Repent, Believer!

By Shamus Posted Friday Feb 2, 2007

Filed under: Rants 78 comments

From this site:

So. DM of the Rings. Very funny (even to someone who’s never played D&D – Cyberpunk and Paranoia for me). Turns out the author is part of a family of rabid homeschooling creationists. I expect my heroes to have feet of clay, (although Darwin didn’t by all accounts). But when a random cartoonist turns out to have brains of crap it’s rather depressing. Frankly I was expecting him to be a christian- he’s American after all, and homeschooling, for all sorts of reasons, is really popular over there, but creationist? That I can’t overlook.

What? What the heck? Now, if someone were to pan this site as un-funny or boring, I would have nothing to say against them. But this? This makes no sense to me.

Let’s go through this a bit at a time:


There are the “The world is 5,000 years old” creationists. Then there are the “the universe is billions of years old and was created by God” creationists.

I’m one of the latter. There are, in fact, lots and lots of distinctions between these two groups, who get along about as well as creationists and evolutionists. What if I’m an evolutionist but I subscribe to an inflationary model of universe expansion instead of a non-inflationary one? What if I agree with evolution but think God created the first replicating organisims? What if I think the God just created the process of evolution and let it run on its own? How far are my beliefs allowed to differ from those of others? Am I allowed to believe in God and still be one of the cool kids?

Or is the goal here Ideological Purity?


Right. What makes me rabid? Have I ever hinted at, spoken of, or in any way broached the subject here or anywhere else? Have you spotted me trading flames with others in alt.philosophy.evolutionists.are.dumb? You have not. I have no animus towards people of other faiths (or of no faith) and see no reason for them to have any towards me.


My wife double-majored in Special Education and Elementary Education, and also minored in Art. Where might I send my children that they would have a teacher with such qualifications, such dedication, and a class size of 3?

“Brains of crap.”

This is left as an exercise for the reader. Does this site look like the product of an imbecile? Even Einstein insisted that “God does not throw dice”. More to the point, even Einstein believed in God. (Sometimes.)


If this is all it takes to depress you, then your life must be grim indeed.

What I find depressing is that people will dislike each other and fight with one another for no damn reason at all.

“he is an American after all”

A sin of which I will repent the moment a more suitable alternative is offered.

“but creationist? That I can’t overlook”

This website is dedicated to the love of a unique hobby, a facination with videogames, an appreciation of anime, and a desire to make others laugh.

Note my blogroll. Fledge is a Muslim. Then there are a couple of Atheists, a Messianic Jew, and a Mormon. I consider all of them to be friends. My blogroll wound up that way on its own, and not out of a desire to perform some sort of multi-culti scavenger hunt. (I didn’t really think about it until I tried to make this joke.) These are all people with whom I can enjoy these hobbies, despite our differences on what are often deeply personal and sensitive issues.

Who is tolerant, and who is a zealot?

Now – back to… whatever it is we do around here.

LATER: Comments are closed. Thanks to lots of people for so many kind words but… let’s do something else, eh?


From The Archives:

78 thoughts on “Repent, Believer!

  1. Telas says:

    Let’s see…

    30 total comments on his entire first page of 20 blog posts.

    Now, I’m probably a moron, because I believe in things like God and Jesus, but I figure that’s… (squints, sticks out tongue, counts on fingers) …roughly one and a half comments per blog post.

    You’ve got 212 comments on 10 posts, including this one with no comments as of yet.

    Really, Shamus. I wouldn’t worry about anything.

  2. Karaden says:

    Ah, good old crazy people who have nothing better to do with their time then spew stupidity…. spew stupidity, I like that… anyway. I’m supprised you take any notice of something like that considering its one in hundreds at best, likely more, but I’m way too lazy to actualy check. Anyway, just leave this guy to his depresion about… something about Shamus being a fairly average person.

    P.S. Anyone get the feet of clay thing?

    P.P.S Darn, just missed first comment

  3. Shamus says:

    It’s not so much that I fear an angry mob of evolutionists are going to storm my monastary and burn me at the stake, it’s just that I’m mystified as to why people harbor grudges over stuff like this.

    What really set this off was this thread at Pharyngula, which is a huge site. Lots of people commented that they liked the strip or whatever, but several just couldn’t bring themselves to speak well of someone who MIGHT not agree with them on evolution. (Which, to be fair, I never said I didn’t.) I tried to make this point there, but then realized I was just joining in on the thread-jacking, so I backed off. I didn’t want to be rude.

