Jeff Burns in Hell

Yes, I decided to burn myself in Hell for this week’s Freethunk cartoon. I figured it was a nice fit for Halloween, which is today of course. Actually, this piece of paper was set up for another comic strip and I was doing some cleaning and found it. Whenever I find a blank template for a comic strip, it just begs to be drawn on. So it’s not the usual page size.

There seem to be multiple beliefs in what Hell is but the prevailing one amongst Evangelical Christians is that it is a literal place and that you literally burn. But how does that work when you don’t  have a physical body? Some have tried to explain it that your soul is burning because you are separated from God and others just say you feel the sensation of burning. It really doesn’t make sense. It’s the same problem ghost hunters have when they try to explain why it is possible to detect a nonphysical entity with physical equipment. It also presented a problem to Frank Peretti and other Christian fiction authors when they tried to present angelic warfare–the demon being killed goes “poof” instead of any bloodletting.

Does the soul have pain receptors? How can we examine this? Maybe it is all a trick and our soul can’t feel pain? Therefore, while Hell might be boring or lonely, you’re not really tortured. I think boredom would still be punishment but it’s not very sexy for Christians to espouse. “Believe in Christ or be bored forever in the afterlife!’

Christianity is out to scare you, much like a Halloween prank. Don’t be suckered!

Favorite Jesus Halloween Cartoon

One of my earliest religious parodies was a zombie cartoon of sorts. Like many of you, I love zombie movies and the familiar character of the slow moving, decaying neighbor looking for flesh to eat. The gag was begging to be done. I believe this Jesus drawing was done in 2000 or 2001 (as you can tell from the artwork–honest, I’ve improved). It was such a simple idea which reflected an alternate view about raising from the dead that it has persisted as a favorite Freethunk cartoon since then.

For you cartooning geeks, at the time I inked everything with brush which is why all my early material is very loose. Growing up, I was influenced by magazine cartoons. If you have sat down to read a best of book of sixties magazine cartoons, such as I did at my local library, then you would remember the whooshes and strokes and shading with cross hatching and stippling. Since then I’ve tightened up my style with using Micron pens, but brush strokes have a nostalgic feel for me.

Christians don’t blink when they talk about people raising from the dead and yet the Biblical stories could be considered the stuff of horror. How Jesus raising from the dead is a sacrifice I’ll never know (aren’t sacrifices called “sacrifices” because they’re permanent?). Also, in the Old Testament, couldn’t God have raised the animals he demanded be sacrificed from the dead too? Those poor animals had to give up their lives for nothing–I mean Jesus should have come a lot earlier.

Satanic Holiday

Kids, remember these safety tips when trick or treating this Halloween:  Don’t accept anything from people you don’t know.  Unless it’s candy.  Always let your parents inspect the candy before you eat any of it. That way they can take the good stuff for themselves. And remember, the more uncomfortable and inconvenient the costume–the better!

Happy Halloween from the Bible Belt comic strip and Freethunk.net

Hell House Documentary

I went looking for new news on Hell Houses and I guess they are yesterday’s news because Christians do not seem to have ramped up the horror like regular haunted houses. I did find a series on YouTube made in 2002 that covered the production of one Hell House. They refer to nonChristians as “the walking dead.”

I’m going to post the first episode (I’d skip over the introduction) and then link to the rest of the episodes so you can open them up in separate windows. The quality is pretty good once you get past the host’s introduction. One hilarious moment in the first episode is when this Christian group is meeting together to discuss what kind of scary scenes they’re going to produce and one guy suggests a scene with a gay bar where two women are hitting on each other (he was completely serious). The Leader of the group jumps in and says “I really don’t want to do that” as he realizes that everyone listening is getting turned on. Again! I don’t care if you are a male goodie-two-shoes Christian–two women hitting on each is hot! All you Christian wives are gullible if you believe your husband when they say women kissing each other is disgusting.

You know what is the scariest thing about Hell Houses? That Christians lump all unbelievers in like this: wife beaters, murderers, child molesters, abortionists, homosexuals, fornicators, adulterers, etc. As an atheist, I feel kind of boring. I got my first speeding ticket for going 5 miles over the speed limit last month and that’s about how dangerous I am. Oh and I do own an unrated copy of Showgirls (it always cracks me up).

