Posts Tagged ‘P-Zed’

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I’m awake now

November 14, 2012

Thanks PZ, I’m awake now. New diary on Daily Kos today. This one I felt like writing there; not all of my stories of skepticism belong there, but I figured this one did. I give it an hour before the so-called moderate catholics arrive to berate me for my anger. To which I say (here, where I can), fuck ’em.

Anyway, don’t go read it unless you want to get a bit angry.

Stupid, blinkered, backward, women hating, murdering motherfuckers. Fucking bishops. Bishops! Popes! DIAF. Yeah, I’m mad. Going to work now. Yay!

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The priestly class laments spiritual zombies

September 22, 2012

Thanks to PZ Myers at Pharyngula, for pointing out some catholic priest attacking skeptics and non-believers as part of his ministry. What the point of the ministry is, I couldn’t say — making the congregation feel good about themselves, perhaps? But he wrote a screed so bad that he felt it necessary to yank it.

Dwight Longenecker is apparently writing some awful book that includes a discussion of atheists. He has some very strange ideas about us, as this excerpt shows. [Oops, wait! That page has magically disappeared! Good thing I grabbed a copy before he deleted it.]

Yeah, funny thing. I also found it cached by Google, so it’s not that easy to get away with, ‘father.’ This is his posting, a book excerpt.

Is there really such a thing as an utterly authentic atheist? I think so. I have a dreadful feeling that there exists a sort of human sub-species who have lost their spiritual capacity completely. These authentic atheists do not profess belief in God, nor even disbelief. Instead they seem entirely deaf to such ideas. They do not hate the Church or say the Bible is a fairy tale. They do not spit out bigoted remarks that blame the Pope for the holocaust or missionaries for murder. They do not attack the arguments for the existence of God, say the universe is random, or call Rick Warren a simpleton. They do not rage against God, any more than someone born blind has dreams in color. These are the authentic atheists. They plod through life eating, working, shopping, breeding and sleeping, and God never seems to flit across their consciousness. Members of this sub-species may be sparkling sophisticates or ill-bred boors. They may be the decent and moral folks next door, or they could be despicable murderers. In a frightful way, it doesn’t matter. If they exist, perhaps they have bred and spread like the alien bodysnatchers, and exist in our midst like spiritual zombies—indistinguishable in the teeming mass of humanity except to those few who see them and tremble.

This is also an attack on more militant atheists like myself, since now we’re inauthentic if we’re not apathetic. There are some skeptics who really don’t give a damn, and if I were living someplace like Sweden maybe I would be one of them. Unfortunately we are living in this supposedly judeo-xian country dominated by xians of various sorts who can’t agree on much, other than that they all don’t like non-believers and they do love to brag about their god-concepts.

It’s just the imagining of these zombies bereft of ‘spiritual capacity’ as if there was some quantifiable region in the brain or a sensory organ for it, this insulting language of a ‘sub-species’ drifting through their meaningless lives as something decidedly less than human.

I mean, the priest is a jerk. Yes, it attacks his livelihood that people exist who could care less about…his whole line of work, but calling them subhuman is just begging for prejudice, discrimination, attacks. Against skeptics. And that’s what he calls authentic. How much worse must we be, skeptics like me, who do understand the apologetics and arguments for god-concepts and how to demolish them, who do lay blame for religiously inspired atrocities right where it ought to go.

And after writing that rant, and then deleting it because uh-oh, maybe it didn’t go over too well, he follows it up with this rant about hell. Which I will also copy in its short entirety, since that may well disappear too.

I suspect that people who deny the existence of hell because God is “too good to send anyone there” are really proposing that God is too good to send them there.

It is ironic that people who believe in heaven are sometimes blamed for wishful thinking. Isn’t it that more likely true of those who disbelieve in hell? I say this because the person who disbelieves in hell doesn’t really believe in heaven either. He believes in oblivion. He desperately hopes that he will cease to exist after death. In other words, he hopes he will not have to give an account for himself–that he will get away with it after all, and this, it seems to me, is real wishful thinking.