    I decided to let it go, but then this post popped up (I’m sure this guy came from Pharyngula) so I thought I’d finish the thought I started.

    Honestly, I’m so glad we abolished racisim and sexisim so people can hate each other over more sensible things, like differences in ideology.

  4. Pixy Misa says:

    Wait! You’re an American? Ewww. Icky.

  5. The basic idea is that if you can categorize someone properly, you can ignore anything they have to say. “Christian” is the standard dismissive category used by European lefties to dismiss anything from America that they hate.

    All the other things flow from being Christian. European lefties know that all American Christians are stupid, indoctrinated, obstinate, violent, and deluded. Definitely not postmodern or sophisticated like Europeans who have moved beyond that kind of mysticism.

    One time a European dismissed me because he thought I was a Christian. (“Mark”, in comments. Keith Devens was just as mystified by him as I was.)

    [By the way, what are you doing associating with apostates like me, anyway?]

  6. Thad says:

    Oh, by the way, just to clarify: Einstein’s God was much the same as Spinoza’s God, ie. the universe and its laws spiritually referenced by the term ‘God’. Nothing more religious intended, however other people interpreted the word. (As such, ‘God’ wasn’t the most appropriate word, but it’s what they used…)

  7. Sartorius says:

    [By the way, what are you doing associating with apostates like me, anyway?]

    If I could post images, it would be time for this one:

    Incidentally: Shamus, why do you care enough about what some random bigot says to post defensively on your blog about it? The Internet is full of random nuts.

  8. Shamus says:

    “By the way, what are you doing associating with apostates like me, anyway?”

    We’re all apostates to somebody.

  9. Eric Meyer says:

    Speaking as an agnostic secular humanist, right on. To you, I mean, Shamus; not that tool. In considering him, I can’t help but reference the masters: .

  10. I just posted a comment there, linking back to this. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for him to delete it.

  11. Speaking as a Messianic Jew, I have to say that I agree with the atheist and the agnostic secular humanist.

    And of course we believers hang with you atheists so much. We can hang with the rest of the believers all the time once we’ve departed. You guys we’ve a shorter stay with. ;)

  12. Richard Dragonbane says:

    Hah, nice Corim! Personally I’m agnostic, but with strong leanings towards Buddhist Pastafarianism. :)

  13. Mordaedil says:

    Why do people care enough about others to try to preach about them? They must be terribly insecure of themselves, and wishes to restore their own faith by failure. Don’t ask me how it works, I wouldn’t know.

    It sounds to me as if I would say; “You know, this classmate of mine, John Doe, he’s created some pretty good models, but he’s a complete douche bag.”

    Unnecessary addendum of irrelevant information. I understand why you’d take slight offense and desire to protect yourself Shamus, but it doesn’t really attend the problem. Which is that he doesn’t like you, but will just now do it more subtly.

  14. AndyF says:

    Screw him.

    really, seriously… I’m far from a creationist, it’s just what I believe, but whatever, I also very strongly believe that everyone has the right be believe what they want (this is America, isn’t it?). If this ass can’t take you for who you are, and accept that, then screw him.

    DMOTR is entertaining, and you seem like a good enough guy. I may not agree with everything you believe, but you probably don’t agree with what I believe. that’s the beauty of a free country, we don’t have to. And as I work in public education, I feel pretty confident saying that if you have someone qualified to homeschool, good, go for it, there’s some messed up stuff that goes on in public schools. Among many other problems, it often seems as if education is not really valued as highly as it should be, for an institution that’s founded on educating kids and all..

    whatever, just my $0.02

  15. Wonderduck says:

    “Does this site look like the product of an imbecile?”


    …don’t rush me…

    …nah. Idiot, perhaps, but not an imbecile.

    (please note that ‘serious’ and ‘Wonderduck’ don’t go together very often.)

    Heck, it’s a better look than mine. And quite often funnier.

    You just need more ducks, and Twenty Sided would be nigh on perfect.

    (please note: ‘serious’, ‘Wonderduck’, not often)

  16. Pete Zaitcev says:

    I wouldn’t give him a free linkage if I were you, Shamus. This is exactly what he’s after.

  17. Steven Hansen says:

    I don’t know why you bothered to respond to someone else’s bigotry. You aren’t going to change *his* mind, just like he isn’t going to change your mind. You both have your sets of “facts” which, although invaluable to one of you and should be sufficient to convince the world, are decidedly flawed and without value in the mind of the other.

