Tag Archives: Catholicism

Round 2: Vatican Tries To Block Pope’s Punch – Too Late

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This is the full quote about what the Pope said about punching someone:

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As I remarked yesterday:

So if punching someone for mocking your mother is normal, than what of mocking someone you are told to esteem beyond your mother? A fatal knockout blow perhaps because you have to punch that much harder as it is not your mother, but Mohammed. Show the love.

The Pope did say killing in the name of religion is wrong, but his comment is the apology any fundamentalist needs to whitewash the bloodstains. …

Power is the right subject for satire. This is why religious figures are legitimate subjects. It is dangerous to suggest violence against this is normal, that insults lead to murder for those things we care passionately about. Honour killings, and persecution of other religions and sects are justified this way too.

Read Round 1: Pope Francis Violence At Insulting Faith Is Normal

Here are some quoted remarks from Father Thomas Rosica of the Holy See Press Office:

“The Pope’s expression is in no way intended to be interpreted as a justification for the violence and terror that took place in Paris last week,” said Father Rosica.

Noting that the Pope’s words “were spoken colloquially and in a friendly, intimate matter among colleagues and friends on the journey,” Father Rosica said that “his words mean that there are limits to humor and satire particularly in the ways that we speak about matters of faith and belief.”

The spokesman added:

“Pope Francis’ response might be similar to something each of us has felt when those dearest to us are insulted or harmed. The Pope’s free style of speech, especially in situations like the press conference, must be taken at face value and not distorted or manipulated. The Pope has spoken out clearly against the terror and violence that occurred in Paris and in other parts of the world. Violence begets violence. Pope Francis has not advocated violence with his words on the flight.” [Source]

What the pope has advocated is that anything perceived as an insult to religion is unacceptable, while violence in response to it is normal. You cannot unspin this. His stress and sympathy is with wannabe pugilists while restraining the right to lampoon, satirise and make criticisms of religion. Free speech should have limits – which fundamentalists and popes agree on.

Which probably explains why the Vatican has supported the OIC for blasphemy, while EU governments are committed to campaigning against such blasphemy laws (without a trace of irony about member states that still have them being mentioned).

Expect more ducking and diving by those supporting Pope Francis’ right to lay a hand on us, while expecting us to turn the other cheek. No way padre.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Pope Francis Is Not The Person of The Year

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It seems you can get away with saying homosexuals should not be judged for being gay, while stating secular governments that try to allow gay couples to adopt are allowing child abuse, and in league with the devil. That (only) having gay sex is wrong, while actively campaigning to prevent equal marriage being law. That life is sacred, while preventing the widespread availability of contraceptives means people end up dying of sexually transmitted diseases. Denying abortions in life threatening situations to women – let alone the audacity that the church should tell women to listen when it will not even empower women to speak with authority in the clergy. Check your privilege, that you dare to lecture on family values with the thousands of children abused under your auspices.

A picture paints a thousand words. So photos of Pope Francis kissing disfigured people, kissing prisoner’s feet, make him a harder target. Leaks that he goes out at night to help the homeless anonymously, make him so much softer compared to his predecessor. Even some of my fellow atheists, wooed that he says we can do good and should join with the faithful to find world peace, are in awe of a man that Time called Person of the Year 2013.

Pope Francis is hailed as a reformer – but disfellowships a priest who was pro women being ordained in the church and gay marriage should dispel this notion. Atheists may be able to do good, as if we took seriously those who say we cannot, but without that sprinkle of water and accepting of the church we are still dammed. No good shall save us for rejecting the Vatican.

Pope Francis has made himself, rather than the Vatican and the Catholic Church, the story. We do not have to question his sincerity, the source of his influence in the media age, which makes him not just the ultimate public relations man and salesman, but the right man at the right time for the papacy. He inspires, he says the right words, and it is lapped up by people who would look up to other mammals for motivation to be good, rather than think for themselves that maybe what is actually being promoted by the Vatican is killing and harming millions.

Regarding asking atheists to join in the pursuit of peace with the religious – as if we were all too busy watching Christopher Hitchens on youtube to play a part – an answer comes from fifth grader Zachary Golob-Drake:

The world’s major religions all have messages about coexisting. But oftentimes people have found a way to bend that rule; sometimes people even use religion as an excuse to take each other’s lives. The three major religions on the earth include the Eastern religions, Islam, and Christianity. About one billion people live by the Eastern religions; about 1.4 billion are Muslim; and about 2.3 billion are Christians. Religious differences have always sparked conflict, even leading to warfare and mass murder. [Source]

Zachary was very nearly denied the prize his speech was awarded because it was contentious to suggest that religion fails to live up to the rhetoric of peace, but seems more concerned with telling people how to live – and to hell with the suffering that ensues.

