Friendly Atheist Contest #37: Praying Outside the Discovery Institute December 18, 2008

Friendly Atheist Contest #37: Praying Outside the Discovery Institute

Last time, I ran this contest:

Why are atheists Tiana and Kate praying outside the Discovery Institute?

(Pic via Kate_Holden)

Clearly, most of you decided to answer your own reworded questions… which makes deciding the winners difficult.

Ah well.

Here are the Top 5 explanations… or responses (with submitters):


Due to an overabundance of Thetans, their bodies swelled just enough for their Mormon Temple Underpants, (don’t ask why – their lingerie is their own business), to cut off the circulation to their legs, thus dropping them to their knees. Knowing that they must restore blood-flow to their lower extremeties, they began a Buddhist clapping exercise designed to raise the heart-rate. At that precise moment, a wandering Quaker photo-essayist, working for a well-known TV medium, wandered by and snapped their pic for the medium’s brochure to put above a fictitious quote thanking him for reuniting someone with their long-dead ancestor.

Being in front of the DI was just weird luck.



They’re not praying. They’re doing entropy calculations to ward off the Dembski.



They’re praying there’s a working bathroom in there.



I don’t think they’re praying, I think the door only opens when you’re in the prayer stance…



“Oh, you meant we should be preying on the people inside The Discovery Institute.”


Congratulations to the winners! The top three will be receiving specially-made Friendly Atheist wristbands (in the color of their choice), sent to me by blog reader Shauna and her sister Danni!


If you’d like to win your own wristband, here is the new contest:

A recent poll asked 1,600 British children to “name the individual they considered the biggest celebrity.”

In first place: Simon Cowell.

In second place: God.

I think that gives new meaning to the word “Idolatry“…

But it raises another question:

In what other ways is Simon Cowell better than God?

Funny and creative answers will have a shot at winning.

Good luck!

(Thanks to Gracie for the idea!)

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  • Ubi Dubium

    Simon Cowell is better than god because:

    I’d rather find myself standing up singing in front of Simon Cowell. He’s much nicer and less judgmental.


    “He’s king of the beavers and you can’t fool owls”

  • Nicole

    Simon Cowell only tells you that you are a bad person(singer, dresser, whatever) if you are.

  • When Simon Cowell gets angry, he insults you. When God gets angry, he turns you into salt. (source: )

  • Simon Cowell’s smirk is better at conveying his superiority than God’s angry growl, which just makes him look slightly congested.

  • RealismFTW

    Simon Cowell gives verbal beatings in order to stir up ratings.

    God will allow your entire family and everything you own to be struck down on a suggestion from the prince of darkness himself. (Book of Job)

  • When Simon Cowell doesn’t like you, he tells you clearly, and straight to your face… and the worst consequence is that you don’t get to be on TV anymore. He doesn’t send unreliable and internally contradictory “prophets” to garble the message… and then hold your screaming body in a fire for eternity because you didn’t understand it.

  • Simon Cowell exists to demoralize, upset, and destroy the ambitions of countless people.

    God doesn’t…exist.

  • Vincent

    Simon Cowell has better hair
    though not by much

  • Ubi Dubium

    I can turn on the TV and see Simon, not just his fan club.

    Nobody’s ever killed anybody in Simon Cowell’s name. Not that I know of anyway.

  • Simon Cowell can be seen on television several times a week during broadcasts of the most popular show in America.

    God has to settle for crappy venues like this.

  • Bill M

    Simon Cowell is better than God because only Simon Cowell can shut Paula Abdul up.

  • Geoff

    Drawing from Anselm’s proof of God’s existence
    ( wikipedia: )

    To exist in reality is greater than to exist only in imagination.
    Therefore, Simon Cowell is greater than God.

  • Sara

    When Simon Cowell is unhappy with what you’ve done, you’ll hear about it in plain, clear language. If god is unhappy with what you’ve done… well, first you need to consult scripture, maybe ask a priest… and even after that you still don’t know whether he’s really angry or if he forgives you because he loves you.

  • ubi dubius

    Simon is better because nobody has ever said to me, “eventhough you deny his existence, Simon Cowell loves you anyway.”