    Religious intolerance is rampant. Those intolerant of religion decide that their intolerance is justified because believers are lacking in mental faculty. Those intolerant of atheists have a similar justification. The most dignified response in the face of such disrespect is simply silence.

    Your comic is great. Ignore the guy.

  18. Marmot says:

    Don’t worry about anything Shamus, that was seriously the worst troll attempt ever. That one speaks like some Nazi minister, in more than one way, so to describe him with his own “rabid” words.
    Jeeez. As they say, internet bears many heavy burdens.

    p.s. I’m undecided between evolutionism and creationism. No proof for either in my point of view :)

  19. Javaboy says:

    I love the site. Long time lurker, first time commenter…

    Without great evil you can’t have great heroes.

    Without crazy people you can’t have sanity.

    Keep up the good work.

  20. *** Dave says:

    How very odd.

    I’ve been known to be turned off by some creators whose in your face politics or religious beliefs or other ideological bent got in the way of their creations — but usually only because they made a point to put it in the way of their creations (e.g., writers whose blogs are less often about their works or techniques than about their screed-of-the-day on how George Bush and Michael Moore are secret co-cabalists out to pollute our precious bodily fluids and that makes me so angry!), or actors who seem dead-set on being better known for being activists than performers.

    You, Shamus, are nothing of the sort. Now, if all of a sudden every non-DMotR post was a rant about how people who don’t homeschool are cretinous boobs, or if Legolas and Gimli started spouting off all the time about how their Christians rock or Americans rule or whatever … yeah, then it might be a problem. Until then … you needn’t worry about “depressing” anyone with an ounce of sense.

  21. Ryan says:

    I was home-schooled, and my mother dealt with all sorts of crap from people who thought we’d turn out to be uneducated, social rejects. If nothing else they got the uneducated part wrong, though I wouldn’t say we’re completely socially inept, either.

    Maybe I’m too sheltered (or uneducated), but I was under the impression that all Christians were creationist.

  22. I am incredibly intolerant of intolerant people. Dang. Now I am filled with self loathing.

    Anyway, he has been polite enough to show the world his intolerance, so now we don’t have to guess if he is a dolt or not.

  23. Fernmonkey says:

    Wankers. And I’m sorry to swear on your blog because you don’t, but my clean expletives just aren’t cutting it.

    As a damnpinko, an evolutionist, and worst of all a European (cf: Steven Den Beste at #5), I’m here for as long as you keep bringing the funny. Because seriously, “A quiver full of little walking sticks” is the best thing I’ve heard this year.

  24. AngiePen says:

    Another atheist chiming in with the opinion that there’s absolutely nothing offensive about your site. [shrug]

    I’m wondering how old this guys is….

    When I was a teenager (I’m 43 now, for reference) I took great delight in spotting loud-mouthed Christians who were out to convert the world with only the sketchiest comprehension of their own history and teachings. I was actually more familiar with the Bible than most of them were, so shoving their feet into their conveniently open mouths was your basic Duck-In-Barrel, Add-Shotgun sort of activity. In my own defense, I only went after kids who were just as obnoxious as I was but on the other side; if they didn’t start proselytizing then I’d leave them alone. Luckily for my favorite teenage hobby, there were plenty of obnoxious young Christians at my school. [wry smile]

    As I got older I learned to recognize my own obnoxiousness and just back away slowly rather than jumping into the fray. And the in-your-face proselytizers within my age group also grew scarcer upon the ground. Which isn’t to say they no longer exist, on all sides of the issue, but most people seem to outgrow the need to agressively convert people to their own beliefs. The exceptions remain, of course, obnoxious.

    Whatever his age (and I can only hope he’s young enough that there’s still a chance he’ll outgrow it) this guy’s one of the obnoxious types and Shamus isn’t. I know whom I’d rather hang out with.


  25. Samrobb says:

    “P.S. Anyone get the feet of clay thing?”

    Ironically, it’s a Biblical reference.

    From wikipedia (

    The title is a figure of speech from the Bible (Daniel 2:33-45) used to indicate a weakness or a hidden flaw in the character of a greatly admired or respected person:

    “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image … his feet part of iron and part of clay. … And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.”

  26. David V.S. says:

    I’ve noticed versions of this social effect before.

