Category Archives: Religion

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.


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?


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.

The Big Whoop Book: Chapter 1

Rather than continuing with the Quran today, because the thought of doing so is only slightly less attractive to me than hammering a nail through my scrotum, I thought we might take the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) up on his challenge and write some scripture of our own.

So today, I would like to introduce you all to the one true religion.


Yes, Whoopee.

Yes, it is a rather silly name. But religions are rather silly things, so it fits.

Now, this religion doesn’t require you to believe in it. It doesn’t require your money. It doesn’t require you to spend most of one day a week listening to someone in a funny costume talk about much you suck. It doesn’t even require you to give up your bacon cheeseburgers.

No, this religion requires but one thing of you. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

As with any religion, we’re going to need a deity. So you’ll be surprised and pleased, I hope, to learn that I found one. So, Ladies, Gentlemen, and those who don’t fit either of those categories, let me introduce you to God.

Say hello to Big Whoop.

As the name implies, he is sort of a big deal. Yes, Big Whoop is the Almighty. The Creator. The Lord of this reality, that reality, and the reality where all of your missing socks disappear to. There he is known by the moniker, the Big Sneaker, and your former socks pray daily to be enveloped in his stinky warmth.

First, I should clarify, when I use the word “he” to describe Big Whoop, it’s not entirely accurate. You see, I’m mostly using “he” as a simplistic convention of the English language. No, Big Whoop is not exclusively a “he”. He is both He, and not He. Both She and not She. To be honest, Big Whoop is both every gender and no gender all at the same time.

If you find that confusing, just think of how he feels when he creates an online dating profile. Fortunately, super-dimensional entities are very open and quite freaky (we’re looking at you, Zeus), so it has not hurt his social life at all.

Secondly, you should know that Big Whoop is terribly sorry for the current state of the world. You see, when he last checked in, you were all apes with slightly above average intelligence. He thought he could pop out, run a few errands, and come back without you weird little primates burning the place down. Clearly, he was wrong and he apologizes.

Yes, sometimes Big Whoop can be wrong. And when Big Whoop is wrong, like any advanced super-dimensional entity with class and morals does, Big Whoop apologizes.

We should also mention that Big Whoop is self-sufficient. Thus he does not give a whoop if you believe in him or not. He doesn’t care if you worship him or not. He finds your religions to be a bit weird, to be honest, and he sees how often you little apes beat each other with sticks because of them, so he’d actually prefer if you just leave him out of it. If you feel the need to acknowledge Big Whoop, he would prefer you send a nice little card to him around the holidays.

Well, that and that you would follow his one simple rule. Yes, finally, we arrive at our religion’s and our deity’s one command for you, little hairless monkeys, and that command, that imperative that is so very important is this:

Don’t be an asshole.

I know, right? I’ll give you a moment.

Yes, don’t be an asshole. It really is that simple.

That’s it. One rule. Not ten, not five, not two. Just one.

Big Whoop is, after all, very realistic when it comes to how much you meat critters can remember at any given moment with your brains made out of meat.

“But, Prophet Dread,” you may say, “What if I am an asshole.”

Stop it.

Then apologize to the people to which you were an asshole and make things right.

“But, Prophet Dread,” you may say, and really you shouldn’t. I’m not a prophet… I am but a simple Exalted Reverend Most High Grande Nacho Supreme Poobah.

“Wow, that’s a mouthful,” you might say, to which I reply, “That’s what she said.”

“No, no… I had another question,” you insisted. “Though it is rather impressive,” you might say in a tone you would use to humor a small toddler. “My question is, ‘how do I know if I’m being an asshole?’”

Use your common sense. You have a mind. Use it.

Oh, fine, I suppose Big Whoop and I can hang around for a bit and go over a few topics in the weeks ahead and help you understand how not to be an asshole in different situations you may face.

But if we do this, you must promise not to be an asshole about it and use our guidelines to go about beating other little monkeys with sticks because you disagree with them.

Are we understood?

Good, I would hate for you to end up in Big Whoops Time Out Corner. It’s a place for every naughty monkeys, after all.

But I suppose we’ll get into that later.

For now, my beloved brethren, go forth today and don’t be assholes.

An Infidel Reads the Quran: Surah 10:38-109

Okay, so the Quran could only come from God because the Quran says so.

But we’ll say, “Prove it.”

“Well, you write a chapter of a holy book like the Quran then.”

“Sure. The unbelievers will all perish and go to an eternal torment. God is merciful and just. The believers will all get a really swell garden with fruit and running water and some really hot (but devout) women to sex up for all eternity. God is all-powerful. Let me copy and paste that a few thousand times and I think I’ve got a new religion from God, but also with blackjack and whiskey.”

That’s probably not good enough for Mohammed. He thinks our minds our corrupted and we’re ignorant.

If we call him a liar, then they’re supposed to say, “Let’s compare our deeds.”

“Well, I haven’t killed my daughter for hanging out with boys without a male guardian or lynched an apostate or burned a town to the ground, killed its male inhabitants and taken the women to rape, so I think I might be a few points higher on the good works scale than some of the fundamentalists.”

God doesn’t wrong us, it’s all our faults. Like in any good healthy relationship.

Now we go through another long section where Mohammed assures us that one day, we’ll see. Muslim God will show up and then we’ll be sorry, but it’ll be too late, we’ll go to hell, while he and all the cool kids that follow him get nice gardens.

And the proof that Mohammed is right is that Night and Day exist.

Christians claim God has a Son, but do they have any proof? Or are they just speaking from ignorance?

“Hi, Pot, I’m Kettle.”

