Cheers to my friend Matt Bliss for sending me this picture haha
Cheers to my friend Matt Bliss for sending me this picture haha
I’d post this in protest of the Catholic Church’s effort this week to oppose the UK government’s bid to legalise gay marriage.
In a pastoral letter, Archbishop of Westminster Most Rev Vincent Nichols and Archbishop of Southwark Most Rev Peter Smith will urge Catholics to fight to save marriage “for future generations’.
Meanwhile, priests are to encourage English and Welsh Catholics to join the online “Coalition for Marriage” petition to block prime minister David Cameron’s support for gay marriage.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien has likened gay marriage to slavery, an ironic comparison to say the least considering the Catholic Church was a leading proponent of slavery for 100s of years…
I can understand and almost tolerate the church and its leaders’ position on gay marriage, within the church that is. However, I get incredibly irate when any religious group try forcing their practices and beliefs on to those of others faiths or no faith at all.
The majority of the world’s people aren’t catholic, and will be married as non-catholics, ‘sin’ as non-catholics, and die as non-catholics. I think worrying about whether or not non-catholics marry someone of the same sex is relatively pointless in your grand scheme as it’s hardly going to score you any conversions.
If, within your own church, you insist on being anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-freedom, whatever… You’re free to espouse such a bullshit message and gain pews full of empty-headed bigots, but please stop there, allow the rest of us to live, love, laugh and be good people for goodness sake.
Also, perhaps come back and talk to the rest of the world after you deal with the pervasive issue of child molestation in your church. After all, this is a hell of a lot more natural…
I only just go wind of this now but Banksy apparently made this sculpture at the end of last year in December following the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. It’s been named ‘Cardinal Sin’ and is a replica of an 18th century stone bust that had its face sawn off and replaced with a mosaic of squares to give it that pixelated appearance.
He has given the art piece to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool on indefinite loan. More here.
I was watching a program recently on pornography and the porn industry. Before anyone makes any outlandish and slandering suggestions, it was a documentary not an actual pornographic film! Anyway, it’s called Porndemic and you can view it for free online here. It sort of irritated me a little as it had a slightly negative tone to it the entire time, instead of objectivity. To be honest I have no issues with porn or porn use at all, people can stay home 24/hrs a day watching donkeys ride old men for all I care. If they keep the volume down and their windows and doors shut I wouldn’t mind at all!
To the point, about two thirds of the way through the films some psychiatrist who helps those addicted to pornography mentioned how it’s a debilitating addiction that “plays with chemicals in the brain like dopamine”, which I’m sure is true. The interesting thing, however, was that she put them through a 12 step program, just like they do for AA, which is centered around God….
So I think to myself, “what’s the difference between watching porn and praying to god?” a question I’m sure most people ask themselves at least once in their lifetimes. But in all seriousness, isn’t using God and the power of prayer and religious worship to overcome one’s porn addiction just trading one addiction for another? Why do people pray, or worship God? Because when it really comes down to it, it feels good! Why does it feel good? Because you’re releasing, and subsequently rewarding your brain with, dopamine! So truly, what’s the difference?
Our society is so quick to judge and require the reconditioning of people who are both physically or habitually addicted to things whether it’s cocaine or porn, and what is the answer all too often? God…. But are you really addressing the problem? Are you addressing the fact that you’re an addict, or just trading one taboo addiction for a more mainstream and acceptable addiction?
Today we have morons flying planes into buildings in the name of nothingness… We have people convincing young children to strap bombs to themselves and walking into large crowds before detonating themselves in the name of nothingness… We have children rapists being hidden and protected…
At what point does religion become an addiction? Furthermore, when does it become one worth treating? I’m interested in what others think so feel free to comment.
I watched a fairly disturbing program tonight on 4 Corners on the Catholic Church’s covering up of the molestation of numerous disabled children from St Ann’s School. Below is the backstory to the program. Hit up the link above to watch the program online. It’s astonishing how these sorts of gruesome and cruel stories are being discovered at an almost exponential rate these days. Yet all we hear from the Catholic Church is, “we didn’t know…”.
In July this year, authorities in South Australia decided not to proceed with a case claiming sexual abuse of a child with an intellectual disability. The prosecution formed the view that the child could not give reliable evidence. The accused was released. The parents were enraged.
It was not the first time authorities in this country had made such a decision. Now Four Corners reveals the full story of the children and families from St Ann’s Special School in Adelaide. Speaking openly on television for the first time, parents whose children attended the school in the 80s and 90s tell stories of abuse which they say highlight the limitations of the legal system and the apparent incapacity of the Church to openly confront these issues.
In 1991, police searched the home of Brian Perkins, the bus driver from St Ann’s. They found photographs of several naked children who attended the school. Police moved to prosecute Perkins, but due to a “systems error” he was given bail and absconded.
