Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ smarts

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “bad,” came with this email note:

I don’t think it’s a good idea for atheists to make a big deal of religion/intelligence research. But it’s okay for a gag.

I agree with the artist, as there’s no useful point to emphasizing the correlation, even if it’s real. If Jesus is citing a real study, and you know of it (I don’t), please put it in the comments.


    • Randy schenck
      Posted August 2, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Sounds about right so it must be.

  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 2, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Not quite the same thing, of course, but there was a Pew survey a few years back that found that non-believers in the US actually know more about religion than believers do.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 2, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Well that just shows how dumb non-believers are, investing all that effort in knowing about something they don’t believe. 😉


      • Kevin
        Posted August 2, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Having been brought up in a Catholic family and in a fairly closed community in which nearly every adult I knew was a Catholic, understanding religion is part of the process of finding counter arguments to the brain washing.
        Understanding history is not really possible without understanding the religious component.
        Many religious people do not study their religion in an academic sense, but follow it as a cultural habit, taking its truth as a given. Others know the theological arguments. Not many are interested in comparative religion.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 2, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          I agree there’s an opposing argument to my slightly frivolous one, which says, roughly, ‘the more anyone thinks about religion the more likely they are to see through it’.


    • Tom
      Posted August 2, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      I don’t want to appear dense but perhaps the believers don’t want to know more about their religions.
      Form may be more important to them than substance.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 2, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Reading the Bible is a good religion antidote. When I was a kid my Sunday mass [Catholic, UK] was in Latin – when they went to English I became aware of the absurdities & horror of what is a blood cult.

        I think the Vatican has realised the error of letting peasants [such as me] understand the language of the rites & there is now a return to Latin in places…

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 2, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          I went – got sent would be more like it – to a Methodist (or maybe it was Congregationalist, one of those sort of things anyway) Sunday School in England, and what turned me off religion was the fact that it was in English and to my juvenile mind it all sounded old-fashioned, silly and unbelievable.

          That, and the fact that it was taking up a couple of hours of my weekend sitting on hard wooden seats bored out of my tree when I should have been playing.

          (I also wonder whether it doesn’t contribute to nascent antisemitism, having to listen to all this Jewish history/propaganda of no conceivable interest to a Western teenager. It left me with the feeling that Jews were all religious and somehow creepy).

        • rickflick
          Posted August 2, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

          Mumbo jumbo.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted August 2, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        My friend of 50 years is both religious and pretty darned intelligent (product of deeply religious parents)… we hold wildly differing views that we rarely address, mainly because they have nothing to do with our friendship.

        My friend has derived great comfort over the years from the church community, particularly at times of loss such as parents and one child. We get by on the basis that one is free to believe whatever, just don’t expect it to impact on anyone else. This was something we did argue about when the B&B owner went to court over cancelling a gay couple’s booking… said friend thought the owner should be allowed to discriminate. I did win that point because the friend would not have been happy to be turned away by an atheist B&B owner. Kudos to friend for actually thinking about it!

        I’m not holding my breath waiting for Sunday morning to be anything other than “church time” though 🙂

        • Serendipitydawg
          Posted August 2, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Sorry, I appear to have posted this as a reply. It’s a complete non sequitur now!

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 2, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            WordPress does that to me, all the time. It’s evil, I tell you.


            • Posted August 3, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

              I liked it! It was good story and an brilliant counterexample. Thanks for sharing.

        • Diane G.
          Posted August 2, 2017 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

          Doubt that an atheist B&B owner would be in business for long…

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 3, 2017 at 12:39 am | Permalink

            Why on earth would he not be? In UK, the question of a B&B owner’s religion would rarely come up anyway unless he raised it. Unless he decided to ban Xtians/Muslims/whatever, but I can’t think of anything in atheism that would require one to do that.


            • Posted August 3, 2017 at 1:39 am | Permalink

              Quite. Give the number of nones in the UK (about 50%), and the low incidence of regular church attendance (~ 5%), it may even be more likely for B&B owners to be atheists than practicing Christians.


              • Diane G.
                Posted August 3, 2017 at 1:47 am | Permalink

                OK, guess I was being a little provincial there… 😉

                Also tend to think of B&B’s as appealing to conservatives…don’t know why, now that I mention it.

                And of course, thinking that if the subject of atheism even came up it would be because the owner was a bit of a soapboxer…

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted August 3, 2017 at 2:35 am | Permalink

                B&B owners in Britain:

                The most successful ex-B&B owner I know of is a woman who gave it up to run courses showing other people [usually couples] how to run B&Bs. B&B gross profits mostly go into maintenance, cleaning, laundry, replacement of consumables & sundry taxes. If there’s a net profit at the end of a B&B career, it’s because the fools who take it up have not got the time nor energy to spend. Crap job that turns one cynical about ones fellows – stealing all the toast to keep em going through the day, stumbling up the stairs at 3am, not quite turning off the hot tap and so on…

                You have to be crazily optimistic to run a B&B – so perhaps a preponderance of the religious & the woo inclined get into it? [no data] 🙂

              • Diane G.
                Posted August 3, 2017 at 3:09 am | Permalink

                Makes sense to me. 😀 Thanks for the analysis, Michael; it certainly accords with my idea of what B&B ownership would be like.

                (And as a consumer–I far prefer the comparative anonymity of hotels!)

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted August 3, 2017 at 3:33 am | Permalink

                Diane G. There was an elderly retired couple in the UK who left home & moved into a double bed room & bath at their Travelodge A1, nr Grantham & stayed for 20 yrs. They booked a year in advance to get the £15/night deal + b/fast. Room 1 was renamed the Davidson Suite in their honour.