    As an academic, I’ve encountered a lot of anti-Christian sentiment at colleges and universities.

    English departments are perhaps the worst overall. I suppose literary deconstruction is about as opposite from absolute truth as two practical ideas can get.

    But, as a generalization*, no academic drops all resemblance of civility and professionalism like a provoked pro-macro-evolution biologist.

    * “No generalization is wholly true, not even this one.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Edited for Clarity by Shamus

  27. Antiquated Tory says:

    What my wife said (as always).

    The ‘hero with feet of clay’ comment pretty much broke my irony meter, because it is exactly how I feel about PZ and certain of his commenters. Make no mistake, PZ is clearly a brilliant biologist, I’ve learned tons of interesting evo devo (evolutionary development, not the band with the flowerpots) stuff from his site, and the ‘Cephalopod of the Week’ alone makes his blog worth the visit. But on the other hand he can be an arrogant jerk. And because he is dead smart and knows his field, he reckons he knows lots of other things too, and anyone who doesn’t share, for example, his atheism and his brand of liberal politics is clearly an idiot. (Shall we call this ‘Dawkinsitis?’) And really, even when I agree with him on these matters, he embarrasses me, and I’d wish he’d shut up about it.
    Before Pharyngula moved to Scienceblogs, there was a ‘Biology only’ filter option that was highly useful.
    Oh, and as a general point of information for folks out there dealing with the whole creation/evolution issue, there are such people as ‘theistic evolutionists.’ Quite a few of them, in fact–not that you would know from reading Pharyngula. The most well known to the general public is probably Ken Miller, who co-wrote one of the standard American HS biology texts, knows his stuff inside out, and is by all accounts an incredibly decent human being. Judging by the public lectures that he’s given, he’s very funny too. I think PZ once gave him a hard time over his religion, so you’re in good company.

  28. beckyzoole says:

    Ryan wrote that “I was under the impression that all Christians were creationist”.

    Actually, quite a few are not. It all depends on how literally they read the first book of Genesis.

    As a noted theologian (whose name I can’t recall and can’t find on google — drats!) once said, when we talk about the creator of a book, we are referring to the person who came up with the story, not the person who made the ink and the paper.

    Full disclosure: I am not a Christian. I’m a Jew with leanings towards Pastafarianism and neoPaganism. But I respect Christians who try to live up to the standards that Jesus set of love, tolerance, and helping others.

  29. Antiquated Tory says:

    PS By wife I mean Fernmonkey above. Was busy editing post so as not to sound like a complete pompous twit, as I so often do, and a couple other people posted between us.

  30. Myxx says:

    I’m a Christian. I believe in Creationism. I don’t care how old the Earth is.

    I’m still not drawing the connection to DMotR though. What difference does it make?

    And Shamus, I won’t be one to dog your decision to respond to those rants on your blog. After all, that’s what a blog is for. And it’s yours, so say what you want.

    I will continue to participate in this little community you’ve created, not because you and I share some fundamental idiological values, but because I think you put out some good stuff that I enjoy. Thank you for that.

  31. Pixy Misa says:

    And because he is dead smart and knows his field, he reckons he knows lots of other things too, and anyone who doesn't share, for example, his atheism and his brand of liberal politics is clearly an idiot. (Shall we call this “˜Dawkinsitis?')

    It’s commonly known as “Engineer’s Disease”, though it’s clearly not specific to engineers.

  32. Bill K says:

    A British atheist here- the guy is just being a dick, both about your beliefs and your nationality. Don’t let him get you down, just keep up the great work. Leave him to stew in his own prejudices.

  33. Adam` says:

    “Frankly I was expecting him to be a christian- he's American after all, and homeschooling, for all sorts of reasons, is really popular over there…”

    To be fair, I don’t think the OP meant ‘American’ as an insult. It was more that he put ‘American’ and ‘homeschooler’ together and drew the rational conclusion ‘Christian’, as the majority of homeschoolers in America are, indeed, Christians who are opposed to secular education. If you truly decided to homeschool your kids because your wife is a qualified educator then you’re an exception.

    As far as ‘creationist’, I’d assume that a Christian would be a creationist by definition/ ;)

    “What if I'm an evolutionist but I subscribe to an inflationary model of universe expansion instead of a non-inflationary one? What if I agree with evolution but think God created the first replicating organisims? What if I think the God just created the process of evolution and let it run on its own?”

