Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ Armstrong

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “homo2” came with this email note: “It’s been a while since we’ve had a resurrected comic, so here’s one from 2009. Remember Karen Armstrong? This comic was inspired by an article by her in Foreign Policy which is no longer available.”

Of course we remember Karen Armstrong, for she won’t go away! And yes, her message is succinctly conveyed in this cartoon. She’s gotten famous and rich by giving credulous people the pabulum for which they hunger.



  1. jknath1
    Posted January 24, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Funny, but I don’t think J would have said “became recognizably human”.

    • rickflick
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      “became recognizably human”

      That would have been when they started cutting hair. Ben-Hur was an early example.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 24, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    She’s gotten famous and rich by giving credulous people the pabulum for which they hunger.

    Long way from “they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness[.]”

  3. Jonathan Dore
    Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I think we should nominate The Barmaid for Secularist of the Year.

  4. Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Well done barmaid.

    Armstrong’s God is so immutably transcendent that It’s forced from any equation. She’s left herself in a place to meditate among furry bunnies and drink dew off lotus petals. Which is fine, but insisting there must be a God makes a child of herself and those who think she’s on to something.

  5. Liz
    Posted January 24, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I just barely recognized this name and knew I knew someone important with the same name. I was grasping to figure out if it was a family friend or someone who had been like a mentor to me in something. As it turns out, it actually is the same Karen Armstrong. I can remember being at a library a few towns over from where I lived in high school (I had to drive there to find this book) and reading through A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (1993). I was grateful that there was someone else out there exploring and asking the same questions. After I applied for my own major in college, I took a Tutorial class with a professor just writing and discussing everything I was going to explore in the major. Karen Armstrong’s book is there in the bibliography. I haven’t heard of her since then so I just read her Wikipedia page on her life and career as well as this compassion project she’s doing. It seems to me from her Wikipedia page that she has done more investigating and researching of religion than “helping” people. I don’t know that she promotes a belief in god, but if so, I wouldn’t agree with that. That book that she wrote was at least influential to me and I’m grateful for her investigative work with that.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      “A History of God” seems to be consistently the most popular book of Armstrong’s amongst skeptics and rationalist readers.
      (Not so much “The Case for God”.)

      • Liz
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure what other skeptics read. That would make sense, though. Thanks. I’ve been reading a little about her now and apparently there was something in the WSJ about evolution in 2009. I’m curious to see what she said but it doesn’t give the full article. Her book at the time was influential. Not anything else/since then/ her views now. I have my own views. Especially on evolution (I still am not sure what she said but this is me). There is no god in that process. There’s no room for it. There are no questions. It’s a hard line. The evolution/creationism issue was/is the “easiest” for me because it is so clear cut. Exploring higher energies/the effective field theory etc. and/or string theory, however, was something I was planning to start taking physics classes at Rutgers Newark for in 2014. I figured I should follow a physicist on Twitter just to get familiar and see if I really wanted to pursue yet another academic field with no return on investment (theoretical physics). As it turns out, Sean Carroll’s book, The Big Picture, fell in my lap and with it, the effective field theory (reading about this felt like I was punched in the stomach. It felt like I had waited my whole life for it/looking for it, and I had not adequately prepared myself for the math.) I was so thirsty for the line in the sand that I will take it. I can comfortably call myself an atheist and I don’t have to spend time and money pursuing a very difficult degree just to figure it out. The passion for debating getting it right, and my own questions about what else is right are slightly different from the evolution/creationism/intelligent design debate. I enjoy that on a different level because the line is not muddied. That’s the way that it happened. This is very clear to me from studying Inherit the Wind in middle school and vertebrate history in 2002. The more religious a person, the more enticing it is to debate them for me as I also originally looked into becoming a deprogrammer for people in cults. As it turns out, there are no jobs for that either according to two people I spoke with. Hopefully this helps to adequately distance myself from Karen Armstrong although I can’t say that book, A History of God, wasn’t influential in some ways. I think, although I may disagree with her on many things, that she’s a strong woman for her pursuit of studying religion and am grateful still.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          WSJ usually only provides full articles to subscribers. If you email me a link to the article, I’ll get the full text for you.

          (See bottom of About Me page at

          • Liz
            Posted January 24, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            Thanks so much, Heather.

          • Liz
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

            Thank you so much again. I very much appreciate it!

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted January 25, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

              No worries. We girls have to stick together. 🙂

              • Liz
                Posted January 25, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink


    • Liz
      Posted January 25, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      “Human beings were not the pinnacle of a purposeful creation; like everything else, they evolved by trial and error and God had no direct hand in their making. No wonder so many fundamentalist Christians find their faith shaken to the core.”

      I don’t know that that is the only reason fundamentalist Christians “find their faith shaken to the core.” I think it’s a little more complicated than that.

      “The almost unbearable spectacle of the myriad species passing painfully into oblivion is not unlike some classic Buddhist meditations on the First Noble Truth (“Existence is suffering”), the indispensable prerequisite for the transcendent enlightenment that some call Nirvana—and others call God.”

      This is terrible. It is sloppy and incorrect to compare the “pain” of extinction to a Buddhist meditation having to do with existence and suffering. One has nothing to do with the other. Meditation and thoughts about suffering are personal experiences that don’t relate to facts about evolution. These two should not be talked about together *especially* because there *are* so many people who are confused or ill-informed about evolution. The best way to teach fundamental Christians, from my point of view, is just to teach them the facts. I am not sure why they even asked her opinion on this. Fundamentalist Christians are brainwashed into understanding what they do know and have not been educated about evolution. The way to solve that is not to introduce fundamentalist Christians to ways of exploring “suffering” in the evolutionary process through looking at Buddhist meditations. I understand she has a goal of bridging religious groups, but this is not only inaccurate, it’s also confusing. In that sentence, I see a woman who doesn’t understand Fundamentalist Christians. Her effort is appreciated but she didn’t get this right.

      “Man vs. God” with Karen Armstrong provided by Heather.

  6. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted January 24, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I believe the first use of the phrase “homo religiosus” in a generic sense came from the Dutch historian of religion Gerardus van der Leeuw (1890-1950), but then widely popularized by Mircea Eliade.

    Armstrong’s notion of God seems more vaporous to me than that of other ‘apophatic’ theologians, and hard to get a handle on.

  7. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted January 24, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I updated the dialogue of the last frame:

    “So you’re saying that as long as there are questions, there are people who will make a good living by pretending to know the answers”.

  8. Posted January 24, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    “This comic was inspired by an article by her in Foreign Policy which is no longer available.”

    It’s available. I found it here:

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