Atheist Parable of the Train

No one has ever cut off a head in the name of atheism. No one ever has cut into human flesh and looked into a camera and said: in the name of NOTHING! – Jim Jeffries

I discovered Jim Jeffries’ comedy thanks to a friend who introduced him as an “atheist comedian” and showed me his early religion routine. Later, I saw his God is drunk at a party routine and realized that I’ve become his fan, although I don’t always like him. But foul-mouthed Jeffries has moments where he’s brilliant.

In the middle of his last comedy special, which is titled Freedumb and features a huge American flag in the background, the Australian standup comedian serves an insightful critique of how freedom has come to mean nothing in American discourse. He jokes, seriously, that Americans love to hear that we’re the land of the free when in reality we have the largest prison population on Earth, twice as large as the next country (South Africa). The supposedly “freest country” has the least percentage of free people. He then makes a few comparisons of our freedoms versus those of freer countries like Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands.

He also shared a parable to explain how atheists see the religious mobs, arguing that “religious people are holding us back”, and explaining that it is a myth that we need to save “the Earth”. Earth will continue fine without us. In fact, when seen from space, the signs of human civilization look like mold on a petri dish. When we’re gone, Earth will thrive without us. It’s our species that must save itself from itself.

In the parable of the train, he compares humanity with a train that is running slowly. He argues that atheist scientists are inside the first car, running the engine and making the entire thing work.

In the second car, he jokes that you can find agnostics, who annoy him with their lack of intellectual stamina.

It’s in the back of the train that one finds the religious mobs being carried by the scientists up front. There are so many of them, and relatively so few people at the front of the train, that the poor thing can’t run properly and is struggling to even move.

I realize that this is only a joke, but there are more kernels of truth than most people will admit. About 95% of the members of the Academy of the Sciences are atheists, and in recent weeks there has been a media storm around Ken Ham’s unveiling of his so-called replica of Noah’s Ark, which is a huge and profoundly stupid waste of money and resources that could have gone to scientific research, or to provide education or self-sufficiency assistance to people in poor countries, or to many, many other worthy causes. Instead, it celebrates a Bronze-Age myth that is taken seriously by almost half of the population in the United States.

The politically-incorrect idea that religious people are indeed holding us back was posited over a century ago by Nietzsche, who proposed that the Overman–our next evolutionary phase–must rid her/himself of religion and make his own meaning and value. In fact this has been said time and again by atheists throughout history, and it’s becoming increasingly evident.

By the way, there is a REAL Noah’s Ark somewhere in icy Norway. Scientists there stored seeds and DNA samples from all the Earth species that they were able to acquire and placed them in a vault to be perpetually preserved at sub-zero temperature so that, should many of those species die out or go extinct in a great cataclysm, they can be brought back. Another better way to spend money than Ham’s inane and retrograde Noah’s Ark museum project. We need more people in the first car of the train!

Also Read:

Comedy as an Ideological Weapon

Against the Use of Empty Words

About hiramcrespo

Hiram Crespo is the author of 'Tending the Epicurean Garden' (Humanist Press, 2014), 'How to Live a Good Life' (Penguin Random House, 2020), and Epicurus of Samos – His Philosophy and Life: All the principal Classical texts Compiled and Introduced by Hiram Crespo (Ukemi Audiobooks, 2020). He's the founder of, and has written for The Humanist, Eidolon, Occupy, The New Humanism, The Secular Web, Europa Laica, AteístasPR, and many other outlets.
This entry was posted in Atheism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Atheist Parable of the Train

  1. makagutu says:

    Brilliant post Hiram.
    If you have time, you could read H.L Mencken’s American Credo where he writes the American thinks himself/ herself free which though is an illusion. Jeffries ain’t far from it


  2. La verdad es que cada día me cuesta más. Todas estas personas con su «amigo imaginario» a cuestas no quieren recibir tolerancia, exigen complacencia como un niño mal criado que no quiere razonar sobre nada de lo que le diga su amigo invisible, sino que simplemente exigen que demos por bueno que haga lo que «le dice»… en ambos casos, sabemos que la imaginación de un ser externo solo sirve para imponer sin discusión a los demás una voluntad irrazonable y cobarde, pero nos imponemos una paciencia adulta. El problema de la paciencia es que el adulto tiene el poder, mientras que el ateo aun debe temer, incluso en muchos países libres, ser excluido y puede que hasta perseguido por serlo.


  3. Pingback: Happy Twentieth! – “Each One Teach One” | The Autarkist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s