    The difference between the first sentence and the two latter sentences is that the first is, in principle, open to scientific debate while the latter two are not.

    Frankly, as an atheist myself, I find your site entertaining, and the quote in the OP silly, even if I agree, in principle, with the person quoted in the OP, and disagree with you.

  34. David V.S. says:

    Oops. Please change “pro-micro” to “pro-macro” in my previous post. Sorry.

  35. Phlux says:

    I understand the desire to defend oneself from ridiculous personal attacks. Even when I do it, though, I realize how pointless and self-defeating it is. Then it’s like 2 days later and I think of a much mor eloquent reply, or a much wittier comeback, and will sometimes go back and try to defend myself again…just making things worse.

    Best advice in these situations is just to leave it alone, even though it feels worse to say nothing, it’s usually the best approach

  36. Nick says:

    *** Dave said: “if Legolas and Gimli started spouting off all the time about how their Christians rock or Americans rule”

    Heck, as a athiest liberal-leaning evolutionist, if Shamus manages to make me laugh with such a strip, I’d still keep coming for more! Frankly, who believed what never entered the picture for me.

  37. Igor says:

    As an atheist who used to get into debates quite frequently, both on the net and in real life, I can’t say as I understand the comments.
    Perhaps it was just the narcissistic “Ooh, I’ll be talked about” or perhaps he actually did the research to come up with the stuff. Dunno. Don’t care.
    I don’t agree with creationism, nor most christians. But I don’t let that stop me from enjoying the comic. It’s hilarious by the by.
    Like someone above has pointed out, as soon as Gimli or another character makes a statement about religion or creationism or some other hoopla, then my enjoyment level might change…but I haven’t seen that yet. Nor do I expect to.
    I’m an atheist and I know that, statistically, not everyone believes the same way I do. If I limited myself to only those who thought like me for enjoyment, then my list of things I’d laugh at would not be too huge.
    Now let’s just let this comment section die off before someone hops on one of the comments and this turns into a “Royal Rumble” on religion.

  38. Ichigo says:

    Bleh, I’m sorry. I’m agnostic and easily irritated by proselytizing literalists, but it’s really important for everyone to realize you can be a creationist and/or a home-schooler and still be politically or religiously moderate, liberal, conservative, or whatever.

    (I was home-schooled, by the way. I’ve always thought it went pretty well; role-playing games and Girl Scouts formed the bulk of my socialization. Now I’m getting an education-related master’s, and I work in a tutoring center helping American high-school-educated students attempt to put sentences together into a coherent paragraph. These students make me glad I didn’t go to a public high schol.)

  39. Andre says:

    I’m an atheist-agnostic, though attempting to sum up all of my ontological and philosophical beliefs into a label consisting of just two words, you’re obviously doing them (and me) a great disservice. When people whose opinions or works I respect tell me about their religious beliefs in depth (or at least in enough depth to form my own mental image based on preconceived assumptions), I’ll admit that internally I react with the tiniest bit of horror. I think that’s probably due in part to the shattering of the illusion that you’re talking to an extremely like-minded individual. Immediately following that initial reaction, however, I chastise and remind myself that if I were to describe my own beliefs in any sort of depth, I’d sound every bit the kook too. And also, I tell myself, attempted proselytizing aside, what do this person’s theological beliefs have to do with my admiration.

    As an example, I always experience a bit of shock when I’m reminded that my absolute favorite living author, Orson Scott Card, is both a devout Mormon and a social conservative. His writings usually speak to me so deeply that my brain begins to believe that he MUST think exactly like I do, but then there are these rare instances in some of his books where he gets just the tiniest bit preachy, or I read one of his numerous editorial columns, and my illusion is shattered and I’m left shocked and awed.

    Ultimately, I treat the phenomenon (as it occurs in my own mind) as a testimony about the diversity of the human brain, that we all have the potential to be so brilliant and yet so kooky at the same time.

    Don’t sweat it, Shamus. You can’t please all the people all the time.

  40. Andre says:

    Also, the following sentence from the comment directly preceding mine was unintentionally ironic and made me laugh: “I work in a tutoring center helping American high-school-educated students attempt to put sentences together into a coherent paragraph. These students make me glad I didn't go to a public high schol.”

  41. Patrick says:

    Speaking as a non-practicing christian, and an American, and more importantly your brother…

    Want me to break his legs?

