Humanism is a giant cephalopod!

This is a cartoon from a fundie book written by Tim LaHaye in 1982. It is clearly a work of prophecy.


But do people still have such a bizarre and hateful opinion of humanism today? They sure do.

Watch this fellow declare that humanism is demonic, a nest of wanton debauchery, etc., etc. But especially watch Andrew Copson of the British Humanist Association reply — how can anyone compare these two views and not decide that humanism is a better way of living and thinking?


  1. says

    Back in the 1990s a friend that was not all that rightwing or religious (or so I thought) asked me if I would call myself a “secular humanist.” That sounded like a pretty good thing to me, so I said, “Well, yeah, I guess so.”

    So endeth a friendship.

    I didn’t know that by accepting the label I was confessing to being a debauched, family-destroying instrument of Satan.

  2. Janine the Jackbooted Emotion Queen says

    Conclusive proof that The Cult Of PZ exists!

    Someone must let Todd Starnes know about this!

    This way, once again the atheists of the pit can link to the rambling of a christianist fantasy writer,

  3. Seven of Mine: Shrieking Feminist Harpy says

    OMG toward the end the humanist guy is talking and you hear the Christian dude mumbles something unintelligible. The humanist guys stops in mid sentence and asks incredulously “Did you just say Pol Pot?!” Brilliant.

  4. Anne Fenwick says

    I swear my membership card is up to date so how did I slip off the wanton debauchery mailing list?

  5. David Marjanović says

    …Does the UK recognize religious weddings as legally valid? I suppose it makes sense from having an established church…

  6. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Watch this fellow declare that humanism is […] a nest of wanton debauchery

    I for one feel quite cheated.

  7. damiki says

    One of the definitions of debauchery is “seduction from duty, allegiance, or virtue”

    I’d like to thank humanism for seducing me from “duty” and “allegiance” to my christian upbringing and its questionable definition of “virtue”.

  8. rossthompson says

    “Did you just say Pol Pot?!”

    I’m pretty sure Pol Pot was not a humanist.

    …Does the UK recognize religious weddings as legally valid? I suppose it makes sense from having an established church…

    Well, yes. Most weddings in the UK are conducted by a religious authority, and the state is happy to accept such weddings as valid, so long as they’re conducted in accordance with the law. I’m pretty sure the same is true in America.

    The point here is that there’s currently no way for someone to be certified to conduct weddings in England without either being a religious authority, or being a civil servant. And as Humanism isn’t a religion, it’s difficult for humanists to have the rituals they want.

  9. microraptor says

    I swear my membership card is up to date so how did I slip off the wanton debauchery mailing list?

    I for one feel quite cheated.

    Yeah, I’ve got the same lack of debauchery, too. Can we sue for false advertising?

  10. rq says

    The octopus of secular humanism has three free tentacles. THREE!!!
    What’s it going to grab next?

  11. yazikus says

    What’s it going to grab next?

    Hmm… Probably frozen rock and roll, movie theaters and fast food chains.

  12. unclefrogy says

    except for the glareing look who can help how their face looks the octopus of humanism looks to me like he is wrapping everything in its protecting arms, fending off the domineering and judgmental religious leaders.
    as the christian so perfectly demonstrates
    uncle frogy

  13. says


    Me, I’m wondering what the connection is between secular humanism and pornographic literature.

    You have it on your desk (or nowadays have it open in another tab) while writing screeds against secular humanism.

    I loved how the audience basically laughed the guy out of the room. He can’t even complain about mieeeen wördz. That guy is bitter, bitter, bitter, because his ship is sinking while he’s defiantly screaming “it’s not trueeeeeeeee!!!!”

  14. larrylyons says

    AS soon as I saw that cartoon I couldn’t help but to think

    I’ve Seen Enough Hentai To Know Where This Is Going

  15. thebookofdave says

    rq #15

    The octopus of secular humanism has three free tentacles.

    It’s going to need two of them, just to hold pornographic-literature sources.

  16. U Frood says

    Still don’t understand why just anyone can’t conduct a wedding. Why does having religious credentials give you the right to say , “Yup, these two people said they wanted to get married!”?

  17. says

    It’s always fun to look up the websites of religious nuts like the one from “Dear Jesus” in that video clip. They have a pretty average looking website (, mostly boilerplate Christian evangelical stuff, and most of it likely unchanged since they created the site.

    They have a YouTube channel with one video and precisely zero subscribers, and the heartfelt testimony of one of the organization’s members credits C.S. Lewis’s “Dear Christianity” for leading him to salvation (must have missed that one.)

  18. Cuttlefish says

    See how much of society is protected by the loving attention of secular humanism’s tender tentacles? Makes me feel all safe, secure, and cuddly.

