Dallas, Texas, USA
November 06
My Googlable name is Mike Stanfill. I'm an illustrator, animator, web designer, cartoonist, cranky old geezer and much, much less. If you like my comic, or are easily influenced by people you don't know, then you can find lots more to overstimulate your neocortex at farleftside.com.

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SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 1:10AM

I Am Not An Abunnyist

Rate: 12 Flag

I am not an atheist

It's Only Words

snidely whiplashThe word "atheist" is personally vexing because it essentially means that I don't believe in your particular imaginary friend. It arbitrarily makes me the enemy, not unlike Snidely Whiplash, though I can't remember the last time I tied anyone to the railroad tracks.

And, as though including me as a villainous bit player in these vaudevillian productions isn't bad enough, nowadays my secular pals are trying to convince anyone who'll listen that atheism is itself a religion.

Actually that would be pretty cool. I could use a nice tax-free gig, but even the gummint knows that no one can make a dime preaching nothing about no one to an empty room. So good luck getting the permit, Pastor.

So what I need to do is invent a new religion, one based on the life of an all-powerful being. He could control space and time, even decide the fate of entire worlds, yet know when each of us are in trouble and would instantly answer our cries for help. And even though he may die, he shall yet be resurrected.

I shall call it "The First Church of Superman". And it will be good.


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Geez, Farleftside. I'll grant you there are some pretty whacked out believers out there. But don't you think what you've written here might be a little bit much?

If you don't believe in a higher Power, well, more power to you. Lots of fine people feel the same way. But isn't the word "atheist" used by plenty of individuals and groups as defining their perspective that there are no dieties? Is it really a label used to somehow "target" you?

I'm probably the worst person to respond to your post and defend religious belief. I'm not a very good churchgoer, and I take the Book more as parable than as fact. But if you start to throw around insults, and call people of various faiths psychotic, don't you think you're dismissing the worth and denigrating some of the most cherished beliefs of most of the people in the world?

Does an atheist, or non-believer, or whatever is the best phrase, have to attack those who believe in something else?
Anyone who buys the God story is, by definition, under attack by their own minds. There is no god, only a tiny portion of our brains susceptible to the concept of god, of which way too many unethical others take full advantage.

Besides, Man Talk Now, which religion should I believe? There are LOTS of them. How would I know the one I pick is the right one?

Answer: None.
Farleftside, you'll get no argument from me when you say that there are, unfortunately, too many people who use religion to recruit people to unkind or even indecent endeavors.

But belief in God (or gods) goes far beyond that, and touches far more people, in far more subtle and gentle ways than that. The worst doesn't define or comprise the best.

You gave me a good chuckle when you asked which religion you should believe in. I haven't the slightest. I'll leave the recommendations to those more schooled and certain than I.

I will say this, though. As vague and undefined as my own beliefs are, I do believe in something. I'm a very secular guy. Don't take well to religion and politics mixing. But I can't deny that I feel a connection - a connection I'm ill equipped to describe - to the divine.

When I least expect it, and maybe sometimes when I most need it, this is something that comforts me. And maybe it's just weakness on my part. But I don't think so. It ties me to everyone and everything around me, and it makes me feel part of something bigger. And it makes me feel, in ways I can't describe well, that there will be something after.

Farleftside, I've had a little indirect experience with psychosis, and this isn't it. It doesn't compel bad actions. It doesn't put me or others at risk. It's not harmful. If anything, it's the opposite.

And that's my inarticulate articulation of what God means to one wolf. I suspect it sounds pretty weak, but it doesn't feel that way. ;)
The Roman persecution of Christians. Aztec sacrifices. The Inquisition and the auto de fe. The Salem witch hunts. Islamic Jihads. The Final Solution.

You're right. Religion is just here to give us warm fuzzies.
Hmm. Hey, Farleftside can I ask a favor? Since you've rewritten the text of your post, my comments no longer make any sense. They just hang out there as if I were free associating or something, rather than making a timid, inexpert defense of religion. Could I ask you to delete my comments?
The term atheist goes back thousands of years and it originally applied to people that didn't believe in the right God, not just people who didn't believe in any; or at least that is what I think it applied to, hard to tell since many of the texts were burnt before I was born and the rest were screened before I got the filtered version.

If there is a God he has been badly misunderstood and misrepresented; the official explanation doesn't make sense. He gives us free will and we're supposed to do his will with it; he is benevolent and he remains silent while those that deliver his message beat the truth into his flock etc.

Needs work if you ask me; or even if you don't ask me.
Wow, Zach, there's seemingly no rationalization you're not prepared to make in defense of the indefensible. But as my old pap used to tell me: "If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people."
Man Talk; Yes, I altered the rant but the subject was only softened, not replaced. I'm keeping your comments because I like they still apply.

