Monsters in clerical garb »« It’s odd how culture shelters some who should be shamed

The Christians have all forgiven me by now, right?

I was just reminded that it’s been four years since I treated a cracker with extreme disrespect. I’d say the Catholics had all forgotten it by now, but I still get the odd email or letter from people who stumble across it and have to tell me how evil I am.

Bill Donohue will hate me forever, I’m sure.

Comments

  1. Dick the Damned says

    It’s all relative. Those who eat the fucking crackers (communion wafers) digest them, & then shit the waste out into the can.

    I’ve got a question. Is it still Jesus, when they shit it out, & if not, at what point in the process does the magic wear off?

  2. robro says

    Juxtaposition irony. Right next to this post an ad: He Was Right! Remembering five decades of accurate forecasting by Herbert W. Armstrong.

    It’s a sign, PZ. Bill Donohue will hate you forever.

    Dick — It’s shit, but holy shit. Magic is forever.

  3. Pteryxx says

    Excretion doesn’t exist. That’s why global warming is a myth and scientists are just lying about the water cycle.

    (note – I’m not making that up. Anyone got the citation for that argument from YECs or whoever it was?)

  4. graham says

    To quote British comedian Richard Herring “How many masses do you have to attend before you’ve eaten a whole Jesus?”

  5. bunkie says

    Oh lord, please, please, please don’t tell me that there’s a Christian cult that insists rain comes from the firmament?

  6. Blattafrax says

    1.196 billion catholics in the world (Wikipedia) maybe averaging 1 communion per year with a 1g cracker per time (guess).

    Jesus is increasing in weight by about a thousand tonnes per year.

    @Dick: I’d guess about the duodenum. It’s got to happen at some point – the carbon cycle would mean that the crackers would start of as partly Jesusish and become more Jesusy with each transubstantiation. One day in the future we would all be Jesus.

  7. Pteryxx says

    Oh lord, please, please, please don’t tell me that there’s a Christian cult that insists rain comes from the firmament?

    Not quite… IIRC, the argument was that erosion-based dating must be wrong and/or the earth MUST be only a few thousand years old because if it were older, *all the water would have been drunk up already so there’d be none left*.

  8. anubisprime says

    OP

    Bill Donohue will hate me forever, I’m sure.

    ‘Willy Donkeybreath’ hates anything and anyone that does not drool copious amounts of toxic fatuous slime in the Vatican’s direction.

  9. Chaos Engineer says

    Is it still Jesus, when they shit it out, & if not, at what point in the process does the magic wear off?

    Ooo, I almost know this one!

    The short answer, is It’s A Mystery.

    I knew the longer answer once, but I’ve forgotten a lot of the details and don’t want to cheat by looking it up. (It was in regard to a related question: “If it’s such a big horrible deal when a non-believer eats a consecracker, how come it’s not a big horrible deal if a crumb falls to the floor unseen and gets eaten by a mouse?”

    The answer is that the consecracker has two kinds of properties, the “accidental properties” and the “essential properties”. The accidental properties interact with matter, and the essential properties interact with souls. These interactions are probably described by the usual quantum field equations. Anyway, mice don’t have souls, so they don’t have access to the “essential properties” of the consecracker that would trigger the “big horrible deal” reaction.

    So passage through the human digestive system is a red herring; it only operates on the “accidental properties”. The “essential properties” of an object are eternal and timeless and therefore any questions about when a process begins or ends are meaningless. You should be able to prove this to yourself by working through the quantum field equations and seeing that the “time” component drops out in this scenario.

  10. says

    What struck me when I heard about that whole episode was that you included the God Delusion in with the religious items. That made your ‘nothing is sacred’ point clear – using just the host or just the Qur’an pages would have been singling out one or the other religion. Well played.

    Although it seems that some have still missed the point …

  11. says

    I’m sure that part of Bill Donohue’s job description at the Catholic League is daily deprecatory prayer for PZ’s condign punishment. Although Donohue is a nasty and belligerent curmudgeon, the Catholic Church will continue to ignore his un-Christian behavior as long as it thinks it benefits from Donohue’s “bad copy” routine.

  12. jimmauch says

    You should know better than to have committed such a heinous sin. Above all the first rule you should learn about Catholics is to keep your hands off their crackers.

