Category Archives: religion

Things That Need To Be Said

Tim Minchin says them.

Not safe to be viewed at work or in the presence of small children.

Why can’t the Pope do what is right?

Even a casual reader of this blog will know that I’m no friend to organised religion.  I’m an atheist and whilst I can see that organised religion does have its good side, in my opinion, it nowhere near counteracts the harm religion does to society in general.

I’ve been watching the latest and, in my view, the most damaging pedophilia scandal of the Catholic Church and have been biting my tongue.  Sure, I can come up with a few disgusting jokes and very long rants about how evil this organisation is, but to my pleasure, I have seen many hundreds of people doing this already both online and in the mainstream media.  I really haven’t felt an urge to add a blog post of my own on this subject.

That is until I read this fantastic opinion piece called ‘Pope must grovel and beg for our forgiveness’ by Chris Geraghty, who is a former Catholic priest, who has put so succinctly in writing the thoughts that have been stirring in my mind these past few weeks.  Like nearly everyone else, I have been shocked by the Catholic Church’s reaction to this scandal.  It has been so callous and cold that it almost defies belief.  I just can’t understand why the Catholic Church can’t own up to the fact that they have made grievous mistakes in letting these vile priests continue to serve and keep abusing kids.  Why can’t the Pope beg forgiveness from his followers and the rest of the world and bring together a taskforce to prevent this from ever happening again?  It would be naive of me to say that more rules and regulation would completely wipe out paedophilia from the Catholic Church, there will always be sickos in their ranks, just like there are sickos in every single profession, but the Church can make sure that these sick deeds are never covered up and the sicko just quietly moved to another parish.  They can de-frock him and make sure he stands trial for his actions.  Why does the Catholic Church not want to do what is right?

Surely, there must be good men in the Catholic Church who are pushing for this change to occur.  Why are they not speaking out against the Pope?  Why are they not contacting their local media outlets to condemn this shameful turn of events?  Why are they remaining silent on this? (it’s possible I have missed them and if I have, please send links!)

I think that is what saddens me the most about this scandal is that the grassroots members are not doing more to condemn this but instead are upholding the culture of keeping silent.  It’s shameful, it’s wrong and it is not in keeping with their Christian beliefs.

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Religious Imbecile Of The Week

This week’s religious imbecile of the week goes to Bishop Porteous and the Sydney Catholic Church for believing so strongly that Harry Potter & Twilight expose young people to ideas about the occult & opens the way for the devil that they are hiring a full-time exorcist. Porteous also believes that Eastern relaxation tips like yoga and tai chi encourage experimentation with ‘deep dark spiritual ideas & traditions’.  That’s right, all those old people doing tai chi to help relieve the pain of arthritis are actually channelling the devil, who knew.

Good to see that the Sydney Catholic Church is keeping the intolerance of cultures different to theirs alive and well in the 21st century.

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Religious Imbeciles Of The Week

WASHINGTON - MARCH 03:  Protesters demonstrate...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Thought I would set up a weekly post highlighting stupid decisions made in the name of religion.  Let me know if enjoy like it.

The inaugural religious imbecile of the week goes to the Saudi Arabian government for making it illegal for women to conduct their lives without a man watching over them.

A Saudi woman has been sentenced to 300 lashes & jailed for 18 months for daring to appear in court without a male guardian and filing complaints against local officials. This because under the strict laws of Islam, women are not supposed to leave the home without a male guardian.  Full story can be found here.  I just find this law repulsive and the fact they are going to whip her for daring to be an independent woman is abhorrant.

However, the Saudi Arbians are not the only ones this week to do something really stupid in the name of religion.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington DC has halted its foster care program and stopped all spousal benefits for all new employees in protest against the DC government legalising same-sex marriage.  Apparently it is way more important to discriminate against gays & lesbians than it is to provide services for the most helpless members of society.  Way to go DC Catholic Church – I hope your god is proud of you.

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Survey Results: Are Scientists More Likely To Be Atheists Than Non-Scientists?

As promised, although later than I had hoped, here are the results of my survey into whether scientists are more likely to be atheists than non-scientists. A big thank you to everyone who took part.

We had 16 people respond of which 11 were scientists and 5 were non-scientists.

Out of the scientists; 5 were atheists, 3 were religious and 3 were spiritual.

Scientists

Out of the non-scientists;  4 were atheists and 1 was spiritual.

Non-scientists

This means that out of my very small sample size, atheists were more likely to be non-scientists than scientists.

I then also looked on the effect of growing up in a religious household on people’s religious beliefs.

Of the 16 people who responded; 10 grew up in religious households whilst 6 grew up in non-religious households.

