Author Archives: comradedread

About comradedread

Living in Los Angeles, I am a family man with a theology background mostly interested in economics, politics, religion, and good fiction.

An Infidel Reads the Quran: Surah 12: Joseph


It’s a retelling of the story of Joseph from Mohammed.

It’s mostly the same story you heard from the bible, but a bit more preachy and Mohammed is really trying to highlight a few of his existing teachings along the way.

Also, Joe is still a jerk and even more of a Mary Sue in this version.

Unrelated, on the topic of hell, someone commented that Islamic hell wasn’t eternal torment, but was based on annihilation of the soul. That didn’t seem to jibe with the fear of being set on fire and drinking boiling water in the afterlife, so I dove into the rabbit hole of teachings on Islamic hell.

And yeah, turns out there are different schools of thought on the topic. There’s even the thought that Muslim hell is more of a Purgatory where people go to suffer for their actions and when that suffering is completed, they will return to God. Yep. Universalist Muslims. Interesting, right?

So in the interests of being as fair as possible, I’ll refrain from further comments or jokes about being set on fire forever and just refer to it as ‘hell.’

Also, I was informed that there were additional sayings of Mohammed that were collected outside of the Quran. Now, I can’t promise that I will ever get to those, but I was told that most Muslims follow both the Quran and at least some of these additional sayings as the basis for their faith and that does make me a bit curious as to how those read as well as the seeming need that most religions have for addendum. But that’s a rabbit hole for a different day.

Suffice to say, the Quran, while clearly an (and perhaps even the most) important influence, on Islamic faith isn’t the only influence. And it’s kind of fun for the first time since I started reading this book to be learning about a part of the world that I knew nothing about before.

Of course, the downside is that these ‘tangents’ are far more interesting to me than the actual book itself.

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Still sick…


Still have the zombie eye too. Life is fun.

Sick…


Pretty sure I’m patient zero for the zombie apocalypse virus, so no updates from Capt. Torres today.

 

The Big Whoop Book: Chapter 2


Your humble Exalted Reverend Most High Grande Nacho Supreme Poobah has been a bit under the weather this week. So he’s not going to suffer through both a mild bout of the flu and the Quran, so we will continue our exploration of our new religion, Whoopee, and our new deity Big Whoop. Today, we’ll be answering some questions that arose from finding out a new deity existed.

Why should I follow Big Whoop instead of my current deity?

That is a very good question. To answer that, let me ask you a question? Has your God ever decided to destroy the world and drown all of the cute baby meat critters because people suck? If so, that should be a good enough reason to consider a less homicidal deity.

Another good reason is that unlike all of the other deities out there, Big Whoop is honest enough to admit right up front that he does not, in fact, exist.

He doesn’t exist?

Not in the slightest.

Isn’t it kind of odd to follow a god that doesn’t exist?

That hasn’t stopped all of the other gods from building their own religions, so Big Whoop does not foresee this to be a problem for the most holy religion of Whoopee either.

Do you have any proof that Big Whoop doesn’t exist?

Yes. Unlike other deities, Big Whoop is not shy or timid about showing up in front of everybody and saying, “Hi there!” So you can rest assured that if Big Whoop did exist, you would damn well know it.

So is there an afterlife?

No.

Big Whoop is terribly sorry about that. You see, Big Whoop actually didn’t intend to make humans. He was fiddling around with some amino acids some 4 billion years ago and constructed a single cell. It was quite cool. What was even cooler was that this little organic machine started to copy itself.

“That is neat-o,” said Big Whoop. “I wonder if I can build another one?”

So he build another little machine, then another. And they all copied themselves. Of course, some of them didn’t copy themselves so well, so soon there were billions of different kinds of little cells all floating about unconsciously in the ocean.

I think we can all agree that an afterlife for a little single cell is completely unnecessary, so Big Whoop didn’t bother constructing one.

I mean, he hardly expected you little cells to start organizing into meat creatures, let alone somehow attain consciousness and start asking philosophical questions about the meaning of life and such.