                I like out-of-season boutique-style hotels or out-of-season rooms above pubs in holiday locales. My best holiday was Venice in January – no Brits etc, the canals didn’t smell & many restaurants/cafes still open for the locals.

              • Diane G.
                Posted August 4, 2017 at 12:58 am | Permalink

                Michael–interesting story. As far as your, infinite’s, and the elderly couple’s preferences go, all I can say is, to each his own. 🙂

                When I travel I usually get enough interaction with humans during the day; at night I just crave solitude (or at most, the company of my travel companion, if any). YMMV

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted August 3, 2017 at 3:35 am | Permalink


                Having just conducted a de facto sample of low-end accommodation – two B&B’s were both very pleasant indeed, backpackers’ varied from not nice at all to very pleasant, hotels (country pubs) from so-so to very nice indeed.

                My bias is that I’d much rather have an old country pub (or a backpackers) with a bit of character, than anything with air con and room service.


              • Posted August 3, 2017 at 3:40 am | Permalink

                Michael, as a former B&B owner, I can confirm most of your comment. Operating in a summer holiday area (Oban, Argyll) gave us the advantage of being able to close for the winter to spend our ill-gotten gains, but the disadvantage of having to make a year’s income in six months. By the end of October we were so exhausted we could sleep for a fortnight (generally on a beach in Tenerife).

                However, I have to say that in six years of running a B&B, I could count on one hand the number of guests we would never have back. Generally they were lovely people, just out to enjoy their holidays.

                As atheists, we had no problem taking money from church groups, even if we had to go round afterwards seeking out all the little proselytising pamphlets they would try to leave for the next guests. Of course we didn’t have Gideon bibles, though if I were doing it again, I’d have Faith vs Fact in every room 🙂

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted August 3, 2017 at 4:03 am | Permalink

                Oban? B&B in Rhyl, Blackpool, Hastings or Skeggie – different story [loads of addicts seem to gravitate to the seaside to live on the social]…

                I stayed at a lovely B&B in/near Portree – had an informal [unlicensed] bar to the early hours – lovely. Up there in the gateway I think you catered to the sturdy shoe walker types – hence classy clients. I bet they nicked the sausages now & then though for a free afternoon sarnie!

                I was thinking of Tobermory last year, but prices are shocking bad for everything. A right old rip off.

              • Diane G.
                Posted August 4, 2017 at 1:03 am | Permalink

                Oh, gosh, Colin, I hope I haven’t insulted you. Just because I’m reclusive doesn’t mean I condemn B&B’s or their owners in any way!

                I love your idea of having Faith vs. Fact in each room! 😀

              • Posted September 27, 2017 at 4:24 am | Permalink

                Just spotted that I missed missed this comment (I just found the “unread comments button), and wanted to reassure you that it never even occurred to me to take offence at your remark!

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted August 3, 2017 at 3:48 am | Permalink

                And since Michael raised the question of going foreign – again, I much prefer a country pension or Relais / Gasthof / Jugendherberge (and on the Continent, they all invariably have a small bar). Frequently in some old building in the back of nowhere. Often they don’t speak English (and my French is pathetic, my German/Italian/Portuguese non-existent) which leads to complicated sign language but invariably in good spirit. And you know you’ve been somewhere individual, not just another interchangeable air-conditioned TV cubicle.


              • rickflick
                Posted August 3, 2017 at 5:39 am | Permalink

                I like B&Bs. You get to know the people and places better. We B&Bed our way around England, Wales, and Ireland this past spring and enjoyed it thoroughly. Some of the owners were so charming and friendly we wanted to stay forever.

              • Diane G.
                Posted August 4, 2017 at 1:08 am | Permalink

                Why yes, as a matter of fact I am used to being in the minority…


              • rickflick
                Posted August 4, 2017 at 5:01 am | Permalink

                I know you wouldn’t be happy as a conformist. 😉

              • Diane G.
                Posted August 6, 2017 at 3:34 am | Permalink


  2. Posted August 2, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink


    • Mark Joseph
      Posted August 2, 2017 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      This is really good. Thanks.

    • Diane G.
      Posted August 2, 2017 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      “Needless to say, God’s Word and “made up fairy tale nonsense” are not mutually exclusive. The Venn diagram of those two things is a circle.”


  3. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 2, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    As with religion and income, I suspect it is imperative to ask which religions?? Here more than ever, Sam Harris’ dictum that “religion” is an overly broad category like “games” that needs to be narrowed down is IMO paramount.

    For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses are both one of the lowest income and lowest educated religions in America. Episcopalians and Jews are much higher. etc. etc.

  4. Posted August 2, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    My only ‘Sunday School’ attendance at age 7 (in 1954 Australia) was abruptly terminated when my older sister was asked to take me home. I’d had the temerity to ask “where the dinosaurs fitted into the creation story?” It’s been downhill ever since.

    This is pre Ken Ham, of course.


  5. Wotan Nichols
    Posted August 3, 2017 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I remember getting the stink-eye from a Sunday School teacher who had asked us to define ‘faith’. As a smart-ass little kid, I immediately piped up with a quote from the TV show ‘The Rifleman’: “Faith is believing in something you know ain’t so.” Probably somebody famous actually said it first.

    • Posted August 3, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      There are those who scoff at the schoolboy, calling him frivolous and shallow: Yet it was the schoolboy who said “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” Mark Twain , Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World (1897), Chapter XII


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