://samscoville.blogspot.com/ sam scoville

    “An enemy is as good as a Buddha.” Love that notion, regardless of the “hodge-podge” which seems to provide the basis (fundament)for Buddhism. Also, always found “If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him” to be compelling. Always: the dynamic tension between “spirit” and “letter” of these (and other) matters: it’s what generates the controversy & opposition without which “is no progress.” says William Blake,
    mystic visionary and artist.

  • heather C

    I like this one. I still remember our mutual friend, Robin, when we were talking about educating our kids at home, saying that choosing curriculum was a huge challenge. We didn’t want “curriculum in a box” or curriculum that was dogmatic in its approach. We both want to avoid producing that stereotypical Christian kid who has been pumped full….unable to think. And Robin said “I want my kids to be thinking Christians.” Bingo. It’s not easy. Being a thinking anything stretches you more. But there’s no other way to make this thing called faith your own, other than to question it and think. This cartoon demonstrates that struggle quite poignantly. Thanks.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    thanks sabio. i love hearing about younger people liking my cartoons


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