So, no, there is no afterlife. Big Whoop apologizes for the inconvenience.

Wait, couldn’t Big Whoop whip one up right now?

Well, of course, he could. But that might take years and frankly, some of you are looking like you can’t wait that long.

Also, there is the slight matter of Big Whoop’s non-existence which might put a bit of a dampener on any plans to construct an afterlife.

So, it might happen, but sadly, I cannot promise you an afterlife, no promise of eternity. Just a promise of now. You are alive now. You exist now. Enjoy it. Enjoy every little moment of your extremely improbable life. Cherish every hug, remember every kiss, think warmly of every joy, and remember that every sorrow is temporary for one day you will fall asleep and simply be gone.

That seems rather unfair.

I’m sorry, that wasn’t a question.

Doesn’t that seem rather unfair?

No more so than your previous non-existence before your birth was ‘unfair.’

Why would we be moral if there’s no afterlife?

Are you saying you really need the threat of punishment after death to be a moral person?

Uh… maybe?

Fine, I suppose we could humor you if you really are that psychologically damaged.

When you die, an angelic hall monitor shaped like a potato will arrive to take you to the Big Whoop’s Principal’s Office where he’ll look over your permanent record and decide how long you have to spend in Big Whoop’s Timeout Corner for Very Naughty Monkeys.

While stuck in Timeout, everyone you’ve ever met or ever will meet will come by and tell you to your face about all the times you were an asshole to them.

And once that’s over, you can go out and play at Recess.

Recess? Is that like heaven?

With the clouds and the harps and the constant telling a deity how wonderful he is? No. Recess is just that. Go outside, play, build your own little single-cell machines, smoke behind the gym, whatever, just get out of Big Whoop’s face and leave him alone. He has many god things to do, you know?

God things?

Yes. As in “none of your monkey business.”

It’s porn, isn’t it?

Oh, yes., You think you’ve seen nudity. You haven’t begun to comprehend the subject until you’ve seen two multi-dimensional entities phase shift into the sane plane and insert their ethereal glowy bits into one another’s semi-permeable membranes.

If Big Whoop is all-powerful and all-loving, why is there evil in the world?

Please refer back to the ‘he doesn’t exist’ answer.

But if you created Big Whoop, then doesn’t he exist in some capacity?

My, you are a clever hairless monkey, aren’t you?

Yes, I suppose in some capacity, now that I’ve created him, Big Whoop does exist. But since one of the attributes of Big Whoop is his non-existence, we’re left with a conundrum. “Conundrum” of course, being a very fancy word for saying that this religion doesn’t really make sense. And since no other religion cares about making sense, I fail to see why Big Whoop cannot both exist and not exist at the same time. A = Not A is only a problematic statement when you’re attempting to construct a logical argument after all, and faith is simply not logical.

Now then, this chapter has almost reached a thousand words, so I won’t bore you any further this week. We’ll be answering more of your questions regarding your new Lord and God in the coming weeks, but for now, we shall bring this chapter to a close. And to entice you to return, next week, we will discuss something you naughty monkeys are very fond of and obsessed over: sexual intercourse. Won’t that be a hoot?

An Infidel Reads the Quran: Surah 11: Hud


I can’t put this off any longer, can I?

Mohammed wants us to know that this is scripture whose verses were perfected from one who is wise and informed.

No, it’s not. I’ve just read ten chapters of this. It’s worse than Leviticus. And Leviticus spent ten chapters (or more) telling me what animals I need to kill to say “I’m sorry” to God and which parts God didn’t want me to burn on the altar.

Don’t worship any other gods, but God.

We’re going on another round of “God is sovereign, unbelievers suck and they’ll be so sorry.”

God gets bitter because we’re not appreciative enough of his mercy. And he is still very upset that when he helps us out of trouble, we don’t stay pious and devoted to him.

Mohammed is really bent out of shape because people aren’t taking his word that this book he wrote is from God, so he challenges us again to write our own scripture and see if we can do better.