  42. You have to cut people some slack when working in an environment without preview or editing :)

    I’m a Christian, and if I ever have kids I would like to home school them, but it’s not really because of the “secular” nature of schools. It’s ’cause they suck. Not to put to fine a point on it.

    If they didn’t suck so badly, I wouldn’t think twice about “normal” schooling.

  43. Shamus says:

    Andre: Another fun fact about Orson Scott Card: He and I have the same birthday.

    Thrilling, I know.

    Patrick: Thank goodness all those hours of playing Grand Theft Auto never affected us.

    Jeremy: I agree. I would be just dandy with a school that was secular and good. I certainly wouldn’t expect (and would be angry if) the school started teaching Christian ideals to my kids. That part is my job.

  44. Dave Godfrey says:

    My reaction was much the same as the one I had to learning that the Foo Fighters supporting an organisation that denies the link between HIV and AIDS. In this case I thought that Shamus was a YEC and therefore opposed to an awful lot of what I hold dear. I was wrong. Sorry guys.

    To be perfectly honest I wasn’t expecting to be talked about at all. I only added the url for my journal address as a spur of the moment thing, and posted the comments on my journal as a reation to another post on the blog as my immediate thoughts.

    Thanks to Eric Meyer for the Penny Arcade link. I will remember that next time I post anything.

    My use of the word “christian”, and “homeschooler” were not intended as derogatory. Given that a large proportion of Americans are christian I have come to assume that anyone from the US is probably a christian until they claim otherwise. As I said, there are plenty of people in the US who homeschool for all kinds of reasons. Regardless of this I try to concentrate on the substance of their posts. Sometimes I fail.

    An open respons to Shamus:

    If I have misrepresented your beliefs then I apologise. I have (compared to PZ) no real problem with the concept of Einstein (and Spinoza’s) God, nor with a God who hides himself behind quantum effects (like that of Kenneth Miller). I don’t think they’re necessary, but if it gets you through then that’s fine.

    I looked at the blog entries dealing with evolution and creationism, rather than the others, and also at some of the links to materials you had used. I didn’t particularly like what I saw.

    With regards to your reasons for homeschooling- if you or your wife can do a better job than the teachers in your area then more power to you. I had assumed (incorrectly) that it was because of whatever religious beliefs you had. I looked at links provided by others on Pharyngula’s site and jumped to what were obviously erroneous conclusions, for which I am sorry.

    I still enjoy your work, and now I know more about you, and that my assumptions were wrong I have even more respect for you.

  45. Dave Godfrey says:

    Also Andre’s first comment basically distills the emotion behind my blog response into a well written post.

  46. astro says:

    Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

    If it balances anything, I really enjoyed reading Free Radical.

    I’m sorry I never thanked you before.

  47. Telas says:

    Dave, thanks for being the kind of person who revisits comments when they’re taken the wrong way. Thanks too, for being the kind of person who actually apologizes.

    I’m thanking you not because I felt I needed it, but because I like a world in which people do these things (clarify and apologize).


  48. “Hey, nice blog! Too bad your nationality, child-rearing practices and religious beliefs are unacceptable!”

    I wonder if there would be less of this sort of obnoxiousness on the Internet if we could see each other’s faces, instead of just text on a glowing screen.

    (Though I probably shouldn’t act so superior. I know I’ve been guilty of making uncalled-for comments once or twice.)

    Hang in there…

  49. Mark says:

    I actually don’t mind reading a “Thwacking the idjits” (I can’t spell) post every now and again, though I give full credit to Mr. Godfrey for having the humility to come here and post the way he did.

    Still, I don’t know why people get so worked up about religion and politics, to the point where they stop enjoying something completely unrelated because the author doesn’t think exactly like they do. Sheesh.

  50. Dave Godfrey, I would be more inclined to think that your apology was sincere if you added it to your original post, possibly as a comment, so that people who read your site but not Shamus’s site would still see it.

  51. Nick says:

    Dave Godfrey said: “assumptions”

    I remember there being a military saying about the root of this word…

    In any case, cool of you to come and apologize.

  52. Nick says:

    Steven: Actually, he already did that before you posted, though as a separate article.

  53. Andre says:

    “Also Andre's first comment basically distills the emotion behind my blog response into a well written post.”

    Thanks. I strive ever to be the Mediator, sometimes to a fault. ;)

    Also, good on you for attempting to settle things, once you realized the effect your words had. if more people did that, a lot of the world’s problems wouldn’t exist. Maybe now we can all share a group hug or something mushy like that.