  13. says

    I suspect you’re aware of it, PZ, but the only sanctioned path to Catholic forgiveness is the sacrament of confession (or “penance” or “reconciliation”; the church is trendy enough to relabel things, but it’s just new packaging, not content). You go into the little room, kneel, and tell the priest, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” Then you blab your sins and receive absolution and are told to say five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys (or an entire rosary if you’ve been very naughty). Afterward you are certified sin-free and ready to go to heaven — at least until you commit your next mortal sin (like desecrate a cracker or miss mass or touch yourself; the list is endless). It’s always the most fun with an inquisitive priest, because he loves to pump you for details on the various sins (“Oh, and where did you touch yourself?” and “How often did you do it?” and “Could you show me after mass tomorrow?”).

    Finally, just to tidy up loose ends, deliberately omitting a sin from your confession is yet another sin! So come clean or don’t come to confession at all. So logical and thus immune from mockery or scorn.

    Yeah.

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Maybe every five years we need a Pharyngula holiday, “It’s only a cracker” day, where the horde all desecrate a cracker somehow. The Redhead can use it like a skeet for Kninja Knitter practice.

  15. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Bill Donohue will hate me forever, I’m sure.

    Despite the fact that this little turd is nothing but hate, this is a badge of honor, this is.

  16. Sili says

    Finally, just to tidy up loose ends, deliberately omitting a sin from your confession is yet another sin! So come clean or don’t come to confession at all. So logical and thus immune from mockery or scorn.

    I recall a story someone told here about a Catholic who only went to Mass when visiting her parents for Christmas. But rather than deal with the priest haranguing her for not coming more often, she started her confession with “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I has been one week since my last confession.” And then she just added an extra lie to the list of sins.

  17. paleotrent says

    As a senior in high school I somehow got placed in AP English. I was a total slacker who coasted by with C grades for the most part (graduated 197 out of 298), but I “tested” well. In any case, we were reading a book (I believe it was James Joyce), and the subject of transubstantiation came up. I had never heard of such a thing, and I was most incredulous – I said something along the lines of “Oh, c’mon, no one believes THAT!” or maybe “Surely Catholics don’t believe THAT anymore.” My English teacher (who happened to have an Irish surname – oops) kept me after class and read me the riot act. But seriously, one has to admit that for those who are not indoctrinated, the whole concept of the bread and wine literally becoming the body and blood of Christ is ludicrous! Needless to say, it made me even more reluctant to speak my mind in class – at least in high school. Thank goodness for college.

  18. says

    Next time, take the crackers out onto the sidewalk and smash them with a sledgehammer. Just explain that it’s “technical.” Everyone will stand back and let you work.
    Too obscure?

  19. truthspeaker says

    In other words, the accidental properties are the properties it actually has, and the incidental properties are the properties we imagine it has.

    And some loonies think the latter is more important than the former.

  20. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Next time, take the crackers out onto the sidewalk and smash them with a sledgehammer. Just explain that it’s “technical.” Everyone will stand back and let you work.
    Too obscure?

    Not with the proper application of aged grog. From a hammer hitting a sidewalk to a hammer setting off an M-60.

  21. Usernames are smart says

    So, this Bill Donohoe person doesn’t believe in/obey the bible, I take it?

    John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

    …just asking’, ’cause, you know, Xian Derp and all that.

  22. says

    Paleotrent:

    I said something along the lines of “Oh, c’mon, no one believes THAT!” or maybe “Surely Catholics don’t believe THAT anymore.” My English teacher (who happened to have an Irish surname – oops) kept me after class and read me the riot act.

    The truth hurts.

  23. Usernames are smart says

    Next time, take the crackers out onto the sidewalk and smash them with a sledgehammer.
    —feralboy12 #20

    You’ll need to get at least two thousand, if you want the free shipping.

    I want to be your sledgehammer
    Why don’t you call my name
    You’d better call the sledgehammer
    Put your mind at rest
    I’m going to be-the sledgehammer
    This can be my testimony
    I’m your sledgehammer
    Let there be no doubt about it

  24. Patricia, OM says

    I like the idea of cracken another cracker on the five year anniversary.

  25. starrkline says

    My dad is an Episcopalian minister. I loved communion wafers when I was growing up. I would find where my dad had them stored and munch on whole packages of the things.