  19. Nice Ogress says

    The language pedant in me also notes:

    “With its many tentacles extending eagerly from such centers as government, public school, TV…”

    No, no, no. As depicted, said tentacles are reaching towards those things, not from them.

    I can’t tell if they should fire their writer , their illustrator, or their editor. Perhaps all three.

  20. spikethestudent says

    great picture, secular humanism doesn’t look like its harming anything held in its tentacles, it even gives a family a hug.
    i wish i had a secular humanism octopus as a pet

  21. photon says

    Once you take out government, public schools, TV & the family, the only thing left in the cartoon to portray “pornographic-literature [sic] sources” is the church.

    Unintended accuracy?

  22. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    Hey! I’m a secular humanist – where’s my damn suction cups?

  23. gocartmozart says

    P.Z., I am a humanist in good standing and am current in all my dues. How come you never invite me to any of your humanist debauchery shin digs? What gives?

  24. mildlymagnificent says

    Still don’t understand why just anyone can’t conduct a wedding. Why does having religious credentials give you the right to say , “Yup, these two people said they wanted to get married!”?

    Waaaay back in the day, you didn’t even need someone to conduct a ceremony, let alone require a witness.

    That was then, this is now. In Australia, anyone can apply to be a marriage celebrant. There are a fair few requirements to meet. One big one, apart from checking the documents about whether people are already married or the evidence for divorce or death of a previous marriage partner, is when you refuse to conduct a ceremony … the marriage certificate is a legal document so you need to be of sound mind. Any drunk or drugged bride or groom is automatically unable to participate in the ceremony or sign the certificate just as they would be ineligible to sign a will.

    As for who does these things. My husband and I were married – in 1978 – by a friend who also happened to be the president of the local Atheist Society. The UK, the USA and most of Europe have a lot of catching up to do in terms of providing options. Here we have churches, registry offices and independent celebrants, and we’ve had them for 40 years.

  25. woozy says

    It’s about as cliche as one can get and has been for a *very* long time:

    “Let’s go,” said Trot. “I don’t like to ‘sociate with octopuses.”

    “OctoPI,” said the creature, again correcting her.

    “You’re jus’ as horrid whether you’re puses or pies,” she declared.

    “Horrid!” cried the monster in a shocked tone of voice.

    “Not only horrid, but horrible!” persisted the girl.

    “May I ask in what way?” he inquired, and it was easy to see he was offended.

    “Why, ev’rybody knows that octopuses are jus’ wicked an’ deceitful,” she said. “Up on the earth, where I live, we call the Stannerd Oil Company an octopus, an’ the Coal Trust an octopus, an’—”

    “Stop, stop!” cried the monster in a pleading voice. “Do you mean to tell me that the earth people whom I have always respected compare me to the Stannerd Oil Company?”

    “Yes,” said Trot positively.

    “Oh, what a disgrace! What a cruel, direful, dreadful disgrace!” moaned the Octopus, drooping his head in shame, and Trot could see great tears falling down his cheeks.

    “This comes of having a bad name,” said the Queen gently, for she was moved by the monster’s grief.

    “It is unjust! It is cruel and unjust!” sobbed the creature mournfully. “Just because we have several long arms and take whatever we can reach, they accuse us of being like—like—oh, I cannot say it! It is too shameful, too humiliating.”

    “Come, let’s go,” said Trot again. So they left the poor octopus weeping and wiping his watery eyes with his handkerchief and swam on their way.

  26. woozy says

    Seriously, did no-one pay attention during high-school civics classes? (The Octopus by Frank Norris)

    Still, I’m surprised by the number of relatively recent (1982 is recent, isn’t it) uses of it for secularism. That all seems so … off. And stupid.

  27. Azuma Hazuki says

    “Pornographic literature?” Please. I never knew the meaning of the word pornography before I read Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Edwards, and the hellfire and brimstone child torture porn by the oh so very aptly-named Furniss. The Bible itself is porn in so many ways, almost none of the sexual (though that one verse in Ezekiel, eesh…).

    Like they and their kind have any right to talk about “pornographic literature.” Ye gods. More projection than a mile of movie theaters.

  28. randay says

    #38 mildlymagnificent — Marriage as a law includes many legal obligations and consequences, so it is something that should be decided by an officer of the government. In France, only secular marriages performed by the local mayor or his representative are recognized as legal. You wouldn’t want just anyone to give someone a driver’s license according to their customs.


    As to the Black guy, if he had been born 300 years ago, he might have been enslaved by God-fearing Christians. But he has accepted the ideology of the oppressors. In the U.S. he could be considered an Uncle Tom.

  29. derek lactin says

    Strange: Replace “Religion” in the octopod’s head and you see what La HeYwe wants to see.