“Hi, Kettle, I’m Pot!”

“Those who fabricate lies about God will not succeed.”

“I don’t know, you did pretty well for yourself.”

“Have you heard about Noah?”

Yes, several times now.

“Well, what about Moses and Pharaoh?”

Yes. You’ve mentioned Moses a lot and we’re only ten chapters into this book. But gosh darned it, if Mohammed isn’t going to tell the story of Moses and the staff changing into a snake and the Egyptian magicians again.

And we’re encouraged to believe in Mohammed again.

And finally, 98 verses into the Surah called Jonah, we get to the story of Jonah… and it’s over in one verse. Jonah talked to these guys, they stopped being dicks, so we didn’t kill them and made their lives a little better.

If God willed it, everyone would become a believer. Well, then God suffers from the same problem he does in the New Testament. He has deliberately created a race of sentient creatures capable of feeling pain and then designed a system whereby the VAST majority of them would be consigned to feeling unimaginable pain forever without end. That is not a benevolent deity.

And the constant appeals to fear are exactly the same. Join us or be set on fire forever. No one would call someone who did that on Earth good or merciful or just, they’d be a monster. But the appeal to our blind fear of the unknown helps pitch the idea and blind us to the moral compass in our hearts which tells us that such a relationship isn’t loving or healthy, but abusive and dysfunctional.

You want to know if I can write a holy book, I was only joking above, but not by much. Start with an all-powerful deity. Call it loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, just, all of the usual God stuff. Define justice and righteousness as following your rules. Promise eternal happiness to your followers. Tell your followers that everyone outside of your tribe who mocks them or hates them or is different from them in some way, will be judged by your God and have eternal bad things happen to them. And assure them that it will happen soon, soon being defined as ‘sometime in the next 2,000-5,000 years or so, long after you’re dead, and appeal to the masses by saying you have a special revelation and bad things will happen to them if they don’t believe.

I mean, seriously, not that hard. People still believe in astrology and chain letters, for Pete’s sake. People think Jesus is a magic vaccine. People think if they give money to charlatans in God’s name, God’s going to send them a bloody check for ten times as much.

People are simply too credulous about the unknown and maybe that worked during the days when we needed close knit tribes to complete for food and resources, but much of humanity has gone past that stage now and invoking the fear of retribution from an invisible deity that doesn’t seem to be doing all that much in the world isn’t going to carry that much weight any longer. You have to give us something beyond that. You have to give us something beyond “Day and Night exist, therefore God” or “This book says it’s from God, therefore it is.”

Shit your pastor said…

I sometimes still like to check in with my former Evangelical and Christian cohorts to stay in touch with the zeitgeist of Christianity in America, so today, I present to you a new edition of “Shit your pastor said on the radio…”

  • It should be illegal to be gay.
  • It should be illegal to produce or view pornography.
  • Instead of decriminalizing weed, we should keep the current laws where guys with a small amount of weed are doing 20 or 30 years.
  • Alcoholism isn’t a health issue or disease.
  • Jesus didn’t turn water into wine or drink wine, it was probably just grape juice, we don’t know. Shut up.

This has been another edition of “Shit your pastor said out loud on the radio, holy fuck are you kidding me?”

An Infidel Reads the Quran: Surah 9:127-129; Surah 10:1-37

Hey, I broke at a weird place yesterday, didn’t I?

Okay, when new revelation comes to Mohammed, we unbelievers reject it because God has damned us to hell.

Mohammed is super great, Mohammed writes, and he loves you.

But if you reject him, then he says, “God’s enough for me; there is no god except him. I trust him.”

Surah 10

Mohammed is pretty insecure. He really wants you to know that he’s not just pulling this stuff out of his bum, but God sent him.

Oh, and he took our criticism from yesterday into account. Now in addition to being set on fire forever, we’re also going to get a glass of boiling water to drink.

God made everything. He made the sun. He made the moon a light. The moon just reflects light. You’d think God would know that.

For the millionth time, we’re told that God is going to set unbelievers on fire forever while believers get a nice garden with running water.

God is very bitter that people come to him during hard times and stop calling him when things get better.

When Mohammed shops his text around, he gets negative feedback from his editors and he is understandably upset about that. “I can’t change it! It came from God!”

Who does greater wrong that someone who lies about God? Irony… table for one. Irony?

“Seriously,” says the Lord, the all-knowing, “I am very cross that you guys keep praying to me when bad stuff happens promising that you’ll do better, but then when I fix your problems, you keep leaving me!”

God makes it rain, which makes plants grow, which feed animals and people, but once people think they’ve got this farming thing mastered, God is a dick and brings drought.

In addition to the eternal fire and the boiling water drinks, we’ll also have dark patches put over our faces.

Apparently, on Judgment Day (da da da da da), people will stand with their gods. God will force them to watch a replay of their lives, and the gods will say, “Hey, we didn’t know you were worshipping us!” before God ships the people off to hell.

“Can any of your gods create and repeat it? Well, God does.”

“Okay, show me.”

“Well… new plants and animals…”

“It’s called the reproductive cycle. It’s perfectly natural and doesn’t require God. In fact, if God is responsible for it, then he’s responsible for doling out birth defects and miscarriages and still born infants.”

“Well, can any of your gods guide you to the truth? God can.”

“He doesn’t. Like every other religion, God isn’t showing up and telling us what to do. It’s a man dressed up in funny clothes wearing a hat or a collar or a turban or prayer beads. God never shows up to church, mosque, synagogue, or temple to give a speech to people.”

“Well, the Quran couldn’t have been written by anyone other than God because the Quran says so.”

“Well, I’m convinced.”