But this wasn’t the only mistake. Although they knew it was possible that up to 30 children had been abused, the police and the school authorities did not tell all the parents whose children had come into contact with Perkins.
For 10 years nothing was done. Over that time many of the children developed terrible behavioural problems. Finally, as a result of a chance encounter between the parents, the full extent of their children’s abuse was revealed. The parents tell how, in the decade that followed their discovery, they struggled to get justice from the Catholic Church and the police. None of them can understand why the abuse was covered up or why Church authorities have fought so hard – in spite of their offer of a one-off financial payment to some families – to avoid admitting the extent of the abuse.
In light of this, and other cases like it, authorities in South Australia are looking at the law and the way children with a disability can be protected. Whatever happens, it will come too late for the children of St Ann’s.
Senator Nick Xenophon has today named the Catholic priest, Ian Dempsey, accused of numerous sexual assaults of fellow seminarian, John Hepworth, 50 years ago. Hepworth is now an Archbishop for a breakaway Anglican sect. He states that Dempsey and two other priests raped and assaulted him a dozen times over a 3 year period while he was a teenager in the seminarian.
Xenophon was forced to name Dempsey after giving the Catholic Church the ultimatum of standing him down, two which the Church refused. Surprise surprise, right? The archdiocese said it was:
…shocked and dismayed that Senator Xenophon has ignored our pleadings. The priest concerned has categorically denied the allegation and has been a person of good standing in the archdiocese for a very long time.
The Catholic Church never seems to get it do they? As victim Hepworth stated when interviewed on the matter:
Sexual abuse flourishes because people keep secrets.
The rate at which people are coming forward with horror stories of sexual abuse from within the Catholic Church seems to be exponential these days. I can’t imagine how many more people are holding onto similarly terrible secrets…
Posted in Atheism, Catholicism, Christianity, Islam, Religion, tagged abu dhabi gallup, american muslims, areligious, Atheists, attacks, catholics, christians, civilians, jews, justified, kill, military, mormons, protestants, study, survey on 12/09/2011 | 1 Comment »
Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future is based on a nationally representative study of Muslim American perceptions and the views of other major religious groups in the U.S. The report compares trends on Americans’ life evaluations over the past three years as well as probes Muslim and non-Muslim perceptions on issues of national identity, terrorism, foreign policy, religious discrimination, and political participation.
Its findings included that as a group Muslim Americans are the most opposed to military attacks on civilians, as well as individuals or small groups of people targeting and killing civilians. For both questions, Muslim Americans were the group who had the highest % saying that in both cases it was never justified.
I’m also impressed to see that the group comprising the areligious come second with regards to saying military attacks on civilians are never justified.
Perplexing enough here is the amount of Mormon swing voters, the majority of which voted that the military attacking and killing civilians was sometimes justified in the previous question. Whereas, when they were asked whether individuals or small groups were ever justified in targeting civilians they were the second highest group to vote that it was never justified. So it’s the majority of them believe it’s only ok to kill civilians if you’re doing it via the military….? Not to that the areligious group was again among the highest voting that such action was never justified.
I wonder though whether American Muslims, who are assumably relatively recent immigrants, are an appropriate sample of your average Muslim in the world. It would be interesting to see this same study repeated for different countries, as well as averaged over all countries surveyed. I have a feeling the results would be somewhat different, at least with regards to the religious groups involved. I don’t think I’d be drawing a long bow when believing that the areligious, no matter what their nationality or race, would overwhelmingly vote never justified for both these questions.
Posted in Atheism, Catholicism, Christianity, Religion, tagged afterlife, catholicism, christianity, evil, god, good, interview, mother teresa, suffering, William Lane Craig on 08/09/2011 | 3 Comments »
First of all what irritates me straight off the bat is the fact that the interviewer (undoubtedly a theist) before even asking his questions, apologies for them. Like it should be considered offensive to ask things like, “if God is all powerful, why does he allow bad things happen to good people?”. How is it not perfectly valid to ask such things? You would never approach the topic of politics or sports in the same way. So why should you do so with religion? It is just one more way the religious try to put themselves and their beliefs up on a pedestal out of reach of reason. We should not be giving religion such undue respect. Discourse surrounding supernatural beliefs should not be considered taboo.
On to William Insane Craig. I love how his first response isn’t so much addressing the question as it stands, but he takes it and uses it as a way of slagging atheism. Good deflection… He says there’s no contradiction there and that we as atheists would need to offer evidence there was. I’d argue that if you state that your creator is all loving, all powerful, all knowing and yet still allows terrible things to happen to good people, especially when he has the ability to prevent, that he is lacking in one of those 3 criteria. Either he’s not all loving, not all powerful, or not all knowing. Absence of one or more of any of these attributes kind of evaporates the Christian idea of God.
He states that the burden of proof is on the atheist:
to show that there are necessarily true assumptions that would reveal some kind of contradiction between God and suffering and evil in the world.