Note: My originalcommentary, to which Man Talk Now refers, engaged in a level of rancor that, while not unusual for me, caused a heightened degree of distress among my more refined visitors. Therefore, I dialed it back to 10, down from its lofty 11. Avante.
That wasn't intended to be a rationalization or defense of religion but an attempt to point out some of the more obvious contradiction in religion.
Zach, by saying "If there is a god" you automatically define yourself as having no strong opinion on the subject, so you bring nothing to the table.

It's simple. Either you believe that there is a God or you don't. But Stephen Hawking says there ain't and I'm on his side.
To paraphrase a famous comment: There are 1,000 religions in the world. Religious people disbelieve 999 of them. I just disbelieve one more.
I would like to thank the editors of Open Salon for featuring this cartoon on the front page. I am honored.
As a matter of fact, I think that a person who doesn't believe in Santa would in fact be an asantaist. That is, he would be if there was any need for that term. As it is, it's generally assumed that any given adult does not believe in Santa. If that believe contrasted with other prevalent beliefs, and especially if it was in the minority, I would see no problem with ascribing the term "asantaist" to such a person. I don't see how simply naming your lack of belief constitutes an effort to paint you as a villain. I believe in my own existence, but that doesn't mean that I consider solipsists to be my enemies.
Edward, disbelief in another person's psychosis does not automatically make the sceptic similarly insane. But anyone who subscribes to the primitive belief that the universe was created in a week by a single all-powerful entity is not only childishly naive, they're barking mad.
What Hawking actually said, was, "Religion is about authority and control." And, of course, he is right when referring to organized religion.

I have 3 suggestions:

1. You are welcome to join us in the Hawaiian Pantheon. Maui "Raised the Islands" so many now know and love, and Pele birthed the rest from fire into lava into land. Now, if you are a celestial navigator like myself, it all makes sense as our ancestors used this, while the Europeans still felt the world was flat, to traverse the whole Pacific and colonize the Americas. So, a very helpful religion. Bummer though, it descended into Inquisitions as well, which many Hawaiian activists today conveniently, like their Christian and Islamic counter-parts evil deeds, refuse to discuss.

2. Take on my other religion, Scientific Pantheism. This is the best, you simply get to take anything good you want from any theism you want, and ignore the rest. Plus, add science and facts. Great Stuff, this!!! (Google it if interested, this is a winner for the time being.

3. Admit the closest thing we know to actual truth, that the Multi-verse has some kind of built in re-birth mechanism, which cannot be denied as worlds, and Universes, explode and begin anew daily, perhaps each second we breath this happens. Christianity and the rest which rely on re-birth at their root are merely primitive forms of worshiping this, the return of the Sun after the Winter Solstice due to Earth's tilted axis, bringing the crops formerly needed without the grow lights we can now power by the same Sun to perpetually feed ourselves, or use to grow weed if we have unresolved childhood issues as well. Truly, something is going on with this, and we must figure out within the next couple billion years before said Sun burns Earth to smithereens. We, like the Polynesian voyagers of the Pacific, must first leave this Earth before it is destroyed, then, likewise leave this Universe before it to, Explodes, Implodes, or whatever the "hell" Universes do before they knock up against each other and bang.

I love your art. Kudos.

Imua (Onward)
I am seeing a troubling increase in acrimony between atheists and religious people that I do not understand. I went through an atheist phase. A radical atheist phase, even. But I never was mad at people who were religious. I thought they were foolish, what with their opiate and all. But I no more blamed the average "person with some religion" for the world's troubles than - I have no analogy.

There seems now to be a movement afoot to villify all religious people. I have found faith, and I use it against no one. I judge people the same way I always have - are they kind or not?

I don't understand an atheist organization's need to take out a billboard denouncing people of faith anymore than I understand a Catholic taking out a billboard denouncing Jews - which they don't.

Do you think this might have something to do with the increased attention atheists are receiving?
some scientist, when asked if he believed in god, dismissed the question by saying, "religion is a children's disease."

would that it were so. the reality is, humans come with vastly different capabilities, physical and mental, with a wide range of character, much of it acquired from dna or earliest experience and beyond the reach of logic.

religion works, as a binding tool for human societies grown past the clan size. for people without notable physical or mental abilities, participation in religion improves life by keying in to a large chunk of society.

so it's here to stay, and it creates its own local reality. i happen to agree that believers are fuckwits, but there a lot of them, they average happier than me, and i have to add an asterisk: but survival oriented fuckwits.

so i don't call them psychotic, unless i'm grumpy, i just say contemporary physics suggests multiple realities are just a smidgeon away in another dimension. they can have theirs, i'll stick with mine.
Atheism is fine, but please do not treat it as the most righteous of choices. That makes you sound like some kind of religious nut.
Sorry, but anything but atheism is just dementia.
this cartoon leaves me completely baffled as to the origin of your dismissive scorn for someone who merely believes differently from you. WTF?
I say that as an agnostic.
You sound just as dangerously rigid as a born again.
Way to be half-pregnant, Julie.