The priest flips the problem of evil around into a personal attack on the challenger. Rather than address the apparent injustice of infinite punishment for finite ‘sin,’ instead he suggests that these debunkers are just bad people, who have lived shameful lives, and hope there is no afterlife justice because of that.

Beyond the problem of wishful thinking for heaven, there is also the believer’s wishful thinking for hell. Let’s face it, where do epithets like ‘go to hell’ come from but the fervent hope of the believer that someday, somehow there will be some accounting for folks who seem to get away with things, or whose crimes seem so beyond the pale that the believer lashes out in pain and anger. Heedless of the real meaning of calling for endless torture and suffering.

I think I know why this priest prefers to go on the attack and flip challenges around, rather than actually address them. He doesn’t have an answer for the problem of evil. I know it; I’ve spoken with catholic priests about it, I did before I left the faith more than two decades ago. They can’t answer now, they couldn’t then, they couldn’t a thousand years ago. They’ll try to baffle you with seeming logic and they’ll try to explain away pieces of it and they’ll try to shift blame, which is essentially what the priest is doing here. What they can’t escape is responsibility — which is what makes this attack so ironic.

And the best their god-concept can do is give the answer god gave to Job, in that story. Might makes right. Fuck you, I’m God.

God’s speech also emphasizes his sovereignty in creating and maintaining the world. The thrust is not merely that God has experiences that Job does not, but that God is king over the world and is not necessarily subject to questions from his creatures, including men. The point of these speeches is to proclaim the absolute freedom of God over His creation. God is not in need of the approval of his creation.

Anyway, interesting to find prejudice in an argument complaining about skeptics’ “bigoted remarks,” or the desperate hopes of an arrogant bastard cloaked in his own complaints about others’ supposed desperate hopes. I suppose he’s just emulating his god-concept.

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Dust that Sings

April 3, 2012

PZ Myers mentioned this video on Pharyngula today, and in spite of it being 12 minutes or so I decided to watch…and he was right, it’s a good message about atheism. It manages to capture both skepticism toward religious claims, and an expression of non-religious awe.

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A skeptical preacher with a virtual pulpit

March 16, 2012

I’m thinking Dave will agree with this one, but there are days when I think I would have ended up a decent preacher in another life. It’s stuff like this latest DKos diary that gets it out of my system, I suppose.

It gets difficult to express, without recourse to profanity, what it feels like to read stories like this one. Where some hapless would-be mother, a victim of quirky fetal development, is forced into suffering and pain by the state. Where would-be caregivers are instead mandated to perform unnecessary procedures and read from government-written scripts that have nothing to do with modern medicine, but everything to do with guilt-tripping vulnerable women from one bad choice to the other.

Where some bunch of crusty old priests in their funny hats wax philosophical on the inexcusable sin of ending a life, even one that promises to be nothing but pain and suffering, all the courtesy of their pet god-concept and the games it purports to play with our universe.

It’s my rage, I’m entitled to make light of it. This is something that’ll never happen to me. I’m just an observer. Wouldn’t wish it on anyone, though. Not even Rick Perry.

Quick edit: Didn’t expect that would be so highly recommended, but there it is! Happens every so often, not as often as I’d like of course, but oh well. At least this one has a good story behind it, and it’s that story that I hope gets read, not so much my ranting about it.

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Nasty and false!

October 28, 2011

That was the first comment on my latest DKos posting, about the pope. Not that the commenter had anything more to say…I think perhaps he just wanted to stifle discussion with the overt negativity.

Shouldn’t have bothered, really. Most of my diaries/posts don’t garner much attention, although one of them inexplicably did. I credit that one to a slow day.

Anyway, just another rant about a believer employing the ‘atheists caused Hitler!’ argument and thus, pulling a Godwin. After reading about the pope doing it and then some others doing it through an article on Pharyngula, I couldn’t resist the urge to counter.

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Thor cooks!