We’re still waiting for you to prove God exists at all. The burden of proof is on YOU who makes the claim that he exists firstly. Maybe once you’ve gathered sufficient evidence to move past that fairly mountainous obstacle, us atheists will knead out the other ant-hill sized lumps and bumps. I might also add that any assumption we would provide, that from an atheistic viewpoint is necessarily true, would probably not be so from a Christian viewpoint. Thus, it’s relatively subjective and pointless.
We can prove that [suffering and God] are compatible just by adding a third proposition, and that would be that God has morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evil and suffering in the world. As long as that’s even possible, it shows that God and evil are logically compatible.
Huh…? So you can just throw your proposition in there and that proves you’re correct? What if I throw in the proposition that God doesn’t exist, and that is why bad things happen to evil people. That’s a great deal more logical than making the assumption that because bad things happen to good people, God must just have morally sufficient reasons for permitting it to happen. Smells of a cop out to me…
So many of Craig’s arguments seem pretty solid, until you break them all down to the bare bones and they’re all built on the illogical assumption that God exists. If you take that assumption out of the structure of his arguments, they all fall to pieces.
Craig goes on to suggest that we were all created in what is effectively an ‘arena’, where God has given us the freedom to be good or bad if we so choose. The whole purpose of this comes down:
to God wanting to bring people freely into a knowledge of himself, and to eternal salvation.
Eternal salvation from what I might ask? From Him and the suffering and evil He permits in the world? It’s not really much of a choose when it comes down to it. ‘Believe in Jesus and accept him as your one and only personal saviour or burn in hell for the rest of eternity’. It’s like being told you’re free to do what I tell you to do, or I’ll punish you.
The goal of human life is not happiness in this life. We are not God’s pets. His goal is not to create a nice terrarium here for his human pets, rather it’s to bring persons into communion with himself forever, freely.
Clearly, if this is what the majority of Christians believe adamantly it goes to follow that they will not actively fight suffering or evil in this world. This is in juxtaposition with what the majority of atheists are fighting for… Though the irony of the religious calling us atheists ‘evil’ seems to be lost on them.
It’s not hard to see why so many people of such beliefs allow terrible things to happen, if they believe people will benefit in the ‘afterlife’ from it. See my post on Mother Teresa for exhibit A. Why would you want to prevent AIDS and the suffering related to it from spreading by encouraging people to use contraceptives when it’s killing unborn children. And hey, these folks will just get to the ‘afterlife’ sooner… right?
Mother Teresa, or Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhui as was her birth name, “was a fraud, fanatic and fundamentalist” according to Christopher Hitchens, and I definitely agree with him.
She was a demagogue and obscurantist, who did very little to help the impoverished of the world as she and the Catholic Church so portrayed her work. She took from the rich to facilitate the Catholic agenda across the world, whilst convincing the less fortunate that poverty and suffering were virtuous and greatly needed attributes to become closer with Jesus. Thus, she became obsessed with suffering and poverty. The Pope might as well have put a hungry wolf in charge of protecting his flock of sheep…
She fought viciously against abortion, contraception and the empowerment of women. Three things that would undoubtedly have worked to lift many of the world’s inhabitants out of the depths of poverty. However, that clearly wasn’t her message or agenda.
For her work this evil woman won the nobel peace prize alongside 124 different international prizes… She reportedly raised more than 50 million dollars on her worldly travels, taking money from the rich to ‘give back to the poor’. It wasn’t above her to take money from criminals either, she took 1 million dollars from Charles Keating, who ripped off 21,000 old folk of their life savings. For this he received a personal crucifix from Teresa as well as her serving as a character witness in his trial. (When asked if she’d return the money she received from Keating, Teresa never replied.)
So where’d all this money go anyway? Well surprise surprise, it never made it to the hands of those poor, such as the 100s of deathly indians on the floor of her “Home for the Dying” in Calcutta. Where did it go? Take one guess. Straight into the Vatican’s pocket.
That’s right. The majority of all her funds was spent on religious activities, not on the poor at all. Unless you regard opening more than 100s of convents in numerous countries around the world, where you teach the poor and destitute to ‘forgive’ and accept suffering as a path to heaven, as giving them back wealth. Well the wealth that was taken from these people in the first place… More sickening is the fact that about half of these convents in Teresa’s organisation are used as homes for nuns and brothers, not for the poor or sick.
It was never about helping the poor, helping the destitute. Who knows how many could have survived and enjoyed a healthy life if they were given decent medical treatment, instead of a daily dose of prayer. Teresa and her Catholic hoard of nuns, as well as her reverent followers, used these impoverished people like a fat person uses MacDonalds, for personal gratification. It always was, and still is, all about the Western World patting themselves on the back for the ‘charity’ handed out by religious organisations, whilst really doing nothing to help anyone. It was a morale boost, nothing more. As pious bedfellows, we used her to make ourselves feel like we cared, like we were helping others. And she used us to raise money for the Catholic Church, and to spread its influence and increase its power. It seems everyone BUT the poor got something out of the arrangement. All the while she was considered a ‘living saint’ and was put on the fast-track to canonisation by Pope John Paul II for her not-so-charitable work.