    But not me, I’ll be over in the corner still laughing about the quiver of little walking sticks.

  54. Rebecca says:

    I’m sorry about this whole thing, Shamus, but I must say that you’ve deported yourself well. I come from a background similar to yours, and, well … don’t let what people say get you down!

    But, hey! Don’t do the whole “My wife has a degree in education” defense, that’s playing into their hands!

    P.S. You’re American? I thought you were British . 0_o;;

  55. Paul says:

    I have a strong opinion on religion. I will not express it here because it is completely irrelevant to why I read this blog. I’m here for one thing, and one thing only: DM of the Rings. I skip all of the other posts. I had no idea you were a “creationist,” or even a “Christian.” It never occurred to me to wonder. Now that I know, I will do my best to forget. It plain just don’t matter one way or another to my experience here.

    Have a nice day.

  56. Paul says:

    Besides, he posts on LiveJournal *snort*. It’s not like he’s a real blogger…

  57. Nick says:


    1. a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies; “postings on a blog are usually in chronological order” [syn: web log]

    1. read, write, or edit a shared on-line journal


    Now Paul, we don’t need to get into petty put-downs, especially when they are untrue.

    As I’m sure Shamus does not want this to devolve into a pointless argument, I’ll stop posting on this thread.

  58. dagnabit says:

    I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend lately, a resurgence of Atheist Fundamentalism which seems to have about as much to do with actual atheism as Christian Fundamentalism has to do with christianity.
    Disturbing indeed.

  59. Yahzi says:

    “a resurgence of Atheist Fundamentalism”

    Sam Harris, for all his faults, makes some compelling points why incredibly nice people, with extremely tolerant views, are nonetheless part of the problem.

    Much like lots of extremely nice people indirectly support child labor by buying Nike shoes. Eventually, one hopes the system will change to the point where shoes get made in ways that don’t create ethical dilemmas.

    In the same way, we fundie atheists are simply trying to get people to the point where they say they _hope_ there is a God, instead of asserting that, contrary all ordinary rules of knowledge, they _know_ there is a God.

    You can hope for whatever you want; it’s part of human nature. A noble part, even. But you can only believe what you have evidence for. While this distinction may seem over-subtle, it just another one of those advances in ethical thought that will, in another fifty years, seem as self-evident as the rejection of racism is today.

    The fact that this topic has arisen in the midst of the one of the funniest D&D comics ever is just a signal of how much this issue is at the forefront of Western thought.

  60. Shamus says:

    “trying to get people to the point where they say they _hope_ there is a God”

    Correction: I have faith there is a God.

    The distinction is important. But most importantly:

    “…faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

  61. Raka says:

    “just another one of those advances in ethical thought that will, in another fifty years, seem as self-evident as the rejection of racism is today”

    *snerk* Looks like we all have our hopes that run counter to all available evidence.

  62. Raka says:

    While I’m at it: it’s still not spelled “athiest”, Shamus. And you can’t blame the English language; this one’s all Greek. The root is “theo”, which means “god”, and the prefix “a-” means “it’s vitally important to me that everyone knows I don’t believe in”. The standard misspelling looks like a superlative, as though the “athiest” was someone who was much athier than all other athy people in the room.

  63. Shamus : That quote always looks wrong to me unless it’s “… faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”, probably because of the other meanings we attach to ‘love’ in English (Ancient Greek not having that problem, of course)

    Pedantry over, I’m astonished that anyone would care so much about your religious beliefs when they don’t affect your writing at all.

    If they did impact on your blog/comic, then of course that would affect your readership (just out of a change of direction). They don’t, though (or at least about as much as my atheism affects anything I write (yes, I’m another one) – which is to say that I mention it if it comes up).

    I’m not sure that I really appreciate the distinction between ‘good’ creationists and ‘bad’ creationists, either – they’re both people who believe something that I think is a bit silly (just to differing degrees) – and who I’m sure think similar thoughts about my atheism (they might put it more nicely, if they’re Christian!).

    The only time I really give a shit is when they’re trying to make me believe it too, though. Which is pretty rare.

  64. Rustybadger says:

    “he is an American after all”

    A sin of which I will repent the moment a more suitable alternative is offered.

    A few years ago I would have offered you assylum in Canada, but we’ve got our own breed of wackos in power now, so it might not be all that different. But we do have free health care!

