Cognitive Dissonance


bz panel 06-24-13bz strip 06-24-13Bizarro is brought to you today by The Age of Reason.

I got a complaint about this cartoon this morning that read as follows:

“Today’s newspaper contained an offensive cartoon suggesting that God was hung over when he created man. I am offended. Why haven’t I seen a similar cartoon about Muhammed or the Muslims?

Yes, it is bizarre, but is it your goal also to offend – to hurt? My God is an awesome God who has blessed me in so many ways – so many times. He is not “rock bottom” – He is rock solid! I will pray that you become more sensitive to all your readers while continuing your usual funny and bizarre look at our weaknesses.”

Here is my response:

“The cartoon was not meant to deride “god” or offend believers, but to comment on how horribly humans have treated the earth and its billions of species.

By the way, that cartoon DOES feature the “god” of Islam. Their religion, just like Christianity, is a spinoff of ancient Judaism, so all three have the same supernatural being at the helm. Muslims believe the prophesied, human messiah was Mohammed, Christians believe it was Jesus, Jews think guys (and others) were false prophets and that the messiah is yet to come. You have a one-in-three chance of having been conveniently born into the correct culture. Unless none of those three is right and the Hindus (or any number of hundreds of other religions) have the whole thing figured out correctly. It’s sort of Russian roulette with your soul.”

It is important to know that the fundamental reason Christians, Jews, and Muslims are perennially at war is because they all branched from the same mythology and believe that their version is the correct one and the other two are heretics. It is also important to know that this cartoon has nothing to do with any of that.



82 thoughts on “Cognitive Dissonance

  1. Personally, I am a follower of Jesus Christ…though not necessarily a Christian. I’m also someone whom God has blessed with a sense of humour. I don’t think it was a sin or blasphemy for me to laugh at this joke…I’ve often pictured God sitting down, sorta slumped over, thinking to himself “what in the hell do I do with these people?”

    And then I laugh again.

  2. I totally agree with you! Man(humankind) who was meant to be the pinnacle of God’s creation has done unspeakable deeds, not only towards each other but to animals whom God has entrusted us with.

  3. Your response is spot on, especially the second paragraph where you state that all three have the same supernatural being at the helm…

    I have tried to explain this Abrahamic trio in a similar way before to friends and family… and they look at me like I’m making stuff up!

    Nice response, well written and factual. It’s about respect for all religions no matter who or what you believe in.

    Good job Dan!

  4. i like your succinct answer. Not only did he miss the true target of your cartoon, but he revealed his own religious myopia. What is lacking in most of these knee-jerk “I’m offended” believers is more education about the history and development of major religions – and a sense of humor.

  5. I just assumed you were representing Brahma, the creator, but now, thanks to your explanation, I accept your apo……just kidding. I’m a christian. Your answer was a pretty good one. I read you because you are funny, not because you and I agree on fine points of philosophy or religion.

  6. FWIW, I have to say I think you are incredibly sensitive to your readers, and that you do a great job of treading – or staying on the kinder, gentler side of – the line between being funny and being insulting.

      • Another one …

        I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.

        ~ Oscar Wilde

        Sanctimony, Dan. It’s a global problem. Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s getting worse, or finally the world is just getting plain fed up with it.

      • Another one …

        I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.

        ~ Oscar Wilde

        “If God created us in His image we have certainly returned the compliment.” ~ Voltaire

        Sanctimony, Dan. It’s a global problem. Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s getting worse, or finally the world is just getting plain fed up with it.

      • PIETY, n. Reverence for the Supreme Being, based upon His supposed resemblance to man.

        The pig is taught by sermons and epistles

        To think the God of Swine has snout and bristles.


        ~The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

        • The presumption that man was made in god’s image is the most arrogant thing humans have done. And that’s saying a lot, considering what a deeply arrogant species we are.

  7. …and then there’s the platypus. Seriously? A semi-aquatic mammal…that lays eggs? C’mon, G. Get off the sauce.

    • God wasn’t hungover when the platypus was created, but was rather high on mushrooms. They say laughter filled the halls of the holy mansion for a hundred years after!

  8. Thanks for this Dan,

    I’m a Christian person- I think God has a great sense of humor and would approve, whole-heartedly! If we can’t laugh at ourselves, well then, what fun is that? Keep up the good, even brilliant work and know that you are admired from afar, in a not-creepy-at-all way.

  9. What a maddening thing, some religionists are.

    They don’t understand religious history.

    They feel everything has to be ‘fair’, so if you’re making fun of a “Christian” God, then you have to also make fun of an “Islamic” God for everything to be evened up.

    They miss the point of the joke by a cosmic mile, and spend so much time being offended over the slight they stop trying to improve the world around them (providing they were actually doing so) to take care of the much, much more important thing that God’s feelings would be hurt.