Out of those who grew up in religious households; 6 were atheists, 2 were religious and 2 were spiritual.

Religious Households

Out of those who grew up in non-religious households; 3 were atheists, 1 was religious and 2 were spiritual.

Non-Religious Households

Therefore from my sample, those who grew up in religious households were slightly more likely to be atheists than those who grew up in non-religious households.

Due to the small sample size, we can’t make any generalisations about society at large, but still it is very interesting to find out amongst my readers their religious views and if they were affected by the type of religious experiences they had as children.  I must admit that I was a little shocked to see more atheists amongst my non-scientific readers than my scientific readers though.  However, I think that is because my blog attracts way more atheist readers than non-atheists due to my rather outspoken views on religion.

If you are a new reader and want to take part in the survey,  I have placed it up on Survey Monkey.  It will be interesting to see if a larger sample size has any effect on the overall results.

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Children & Religious Extremism

Religious extremism and religious motivated violence are repugnant to most people, atheist and religious alike.  Most religious people see violence to advance a religious cause as a perversion of their faith and beliefs.

We can become numb to seeing adults preaching this viewpoint, but what if it is a child who is preaching and promoting these violent acts on national television?

The clip below shows a boy who looks between 10-12 on Egyptian television preaching about children’s love of martyrdom whilst his proud father looks on.

The story the boy preaches is about a young boy who wants to join the men in going to Jihad to fight.  The Commander tells the boy that he can come as long as Allah decrees that the boy is to be martyred.  What the fuck?? When is it ever okay for a child to be martyred for a religious cause?

What is even worse, this boy tells the Commander that his father was martyred last year and his uncle the year before that and this year his mother had told him it was his turned to be martyred.  This stuff truly breaks my heart.  Children should be protected and sheltered against violence, they should not be sent out to fight and die.

The story ends with the boy being killed during a battle with Byzantine soldiers and the Commander taking his blood stained shirt back to his mother.  The mother rejoices at the news that her son has died and that her daughter drops dead whilst hearing the news of her brother’s death.

There is an epilogue to this sad tale, just when you think it can’t get any worse.  When the Commander is burying the boy, the boy’s corpse keeps popping out of the ground.  In the end they give up trying to give the kid a decent burial saying it’s Allah’s will that the child not be buried.

Now, before you go off believing it is only Islam that preaches violent tales of children dying for religious causes, the Christian Bible and Jewish Torah are also full of tales of violence towards children and children fighting and dying for religious causes.

Hearing tales of children dying in the name of religion breaks my heart.  Seeing a child preaching about how wonderful it is for kids to martyred on national TV makes me extremely angry.  It is not okay and it is never going to be okay for children to be sent to die for any cause, religious or otherwise.

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Women & Atheism

In the past 24 hours, three prominent atheist bloggers (PZ Myers, Greta Christina & Jen McCreight) have asked; where are all the women?

It is a pretty good question.  When you scan the writers of atheist blogs and those who comment on them, the overwhelming majority are men.  Jen, who writes the feminist atheist blog Blag Hag, recently did a survey of her readers and found that 75% of them are male.  Now this is a blog you would think more women than men would be reading.  Then again, Jen is kinda cute so maybe that is what all the guys are doing there.

Joking aside, the lack of women in the atheist movement is worrying.  What are atheists doing wrong that women don’t feel comfortable joining the movement?  I really don’t think it is because considerably more men than women identify as atheist.  To me (and this is just my personal opinion) atheism can be a very feminist viewpoint.  The majority of religions relegate women to the role of baby makers and slave of the husband.  Some religions have tried to move with the times promoting women to higher positions of power, but these moves have met with an awful lots of resistance resulting in the splintering of some religious groups.  To come out and free yourself of this mindset and the notion that a mythical being would see you as a second class citizen is a very loud and proud feminist statement, yet few women seem to be making it.

Could it be that the most well-known atheists (Richard Dawkins & Christopher Hitchens) come across as angry men and women are turned off by this?  That is very possible.  I find yelling at people about their religious beliefs not very attractive and initially that is what I thought the atheist movement was.  That is just not me nor what I am about which is why I avoided the atheist movement for many years.   I’m fine with people believing what they want to, it’s their right.  It is when their beliefs negatively affects laws, scientific advancement and technology that I start having a huge problem with religion and I am none too quiet about that.

Perhaps the Atheist movement needs a facelift, needs more “moderates” to come out and express their views to start attracting women to it.  This is not saying that some women don’t appreciate a good yelling, but I’m guessing that they are already here.  We really need to make atheism appeal to those women who move more quietly through life but still want to tell people that there is another way to live their lives free of the stranglehold of religion.  I’m just not really sure how to go about doing that.

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