    Does that make me a bad person? It may mean I had bad taste in food at the very least. I tried a communion wafer a few years back and they are bland as hell.

  26. machintelligence says

    bunky @6

    Oh lord, please, please, please don’t tell me that there’s a Christian cult that insists rain comes from the firmament?

    Pastor Rick Warren, in his book “The Purpose Driven Life” states that prior to Noah’s flood, no-one had ever seen rain, because God watered the earth from below. Why they would have had a word for rain is unclear.

  27. Trebuchet says

    Why do I keep confusing Bill Donohue with Billo Reilly? Totally different, aren’t they?

  28. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Q: What’s the difference between Jesus and a picture of Jesus?

    A: You only need one nail to hang up a picture of Jesus.

  29. timberwoof says

    I was trying to answer Graham’s question, “How many masses do you have to attend before you’ve eaten a whole Jesus?” I did some searching on the Intertubes for various numbers and found that on Amazon you can buy a box of 1000 wafers for $18.99 and used ones for as little as $10.95.

    I laughed out loud … on the commute bus. Paleotrent explained why I didn’t share the joke.

    These wafers weigh about .01 ounces so to reconstitute Jesus you’d have to eat about 20,000 of them and drink about a tenth of an ounce of wine with each one (for the water content). That works out to about one communion per day.

    Communion wafers were bigger in the past, though, so your mileage may vary.

  30. says

    It is sort of Homeopathic Jesus at this point, isn’t it? At this point, they’ve diluted Jesus to the point that he’s the size of a medium-sized star, and the goal is to dilute him to the point that he’ll actually become the size of the whole universe, at which point he retroactively becomes the whole universe and creator of the universe. It is a self-fulfilling prophesy by cracker consumption… which also means that in 11 more years Chester the Cheetos Cheetah will become an actual cheetah and eat your children in Aisle 7.

  31. schweinhundt says

    Not really sure what the simple destruction of wafers proves or demonstrates.

    I’d love to see an experiment where someone examines and compares the physical properties of transubstantiated hosts to non-transubstantiated hosts. Measure the various gross physical characteristics such as surface area and weight—yeah, I know “mass” is the more appropriate term but not going there. Burn them to determine their caloric content. Run ‘em through a mass spectrometer and document their (un)varying chemical compositions. In other words, destroy them for Science!

    P.S. I get that we all know the results will (A) be mundane vs. magical and (B) not convince the faithful. If nothing else, though, the FDA would know how to correctly populate the Nutrition Facts label for host packages.

  32. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Not really sure what the simple destruction of wafers proves or demonstrates.

    you could follow the link in post to find out

  33. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Four years? Damn. Those were some interesting times.

  34. A. R says

    graham: Based upon my calculations, it would take exactly 55 years to eat an entire Jeebus at one Mass per day. (Very possible for some deeply [A. R struggles to avoid usage of an ableist term, settles for something mild] whackaloon individuals)

  35. schweinhundt says

    I did, Rev. Still not impressed, overall. However, I must give style points for including pages from both the Koran & God Delusion.

  36. DLC says

    They’re just angry because you think eating a cracker and calling it Jesus is magical thinking of a ridiculous order.

  37. cactusren says

    Why do I keep confusing Bill Donohue with Billo Reilly? Totally different, aren’t they?

    Well, not that different. They’re both Catholic, they’re both pundits of sorts for the religious right, they both yell until they’re red in the face quite frequently, and they both hate an awful lot of people. The only noticeable difference is that Donahue is more focused on religious issues, while O’Reilly yells about a wider range of topics, all the while letting his religious views dictate his opinions.

  38. leighshryock says

    @schweinhundt:

    The context of the original cracker desecration was due to some atheist getting tons of unwanted attention (and the student Senate tried to have him impeached) for taking a communion wafer out of a Mass.

  39. believeinme2 says

    I myself always wondered why they didn’t add peanut butter and jelly somewhere along the way. That would have made jesus taste a whole lot better anyway. Wasn’t jesus three gods/others anyway? (father, son and holy shit!)

    Bring on the jesus juice!!!

  40. says

    machineintelligence;

    Pastor Rick Warren, in his book “The Purpose Driven Life” states that prior to Noah’s flood, no-one had ever seen rain, because God watered the earth from below. Why they would have had a word for rain is unclear.