    This is why I’m no longer religious.

  10. I was raised Roman Catholic, but I’ve recently discovered that my ancestry includes Jews and Muslims. Some might believe that I should explode from those conflicts, but I embrace it. Hey, I figure I’m at bat, with the bases loaded (Christian, Jew, and Muslim), with a Hindu pitching. I’ve got a pretty good chance of scoring, since the pitcher couldn’t keep those other guys from getting on base.

    Anyway, I commend your response to the reader, who should realize that their faith is strong and should continue, since it obviously works for him/her. Besides, who’s to say exactly what is the timeframe of your cartoon? Is it now, or is it right after that bender? He looks hung over, so it might have been the latter, and He’s been trying to set things back on track ever since. Considering what’s going on in the world, it’s obviously a real tough job… like herding kittens, or nailing Jell-O to a wall. I appreciate your cartoon, even more so following your response to the reader, but I also praise your reader’s strong faith.

  11. Biz… Your cartoon is right but the “same mythology” remark is inane…. This is HISTORY… Read Josephus’ “Antiquities of The Jews”

    • By “mythology” I am referring to the construct of god, the creation, messiahs, what we were “meant” to be and why we’re here, etc. None of that is history, of course, but I understand your point. Thanks.

  12. I found it curious and oddly revealing that the offended person was looking for some kind of derisive comment about another religion, as if that would “counterbalance” the perceived affront against their religion. In other words, if you say something bad about something I like, then you have to say something equally bad against something I don’t like. It’s weirdly childish and mean-spirited.

    • Excellent – “childish” is EXACTLY how I would describe these folks who take offense at everything. I’ve been looking for the right word, and “childish” is definitely it. Thank you, Bunnyman.

      And Dan, as always, you hit the nail right on the head… but gently. :)

  13. Well said! Of course, when you are dog paddling in the Lake O’ Fire (Copyright Pat Robertson, Inc) for all eternity, you’ll have plenty of time to think of additional rejoinders.

    • “Where do bad folks go when they die?

      They don’t go to heaven where the angels fly.

      They go to a Lake of Fire and fry.

      Won’t see them again ’til the 4th of July.”

      The Meat Puppets

  14. “It is important to know that the fundamental reason Christians, Jews, and Muslims are perennially at war is because they all branched from the same mythology and believe that their version is the correct one and the other two are heretics. It is also important to know that this cartoon has nothing to do with any of that.”

    A*men!!! ;^) I’m a Christian Quaker and I thought it was funny and was not offended; I also believe God has a pretty good sense of humor. I mean, really, look at US…

  15. to the person who wrote in complaint- while you’re out praying for the poor unfortunate sinners posting this blasphemy, why not go ahead and pray to god to give you a sense of humor while you’re at it? I’m positive both of your prayers will be answered with the same prejudice

    • I’m a huge fan of old movies and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that one but can’t remember it. I’ll refresh my brain pan.

  16. I saw this cartoon I my paper today. I’m not surprised that the artist got a response to it as is mentioned here. — Offensive? I think not. IMHO – But, that said, I expected there would be some “backlash.” — Were we not given a sense of humor? —> Haven’t you ever wondered if God [however you perceive The Supreme Being] gets angry at what we humans are doing to each other and the planet [including the animals/plants] ?? — I certainly have wondered that! – Haven’t you ever wondered if The Supreme Being could be disappointed in us humans here on Earth? – I have. —

  17. From a recovering alcoholic’s point of view, this is hilarious. What an awesome pun! Divine Intervention… get it? Some people just hunt for something to be offended about. Too bad for them; life’s too short to get your knickers in a knot about a cartoon – and a really great one, at that. Thanks for today’s LOL.

  18. great response, Dan. Only thing I would add is that most of the “religious conflicts” stem from politics.

    love how the alien is watching God btw. does that mean that He was created by aliens?

  19. Great cartoon today! My favorite controversial one of yours is where god is staring at the “you are here” sign with an arrow pointing to the middle of a human brain. Pure genius! Christian fundamentalists are both ignorant of history and blinded by their faith to not know their lineage is the same as Islam.

  20. It is pretty sordid of you to equivocate Christianity and Judaism with Muhammad’s hell’s spawn…They dont have a religion but a mafia of thieves, rapists and genocidal murderers just like their prophet.

    Mahomet-Baphomet’s claim to fame is to have decapitated one thousand men himself, tortured their chief to get his gold, beheaded him too then raped his young wife right on top of his still pulsating body. Beside copulating with a six years old wife and a two weeks dead wife.

    Hundreds on millions have been enslaved, raped, tortured and worked to death by Islam…why, only since New York 9/11, they have committed more than 20,000 acts of terror in the name of Satan-Allah!!!