Not to toot my own horn again, but yeah, I think the first chapter of my new religion’s bible is better than this. Especially since Big Whoop hasn’t ordered any murder and looting.

If you enjoy this life too much, you go to hell.

Why is it the case of most religions that they want you to be miserable?

No, Mohammed, the Torah and the Quran say some very different things. They are not complimentary.

Mohammed continues to ignore irony by condemning people who lie about God.

If you try to keep people from converting to Islam or try deconverting them you’re going to hell and it sounds like Mohammed intends for someone to send you there.

Hey, have you heard about the story of Noah? Let me tell it again.

Well, the omniscient God found out that people sucked, so he decided to kill them all with water. Noah tried to warn them, but they made fun of him, so God drowned them all, including an unmentioned son of Noah do refused to board the ark, so he died. Also, a volcano erupted for some reason.

Then God commands the Earth to swallow up all the extra water.

Then Noah is like, “Hey, God, totes sucks about how my previously unmentioned and not totally invented by Mohammed son died.”

And God says, “Shut up, Noah.”

So Noah shuts up.

Have you heard about Aad and Hud? Yes? Well, I’m going to tell the story again. In my perfect book.

What about Thamood and Saleh? Oh, I told that one too. Let me tell it again!

God is still pretty pissed off about what they did to his She-Camel. So he sends something called the Scream and everyone dies frozen in place.

Let’s talk about Abraham and when God came to visit him with some angels.

This time when Abraham tries to argue for God to spare Sodom, God tells him to shut up too.

Let’s see, Lot and the gay rape mob, Lot offers up his daughters. But the crowd says, “Yeah, that’s cool and all, but we don’t really have a right to rape them. So let us rape the newcomers, pretty please?”

But the angels intervene and let Lot escape except for his wife who commits the horrible sin of looking back.

Have you heard about Median and Shuaib? Shut up, I’m going to tell the story again.

Let’s talk about Moses and Pharaoh!

(head desk)

And now a bunch of stuff about how God did or didn’t destroy the towns and to be a good Muslim so you can get a garden in the afterlife instead of going to hell like a common unbeliever.

Oh, here’s a good one, the Good God could have made us all one people and one tribe and prevented racism and tribalism, but didn’t.

Hell is going to be full of genies.

God is watching us all.

And that’s Surah 11.

Lincoln’s Birthday


Today, we celebrate and honor Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president.

Lincoln was a Republican back in the days before the Republican Party became the party of Neo-Confederates and started appealing to Nazis. In fact, perhaps rather awkwardly for today’s Alt-Right minions, all those statues of traitors they defend today? Yeah, good ol’ Abe was the man responsible for turning those bastards into losers.

So, for no reason, I offer up this quote:

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” -Abraham Lincoln

Day Five


Hello, this is Captain Michael Torres of the S.S. Neo Genesis.

Shit, I hate voice recorder logs. The openings never sounds right.

It’s our fifth day out from Daystar’s Lunar Tranquility Base. We have left the solar system. That sounds impressive, but it’s not really that big of a deal. We’ve shot God knows how many probes out of the solar system already. Hell, we’re not even the first manned flight. Back when I was independent, it was a point of pride for some of the more daring spacers to go out and come back just to say they’ve done it and then talk some shit about it to their buddies at the bar.

I miss that bar. Good thing, I discovered the ship’s supply of alcohol. Even discovered some equipment to construct a still and a construct whose sole duty is to work it so the colony can replace its stock.  Say what you will about those bastards at Daystar, but they do love their booze.

The mission, right… we are the third manned vessel to leave the solar system with the intention of interstellar travel and as far as I know, the only one that hasn’t ended in tragedy yet, so that’s cause for celebration, right? So I’m going to enjoy a nice glass of Daystar Gold label 8 year old scotch.

Oh, also, we are the first manned vessel to reach .9C. Okay, I know they did test flights and all, but this is the first ‘official’ time mankind has approached that close to the speed of light, so make sure you include my name in the history books, alright? Many thanks to the unappreciated lab drones back at Daystar. I hope you guys left work early to hit the bars in time for Happy Hour. Speaking of which… here’s to you nerds.