Hell House Documentary Pt 2

Hell House Documentary Pt 3

Hell House Documentary Pt 4

Hell House Documentary Pt 5

Hell House Documentary Pt 6

Hell House Documentary Pt 7

Hell House Documentary Pt 8

Hell House Documentary Pt 9

Joan of Arc Can’t Win

Artist Comment: I like the drawings of people in court that you see on the news.  I’d like it even more if they were drawn by cartoonists with funny faces and expressions dropping punch lines.  Just because he faces 30 years in prison doesn’t mean we can’t all have a good chuckle.

Freethunk Admin Comment: This comic strip is so true. Joan of Arc got shafted. How many others did the church vilify and treat like dirt in their time and now “everything’s alright because we figured out we were wrong”? It’s too bad there isn’t an afterlife because Joan of Arc should be able to face her accusers and see their shame. That’s the problem with life, you don’t end up being vindicated until you’re dead.

Can’t Take a Joke?

Don’t you hate it when you hear a really good joke, then when the perfect time comes to tell it you get all the way through and screw up the punch line? Five seconds earlier you pictured yourself to be the funniest, wittiest person at the party, then suddenly you look like the biggest ass.  Fortunately you can always recover by making armpit noises which works for any occasion.

Kissing Priests Ad Banned

Antonio Federici Ice Cream in the UK sure likes to push the buttons of the censors.Its advertisement of two priests kissing with the tagline “We Believe in Salivation” stirred up the wrath of the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency), a government agency that sets standards for pushing commercial products. According to The Freethinker, The NSS (National Secular Society) has accused the ASA of “reintroducing the blasphemy law.”

This isn’t the first time Antonio Federici has parodied religion in order to sell its sinful flavors and it is interesting to see this free speech battle being fought by an ice cream company. I posted earlier about their ad featuring a pregnant nun scooping ice cream with the title “Immaculately Conceived.” Obviously tweaking the noses of the government watchdogs is good for publicity in England.

While I’m straight, you have to admit the ad is rather erotic and interracial on top of the obvious blasphemy of two priests smooching. Too bad I’m lactose intolerant because I would be happy to throw my money their way for the product…that is, if it was sold in the US.

Bless You

Were you ever told when you were a kid that if you kept your sneezes inside your head might explode?  Well I tried it and it never happened.  But wouldn’t it be interesting to see?  You’d probably want to be behind some sort of glass shield I’d imagine.

‘Time Changer’ – Christians in a Time Machine

I have just put this in my Netflix Que to review, but it is not a new film. However, the concept is interesting enough I thought I would mention it in my daily post. The movie is called Time Changers and was produced in 2002 by Five & Two Pictures. One of the reviewers on Amazon.com summed up the premise nicely: “…ethics don’t count unless they’re backed by the force of Christ.” So basically the storyline follows a Biblical professor named Russel Carlisle who proposes that morals can be dependent of Christianity and wants to publish his ideas with the support of his colleagues, only one of them protests. This would be Love Boat’s own Gavin Macleod playing Dr. Anderson. Dr. Anderson apparently has a time machine and sends Professor Carlisle into the future to find out how his writings have affected the future.

Obviously inspired by H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, Rich Christiano, whose name is on the film,  may believe the future–which is now–is a decaying society without Christ. This is the general agreement amongst evangelical Christians. Secular humanism is just not a good thing I guess.

Yes, it’s the old argument if you don’t believe in God, why would you be moral? I wonder if we could take a census of how many criminals in jail believe in God and how many are atheists? I’m betting the odds are in favor of atheists being in the minority. Morality has to do with reason and there’s no better proof than the Bible itself. Christians pick and choose the laws to follow in the Bible because in a secular society we don’t stone the homosexuals or treat women like they’re cursed when they have their periods. There is no easy to read morals list in that ancient text, it is spread out and unclear which is why we have a ton of Biblical commentaries and theological debates. We dig lessons out of the Bible that make sense and avoid the ones that don’t as many of the lauded heroes of the Bible, chosen by God, are poor moral advisers and even the things God himself did were horrendous–genocide being the major offense. Morality is secular and evolves to keep up with society–it is still evolving because we continue to debate it.

The easiest experiment to do in regards to morality without God is to take a poll amongst atheists and see how many are ax-murderers or rapists. You think I’m kidding, but that’s how stupid this argument is. Without God, we’re supposed to go willy-nilly off into unfettered sex and violence with no care for anyone else.  And yet it doesn’t happen this way. It honestly scares me that the only thing keeping Christians from gang raping me is that they believe in God. I would hope they would have enough commonsense that if they lost their faith they wouldn’t feel compelled to do something that horrible.