    Oh yeah! I encountered that book years ago, but I’d forgotten how completely wackadoodle it is.

  41. anuran says

    PZ, when you said you “treated a cracker with extreme disrespect” my first thought was “What was his name?”

  42. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Patricia,OM #30

    Heh, fify:

    I like the idea of Teh Kraken cracken another cracker on the five year anniversary.

    @ believeinme2

    Wasn’t jesus three gods/others anyway? (father, son and holy shit!)

    You must be thinking of the Cretan cult of the Earth Mother, which is a triadic Goddess (Mother, Father and Child). There have been some tacky plagiarisms since.

    ….

    I struggle to grok RCC Magick ™ . They take a worthless object, like a cracker, and turn it into a human. All this as a cover for their attempts at turning humans into worthless objects…

  43. schweinhundt says

    leighshryock,

    Have to admit that I forgot the initial part about the college student’s travails. Also, neglected to express my admiration for PZ arranging to be in receipt of stolen holy goods.

    However, I stand by my main point: Why desecrate when you can analyze?

    This is not the 11th century; don’t think anyone expected a summary bolt-from-the-blue execution. This is not a theocracy; no papal SWAT team was going to intervene. Obviously there are violent catholic crazies out there,but,they tend to focus their efforts on abortion clinicsinstead of biology professors—-no matter how profane.

    In other words, the final result was a fairly simply executed act of destruction that proved very little.

  44. schweinhundt says

    believeinme2,

    If you figure out how to ecumenically add bacon to that PBJ Communion formula, you have a chance of sparking a New Reformation.

  45. leighshryock says

    In other words, the final result was a fairly simply executed act of destruction that proved very little.

    I prefer to think of it as performance art. He made profound statements with a simple act of destruction. And still gets people emailing him regarding it 4 years later.

  46. Moggie says

    Chaos Engineer:

    The answer is that the consecracker has two kinds of properties, the “accidental properties” and the “essential properties”. The accidental properties interact with matter, and the essential properties interact with souls.

    Hmm, dark matter doesn’t interact with regular matter (except via gravity). Dark matter is Jesus? Seriously, there are probably kooks who believe that. “Over 80% of the mass of the universe is invisible to us, and that’s God!”

  47. shockna says

    This incident was actually how I was first introduced to Dr. Myers and Pharyngula. I was still a fundie Catholic at the time, and naturally, was subscribed to the Catholic League’s email list.

    I recall that for around two weeks, Bill Donahue sent constant emails about the cracker nailing, demanding that Catholics inundate UMM with requests for action against Myers, saying he should step down, and all manner of asinine bullshit. At the time, I was a big enough moron to buy into it.

    Wonderful irony that I’m now a daily reader here.

  48. birgerjohansson says

    Regarding the wafers and the body of Christ,
    one of the one-page SF stories at Nature (“Futures”) explained it well;
    it only becomes the flesh of Christ after all that ATP business in the cells, after which a fraction of the energy carrying molecules are teleported to the body of Christ.

    This worked well in the middle ages when world population was small, but now the runaway growth of christians has bloated Christ, so the second coming will only be possible in the microgravity of orbit, His total mass now being several metric tons.

    I tried to find it on Nature,s online list of “Futures” but failed.
    I hope I am just a sloppy searcher and that Nature has not deleted the story because it offended someone.

  49. ibbica says

    Y’all are forgetting in your complaints about blandness and in your calculations of mass/weight and water and such that it’s not all crackers, all the time! At least a few churches actually use REAL BREAD. Honest to goodness, fluffy, hand-kneaded, oven-baked bread with doughy insides and a delightfully crispy crust. Delicious!

    Alright, maybe not *so* delicious that I’d rather wait an hour for a free bite, rather than just go next door to the bakery and buy a whole freakin’ loaf, but still…

  50. Dick the Damned says

    schweinhundt #53,

    In other words, the final result was a fairly simply executed act of destruction that proved very little.

    I think the primary purpose here was to mock religious belief. For those of us who think that religion is, on balance, a bad thing, mockery is our greatest weapon.

    The more that religious folk are exposed to ridicule of their beliefs, the more likely they are to question them. Of course, the ones most prone to delusional disorder are likely to become even more religious, but i hope that many others will see the light of reason.