    • Your description could just as easily apply to Christians of the Middle Ages and any number of stories in the Old Testament.It is also important to mention that there are around 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and if even half of them believed in the violence that you’ve noted, the world would be an unfathomably more violent place.

      • Moral equivalence is pretty sickening, you are comparing events of 2,000 years ago to what’s going on as we speak?

        There have been Christian massacre on the past, yes, the human race have been wiped out of America in the name of Jesus(Manifest Destiny et al)

        But ALL Muslim economies have been based on slavery…when the Marines landed in Tripoli, the Umma collapsed for good until WE gave them petroleum resources(that they used to invade ALL the Christian countries)

        Their record:

        All the Assyrians of Iraq are dead(check it out)…They used to be 100% of the people.

        Christians have pretty much all been expelled out of Lebanon and Syria…

        All Greeks and Armenians murdered out of Anatolia(Turkey…Turks came from the far east with the Mongols)

        All Copts(real Egyptians) have been murdered by the muslim arabs…

        Same as all the Kabyles, Europeans and Tuaregs killed off the maghreb(north Africa)

        All the Zoroastrians of Persia(Iran) have been killed by the muslim arabs, half the population of the balkans(greece, serbia) where murdered, half the population of Spain(Andalusia), hundreds of millions murdered in India and Indonesia…

        That is on top of the hundred of millions of black Africans driven in slavery plus the millions of Europeans enslaved by the Barbary pirates.

        But they are the religion of peace, right?

        It is more peaceful on my planet Mongo!

      • I am gabberflasted how many people don’t realize that al Qaeda is no more mainstream Muslim than the Hillsborough Baptist Church is mainstream Christian.

  21. Religion is like a movie series. The Torah is the first one, the New Testament is the sequel. Then the Qu’ran comes out. Jews like the first movie, but ignored the sequels. Christians think you need to watch the first two, but the third movie doesn’t count. Muslims think the third is the best.

    And the Mormons liked the second one so much they started writing fan-fiction that doesn’t fit with any of the movies.

  22. Great response Dan… and I love it that you have such a diverse group of fans that actually have a sense of humor. None of us can ignore history… God (whomever he/she is) is laughing with us all!

  23. Loved this cartoon. Loved the message. Loved your response. Love that you are in tune with what needs to be attended to. Thank you.

  24. dont worry about him/her… you keep up your good work…. your one of the best and have always brightened my day… if they’re not comfortable with their faith/ religion enough to laugh at it every so often then the problem truly lies with them. :)

  25. I’m not offended by the cartoon, but your justification of

    “The cartoon was not meant to deride “god” or offend believers, but to comment on how horribly humans have treated the earth and its billions of species.”

    is a total copout. It appears just to be a play on the grammar of “divine intervention”. If you intended it to be a critique of all of the animal-killing, meat-eating humans and their abuse of the planet, you’re implication is far, far too subtle … so much as to be unnoticeable.

  26. Wonderful work! A toon about God and comments and responses come by the hundreds, doesn’t it?

    I thought the “It is important to know that the fundamental reason…the other two are heretics.” should’ve been part of the response. But, excellent nevertheless. I suspect the reader who complained uttered “amen” after reading your repartee. ;)

  27. I agree that humans as a whole have been negligent as stewards of the earth. It’s like we were little kids and don’t know any better, but now it’s time to grow and own our mistakes. I’m a very spiritual person and saw the humor in this cartoon. I feel that those who take offense, take themselves too seriously. Spirit has a sense of humor too, enjoy it!

  28. Funny strip. No offense at all. What’s more funny is the idea of picturing the formless. All religions are way off base in what they think God is. God is All. God is beyond all form as we perceive it. We are all God. All is God. All is One. The conceptual framework of this is well expressed in ACIM. The experience of this is where it matters however and ALL are capable of experiencing it. There can be no one universal theology but there can and must be a universal experience. Simply put it is: Be still and know that I Am God. Well worth the endeavor and no harm if ignored, it all comes eventually. We will dream of separation from what we are until we decide to stop and search it out and find that we are It. Peace everyone!

  29. The prophet Mohammed is not seen by Muslims as being a Messiah but rather as the final prophet.

    Contra what Ted Logdon said, 1 in 5 Muslim Americans say there is a great deal or a fair amount of support amongst them for extremism [] which isn’t to say that 1 in 5 are extremists, but that 1 in 5 have been exposed to extremists. The level of support for violence against civilians is about 1% amongst US Muslims, about 3% worldwide. []

    So, whereas the Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t have 1,000 sympathisers in the US, Al-Qaeda has about 260,000.

    Christianity has been secularised. Islam hasn’t.


  30. Awesome cartoon! Is it inspired by Lautreamont’s Maldoror? I cite the pages (okay to moderate this all away, just interestingly exact correspondence!)