The poor and destitute have merely been used as kindling, thrown ever so hastily into the furnace to fuel the ravenous fire that is ‘religious charity’. Anyone who condones such efforts like that of ‘Mother’ Teresa should be ashamed of themselves, the Catholic Church, and of her.
Both she and the Catholic church have the pain, suffering and blood of countless people on their hands. If there is a hell, I would hope she was enjoying its luxuries well.
I think the church back in my home town got the maths wrong on their billboard. It’s “Good + God = 0″.
Christopher Hitchen’s Hell’s Angel: ‘Mother’ Teresa documentary.
Posted in Catholicism, Homosexuality, Religion, tagged catholics, free, freedom, gays, homosexuality, immorality, intolerance, liberty, morality, park, pool, public, tolerance on 29/08/2011 | 4 Comments »
Man life sure is getting hard for Catholics. This woman feels she can’t even leave the safety of her own home with her children anymore because of all the homosexuals out there. Long gone are the days where you could go to the local pool or park and enjoy a ‘gay’ day out with the family without the ‘immoral’ homosexuals raining on your parade.
“The same people who say I shouldn’t impose my morality on them, are imposing immorality on me and my children to the point that I literally have a hard time even leaving my home anymore to do something as simple as visit the park. And this is freedom?”
When it comes to people having an issue with the ‘morality’ of the religious, it’s not necessarily to do with what they believe, but how they act upon their beliefs. How are a gay couple at the pool lying next to one another, elbow to elbow, and “exchanging doe-eyes”, imposing their ‘immorality’ on you? They’re not even engaging with you at all…
How is that any different from say a Christian wearing a huge cross around their neck, or a muslim woman wearing a hijab, or an Hasidic Jew wearing his Bekishe and black hat or kippah in public? To be honest I’m not a fan at all and to a point it offends me, but I’m tolerant enough to deal with it. It’s a ‘free’ world, and even if I had the want and ability to prevent them from being able to I would never do so.
What about people with tattoos, dyed hair or piercings, or the obese, or foreigners/other races… Homosexuality is just one more facet of our society that some of us may not personally approve of or appreciate, but that’s life. Being part of society means being tolerant and dealing with other people of other races, beliefs, backgrounds, who enjoy different things, especially when they aren’t impinging upon your personal freedoms.
“This is my community. I find myself unable to even leave the house anymore without worrying about what in tarnation we are going to encounter. We are responsible citizens. We live by the rules, we pay our taxes, we take care of our things. I’m supposed to be able to influence what goes on in my community, and as a voter I do exercise that right. But I’m outnumbered. I can’t even go to normal places without having to sit silently and tolerate immorality.”
Last time I checked it’s everyone’s community. That includes you and it includes homosexuals. How do you think the homosexuals felt no so long ago in the early to mid 20th century when it was taboo for them to even admit to being gay, let along come out in public and be themselves with their families? If you can’t deal with them simply being out in all the public places you’re allowed to go, that’s your problem and no one else’s. Not so long ago I’m sure many people with the same mindset as yourself would be as upset when they saw a black person enter the same store as them, or ride at the front of the bus.
If it were homosexuals pushing their personal beliefs and behaviour onto you and your family in public, maybe you’d have the same foot to stand on as those “people who say [you] shouldn’t impose your morality on them”. Until then, go to your doctor and get a top-up shot of tolerance and maturity, and if your children ask you questions answer them as appropriately as possible without demonizing a group of people who are doing nothing more than showing love for one another in public.
“Seriously, is this freedom?”
Yup. It’s your faith that has you locked in your house, not the gays enjoying their lives out in public. If you want to go to a space likely to be as close to ‘gay free’ as any today, might I suggest going to church more often.
You just have to laugh when all too often you hear Christians complaining that, yet again “I have to talk to my children about why two men were hugging now, that’s impinging on my freedom!”… Therefore what? Ban homosexuality? In other words “my freedoms are more important than those of others!”.
Dictionary.com defines freedom or being free as “enjoying personal rights or liberty, as a person who is not in slavery.; Exempt from external authority, interference, restriction, etc., as a person or one’s will, thought, choice, action, etc.; independent; unrestricted.”
By them simply existing, or appearing in public, isn’t impinging on your personal freedoms at all. You’re able to leave your house at any time without restraint. Your religion in particular, however, has impinged upon the freedoms of countless homosexuals, among other minorities, for a millennia. So maybe it’s time for a little more love and tolerance.