Pharyngula

Entartete Kirche

Perhaps it was just poor framing when Cardinal Joachim Meisner said:

“Wherever culture is separated from the worship of God, the cult atrophies in ritualism and culture becomes degenerate,” he said.

The word “degenerate” is hardly ever used in Germany today because of its known association with the Third Reich.

Well, yes, I can imagine that there is some sensitivity to the use of the word … but perhaps they should also consider the substance of his remarks. He has basically just said atheists are incapable of producing art: no music, no beauty, no poetry, none of the great works of the human mind.

He has made the usual disclaimer that his words were taken out of context — he didn’t mean to associate his position with a term used by Nazis. He has not, however, repudiated the sense of his words — the dehumanization of those who do not believe in his superstition.

Comments

  1. #1 MAJeff
    September 16, 2007

    It’s interesting that you note how “degenerate” has fallen out of use in Germany. One of my colleagues, when doing research there, could not get people to identify “racially” for exactly the same reason. The concept of “race” was absolutely polluted and discredited by the Holocaust.

  2. #2 Ichthyic
    September 16, 2007

    btw, in case some were wondering, here is a nice, short diddy relating to why PZ titled the thread in the way he did:

    http://www.tate.org.uk/collections/glossary/definition.jsp?entryId=84

    I’m sure it wasn’t obvious to some.

  3. #3 Timothy
    September 16, 2007

    MAJeff: I thought science had disproved “race” genetically. Personally I never answer questions about race because they’re always multiple choice and never have “American” as an option.

  4. #4 Ichthyic
    September 17, 2007

    How do you say fucktard in German?

    Schwarzenegger?

    no, wait, that would be close, but more correctly Austrian.

    sorry.

    :p

  5. #5 Torbj÷rn Larsson, OM
    September 17, 2007

    check their main page: “Learn what Wikipedia does not tell you about the vast Communist conspiracy that almost undermined the United States government!”

    Oh yeah? Check out what Conservapedia doesn’t tell you about its relation to Wikipedia in that article:

    Conservapedia does not allow users to use Wikipedia content or mirrors as a reference, specifically listing the practice as a violation of its first commandment.

    Q.E. D’oh.

  6. #6 Torbj÷rn Larsson, OM
    September 17, 2007
  7. #7 David Marjanovi?
    September 17, 2007

    “Learn what Wikipedia does not tell you about the vast Communist conspiracy that almost undermined the United States government!”

    I call Morgan’s Law.

    Hmm, I read Meisner’s comment the other way around: Whenever religion is cut off from culture, it (religion, in my reading) devolves into ritualism.

    Yes, he said that — before the “and”.

    Also, comment 42 is right: the term “entartete Kunst” seems to have been invented by the Nazis; anyway they used it a lot. If you say it, you identify yourself with them in more than one way. It wouldn’t have been quite the same if he had said “degeneriert” instead of “entartet”; in fact, “degeneriert” is the normal word, while “entartet” is very rare outside of “entartete Kunst” and a few (themselves very rare) technical terms. But no, he had to…

    How do you say fucktard in German?

    German is rather poor in swearwords. The scale tends to end at “asshole”. Comment 40 offers “pope”…

    You cannot blame him, he most probably heard the term used around the house as a kid.

    That’s quite likely, but it’s difficult to believe that he has never noticed the associations of that term.

    BTW, as far as I can remember, I’ve never been asked to identify myself racially, except in a poll by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, which is headquartered in the USA.

  8. #8 David Marjanovi?
    September 17, 2007

    “Learn what Wikipedia does not tell you about the vast Communist conspiracy that almost undermined the United States government!”

    I call Morgan’s Law.

    Hmm, I read Meisner’s comment the other way around: Whenever religion is cut off from culture, it (religion, in my reading) devolves into ritualism.

    Yes, he said that — before the “and”.

    Also, comment 42 is right: the term “entartete Kunst” seems to have been invented by the Nazis; anyway they used it a lot. If you say it, you identify yourself with them in more than one way. It wouldn’t have been quite the same if he had said “degeneriert” instead of “entartet”; in fact, “degeneriert” is the normal word, while “entartet” is very rare outside of “entartete Kunst” and a few (themselves very rare) technical terms. But no, he had to…

    How do you say fucktard in German?

    German is rather poor in swearwords. The scale tends to end at “asshole”. Comment 40 offers “pope”…

    You cannot blame him, he most probably heard the term used around the house as a kid.

    That’s quite likely, but it’s difficult to believe that he has never noticed the associations of that term.

    BTW, as far as I can remember, I’ve never been asked to identify myself racially, except in a poll by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, which is headquartered in the USA.

  9. #9 MAJeff
    September 17, 2007

    McCarthy missed damn near all the real Communists…

    Managed to get a lot of gay folks kicked out of government, though. Far more people were purged for homosexuality (thanks Eisenhhower and EO 10460) than for communism.

  10. #10 Tom Hall
    September 17, 2007

    David Marjanovic……Hi, my comment was intended to be facetious. As you say Its difficult to believe he did not understand the connoctation of the term. What is more laughable is that he was shocked by the publics reaction, he obviously has had a problems apprehending the majority of German peoples loathing of the nazis. As the jesuits say….give me a boy until he is seven and I will give you the man

  11. #11 Nomen Nescio
    September 17, 2007

    How do you say fucktard in German?

    Schwarzenegger?

    Ichthyic wins the internetz.

    I couldn’t indetify myself racially as well. At least not in German. I could say “wei▀” (white) but I don’t know where the “white race” begins and where it ends.

    neither does anyone else, DCP, so that’s no great fault.

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