    It was a spring day. Birds spilled out their warbling canticles, and humans, having answered their various calls of duty, were bathing in the sanctity of fatigue. Everything was working out its destiny: trees, planets, sharks. All except the Creator!

    He was stretched out on the highway, his clothing torn. His lower lip hung down like a soporific cable. His teeth were unbrushed, and dust clogged the blond waves of his hair. Numbed by a torpid drowsiness, crushed against the pebbles, his body was making futile efforts to get up again. His strength had left him, and he lay there weak as an earthworm, impassive as treebark. Gouts of wine swamped the ruts trenched by his shoulders’ nervous twitches. Swine-snouted brutishness shielded him with protective wing and cast on him its loving look. Like two blind masts his slack-muscled legs swept the soil. Blood flowed from his nostrils: his face had hit a stake as he fell …. He was drunk! Dreadfully drunk! Tight as a tick which has guzzled three tuns of blood in the night! He filled the echoes with garbled comments I will desist from repeating here; even if the Supreme Drunkard has no self-respect, *I* must respect men. If you were to know that the Creator … got drunk! Pity this lip besmirched by the goblets of orgy!

    A passing hedgehog sank its spines into his back, saying: “Take that! It is noon–work, sluggard, and eat not the bread of others. Wait a while and see what happens when I call the crook-beaked cockatoo.”

    A passing woodpecker and screech-owl buried their beaks right into his belly, saying: “Take that! What are you doing here on earth? Have you come to present the animals this lugubrious comedy? I swear to you that neither mole nor cassowary nor flamingo will imitate you.”

    A passing ass kicked him on the temple, saying: “Take that! What did I do to you that you should give me such long ears? The very crickets scorn me.”

    A passing toad shot a gob of spittle into his face, saying: “Take that! If you had not made my eye so huge, and had I perceived the state in which I see you now, I would chastely have hidden your limbs’ beauty beneath a shower of buttercups, myosotis, and camellias, that none might see you.”

    A passing lion bowed a royal head, saying: “For my part I respect him although his splendour appears to us momentarily eclipsed. You others who affect haughtiness and are merely cowards for having attacked him while he slept, how would *you* in *his* stead enjoy enduring abuse from passers-by–abuse you have not spared him?”

    A passing man stopped in front of the unappreciated Creator and, to applause from crab-louse and viper, crapped three days upon that august countenance! Woe unto man for that insult: for not respecting his defenceless and almost lifeless enemy laid out in a mishmash of mud, blood, and wine! …

    Then God the Supreme, woken at last by all these mean insults, got up again as best he could, reeling, and went to sit on a rock, arms a-dangle like a consumptive’s testicles. He looked upon the whole of nature, which belonged to him, with lack-lustre spiritless gaze.

    O human beings, you are *enfants terribles*; but I beg you spare this Great Being who has not yet done sleeping off the effects of filthy liquor, and who, not having enough strength left to stand erect, has fallen heavily back against this rock on which, like a traveller, he is seated.

    Observe this passing beggar. He saw that the dervish was holding out a wasted arm and, without knowing on whom he bestowed alms, threw a scrap of bread at that hand beseeching pity. The Creator expressed his gratitude by a movement of the head.

    Oh! you will never know how difficult a thing it becomes, constantly to be holding the reins of the universe! Sometimes the blood rushes to the head as one strives to wrest from nothingness a last comet with a new race of spirits. The Mind, overstimulated to its very core, retreats like one defeated, and once in a lifetime may well fall into the aberrations you have witnessed!

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  32. Hello, Dan,

    I am a Christian and I did not take offense at this comic. I got the joke exactly as you intended it.

    Many atheists see believers as superstitious ignoramuses. However, if you look throughout history, there have been and still are many thoughtful, scholarly, well-educated, intelligent people who believe in God. Take Newton, Einstein, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkein, to name but a few.

    I recommend to you and challenge you to explore many scientifically based books dealing with the subject of a creator: “Show Me God” by Fred Heeren. “The Signature in the Cell” and “Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen C. Meyer. “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist” by Frank Turek. Or “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel.

    Respectfully yours,

    Felipe Esposito

    Coalinga, CA

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Felipe. I have never been stupid but was a believer for most of my adult life so, of course, I agree with you that faith in a supreme being is not restricted to ignoramuses. :o) I am sorry if my comments have insinuated that. I have, in fact, read a couple of the books you mentioned; C.S.Lewis was a favorite author of mine for a time.

      My snarkier comments are directed more specifically toward people who hold their beliefs superstitiously, have never questioned or investigated their faith’s own scriptures (and most certainly no one else’s) do not think for themselves, then vote against the rights of others because of their own beliefs rather than facts.

      I’m sure that you and I could have an interesting discussion on theology and remain friends. :o)

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