And if God is required for morality, why do so many public believers get in trouble? If there was a consistency, maybe I could agree to this idea. In other words, if anyone who believed in God never committed a crime or even a moral trespass, then we have some proof. But there seems to be no real difference between believers and nonbelievers when it comes to morality, which is why Christ died on the cross because everyone sins. So what is the point? God has no effect on moral behavior if he felt it necessary to save everyone from their sins, otherwise those who believe in God wouldn’t sin. If we’re saying that everyone still sins despite believing in God, then how is belief in God essential for morality?

I did a comic page parody of this issue a couple of years back, take a look. It pretty much illustrates all I’m saying here. It’s time we call Christians on this belief because they love to repeat it. Secular Humanists know better. Morality is much more complicated than “God says so.”

I will not say that religious institutions have not taught moral precepts, though again, they can be accused of teaching bigotry and sexism too, not to mention murdering unbelievers and those deemed to be witches. I will not say that there could be moral precepts drawn out of the Bible such as “Thou Shalt Not Kill” which is very vague (can I kill someone if they’re trying to kill me?). All I’m saying is that you can be moral without a god and that you can absolutely be immoral with a god. The Catholic priest scandal is recent evidence of that.

Morality is a work in progress as life does get better–we may look back at this time period much like we look back at the 18th century now and think, “What a bunch of ill-informed barbarians.”

I’m looking forward to watching this film. It even has Paul Rodriguez in it, the latin comedian. I’m surprised if Christians were planning to do a time machine movie that they wouldn’t go back 6,000 years and prove evolutionary theory wrong. Probably a budget issue.

‘The Assassination of Dr. Tiller’ Documentary Review

Rachel Maddow must be passionate about the battle for abortion rights to have gotten this special on the air. The Assassination of Dr. Tiller deserved a 2 hour time slot but only received 1 hour which is amazing since the people behind the scenes of the killing were worth further exploration. There wasn’t time to dig into the personalities and the politics that allowed for an abortion provider to get shot point blank in the head at his church. Even with the lack of time, the documentary is a good overview on a small segment of the abortion rights war and how some individuals on the pro-life fringe actually believe what they say–“Abortion is murder.” You can watch the entire show online at MSNBC. I would encourage any pro-choice advocates to link to it from their websites, blogs or Facebook to show there is an interest. By and large, the public ignores abortion provider shootings much like they ignore school shootings. It was horrific when it happened the first time but now it’s kind of old…why do we need to hear about it again and again?

'The Assassination of Dr. Tiller' *** Stars

Women may feel differently when they end up in a situation where they need the help of an abortionist and there’s none to be found. Rachel Maddow has reminded us that a basic right under law has been undermined by violence. As was said by one of the clinic workers interviewed, no one likes abortion and no woman wants to have an abortion, but the need arises in tragic circumstances and honestly when poor life decisions are made (like not using birth control or a condom). Abortion is a gray moral area full of dead-end arguments and the reason Christians in particular react so strongly against it is that their world is black and white. They can’t stand the idea that there may be an issue on the table with no easy answers.

I’m not going to get into the arguments on abortion here, but in reference to The Assassination of Dr. TillerI was surprised at how unbiased the documentary was. Both pro-lifers and pro-choicers should be able to watch this without getting mad at the producers. It is what is. Dr. Tiller was shot at his church after years of intimidation. The documentary reported what happened and gave everyone time to speak including Operation Rescue.

This documentary is not significant in its premise as the fringe has been covered by documentaries on the premium cable channels which are far superior in strength and focus, but it is significant that we were able to see this on MSNBC with the perfect time slot for the average news watcher to tune in. We do need to be reminded that while abortion still doesn’t seem to be a hot button issue these days–though the Tea Party is trying to make it one–women have lost a lot of ground to scare tactics. And one person interviewed on the special made a good point: Why does abortion have to be localized into a couple of clinics that are open targets? Why aren’t a majority of gynecologists providing this service with privacy for the patient? I think it’s because gynecologists are scared. No one wants to be targeted by former militia members with guns or the former pastor with a glazed look in his eyes holding a giant sign.

Watch the special, send Rachel Maddow an email of thanks and send feedback to MSNBCthat we want more exposure on abortion news. This is a humanist issue. Women shouldn’t have to step backwards because of bullying by people who can’t even prove their skygod exists.