Hence the meme I created in response to the Pope’s invitation to join him in finding peace:

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The issues are too serious, and the suffering too widespread, to bury the hatchet because someone says nice things, posing piously while it is business as usual as people die because of the doctrines of the Vatican. For the sake of humanity, leave the world free from your doctrines to reach the best medical decisions, women to make their own choices and the voice to speak out, and for consenting adults to be able to practise safer sex.

Then I assure you, the world will be more peaceful.

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God Created Suffering For Our Salvation

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Let me make clear – I do not think there is a God that created this state of the world, as a first cause only (deist) or as theists would contend involved in the affairs of the world right now. I am not a misotheist that is angry at Him – I find ideas about God a product of human imagination hence my being an atheist. The following rant is squarely aimed at Homo sapiens that believe, as “All Things Bright and Beautiful” put it in a verse more commonly omitted:

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

The notion that God deliberately ordains suffering as a chance for piety and salvation by good works. This message was brought to my attention further as a child when picking up my younger brother from a respite run by nuns. On the wall was a poster which stated that God looked down from heaven, and chose a special couple to have a special needs child.

My blood boiled every time I saw that poster. People tell me religion is a great source of comfort. I fail to see the comfort that God deliberately chose you to be specifically tested with a child that will suffer more than any benign parent would ever desire.

Please spare me from such obvious fault in intelligent design being claimed beneficial for my soul – that even in the suffering of people “God saw that it was good” as a chance for people to possibly receive the gift of salvation.

If you truly believe God does this, and you love Him for it as it brings you that step closer to being One with the Almighty then you are in an abusive relationship where you blame yourself for not measuring up to the high standards that God clearly had for you.

I bring up the “God created Suffering for our salvation” idea because Tim Stanley briefly mentions it while defending Father Ray’s post. Father Ray, in nauseating detail, mentions the challenges he faces serving the community – and despite what he may wish they are to be met however unsettling as “… I have grown complacent in my lifestyle, I don’t want it changed, the message of the Gospels seem to be let the poor into it to mess it up a little.”

Tim mentions that:

“The point of Fr Ray’s post was to remind us that we have a duty to suffer, and that the poor might actually be sent by God to test us as Christians.”

Maybe the mindset helps to deal with the troubles in this world – that a loving God sends the unwashed, the poor, the desperate, to test your faith. Ordains that you will have from birth learning difficulties, mental health issues, live in abject poverty. That newborns with bone cancer are given to specially deserving parents. This is not just a duty – it is a command. How do you buy into this, without immediately wanting a refund? Think before you buy.

Even when it comes to doing something good – respite for family carers, soup kitchens, finding shelter for homeless people, giving people the non spiritual help they need when knocking at the door at all hours – religion will find a way of devaluing the people involved, reducing others as a means in the cosmic hub for constant approval of a higher power for the next life.

Yet how much better would it be:

If compassion is your drive, not your duty. If empathy with your fellow Homo sapiens not a sacred text drove you to act. If you recognise the natural lottery is arbitrary and we as a society and as individuals do our darnedest to correct as best we can, that it is not consciously ordained to be thus by dimensional beings.

Then your acts of generosity, kindness and love have a meaning in this life.

Update 1:55PM latest twitter conversation between the journalist whose article here sparked Tim’s defence:

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Twitter: Let’s not indulge with the Pope too much

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The pope has some solace for those unable to make the trip to Brazil for World Youth Day – an occasion that by attending helps the soul in purgatory. By using social media and the internet to watch these events, and read speeches made there with a genuine spiritual heart (there is the catch) an indulgence will be par taken thereof. This does not mean you will get to heaven – rather it reduces your time in purgatory which is a sort of house arrest with Big Brother housemates before you get to enter paradise.

    An indulgence is a removal of the punishment from sin. Although you are forgiven in Confession for sins the punishment stills remains, which would have to be conducted through purification like in purgatory. If an indulgence is done that part or all of the punishment is removed.
    And remember, indulgences are only possible because of God’s love displayed on the Cross. Without Jesus Christ, we would have no chance to be forgiven and obtain salvation.

    A universal indulgence is granted anywhere in the world while a local indulgence applies to only a specific place or area. A perpetual indulgence is one that may be gained at any time while a temporary indulgence only is available for certain times, for example, like certain indulgences for the Holy Souls in November. A plenary indulgence is the complete remission of the temporal punishment of sin. [Source]

Martin Luther has this to say on indulges in his 95 Theses:

    Lastly, works of piety and charity are infinitely better than indulgences, and yet they do not preach these with such display or so much zeal; nay, they keep silence about them for the sake of preaching pardons. And yet it is the first and sole duty of all bishops, that the people should learn the Gospel and Christian charity: for Christ nowhere commands that indulgences should be preached. What a dreadful thing it is then, what peril to a bishop, if, while the Gospel is passed over in silence, he permits nothing but the noisy outcry of indulgences to be spread among his people, and bestows more care on these than on the Gospel! [Source]

Indeed some hoped by purchasing indulgences in Luther’s time they may avoid purgatory altogether – his point was sin was already forgiven free of charge. One wonders what the Vatican Bank may say for those wishing to open an account nowadays. Luther countered catholic dogma on indulgences by saying God’s Grace and faith in Christ alone gave salvation.