Ah. With our speed roughly constant, I was able to ease off the engine thrust and dial the acceleration compensator back to zero. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Amy will be handling the minor course adjustments to maintain our existing vector and depending on gravity, we may need to periodically fire up the engines, but most of the work is done until we reach our destination.

Oh, right. Amy. That’s what I call Echo now. I chose the Amy voice because it was friendly, perky, cheerful. Her hologram matches exactly what you think of when you think of those characteristics too. And it’s not just the voice. There’s an entire personality matrix attached to it. I’m not sure how they did it, but it’s life like enough most of the time.

It’s a little weird, but it’s also a little comforting having her around. She almost makes me forget that I’m alone up here. The personality algorithm is pretty good too, but there are a few glitches that break the illusion. And you can’t touch her, of course. Not that I’ve tried to touch her, I’m not that lonely, and Amy assures me that if I ever become that lonely, there is an, uh… adaptable construct designed for, uh… ‘companionship’ in storage that she can operate. Jesus, there are so many things wrong with that sentence. Maybe I should delete and start over.

It’s the silence that bothers me sometimes. I’m not a rookie when it comes to space travel, but I worked on a family rig, there was always someone there, Abuela, Abeulo, Papi, Rose. There’s a lot of shit here to fill the silence and the down hours. A lot of distractions: tens of thousands of movies, video games, books, and music files, a VR rig with hundreds of places from Earth recreated in bit form, and Amy tells me since we’re not quite travelling at light speed, we might even get some updates from Earth. Might take years, so I’ll be hopelessly out of date on pop culture, but… I don’t know…

I’ve just been wondering why they didn’t give me a copilot?

Well, that’s not entirely true, they gave me two co-pilots, but there both icicles. Only one pilot on duty at any given time until we reach the Nu2 Lupi system. If I become incapacitated, Amy will wake my XO and if he or she, Amy won’t tell me a damn thing about them, is incapacitated, then the Second Officer will be revived and take over the mission. If he goes down, she’ll awake the Colonial Governor and so on and on until she reaches the Colonial septic tank cleaner, I guess.

According to Amy due to power and life support constraints, only one pilot can be active at any given time, but… I don’t know. I can’t help but feel like this is just another little cut out of a thousand the company has given me, something else they’re doing to punish me for almost making them look bad with the Copernicus Incident, you know, before they got ahold of Rose and me and stuffed us underground and out of sight of the media.

Systems are operating within normal parameters. Artificial gravity is at 70% of Earths which should be just enough not to completely fuck up my body. There were a few power fluctuations in the main reactor when I turned on the gravity, but they seem to have stabilized and Amy is monitoring for any other anomalies.

It really is the fucking silence that gets to me sometimes. Anything would be welcome to just break it up, it’s so damn quiet. I wonder what I’m going to be like after years or decades of this… Shit, if we even make it to the new colony world, will I still be able to even relate to other people when they thaw out?

I’ve got to stop thinking about it.

“Hey, Amy?”

“Hey, Mike!”

“Put on some music, would you?”

“Cool. Anything you’d like to listen to?”

“I don’t know. Anything. Just put something on.”

“I am a huge fan of early 22nd century rock. Occam’s Steel Razor is the shit! You have got to hear their experimental album, Pi.”

“You know what? Fine. That’ll do. After that, go ahead and transmit the ship’s status report back to Tranquility Base.”

“Okie-dokie and… done. What do you think of the music? Cool, right?”

“Yeah, I like it. Thanks.”

“Told you!”

“Amy?”

“Yeah, Mike?”

“Do you ever get lonely?”

“Amy?”

“God, yes. There was this one time, when my cat died, I couldn’t handle being in the apartment, so I went out shopping for like a week-“

“Amy?”

“Yeah, Mike?”

“That’s enough for now.”

“Okay, laters!”

“Yeah… Laters.”