  51. says

    The time certainly flew by. It was around and about this “incident” when I started to read Pharyngula on daily basis.

    As for the “1.196 billion catholics in the world” from wiki, I am not sure how the record is kept. I heard that catolic church keeps the number bloated up because they keep records of all baptized and getting struck from the record is such pain in the ass, that some former catolics do not bother with the procedure. But some do, which is a good thing, at least the church can no longer claim the support it did.

  52. kieran says

    They’ve removed the option of deconversion in Ireland, there was a website to officialy leave. I maybe misquoting my Anne rice here but there is something about so long as the waffer is there it’s still blessed but once digestion starts it isn’t… and reading the catechism doesn’t make it any clearer.
    Of course this somes up the whole problem

  53. WhiteHatLurker says

    Deer PZ;
    All iz furgiven. Pleeze cum bak to churches. Bring cheezbergers.

    Signed,
    Not the LOLcatz – must be the Krischens

  54. julietdefarge says

    I wonder how many kids have thrown up their First Communion wafers, as a result of uncomfortable clothing and excess celebratory candy?

    @Whitehatlurker- We kno ur not Lolcatz, dey wud spel it “furgibben.”

  55. David Marjanović says

    your next mortal sin (like [...] miss mass

    Not since the 2nd Vatican Council in the 1960s.

    Maybe every five years we need a Pharyngula holiday, “It’s only a cracker” day, where the horde all desecrate a cracker somehow.

    Bit difficult to organize that many crackers that have had the magic words said over them.

    Remember, without the magic words, the Catholic point of view is “it’s just a cracker”. This applies to the link in comment 28.

    In any case, we were reading a book (I believe it was James Joyce), and the subject of transubstantiation came up. I had never heard of such a thing, and I was most incredulous – I said something along the lines of “Oh, c’mon, no one believes THAT!” or maybe “Surely Catholics don’t believe THAT anymore.”

    Eh, most don’t. Most believe it’s symbolic. That’s because most Catholics don’t know their own dogma all that well.

    I’d love to see an experiment where someone examines and compares the physical properties of transubstantiated hosts to non-transubstantiated hosts.

    Pointless, because Catholic dogma explicitly affirms that the physical properties don’t change. Only the Platonic-ideal properties are supposed to change from “cracker” to “Jesus Haploid Christ”.

    The context of the original cracker desecration was due to some atheist getting tons of unwanted attention (and the student Senate tried to have him impeached) for taking a communion wafer out of a Mass.

    No, the student wasn’t an atheist. He was a Catholic who wanted to show the Host to his curious friend, who had asked for it.

  56. Amphiox says

    Clearly, what we need is a Platonoscope, and instrument that can measure and image to pure platonic properties of things, to sort this out.

  57. cag says

    schweinhundt #53

    Also, neglected to express my admiration for PZ arranging to be in receipt of stolen holy goods.

    So is the RCC claiming to own the cracker after it is “eucharisted” (is that a word?)? I would classify it as a re-gifting, the original recipient feeling that the cracker was more appropriate for PZ’s lifestyle.

  58. bananaslug says

    “I’ve got a question. Is it still Jesus, when they shit it out, & if not, at what point in the process does the magic wear off?”

    Where do you think holy water comes from? It’s recycled through the sewer system.

  59. RFW says

    @ #60 ibbica says:

    …a few churches actually use REAL BREAD. Honest to goodness, fluffy, hand-kneaded, oven-baked bread with doughy insides and a delightfully crispy crust. Delicious!

    Orthodox churches use real bread; as http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/doctrine3.aspx puts it, “ordinary leavened bread”. The equipment behind the iconostasis includes what amount to a cutting board and bread knife.

    Protestant churches generally disagree with the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, and view the Eucharist as strictly a memorial ceremony. “Do this in remembrance of me.” They too use ordinary bread, but the more teetotaling sects substitute grape juice for wine. (The mormons use water!)

  60. Duncan says

    If I was hated by a man who’d made a career out of defending the RCC even when it had been shown to do something totally wicked, I’d consider that a badge of honour.

  61. eddyline says

    @schweinhundt #55:

    If you add banana instead of jelly, you can worship *four* gods instead of three—Elvis’ favorite IIRC was PB, banana, & bacon.