Even the act of fellowship and communion with one another is poisoned by an odious self serving concept that lacks compassion for the living and makes outrages claims for the dead via ability to mediate in the next world. The concept of purgatory is a license for slavish devotion via indulgences for loved ones depend on you – do not turn away or their suffering is longer without your acts of piety. With this belief your immortal soul can suffer immeasurably compared to your mortal condition if you do not believe this to be true.

I hope one day this stuff of nightmares in an after life will be treated as nothing more than a fairy tale, made up by primates.

Follow the pope on twitter, but do not follow a sham.

Picture from here – a better example of social media evangelism

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Audio: Hitchens on Metaphysics and my conversation about

Christopher Hitchens reading from “God is Not Great” his chapter on metaphysics.

    Part One:
    Part Two:

My post on the pope and original sin led to an interesting conversation between myself and Rory Fenton, whose apostate story on leaving Catholicism can be read here.

The view on original sin of Jehovah’s Witnesses (with whom I studied with as a child into adolescence) is very similar to Catholicism. Good works are not enough, Christ needed to die to redeem mankind.

Where we did differ was whether metaphysical claims should bother atheists with the olive branch by the pope. A robust but good natured debate followed, and our differences could in large part be based on how our respective religions view apostates. Providing Rory leads a good life, and does not become a satanist his actions (not belief) would be enough for salvation and Catholics would judge him on his works. On the other hand my knowing the truth and rejecting makes me an apostate in the literal biblical sense – no Jehovah’s Witness can talk to me, and demons may make use of me to make others fall away from the faith. As Rory rightly says, I’m fucked.

The apostasy project is not just about helping those with doubts about their religion have a non judgemental place to discuss their feelings to leave their faith – it also helps to explain the nature of what apostasy means for different people.

John:
Why the pope saying atheists are redeemed from original sin is actually offensive to us [blog post]

Rory:
I don’t get your argument. Seems to say “yeah he said something nice but he’s still catholic so it doesn’t count” What do you mean?

John:
1. we would be wretched things to want original sin to be true
2. The idea of a birth by a virgin without man’s seed is a “purity” I can do without
3. Baptism to get God’s grace is something I can do without, especially regarding being a moral person
4. Original sin is based on an “un-biological tortured zombie fairy story, helped by holy water taken externally.
So no not saying it was nice – it’s not- and it’s invalid not because pope is catholic but because it’s an insult to rationality.

Rory:
Yes but those are arguments against Catholicism, not that when the pope says we can be genuinely good people its a bad thing. Surely it’s extending a hand [of] friendship and humility?

John:
I quote the bit the pope says regarding original sin – not that atheists should be allowed to do good as Catholics do. The concept of original sin to us is not an extension of friendship – it means we need the divine. That we are base, immoral.

Original sin means we accept we need a perfect divine, if you will man born without seamen of a virgin to die for us to be saved. And you really want to say “that’s a nice gesture that in no way insults my morals or intelligence”? That would be my point.

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Photo above from here as an example where good works not enough, accepting Christ (and doctrine of original sin) is essential for salvation.

Rory:
It is indeed a nice feature that in no real way insults my morals or intelligence. Beyond the metaphysics the pope is saying “hey, Catholics and atheists can meaningfully work together to make the world nicer”.

John:
You mean work [together] on women’s rights, contraception, homosexuality, safeguarding children, removing guilt, faith schools, blasphemy?

Rory:
Now *those* are practical beliefs where I’ll happily take to arms with you.
I don’t really see the point in getting hung up on metaphysical beliefs. What matters are practical beliefs, how we live.

John:
it is for meta-physical beliefs people think born in sin, need Jesus’ death and resurrection and will not leave their faith for hell.

Rory:
I left Catholicism myself and no one said I would go to hell, since that isn’t a catholic belief. Good people go to heaven, bad people (a very small number) to hell. Belief is not the deciding factor.

John
“only ex-Catholics who will assuredly face judgement for their apostasy are those who know their faith and grasp the truth of it” [Source] We are apostates my friend, and we are dammed. Accept my hell is non existence as a JW 😉

Rory
Ah that means people who believed in God but CHOSE to go against him, eg a Catholic who turned satanist, not a sincere atheist (I guess it’s like the distinction between a conscientious objector and a coward, one sincere rebellion, the other flawed). But yes, as an ex JW, you’re fucked.

John:
if there is a celestial court I think we both will need damn good lawyers ….

Rory:
Ha let’s just hope whoever the god is takes bribes…

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