February 5, 2011

…violently. In another episode of It Came from Pharyngula, have we discovered Dave’s secret YouTube life? A glimpse of the Battle Chef to be?

Oh, there’s a whole series of Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time, and now I must watch them all. Now we must cook. With more knives. And pre-dinner mayo. And SCREAMING!

The comments on Pharyngula are great, too. More leads on…interesting videos.

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On bad apples

January 19, 2011

What if it’s Saint Bad Apple?

A news item of particular revulsion — or amusement, depending on your sense of humor — came from Pharyngula today. In 1996, in response to the growing pedophilia scandal, Ireland’s catholic bishops decided to begin helping the police. And in 1997, a newly revealed letter shows that Pope John Paul put the kibosh on that policy.

The letter undermines persistent Vatican claims, particularly when seeking to defend itself in U.S. lawsuits, that Rome never instructed local bishops to withhold evidence or suspicion of crimes from police. It instead emphasizes the church’s right to handle all child-abuse allegations and determine punishments in house rather than give that power to civil authorities.

Signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II’s diplomat to Ireland, the letter instructs Irish bishops that their new policy of making the reporting of suspected crimes mandatory “gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature.”

Storero wrote that canon law, which required abuse allegations and punishments to be handled within the church, “must be meticulously followed.” Any bishops who tried to impose punishments outside the confines of canon law would face the “highly embarrassing” position of having their actions overturned on appeal in Rome, he wrote.

And, yes, of course, the Vatican is directly linked to more pedophilia by overturning the locals, by its insistence that the church should handle such crimes rather than civil, secular authorities.

Storero warned that bishops who followed the Irish child-protection policy and reported a priest’s suspected crimes to police risked having their in-house punishments of the priest overturned by the Congregation for the Clergy.

The 2009 Dublin Archdiocese report found that this actually happened in the case of Tony Walsh, one of Dublin’s most notorious pedophiles, who used his role as an Elvis impersonator in a popular “All Priests Show” to get closer to kids.

Walsh was kicked out of the priesthood by a secret Dublin church court in 1993 but successfully appealed the punishment to a Vatican court, which reinstated him to the priesthood in 1994. He raped a boy in a pub restroom at his grandfather’s wake that year. Walsh since has received a series of prison sentences, most recently a 12-year term imposed last month. Investigators estimate he raped or molested more than 100 children.

Although that particular incident took place before the 1997 letter, it does show a pattern. One might wonder if this revelation will affect the swift campaign to make the old pope into a saint. One might; but I don’t. I expect this to be adroitly ignored, and the campaign will continue apace.

JP2’s beatification, if it proceeds as scheduled, will have been the fastest on record — six years, from death to finish, edging out the previous record holder, Mother Teresa, by just a few days.

Record holder — sounds like sports talk fitting of the Onion SportsDome. If there was one thing John Paul learned during his tenure, it was that the people sure like new saints. It seemed to turn into a marketing strategy. He sped up the process, and Benedict has chosen to return the favor, I guess.

This is the church I left, the church that most of my family is still a part of. I know, catholics, I have heard the plethora of excuses; that the church leadership doesn’t affect or define you, that your church or your priest isn’t like that — it’s sort of like loving your Congressperson while hating Congress, eh? Oleaginous prattle. The money catholics put in the collection plate, and the allegiance they offer, that buys influence for those higher-ups, those ‘bad apples’ as the saying goes. Like it or not, the rank and file support these bastards with their donations, with their connection to the church.

And the Vatican will go on taking its cut from the collection plate, so long as catholics are silent and continue to donate. And you’ll soon have a saint who was party to hiding the church’s crimes from its adherents; a saint willing to reinstate child molesters, to overturn churches trying to protect congregations and seek justice. Like PZ, it brings forth a sense of warped amusement for me.

Is that basically saying that if locals do anything other than work with the Vatican to quarantine child-rapers, the Vatican will do whatever they can to put the rapist right back into his position? Sweet. They really don’t care at all about their congregations, do they?