A gift for your religious friends

Do you have religious Christian friends and don’t know what to give them as gifts? Here is an idea: a clock that every hour, on the hour, reads a passage from the Bible, no doubt designed to remind them of the godly path they must follow.

Although the people in the ad look delighted whenever the clock springs a verse on them, I predict that listening to this drivel every hour, delivered in a sonorous deep voice to presumably mimic how they think their god talks, will soon drive them nuts. But it will seem sacrilegious to throw the clock away and so they will be stuck with it and as a result people are more likely to move away from religion because of it than come closer.

Unfortunately, I suspect that it has a mute button that turns it into just an ordinary ugly clock. What is the bet that if it does, when the mute button will be activated? My bet is one week.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    You realize it’s not “drivel” to everyone, right? I’m actually quite fond of the bible (KJV). There are lots of boring bits, but also some wonderful writing. What’s annoying about this clock is (a) the horrible voice, and (b) they only have 12 verses. If they had random play from a selection of thousands of verses, and a decent voice actor, I’d consider buying it.

  2. phhht says

    But, Rob Grigjanis, it IS nothing but superstitious drivel to those of us who view religious belief as the common cold of delusional illness.

    If you have any evidence -- testable evidence, I mean -- that Christian belief is anything else, let’s hear it. I’m eager to change my mind.

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    phhht @2: You seem to be confusing appreciation of literature with literal belief in the stories told. I don’t believe in Balrogs, but I love The Lord of the Rings. I love the Mahābhārata (what I’ve read, heard or seen). I love Eliot’s The Waste Land. I love the Epic of Gilgamesh. What they all have in common (like any great literature) is people trying to make sense of their lives. That effort, even if the conclusions reached seem like drivel, or even horrible drivel, can lead to real beauty.

  4. vucodlak says

    Somehow this puts me in mind of the Clive Barker story Dread.

    In the first part of the story, a nasty piece of work kidnaps a hardcore vegetarian and locks her in a room with plenty of water, but no food except for an enormous hunk meat. He tells her he’ll let her go if she eats the meat. He records her descent into hunger, starvation, and finally madness. She eventually breaks down and eats the (now rotten and maggot-infested) meat. The nasty piece of work seems to think this proves something about the shallowness of morality, or some such.

    Anyway, I’m imagining a variant on the story in which a very devout person is locked in a room where the only stimulus is one of these clocks, with its mute button disabled and the volume turned all the way up. I think it’s pretty much a given that the inmate would eventually smash the clock, but I don’t think it would really prove anything, beyond the simple fact that if you poke most people enough times they’re liable to snap.

    I’m not sure why I think of that, except that my parents (who I live with) will probably buy one of these bloody things if they see it. There’s still a little wall-space that isn’t covered in Christian kitsch. I wouldn’t give it the entire week before I eat the clock.

    @ Rob Grigjanis, #3

    I always answer the question “What are you thinking?” with “I think we are in rats’ alley, where the dead men lost their bones.”

    Some people think that’s weird.

  5. lanir says

    It doesn’t need a mute button. A little opaque tape on the light sensor they mentioned would do the trick. Or a spot of paint for a more permanent solution.

    Christians (or at least Catholics) in my experience are rather frequently encouraged to bring religion more into their lives. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that the problem with trying to make extraordinary events commonplace is that… you will succeed. Literally. When comparing staying power with the mundane, even omnipotent deities seem woefully inadequate.

  6. Jockaira says

    I know a half-dozen people who deserve this type of burden, but I’m not willing to spend $20 to torment them. I’ll wait until these items start their inevitable appearance at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. They should be attractively priced at 99¢ or less.

  7. blf says

    I don’t believe in Balrogs



    About two years ago I wrote a script for my computer to execute at various times during the day and read, using a randomly-chosen voice, a randomly-chosen short passage from a collection of Project Gutenberg & other texts. It was amusing for awhile — a part from Jabberwocky read in a “Ukrainian”(?)-accented voice is particularly memorable — but I did ultimately turn it off.

  8. mnb0 says

    @3 RG: “You seem to be confusing appreciation of literature”
    That’s another problem with me -- I don’t appreciate it as such. With one exception the best stories are superficial compared with Greek mythology. Already as a child I preferred the latter (in rewritten versions of course). For one thing the entire Messias concept (perfect embodiment of whatever) is dull at best and usually annoying. For exactly that reason I will not read the Dune and Sword of Truth series beyond volume 1. Paul Artreides and Richard Cypher are annoying pricks in my eyes.
    The exception in the Bible is Revelation. I appreciate that one for a completely wrong reason: it never fails to make laugh because of its Pythonesque absurdity. Don’t bother to explain to me that I misunderstand it because it belongs to the then popular apocalyptic genre. Such explanations make Revelation only funnier in my eyes. A pretty randomly picked quote:

    “And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.”
    How can I, a non-believer living in a secular world in the 21st Century, ever take this seriously? And it goes on and on, piling one absurdity on another.

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    mnb0 @8: Different strokes for different folks. A lot of people think Mozart was a genius. I find him (mostly) boring. Go figure.

  10. mnb0 says

    The only problem with your cliche is this. While I don’t particularly enjoy Mozart’s music I can recognize its brilliancy and genius. It’s very well written. I don’t see any brilliancy and genius in any Bible book. Nobody has been able to identify it.

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    mnb0 @10:

    I don’t see any brilliancy and genius in any Bible book. Nobody has been able to identify it.

    That qualifies as the most stunning combination of ignorance and arrogance I’ve read since Trump’s last tweet. Do you mean that you don’t agree with anyone who says there is “brilliancy and genius” in the bible? Or is there some absolute measure you know of? If you “recognize” the genius of Mozart, does that mean everyone should agree? Not everyone did/does, you know.

  12. Rob Grigjanis says

    re #11: To be clear, the first sentence I quoted is fine. You don’t see it, OK. The sentence was included to identify ‘it’ in the second sentence, which is the gobsmacking one.

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