    Seriously, though – Dave is just a tosser who is trolling for hits on his own site. Mind you, that’s why I’m commenting!

  65. ” if Legolas and Gimli started spouting off all the time about how their Christians rock or Americans rule or whatever … yeah, then it might be a problem.”

    This could be funny. I’m envisioning Theoden’s big speech before the Riders of Rohan sweep down off the ridge: “So, uh, Americans rule. Charge!”

    As everyone knows, Gondor is built on Christian’s Rock.

  66. Rustybadger says:

    Ha ha, I guess I look like an idiot now, having shot off my mouth before realising that Dave had, in fact, returned to apologise. I suppose that’s why one ought to read all the comments before posting, eh? My bad – sorry, Dave!

  67. Yahzi says:

    “Correction: I have faith there is a God.”

    That’s pretty much what I was talking about.

    What is faith? It’s not knowledge; it’s not something you can share like a mathematical proof.

    At the same time, it’s not merely hope or opinion; it’s meant to be _more_ than just an expression of personal desire.

    It’s something in-between. And in this post-modern world, where a definition of truth is already hard to come by, that ambiguity is the source of a lot of problems.

    The traditional response – at least in Western society – has been for believers to act like they only hope, while non-believers let them say that they actually believe. Now we’re getting rebellions on both sides: the fundies want to establish their truth as scientific reality (aka creationism over evolution) and the anti-fundies are calling people on the difference between their words and actions (aka Harris, Dawkins, et. al). And of course we have Islam, where this whole game of “believe one thing in church and another thing at the ballot box” is a non-starter.

    How does this relate to DMOTR? Well, I breathed a sigh of relief when Shamus started cracking gay jokes. I was a little concerned that homosexuality would not be something Shamus found _funny_. (Because, of course, it is funny in the context of the comic – exactly as Aragorn’s horndog prostitution obession is funny.) I’m ashamed to say that for a brief moment I was afraid Shamus’ sense of humor would be trumped by his religious ideology. Of course, that’s not the case, which is why DMOTR is so funny – it is unrestrained by authority. Art in the service of ideology is always reduced to propoganda. DMOTR, for all its derivative nature, is still art.

    Ok, that’s the best I can do at constructing some tenous relationship between this issue and the comic. :D

  68. Dave says:

    Hmm.. now.. I’m a Taoist.. so .. well .. there it is.. I’m pretty tolerant.. but.. well.. now I hear this rumor.. that you’re from the planet earth. I must say.. I will stop my self from laughing at this site every day that I read it. .. earthling.. go figure.. who’d have known it.

  69. Will says:

    It’s too bad I’m so late to the party. One of my favorite quotes would have worked out great before the apology.

    “The assumption of virtue by radical secularists comes so easily you wonder whether they ever stop to think it through.” ~ Mark Steyn

    And while I’ve known about Shamus’ faith from my early trolling of the archives, the fact that he enjoyed playing DnD told me he likely wasn’t one of those rabid types that thinks role-playing is satanism-lite.

    (As an aside, I went to a private Christian school grades 1 through 6 where they really taught that DnD, Ouija boards, and loud rock music etc. were tools of the devil. That’s about the time I started tuning the whole religion out.)

  70. Julia says:

    I think pretty much everyone has handled this with grace at this point. Way to go, everyone! :)

    (One of my goals is to “achieve X with grace”, so I’m hung up on that. That’s just me.)

  71. matt says:

    There is no such thing as a “Messianic Jew.” Jews call people like this “Christian.”

  72. Shamus says:

    He calls HIMSELF a messianic Jew, which is more important to me than what others call him.

  73. This was fascinating to read.

    Though I generally come here only for the comics, and a touch of the video games.

  74. Marmot says:

    I’m glad this issue has (hopefully) been settled without any hard feelings. Remember, it could have been worse.
    Have fun!

  75. Alan Kellogg says:

    Stray Observations

    I believe God.

    I’ve been reincarnated on a bunch of occasions, and I’m getting rather concerned about the way you characters have made catastrophies out of puberty, pregnancy, and adolescence. I’m worried that in my next life a spontaneous erection will require registration as a sexual deviant.

    The Theory of Evolution is the best description we have of the phenomenon of evolution according to currently available information.

    At the human scale how the universe appears to be is how the universe is. At a different scale the universe would be a different thing, but we don’t exist at a different scale, nor are we able to perceive the universe at different scales.

    Finally, the Earth moves.

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