  • ubi dubius

    Eventually, people will stop talking about Simon Cowell.

  • ubi dubius

    I can take Simon Cowell’s name in vain and nobody thinks I’m evil. Just disturbed.

  • Polly

    1) His judgment has real consequences.

    2) He really can make or break you.

    3)He can appear on national TV in a black T-shirt and still act superior.

  • Tolga K.

    We have scientific proof that Simon Cowell can and WILL smite people.

    God, on the other hand, can’t even get a boner:

  • When Simon Cowell judges people, there is video documentation.

  • How is Simon Cowell better that God? Have you seen the pecks on the guy? Meow! 😉

  • Tony Boling

    When Simon smites you, you know deep down you deserve it.

  • His followers don’t constantly ask me for my time and money, so that’s a plus. Also, I can change the channel on Simon Cowell.

  • Matt

    With his quips, Simon shows he is infinitely more clever than god. The Platypus? The Appendix? Puh-lease!

  • Simon Cowell is better than God because he flat out tells you (to your face, no less) what he wants/thinks, rather than using riddles that he gives to his staff to rewrite as more complex riddles that you must reinterpret.

  • Simon Cowell is so convinced of his own brilliance that he doesn’t care whether anyone believes in him. This, in my opinion, makes him better than God.

  • Indigo

    If Simon Cowell thinks you’re bad, he doesn’t say it’s because your umpty-great grandparents ate an apple and your umpty-great grandchildren are equally cursed.
    Nobody thinks Simon Cowell is infallible, just a jerk.
    Simon Cowell doesn’t care what you eat or who you sleep with.
    Simon Cowell never said he had to send his son to die a painful death to redeem your bad singing.
    Simon Cowell doesn’t care if you worship him, only that you’re good.

  • Simon Cowell loves Utah.

    And in Utah, we have our own conservative think tank that needs praying over. The Sutherland Institute is about as narrow-minded and single-focused group I’ve heard of. Paul Mero and his one-track mind of ignorance helps make for some fodder when he posts his OpEd in the SL Trib some Sundays.

  • Simon Cowell is better than God since he is “his own gift” to himself. A lesser Cowell would merely be “God’s gift” to himself.

  • Wendy

    1) He exists.

    2) His teachings aren’t contradictory and his standards are actually possible to meet.

  • Simon Cowell doesn’t pretend he’s anything but a bastard.

    God, on the other hand, thinks he’s all-good at the same time he kills all the first-born sons in Exodus (and while people make the parallel between Herod’s baby-killing streak and the Exodus story, they don’t even seem to realize that they compared Herod with God quite unironically and without cognitive dissonance).

    Ungod bless Simon Cowell. Glorious bastard that he is.

  • elianara

    Simon Cowell is better than God because there is evidence he is real, and because he admits he is an conceited ass.

  • Simon Cowell strips people of their delusions while God and the Church actively support them.

  • Christophe Thill

    Nobody could ever claim “Simon Cowell is on my side”. And if it happened, Bob Dylan would certainly not pen a song about it.

    (By the way, I’d had thought that children would have placed Mickey Mouse, or perhaps Spongebob Squarepants, before God).

  • One big difference is that Simon Cowell speaks his mind, whereas God does not.
    Whether you consider that an advantage or disadvantage in either case is a matter for debate. I reckon priests might have a few problems if God suddenly started speaking his mind!

  • When you hear awful renditions of bad songs, God won’t shut them up. Simon Cowell will, though.

  • pip

    Simon Cowell isn’t really interested in you. He will not punish you for not worshipping him.

    No-one has ever killed in the name of Simon Cowell.

  • JJGorndt

    Simon doesn’t go for the whole passive-aggressive thing. Simon tells you exactly how much he hates you.


    When Simon punishes you, you can still make money singing “She Bangs” on CD.

  • Stephen

    Simon Cowell hasn’t written a new testament saying he isn’t the asshole he used to be.

  • Simon doesn’t wait until people are dead to let them know they’ve chosen the wrong, uh, career path.

  • B

    Ummm, wait a minute. Simon Cowell IS god!

  • Ben

    Simon Cowell only smites people with his words.

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